Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street’

A Guide To Increasing Company Value

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 19, 2018

Almost everyone who has worked in sales has heard the mantras “the customer is always right,” and “the customer is your most important person.”

And as anyone who has worked in healthcare can attest, neither of those statements are true.

For example, consider the patient who, arriving at the ED (Emergency Department) said to the physician, “My doc says my sugar is high so he gave me this medicine for diabetes.”

Naturally, the physician asked, “Do you take it?”

The patient replied saying, “No, ’cause I don’t have diabetes, just high sugar.”

And then, another Physician who explained to the patient’s mother her child’s diagnosis and therapeutic interventions saying, “She has a concussion, she needs to rest in bed in a quiet dark room until she is better.”

The mother then asked, “Can she go to the fair?”

Conventional wisdom often monikered as “common sense,” sometimes follows the pithy axiom that “common sense isn’t so common anymore.”

For years, I’ve maintained that the customer is NOT “always right,” nor are they the “most important person” in any business.

Instead, the most important person in any business are the employees.

Some CEOs have gotten a bad rap, often justifiably, because while seeking to return corporate profit and shareholder return, they’ve cut resources and employees. Like the abusive Pharaoh of the Exodus account in the Old Testament, they demand to “make more bricks with less hay.” Of course, we know how that story ended – not well.

So naturally, it delighted me to read some time ago that Sir Richard Branson, a renown entrepreneur and philanthropist, has similarly long held that thought and said, “Put your staff first, customers second, and shareholders third.”

In a 2014 interview with Inc. magazine, Sir Richard said, Read the rest of this entry »

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BIG INSURANCE Companies Fear Single Payer For ONE Reason

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 12, 2017

A friend had shared the opening paragraph, upon which I remarked.

My response follows.

“At the risk of stating the obvious, I feel compelled to note that insurance companies do not exist to provide health care. They exist to make money. Big money. Big money at your time of greatest vulnerability. This happens by raising income as much as possible and limiting “risk” as much as possible. Now go ponder the implications.”

—/—

And that is the single greatest reason why a Read the rest of this entry »

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Your Tax Dollars At Work: Taxpayers Subsidize CEO Pay, Here’s How #BonusLoophole

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 3, 2016

Executive Excess 2016: The Wall Street CEO Bonus Loophole

This 23rd annual report reveals how taxpayers are subsidizing financial crisis windfalls.

By Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati, August 31, 2016

CashingInOnTheCrisis-Graphic-1-1This report is the first to calculate how much taxpayers have been subsidizing executive bonuses at the nation’s largest banks.

The study focuses on a 1993 Clinton administration reform that was intended to rein in runaway CEO pay by capping the tax deductibility of executive compensation at $1 million. But the new rule included a huge loophole for stock options and other “performance” pay. As a result, the more corporations hand out in executive bonuses, the lower their tax bill. This perverse incentive for excessive compensation has been a major factor in the explosion of CEO pay.

The financial bailout program closed this loophole for recipients, but only until Read the rest of this entry »

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To What Extent is the American Economy Propped Up by Arms Sales?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What should one expect when the whole damn defense industry has been whored out to arm the krazees of the world?

In a very prophetic manner, in his Farewell Address to the nation, January 17, 1961, then-President Dwight David Eisenhower warned about the “military industrial complex,” saying:

“We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

US sells $11 BILLION worth of arms to Qatar

Published time: July 15, 2014 09:46
Edited time: July 16, 2014 12:55

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

Washington and Doha have signed the largest arms deal of the year, preparing to enhance Qatar’s military capabilities with $11 billion-worth of Apache assault helicopters, PAC-2 missile defense complexes and Javelin man-portable anti-tank missiles.

The deal has been signed on Monday in Pentagon by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Qatari Defense Minister Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah. Altogether Qatar is buying 10 batteries of Patriot missile defense systems and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles manufactured by US defense industry giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and 24 Apache helicopters made by Boeing, an anonymous US official told the AFP.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Is a college education ~really~ all it’s cracked up to be… anymore? Or, why has tuition increased 300% in 30 years?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

College costs expose the false meritocracy of the American dream

The cost of an education in America has risen so much that only the wealthy and indebted can attend. The system doesn’t work

Post by Chris Arnade Photography.

 Chris Arnade received his PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1992. He spent the next 20 years working as a trader on Wall Street. He left trading in 2012 to focus on photography. His "Faces of Addiction" series explores addiction in the south Bronx neighbourhood in New York City. Follow him on Twitter: @Chris_arnade


Chris Arnade received his PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1992. He spent the next 20 years working as a trader on Wall Street. He left trading in 2012 to focus on photography. His “Faces of Addiction” series explores addiction in the south Bronx neighbourhood in New York City. Follow him on Twitter: @Chris_arnade

theguardian.com, Wednesday 18 June 2014 07.30 EDT

watermelons

As a college student, Chris Arnade picked Florida watermelons to pay for school. His daughter can’t do the same.
Photograph: Alamy

When I entered Wall Street in 1993 with a PhD, I was an anomaly. One of my bosses was a failed baseball player, another a frustrated jazz musician. One of the guys running one of the most profitable businesses, in both my firm and all of Wall Street, was a former elevator repairman. Their college degrees – if they even had them – were from all sorts of schools, not simply the Ivy leagues.

By the time I left Wall Street a few years ago, the only people being hired were the “play it safe kids”. The ones with degrees from Princetons and Harvards. You know, the ones who had organized a soup kitchen in eighth grade (meaning, really their parents had) to load their resumes. The ones who had gone to the state science fair (meaning their parents or nannies had spent many weekends and nights helping with a science project).

 Few of these hires where rags-to-riches stories. Most had parents very much like those already working on Wall Street – wealthy and dedicated to getting their children whatever they needed, regardless of cost. Many were in fact the children of Wall Street parents.

It is not just Wall Street. Most of the best paying jobs now require a college degree, or post-college degree, and still rarely hire from state schools. They want Ivy schools, or similar. That feels safe.

This is a problem. Businesses have abdicated their primary role in hiring, handing it over to colleges, which have gladly accepted that role, and now charge a shit-load for it. Want a job kid? Pay $60,000 a year for four years. Then maybe pay for another two to get a MBA.

Yet, those best schools do not teach kids anything radically different from what the average colleges do. They do not prepare them better for the day-to-day work of Wall Street. Those finance skills are learned with experience and instinct after two years of training – on the job.

Rather, a prestigious education is a badge given to students who can follow the established rules, run through the maze, jump through hoops, color between the lines, and sit quietly. It shows that they really, really want to be a grown-up. For that, they pay $60,000 per year.

It has become a test. Are you part of the meritocracy?

It also has become a barrier of entry to professionalism – a very costly barrier of entry.

Harvard University
A rigid system of ‘feeder’ schools is in place for parents who want their children to attend schools like Harvard, which have a reputation for then ‘feeding’ major Wall Street firms. Photograph: Porter Gifford/Corbis

Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Pays Unskilled Labor US $80,000/year?!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 22, 2014

“For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
-1Tim5:18

Lately, much has been made of raising the Minimum Wage, which does nothing more than establish a minimum standard.

But who cares about minimums?

We should strive to exceed!

Some well-known, publicly-traded, highly profitable firms, however, revel in greed, and wallow in the slop, when they can do far better for the employees who operate their businesses.

The question is often asked “why pay unskilled workers $10 or even more per hour?”

It’s a valid question, and deserves a genuinely thoughtful response.

So, let’s pose that question to BIG OIL COMPANIES in Williston, North Dakota, where…

“oilfield companies pay unskilled 19 year-olds $80,000 a year.”

 

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/mall-middle-what-used-be-nowhere

by Dan Weissmann
Monday, June 16, 2014 – 15:21

Williston, North Dakota, has the nation’s highest rents. Thanks to the fracking boom, a basic apartment in Williston costs more than something similar in New York or San Francisco. And it comes with a lot fewer amenities.

For instance, shopping. If Walmart doesn’t have it, the nearest outlet is at least two hours away. Now, a Swiss investment firm has announced plans to Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 12, 2014

When campaigning for the office of Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley – a retired dermatologist physician who at the time was an elected representative from Tuscaloosa County – promised if elected governor that, “I will forgo a salary as state representative for the rest of my term and will not accept a salary as Governor until Alabama reaches full employment.”
ref: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/06/robert_bentley_extends_no-sala.html

When pressed on the matter, he later defined “full employment” as having state unemployment somewhere around 5%. It is a promise to which, as of the date of this entry – 12 April 2014 – he has kept. In other words, Alabama has NOT reached “full employment,” and he has not been paid a salary. He has, however, been compensated for out-of-pocket expenses (the governor’s office has a budget, so why would he personally have any such expenses for work in an official capacity?), though he has received – as legislator, a legally-mandated $1.00 per month salary. Since his election to the governorship, he has not received a salary.

Let’s examine Governor Bentley‘s employment record.

During Governor Robert Bentley’s watch, International Paper – the large paper mill formerly known as Champion Paper, in Courtland, and the largest employer in Lawrence County – closed and cost the area economy & state 1100 jobs. Those jobs were Read the rest of this entry »

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BIG OIL’s Corrupting Influence in American Politics: Propping up Corrupt Regimes to Prop Up Profits

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 7, 2014

Report

Slick Moves

The SEC could help tackle corruption in resource-rich countries around the world — but the oil industry is getting in the way.

Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, is regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And American oil lobbyists are only making the situation worse: They are exploiting Angola by seeking to delay and weaken the implementation of a crucial U.S. transparency law.

That law, Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, promises a breakthrough in preventing dirty deals and illicit payments being made for natural resources around the world, similar to the shady transaction recently uncovered by Foreign Policy. If implemented fully, the law would make U.S. oil and mining companies disclose the payments they make to governments across the world, including in Angola. However, oil lobbyists have been making misguided arguments that laws in Angola and three other countries prevent the required disclosures.

Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig

Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig – MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Angolan officials secretly profiting from the country’s oil riches is not a surprise. It is only the latest episode in a sad history that goes back for decades. Global Witness, where we work, began exposing the complicity of the international oil and banking industries in the plundering of state assets during Angola’s 40-year civil war in our 1999 report A Crude Awakening. This was followed by our 2002 report All the Presidents’ Men, which called on the oil companies operating in Angola to “Publish What You Pay” (PWYP). Under this rallying call, Global Witness co-launched the PWYP campaign, which is now an international coalition of more than 790 civil society organizations in over 60 countries, including Angola, advocating for transparency laws such as Section 1504.

These efforts are intended to prevent scandals similar to the Trafigura deal covered in Foreign Policy, which provide a glimpse of the endemic corruption in Angola‘s oil industry. Only a few days before Foreign Policy published its story, media reports about leaked documents relating to other corruption claims caused the share price of SBM Offshore, a Dutch oil services company operating in Angola, to plummet 17.9 percent when markets opened. SBM released a statement challenging the validity of the leaked documents, saying that they are partial, taken out of context, contain outdated information, and are not representative of the facts. SBM had also already disclosed to its investors that it was conducting an internal investigation into questionable payments in Angola. However, the dramatic stock drop suggests that SBM investors had not anticipated the scale of the corruption risk exposure.

Another oil services company active in Angola, Weatherford International, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently pleaded guilty to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), including bribery of the executives of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company. It has agreed to pay fines of $253 million to settle the case, one of the largest FCPA settlements ever.

These cases illustrate the urgent need for transparency in Angola’s oil sector. The successful implementation of Read the rest of this entry »

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In Defense of #Infrastructure Spending

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 22, 2014

At the federal level, TEApublican types have decried our national deficit, much – if not most – of which came about as a result of placing the price of a decade of warfare on a proverbial credit card. I refer, of course, to the Persian Gulf War, Gulf War II, Operation Desert Shield/Storm and the invasion of Afghanistan, etc., all of which occurred during the previous administration.

Compounding that problem was that corporate and personal income tax rates upon the wealthiest was cut, while simultaneously, the veritable house of cards was crumbling, having been built upon the miry, sinking sands of Wall Street deregulation & greed gone wild.

Nevertheless, as our nation has struggled and clawed its way back to some semblance of fiscal sanity, there have been voices arising whom assert that the federal government’s “bailout” of banks & other large, corporate enterprise has been a gross mistake, and that such a bailout should have never occurred. And, while there will doubtless be volumes written, and debates held about the good and the bad of the ordeal, what’s been done, has been done, and it’s practically all over, but the crying. So the only thing we can do now, is live & learn, and move on.

And yet, respecting one underlying problem which arose corollary to the matter, is the loss of jobs here at home. Again, it was complicated by ‘globalization,’ which – good, bad, or indifferent – is Read the rest of this entry »

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Research: WalMart’s Low Wages Burden Taxpayers

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 23, 2012

The high cost of low living…

“Walmart’s employees receive $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store.
They are also the top recipients of Medicaid in numerous states.
Why does this occur?
Walmart fails to provide a livable wage and decent healthcare benefits, costing U.S. taxpayers an annual average of $1.02 billion in healthcare costs.

This direct public subsidy is being given to offset the failures of an international corporate giant who shouldn’t be shifting part of its labor costs onto the American taxpayers.”

You’re the life of the party, everybody’s host
Still you need somewhere you can hide
All your good time friends
And your farewell to has-beens
Lord knows, just along for the ride

You think you’re a survivor
But boy, you better think twice
No one rides for nothin’
So, step up and pay the price

Dedicated to the GOP & other radical TEApublicans who worship the “almighty” dollar, tax cuts for the über wealthy, and their multinational corporate prophets.


Hidden Taxpayer Costs

Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs

Updated January 18, 2012

Since the mid-20th Century, most Americans have obtained health insurance through workplace-based coverage. In recent years there has been a decline in such coverage caused by a rise in the number of jobs that do not provide coverage at all and growth in the number of workers who decline coverage because it is too expensive.

Faced with the unavailability or unaffordability of health coverage on the job, growing numbers of lower-income workers are turning to taxpayer-funded healthcare programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

This trend is putting an added burden on programs that are already under stress because of fiscal constraints caused by medical inflation and federal cutbacks. Many states are curtailing benefits and tightening eligibility requirements.

It also raises the issue of whether states are being put in a position of subsidizing the cost-cutting measures of private sector employers.

Across the country, policymakers and others concerned about the healthcare system are pressing for disclosure of information on those employers whose workers (and their dependents) end up in taxpayer-funded programs.

The following is a summary of the employer disclosure that has come to light so far. It includes two cases (Massachusetts and Missouri) in which the information was produced as a result of legislation. The other cases involved requests by legislators or reporters. The latter situations have sometimes resulted in data that are incomplete or imprecise, which suggests that only legislatively mandated, systematic disclosure will tell the whole story.

This compilation was originally produced by Good Jobs First as part of its preparation of testimony given before the Maryland legislature on an employer disclosure bill. A version of that testimony can be found here [1].

Alabama
In April 2005 the Mobile Register published an article citing data from the Alabama Medicaid Agency on companies in the state with employees whose children are participating in Medicaid. The newspaper obtained a list from the agency of 63 companies whose employees had 100 or more children in the program as of mid-March 2005. At the top of the list was Wal-Mart, whose employees had 4,700 children in the program. Following it were McDonald’s (1,931), Hardee’s (884) and Burger King (861). The data were similar to information obtained from the same agency by the Montgomery Advertiser two months earlier.

Sources: Sean Reilly, “Medicaid Providing Health Care for Kids of Working Families,” Mobile Register, April 17, 2005 and John Davis and Jannell McGrew, “Health Plans Not Family Friendly,” Montgomery Advertiser, February 22, 2005, p.B6.

Arizona
In July 2005 the state Department of Economic Security issued data on the largest private employers with workers receiving taxpayer-financed medical insurance through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. At the top of the list was Wal-Mart, with about 2,700 workers–or 9.6 percent of its Arizona workforce–participating in the program. It was followed by Read the rest of this entry »

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Hostess Twinkies go Bye-Bye… for now. But why? Who’s to blame?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 17, 2012

Who’s to Blame for the Hostess Bankruptcy: Wall Street, Unions, or Carbs?

By Jordan Weissmann

Try all of the above.

There are two important things to realize about this rather sad situation. First: Twinkie, Wonder, and all the other high-calorie marvels of culinary science Hostess sells aren’t going to disappear from shelves for good. One of its competitors will likely swoop in, buy them up, and restart production. So you can stop bidding on $100 boxes of Sno Balls on eBay.


Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkie and Wonder Bread, is getting ready to bake its last corn-syrupy snack cake. After failing to win major contract concessions from one of its key labor unions, the beleaguered 82-year-old company has asked a federal bankruptcy court for permission to start liquidating its assets — or, in real person speak, begin the process of selling off pieces of the company to the highest bidder while laying off most of its 18,500 workers. (Reuters)

Second: This is not a simple story that anybody should try to slot neatly into their political talking points. It’s not just about Wall Street preying on Main Street, or big bad labor unions sucking a wholesome American company dry. It’s about an entire galaxy of bad decisions that will cost many people their jobs and money.

As David Kaplan chronicled at length for Fortune earlier this year, the roots of this debacle go back to when Hostess entered its first bankruptcy in 2004. Not unlike the situation automakers would find themselves in a few years later, the company was collapsing under the weight of flagging sales, overly generous union contracts replete with ridiculous work rules, and gobs of debt. But unlike the automakers, the five years Hostess spent trying to fix itself in Chapter 11 didn’t fix its fundamental problems.

Instead, they set the stage for its eventual demise. A private equity company, Ripplewood Holdings, paid about $130 million dollars to take Hostess private, and the company’s two major unions, the Teamsters and the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, sacrificed about $110 million in annual wages and benefits. But Read the rest of this entry »

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The Oracle at Delphi: Mitt Romney’s direct tie to increased unemployment in North Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 20, 2012

The average reader may not be aware that there was once a huge Delphi plant in Limestone county, Alabama, which facility was located directly across from Calhoun Community College.

American Industry... closed. - M1510 h712

Mitt Romney owned a significant interest in a firm that profited by laying off workers, dumping their pensions, moving to China, and then profiting rapaciously from the TARP bailout. That large plant – one among many, with the largest one being in Alabama – was the Delphi Steering Gear facility in Tanner, near Decatur, in Limestone County.

It was one of North Alabama‘s LARGEST employers – with emphasis on “was.”

The men & women who made careers there, whose labors enabled their children to attend college, provided their families’ clothing, groceries, housing & healthcare, and provided for their own retirement, and which was a union shop, was shuttered several years ago.

Most of what news I recall about it centered around how corporate traders, not unions, were wanting even more & more profit when they were already profitable. Time and time again, the workers took cuts in benefits & pay to keep their jobs for as long as they could… all to no avail.

Like a gazelle savaged on the plains of the Kalahari Desert in Africa, that once prosperous plant has been laid to waste, and there are only industrial skeletal remains. Even the human buzzards, scavenging metal for recycling from the industrial carcass, have left. For many years now, the hollow exterior hulk, instead of employees, materials & labor, has been drawing cobwebs, dust & rust. And soon, like all things left unattended, it too will crumble.

There are no taxes paid to Limestone county, or to nearby Decatur, Athens or Huntsville, or to Alabama for roads, schools, police & fire protection. But there is an even greater issue, one which is exceedingly more weighty and sorrowful. As a result of it all, there is no hope, there are no jobs, and there is no future.

Here’s the even more disturbing part: Mitt Romney had his hand in that pie.

And yet the saddest and most perplexing part is, that most Alabamians will vote for the GOP nominee/candidate.

Following the economic investigative report are historical local news reports that show the progression about the issue (which validate the economic investigative report by Greg Palast), from the:
Decatur Daily,
Huntsville Times,
• Associated Press,
• Athens-Limestone News Courier,
• Saginaw News (via MLive.com), and
• Wall Street Journal,
dating 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010.

For the benefit of the reader, Greg Palast is an economist and financial investigator turned journalist whose series on vulture funds appeared on BBC Television’s Newsnight. He is the author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (Penguin) and, most recently, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps (Seven Stories). For additional information about him, his website is: http://www.gregpalast.com.

Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza

Greg Palast, October 17, 2012   |    This article appeared in the November 5, 2012 edition of The Nation.

This investigation was supported by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute and by the Puffin Foundation. Elements of it appear in Palast’s new book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps (Seven Stories). Research assistance by Zach D. Roberts, Ari Paul, Nader Atassi and Eric Wuestewald.

Mitt Romney

2012 GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout has haunted him on the campaign trail, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio. There, in September, the Obama campaign launched television ads blasting Romney’s November 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” But Romney has done a good job of concealing, until now, the fact that he and his wife, Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment.

It all starts with Delphi Automotive, a former General Motors subsidiary whose auto parts remain essential to GM’s production lines. No bailout of GM—or Chrysler, for that matter—could have been successful without saving Delphi. So, in addition to making massive loans to automakers in 2009, the federal government sent, directly or indirectly, more than $12.9 billion to Delphi—and to the hedge funds that had gained control over it.

One of the hedge funds profiting from that bailout—
$1.28 billion so far—is Elliott Management, directed by 
Paul Singer. According to TheWall Street Journal, Singer has given more to support GOP candidates—$2.3 million—than anyone else on Wall Street this election season. His personal giving is matched by that of his colleagues at Elliott; collectively, they have donated $3.4 million to help elect Republicans this season, while giving only $1,650 to Democrats. And Singer is influential with the GOP presidential candidate; he’s not only an informal adviser but, according to theJournal, his support was critical in helping push Representative Paul Ryan onto the ticket.

Singer, whom Fortune magazine calls a “passionate defender of the 1%,” has carved out a specialty investing in distressed firms and distressed nations, which he does by buying up their debt for pennies on the dollar and then demanding payment in full. This so-called “vulture investor” received $58 million on Peruvian debt that he snapped up for $11.4 million, and $90 million on Congolese debt that he bought for a mere $20 million. In the process, he’s built one of the largest private equity firms in the nation, and over decades he’s racked up an unusually high average return on investments of 14 percent.

Other GOP presidential hopefuls chased Singer’s endorsement, but Mitt chased Singer with his own checkbook, investing at least $1 million with Elliott through Ann Romney’s blind trust (it could be far more, but the Romneys have declined to disclose exactly how much). Along the way, Singer gained a reputation, according to Fortune, “for strong-arming his way to profit.” That is certainly what happened at Delphi.

* * *

Delphi, once the Delco unit of General Motors, was spun off into a separate company in 1999. Read the rest of this entry »

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U.S. Attorney General Charges 530 in Mortgage Probe With $1 Billion in Fraud Losses

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 9, 2012

U.S. Charges 530 in Mortgage Probe With $1 Billion in Losses

The U.S. brought charges against 530 people over mortgage schemes that cost homeowners more than $1 billion, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

More than 73,000 homeowners were victims of various frauds for which charges were filed during a year-long crackdown, including “foreclosure rescue schemes” that take advantage of those who have fallen behind on payments, the Justice Department said in a statement.

“These comprehensive efforts represent Read the rest of this entry »

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The Theory of Everything

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 7, 2012

I’m elated to learn that there is a “Theory of Everything.”

As I delved further into it, I found that Read the rest of this entry »

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Taxpayers’ $182B TARP bailout of AIG Now Fully Recovered

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 11, 2012

As the president and others – nonpartisan and partisan alike – have noted, BIG BUSINESS should NOT need a bailout. They should be operated in such a manner as to allow the Free Market to decide how, to what extent, and if they prosper. As part of that process, ironclad and strong regulation to prevent fraud and abuse should be vigorously enforced. And chief executives Read the rest of this entry »

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The Biggest Economic Challenge of Obama’s Second Term

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, September 10, 2012

Investing in economic infrastructure is ALWAYS a sound decision because
1.) Materials and Manpower ALWAYS comes from the private sector (and always will), and;
2.) Economic capacity and economic opportunity expands.

Note also these two remarks:

Corporations won’t hire more workers just because their tax bill is lower and they spend less on regulations. In case you hadn’t noticed, corporate profits are up. Most companies don’t even know what to do with the profits they’re already making. Not incidentally, much of those profits have come from replacing jobs with computer software or outsourcing them abroad.

“Meanwhile, the wealthy don’t create jobs, and giving them additional tax cuts won’t bring unemployment down. America’s rich are already garnering a bigger share of American income than they have in eighty years. They’re using much of it to speculate in the stock market. All this has done is drive stock prices higher.”

The Biggest Economic Challenge of Obama’s Second Term

Monday, September 10, 2012

The question at the core of America’s upcoming election isn’t merely whose story most voting Americans believe to be true – Mitt Romney’s claim that the economy is in a stall and Obama’s policies haven’t worked, or Barack Obama’s that it’s slowly mending and his approach is working.

If that were all there was to it, last Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the economy added only 96,000 jobs in August – below what’s needed merely to keep up with the growth in the number of eligible workers — would seem to bolster Romney’s claim.

But, of course, congressional Republicans have never even given Obama a chance to try his approach. They’ve blocked everything he’s tried to do – including his proposed Jobs Act that would help state and local governments replace many of the teachers, police officers, social workers, and fire fighters they’ve had to let go over the last several years.

The deeper question is what should be done starting in January to boost a recovery that by anyone’s measure is still anemic. In truth, not even the Jobs Act will be enough.

At the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, Romney produced Read the rest of this entry »

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Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 2, 2012

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

How the GOP presidential candidate and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs – and stuck others with the bill

by: Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone 20120827-mitt-romney-x306-1346104394

Mitt Romney illustration / Illustration by Robert Grossman

The great criticism of Mitt Romney, from both sides of the aisle, has always been that he doesn’t stand for anything. He’s a flip-flopper, they say, a lightweight, a cardboard opportunist who’ll say anything to get elected.

The critics couldn’t be more wrong. Mitt Romney is no tissue-paper man. He’s closer to being a revolutionary, a backward-world version of Che or Trotsky, with tweezed nostrils instead of a beard, a half-Windsor instead of a leather jerkin. His legendary flip-flops aren’t the lies of a bumbling opportunist – they’re the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he’s trying for something big: We’ve just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we’ve been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.

The incredible untold story of the 2012 election so far is that Romney’s run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy, which he’s somehow managed to keep hidden, even with thousands of cameras following his every move. And the drama of this rhetorical high-wire act was ratcheted up even further when Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who’d be honored to tell Oliver Twist there’s no more soup left. By selecting Ryan, Romney, the hard-charging, chameleonic champion of a disgraced-yet-defiant Wall Street, officially succeeded in moving the battle lines in the 2012 presidential race.

Like John McCain four years before, Romney desperately needed a vice-presidential pick that would change the game. But where McCain bet on a combustive mix of clueless novelty and suburban sexual tension named Sarah Palin, Romney bet on an idea. He said as much when he unveiled his choice of Ryan, the author of a hair-raising budget-cutting plan best known for its willingness to slash the sacred cows of Medicare and Medicaid. “Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican Party,” Romney told frenzied Republican supporters in Norfolk, Virginia, standing before the reliably jingoistic backdrop of a floating warship. “He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt.”

Debt, debt, debt. If the Republican Party had a James Carville, this is what he would have said to win Mitt over, in whatever late-night war room session led to the Ryan pick: “It’s the debt, stupid.” This is the way to defeat Barack Obama: to recast the race as a jeremiad against debt, something just about everybody who’s ever gotten a bill in the mail hates on a primal level.

Last May, in a much-touted speech in Iowa, Romney Read the rest of this entry »

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Bain Capital among firms subpoenaed by NY AG – suspected of tax evasion

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 2, 2012

The noose tightens.

UPDATE 2-New York probes private equity tax strategy – source

Sun Sep 2, 2012 8:00am IST

* NY AG subpoenas at least 12 private equity firms
* AG probing conversion of fees into fund investments
* Bain, Romney’s former firm, among those subpoenaed
* KKR, Apollo, Silver Lake, TPG also get subpoenas

By Karen Freifeld and Greg Roumeliotis

Sept 1 (Reuters) – At least a dozen U.S. private equity firms have been subpoenaed by the New York state attorney general as part of a probe into whether a widely used tax strategy that saved these firms hundreds of millions of dollars is proper, a source familiar with the situation said on Saturday.

Among the firms that were subpoenaed are Bain Capital LLC, KKR & Co LP, TPG Capital LP, Apollo Global Management LLC and Silver Lake Partners LP, the source said.

Bain was once headed by Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate who hopes to unseat President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 election.

The subpoenas, which were sent out in July, seek documents related to Read the rest of this entry »

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Today Mitt Romney spoke out of the _?_ side of his mouth, and said:

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 14, 2012

“And you know what he did with it? He’s used it to pay for Obamacare, a risky, unproven, federal takeover of health care.”Mitt Romney

Government estimates say that more than 6,000 jobs statewide and 20 percent of Iowa‘s electricity needs come from wind power, and the state’s senior GOP leaders all support renewing an extension of a wind tax credit that Romney opposes.

Romney’s campaign did not respond to repeated quests for his position on the other portions of the bill, which includes items such as a tax break for developers of NASCAR facilities and purchasers of electric motorcycles.


http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-08-14/gop-ticket-faces-growing-pains-as-dems-attack

FACT: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is fully paid for, Read the rest of this entry »

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Oil prices crashed and Chevron still made nearly $24 a barrel

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, July 28, 2012

Must be something to what those kooky Occupy Wall Street type folks, and the evil Democrats are saying.

Oil prices crashed and Chevron still made nearly $24 a barrel

By Ronald D. White; July 27, 2012, 1:32 p.m.

Take just about any business situation in which the value of a company’s primary product suddenly falls by more than 29% and it could be time to panic. Then there is the oil patch, where billions of dollars in profits are possible even after that kind of collapse in crude prices. Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, Calif., is just such an example.

Even with the sharp drop in oil prices that began in the first quarter and ran through the end of the second quarter — a decline from $109.41 a barrel to $77.69 a barrel — Chevron had a positive margin of $23.53 on every barrel of crude it produced, according to analysts. Chevron said its margin was actually $26 a barrel. Read the rest of this entry »

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TARP: They got the Gold Mine, you got the shaft. -OR- Where’s MY f*ckin’ Bailout?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 23, 2012

Surely this doesn’t surprise anyone.

Bailout

The expressed sentiment of many American citizens.

There were voices decrying bailing out WALL STREET STOCK BROKERAGE HOUSES, BIG INSURANCE, BIG BUSINESS, “TOO BIG TO FAIL” BANKS, to the disadvantage of the American people.

From one perspective, TARP was a “good deal” because most of the money loaned has been repaid on time.

However, from another perspective (or two), the people (who make the economy run) were NOT “bailed out” and continue to suffer. That is, the objective (economic recovery) did not occur – at least to the extent it was hoped would occur. And their input into the economy continues to be abysmal, which in turn means that our national economy at large remains significantly unrecovered.

There are some who argue that the “bailout money” should have gone directly into the hands & pockets of American citizens & consumers because their spending would have stimulated the economy.

However, as it has been, the “bailout money” has gone to WALL STREET STOCK BROKERAGE HOUSES, BIG INSURANCE, BIG BUSINESS, “TOO BIG TO FAIL” BANKS, and the results have been – to put it politely – less then stellar.

Behind the scenes of the bank bailouts

Tess Vigeland: It’s been almost four years since Lehman Brothers went under and the world’s financial system started to spin out of control. The fall of 2008 was all about Henry Paulson‘s bazooka, the Troubled Asset Relief Program — TARP — a $700 billion bailout for the banks. The bailout legislation created a special inspector general at the Treasury Department to oversee where all that money was going.

Neil Barofsky performed the job until he resigned early in 2011. Now he’s out with a tell-all book of his experiences in Washington, including the time he was pretty sure Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was about to haul off and punch him. It’s called Read the rest of this entry »

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“TOO BIG TO FAIL” is just BIG enough to rob you blind: How Goldman Sachs robbed an American entrepreneur of $580 Million, and screwed over the American economy in the process

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Honestly (and some use that word lightly), is there any reason why Banks should NOT be heavily regulated?

Is there any reason why Stock Brokerage Houses should not be similarly heavily regulated?

Is there any legitimate reason why Insurance Companies should not be regulated?

Finally, is there any compelling reason why those BIG THREE financial businesses should be allowed to be in each other’s business?

Why do people NOT see these horrible things?

Where is the disconnect that they’re not able to put 1 + 1 together and come up with 2?

This is FRAUD – FRAUD – FRAUD!!!

And we’re just gonna’ let it slide by?

Please!

July 14, 2012

Goldman Sachs and the $580 Million Black Hole

By LOREN FELDMAN

THE business deal from hell began to crumble even before the Champagne corks were popped.

The deal, the $580 million sale of a highflying technology company, Dragon Systems, had just been approved by its board and congratulations were being exchanged. But even then, at that moment of celebration, there was a sense that something was amiss.

The chief executive of Dragon had received a congratulatory bottle from the investment bankers representing the acquiring company, a Belgian competitor called Lernout & Hauspie. But he hadn’t heard from Dragon’s own bankers at Goldman Sachs.

Dragon 15-GOLDMAN-articleLarge

Janet and Jim Baker at home. They are fighting Goldman Sachs over its work in 2000 on the all-stock sale of their business, Dragon Systems, to a company that later collapsed, leaving them shut out. / Photo: Gretchen Ertl for The New York Times

“I still have not received anything from Goldman,” the executive wrote in an e-mail to the other bank. “Do they know something I should know?”

More than a decade later, that question is still reverberating in a brutal legal battle between Goldman and the founders of Dragon Systems — along with a host of other questions that go to the heart of how financial giants like Goldman operate and what exactly they owe their clients.

James and Janet Baker spent nearly two decades building Dragon, a voice technology company, into a successful, multimillion-dollar enterprise. It was, they say, their “third child.” So in late 1999, when offers to buy Dragon began rolling in, the couple made what seemed a smart decision: they turned to Goldman Sachs for advice. And why not? Goldman, after all, was the leading dealmaker on Wall Street. The Bakers wanted the best.

This, of course, was before the scandals of the subprime mortgage era. It was before the bailouts, before Occupy Wall Street, before ordinary Americans began complaining about “banksters” and “muppets” and “the vampire squid.” In short, before Goldman Sachs became, for many, synonymous with Wall Street greed.

And yet, even today what happened next to the Bakers seems remarkable. With Goldman Sachs on the job, the corporate takeover of Dragon Systems in an all-stock deal went terribly wrong. Goldman collected millions of dollars in fees — and the Bakers lost everything when Read the rest of this entry »

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Inspector General uncovers Fraud, Waste & Abuse in Treasury Department

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 16, 2012

Now that the Wall Street fox is watching the financial hen house, is it any wonder?Paper & Ink - h

Cases like these continue to demonstrate the NEED for fiscal 1.) Transparency; 2.) Accountability, and 3.) Ongoing publicly available agency reports.

It’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse – pure & simple.

And, it’s time to prosecute.

Not because of what it was used for – they could’ve bought jelly doughnuts – but for whose trust was betrayed, and who was abused.

The people.

Treasury staffer solicited prostitutes: report

1:47pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Treasury Department employee used government resources to solicit prostitutes and another employee accepted gifts from a bank he supervised in violation of conflict of interest rules, reports from Treasury’s internal watchdog said.

A Treasury staffer with the now defunct Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) used his government email to arrange sexual encounters with women advertised on Craigslist, viewed websites offering erotic services and met with prostitutes on three separate occasions, a report by Treasury’s inspector general said.

The OTS has since merged with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The OTS official, who Read the rest of this entry »

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Congratulations, Mark Zuckerberg! And welcome to the 1% of the 1% class!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Is it clear enough that Wall Street denizens like neither FaceBook or Mr. Zuckerberg?

They bitched, moaned, groaned, griped, carped and complained about his attire.

Now, the stock of his company is tanking, and readers will recall the title of an earlier post which asked “How is FaceBook’s IPO like Erectile Dysfunction?

To be certain, this is not a reflection upon Mr. Zuckerberg’s character, but rather a form of criticism of his company’s business model. More specifically, it is the demonstrated lack of a concrete, long-term profit-making revenue stream which has many analysts concerned about the firm’s long-term viability.

By the way, based on 2009 tax year filing data, the Internal Revenue Service says an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $343,927 or more, will put you in the top 1 percent of taxpayers.

Mark Zuckerberg earns $1.1 billion from selling Facebook shares

By Salvador Rodriguez

May 22, 2012, 5:35 p.m.

Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday completed the transaction of the 30.2 million shares he sold in Facebook’s IPO Friday.

The shares he disposed of sold for $37.58 a piece, bringing him a cool $1.1 billion. But despite all that money, the Facebook CEO will be Read the rest of this entry »

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Tim Geithner is out as Secretary of Treasury. Who’s in?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Good bye, and good riddance.

Robert Reich would do a good job, and he’s been tested and served in other areas in the present, and previous administrations.

Guessing game begins over next Treasury chief

1:05am EDT

By Glenn Somerville

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner takes a tour of the Marlin Steel Wire Products factory in Baltimore, Maryland, May 17, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Wanted for the Treasury Department: a new boss who can fix trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits, overhaul the tax system and spur a reluctant Europe into fixing its debt crisis.

It’s a tall order, especially when the new Treasury chief also must deal with a fractious Congress – and all for a salary lower than that paid to many junior Wall Street bankers.

Economists, investors and veterans of past administrations are appraising potential successors to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, either in a new Obama administration, if President Barack Obama is re-elected, or under Mitt Romney.

Geithner has made it clear that he is leaving the post he has held since January 2009 even if Obama, a Democrat, beats Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, in the November 6 election.

Lots of names are making the rounds. Among Democrats, they include finance leaders like Larry Fink of asset management firm BlackRock and politically connected Washington insiders like fiscal expert Erskine Bowles.

If the White House goes to the Republicans, Read the rest of this entry »

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Remember: Do NOT tax the rich, because they’re sacred cow “job creators” masters.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 21, 2012

Life is more than money.

“Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NLT)

“But if any one has this world’s wealth and sees that his brother man is in need, and yet hardens his heart against him–how can such a one continue to love God?” 1 John 3:17 (WNT)

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)

“Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”” Luke 12:15 (NLT)

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24 (NIV)

Nurses (yes, nurses) lead charge for Wall Street ‘sin’ tax

By Miranda Leitsinger, msnbc.com

Friday, May 18, 2012

A coalition of nurses’ unions is calling for a “Robin Hood” tax on Wall Street, which they say could generate up to $350 billion a year, in the first major protest ahead of this weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago.

Their pitch: impose a tax of 50 cents on every $100 of trades of stocks, bonds, dividends and other financial transactions, which are not currently taxed. The U.S. would join more than a dozen other nations that already have a financial transaction tax, according to National Nurses United (NNU).

“I’ve been asked many, many times … ‘What are you doing here as nurses? … What do you have to do with the economy?'” Karen Higgins, a registered nurse and co-president of NNU, said to the crowd in Chicago’s Daley Plaza.

“We’re watching this every day. We’re watching patients suffer,” she said, noting that nurses were seeing people without insurance or others who can’t afford their co-pays, as well as a spike in the number of children with adult diseases due to eating poorly because their parents can’t afford healthy food. “This is serious and in some cases it is actually deadly.”

Members of National Nurses United rally in Daley Plaza on Friday, ahead of the NATO Summit in Chicago. Tannen Maury / EPA

“We know the solution .. we are watching and seeing Wall Street throwing our money away as we see people suffer and die. It will not continue,” she said. “We pay sales tax. It is time for Wall Street to start paying back what they owe the rest of the country and they need to pay sales tax.”

The nurses’ call echoes last fall’s outcry by Read the rest of this entry »

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How is FaceBook’s IPO like Erectile Dysfunction?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 20, 2012

{UPDATE: Tuesday, 22 May 2012 – 2d story added}

Read on, to find out why.

(Oh, and please, dear reader, don’t make me spell it out why.)

And, as an interesting note aside, Mr. Zuckerberg was married yesterday.

Here’s wishing him and his bride all the best.

Nasdaq ‘embarrassed’ over Facebook IPO

By Telis Demos in New York, May 20, 2012 10:12 pm

facebookNasdaq OMX‘s chief executive admitted he was “embarrassed” by the delay in the opening trade of Facebook’s initial public offering and revealed that the exchange was in talks with regulators over potentially millions of dollars of customer claims.

Bob Greifeld said on Sunday that the 20-minute delay in trading of Facebook’s $16bn offering on Friday had been caused by a millisecond systems blip due to the largest IPO auction “in the history of mankind”.

The exchange has found itself in the spotlight after Facebook failed to deliver a first-day “pop” to investors, instead almost falling below its issuing price of $38. The shares, having risen briefly, quickly fell away to close the day with a gain of just 0.6 per cent, at $38.23.

As a result of the trading delay, Nasdaq was left with a position in Facebook shares that it was forced to liquidate, according to its own rules, generating $10m for the group. It plans to use that money, plus potentially more, to resolve disputes related to 30m shares that may have received improper trades.

It has requested approval from Read the rest of this entry »

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JPMorgan Chase CEO blames “Errors, Sloppiness & Bad Judgement” for $2B Credit Default Swap & Derivatives loss

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 10, 2012

Give particular attention to this sentence, which is found later in the article: “Bank executives, including Dimon, have argued for weaker rules and broader exemptions.”

Give attention also to the last paragraph of the second story: “Of course, this loss only goes to show how weak the Volcker Rule is: Dimon is adamant, and probably correct, in saying that Iksil’s bets were Volcker-compliant, despite the fact that they clearly violate the spirit of the rule. Now that we’ve entered election season, Congress isn’t going to step in to tighten things up — but maybe the SEC will pay more attention to Occupy’s letter, now. JP Morgan more or less invented risk management. If they can’t do it, no bank can. And no sensible regulator can ever trust the banks to self-regulate.”

Is there any remaining argument against deregulating banks?

Is there any remaining argument against re-instituting the Glass-Steagall Act (which separated Banks, Insurance & Wall Street and forbade them from commingling in each others’ businesses)?

Ahead of the Greek financial crisis – in which Goldman Sachs had a direct and unscrupulous role by hiding sales of financial vehicles from Greek, European & American regulators – German chancellor Angela Merkel said this at a March 5, 2010 press conference in Berlin with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, (ref: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a26n.U6qS6cU):

Credit-default swaps, where you insure your neighbor’s house just to destroy it and make money from it, that’s exactly what we have to curb.”  

Now, I wouldn’t expect you or the average reader to be knowledgeable about these things. Honestly, most folks aren’t. But that’s not a condemnation of you, dear reader. Rather, it is a statement acknowledging that banks, bankers, Wall Street types, and Insurance firms do not want to be regulated, and would rather operate free-willy-nilly – without any rules. You and I must  abide by rules. Why shouldn’t they? And as they have consistently demonstrated, they cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

For additional information on Goldman Sachs involvement in the Greek Debt Crisis, I refer you to this 02/08/2010 news item from German news magazine, Der Spiegel: “Greek Debt Crisis How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt,” By Beat Balzli.

JPMorgan Chase acknowledges $2 billion trading loss and ‘many errors’

By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, May 10, 6:05 PM

JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, said Thursday that it lost $2 billion in the past six weeks in a trading portfolio designed to hedge against risks the company takes with its own money.

The company’s stock plunged almost 7 percent in after-hours trading after the loss was announced. Other bank stocks, including Citigroup and Bank of America, suffered heavy losses as well.

“The portfolio has proved to be riskier, more volatile and less effective as an economic hedge than we thought,” CEO Jamie Dimon told reporters. “There were many errors, sloppiness and bad judgment.”

The trading loss is an embarrassment for a bank that came through the 2008 financial crisis in much better health than its peers. It kept clear of risky investments that hurt many other banks.

The loss came in a portfolio of the complex financial instruments known as derivatives, and in a division of JPMorgan designed to help control its exposure to risk in the financial markets and invest excess money in its corporate treasury.

Bloomberg News reported in April that Read the rest of this entry »

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American Corporate Corruption: Wal-Mart Bribed Mexico Government Officials

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sam Walton spins in his grave.

It was only a matter of time, I suppose, before the eventual or inevitable happened.

Since the United States Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are persons, there should be no reasonable argument against arresting the corporation.

The problem is, how to do that?

The Chief Executives are not the corporation, so ostensibly, they couldn’t be arrested.

But then, could those Chief Executives be charged with criminal behavior for the actions of the corporation?

However, if we consider the The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) (15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, et seq.) which is part of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the elimination of some of the most important provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act, we might wonder if Republicans would have any problem eliminating the FCPA, since it addresses accounting transparency requirements under the and bribery of foreign officials.

It will definitely be interesting to see how Congress decides to handle this case.

Wal-Mart Hushed Up a Vast Mexican Bribery Case

April 21, 2012
By

MEXICO CITY — In September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an alarming e-mail from a former executive at the company’s largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico. In the e-mail and follow-up conversations, the former executive described how Wal-Mart de Mexico had orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance. In its rush to build stores, he said, the company had paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country.

The former executive gave names, dates and bribe amounts. He knew so much, he explained, because for years he had been the lawyer in charge of obtaining construction permits for Wal-Mart de Mexico.

Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In a confidential report to his superiors, Wal-Mart’s lead investigator, a former F.B.I. special agent, summed up their initial findings this way: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.”

The lead investigator recommended that Wal-Mart expand the investigation.

Instead, an examination by The New York Times found, Wal-Mart’s leaders shut it down.

Neither American nor Mexican law enforcement officials were notified. None of Wal-Mart de Mexico’s leaders were disciplined. Indeed, its chief executive, Eduardo Castro-Wright, identified by the former executive as the driving force behind years of bribery, was promoted to vice chairman of Wal-Mart in 2008. Until this article, the allegations and Wal-Mart’s investigation had never been publicly disclosed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Peter Schiff exposes a TEA Party fatal flaw at Occupy Wall Street

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 30, 2011

In a YouTube video entitled “Peter Schiff nails Wall Street Protesters,” Peter Schiff asks one of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators the following question – verbatim: “Wouldn’t you like to get in the 1%? You don’t want more money?

By asking that question, Mr. Schiff makes a very critical error. In fact, it’s a very simple one to understand. Not everyone will be the 1%. By adding more to the category identified as “the 1%,” it suddenly becomes more than 1%.

As the video progresses, Mr. Schiff continues rhetorically down that deeply and fundamentally flawed path, so that by the end of the video, the conclusions he infers from the statements he makes seem to make reasonable, rational and logical sense. They are, however, founded upon logically flawed premises.

I posit that most viewers would not even casually consider such a blatant problem.

Video follows the break. Read the rest of this entry »

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Video Shows Oakland Police Throwing Flashbang Grenades Onto Wounded Scott Olsen

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 27, 2011

Be certain you read the related story, and see the pics – the ones that news media will NOT show you.

Video follows the break… Read the rest of this entry »

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Re-examining Global Economics, Occupy Wall Street, and National Security

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 24, 2011

Doubtless, if you’ve been paying any attention to news – either online, broadcast or print – you’ve had to at least heard something about the Occupy Wall Street movement. And no matter where you fall along the political spectrumarch-conservative, neo-conservative, raging liberal, classical liberal, Austrian liberal, middle of the road, pragmatist, mash-up, federalist, states rights, moderate, or any conglomeration of the above, or even none at all – you certainly have some opinion – good, bad, or indifferent – about the message, the messengers, and the movement – no matter what you may hold to be true about it.

The movement has also spread to various cities throughout the United States, including Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and other areas. None, however, have had as much action and publicity as the New York City movement.

The movement is innervated by Read the rest of this entry »

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Was the Wall Street Bailout Socialist?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 9, 2011

Having viewed an interview on MSNBC by Martin Bashir with Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I was taken with a question Mr. Bashir asked Sen. Sanders toward the conclusion of the interview.

Martin Bashir: Mr. Sanders, how is it possible that people like Eric Cantor appear to encourage capitalism for everyone until a bank fails, and then socialism is acceptable because ‘we have to bail out the banks… we have to support them.’ But all of us – individual citizens in this society – well, if capitalism swipes us aside, we have to accept that?

Because it’s always good to be certain, I doubled checked a couple resources to be certain of what I was hearing.

Here’s what I found: Read the rest of this entry »

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Wall Street Executives Drink Champagne during Occupy Wall Street Protest

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Is this not the height of arrogance?

Wall Street executives, tell show us how you ~REALLY~ feel!

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Riches, Wealth, Avarice, Power, Abuse and Vice: An Occupy Wall Street redux

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 1, 2011

John Adams: "the man who at certain point...

John Adams, 1823–24, Second President of the US. Painting by Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828).

Perhaps you’ve read the previous entry in this blog. If not, I encourage you do so.

Why?

For several reasons, not the least of which are that what you’ll read in the conclusion of this entry speak overwhelmingly to the issue addressed by the protestors.

Following is an entry I made in another forum, the content of which – as I considered it – was worthy of a separate post.

Your thoughtful commentary is encouraged.

I particularly like your earlier remark, and found it quite erudite. To wit, and to clarify, it is this one: “I believe in capitalism, Read the rest of this entry »

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Banks encourage “short” sales to invigorate economy, public not enthused

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our nation’s economy has for years rested upon manufacturing, which has been the “backbone” of any industrialized nation. (Note the phrase “industrialized nation.”) Now that industry has been “out-sourced” to China, India, and other nations with emerging economies, not only has America become dependent upon other nations (not independent), but our national security and standard of living has been compromised.

Thus, banks, insurance companies and stock brokerage houses – who have again been allowed to enjoy their incestuous fiscal orgies because the Glass-Stegall Act was repealed – are forced to invent artificial commercial paper (derivatives, etc., which no one can thoroughly explain) to increase profits. In conjunction with the computer-driven algorithms of auto-traders and futures markets, the risks Wall Street and banks make (upon the backs of the people) are increasingly becoming a veritable “house of cards” built upon shifting sands.

The uncertainty of our economic future is even more precarious, and is no more clearly demonstrated than in this instance, when banks can’t sell houses they own, even after taking significant reductions (losses), and providing incentives for private buyers.

After reading the following news story, consider the implications for our economy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rand Paul, Conscription, Slavery, & Health Insurance Reform

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 14, 2011

Recently, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a “TEA Party” Republican from Kentucky, and ophthalmologist specializing in cataract and glaucoma surgeries, LASIK procedures, and corneal transplants, was quoted as saying that “a right to healthcare… means you believe in slavery.”

Dr. Paul is the ranking member of the Senate HELP Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging subcommittee, and made his comments at a Wednesday, May 11, 2011 hearing about emergency room use in American hospitals.

He said that, “With regard to the idea whether or not you have a right to health care you have to realize what that implies. I am a physician. You have a right to Read the rest of this entry »

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