consultants are sandburs

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FOR LEASE - Ramsey Town Center's lead tenant.


Besides this large advertising sign on Jim Deal Plaza, this tenant has much of the space neighboring Caribou Coffee. Just, there in the store fronts, so little inventory ... so few hours open.

Shifty Weasel time. And hey, of all people, it's John McCain ---

PZ Meyrs says it well, and I will simply repost it, with full credit given the original, here. Read it since he got over 250 comments worth the time of review.

Chicken

Category: Politics
Posted on: September 24, 2008 8:56 PM, by PZ Myers

Unbelievable—John McCain runs away and begs for the imminent presidential debate to be delayed, citing the need to address the financial crisis, as if he actually matters and has a plan other than to do whatever the Bush administration orders.

I smell fear.

I was sent a great suggestion: if McCain is going to be curled up in a foetal position somewhere, perhaps they should have the vice-presidential debate instead. She's ready, right?


I could add my thoughts. However, he says enough. From his comment thread:


#1
Posted by: genesgalore | September 24, 2008 8:59 PM

he can't chew gum and walk at the same time. so whatelse is new???

#2
Posted by: Tim | September 24, 2008 9:03 PM

He's passed his sell-by date, actual decomposition any time now.

#3
Posted by: Kel | September 24, 2008 9:05 PM

Doesn't McCain admit he knows nothing about the economy? What can he really do to help other than to provide bi-partisan rhetoric (which means coerce democrats to vote with Dubya)?

#4
Posted by: Nichodeemous | September 24, 2008 9:05 PM

Maybe he will go ahead and do the debate but just demand that nobody ask questions about the economy, since that would hurt America and kill puppies.

I smell blood in the water from this one.

#6
Posted by: Epinephrine | September 24, 2008 9:09 PM

Well, the people want the debate. Only 10% think that the debate should be delayed, 50% think it should go on as scheduled, and 36% think it should be held with a focus on the economy. Yeah, that's right McCain - you'll have to talk and it may well be focused on the subject you most want to avoid.

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReportUC.aspx?g=54d651a7-a62b-4420-bb32-9dd6b2df8c02

#19
Posted by: Molly, NYC | September 24, 2008 9:27 PM

It's sad. Few politicians enjoyed the kind of respect he used to have. But about 6 months from now, he's going to realize that he's turned his dearly-paid war experiences into a punchline, and that whatever professional or social value he's derived from being a war hero (which has basically been his career for the last 30 years) has been entirely spent in this campaign. And chickening out of the debate is part of that process.

#20
Posted by: CalGeorge | September 24, 2008 9:28 PM

McCain makes another unwise snap decision - probably trying to stop the V.P. debate from happening.

It's fun to watch his campaign implode.

#21
Posted by: Eleanor | September 24, 2008 9:29 PM

Another thing that strikes me about this gimmick/stunt/delusion/last desperate act is that it is incredibly arrogant--"Oh, it's not just that I think I ought to be present for debate and voting, it's that this problem literally cannot be solved unless I, John McCain, personally get involved in every single step of the process while completely ignoring this election that I'm involved in." Yeah, uh-huh. I'm liking the Obama reaction, for once--"Presidents have to deal with more than one thing at a time"? Uh YEAH they do.

#22
Posted by: Levi | September 24, 2008 9:29 PM

Better yet, have McCain send Palin out to debate Obama.

#23
Posted by: Chayanov | September 24, 2008 9:32 PM

It's a gimmick, that's for sure. No doubt he and his handlers think it will make him look decisive and self-sacrificing. Instead it makes him look like a coward who's using an excuse to get out of the debates.

I love Obama's response:

"I think that it is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once."

Oh, snap!


It is a fine thread on a fine blog. The comment stream IS comprehensive. Have a look.

________UPDATE_________
To keep the trolls off this post, I will point out the comment stream on the MSNBC thread which PZ Myers linked to, and in which the Obama supporters spoke first, noting McCain wants to appear "presidential" but seems unable to multitask.

Some comments were added later supportive of McCain, saying this "crisis" trumps partisanship.

Form your own opinion. Bush and Paulson sure made it partisan, sending up a Wall Street only package and indicating it was crucial but could be vetoed if it was not liked in the form Congress returned it.

McCain has a better hold on his image manipulation saying "crisis calls" instead of facing a debate.

He can issue releases and stage photo ops, this way.

Here is one snippet from midway through the comments, noting one quite interesting fact - McCain ties to Fannie & Freddie via his right hand man:

--------
Alec Martin - R u an idiot? Did you not read any papers this morning to see how the McCain is obviously running scared because Rick Davis is in bed with Fannie & Freddie!

Jim (Sent Wednesday, September 24, 2008 3:23 PM)


-------
So McCain saw he was taking a whooping hit in he polls as a result of these economics issues and decides to suspend his campaign for the good of the country. he is also having his people work closely with Obama's people to come up with solutions tothe current crises.

Buy all the BS above if you like but the fact is McCain saw the handwriting on the wall that he was kicking his ass kicked. He didn't want to go into a debate and be questioned about his comment that our economy is fundamentally strong. He wants the issue resolved using Obama's people and their ideas, then will return to the campaign changing away fro mthe economy and back to personalities.

C A, Tuscaloosa, AL (Sent Wednesday, September 24, 2008 3:23 PM)


-------
Considering all the negative stories about McCain and his Rick Davis' association with Freddie and Fannie, I can see why McCain would want to up his economic cred with a "big" move like this. It will divert attention from his current troubles.

I don't think I want either of them in the middle of this. Their agendas could be questioned. Are they there to score political points or are they there to really help?

While this bailout deal is important, sending both presidential candidates into the fray would create a distraction to those there that are trying to solve this as quickly as possible. I think both candidates would be wise to let their colleagues work this out without the distraction and media frenzy both of them in Washington would create. Besides, the election will still happen on Nov. 4th. The public deserves to see these debates. If anything, they should change the topic of Friday's debate to the Economy and Domestic Issues.

Linda, Chicago, Illinois (Sent Wednesday, September 24, 2008 3:23 PM)


__________FURTHER UPDATE______________
Here and here. It appears both candidates are not wanting to exacerbate any partisan dimension to the financial crisis resolution, whatever its final form, and that the debate will not be ducked. Or that's how I read those two items.

Bush also is now on record acknowledging the situation is important enough for him to set aside time to caucus with the two candidates.

Given his handling so far it is quite a surprise Bush did not send Paulson to meet them. He's not been Trumanesque about the thing, as Truman was with a potential steel workers' strike - back then.

McCain's "I gotta be there - they can't get it done without me" thing reminds me of the old saying, "The graveyards are full of indispensable people."

The nation survived John Kennedy's assassination. It can solve a bank run -&- credit constipation situation without John McCain's being a part of DC policy making activity during the time he is expected to be in debate with Obama, each showing the nation who they are on a range of issues.

The world does not need John McCain in DC for this to be worked out. He's not that crucial a person at this point. He is a candidate. The world does need Bush to be more involved publicly and privately - Paulson is not President.

Taxing these people might do a lot of good. It would relieve part of the burden on our decent citizenry.

See, here and here.

I learned of these things here and here.

You decide what to make of it all. I would like to see tax exemption law reformed to affect the cash cows these unusual ill-tempered people exploit.

The rhetoric is in parallel, whether it is conscious or coincidental parallism is for us to guess. Here

If the liberals win, then our foundation will no longer be based on the traditional Judeo-Christian morality. It will gradually but assuredly be based on an ever shifting, ever moving foundation. [...] Yes, if the liberals win you will lose some of your religious freedom and free speech rights. You will not be allowed to say certain things about a particular group. Homosexual marriage will be approved.

Then, here

The Pulpit Initiative is a legal effort designed to protect the First Amendment rights of pastors in the pulpit. As part of the effort, pastors participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday on Sunday, September 28, 2008, will deliver to their congregations sermons of their own that apply Scripture to the subject of candidates for government office. The sermons are intended to restore a pastor’s right to speak freely from his pulpit without fearing censorship or punishment by the government.

They are challenging the limits of their tax exemption, for short term gain.

The wish may be for a confrontation, with the accompanying publicity feeding their aims while the long term risk [loss of tax exemption] is something the GOP decision makers choose to put at risk.

It appears as if the wingnut fringe is being worked this way because the GOP party regulars, those truly having their hands on the reins of power, know McCain-Palin is a big-time loser and this is their reaching out to create an issue to energize the crazies to a frothing fearful November frenzy.

The GOP.

Getting out the vote.

Energizing their coalition.

Pretty, isn't it? Doesn't it earn them your respect?

A question about research and development tax credits. Were R & D credits allowed Wall Street's "innovative" derivatives surge?

Strib among other outlets reported on tax legislation being pushed through congress before the session ends so political campaigns can become the primary activity (and a lot of the current wrap-up is posturing that is politically motivated, particularly in the House where all seats are up each cycle).

Strib's online items are AP feeds, here and here.

They are worth reading, with information about Big Oil, due to White House veto pressure getting, for now pending a new White House presence next year, getting the offshore drilling ban dropped in this round. Later, a handful of Senators can be quite disruptive, even in the minority, under a new presidency. It is a big issue in California, hence a big issue with Pelosi.

Read the items for more detail. This is from the first link, beginning with deficit financing of part of the Senate's tax measure:

The issue of paying for tax relief clouds the other aspects of the tax package. The Senate bill pays for the $17 billion in renewable energy tax credits by limiting deductions available to the oil and natural gas industry. But the Senate only pays for about $25 billion of the $68 billion in business and individual tax breaks. The most expensive is the $19 billion cost in the Senate bill of renewing the research and development tax credit for two years.

The House energy relief and tax extension bill, which is expected to be debated Thursday, is fully paid for.

"While we applaud the Senate for acting yesterday and taking a step toward being fiscally responsible, their bill still falls short of the pay-as-you-go principle that House Democrats have insisted on," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement.

Neither chamber would pay for the $8 billion in disaster relief. The Senate bill targets much of that relief to areas in the Midwest hit by natural disasters this summer and Texas and Louisiana counties damaged by Hurricane Ike. The House bill distributes the aid more generally.

That angered the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Charles Grassley, whose state of Iowa was devastated by storms this summer. "The House leaders' disregard for Midwestern disaster victims is shameful. When New York was attacked and New Orleans was under water, we dropped everything to give tax relief for recovery," Grassley said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pleaded with the House not to tinker with the Senate-passed package, warning that imposing so-called offsets would kill the bill because of Republican opposition in the Senate. "If the House doesn't pass this, the full responsibility of this not passing is theirs, not ours."

The energy legislation extends for eight years, through 2016, investment tax credits for the solar power industry and for homeowners who install solar and wind equipment.

Taxpayers may claim a credit of up to $7,500 for purchasing plug-in electric cars, and production credits are extended to wind and biomass facilities. There are incentives to use smart meters for more efficient home energy use.


[emphasis added] Of that language, I have a question for which readers might have helpful comments.

Having a background in the sciences, and technology, I know there is real R & D, and there can be phantom R & D, and I would hope the legislation fosters the one, which is an investment in the nation's future, and quells the latter, which is a waste of resources by letting garbage have a loophole.

SPECIFICALLY - Here, I have noted a garbage patent application that the bankrupt Lehman Brothers firm has filed. For structuring a derivative trading instrument that seems in no way novel or worthy of a grant of a patent. It is not innovative as was, say invention of the transister about fifty or so years ago, in Bell Labs. It is hocus pocus, but in a patent application.

THE QUESTION: Is the law now, as written and applied by the Bush IRS and will it be that the kind of pure garbage item I highlighted can earn a poorly handled operation like Lehman Brothers a tax break on Wall Street? That would be wrong, while Main Street - small businesses seldom are large enough to pursue patents, mainly in things such as local services, and often do not think to do innovative patentable R & D work - are such small concerns seldom would be able to exploit this kind of tax credit availability. Surely it is proper for drug companies to earn such a credit, the credit helps venture-capital fostered high tech startups from which new good job growth arise, and there are leading-edge large firms in Minnesota such as 3M and Medtronic that innovate, the latter now being big, but far from an old and established venture such as in the oil and auto segment and instead a perfect example of how innovative startup effort can create many good jobs as something an R & D tax credit aids. So, in general, earned R & D credits for REAL and sound R & D is well worth the way it biases commerce via tax incentive use.

BOTTOM LINE: If there is abuse of the R & D tax credit law, it imperils the benefits to and from worthwhile firms such as Boeing that help lessen the bad trade balances the nation has had recently, where Boeing patents are real and innovation such as using composites in aircraft promises a weight-reduction and maintenance bonanza so that fuel and operating costs in the airline industry will be far lower with the 787 and newer aircraft than for earlier ones. Boeing and Intel, 3M and Medtronic, are examples of firms that earn their tax credits. Wall Street's development of smoke and mirror derivatives of the kind that has led to the financial system's most recent crash and to current near-trillion dollar bailout propositions should NEVER be a situation where the perpatrators of the problem can successfully say, "It's a patent, it 'innovates' and it entitles us to R & D tax breaks for its 'development'."

That's a hoax, amounting to little beyond theft from all the rest of us, if it was allowed. I fear it might have been.

So, readers, I don't know - please help - how broadly has the Bush IRS allowed that R & D tax credit to be claimed? Whatever that measure of questionable judgment, we can expect a McCain will to deliver more of the same. So it is a good and timely question to be asking going into November.

Have the Wall Street "wizards" been getting R & D tax credits while putting the economy into its present bind because of overly "creative" financial offerings blowing up in their portfolios?

Any answer, Franken people, Obama people?

What's Wall Street, in this dimension done and been allowed to do?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Help me if you know Campaign Finance Law. Is this yet another Tinklenberg-related questionable practice?

A phone call, pumping the Tink Bean Feed at Jim Deal's building. From this corporation.



Not Tinklenberg's crony, Dan Erhart.

Dan's brother, Tinklenberg's crony, Bill Erhart.

Using corporate resources to assist a candidacy is a corporate donation in kind, isn't it? Is that permissible or a breach of the rules? Corporate donations for in-state candidacies or ballot issues is verboten, I know that.

This is the gray area, exploited by, who else, Elwyn Tinklenberg and his crony supporters.


And I did ask the caller, "Is this the County Commissioner's firm," she said, "No, it's his brother, Bill Erhart." And the number etc. showed up in caller ID.

Legal or borderline, it is still too much Tinklenberg business as usual.

Haven't we had enough?


Enough of cronyism. Enough of Elwyn Tinklenberg. And enough of the Erharts, so that hopefully those people in the one County district will vote for Bjorn Skogquist, not Dan Erhart.

I sure hope Elwyn Tinklenberg does list this in kind contribution, at true value, on his FEC reporting. If I were the GOP or IP, I would be checking on that. If I were Michele Bachmann or Bob Anderson, I would have people watching this kind of thing.

That pack of cronies does stick together.

FBI and SEC to investigate failed financial firms and events. Politico tells the TRUTH about Palin and Bridge to Nowhere. She was for it.

Also, Palin was responsible for Alaska keeping millions that could have gone for Katrina relief, see Politico, here.

See WaPo report that investigations have begun, here.

Palin and the truth meet, passing briefly, headed in different directions.

The stories are both news. Unconnected news. Palin had no role in financial matters outside of Alaska.

What do you figure in today's reality, this patent application is worth? You probably could buy the assignee position, in bankruptcy court.

From here, this abstract for pat. appln. 20070083447 - Methods and systems for providing preferred stock credit default swaps

Abstract: In one aspect, the invention comprises a method comprising the steps of: (a) specifying a reference entity which is an obligor with respect to preferred securities; (b) defining a credit event to include deferral of dividend or coupon on the preferred securities; (c) specifying a payoff to include the preferred securities, the payoff to be made following the credit event; (d) specifying a premium; (e) executing an agreement with a protection buyer, wherein the agreement comprises terms based on the reference entity, the credit event, and the payoff, and wherein the protection buyer agrees to pay the premium in return for a promise to provide the payoff to the protection buyer upon occurrence of the credit event; and (f) receiving the premium from the protection buyer.


You can download the pdf patent copy here, just cut paste that opening line number ID into the blank. Do that, and you will see ten [10] listed individuals as coinventors of this wonderful thing; assignee, Lehman Brothers Inc., New York, NY.

While it is noteworthy that the abstract has the promise exchanged for the premium, it does not have the promise being made good if the triggering credit default event happens. Hum, now that is interesting. The actual patent is less circumspect that way, but solvency to perform the promise is a precondition to the promise being performed - and that's always so. And that patent, at its present "intellectual property" value, is probably an asset before the bankruptcy judge, so go price it.

Here's a deal. You, and me, as in that patent abstract, somewhat paraphrased:

In one aspect, we agree on mutual promises comprising the steps of: (a) specifying a reference entity, the parking ramp next to Ramsey's City Hall, and your right to receive all parking fee proceeds therefrom; (b) defining a credit event to include failure to receive all fee proceeds; (c) specifying a payoff to be transferal to you of a quit claim deed from me conveying you my ownership interest, present and future acquired, if any, in the ramp, the payoff to be made following the credit event - your failure to receive parking proceeds; (d) specifying a premium - you pay me a thousand a month; (e) executing an agreement with a protection buyer, you, wherein the agreement comprises terms based on the reference entity, the ramp, the credit event, your not getting parking proceeds, and the payoff, my deed to you, and wherein the protection buyer agrees to pay the premium in return for a promise to provide the payoff to the protection buyer upon occurrence of the credit event; and (f) receiving the premium from the protection buyer.


I would go even further, I would at the start willingly tender into escrow my quitclaim deed on the ramp so that you would not have to pursue me later and risk not finding me in hiding - you need only go to the escrow holder if the "credit event" happens; and I would even agree you could demand the escrow holder release the deed if any fee payment becomes more than 90 days overdue, rather than leaving timeframe open and subject to dispute in litigation.

What a deal. Any takers? Any problems?

What does the Tinkster mean, "I would not get between a woman and her doctor?"

This is an open thread, any comment can be entered -

On a recent post, a comment triggered this question.

What's the ET have in mind by saying he "would not get between a woman and her doctor?"

I have posted a few guesses at what Tinklenberg might mean, (if anything but duck and cover). Think of them as starting ideas for an open comments thread, the earlier comments being:

Anonymous said...

Be wary of the non-commital answer: I would never get between the decisions of a woman and her doctor. What does that mean?
3:48 PM

eric zaetsch said...

anon - It means, well, gee, uh ...

Why not ask the Tink? Not what it means, but what in the world he means by that kind of border-line dissembling.

It's like my most recent idea - deregulating the NFL, not at the ownership level, at the game level. Get rid of the officials. Let the "market" sort things out, without that pestering regulation, without those pestering instant replay reviews.

One football. Two teams. Two views of what "rules" apply.

And if a woman and her doctor attend the game or watch it together, let them sit together.

Don't get between them.
11:56 AM

eric zaetsch said...

anon - Perhaps the woman and her doctor are looking to liquidate a portfolio of mortgage backed securities, hedged by debt swaptions.

Don't get between that, w/o a securities brokers licensed status, or you could be sued and lose.

Is that what Tink has in mind, saying what he said?

Maybe, a woman and her doctor, having an affair ...

Let's all of us ask the Tinkster himself - what do you mean????
11:59 AM


Any better ideas?

Have a go at it. Then, after we've explored ideas, let's all ask the Tink: "What do you think, Tink?" It probably would prove enlightening to do precisely that.

A Fed current events link.

If you care to see recent Congressional testimony, etc., the Federal Reserve Board's news link is here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If you attend his "bean feed" it is an opportune chance to press Elwyn Tinklenberg on his commitment, if any, to choice.

And the admission is advertised, "free." You do not have to pay the campaign a cent to attend and get your questions either answered or ducked.

A commitment is not shown by platitudes, blowing smoke, or evasiveness and general ambiguities.

Below are a range of direct possible questions whereby, in hearing - in demanding - answers from Elwyn Tinklenberg, ideally on the record, you might become a more informed voter.

Don't let him feed you a line. Don't let him just feed you beans.

Feed him precise questions so you can know where he stands. If he has a stance at all.

The Ramsey bean feed is Sept. 25, 5-8 pm. Across Sunwood Drive from the Ramsey City Hall, east of the yellow smiling face of Ben Dover, on his pedestal. By Jim Deal's multifaceted Plaza building. East side of it, ground floor.

Again -- Admission is free - he may want it to be a contribution solicitation event, but it has not been promoted or advertised that way - as fundraiser only.

You don't have to pay him a thing, to require he be explicit on the issues important to you.

These are good questions - or issue statements he can quickly indicate he agrees or disagrees with. So you decide, which of them are of major interest to YOU?


1. What if a law were proposed that a biological father or husband must be notified or approve prior to an abortion occurring? Part of the pro-life movement involves the use of the marriage contract to dictate a mandatory notification.

2. The right to die?

3. Offer anesthesia to pregnant women seeking abortions?

4. What establishes personhood? A fetus or a live child?

5. The state of MN has allowed stillborns a death certificate.

6. Is a fetus separate from that of the mother or a part of her body?

7. Does a fetus have legal rights? When?

8. Parental notification when a minor would like an abortion?

9. Should a court appoint a legal guardian to “guard” a mentally handicapped woman’s fetus?

10. Emergency contraception or even regular contraception is abortion?

11. Public funds allowed to be used for an abortion?

12. Sex education, abstinence only or w/ information on available methods of birth control? age-appropriate, and medically accurate sex education that teaches both abstinence and information about contraception

13. 15% of Americans lack healthcare with a disproportionate amount of women and children suffering. How would effective pre-natal care be given if no abortions occur?

14. Birth control is basic, essential health care.

15. Ensuring the independence and objectivity of our courts.

16. Late term abortions?

17. Embryonic Stem Cell research?

18. Allow or not? Congress bans federal employees from choosing a health-care plan that covers abortion

19. One proposal to block women's access to mifepristone (RU 486) would impose a number of onerous and unnecessary restrictions on the drug’s availability.

20. Allow for public viewing of women’s names who’ve had abortion?

21. Emergency contraception, RU 486, available or not? An abortion or not?

22. Allow pharmacists to conscientiously object to serving womens needs concerning birth control or emergency contraception?

23. Anti-choice activists are trying to perpetuate myths surrounding the Federal Refusal Clause to make it seem less harmful than it really is. which threatens women's health by permitting health-care corporations to gag their doctors and other health-care providers from giving women information about how to access abortion services.

24. The global gag rule endangers the health of the world's poorest women by prohibiting U.S. funds to go to any overseas health clinic unless it agrees not to use its own, private, non-U.S. funds for: (1) abortion services, (2) abortion-related advocacy, or (3) abortion counseling or referrals.

25. Laws promoting insurance coverage for contraception

26. Lift the Ban on Federally Funded Abortion Services for Military Victims of Rape and Incest

27. Many prominent national medical and public-health organizations support confidential health services for young people.

28. There are many misconceptions surrounding the anti-choice "Child Custody Protection Act" (CCPA). CCPA is a dangerous anti-choice measure that threatens young women's health.

29. Since 1973, Congress has limited a woman's right to choose by enacting dangerous refusal clauses to permit a broad range of individuals and institutions to refuse to provide, pay for, counsel about, or even refer for medical treatment pose serious dangers to Americans' health.

30. Despite the fact that confidential family-planning services help teenagers obtain timely medical advice and appropriate health care, these services are under constant attack in Congress.

31. Supreme Court decision in Scheidler v. NOW is a hindrance to reproductive-health-care clinics' efforts to protect their patients and employees from anti-choice violence and intimidation.

32. The latest in a long line of political attacks on the Title X family-planning program came in 2001, when anti-choice Rep. (now Sen.) David Vitter (R-LA) announced his intention to offer an amendment making any private entity that had provided an abortion, under any circumstances, ineligible for a Title X family-planning grant. In a stunning retreat from more than three decades of precedent, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the first-ever federal ban on abortion, which outlaws certain second-trimester abortions and has no exception in cases when a woman's health is in danger. This decision represents a monumental departure from prior cases, and with it the Court effectively eliminated one of Roe v. Wade's core protections: that a woman's health must always be paramount.

33. The "Child Custody Protection Act," a dangerous anti-choice measure that threatens young women's health, would prohibit anyone other than a parent from accompanying a young woman across state lines for an abortion if the home state's parental-involvement law has not been met.

34. The "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act" would impose an impossibly complex patchwork of parental-involvement laws on women and doctors across the country with the goal to curb young women’s access to private, confidential health services.

35. Subvert science in favor of an ideological agenda on a range of health issues.

36. The line between contraception and abortion is often blurred, intentionally and unintentionally, in the course of policy discussions on emergency contraception (also known as the "morning-after" pill) and the early-abortion option mifepristone (also known as RU 486). The distinction between the two is important, especially since anti-choice lawmakers are trying to restrict women's access to these and other reproductive-health services. Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy while RU 486 terminates a pregnancy

37. The anti-choice movement has for years tried to restrict, control, and manipulate the information doctors give women facing unplanned pregnancies. Unable to shut down legitimate public-health clinics, they are instead building a network across the country of parallel fake clinics - so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs). While there are centers that do not deceive women or attempt to coerce them into making choices against their will, many CPCs use deceptive and intimidating practices to prevent women from accessing the full range of reproductive-health options.

38. Title X (ten) of the Public Health Service Act, the cornerstone of the federal domestic family-planning program, was enacted with broad bipartisan support in l970. Each year, approximately 5 million young and low-income women and men receive basic health care through the 4,600 clinics nationwide receiving Title X funds. For many women, particularly those who do not qualify for Medicaid and those who have no health insurance, Title X clinics provide the only basic health care that they receive.

You can do your part to see if Elwyn Tinklenberg's earned the right to use Wellstone Green. Paul would not have ducked a single one of those questions.

Do you want a Representative who would?

It is a chance, in person, to see how far and sincere Elwyn Tinklenberg's commitment to choice is - it is in the DFL platform, but is it in his?

________UPDATE_______
Obviously, some of the numbered items are neither questions nor easy agree/disagree items, but they might test someone's awareness of facts or points of current vigorous contention between the choice and anti-choice camps.

My invitation - run the list by Tinklenberg. Run it by Al Franken. Consider the responses and then decide, apart from Playboy writings in the past or having once been in the pulpit, which is your view of the "better" DFL candidate - meaning better to you and your views, because it is your vote Elwyn Tinklenberg wants.

AGAIN - Make him work to try to earn your vote. Don't take blowing smoke as an answer.

Is there any good reason oil trading reform cannot be attached to handing Bush a financial markets reform-bailout bill to sign?

A friend sent the link info, here, or just click the screenshot, below, to enlarge and read.

I am unfamiliar with detail of the bill, but I recall during the highest oil pricing stint that Cantwell, D. Wash, chaired hearings where Klobucher was a panel member [whether a standing committee/subcommittee or a specially convened thing I do not know]. It was aimed at the contention that speculators were manipulating the futures market and spot market in oil to artificially inflate trading prices. Or causing trending that way in the course of seeking trading profits, w/o ulterior motive, as only an investment choice.

Transparency is the problem. This is from memory, so any reader with a link or contrary facts, please post a comment: Honest John McCain's advisor, Phil Gramm, inserted in the dead of night some 200+ pages called now the "Enron Loophole" into a bill where the result was non-transparency of oil trading and reliance upon the London and one Persian Gulf market - unregulated by any US authorities, became the main way to trade. It was done in the days when Enron existed and was doing its mischief. That impediment to good government [the loophole, not Phil Gramm] still is around, and my understanding is the act the screenshot mentions is aimed to undo that deregulation wrench in the works from McCain's economics brain, Gramm.

In effect, Gramm, from Texas, was acting as a tool of the energy power elite; and wow, I am shocked, he is a McCain insider too. Gee.

Here's the screenshot - and please note, our Norm Coleman was not participating in any reform-oriented hearings where our other Senator [the good one, the newer one] had a seat:



A link from the first webpage gives tally info. It was an almost straight party line vote, with a few GOP House members crossing over in favor of good government and good regulation. The GOP showed its liking for the kinds of "regulation" that make multi-billion dollar bailouts after much loot's been made the special of the day, these days. With the market situation as it is due to subprime mischief, and after the oil price went so high, you'd think they would fear bowing to their special interest sponsors that crassly, but no, they're Republicans after all, it's in the bloodstream to serve Big Oil. Bless them all.

Is this a surprise: Minnesota's GOP Reps - Ramstad, for, Bachmann and Kline, against? All other Minn. Reps, for. Our pair of Crusaders. Our great deregulators. Handouts to the wealthy, perks for the energy power elite, fine; regulations, anti-American. We have Coleman, Bush and McCain - and Cheney - thinking in lockstep with our dynamic duo.

I understand that many have felt since childhood that if you buy a toy you want it to work right anytime you choose to play with it, although I still need to figure out if that relates in any way to things getting done as they are, in DC.

________UPDATE______
Strib reports an AP feed on how the Paulson initial offer to Congress has been "Democrated" up, (in ways I judge to be fairer to "the rest of us"), see here, headline etc., being, "Executive compensation, equity stake for government under discussion in talks on $700B bailout -- Under a draft plan obtained today, bailed-out companies would have to agree to limits on executive pay." By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS , Associated Press, Last update: September 23, 2008 - 5:59 AM

Monday, September 22, 2008

Aubrey Immelman continues posting views and news.

It is good to see the Immelman website has NOT shut down, even after the primary making Bachmann now the unchallenged GOP ballot choice this November. In retrospect one wishes Immelman had run as IP candidate, then having a primary against Bob Anderson; who despite anything Elwyn Tinklenberg says will be the IP ballot choice this November.

Without further digression, Immelman's latest post on his website, here, is about the Islamabad truck bomb strike at the city's upscale Marriot Hotel.

I find Juan Cole's analysis about the relative weakness at present of al Q'ada to be convincing, but clearly the Taliban is strong and capable of forcefully asserting itself. Immelman attributes the bombing to both organizations, while I presume in the absence of publicly released definitive evidence, that the Taliban or its Pakistani supporters are alone responsible.

Interestingly, Immelman has seized on the importance of Pakistani unrest over US cross-border intrusions, before this Reuters item had today been released.

Shooting at a helicopter does express sincere unrest, confirming Immelman's analysis of the importance of the issue.

Again --- It is praiseworthy that Immelman has continued posting, now more as "blogger" than as candidate. Please, have a look, the link is here.

_____UPDATE______
Please have a look at the stream of war news Immelman has cataloged.

I cannot understand things, and I am certain it is a fault or limitation of mine, and not any degree of truth-bending at all --- but if that "surge" is so super effective as McCain and his war mentor Bush claim, why is there all that stuff going on that the Immelman site has listed?

Since it cannot be truth-bending by our GOP leadership among whom another hundred years in Iraq is a keen idea, my limited capacity to understand cause and effect and truth are strained to find some other explanation. Post a comment if you have that other explanation - all that bombing and lawlessness going on despite that great and declared effective surge - why so effective a surge mission, we are being told, that you'd expect a big show over it with a "Mission Accompllished" banner in red-white-and-blue background display [with Dan Quayle this time responsible for spelling].

Can Norm Coleman honestly feel Al Franken, in being a candidate for office gives up dual rights, his right to free speech, and to have funny ideas?

Franken was credited with inspiring a Saturday Night Live skit about Honest John McCain. Strib reports it, here.

This excerpt conveys the gist of events:

What may have started as a phone call to an old friend has spiraled into the latest controversy to dog the U.S. Senate campaign of Democratic candidate Al Franken.

Franken, a political satirist known for his biting humor, was the catalyst for a sketch on the most recent "Saturday Night Live," which sharply lampooned Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Franken had also received a follow-up phone call from "SNL" head writer Seth Meyers.

At a campaign event Sunday in St. Paul, Franken acknowledged that he had talked to Meyers. Franken insisted that "I didn't write a word'' and that he "didn't know'' it would become a sketch. "I thought he might write it but I didn't know. I didn't know anything about it,'' Franken said.

Franken noted how candidates must say they "approve this message'' in their ads -- and editorialized that he thought it must be a difficult task for McCain, whom many Democrats and pundits have accused of leveling dishonest charges against Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

In the sketch, which led Saturday night's show, McCain is played by "SNL'' veteran Darrell Hammond. While recording campaign commercials, McCain is forced to say that he "approves this message'' over a series of increasingly vicious and ludicrous attacks against Obama.

By 9 a.m. Sunday, Cullen Sheehan, campaign manager for Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, accused Franken of "helping attack the next president of the United States," saying that Franken had proven he was more interested in entertainment than public service and been caught once again "ridiculing those with whom he disagrees."


Finally, I suppose there now is a necessity to include this disclaimer - Minnesota Senate Candidate Al Franken did not think of or insinuate the idea of the following, or have any role in its preparation or presentation:



I'm George W. Bush, and I approve of this lackey.


____________________
photo from Google Images

FURTHER UPDATE - Creeping Socialism?

Independent of influencing my earlier post, here, but later found to be in parallel, Luigi Zingales [Robert C. Mc Cormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance, University of Chicago] has expressed reservations about a capitalism that separates the chances of risk and reward.

He worries over the long-term consequences of a capatilism, where failure is socialized, but profits are kept as entrepreneurial or risk-based reward and, hence, where both the unwise financial decision makers and wise ones gain no differentiating reward to trend the system toward the latter, i.e., toward wisdom and prudence in decisions as being best for all.

And besides socializing the loss of mortgage backed debt securities (but not the gain), there is also possible yin and yang where one party's result can be "left holding the bag" through something besides asymmetry in public policy. Getting caught being stupid, for example.

There are those who bought mortgage backed debt from Fannie and Freddie. Some bought not that, but rather debt securities issued by the Wall Street firms who were portfolio-speculating in the mortgage backed debt, and upon choking on too big a loss from the speculation failed to be able to service their own debt issuance.

Finally, there were those who were cautious and "bought" debt "insurance" in the form of credit risk swaps, but without clear or sufficient awareness of and planning for counterparty default risk in their deliberations; see here, reporting on credit swap reliance and trading and noting that "Five years ago, billionaire investor Warren Buffett called them a 'time bomb' and 'financial weapons of mass destruction' and directed the insurance arm of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc to exit the business."

That Reuters article moreover clearly explains the credit risk swap counterparty situation as sometimes circus-like, in a costly and problematic way:

When historians write about the current crisis, much of the blame will go to the slump in the housing and mortgage markets, which triggered the losses, layoffs and liquidations sweeping the financial industry.

But credit default swaps -- complex derivatives originally designed to protect banks from deadbeat borrowers -- are adding to the turmoil.

"This was supposedly a way to hedge risk," says Ellen Brown, the author of the book "Web of Debt."

"I'm sure their predictive models were right as far as the risk of the things they were insuring against. But what they didn't factor in was the risk that the sellers of this protection wouldn't pay ... That's what we're seeing now."

Over the last three quarters, AIG suffered $18 billion of losses tied to guarantees it wrote on mortgage-linked derivatives.

Its struggles intensified in recent weeks as losses in its own investments led to cuts in its credit ratings. Those cuts triggered clauses in the policies AIG had written that forced it to put up billions of dollars in extra collateral -- billions it did not have and could not raise.

When the credit default market began back in the mid-1990s, the transactions were simpler, more transparent affairs. Not all the sellers were insurance companies like AIG -- most were not. But the protection buyer usually knew the protection seller.

As it grew -- according to the industry's trade group, the credit default market grew to $46 trillion by the first half of 2007 from $631 billion in 2000 -- all that changed.

An over-the-counter market grew up and some of the most active players became asset managers, including hedge fund managers, who bought and sold the policies like any other investment.

In one notorious case, a small hedge fund agreed to insure UBS AG, the Swiss banking giant, from losses related to defaults on $1.3 billion of subprime mortgages for an annual premium of about $2 million.

The trouble was, the hedge fund set up a subsidiary to stand behind the guarantee -- and capitalized it with just $4.6 million. As long as the loans performed, the fund made a killing, raking in an annualized return of nearly 44 percent.

But in the summer of 2007, as home owners began to default, things got ugly. UBS demanded the hedge fund put up additional collateral. The fund balked. UBS sued.

The dispute is hardly unique. Both Wachovia Corp and Citigroup Inc are involved in similar litigation with firms that promised to step up and act like insurers -- but were not actually insurers.

"Insurance companies have armies of actuaries and deep pools of policyholders and the financial wherewithal to pay claims," says Mike Barry, a spokesman at the Insurance Information Institute.

Another problem: As hedge funds and others bought and sold these protection policies, they did not always get prior written consent from the people they were supposed to be insuring. Patrick Parkinson, the deputy director of the Fed's research and statistic arm, calls the practice "sloppy."


If I talked faster but folksier and in a more wholesome appearing way, sort of like John McCain does, I suppose I might be able to sell tornado insurance on the Ramsey City Hall.

It would be profitable if I wrote and sold Ramsey the policy, and if there ever was a tornado destruction event there at City Hall, that, if I talked the situation well enough, would be the first time any question of sufficient solvency to make good on the promise might arise.

Not to say those people managing the hedge funds were frauds, just very busy people not good with nuance and detail.

On the upside making 44% annual profit IS sweet, and on the downside having only $4.6 million capital at risk and backing a $1.3 billion contingency - on mortgage backed debt loss which is more likely than tornado touchdown damage, that's sweet too, from the $4.6 million side if not so sweet from the $1.3 billion perspective.

I suppose it depends on how you look at things, and views differ.

Worth a thousand words.


Cold eyes and a hard face. Click to enlarge. That image is from here (see here). Beyond the face of a power broker who never had to face any electorate, for further eloquent images see here, and here.

______UPDATE________
For the thousand words, Firedoglake has a skeptic's view, here.

It seems an ill-explored route to reassuring those holding the mortgage backed debt instruments is for the Government to buy up each failed mortgage, one at a time, from the securitized pool, and to then mop each up as individually proper. If a family can avoid a foreclosure via restructuring, the Government would own the mortgage and could restructure it to help "little guys" whereas if the situation is beyond hope the Government can foreclose, rent, and if/when there's a market rebound and the housing over-supply lessens, then sell the property at fair-market-value.

It would be win-win, but the problem is some pension funds and other citizen-owned retirement portfolios probably own investment bank debt, which presently appears highly depreciated from face value, if not worthless. Those prudent people who did not overextend the credit card and instead saved should not be penalized by any bailout that might help families that got in over their heads on a home purchase.

It is not so simple a thing that calling it a "heist" is any real answer. I disagree with Firedoglake's analysis that way. Let's see what Congress will allow, and Bush will sign. While there probably are many in Congress who took Wall Street money for their campaigns, let's hope it was not a purchase but a rental, with books even now.

I expect what's done will please few, but clearly the Paulson package is set out to allow the Dems to put something into the mix too.

It just seems that instead of popping $700 billion commitments now that a gradual buying of underlying mortgages from the pooled securitized holdings would be a more gradual and less disruptive way to do things, with those holding brokerage or investment house debt a separate situation to study and see how best to separately restructure that situation to be least disruptive to markets AND taxpayers.

________FURTHER UPDATE________
And in mortgage buyouts from securitized pools, each can be at a negotiated price, a "market value" surrogate, and not all need to be at 100 cents on the dollar. There should be a potential to discount, and recapture of rapacious origination and set up charges, prosecutions of law violators, etc., should not be curtailed. And demand that all the golden parachutes also are restructured on a a case-by-case basis, with some of the money going into unemployment insurance pools for the lower level Wall Street minions who get downsized out of jobs without a safety net.

A stand-alone no-excerpt blog post - from 2005, plus a sobering article-ending paragraph; same timeframe.

Early housing bubble analysis, here and here.

Read them. I will not extensively excerpt. Not at all. Go to these two sources, please.

The second item is linked to by the first, which references a host of worthwhile linked reading while giving due praise to Asia Times, and that second item, by Henry C.K. Liu in Asia Times is hard in its judgment of Alan Greenspan, and then concludes in words everyone not insanely wealthy should heed - the double-whammy might get you:

Through mortgage-backed securitization, banks now are mere loan intermediaries that assume no long-term risk on the risky loans they make, which are sold as securitized debt of unbundled levels of risk to institutional investors with varying risk appetite commensurate with their varying need for higher returns. But who are institutional investors? They are mostly pension funds that manage the money the US working public depends on for retirement. In other words, the aggregate retirement assets of the working public are exposed to the risk of the same working public defaulting on their house mortgages. When a homeowner loses his or her home through default of its mortgage, the homeowner will also lose his or her retirement nest egg invested in the securitized mortgage pool, while the banks stay technically solvent. That is the hidden network of linked financial landmines in a housing bubble financed by mortgage-backed securitization to which no one is paying attention. The bursting of the housing bubble will act as a detonator for a massive pension crisis.


In capital letters, the warning is to worry over MASSIVE PENSION CRISIS.

That potential impact is why everyone should cut some slack to the Treasury, SEC, Fed, White House and congressional people trying now to decide and negotiate short-term mop-up and long term reform.

The mop-up is needed, and needed sooner than later. Crabbing about "welfare for the rich" done here but not as stridently as by others, must be tempered by "all in it together" consideration of the fact that pension funds are big players in investment markets and have been exposed to the contagion in ways that caution against extreme reactions to CEO rapacious earnings take-outs, etc. The worry, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Not to cut off the nose to spite the face.

That means the long term rescue debate between the Bush executive (and McCain, all that camp), and the Dems, over the government buying up the mortgages and then giving loan-term and rate adjustments is the key thing to watch as election time approaches, and beyond.

Housing values will depress and likely stay depressed, but that whammy on the regular folks should not be compounded by seeing any counted upon pensions being wiped out and not being there when the time comes. That would be a double wipe-out impact on regular people; with the rich generally staying rich; and able, long term, to afford their country club dues well into the future in any event. As with GOP taxation, the lower income rungs are used most by those climbing ever higher onto the ladder.

An Obama presidency at least offers a chance that taxing inequity might change, fairer taxation is a goal that Obama has promised to pursue, but Congress has the fiscal writing and voting power while Obama would only have the veto and the bully-pulpit.

So make it Franken along with Obama, or blame yourself when the pension's not there.

Regardless of what Franken wrote eight years ago for Playboy, be smart, not dumb, this time. Vote for him.

Coleman is more of the same, trust that it is true, and more of the same will have already negatively impacted peoples' expectations of how the long term housing market would favor their twilight years. That lost anticipated equity increment is likely water under the bridge, well downriver by now. In assessing government activity, try to focus on and be supportive of those politicians and leaders attempting to see that pension funds don't yield a redoubled hurt to regular people. The politicians hold the power to implement things. We can only watch and vote.

_______UPDATE______
That "The Mess That Greenspan Made" blog is tightly written, staying current, and worth bookmarking. It gives useful links to reporting and analysis that are worth a follow-up and could be overlooked w/o good source identification and linking.

Huffington Post reports on ABC news analysis of John McCain, including conservative George Will indicating McCain "made some of us fearful."

The Huffington online article unfortunately has no link over to any ABC website transcript of the entire show, so the excerpting may show bias. However, it looked at McCain and the "age factor" this way:

"I suppose the McCain campaign's hope is that when there's a big crisis, people will go for age and experience," said Will. "The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and un-flustered? It wasn't John McCain who, as usual, substituting vehemence for coherence, said 'let's fire somebody.' And picked one of the most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox, and for no apparent reason... It was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate."

Donaldson then jumped in: "It was two days after the he said the fundamentals of the economy were strong. His talking points have gotten all mixed up. And I think the question of age is back on the table."

The criticisms that Donaldson raised concerned the fact that McCain started the week by touting the fundamentals of the economy, before pivoting into fits of populist mantra and calling for increased regulation of the markets - position at odds with McCain's traditional economic philosophies.

"When I say age," he explained, "I don't know the difference between finding your talking points and not delivering the right ones, we have seen him do this frequently but this last week was the worst. Between two stops in Florida, as you say, he had to revise his thinking about what he wanted to say about the economy, wanted to feel the pain suddenly than say everything is great."

The whole, painful, episode crested with Will leveling an even harsher blow.

"John McCain showed his personality this week," said the writer and pundit, "and made some of us fearful."


I do not think it is age. I think McCain always was an insincere lightweight with lots of money and connections. In Arizona getting elected must be easy if you talk the Right talk. Simply put, graduating fifth from the bottom of an Annapolis Naval Academy class [McCain] is not being in the same brainpower league as being editor of the Harvard Law Review [Obama]. We've experienced already a dumb insincere GOP anti-regulation jackass in the presidency and do not need another - whether as young as Bush or as old as McCain.

Then, in a league of her own there is Sarah Palin.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SIPC

Their website has the below image, as second page of a pdf file.


For more, see here and here. Or Google or Live Search for more.

This SIPC "umbrella" is about as reliably capitalized against a run as some of the pooled-self-insurance covered brokerage houses, according to the Bloomberg reporting:

The SIPC relies on the backing of healthy securities firms. Unlike the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures bank deposits up to $100,000, the securities corporation doesn't have a direct line to the U.S. Treasury. The SIPC maintains about $1 billion in reserves, compared with $707 billion in client assets at Morgan Stanley's retail brokerage unit, according to the most recent earnings report released earlier this week.

``If you read the letter of the law, it all seems to be well-organized, and that's OK in a perfect world,'' said former Deutsche Bank managing director Mike Offit, who moved ``eight figures'' of his personal assets out of a brokerage account into a bank trust years ago. ``The assets of the SIPC are a speck on a fly on the back of an elephant in a herd of elephants.''

The 1970 law passed to create the SIPC gives the corporation the authority to ask the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for government loans to help cover its obligations.


And that Marketwatch article is cold comfort:

SIPC either acts as trustee or works with an independent court-appointed trustee in a brokerage insolvency case to recover funds. The statute that created SIPC provides that customers of a failed brokerage firm receive all non-negotiable securities -- such as stocks or bonds -- that are already registered in their names or in the process of being registered. At the same time, funds from the SIPC reserve are available to satisfy the remaining claims of each customer up to a maximum of $500,000. This figure includes a maximum of $100,000 on claims for cash. From the time Congress created it in 1970 through December 2006, SIPC has advanced $505 million in order to make possible the recovery of $15.7 billion in assets for an estimated 626,000 investors.


You are only covered against a brokerage going broke. You are not covered against portfolio loss, that is your risk as investor, and if you had money invested in a fund heavy on failed securities, then if you unloaded it on the downward spiral and have over $100,000 in cash at a brokerage, say from a couple providential liquidations of holdings before they tanked too badly, and the brokerage goes under, then your cash from closing out the dogs is only partly protected, by that "spot on the fly, on the elephant, in the herd of elephants."

Sleep well, on all that assurance.

And, we can always wonder how many of these kinds of hummers are out there, and how the interlocking arrangements will in the present market affect US investors.

With that thin margin of coverage in the event of a market wide loss of confidence and a run on multiple brokerages, the phrases "covered by a fig leaf" or "don't take more to the casino than you can afford to lose," come to mind.

Any others?

Creeping Socialism?

How to get rich on Wall Street? Keep the upside. Socialize the downside. Spread the hurt.

Such a Unilateral Socialism is creeping into our world. Where are the GOP screamers, as this is happening? They've said before they hate socialism, welfare, all that. Now they are the welfare cheats, not the critics.

Times change. People change with the times. And will change again. For now with handouts likely hands are out. Perhaps the cure for cancer is to securitize it, bundle all the individual cases into a pool, develop tranches, an early detection/aggressive treatment tranche, a metastasizing tranche, at the bottom rung a for-the-reaper tranche, and then have the government assume all the risk and hurt if the situation gums up when you try marketing the product. Nobody, individually would have to die of cancer, if we did the securitization prudently, unlike the CMO market where folks - ordinary people - do lose their homes even while the welfare largess is being dispensed big time.

Creeping Asymmetric Unilateral Socialism, is what it could be pejoratively called - and the system does work - wealth begets wealth, downside risk is always there, at the Wall Street level, until it ceases to be only risk but becomes loss, then it does not go away, it goes to the government, with taxpayers buying the loss.

That is not simply only today's answer. It was yesterday's too, the S-&-L answer, back when McCain and Keating were chums with one having an airplane and vacationing haven and the other having four colleagues in government.

So -- is it a welfare handout, or is it only "liquidity" the government is providing, sort of like Gatorade for an elite athlete experiencing cramping?

We are getting lots of reporting, little news.

_______UPDATE_______
This weekend's wig-wagging per the AP, is reported via Strib online, here.

Of interest is the extreme long recovery from the Japanese real estate bubble, 1990 and onward.

One picture is worth a thousand words, over many follow-up years.

The Wikipedia item links over to a paper on asset price stability considerations in "macroeconomic policy" whereas our situation, for years, has been a constant Wall Street, Tresuary Dept., and Gramm-McCain bleating for "deregulation" which suggests itself, by the sheer weight of language as we use it, to be the antithesis of "macroeconomic policy" or any other kind of "policy" - deregulation, the trending to absence of regulation is a trending to the absence of policy, and leaving things to market greed, which Sen. McCain now, strangely, denounces.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Truthful TINK.

Front, then back, of the latest Tinklenberg mailing the household received - click to enlarge:



Truthful?

Not exactly.



Bob Anderson IS the IP candidate, not Elwyn, who is Dean Barkley's choice.

However, Barkley or not the ballot will tell the truth - Bob Anderson will be there on your November ballot as the Independence Party candidate for Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District.

Why is this Tinklenberg man disrespectful of the truth?

Why does he hold himself out as something he is not? What does it say to you about the man? About his reliability?


____________________

I will email this link to the Anderson and Tinklenberg campaigns, per addresses on their respective websites. I will ask them to log on and add a comment to this post.

I believe that Bob Anderson may have a clear basis to file an unfair campaign practices complaint with the Federal Election Commission (the FEC) over this item misrepresenting actual candidate status.

That's up to Bob Anderson to decide. Both campaigns will be emailed.

A hint of scandal - perhaps. One difference between Lehman Brothers and the host of rescued Wall Street investment market players.

In an earlier post, here, I wrote:

There was a bailout with federal portfolio risk guarantees for the acquisition of Bear-Stearns, but not a parallel thing for Lehman Brothers. The politics of such decision making probably will surface if the distinction was politically motivated. The explanation I have seen is that Bear-Stearns was a precipitous unanticipated happening whereas Lehman Brothers was a situation recognized for quite some time. That seems to be blowing smoke, and I expect looking either at the persons and firms involved in one instance vs the other, or at possible portfolio differences might be informative. [...]


I was perplexed by the one exception in a time when the contagion seems market-wide. Why was one firm left to take gas, with all others, so far, apparently being handled more gently, even Bear Stearns, where there apparently was clear fraud.

And the bailouts over the short time frame involved show a pattern. They now surround the Lehman Brothers isolated bankruptcy situation - bailouts before, bailouts after, but no bailout for Lehman.

In saying, "The politics of such decision making probably will surface if the distinction was politically motivated," perhaps this is unfolding.

Huffington Post, Seth Colter Walls writing Tuesday, Sept. 16, noted:

McCain Rips "Fat Cats" Instrumental In Funding His Campaign
September 16, 2008 01:32 PM


John McCain struck a tough, quasi-populist pose this morning during his morning sweep of the television news shows. Speaking to NBC's Matt Lauer about the current crisis on Wall Street, the Republican nominee said executives have "treated it like a casino and need to be held accountable and stop walking away with these fat-cat packages."

Leave aside for the moment the fact that one of McCain's top economic advisers, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, walked away with a $42 million "golden parachute" after being fired. Overall, the generic Wall Street "fat cat" is a tough character for McCain to cast as his nemesis, given his success in fundraising among their ranks. As Bloomberg reported Monday night, securities and investment companies have collectively donated millions to both McCain and Barack Obama.

Employees from Merrill Lynch, one of the two big disaster stories in Monday's economic news, have donated over $100,000 more to McCain than Obama in this cycle. As Bloomberg reported, McCain's "largest campaign donors" were employees of Merrill Lynch, as well as their families, who in total gave the Arizonan $298,413.

Lehman Brothers, by contrast, donated almost three times as much to Obama as McCain. [...]


Aside from more "Honest John" irony being reported and indirectly editorialized, the Huffington item linked to its campaign donation reporting data for many of the Wall Street players now in the news.

Proving a politically motivated bias against Lehman probably would involve detailed study of contribution patterns going back to the 2000 election, and advisory roles Lehman Brothers principals might have played for one party or the other. I have not thought to pursue that myself. If Huffington is on top of the issue as the Sept. 16 item hints, and the Dems in DC needed to have a sound current repair to the breached dike, things will come out.

It would be most unfortunate in a time when peoples' life savings are in peril to see any degree whatsoever of political favoritism or political retribution in the course of righting the course of a deregulated system suffering foreseeable consequences of the deregulatory zeal shown by some in the past. It would be unjust if those deregulation zealots also now might be playing favorites among those firms suffering deregulatory consequences they had a role in fostering, but for which they are not by any measure solely responsible.

If all animals on Animal Farm are not this time equal, with the pigs favoring themselves and each other, and if this shows clearly in the evidence, then it will not be good for the McCain candidacy.

And if it is there, it will be found and exposed.

Tracks in the mud if not perfectly covered can be followed. That is the nature of an Internet asset such as Huffington Post.

I strongly encourage any reader interested in these thoughts to access the Huffington item, and from there to link to the financial campaign disclosure information, to be a better informed voter this November.

I may do that myself but it is a step I admit I have not, so far, taken. From the local municipal level, through state-mandated disclosures, to the FEC and those that accumulate and report FEC data, there are a host of numbers to pursue, and I truly don't have the soul of an accountant. Like most people, I suffer the consequences of not reviewing many things in the public domain to be reviewed. I hope my trust in Huffington to do the job well will not be misplaced.

_______UPDATE________
Reporting in Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2008, "Why Lehman Brothers Is Not Bear Stearns," is quite "old" in terms of how aspects of the entire big story are quickly unfolding and how government officials are acting and reacting, caucusing and conferencing.

That WSJ story notes a difference in how the options market played Lehman and Bear Stearns, for October Lehman call options in particular - and with the Lehman - Barkley's situation now unfolding, it is unclear whether the option betters will be well off or defunct, given Lehman in bankruptcy being dismembered. What's there to exercise an option against?

The Wall Street Journal item, to me, serves only to underscore the perplexity of only this one firm being put under ether to quietly die. Strib carried its usual - an AP wire feed replete with facts but no insight, mingling Lehman news with oil price news, where I see no context for the mingling.

Strib has more Lehman reporting, and Google News currently has multiple Lehman stories available. Strib's picking up on the Ameriprise suit looks interesting. Information continues to surface, with the Strib and Google News links illustrative of a breaking fuller story, but not final as yet.

If any reader has additional perplexing or more informative Lehman-related reporting or editorial analysis found online for review, please in a comment post link information, for so far reporting seems to have said different treatment was accorded different firms, but with no believable causative distinctions beyond the single sentence Huffington reported. And there so much needs to be read into a reported pattern, with the tracking and presentation of detail not yet published. It takes a skeptic to infer political motivation from Lehman having more favorably contributed to Obama, and having by the administration and its appointee-advisors been treated less well than others; but if we are not prudent skeptics then what should we base our voting on, smiles and glibness?

I trust more detail will surface. I doubt it will be unequivocal and definitive beyond any reasonable doubt, but it certainly might preponderate on a more likely than not basis.

We wait.

We see.

Friday, September 19, 2008

As close as this country has come to an American Taliban, religious extremists committed to turning democracy into theocracy.

More on Palin, here, with the wrap-up excerpted but with the premise developed carefully leading to this wrap up:

As with the Taliban, both incidents show how far the religious right will go in imposing it ideology on the rest of us. What is notable is how in each incident the American Taliban went after key public institutions–in one education and in the other law enforcement and the library. Should there be any question the American Taliban are out to control our minds they need only look at Wasilla and Columbine.

Finally using tactics eerily reminiscent of the Afghan Taliban, the American Taliban eerily presented themselves as classic reformers. The Afghan Taliban promised to rid the country of the Russian invaders and restore Afghan society. The Littleton Taliban would take education “back to the basics.” The Wasilla Taliban would bring good government. Only when they had control was the extent of their agenda revealed. Sarah Palin did not, as some allege, purge the Wasilla library of books, but that she even thought about it is scary enough.

Wasilla, Littleton and the nomination of Sarah Palin ask what kind of America do we want? Do we want a country where religious ideology reigns unchecked? Do we want a country where dissenting voices are purged? Do we want a democracy or a theocracy?


Read it. There's cause to.

So ---- Is it a Taliban-like clique that allegedly selected Palin after McCain allegedly handed them a blank check to pick a right-with-Jesus young second spot person for the ticket headed by the seventy-two year old with repeated skin cancer bouts in his resume? Is it Dan Quayle redux, gender being the only real difference along with Bush the Elder not being seventy-two when running or serving in office?

But can you imagine, if we'd have had a succession, and a "President Quayle?"

Is the major factor a healing of a party rift along with a cynicism and desperation to goose up attention in an otherwise moribund old-rich-guy campaign? It seems so. The two views are not incompatible, mending fences vs. a putsch and power-play by the religious Right. It is only a question of focus and relative motivation, one of degree and not some either-or choice. There was no great tension, but two wings of the GOP thing needing both wings to try to fly.

The Culvahouse as studied, sharp, careful, clandestine McCain vetting operative running the choice McCain's Machiavellian way as was posited in the Pam Martens Counterpunch item already mentioned here hangs together and makes sense.

For the added view, the Dobson et al. crowd, (Ted Haggard before his fall, etc.), there's much on the Internet, with Joel's Army and all woven into things, see: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. That last item was emailed to me about a week ago by a person I respect, giving a head's up. The full parade of info is cumulative and overlapping, some writers citing others in the list, but the view is there of a political force in the GOP camp with an agenda of restricting everyone's freedom to fit their own views of religion and morality - a troublesome merger of church-state affairs that gave us the countless European Reformation wars and warfare, emigrations to the New World to escape that, and the inflexible Sunni-Shiite conflict in Islam, that current events Iraq put into sharp focus.

I see the Bush-McCain old line GOP using the alliance as Reagan used it, secular money interests in alliance with those having a non-pecuniary worldview and agenda. The names, Dobson, LaHaye, etc., are known in that camp and in our own State Michele Bachmann has used the bridge - a foot in each GOP camp with empahsis differing to fit audience and context, as her springboard from a trouble mongering school board candidate, to a State Senate prayer day stawalt, to a Congressional seat and assignment to the House Financial Services Committee, where the dollar end of the GOP lives and fosters its agenda.

I agree with the view that the McCain vetting was not prompt and inattentive, but looking for one who'd be pliant and alive enough read the teleprompter in attack mode as Palin did at the convention, while also having blessing from Dobson and affiliates.

A foot-in-each-camp pairing.

But a pairing with the top dog being the money end of the party, the head end, but aged there and ripe for seeing the other end possibly step into great successory power in the unlikely event Obama-Biden does not prevail, and with Obama-Biden being an alliance of experience and competence where such other strange and strained religio-cash-political "marriage" dynamics are absent.

In short, Palin is an ambitious and pushy and offensive politician first, by far, and an ideologue only as the distant second force in her candidacies.

Again in short, she is much like Bush the Younger. Power lust trumping faith, if you judge the balance that way. I suggest Dobson has the same balance, it is just a degree of emphasis the other way, perhaps, and then again, perhaps not.

______UPDATE_______
It is hard to say precisely what the concern I feel is, but I see a camp within the GOP with a general dictatorial intent, i.e., one that would infringe on my liberty by wanting other people in lockstep with their religious feelings, and wanting a government without separation of church and state. I see preserving reproductive choices against these zealous and ideological people hard because they want not only to live by their norms but to impose their norms and worldview on people who do not share such a view and want less government dictation of social norms and related decisions rather than more. People wanting to stick their noses into other peoples' business is a more colloquial way to say it. This is the antithesis of what the professed GOP norm in business and economics is, as witnessed by McCain's now famous "great deregulator" statement while current investment market realities show that deregulation has failed because it leaves greed unchecked. Unchecked human greed can invent ways to make the casino risks and rewards more skewed so that when the risks accumulate and gum up the works, our current Wall Street dilemma, it was deregulation that permitted it with the "great deregulator" pontificating against the greed his approach [the Phil Gramm approach] created within a previously wisely regulated situation.

The GOP seems insincere with two blocs in alliance, one wanting too much liberty, regarding money matters and the rich exploiting everyone else, and the other bloc wanting too little liberty (for others), but with them holding the power and "liberty" to dictate how others should live. I favor them having all the liberty possible to live in what they say is Jesus' way - they should be free to make that choice - but never free to push such an arbitrary and personal thing onto others.

I think the money manipulator wing of the party, the McCain wealth wing, is cynically using the other wing for a coalition of votes strong enough to win ballots, but with no real respect for the likes of James Dobson other than for his ability to garner, influence and deliver votes.

Dobson's motives and sincerity is something I doubt, seeing him more as a manipulative politician-evangelist than a sincere believer since in my view a true Christian would not be immune to sympathy and passion for the poor - those the other GOP wing exploits.

I see an inherent instability to the coalition except for a dislike on the one part for those who want the liberty to run their own personal lives without Puritanical interventions by outsiders coupled with a dislike by the other wing for those wanting a fair slice of the pie - a coalition with its only stability and viability based on dislikes toward others, and not on any positive feelings about anybody who disagrees with either a religious dogma, or a fiscal one.

I see the GOP as a coalition of bosses, one set wanting to boss your access to a fair part of the national wealth and the other wanting to boss your personal value system and decision making. Too many bosses and too little actual, real compassion for others.

I see the Dems as a coalition of bright people and of fools, with too many of the fools, or why else would a candidate of the quality of Elwyn Tinklenberg ever be offered by either major party as a ballot choice? That kind of opportunistic person, in and out of government and seizing on "transportation issues" for a living and dropping the name of James Oberstar way too much in the process, should have been culled out again by the bright ones in the DFL, as in 2006 when Wetterling was the Sixth District candidate. Offering a revolving door lobbyist insults an electorate that is likely to return Michele Bachmann, extreme faults and all, to Washington with a larger margin over Tinklenberg than she had against Wetterling, who ran a tepid campaign. I see that happening even with the economy being as bad as it is and with the GOP and "deregulation" responsible for the problems. I do not think people will see Tinklenberg as part of any solution but rather part of the problem. And voting people probably are smart enough to view Michele Bachmann, whatever the true legitimacy and zealousness of her commitment to the socially bossy wing of the GOP is, to be less a threat to good government and less a source of potential mischief in the minority than Tinklenberg, in the majority and in alliance with James Oberstar. Voters will be bright enough to figure such things out, while each party will have its hard-core loyalists willing to endorse party-boss choices regardless of quality. Someone who's been a registered lobbyist likely will be more susceptible to the host of lobbyist that, like a locust swarm, inhabit and devour Washington DC.

Honest John strikes again.


Photo from here. Read the story and check the Pinochio rating of misinformation by McCain, here. Remember, this is an attack from the guy with Phil Gramm as close, strategic advisor, the man who was the key cosponsor with Leach, (that's how he spells it, rhyming with bleach and not like the little animal), of the repeal of Glass Steagall (before repeal Glass Steagall had since the depression, as a matter of conservative prudence, separated commercial banking - such as lending short term on creditworthy manufacturers' inventory or receivables - from investment banking, such as securitizing subprime mortgages or selling the two Bear Stearns high-risk funds as sound and secure where the Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin names resonate). But giving fair credit, Bill Clinton and his investment banker - Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin collectively had their fingerprints also on the Glass Steagell death-knell effort, while neither Clinton, Rubin, McCain, nor Gramm has been directly linked to the alleged fraud of Cioffi-Tannin. It was Bush's fellow Cox sitting on his thumb instead of regulating things as head of SEC who looked elsewhere, somewhere, while the Bear Stearns and other mortgage-backed mischief was happening. The other four did not pick Cox, Bush did.

You don't need to put faith in my views and comments since I am just a Phil Gramm type of whiner. But it's fair to whine, Obama had no ties to any of those who ended Glass Steagall while the attempt to link him as close to the Fannie-Freddie contingent was manufactured from nothingness, and is as credible as Cioffi-Tannin sales pitch.

____________UPDATE___________
Huffington Post has analysis on Phil Gramm and McCain's Keating Five history. I see nothing there new, but Huffington's writer connects dots, as I did (each with the same general concerns but with somewhat differing personal approaches and emphases). The present meltdown and bailout, (the big time bailout is in the works, we've only so far seen the iceberg's tip but Paulson is working on the presently hidden body of it), and the unfolding events are analogous to the 1980's S&L situation, but with McCain wanting to be president now, not simply wanting a crony like Keating to get favorable regulatory attention as then.

Pick your candidate. Pick your images.









From here.

____________UPDATE SAME PHOTO SOURCE_________