Tuesday, September 30, 2008

1st Annual Memorial Pig Roast for Madden A. Cordero - please read and donate if you can

There are several causes that I endorse and advocate for, as long-term readers may be aware of. From time to time I like to take the opportunity to mention them and to try to raise funds for them. Today I will do so again.

This time this is a cause closer to home than say Darfur. For those in the central New York State area I invite you to come to, or donate for (even if you are not in New York State or the United States), the 1st Annual Memorial Pig Roast for Madden A. Cordero at Tom’s Tavern in Hagaman New York on October 18th – donation for admission are $10 but you can give more if you want – starting at noon until.

Flyer for the 1st Annual Pig Roast for Madden A. Cordero at Tom’s Tavern in Hagaman New York on October 18th – donation for admission are $10 but you can give more if you want – starting at noon until

Madden Cordero sadly lived a short life, but was loved greatly in his time here. He had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome which is a congenital disorder that can be found while the child is in the womb. Sadly, as in this case, it was not. Because this syndrome can be easily missed those born with the affliction often die within the first few days or months, but with quick treatment they can survive. Even with the required surgeries a child with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome will require life long medication and regular check-ups with heart doctors.

In honor of Madden this pig roast will raise money to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House located in Albany.

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) has been around for 35 years. The purpose of RMHC is to help children and their families around the world. The RMHC is more than just toys and games for children as many of us might assume. They provide services that families and children with serious conditions require and could never be expected to be prepared for.

RMHC provided the Cordero family a place to stay, which was 40 minutes away from their home, and close to the hospital in Albany where Madden was being treated. They had the ability to sleep, shower, research the internet on the condition afflicting their child, and a shuttle to and from the hospital – allowing them quick and easy access to the hospital and their child without the worry and cost of taxis, traffic jams, bad directions, fatigue driving, or any other potential delay and complication.

Like at all Ronald McDonald Houses, the only thing families are asked it to provide is a donation, maybe $7/day, if the family can afford it while they stay at the House. Like for the Cordero family this was a simple bit of help in a time of turmoil emotion and difficulty.

While I would hope that no family would ever have to endure any problems in their child’s life, Ronald McDonald House Charities helps those that do have to encounter these unexpected and extreme situations.

The 1st Annual Memorial Pig Roast for Madden A. Cordero will provide food and some drinks for all those that come and make a $10 donation. 100% of the donations, plus the cost of the event will be given to the Ronald McDonald House of Albany.

There will be a 50/50 raffle, and prizes donated by corporations in the area are planned to also be raffled. Again all monies raised will be given 100% directly to the RMHC.

If you would like to donate $10, or more to this cause please contact Mr. Gregg Cordero at 607–797–3783 for further details.

If you own a business and would like to donate a product or service to be raffled to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House of Albany you can also contact Mr. Cordero at the above number.

I know that my readers are compassionate people. As such I will donate all profits from the sale of any item found at my online store, for the month of October, to this Memorial and RMHC. In addition, all donations made to M V Consulting and/or all of its blogs and sites for the month of October will be donated as well. And finally I expect to be at this event, and will personally be making a donation as well.

I thank you for your attention in this matter, and your generosity as well.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

2 bad bailout deals out and what is next at bat?

The bailout deal that was rejected on Monday by the House of Representatives was a bad deal. And the result was a Congress divided, a media blitz, polispeak galore, finger pointing, and a 777 point drop in the Dow Jones Index.

Most focus on the drop in the Dow Jones. The media love to play that up. I even heard the number increasing as the night went on. Some newscasters call the drop “a nearly 800 point drop”, or “nearly a 1000 point fall”. Talk about exploiting the facts to gain viewership.

The fact is that nothing that happens will stop the drop in the market. The second that short-sales are allowed back into the market, bigger drops will occur. All that stopping these trades has done is increase the power of the drop. Because while the numbers look big right now, the actual affect is not nearly as big. That’s because of the current value of the Dow Jones Index. But as the Dow drops, these big sell-offs become more meaningful and powerful. And they feed a bear market like honey.

But the bailout, now trying to be spun into a “loan” by pundits and politicians, is horrible. Because it fails to answer 2 simple questions. How much is being assumed in bad debt, and how do taxpayers get repaid?

The first problem goes like this. Under the deal laid out on Sunday, at least 3 separate payments would be given to Treasury Secretary Paulson to buy bad loans. The value of what he pays for the loan is unknown. Would he pay the original price of the loan, the current value, the real absolute value? No idea, nor was one required by the legislation. Thus he could buy all the bad debt at the top price, ensuring taxpayers could never break even or be repaid.

The second problem is that there has been nothing said on how taxpayers get the money back. The money is coming out of our pockets. We know that. To the tune of about $10,000 per person. And it will likely be collected from higher taxes for EVERYBODY. But how are we to be repaid. Will we get tax credits in the future? Or a check? Or guaranteed lower taxes (though how much lower and lower than what level is yet another question)? If you can’t say how we will get repaid how can we believe we ever will.

To deal with these 2 major issues the politicians that were trying to rush this version of the bailout proposed this bit of eyecandy. Executives would no longer get ‘golden parachutes’. Yea! It’s nice that the Government is in effect starting on the path to regulate how much money anyone should be paid. It’s very socialist of them. Still I can agree that paying someone that bankrupts or severely damages a company millions is folly. Though I see no problem paying them is they create a bigger stronger more profitable company than they took charge of. But the legislation is unclear if a great executive doing a great job is free of the same stipulations and restrictions.

And all of this says nothing to the power suddenly endowed to the offices of Secretary of the Treasury and Fed Chairman. They get control of more money than 1/3 the countries of the world make combined. And if you think that Congress can watch over those positions and keep them in check remember that it was the brilliant and attentive eyes of Banking Committee leader Barney Frank that said in July of 2008 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could not fail, and that he saw no problems in the financial markets.

And another unseen problem of the bailout deal that was thrown out is its effect on the nation. This deal would have effectively kicked out the last leg holding New York as the financial center of the world. And it still might happen. And with that loss of status means tens of millions of dollars lost to the nation and New York State.

This is not a game with obvious consequences. Some things have to be thought about. And because some of those most responsible for this mess don’t want the blame, they are insisting on the most speed in passing the buck and a deal.

The bailout will cost over $1 trillion by the time it’s all said and done. The stock market will fall as the dust settles and every industry with debtors lines up to be next to be paid. And eventually things will improve. Such is the nature of markets and trade.

But if the main questions I have asked are not answered in future bailout proposals, because of the rewording of what the deal is called, or political favor to a Presidential candidate, or rushing to soften the ultimate downturn of the bear market, or just because no one was smart enough to ask, then the real cost will be far worse than just the money thrown away.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout deal fails again, polispeak runs rampant

You have to be impressed by the Congressional Democrats. They have balls. Not brains, just balls. Because that is the only way they can make the claims they do about the bailout deal.

In listening to the Democrats, Barney Frank in particular you would think that the Republicans are staging a massive political coup. That the Republicans are the only reason why the bailout deal that was voted on today failed was their votes. That this is all about politics and the upcoming election.

But if you stop listening to the polispeak in Congress and look at the vote numbers and you see another picture.

The vote was 228 – 205 against the deal. That includes 94 Democrats, which could have easily made the difference and passed the deal no matter what the Republicans did. But they chose to go against their Party and Treasury Secretary Paulson, and President Bush.

Why? Because the deal was horrible. Because there is no confidence in the deal. Because the rush to pass the deal makes you wonder what is in it. Like the fact that a previous version included a stipulation that if this bailout actually got any money repaid that money would not go to taxpayers but would fund a Democratic initiative called ACORN (which has federal problems currently).

Or how about the fact that I have yet heard how the public, that will be buying these assets (bad mortgage loans) could or will get the money back. We will spend $10,000 each, out of our pockets, and if this ever makes break-even or profit there has been no discussion how we get that $10,000 back in our pockets directly. And under the current plans you never will. That is not a political problem, that is just a bad deal.

If this were as political as Democrats would like it to be, then this bad deal would have passed, Senator Obama would have the credit for it (or at least Senator McCain would have the blame) and they would use this to win the election. That didn’t happen.

If this were political, Republicans could have voted for this deal claimed it was because of Senator McCain’s influence and used that to win the election. It’s just that simple.

But Senator McCain, the Republicans, and 94 Democrats are not being political. They are doing their jobs. They are trying to structure a deal that works for taxpayers like you and me. They want to answer (I hope) the question of how the money comes back to you and me, if it ever makes money.

If we want to really be political about this, we can ask why Barney Frank and Chris Dodd could not see the impending problem as late as July of this year yet they are the heads of the Banking and Finance Committees in Congress. They were informed by supposedly brilliant minds on the exact status of the problem, and they crafted laws and regulations to control what happened. They also made enormous amounts of money from the very people they were (supposedly) watching.

Look, here is the reality. Senator Obama and McCain are Senators. One of them will be the next President. They are effectively the leaders of their respective Parties. They need to get into this fray (well at least Obama does as McCian is) and do their jobs. They need to forge a deal, stand together and say they endorse the deal. At that point it will have to pass. And to forge the deal they need to answer the question that I feel is most important, how I get my money back.

Everything that is short of this is polispeak. Every moment that Obama avoids this problem, every moment that they don’t answer the key question, every moment we have no deal endangers America and makes our near-term future that more bleak. And no matter how many Democrats blame Republicans, or how many deny their failure to do their jobs, the outcome remains the same.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain vs Obama - my thoughts on the debate

So I went over the details of the entire debate a couple of times and I want to share my observations.

First of all we start with Senator Obama and the first question of what is going on with the bailout of the mortgage crisis. The initial thought that Senator Obama brings to fore is the separation of Wall Street and Main Street. That concept in itself is dumb. Millions of regular people are as much a part of the stock market as the corporations on the market. The 401k’s, mutual funds, and investments held by individual investors are as critical to the market as any other group. What affects one, affects the other.

But in making the distinction as he does he infers that the stock market is a matter of a class war. This thinking is the backbone of many of the financial proposals made by most Democrats, and Obama. But to view the economy or stock market in such a manner is to view it as if it were in a vacuum, that anything affecting one has no bearing on the other. That presumption is both a lie and idiotic.

He goes on to discuss oversight of the bailout funds. Currently Democrats that are most in favor of a fast tracked deal are the very people responsible for failing to identify the problem. That is Barney Frank and Chris Dodd directly. Having them continuing to be in charge is a joke if it were not for the damage they have allowed to occur.

As for getting the money back, the proposal that was rejected Friday is again of interest. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Frank, Dodd, and Harry Reid loved the deal. Senator Obama was willing to back it as well. Republicans were not. Because instead of giving the money back to the public they instead had a provision in the deal that would take the money and put it into ACORN. An organization that is currently under federal investigation for mismanagement of federal money and a pet project of Democrats.

But in the 3rd point I think everyone can agree. There is no reason why a CEO who has damaged a corporation deserves to benefit to any extreme point. That does not mean they are not entitled to a retirement package, but to reward them with tens of millions of dollars for weakening a company is dumb. If the company makes money, thus ensuring jobs and increased value to shareholders (which means you the public ultimately) then I can see a bonus. But without that success paying enormous sums of money is just wasteful.

Homeowners that failed to read the contracts they entered into do not merit help. Their rash actions do not necessitate contributions from my pocket. That may sound harsh, but as a homeowner who did read my mortgage documents, got a fixed rate loan, and ensured I could afford the home I own with room to spare I have little pity. In necessitating me to give up my money they are in fact placing a second mortgage into my finances, one that I receive no reward for paying. That is a bad plan indeed.

And for all the concern of Senator Obama for the middle class he fails to mention that he has voted to increase the taxes of those making $31,850 or more in March 2008.

As for the McCain view on this same question, it is not enough that politicians are working together. They should work together more often, in fact as a norm. The fact that politics are so partisan in general is a problem that helped to create and magnify this problem. But if politicians fail to think about what they have done, or the plan by which they promise us a resolution, the mere fact they joined hands in the failure is small consolation.

But another problem I must note with Senator Obama is the fact that he loves to look backwards on issues that are in America’s present. He look backward on Iraq – seeking who to blame, he looks backward on the bailout as well. What he said 2 years ago is as important as what McCain said 3 years ago, or the bill that McCain tried to pass to change the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which Democrats voted down and Republicans gave up on).

And if any politician was so brilliant as to have seen this problem a year ago, where were they when Barney Frank was telling the public everything was ok in July? Or Paulson said they had things under control in February?

And as for Republican spending under President Bush, it has been atrocious. And I don’t mean the earmark spending which has been bad enough. $18 billion is insane, but that hardly is the same as the hundreds of billions that are being wasted in every department of the Government.

Still in a down turning economy adding new spending is a dumb idea as well. Obviously adding these new sources of spending can’t happen when we have already spent that money on the bailout. And both candidates need to be honest enough to mention that either taxes will be increased because of this or that social entitlement programs will be cut, or both.

And if anyone thinks that raising business taxes will not affect workers they are insane.

Also, everyone needs to keep in mind what Obama keeps rewording. 95% will receive a pay cut from Obama’s plans. But what he drives at is avoiding anyone hearing the part that is important. 95% that receive a paycheck. That means business owners of all sizes will pay more in taxes – separate of the increase in taxes from the bailout.

But let’s focus on the issues the debate was really supposed to be about. Foreign policy.

The big question is Iraq. We know Obama was always against the war, and he never lets us forget his position in the past. And McCain was for it, as was nearly every Democrat and Republican at the time. Including Senator Hillary Clinton, who insisted Congress vote in favor of the war.

But the fact is we are in 2 wars today and when the next President takes office. Not wanting to be there has nothing to do with where we are now. I don’t want to have to bailout the banks for the mortgage crisis, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are about to anyway. The question is what are we going to do going forward?

Is running away a good plan? According to McCain it is not. Iran is a big part of that reason. And there is no one that can convince anyone in the world that Iran is not in favor of America being destroyed.

The surge has worked. Even Obama has admitted that. But he still refuses to accept the consequences of that, or the need to finish the job. By refusing to accept the new conditions, which he barely saw in a day during his recent run through the nation, he fails to see how to make America safer in the future.

But McCain must also accept that the cost of the war is outrageous. We need to get Iraq to do more, and pay for their share of the work being done. Especially since we know they have the money to do so.

By the way, the series of items that Obama quotes as things that McCain said is incorrect. Those were the claims of the Bush Administration. And McCain is wrong about Obama’s oversight of Afghanistan. Not that either man has really done any work they were elected to do, other than McCain working on the bailout. And in hearing Obama’s comment about tactics and strategies, I agree he has no idea what the difference is. Of course that may partially be because he has not been in Iraq 1/3 as much as McCain has.

And I want to ask a simple question. If you are in a bar fight, it doesn’t matter who started the fight, and you look at your watch and say “I’ll stop fighting in 5 minutes.” You keep fighting for 5 minutes, then step away, turn your back and walk off. What do you believe will happen next? What are the odds that you will get a barstool smacked against your head? And how is this different than declaring a timetable in a war?

It is interesting how close both candidates are on Pakistan. Though the means by which they want to enact their actions in that nation, and the terrorists hiding there, differ to a degree. Again, as with many of Obama’s policies, we see the junior Senator telegraphing his intentions.

I have to mention though that neither man mentioned Darfur. They speak about Bosnia, and Georgia, Pakistan and Iraq. They cover all the media popular and pundit laden hotspots around the world. But when it comes to a genocide that has been ongoing for the past 4 years, they seem satisfied to continue the same see no evil policy the Government has maintained from the start of fighting. America should do more.

Thank goodness each candidate agrees that Iran is a threat to stability and U.S. safety. This is a bit of a reversal for Senator Obama. His comments during the Primaries and just after Senator Clinton gave up were of a very different tone.

And his continued instance on speaking to Iran reflects that early position. Though what he claims about Mr. Henry Kissinger backing up his views is an outright lie. Or as politicians like to say, he misunderstood or misspoke. As is the thought that we are not currently speaking with Iran, which we are doing currently on low levels. And following Obama’s wishes we would empower Iran and other similar nations.

Of course I would feel better about many of Senator Obama’s positions if he was more consistent. Like his comments about Georgia and Russia. From his initial flubs about UN action – which Russia can veto – to his eventual adoption of the McCain response on the first day. It’s just more examples of inexperience in this arena.

Lastly, we all realize that another 9/11 style attack is not only possible, but likely. Nothing can prevent such acts forever. Every major city in the world has had to deal with these events, and the best any country can do is delay an event and minimize the effects.

I also find it interesting how Senator Obama is so focused on the image America has in the world. Since the 1960’s I believe America has been seen as a superpower, free and rich. And it is those things that have prompted the determined hatred of America for 40 years and counting.

Overall I think both candidates made interesting points. Each identified things that are important to Americans. Each highlighted weaknesses and failures in the other. But if we are to draw a conclusion for the entire debate it would have to be that experience in foreign policy, while under war at the least, is critical for America.

I think McCain won the debate. Not in a landslide but that is not important. Because the point is not how stunning a President we have, but how effective they are.

Labels: , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Full video of the McCain - Obama Presidential debate

The following is the full video of the Sept 26 2008 Presidential debate of Senator McCain and Senator Obama.

I believe that it is imperative that every American listen to exactly what each candidate said, and plans for America if they become President. My comments and in-depth analysis will be up shortly. In addition I will be providing a copy of the complete transcript of the entire debate.

I hope that this information helps each of you to come to a decision on who you wish to vote for. Because no matter whom you choose, your vote is vital to get the best person possible in the White House, and we can only get that if everyone makes an informed vote.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Labels: , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Friday, September 26, 2008

The bail out deal: Polispeak and political campaigning instead of action

I love listening to Harry Reid. He is absolutely partisan and 2-faced. He is the best example of what polispeak means. Listening to hear him talk today you just can’t escape this.

He is speaking about Republicans that didn’t want to go to the meeting at the White House yesterday, but he has no comment on the fact that Senator obama wouldn’t go until the President asked him to be there.

He speaks about Senator McCain and blames him for the failure of the deal, but fails to mention that there was no deal. House Republicans, and many in the Senate never liked the Paulson bailout proposal. There was no deal, except as expressed by Democrats and the media.

He wants to blame McCain, but he forgets that he stated earlier this week that there could be no deal if McCain was not on board, which he was not. He refers to McCain as an outsider, yet McCain is an active Senator with responsibilities to those that elected him.

Democrats like Chris Dodd and Harry Reid, and Barney Frank want to make it seem like this deal is good for America, yet those that look closely at the deal think it is not. And they want to add to the bail out items that are not part of the issue. They want to include the $50 billion that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi advocates, that does not have to do with the bailout but is another stimulus plan that is ineffective and a waste of money.

Democrats are being very political here. They are trying everything they can do to phrase this as a Republican or Senator McCain problem. They want to rush forward and throw money at this problem. That type of plan did not work when Bear Sterns failed, or when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed, or when Lehman failed, or for AIG. They seem to think that throwing your money, my money, at this problem is more than just filling a leaking tub with more water.

Not one Democrat can state that the Paulson plan, as proposed and what they are trying to advance, will work and prevent another problem in a month. Not one can explain why a single person in the position of the Treasury Secretary, should be left with virtually sole responsibility and accountability of nearly $1 trillion dollars.

Harry Reid, and Chris Dodd are speaking about how they will be in D.C. and working on this deal all night tonight, and Saturday and Sunday if necessary. They are saying this is the most important issue before them. Yet they support that Senator Obama go off and focus on a debate, that can be postponed. This is the most important issue in America right now, that’s why all of Congress is doing their jobs – except for Democratic Presidential candidate. And the Republican Presidential candidate is the one being blamed for doing his part of the job.

Either Obama or McCain will be President in a little more than a month. One of those 2 will be faced with the resulting issues that this mortgage crisis bail out will cause. But Democrats believe that neither should be involved in the terms or process of this deal. That seems smart doesn’t it.

I find it completely partisan and polispeak when Barney Frank states that everything is fine in 2003 and July of 2008, and now is trying to blame everyone else for what he failed to stay on top of. Chris Dodd is no better. And as I mentioned above Harry Reid has flipped as well. Not to mention how Senator Obama sprinted from the meeting with the President yesterday to get out and in front of cameras, instead of going back to Congress to wotrk on the deal more as McCain did, is quite telling on who is using this as a means to win the Presidential election.

Our elected officials need to stop with the politicing and focus. This deal needs to resolve the liquidity issue, and ensure that we are prepared for the difficulties to come. It does not need to give away money to pet projects that otherwise would never pass. It is not an ad for the election campaign. It is not a gift to Wall Street, nor an open invitation for every company and industry with sagging sales to line up at the door. Neither should it be the start of the American Government as a real estate broker/business.

Anything short of that is false and stupid, and baseless polispeak meant only to prop up the political futures of selected individuals.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Are mining stocks the safe haven from the bailout crisis?

There is no deal on the bailout of the U.S. financial markets as of this moment. Treasury Secretary Paulson is in the White House as I type trying to create a new plan. The Congress is busy trying to make their own plans as well.

That is the situation that the world markets will be facing tomorrow. And in the wake of this revelation I expect that the Dow Jones Index and other markets will retreat in the face of an unsure weekend. Which means that this is a great market for mining stocks.

I have already mentioned that I feel that coal mining is a great area for the future, based on the need of alternative sources of energy to crude oil. But when the markets are in turmoil, and with direct talk from the likes of Warren Buffett stating that the potential of failing to get a bailout deal done is akin to a financial Pearl Harbor, well there is just 2 place you can bet people will go – gold and oil.

Gold is the traditional hedge in worrisome times. And crude oil has gained in popularity as a hedge as demand has increased in China and other developing nations. Both of these items are limited commodities, and require mining to bring them from the earth that surrounds them.

In the immediate short-term gold will have to fluctuate to handle the demand for safety. Which means that the gold supply will diminish and mines work harder to make up the difference. In the short and long-term oil is both required for energy needs and depleting the finite supply.

And I have to say that mining stocks look great because of all these factors. Why?

There was an old saying from when I was a stockbroker

“You may or may not get rich looking for the gold vein, but if you own the picks and axes you’ll never go poor.”

Companies with proven assets in coal, gold, and oil are the picks and axes of this market and on into the future. The world needs these commodities for safety and energy. No matter the financial outcome, and perhaps because of it, these valuable commodities have to come up to the surface. And mining companies are the means to do so.

With the decreased liquidity in the capital markets, competition is reduced and weaker companies will be forced to merge with bigger and stronger companies. Thus supply will be centralized into fewer hands. With demand up, profits will increase.

Now some would say that this is a temporary blip. And were this the spring I would agree. But with winter and cold weather approaching, and the fact that a slow 4th quarter is all but guaranteed in the U.S. this small blip should last for 6 months from this point.

Plus the fact that a Democratic President has usually been met with a lower market day one. In this case, Senator Obama has yet to declare that the current bailout of $1 trillion (including AIG and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) will disallow his initiatives on healthcare and other social programs. So the damage, unless he changes his stance, will even be worse.

When you consider all this, I come to the conclusion that mining stocks are one of the few safe havens in this tumultuous market. If you disagree, please do let me know why.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

The bailout and mortgage crisis: Where did it start, who screwed up, who tried to fix it, and when

I just can’t step away from the most pivotal issue in the election and the lives of Americans right now. The spin in the media is that Senator McCain is avoiding Senator Obama on a debate of foreign policy – something McCain has experience at for decades and Obama has a speech in Germany. And many are calling the deep desire of McCain to serve the nation, as was called for by Harry Reid yesterday, a political stunt. Though they ignore the school boy-esque scolding that Obama received when the President called him to the White House today.

But I am tired of hearing Democrats and some media pundits running around blaming every economic woe of the nation on Republicans. There is certainly more than enough blame for all the politicians in Congress, which is why it has the lowest approval rating ever. Republicans have screwed up and spent more than they should. But Democrats have been no better, in fact those that are critical to the finance of the nation have been particularly blind. Mr. Magoo could have foreseen more with their level of information and influence over the years.

But lest my words be seen as partisan, which to an extent I am sure they are as with any pundit or blogger, I present talking heads from across the spectrum of the cable news media and pundits, as well as politicians themselves. Listen to those that we have elected, and their votes and assurances. Then tell me this is only a Republican caused problem.

And please explain to me why we should believe that those that planted the seeds for this problem, and fostered it to the debacle we are required to deal with today, should be believed when they say they have a solution

History of mortgage crisis back to 2003

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac contributions – Sept 18 2008

Chris Dodd was watching closely but did nothing – August 2007

Treasury Secretary Paulson progress made – February 2008

Barney Frank – Improving regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac July 14 2008

Obama accuses McCain of opposing reform

Have Republicans tried to do anything?

S. 190 [109th]: Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 - A bill to address the regulation of secondary mortgage market enterprises, and for other purposes.

So I also ask this, If Senator McCain did not go to Washington D.C., if the President did not call Senator Obama to the White House, are you sure there would be a resolution to the bailout crisis? Would that resolution be in the best interest of the nation?

Is a debate, that could be easily rescheduled, more important than the potential of 4 out of 5 Americans losing their homes and jobs?

And lastly, isn’t it a bit hypocritical that Democrats claim that the debate must happen because America wants this; yet they defended Senator Obama when he refused for 2 months every request that was made for Obama to join McCain in speaking directly with Americans at town hall meetings across the nation?

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Presidential candidates work on bailout and political images

It’s amazing how in the last 24 hours the Obama political machine has spun around and launched polispeak that turns almost a 180 from yesterday. All of this revolving around the bailout that is being worked on today.

Yesterday, Warren Buffett compare the current financial crisis to a Pearl Harbor event in America. He strongly felt this was a serious threat to the well-being of America. President Bush called for television time at 9pm to put pressure on Congress to get the bailout done, by speaking to the public about the status. And then come the Presidential candidates.

At 8am yesterday, Obama suggested a bi-partisan announcement to support specific controls in the bailout plan. At 10am Warren Buffett made his comments, at 11am the President made plans to speak with the public. At about 2:30pm McCain made a press statement

The Obama campaign immediately releases an email that clarifies their position at 8am. At 4:40pm Obama has a press statement that states

And since that time the polispeak wheels have been spinning. Democrats have been stating that the Senators are not needed. That the bailout will be resolved without them. That they have no need to do the jobs they were elected to office to do. Or at least they should be working on both situations.

Now maybe it’s me, but if this bailout could cause a depression equal to the Great Depression as many of the best financial minds believe don’t you want the next President and your Congressional representatives to be doing their jobs? Do you believe that this is their first priority?

President Bush believes it is. And thus he asked both candidates to come to the White House, along with both Parties Congressional leaders, to ensure a deal can be made as quickly as possible. Because as Warren Buffet said yesterday in various interviews, this is not something he would want to see take weeks to resolve. It’s too important and dangerous. So bi-partisan agreement is required.

But it seems the Obama campaign is ok with dividing its attention. And supporters are trying to make this seem like McCain is not doing his job and acting on America’s benefits first. They are questioning why Gov. Palin is not continuing the campaign in place of McCain. The answer to that seems obvious, she is not running for President. And since Senator Biden also needs to do his job, it is more bi-partisan to allow both campaign to stop while both work on this.

Yes, a President multi-tasks each day. Yes you must deal with many events at once. But priorities are important. And approving political ads or practicing for debate questions while you speak with say Chris Dodd on the phone about what compromise or terms of repayment are ok for the bailout presents itself as the wrong kind of order to me.

But I asked an average guy about this today. He is a cable repairman, doesn’t follow politics much, and I have no idea of his politics. He heard of the bailout, but had no idea how that could affect him and America. He heard about what McCain and Obama were planning to do. In his words

“They both sound like politicians to me. It’s all just political showing off.”

I asked him about the bailout, and he mentioned he wasn’t sure what it meant to him. I clarified the point, giving him the comments of Warren Buffett (who he had heard of) and detailing what a Depression would mean – 4 out of 5 people he knows would be without jobs, and possibly homes, within 2 months. That is the worst case scenario.

I asked him again, based on that severity, and the fact that all 3 Senators involved in the Presidential race still have jobs in Congress, how he felt. He still could see the political nature of both their actions. He further said

“But that [Obama] doesn’t seem right, if it’s that important.”

How important could it be? Well in a press conference on the 23rd it was stated that several Democrats would not vote on the bill if McCain did not (5:05)

If this bill must be bi-partisan, and it must be resolved as quickly as possible, and it should hold safeguards that ensure that the crisis is ended and we won’t need to spend another trillion dollars in a month, then both Presidential candidates need to work on this and not their campaigns. I think so.

And I really think that Obama should have thought so too, and not need the President to call him to bring him back to D.C. to do the job he was elected to the Senate to do.

If this is not the single most declarative statement of which candidate will act for America first, which has their political gain first then I don’t know what is. No amount of polispeak can hide bi-partisan action, and a politician doing the job they were elected to do. But if you disagree, I would love to hear that argument.

Labels: , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Which is right - keep campaigning or fixing the economy?

So the news has now been reported that Senator Obama does not plan to accept Senator McCain’s offer to go back to D.C. and work on the bailout and not the Presidential election.

Senator Obama believes that he can both work out the problems with the bailout and step before the nation for a debate on Friday. He believes that he can focus on both issues equally.

Senator McCain has already stated that he believes that the political debate can wait until the financial future of America is resolved.

I feel that Obama is placing politics above the nation, and his constituents that elected him to office. Both of these men are Senators, as is Joe Biden. They have a responsibility to the voters that put them in office up until they are elected by voters for a different office.

The polispeak will fly today. Some will laud one or the other Presidential candidate. I can clearly see the benefit to the nation of the actions of McCain, I do not see that benefit from Senator Obama. Obama is choosing to hold a speech about how great he will be for the economy once he is elected, while McCain will be speaking with Democrats, Republicans, and the President about keeping the economy going up to and through the election. Which makes more sense.

How well will Senator Obama be able to review documents on the bailout, and shake hands with undecided voters? How well will he be able to speak with Congress, while he is kissing babies and approving attack ads? How well will he be able to confer with economic experts while he is practicing his debate points.

Yes a President must do more than one thing at a time. But if Warren Buffett is correct, and this is the financial equivalent of Pearl Harbor, Senator Obama is saying he would rather go overseas for a meeting than deal directly with the situation.

Was the fear of following McCain’s lead on this potentially devastating financial fiasco so great as to refuse to do his job. Is his desire to be President so great that he would rather lead America in a depression, with millions unemployed and/or homeless than serve as the Senator he has been elected to be in relative economic stability?

Perhaps this, more than the debates themselves, will be the turning point in the election. And I have to wonder what most Americans will prefer. I for one agree that the debates for the election (which can be rescheduled for another day out of the 41 remaining) are not as important as my work, and as a consequence my house.

Labels: , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

More thoughts on the proposed $700 billion bailout

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine. He too was a former stockbroker, and concerned about the bailout. He believes that the $700 billion should be approved, because we cannot let this go on for a prolonged period of time.

I was informed that Jim Cramer was on cable television discussing how this bailout must be approved lest 5 million homeowners hit the market all at once. I was informed that other stockbrokers we know are looking at the potential for the market to drop up to another 1000 points if this bailout is not approved immediately. And I was reminded that this is not a situation that will resolve itself.

My friend remembered that this problem did not start last moth, or this year, or last year. He was clear in that this is far beyond politics. That we as a nation are facing the serious potential of a depression if this is handled wrong.

But as I listened, and reflected on my previous thoughts on this issue, and all the news that has been made available I was reinforced on my opinion.

The bailout as it stands is not in the best interest of the nation. Throwing money at a problem will never resolve it. Politicians and regulators have no understanding of the depth or causes of this crisis. Had they any understanding they would have seen the problem over a year ago. In January they would have reacted properly, but they all had no clue. Giving them even a Trillion dollars will not end the problem.

The bailout is meant to be an investment for the public. But this investment currently has no established value, no terms of repayment, no system of repayment, nor any assurance that future repayment will not be needed. I have a problem with that.

Honestly this is not like getting a credit card or a loan. In both of those cases you are assuming part of the cost of those that fail to make their payments in the interest rate you pay. You are provided documentation that states how you share in that coverage. It’s a system maintained by the private business that created the system.

The bailout, as proposed, is a mortgage – for some like me a 2nd mortgage – to which we receive no benefit other than the security of knowing the financial system might continue for another day. And while my friend believe that the next President will not directly raise taxes in the wake of this bailout, I believe that must. My friend believes that we will see social programs cut, and on that I agree as well.

The next President will have to raise taxes. While I doubt they will ask for the $5,000 to $10,000 that is estimated for the bailout from each American taxpayer, I do believe that taxes will increase for everyone by 5% at least. Because of the bad decisions of some people and several businesses. And that does not take into account some of the very costly programs one of the Presidential candidates wants to implement.

I also believe that no matter what the terms of the bailout ends up as, the market will lose over 1000 points from where it is now. With the eventual return of short-stock trades, a 4th quarter for retail companies that will by abysmal, and increasing costs for crude oil and heating oil, the market will have little choice but to turn down. The picture is dire. But taking blind action is no better than inaction.

We need time to figure out what to do, and how. To determine the full cost, and how the public can be repaid. To unravel the actual valuation of these properties, and to decide how many homeowners in default will be allowed to lose their homes – because the only way some will not is in a dreamworld.

I believe that some $200 billion should be used to fill the water in the tub, and then time spent to find the actual leak. Before the 4th quarter ends we should be able to answer the big questions facing us now – how much, how long, will we be paid back, and how to get the money back.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe my friend, Cramer, and others are right. But I have to tell you that I am afraid, not of what happens if this works but what happens they are wrong.

Labels: , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Ahmadinejad - a danger everywhere except the Tehran Times

When considering the recent visit of Mahmud Ahmadinejad to the United Nations this week I looked at what was released by the Tehran Times on the subject. I wanted to see how they were viewing the trip and how they might be informing their people of how it was going.

This is a direct quote from that paper.

“It has been our honor and privilege to meet with President Ahmadinejad ... we have found the Iranian President to be a deeply religious man, dedicated to a peaceful world, based on mutual respect, fairness and dialogue,"" Rabbi Weiss wrote.”

Now I thought for a moment and searched for how Columbia University, about as liberal an institution of learning as exists in the world, felt about Iran’s President last year.

And I decided to listen to his answer on the Holocaust from 2006

And then I went to look at what he had to say about America recently

Considering all these comments from his own mouth, respectfully I wonder where does Rabbi Weiss find a dedication to world peace, mutual respect or fairness? Truly it’s a shame the Tehran Times is so controlled as to be unable to comment on what the rest of the world hears.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

News Flash on bailout - McCain going to work, Obama sent email

Wow, this is a big move. Senator John McCain has stepped forward again. He has moved to try to resolve the issue of the bailout back in Congress and Washington D.C. He has asked Senator Obama to join him on this cause.

It’s a big move. Senator Obama, who was told this offer before it became known to the public, has yet to respond. He must say yes, and follow the lead of Senator McCain.

Both of these men needed to be back in D.C. on this issue, as they are Senators first and Presidential nominees second. They owe it to their constituents to do their jobs. And I find it interesting that McCain was the first to recognize this fact.

This is more important than just the political situation.

Wait, now comes news that Senator Obama sent McCain an email at 8am today. But that email asked McCain to join Senator Obama in making a statement that the terms of the bailout must contain items they both agree on. Again that was the response to Senator McCain asking for them both to go to D.C. and get to work, an email released to the media saying this morning he wanted to make a joint statement.

A statement, even made jointly, is weak. It resolves none of the problems. Maybe Obama had the first idea, but it was a half idea. They need to do their jobs.

More on this as it gets more details. And remember that President Bush was going to make a statement on the bailout at 9pm tonight.

Labels: , ,

Ask for ad rates

Senator Biden has another problem with Senator Obama

What reason do I have to feel that an Administration of Senator Obama and Senator Biden will be bad? What makes me feel that they can’t work together?

Well besides the thoughts I have stated before in my post Obama - Biden: Where are the positives? I have another item to add.

When Senator Obama okayed political ads attacking Senator john McCain’s ability to work with computers it failed to mention that McCain has problems because of the wounds he received as a Viet Nam POW. Those injuries to his arms make it very difficult for him to properly use a computer. There may be other issues on the use of a computer, something that is more the tool of those 45 and under – as we grew up with these innovations – but I am not aware if that is a factor.

Senator Biden is aware of this limitiation to McCain. And he had this to say on the subject.

If he had known he wouldn’t have done it. That is critical. He wasn’t informed about the ad. So in this simple answer we get that Senator Obama does not confide or discuss his decisions with his number 2. And Biden disputes the decision of Obama.

It may seem like a little thing, but if they differ and disagree on political ads what about significant issues like Pakistan and international policy, healthcare, Iraq, and the other major issues that they debated before and through the Primaries? What kind of Presidential Administration will they provide if they don’t speak and discuss, and oppose the actions of each other?

That is an issue Democrats want to gloss over, and the major media refuses to acknowledge. But that is an important fact to me, and my vote. How about you?

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Mortgage crisis bailout - Buffett in, but should we join him?

Warren Buffett has made a significant symbolic action in our economy. He has invested $5 billion into Goldman Sachs, the bank. Not the investment bank but the commercial bank that it has now become. The difference may sound small but it’s huge.

In doing this he has signaled his long-term belief that the American economy will weather this storm. Which few doubted. But this one act is hardly enough to resolve all the issues between now and his normal 5 – 7 year investment window.

Now I realize confidence needed to enter the markets. And the doubt of the bailout plan did not help anything. This is a great stabilizing factor. But the bailout plan is not a smart bet, and will not benefit the nation near-term.

The reality is that the Government wants to give Ben Bernanke $700 billion dollars to accept the bad debt of the financial markets. This is the same individual that failed to identify or resolve the problems in the financial markets that I saw back in January at least. And he is planning to accept every problem every size bank can shovel into this deal.

Have no doubt that every bank is working out how they can get their debt passed onto the taxpayers. These are individuals that were smart enough to create the derivatives that regulators are not smart enough to see as a problem for over 5 years. And suddenly we think that more regulation will prevent bad decisions and prevent being unable to understand what is happening in the markets.

The Government should not be in the business of owning banks. The Government is not smart enough, efficient enough, nor reactive enough. The Government is not able to take on debt at a realistic valuation since it does not understand the value, and thus every dollar spent on the bailout will be a waste. And the Government has never been able to intervene in the financial markets to the benefit the nation or investors.

I would bet that Warren Buffett was asked by the Government to step into the market. He is too strong a figurehead to be ignored, and thus symbolically stabilizes the markets. And the fact that Goldman had to become a less powerful commercial bank, and thus seek out deposits to shore up its bad books and loan reserves, to get the investment by Buffett is telling indeed.

The fact is that nothing will prevent the markets from going lower in the short-term. They need to. And if there is to be any real confidence we need to see other investors step up and make similar styled investments. I want to see the Blackstone Group, and Apollo Investments to make similar steps. Bill Gates too. But that is not happening yet.

The Government has been given time, to sort out what it will do. My advice would be to let the markets sort out the problem created in the markets and bad decisions. Because all a bailout does is tell the markets that the Government will step in every time they make an overly greedy decision. And if you think I am wrong, go back and look at what the auto industry is asking Congress right now.

But perhaps one of the worst things a bailout will signal is opening the floodgates on mortgages. If we bailout bad bets by financials, why not bailout the home owners that made bad decisions? And if we can help those home owners, how the hell can we not say that people like myself that made a smart decision on their loans deserve help too. Why should my taxes go to help pay a mortgage that is not my own? Especially since all those home owners had to do is read their documents and do the math.

The Government is not responsible for correcting the bad decisions those it governs makes. But in making the bailout a fact that is exactly what it is doing. And that is more than a small step towards a socialist government and away from a Democracy.

In the Star Wars movies there is a scene where it is said that

“This is how Democracy dies. With thunderous applause.”

But I believe that that is not the only way we can lose it. It can die with a funnel of money draining from the people. Not as dramatic or poetic, but perhaps far more effective and deceptive.

Labels: , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Presidential election of 2008: Seen as Black and White

The Presidential election of this year is special. Perhaps this is the most special election for over 100 years, perhaps going as far back as to the Civil War. That is because in this one election multiple events are going to happen that will change America forever, no matter which candidate wins.

Specifically I want to focus on Senator Obama. By his historic nomination he has set off dominoes that continue to fall, and will fall for decades to come. And every one of those dominoes is connected to race relations in America.

I know many people have wondered what are Senator Obama’s chances of winning the election. And I must say that they are pretty bad. And this has little to do with his political intentions. Because if anyone was honest they would admit that in an election year with a President that has one of the worst (if not the worst) approval ratings since they kept these ratings, and a war as unpopular as Viet Nam it is unheard of to not be leading the opposing Party with at least 10 – 20%. The words landslide should be in play.

But what is holding America back? The Congress is Democratic, and ineffective. While this is the hands-down worst Congress ever, with approval ratings even lower than the President, no one really believes that Congress is all that effective even in the best of times. But the Congress is chanting the latest political fads – change, environmentally positive everything, more money in the average guys pocket, and an end to the wars. The Democratic nominee should be swimming in the excess.

But this Democratic nominee is Black. Which means he has Black friends. And Black wife and children. All of them will be in the White House, and not as cleaning staff.

It would be a laughable statement, except this is America land of the worst memory in history. This nation can’t remember that slaves built the foundation of everything. This nation can’t remember that African Americans fought in every war this nation ever had, of their own free will. This nation strives to forget that up until 1922 lynching a Black man was not a crime. Or that the murder of an entire town went unpunished. Or that laws based on skin color were as real as laws from Congress.

Because in America we forget that people of color exist on television, movies, cartoons, and books. We insist on populating news footage with negative images of people of color – to such an extreme that exactly the same photos of survivors of natural disaster portray Whites as foraging for food, and Blacks as looters. It’s because of this complete unwillingness to admit that our past is as ugly as any nation, and that this past was rather recent, that we see many people shun Senator Obama.

I’m sure most have forgotten already that during the Democratic Primaries polls showed that 11% of Democratic voters (who tend to be the most liberal part of the Party) in Pennsylvania and Ohio felt that race was important in selecting a candidate. And in West Virginia there was a large group that were sure that Senator Obama was a secret Muslim terrorist.

But now there is even more proof that not only some Democrats, but the nation makes decisions in Black and White.

The Associated Press, Yahoo, and Stanford University conducted a poll of 2,227 adults between August 27th and September 5th. 55% were between 30 and 60 years old. 52% were women. 86% had high school or better educations. 57% were married, 27% single. 27% had kids. 84% lived in a city of some size. 59% were employed. 71% made $25,000 or more per year. 49% were Democrats, 36% Republican, and 7% Independent. Most importantly 69% were White, 11% were Black, and 13% were Hispanic.

Here are the important results of the poll.

  • 54% had a somewhat or very favorable opinion of Senator Obama.
  • 55% had a somewhat or very favorable opinion of the Democratic Party.
  • 64% somewhat or strongly disapproved of the job President Bush is doing.

Up to this point you would have to wonder why Senator Obama is not doing better in polling results. Both he and his Party enjoy a better than 50% favorable opinion. And President Bush represents Republicans (supposedly) so he should be doing gangbusters against anything that sounds remotely like a President bush policy. Yet we know he is not.

The following is verbatim from the poll (wave 6 is the version of the poll):

    RAC3. Please indicate HOW MANY of the following upset you.
  • The federal government increasing the tax on gasoline
  • Professional athletes getting million-dollar-plus salaries
  • Large corporations polluting the environment
    Wave 6
    0 4
    1 14
    2 31
    3 51
    Refused / Not Answered 0

    RAC4. Please indicate HOW MANY of the following upset you.
  • The federal government increasing the tax on gasoline
  • Professional athletes getting million-dollar-plus salaries
  • Large corporations polluting the environment
  • A black family moving next door to where you live
    Wave 6
    0 1
    1 12
    2 41
    3 38
    4 7
    Refused / Not Answered 0

    RAC5. Please indicate HOW MANY of the following upset you.
  • The federal government increasing the tax on gasoline
  • Professional athletes getting million-dollar-plus salaries
  • Large corporations polluting the environment
  • Black leaders asking the government for racial equality in the work place
    Wave 6
    0 3
    1 9
    2 32
    3 30
    4 25
    Refused / Not Answered 1

    RAC6. Please indicate HOW MANY of the following upset you.
  • The federal government increasing the tax on gasoline
  • Professional athletes getting million-dollar-plus salaries
  • Large corporations polluting the environment
  • A black person serving as president of the United States
    Wave 6
    0 3
    1 11
    2 28
    3 46
    4 10
    Refused / Not Answered 1

Notice what is different in each of the above. The numbers jump dramatically when adding in a Black person. Especially if that African American is a leader asking for equality, or is President. But isn’t it nice that there is only a slight increase when a Black person lives near Whites. I guess racism doesn’t exist – as long as we don’t try to do more than live near Whites.

But the pool goes on.

  • 60% of the respondents like a little to a great deal Whites (which is funny since 69% are White)
  • 52% of the respondents like a little to a great deal Blacks
  • 52% of the respondents like a little to a great deal Hispanics

    Do you happen to know the religion of each of the following candidates? If you don’t know, you can mark that too.

The key in this response is the fact that 14% feel that Senator Obama is a Muslim. That’s after 16 months of pundits on television, campaign ads, and the actual words of Obama dispelling rumors about his faith. And since 9/11 being a Muslim in this nation can be painful if not deadly.

But couple that response with this next question:

    CQ8. Does Barack Obama’s religion make you more likely to vote for him, less likely to vote for him, or have no effect on whether you’d vote for him?
    More likely 6
    Less likely 18
    Has no effect 75
    Refused / Not Answered 0

That’s 18% that would be less likely to vote for Obama, and 23% that fail to recognize or believe in his Christian faith – most believing him to be Muslim.

But what about Reverend Wright, a Christian and much spoken about during and since the Primaries?

    CQ9. Does Barack Obama’s relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright (his former pastor in Chicago) suggest to you that Mr. Obama would be a better president, a worse president, or suggest nothing to you about how good or bad a president he would be?
    All Respondents Wave 6
    A much better president 2
    A somewhat better president 3
    A somewhat worse president 15
    A much worse president 19
    Suggest nothing to you 61
    Refused / Not Answered 0

    Whites Only Wave 6
    A much better president 0
    A somewhat better president 2
    A somewhat worse president 18
    A much worse president 23
    Suggest nothing to you 56
    Refused / Not Answered 0

The total of all respondents was 34% feel Rev Wright was a bad influence on their vote
The total of White respondents was 41% feel Rev Wright was a bad influence on their vote

Yet 50% said they want Senator Obama as President with or without a Democratic Congress
47% said they want a moderate President but 63% feel Obama is slightly to extremely Liberal

    RAC8. When it comes to politics, would you say that each of the groups listed below has too much influence, just about the right amount of influence, or to little influence?

Now I found it interesting that 87% of White respondents felt they had just enough or too little influence on politics. Yet 75% White respondents felt Blacks had too much influence or just enough.

This question really makes me wonder

    RAC10. How often have you felt admiration for blacks?
    All Respondents Wave 6
    Extremely often 8
    Very often 18
    Moderately often 43
    Rarely 21
    Never 8
    Refused / Not Answered 1

    Whites Only Wave 6
    Extremely often 3
    Very often 15
    Moderately often 49
    Rarely 23
    Never 8
    Refused / Not Answered 1

What do they mean admiration? And for whom? Do they mean if Whites admire Tiger Woods for his golfing ability, or Shaq for being able to play basketball, or do they mean Tyler Perry for his business success? And guess which one the average White American knows the name of.

When the poll asked:

    RAC11. How well does each of these words describe most blacks?

  • Whites responded 57% that Complaining was a moderately to extremely well description
  • Whites responded 38% that Lazy was a moderately to extremely well description
  • Whites responded 40% that Irresponsible was a moderately to extremely well description
  • Whites responded 48% that Violent was a moderately to extremely well description

Another question asked how much people agreed or disagreed with a statement:

    Generations of slavery have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class – 51% of Whites strongly or somewhat disagreed with this.

    Over the past few years, blacks have gotten LESS than they deserve – 44% of Whites strongly or somewhat disagreed with this

    Over the past few years, blacks have gotten more ECONOMICALLY than they deserve – 29% of Whites strongly or somewhat disagreed with this

So in looking at these questions you get this picture – Whites (at least in this poll) feel that Blacks are violent and complain too much, in particular about slavery and Jim Crow laws and the effect being a considered a non-human that did not deserve the right to read and/or write for centuries might have had up until 1965. And that it’s irresponsible for us to believe we deserve anything more than EXACTLY what we have now.

That how I read that section.

Another question of note:

    RAC14. How much of the racial tension that exists in the United States today do you think blacks are responsible for creating?

85% of the White respondents believe that Blacks are responsible for most or some of the racial tension in America today. But if you go to your TV right now, and flip thru 5 channels (excluding Unavision and BET) I doubt you will be able to find more than 2 main black characters, 1 Hispanic, and 0 Asians on all the programs combined. But being made invisible on a medium that broadcasts 24/7 wouldn’t make you feel invisible or tense. Just like if no one ever spoke or looked at you for a day or two. Wouldn’t that be relaxing, now imagine that happens everyday of your life.

Another great question:
    RAC15. How much discrimination against blacks do you feel there is in the United States today, limiting their chances to get ahead?

81% of the White respondents believe that there is little to some discrimination. Refer back to the example above. Or better yet provide me with a video or link to news about a White man being shot 50 or more times by police.

Now I realize that this has been very long. And if you have followed this to here I thank you. But more importantly I hope you are thinking about this poll, and what it says about America.

There are very real issues about race in this nation. It’s more than the fact that in June of 2007 Senator Obama had to have a Secret Service detail because of the death threats he was receiving – before he became popular and months before any other potential candidate was made a similar offer. It’s more than the fact that fully some 10% of people polled in every state have said they won’t vote for an African American. It’s not even solely about the lopsided justice that the Jena 6, Wesley Snipes, Megan Williams, Sean Bell and the 3 men beaten by 15 Philadelphia police received. It’s that America has issues with anyone of color, and that issue is exponentially greater if that person has or tries to attain a position of power.

Has America improved its race relations since 1965? Yes, because police dogs and fire hoses are not used when a Black kid goes to an integrated school. But that fact, and that 1 Black man is running for the Presidency, does not mean that racism has been abolished.

Not when during the time of this election cycle African Americans have been beaten, killed, and persecuted by the same Government that he is running to be elected to lead. Not when so many believe Blacks have too much power, or are innately violent and/or lazy, and so many have problems with the idea of a Black leader or President.

In that kind of an environment are you surprised that anyone might wonder if Senator Obama can win? Even though he is well liked, his political party is favored, and the current policies and President is virtually despised. Is it really any wonder that this is not a landslide election for the Democrats and Obama?

I mean think about this. Of all the questions asked in the poll, not one mentioned a single political issue. Not one mentioned any change in the government. Not one question focused on a campaign promise that Democrats and/or Obama has made. Yet consistently for reasons revolving around the fact that Senator Obama has an excellent tan every day of his life, he is viewed as a violent, lazy, irresponsible, Muslim, that creates racial tension and complains too much with too much political power for the likes of some 20% or so of Americans.

Please tell me how this does not bode poorly for the nation and our future?

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Monday, September 22, 2008

Senator Obama speaking at Green Bay

If you were watching cable news at about 1:25pm today you would have heard Senator Obama speaking about the economy. He mentioned how we need change, though he failed to mention what he might change.

He mentioned he wanted to reform regulations on Wall Street. That he wants to follow a different economic plan. He blames Wall Street executives for their intention to make money out of the bailout. And he tried to draw a line from Reganomics, to President Bush, to Senator McCain.

But I have to wonder where is Senator Obama’s admonishion of his fellow Democrats are. He failed to mention that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to slip in $50 billion to the bailout plan. He fails to mention that many in Congress are trying to add earmarks to the bailout. He fails to mention that 2 years ago Senator McCain tried to reform policies on Wall Street and was shot down.

He fails to mention, when he speaks about the Clinton surplus, that President Clinton created the internet bubble. That the jobs created by the bubble were lost when it burst. That the Administration redid the way the government counts the deficit – such that they came up with the following.

They figured that since stocks were up, and would continue to be up for 5 yrs, taxes on the investments would be enough to balance and exceed the deficit. And based on that surplus, from the stock market, the government could spend that surplus and still be even in 5 yrs. In other wods there was never a surplus, and if you tried to use that same math in your life or business you would be in jail for fraud.

But he also fails to mention that Reganomics saved the nation from failed Democratic economic policies of President Carter (which most of the economic proposals Senator Obama has mentioned mimics). He fails to mention that Reganomics created the environment that created the surge in the economy and stock market. He fails to mention that in the face of warnings about the internet bubble, Democrats allowed the crash to happen which costs billions and put tens of thousands out of work.

Senator Obama fails to mention that it was not the regulations, that were weakened during the Clinton Administration, that caused the current fiasco but bad decisions. Everything was done within regulations, but the bad decisions caused the bad loans. And you can’t legislate choices, in a Free nation.

Senator Obama is a great speaker. He can polispeak with the greatest orators I can recall. He can obfuscate the facts, and avoid obvious truths with ease. And he can fail to actually detail a plan yet make people believe he has one.

When you listen to Senator Obama talk about changing the economy, have you heard him give a plan on what he will do? That he will refoprm exactly which regulations? That this change will help investors how? That will benefit the economy in what manner?

Like most politicians, in DC especially, he has no plan, just polispeak. He doesn’t even have a bill in Congress with his name on anything with this. And where is the blame on say Democrat Chris Dodd, in charge of the banking committee, that failed to do anything about this mortgage crisis over the past 1 ½ years?

You know, I love to hear a great politician. But when it comes time to vote, you just have to sit back and remember that all those little questions you never got an answer for. For me, there are just too many questions without answers, to many calls for change without a detail of what kind of change.

Call me crazy, but I like to see a President that has a plan. I don’t have to love the plan, but at least then I have something to go by. But some don’t need that. Like in 2006 during the mid-term elctions when Democrats were elected to Congress on change. And since then we have gotten no change, but lots of excuses. Now we have a Presidential candidate that also rallies around change, without a single detail. And some expect things to get better. I just have to wonder why?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Friday, September 19, 2008

What's another $50 billion in debt?

The stock market was falling, the Government spent a quarter of a billion taxpayer dollars to bailout selected financial companies, and plans were being made to spend almost $1 trillion dollars on the bad debt still floating in the market. While all this is happening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to promote increasing the debt of the nation even more. How kind.

House Speaker Pelosi, who still has not publicly acknowledged her substantial investments in alternative energy, is now pushing a $50 billion stimulus plan which is similar in some ways to they prior $168 billion stimulus plan that was enacted earlier this year. That early stimulus check failed to do anything except push-off the eventual downward trend in the economy.

I was never in favor of the stimulus check plan. It was a waste of money. With the problem of foreclosures and slower growth the initial checks were used to pay down on debt and mortgages, as opposed to the purchases of new goods that was hoped for. Which seemed obvious to me.

This time Pelosi wants to spend the money

“…that would fund road, bridge and other construction projects, help low-income families pay upcoming winter heating bills, give more food stamps to the poor and help states pay the higher costs of health care for the poor.”

This plan is a little bit smarter than the first but still does nothing to help the people that need it most. Unless you work in construction building a road or bridge will not directly affect you. So that is a waste, and money best spent at the local or state level. Giving poor people more food does not help them learn skills or get jobs that will help them not be poor anymore. Though I agree letting people starve is not nice, in the long run it only trains them to rely on the Government more, as they have been trained to do since the 1970’s.

Of course another problem about the higher costs of food is directly tied to Nancy Pelosi’s investment portfolio. As is the higher cost of heating oil. Nancy Pelosi has held off discussions of domestic drilling for nearly the whole year so far. She has supported everything that will limit this drilling. She wants to build up alternative energy exclusively.

It will take at least 10 years, if not more, to effectively create any alternative energy sources. The one source currently being pushed is corn-based ethanol. Because it’s based on corn food prices are going up. Because only 5 states in the nation have pumps with ethanol, and the fact that only 2 allow public purchases there is a glut of ethanol. And Government mandates will increase that glut by 60% next year.

So effectively, Democrats and Speaker Pelosi are hurting the poor with their plans, and this additional stimulus plan is a band-aid on the wound they inflicted.

I have to wonder how this stimulus plan will help anyone. I have to wonder how this will do anything more than just temporarily hold at bay the problems Democrats have enforced in the nation.

Will this bill pass? Of course. Politically the timing is perfect. The Government is already bailing out the financial sector for $1 trillion, what’s another $50 billion. And how bad will a Presidential candidate look if their Party refuses to pass a bill that targets the poor. The average American does not connect one dumb political idea with another, nor do they see the connection of all these things to the domino effect they create in the future. So it will happen.

Of course that means that the Government will swell further, and the economy will worsen. And the taxpayers will become poorer, at all income levels. These issues are not a rich versus poor issue. If the economy is bad, every American is affected. And the plans being put in place are just trying to push those problems off the minds of Americans till just after the election.

Speaker Pelosi is deceptive in her refusal to acknowledge her personal benefit from her politically based ideas. Senator Obama, in supporting this idea, is ignorant of the real fundamental issues causing the problems. Democrats are too absorbed in political gain to deny this act of futility.

Still never fear, this bill will pass. It will also do nothing to benefit anyone. Especially when crude oil prices increase over the winter as they always do. Especially as food prices go higher as more ethanol is created and sits unused. Especially as domestic drilling sits on the background delaying any potential help it can garner to the public because its ultimate benefit won’t happen for several years (just as alternative energy will take a decade or more to be effective).

But not to worry, bigger Government, larger wastes of tax money, increased national debt, and inept plans from Congress are ok by Democratic standards. Just elect Senator Obama and continue a Democrat-led Congress and they will ensure that the Government will take care of you more; instead of you taking care of yourself. Because they know better. Just look at their record and you can tell.

Labels: , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Bailing out the stock market, and killing the economy

Don’t you love when the Government spends your money? And they do it on a scale so grand that you just have to stop and go wow.

Currently the Government has proposed the best deal Wall Street has ever seen. After having spent over a quarter of a billion dollars on Bear Sterns and mortgage loans and other financials (like AIG), it is now going to by every bad loan of every financial company. Oh joy!

Of course the stock market is flying. Every financial company will now have the chance to load up the Government with every single bad debt they can engineer to be connected to terms of the bailout. And the people working at these banks are far smarter than the Government agencies that will take over these debts. Instantly the books of each bank and brokerage and insurance company will look astounding. All relevant economic guidelines will look solidly in the black: book value, loan reserves, earnings per anything, and so on. All it took is what will be over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money.

Add to this the face that 799 companies in the stock market are no longer allowed to be sold short and you have a market that has no choice but to go up. Like I’ve always said the financials always lead the market higher. Sadly this is bollocks.

The market is artificially propped up right now. Without this bailout, which will hurt the economy for the next President (no matter who it is), we would have found a bottom. But that means once all the crap is done the market will eventually find that bottom, and then exceed it. Just like what happened after the internet bubble burst. Trying to cushion that lead to the real estate bubble and it’s bursting, and now this will lead to another bubble that will burst as well.

Perhaps my time as a stockbroker gives me better insight on this but this is bad. We are talking about over a trillion dollars that will grow and become a bigger problem the next time.

And the Presidential candidates are showing us how they will deal with that next problem now. Senator Obama is waiting for information, instilling no confidence in the market or for investors. Senator McCain is looking for people to blame, which has about the same effect. The only difference is perhaps the fact that since the President must look strong to give the markets any feeling of safety Senator John McCain is looking more Presidential.

But taxes look that they will get raised. It’s the only way to pay off $1 trillion dollars. That means Senator Obama will definitely increase taxes on everyone, massively. And Senator McCain will have to raise them to some extent.

Obama already wants to raise corporate taxes, and increase taxes of everyone from $31,850 and up at least 3%, and raise taxes on energy consumption, capital gains taxes, and payroll taxes. Add this bill and those numbers increase almost exponentially. He will undoubtedly equal or exceed the economic environment of President Carter.

For McCain we will see the likely removal of the President Bush tax cuts. Possibly increases on capital gains as well due to political pressure. This means slower growth in the economy and tough times – not like some want people to believe exist now but will actually exist by 2010.

Here is one thing that I would love to see. I believe that any owner or CEO of a company deserves whatever pay they can justify. There is no limit on what they can be paid, if they have created a profit for their company. But that does not mean they cannot receive a tax, similar to a luxury tax, for a bonus in excess of say $25 million.

If a CEO can grow a company 15% or more and thus ensure everyone connected with the company is safe that deserves a reward. If they retire and the company had netted a profit over their time at the lead, again they deserve a bonus. Because after becoming a CEO of some of the largest companies in the world is likely to be the last job they will ever have. But again the extreme bonus tax should exist. They will still receive millions, so they aren’t going to a poorhouse or changing their lifestyle.

But if a CEO fails to create a profit, they should be restricted in their pay as well. IF a company must be sold to save it, or is cutting workers to stay a float, then management has failed the company. If the company must be bailed out by the Government, the CEO has failed it. Again I can agree that the CEO deserves to be paid their salary, but not a bonus. And if they are leaving the company and created net losses their retirement package should reflect that. So instead of $100 million as an example they would receive say $1 million for each year they were on the job, and still have to pay the extreme bonus tax.

And when I say an extreme bonus tax I mean that say 50% of any bonus over $25 million dollars is split between the company and the Government. The split is 33% to employees, 33% to the corporation, and 33% to the Government. That scenario benefits the company and its employees, hopefully increasing profitability and shareholder confidence. It also benefits the nation. And I can’t see how any CEO that would have gotten say $34 million as a bonus would be upset because they got a $17 million dollar bonus.

But that won’t happen. Just like taxes won’t go up because of this bailout, or that there will not be another crash in the markets because the Government has intervened.

I predicted a 10,200 Dow Jones Index by December. I stand by that. I stated that 9,300 on the Dow in 2009 was possible, I still believe that. And I said that I think $160 per barrel of crude oil would happen over the winter, which may be overly aggressive but still possible. This bailout does not remove these possibilities, it enhances them. Greater regulation does not prevent future problems; it increases the cost of identifying them. Preventing short sales does not help the market, it hides the weakness. And none of these things prevents bad decisions which are honestly the key reason why we had the internet and real estate bubbles.

The only questions that are left are when will the next problem become evident, and how much will the Government spend to bail that out as well.

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Financial stock weaken, but coal looks great

Back when I was a stockbroker (I know, it’s a bad word today) I had a buddy that love to quote this old brokerage saying.

“Bears make money, Bulls make money. But pigs just get slaughtered.”

Obviously the Board members of AIG, Lehman, Bear Sterns, Washington Mutual, and more than a few other financial companies didn’t know that saying.

But the blood is in the water and panic is in the streets. Ok, enough of the sayings. The fact is that the financial markets are screwed right now. We have hit my target of 10,800 on the Dow Jones Index – though not in my timeframe. My target of foreclosures has been exceeded, currently targeted at 9%. And my list of probable factors are being checked off 1 by 1.

So far:

Now that is only 4 out of 15 on my checklist, but they are the big ones. Gold is rising as a hedge to the dollar and to protect assets. As is crude oil. The Dow has nearly hit my December target of 10,200.

So what do we do?

I say buy. There is no greater time for profit than when everything is in a freefall down. Of course picking your time and which stock is essential. I like the financials, because the winners will rally strongly once things settle.

I would avoid Citigroup. They insure their own product and had massive exsposure to bad mortgages. I would avoid Insurance companies since I expect that regulation restricting their abilities to own other assets will be restricted shortly.

But what else is there to buy. In every down market something always goes higher. And there are always leaders on the way back up.

Coal is a great area. Energy is one of the top 5 issues on the minds of voters. Politically it’s a go to industry. Increasing coal use is positive because it means less foreign oil, increased business domestically, increased international trade, and cheaper energy prices to consumers.

Also if coal is liquified then we see the potential for a fuel that is carbon-nuetral as compared to oil. The cost of this process is about $35 per barrel equivalent to oil. That means a savings of some $55 or more dollars per barrel at current prices. Yet at this moment production is minimal.

And coal is plentiful. At current energy consumption rates there is enough coal to power the entire world for 57 years, or just the U.S. for 164 years. And did I mention that the U.S. has the largest reserves in the world. This says nothing of the coal-bed methane that is a potential energy source as well.

A couple of interesting names in the sector include:

    Arch Coal
    International Coal
    Walter Industries
    Peabody Energy
    Patriot Coal
    Massey Energy
    Alpha Natural Resources

Now if we are seriously looking for options in this difficult market, taking into consideration political advantages, energy needs, stability, domestic economic benefits, and isolation from the turmoil of the financial markets we have to look at coal. It just seems like smart money to me.

The financial industry will be merging and bouncing around. There will be regulation and political fights about who is doing the right thing. The dollar and crude oil and gold will get stronger or weaker and then back. Smart money looks at panic and sees the road to profit in the future.

Eventually, perhaps even now, financial stocks are attractive but you will get lumps in the near-term. Gold is too emotional. Crude oil is where everyone is trying to get away from. But you like to get on the internet right? Like lights at night? Want to watch TV and stay warm? Energy is the answer, and Solar, wind, biomass and other alternative energy sources don’t exist – nor will they for at least a decade.

It makes sense to me. So like I used to say as a stockbroker

I love life!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Senator Obama talks around the economy on live television

It was interesting to listen to Senator Obama just now. He was speaking at 2:57pm, and it was televised live on cable news. Of course he was speaking in reference to the falling stock market with the Dow Jones trading down 220 points. He made absolutely no reference to AIG or the bailout made by the government.

But Senator Obama did state

‘John Mcain says he will root out the old boy network. The old boy network? In the McCain Campaign it’s called a staff meeting.’ [paraphrased due to lack of transcript]

Now that was said because Senator McCain has been in Congress for the last 22 years.

Of course Obama failed to remind the crowd that his Vice Presidential pick (Senator Joe Biden) has been in Congress for the last 26 years. He is in fact the 4th longest serving Democrat. He is as responsible for any failed economic reforms, energy policies, or whatever else Obama would like to claim along with McCain – if not more. If the old boy network is in McCain’s campaign, what the hell does Obama call the CEO of the network that is his second in command [who does not agree with Obama, nor thinks he should be President]. It would seem that if nothing else the men and women in the McCain campaign are unified – Democrats can’t say that.

Senator Obama went on to say

‘We don’t need a commission to get us out of this mess.’

Actually yes we do. The fact is that while Obama thinks he understands how this all started, he obviously doesn’t. If he did he would acknowledge that this started from the Clinton Administration. The fault started with the failure of President Bill Clinton to prevent or burst the internet bubble. Because he allowed it to happen, it led to this current crisis. In fact this is just a continuation of that original problem.

But since we can’t go back in time we have to focus on the resolution of the problem in the future. Senator Obama believes that raising taxes will resolve the problem, with the addition of creating new sources of energy without additional drilling.

Obviously he need some advice here. He is stating that he wants to take more money from companies (of all sizes) while they are scrambling to raise cash or meet loans. This is while they are receiving reduced income from sales. There is a good plan.

And he intends to make sure that companies receive less funding. All companies. But he expects that these companies will find money, obviously not from financial companies that need to lower their credit risk nor from investors that will have to pay more money on their investments and taxes, to invest into research to create alternative energy sources.

They will have to make money from thin air, to pay his higher tax rates, and increased worker costs, to lose money in developing biomass converters, wind tower generators, and advanced solar cells – none of which exist in any productive manner today. And don’t forget they need to create factories and distribution lines besides the engineering. And that is while energy costs fluctuate higher over time, further reducing every shrinking revenues.

And all this will help improve America. Obama doesn’t need a commission, or advisors to help him? I think I can give him a bit of help and it will be free. Get a calculator because the math you are doing in your head wouldn’t keep a lemonade stand running.

I wonder if he did not mention anything about AIG directly because he doesn't understand why the Government was forced to bail them out? heis comments would lead me to believe so.

Labels: , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates
Ask for ad rates