Showing posts from June, 2012

LIBOR Manipulation?

Update: August 6, 2012:  " New York State’s banking regulator on Monday accused the Standard Chartered Bank of hiding about 60,000 transactions.  British Bank Said to Hide $250 Billion in Iranian Transactions , New York Times, August, 6, 2012 Update:August 6, 2012:  "The investigation into manipulation of the Libor interest rate has led banks to seek to implicate their rivals." Every Bank For Itself as Fault-Finding Grows , New York Times, August 6,2012 Update: July 28, 2012:  "The case could open the floodgates to hundreds of millions and even billions of pounds in claims against the taxpayer-backed lender and other banks. RBS pays more than £25m to businessman David Agar over interest rate swaps. RBS’s Irish subsidiary last week agreed a settlement with Dublin-based businessman David Agar that will see it write-off swaps and loans worth €30m as well as covering Mr Agar’s legal costs, which are believed to total about €1m."  RBS pays more than £25m to

Obama and Health Care

"For Barack Obama... the Supreme Court’s health care ruling is not just political vindication. It is a personal reprieve, leaving intact his hopes of joining the ranks of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan as presidents who fundamentally altered the course of the country....", Decision Preserves Obama's Play For A Historic Presidency, New York Times , June 28, 2012 Let's not get carried away. Obama still needs to get reelected and a large majority of Americans are against the the health care plan, he is in for a tough fight against Romney and he has gotten off course in his quest for change.  He has the Republicans to share the blame for not having a plan to control our debt. He talks about being a President for the average American and yet during his first three years he did nothing to fight against the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court which allowed the wealthy to buy elections. Instead, he went to Wall Street to have $40,0

Egypt and Freedom

"...for the Arab world to thrive it needs to overcome its deficit of freedom, its deficit of knowledge and its deficit of women’s empowerment. And, I would add, its deficit of religious and political pluralism. We should help any country whose government is working on that agenda — including an Egypt led by a Muslim Brotherhood president...", The Fear Factor, Thomas Friedman, New York Times, June 27.2011 It is also going to be very difficult for us to support such countries as opposed to dictators that have allowed us to get cheap energy and other natural resources in exchange for our protection. It is going to require us to truly stand up in support of freedom even when it may not be in our short term, up to fifty years, financial advantage. Will we be able to do this? History shows that often we stand on the wrong side of freedom when it comes to increasing our financial wealth. We preach democracy but often trade it for greed.  More

Saving The Economy

For demand to increase, confidence needs to increase. In order for confidence to increase the world leaders need to take action now. In Europe, Spain needs money to support its banking system. Europe also either needs to create a politically united Europe or implement a plan to unwind the euro. The first step is to save the Spanish and probably Italian banks. Shortly thereafter, they need to unfold a plan to address the unification of Europe politically. In the United States a stimulus is needed to prop up employment and not let it drift into the abyss. This includes regulations preventing banks from getting too big to fail, and demanding that banks and Wall Street pay retribution for the mortgage crisis that they created with the sub-prime housing fiasco on which they profited. This retribution will act as a stimulus and its cost to the taxpayer will be limited to enforcing the law. Demand in the U.S. will not significantly increase until concrete steps are taken to give back some

Euro - Short-Term Solutions

"The challenge for Mr. Draghi and the plan’s authors — Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council; José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission; and Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the euro group of euro zone ministers — will be to package their plan in a way that makes investors believe something will get done.", European Leaders to Present Plan to Quell the Crisis Quickly , By JACK EWING, June 16, 2011 The key phrase above is "...makes investors believe...". No plan works if there is not a truly politically United States of Europe. Anything less is smoke and mirrors. Europe is looking for something that  will buy time until the long-term solution can be found. You need to be prepared to adjust to a failed Euro! Europe is in a mess and the world is so intertwined that we cannot avoid it impacting our economy. The euro seems doomed to fail because it is dependent on Germany giving back much of the gains received from the Euro Zone experi

Our Leader Is Us

Washington is out of control and It is up to us. We are taught to think for ourselves, make wise choices, government is of the people, for the people and by the people and our government is set up with checks and balances so power cannot be abused. We lost sight we the people have the power to change those things that we do not like. We complain how money is corrupting power and causing grid lock. We complain oligopolies are slowly gaining control of Washington and sucking away our rights, destroying the notion of one man and one vote and replacing it with one dollar one vote. It is time to wake up. The basis on which this country was founded is unchanged. The governing document is still the constitution. We still have a right to vote, to amend the constitution, to say no to leaders refusing to lead for the good of the people. These are actions of a good citizen who does not follow blindly. To quote Ronald Reagan, "trust but verify". Action must to be taken. Us citizens ha


"...President Obama, whose foreign policy I normally admire, has been behind the curve in responding to the humanitarian crises in Syria and the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Granted, there aren’t good options in either place, but bad options shouldn’t be an excuse for the even worse option of doing nothing.", Rousing The White House On Syria And Sudan , New York Times, June 9, 2011, Nicholas Kristof What would you like the President to do? First, he is sworn to uphold the constitution of the United States. Where does it say that he should spend our treasury to save people from dictators in other countries. Second, how do you propose he pays for it? Our country is in an economic mess with many people out of work and struggling to get by. We made the mistake of financing two wars over the last ten years with borrowed money. Do you propose we do it again?

Dreams Lost

In her book, How The West Was Lost, Dambia Moyo discusses the misallocation of labor resources caused by the high salaries paid to our sports heroes by society. The cost she points out is not the $442,000 per week that Kobe Bryant is paid for playing basketball, but rather the thousands of young boys, and now girls, who spend a large percentage of their time chasing the dream that only one in 10,000 reach. Society loses, not because Kobe gains. Society loses because so many children, often with encouragement from parents, sacrifice their time dribbling a basketball rather than studying in hopes of making it big. Society loses thousands of future teachers, scientists or engineers to a dream where success is stacked against the dreamer. Thus, our addiction to sports heroes is causing us to be less competitive to other parts of the world where  education is valued more than a great athlete. Our universities are encouraging these false dreams. More:

Obama's Campaign Platform

If Obama is to retain the Presidency, he must articulate his campaign platform to reflect the moderate that he is. He must campaign on his core beliefs which include. 1. Get out of Afghanistan 2. Implement health care reform while acknowledging some adjustments need to be made to the current law. Flatly state that the law will be readdressed and adjustments made including more free market involvement. Don't do this to get votes. Do it because it is right. 3. Fight to repeal the Supreme Courts decision on Citizens United concerning campaign contributions. 4. Invoke the Volcker Rule and break-up banks that are too big to fail. 5. Develop and implement a long term plan that will resolve our debt issue. This includes raising taxes on the wealthy and making cuts on expenditures including entitlement programs if necessary.

Does Race Provide Special Privilege?

For the record I am white and supported Obama in 2008 and will again this year. He has made mistakes; however, he has learned from them and is a better choice than Romney. The first time I voted was in 1968 and until 2008 I always voted Republican for President. The white race in this country needs to be given credit for helping Obama to get elected. Many of us ignored race and decided he was the best qualified. Without that support he would still be in the senate.The nations economy and budget is a mess. All of the nations expenditures need to be reviewed and questioned. Providing food and shelter for the very needy is justified by our Judeo-christian heritage. What needs to be addressed is whether the nation needs to continue to pay retribution to the black race for the sins of slavery and segregation. There are government programs, that came out of the sixties, that are geared towards trying to correct the errors of the past. We must decide whether the nation still has special

Buying Elections!

The political war in Wisconsin points to a bigger problem. The republicans outspent the Democrats three to one. The Governor bought the election legally. This is not a new trend. To some extent it is how the democrats gained power with the unions pooling their members money and resources. The labor law worked in their favor. Today, it is the wealthy buying elections as a result of the Citizens United case at the Supreme Court. In both scenarios, buying of elections corrupts our system and needs to be stopped. It will not be stopped by our politicians because they are the ones benefiting. It is not a coincidence that the increase in the cost of elections has occurred as free markets have been weakened by oligopolies controlling more and more industries.

Crisis Can Bring Concensus

You need to be prepared to adjust to a failed Euro! Europe is in a mess and the world is so intertwined that we cannot avoid it impacting our economy. The euro seems doomed to fail because it is dependent on Germany giving back much of the gains received from the Euro Zone experiment. This is not likely unless Germany concludes they will lose even more by letting Europe continue its downward spiral. They were able to significantly boost imports, which in turn helped them reunify their nation after East Germany's collapse. If, when the euro zone fails, the consequences may be as bad as our 2008 meltdown. It is hard to envision Europe becoming a united nation. The United States consolidated a major portion of North America by obliterating the nations that previously occupied the land - the Native American Indian. This will not happen in Europe.

Unbridled Power Corrupts

We have lived beyond our means and this needs to change. In the past, after World War II, we were the last industrialized country standing. We ruled the world. We were a benevolent ruler; however, we were the unchallenged ruler; both economically and politically. Lord Acton, the British historian, said in 1887; "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." Great men are not always bad men, but it is true that unchallenged leadership does tend to drift towards complacency and over confidence. This happens with leaders and with the average citizenry. Citizens tend to not pay attention to their leaders. The leaders tend to slowly increase their power and influence and it goes unnoticed and without concern because everyone has a piece of the "good life". The good life is slipping away. If we are to correct our downward slide the change must come from the people for the leaders are too intoxicated with thei