Entries Tagged as 'Corpustler'

A 100 Billion Dollar Fraud

Bill Bonner today compares the fraud of Volkswagen, a 100 Billion Dollar Fraud, to another fraud. As far as we know, nobody suffered as a result of Volkswagen, yet they will pay mightly. Fannie Mae on the other hand…let Bill Bonner tell it:

Yesterday also brought news of another corporate faux pas…

This time, by one of America’s government-sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie Mae.

The case also involved hiding something. But this time, the result was genuine suffering on behalf of millions of U.S. homeowners.

Fortune magazine reports:

On Monday afternoon, Thomas Lund [one of the highest ranking former officials of Fannie Mae] settled charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission back in 2011 that he helped deceive shareholders of Fannie Mae in the run-up to the financial crisis.

The suit claimed that Lund, who was the head of Fannie’s single-family division, helped hide more than $100 billion of subprime exposure from Fannie’s shareholders, allowing it to continue to back more and more risky loans.

Now, here we have a clearer case. Thanks in part to Mr. Lund’s chicanery, the bubble in mortgage finance caught investors unaware. This resulted in losses of at least $8 trillion in the U.S. stock market alone.

Mortgage debt had become a key component of Wall Street collateral. When housing prices fell, many of the big banks were faced with insolvency.

Arguably, in September 2008, this brought the entire financial industry – and the world economy – to the edge of collapse.

Losses in the housing market were colossal and came with great personal suffering. We don’t remember the number. But something like 10 million households found themselves “underwater,” with mortgage debt in excess of the value of their houses.

Millions of people lost their homes when lenders repossessed them.

Remember “jingle mail”?

Underwater homeowners had no choice: They just mailed their house keys back to the mortgage companies. Whole families were living in cheap motels and improvised lodgings.

You’d think Mr. Lund would want to duck. Surely, the SEC – when it ruled this week – would throw the book at him.

But wait. Mr. Lund was in finance, not manufacturing. He was not making cars. He was not making anything!

He was taking cheap money that didn’t belong to him (thanks to the Fed’s EZ money policies) and lending it to people who couldn’t pay it back.
Thomas Lund’s Parting Gift…
So, when Mr. Lund looked up at the judge on Monday… and said, “Judge, what will be my fine?”… the judge didn’t look at Mr. Lund and say, “Boy, you got 99.”

Instead, Fortune continues:

Lund’s penalty for his role: a mere $10,000. What’s more, the penalty won’t even be considered a fine. The SEC agreed to classify the payment officially as a “gift to the U.S. government,” not an actual punishment.

But the worst part is this: Lund won’t even pay the penalty. The agreement allows Fannie to make the payment for him, which it has agreed to do. And don’t forget: The government had to bail out Fannie and still controls it.

Of course, Lund was not a German industrialist. He was a true American crony.


It Is Not Normal in Normal

This notice caught my eye: Separately, Mitsubishi Motors has confirmed it will stop making cars in the U.S. due to dwindling output in recent years. Production at its sole North American plant, in Normal, Illinois, will move to Japan and Thailand. Although it has seen solid growth rates in the U.S. this year, Mitsubishi (OTCPK:MMTOF) faces higher costs due to the strong U.S. dollar.

“Isn’t it wonderful,”he said sarcastically, “that you can just pick up a plant and move it to another place where wages are lower. Wonder what happens to the ex-employees in Normal, Illinois.”

On its website, Mitsubishi Motors said it contributes $120 million a year to the local economy in taxes, salaries and benefits. The auto plant is the only UAW plant left in the country with 1.200 employees.

 

Mover Mike Hit 2,000,000

After an incredible June, Mover Mike hit 2,000,000 page views. I have been blogging since 2004 and it is nice to see that more people are finding this blog. Sometimes, I have considered quitting, thinking why bother, no one reads me. However, conservative fiscally, Libertarian socially, this blog joins many others who don’t like the path the U.S. is on.

No longer can we discuss things rationally and heatedly.  Now it seems the play book says to ignore the message, savage the messenger. We are seeing that currently with Trump and we read that Hillary hasn’t answered the press questions in two weeks. AND…more and more people are considering leaving the country.

Mexico”sends” their unemployed to the U.S.. How long will 93,000,000 unemployed and under employed wait to move south? How long will the drought stricken  in the south west wait to move? What happens when the U.S. becomes like Greece and can’t feed the 43,000,000 on EBT?

Stay tuned, dear reader. I hope to cover it and provide some answers. Thanks for reading Mover Mike

HILLARY’S MULLIGAN

Jack Kelly nails it at To The Point News

“I’ll restore faith in the country we all love,” Hillary Clinton pledged at a fund-raiser in Manhattan June 1.

To find out which country that is, we’ll have to check the list of donors to the Clinton Foundation, tweeted actor and former GOP Sen. Fred Thompson.

The Clinton campaign was awful eight years ago. Ready for Hillary 2016 hasn’t been an improvement. Things have gone so poorly since Ms. Clinton announced her candidacy April 12 she plans to take a mulligan.

Hillary will relaunch her campaign with a rally on Roosevelt Island this Saturday (6/13). By choosing that day without consulting the locals, Team Clinton forced cancellation of a long scheduled event for children, which generated bad press and irritated community leaders.

Better staff work can minimize such bungles. But not much can be done about the candidate. The more Hillary campaigned 8 years ago, the less people liked her. This year Ms. Clinton has spoken only to pre-screened audiences, said nothing of substance, refused to answer questions from journalists.

She’s dodged questions about scandals, but acting like a queen on the way to her coronation reinforces impressions she’s arrogant and out of touch. And even her toadies in the news media are irritated by her refusal to answer their questions. Hence the mulligan.

The Clintons deflected scandals in the past by stonewalling until the news media declared them “old news.” But this time, the “old news” keeps being refreshed by new, ever more seamy revelations.

Despite them, Hillary leads all GOP candidates — but probably not for much longer. She has narrow leadschiefly because voters don’t know enough yet about the Republicans to form an opinion about them.

It takes a lot — and a long time — to make much of an impression on a dumbed-down lo-of electorate heavily influenced by news media spin. But eventually, the drip drip drip of scandal permeates public consciousness.

“Eventually” may be now. More had an unfavorable than a favorable opinion of Ms. Clinton in CNN and ABC News polls last week. Responses to two questions CNN asked were devastating: Does Hillary care about people like you? (52 percent said no). Is she honest and trustworthy? (57 percent said no.)

Ms. Clinton can’t compensate for doubts about her character by stressing her experience, because her record as secretary of state is dreadful. She can’t talk much about issues either, because swing voters don’t like most of the policies she’s embraced.

Nor can Hillary count on enthusiastic support from the “progressives” she lurched left to court, because many suspect her views shift whenever her palm is crossed with enough silver.

To win, Ms. Clinton must attract the casual voters who turned out for Barack Obama, but not for John Kerry or Al Gore. So she must be alarmed by the response to the fund-raiser mentioned above.

What was to have been a $2,700 a plate lunch for 125 women only was thrown open to men because so few women bought tickets. Still, only 90 tickets were sold.

Aging Socialist Bernie Sanders drew more than 3 times that in tiny Kensett, Iowa (pop. 266) a few days earlier. (There was no charge for his event.)

The drip drip drip of scandal figures to go on for months, but isn’t likely to be enough for a longshot to upset Hillary in the primaries. But by yapping at her heels, they’ll reinforce doubts about her character.

Barring a killer revelation, Democrats will nominate for president a poor campaigner most voters don’t like or trust, with unpopular stances on hot button issues, who can’t talk about her record.

Hillary’s prospects won’t improve when millions get socked with huge Obamacare premium hikes next year. If the economy stalls out, or there’s a big terror attack here, election night 2016 could be the worst for Democrats in nearly 100 years.

Which is why it’s mostly Democrats who hope a smoking gun turns up soon. Republicans are content with drip drip drip.

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret, and was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan Administration.  He is the national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

CHOLESTEROL IS GOOD FOR YOU

CHOLESTEROL IS GOOD FOR YOU

From To The Point News by Matt Ridley

If you are reading this before breakfast, please consider having an egg, yolk included.

Any day now, the US government will officially accept the advice to drop cholesterol from its list of “nutrients of concern” altogether. It wants also to “de-emphasise” saturated fat, given “the lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease.”

A sixty-year torrent of bad dietary advice is coming to an end.

This is a mighty U-turn, albeit long overdue and hedged in caveats. The evidence has been building for years that eating cholesterol does not cause high blood cholesterol. A 2013 review by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology found “no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum [blood] cholesterol”.

Cholesterol is not some vile poison but an essential ingredient of life, which makes animal cell membranes flexible and is the raw material for making hormones, like testosterone and estrogen. Your liver manufactures most of the cholesterol found in your blood from scratch, and adjusts for what you ingest, which is why diet does not determine blood cholesterol levels.

Lowering blood cholesterol by changing diet is all but impossible.

Nor is there any good evidence that high blood cholesterol causes atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease or shorter life. It is not even a risk factor in people who have already had heart attacks. In elderly people – i.e., those who have the most heart attacks – the lower your blood cholesterol, the greater your risk of death. Likewise in children.

From the very first, the studies that linked the ingestion of cholesterol and saturated animal fats to cardiovascular disease were not just flawed, but fraudulent.

In the 1950s, an upsurge in heart disease in American men (probably caused mostly by smoking) led the physiologist Ancel Keys to guess that dietary cholesterol was to blame. When that seemed not to fit, he switched to saturated fat as a cause of high blood cholesterol.

To make his case he did things like leave out contradictory data, shift points on graphs and skate over inconvenient facts. He then got big charities and state agencies on side and bullied his critics into silence.

His most famous study, the seven-country study, started out much larger; he dropped 16 countries from the sample to get a significant correlation. Add them back in and it vanishes. Hidden in his data is the fact that people in Corfu and Crete (both Greek islands) ate the same amounts of saturated fats, but the Cretans died 17 times more frequently of heart attacks.

In the 1970s, the famous Framingham Heart Study stumbled on the fact that people with high cholesterol over the age of 47 (long before most people have heart attacks) lived longer than those with low cholesterol, and that those whose cholesterol dropped faced higher risk of death. But the consensus ignored this and sailed on.

If challenged to show evidence for low-cholesterol advice, the medical and scientific profession has tended to argue from authority – by pointing to WHO guidelines or other such official compendia, and say “check the references in there”. But those references lead back to Keys and other such dodgy dossiers.

Thus does bad science get laundered into dogma. “One of the great commandments of science is ‘Mistrust arguments from authority’,” said Carl Sagan. (Obviously a commandment many in the climate science community ignore.)

Eventually, the medical profession began to distinguish between cholesterol and the proteins that carried it, with a distinction emerging between “good” high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and “bad” low-density ones (LDL).

The fatty plaques in arteries are made partly of cholesterol, true, but they form on scars and irregularities caused by other problems: smoking, infections, damage, age. The lipoproteins and cholesterol are part of the repair kit.

You don’t blame a fire engine for a fire. We’ve confused effect with cause.

The battle is not over. The medics and scientists who have been insisting for 20 years that the cholesterol emperor has no clothes, and that low-carb, high-fat diets are safer, have been ostracized as quacks and flat-earthers for so long that the habit will die hard.

Physicians such as Uffe Ravnskov, author of Ignore the Awkward: How the Cholesterol Myths are Kept Alive and Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Con and of Doctoring Data: How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense, will not soon be welcomed back into the fold.

A scientific consensus can be very intolerant of heretics.  Just look at how “deniers” of man-made global warming are treated as on the moral level of Holocaust deniers.

Nonetheless, the medical establishment here too is tiptoeing away from its previous advice to avoid eating cholesterol and saturated fat. It is covering the retreat with a smokescreen, redirecting its fire on trans fats (with more justification), or on sugar.

That’s what lies behind all this talk about the dangers of sugar these days – a huge paradigm shift away from the low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.

And indeed, the evidence that insisting on low-fat diets caused people to eat more carbohydrates, and that led to the explosion in obesity and diabetes, looks pretty strong – so far. After all, the main route by which the body lays down fat is to manufacture it from excess sugar in the liver.

But why did carbohydrate consumption start to increase so rapidly in the 1960s? At least partly because of the advice to avoid meat and cheese. Obesity and diabetes are the price we have paid for getting fat and cholesterol so wrong.

How about a full, drains-up inquiry into how the medical and scientific profession made such an epic blunder and caused so much misery to people?

Consider not just the damage that was done to people’s lives by faulty advice, but to the livelihoods of dairy and beef farmers and egg producers. Which has more sugar: an apple or an egg?

But what about statins? In men they lower cholesterol and they prevent heart disease. True, but the connection is not necessarily causal. Statins do a lot of other things, including reducing inflammation, which may be why they deter heart attacks.

There are statin skeptics such as Dr. Kendrick, who think the side-effects of taking them are not worth it, and that far too much of the evidence in favor of them comes from the pharmaceutical industry (see his book linked above).

We like to think clinging stubbornly to dogmas was a habit of doctors in past centuries, but it still goes on. Medicine needs to get better at changing its mind.

Matt Ridley is the author of The Rational Optimist, and as 5th Viscount Ridley is a Member of the British House of Lords.

Damn it!

Loretta Lynch cleared a key vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday in her bid to become the nation’s next attorney general, picking up support from three Republicans on the panel in favor of her confirmation.

The vote was 12-8. The three Republicans who backed her nomination, along with all committee Democrats, were Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Those lousy RINOs. What difference does it make to give power to Repubs, when they kick us in the nuts every time any major vote comes up that is bad for conservative Americans.

Phyllis Schlafly assails GOP establishment for trying to coronate Jeb Bush

By Ralph Z. Hallow – The Washington Times – Sunday, February 22, 2015

Phyllis Schlafly has long argued that the American conservative movement’s purpose is to influence, not echo, the Republican Party.

And still going strong at age 90, Mrs. Schlafly wants to influence the GOP anew by warning against letting the party’s “kingmakers” — the Wall Street elite and political consultant class — coronate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as the presidential nominee in 2016.

Mincing no words, Mrs. Schlafly makes her case in a 2015 update to her landmark book a half-century ago titled “A Choice, Not an Echo,” which in 1964 became the motto of Barry Goldwater’s grassroots movement.

In her update, Mrs. Schlafly argues that her party picks losers as candidates too often because of a stranglehold by the political consultant-big business-Wall Street crowd, which she argues makes a bundle from championing moderates over conservatives.

She warns that may be happening again in 2016 in the persona of Jeb Bush.

She notes “closed-door events have been held for Republican mega-donors to select who will get the big money that went last time to Mitt Romney” and that the mainstream media already are cheering on Mr. Bush.

As evidence, she cites a New York Times article about how “Jeb Bush is so smart, so intellectual, and so well-read. We were told that he is a ‘top-drawer intellect’ and a voracious reader who maintains 25 books on his Kindle, books such as George Gilder’s ‘Knowledge and Power.’”

Mrs. Schlafly urges grassroots conservatives to rise up and resist a coronation of Mr. Bush.

“Do you get the message that the media buildup for Jeb Bush has begun and that the 2016 Republican National Convention may simply nominate for president another Establishment loser candidate?,” she writes. “But it doesn’t have to be. Some of us remember Everett Dirksen’s famous speech at the 1952 Republican Convention when he publicly taunted the kingmakers, ‘We followed you before and you led us down the path to defeat.’”

The Pigmen Win

too Pig to Fail

too Pig to Fail

Zero hedge prints a scathing article by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, “After the disgusting example of politicians of both spineless parties bowing down before Wall Street, the military industrial complex and corporate interests this weekend with the passage of a bloated pig of a spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion, how can anyone not on the payroll of the vested interests not admit there is only one party – and it serves only the needs of the wealthy business interests.”

You need to read the full article at Zero Hedge.

Congress Gave Wall Street An Early Christmas Present

government-pickpocket

Dave Hodges on The Common Sense Show wrote, In an obscure, but well reported 2011 event, Bank of America announced it was shifting derivatives in its Merrill investment-banking unit to its depository arm, which has access to the Fed discount window and is protected by the FDIC. This was announced as a news blurb in the main stream media and was prominently reported in the Daily Bail.

This was the single biggest financial event in the history of America. It was bigger than the 1929 stock market crash and it was bigger than the beginning of the bail outs in 2008, but it did not received the banner headlines that it should have received. What does this mean? It means that the Bank of America’s European #derivatives are now going to be “insured” by U.S. taxpayers and its two most important financial institutions, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC. What is even more distressing is that the Bank of America did not even seek or receive regulatory approval for this action. This action was simply acted upon on behalf of frightened counterparties. Under the Federal Bankruptcy Act of 2005, the counterparties derivatives debt receive “super priority” when it comes to the disbursement of FDIC insurance payments to failed banks. Where do the rest of us stand in terms of reimbursement for a failed bank? We are in last place. In short, when your bank fails, your money is gone.

Congress got Wall Street two early Christmas presents.

In addition to spending appropriations, the bill passed last night in the House, includes changes to various laws that are known as “policy riders.” One of these is drawing sharp criticism from Democrats and financial industry watchdogs. The Dodd-Frank #Wall Street reform package passed in 2010 put new limits on how banks that receive taxpayer backing can use high-risk financial instruments known as a swaps, which were a key driver of the last financial crisis. Banks and other financial companies hate the “swaps pushout rule,” which has been praised as a crucial component of the reform law by the White House, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Bush-era banking regulator Sheila Bair.

The #cromnibus repeals the swaps pushout rule. Americans for Financial Reform and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights blasted the move as “a backroom deal buried deep in a stopgap government funding measure” that will increase the risks taxpayers and the economy face. Former Rep. Barney Frank called it “a terrible violation of the procedure that should be followed on this complex and important subject, and a frightening precedent that provides a road map for further attacks on our protection against financial instability.”

 

Book Review: The Curtain – A Novel By Patrick Ord

• Print Length: 314 pages
• Publisher: Henry Maddox Publishing; 1 edition (February 24, 2013)

You’ve heard of “data mining”, but did you know that based on your web searches, your social media contacts and interactions, your clicking on internet ads and a whole lot more, companies can know if your daughter is pregnant before you do; can turn you down for a loan because your neighbors scores are low; can be turned down for a job because of correlations of your interests and losers; or based on your grocery purchases and diabetes that you can be turned down by your health insurer.

This is a book about marketing in the U.S by corporations whose only goal is to make profits at the expense of society. The book is a defense of capitalism, but not the capitalism that has no virtue or self respect practiced by so many. The answer is not more regulation by a growing federal presence, but enlightenment by consumers. This a book with a darn good story that will keep you turning pages through the night, because you won’t be able to sleep anyway after starting the book.

This is a book where you’ll learn the difference between self esteem, supported by our educational establishment and self respect. By the end of the book you’ll be cheering for the most unlikely man to lead us back from the edge.
Read the book I rated at five (5) stars, but I would give it ten (10) stars if I could.

Move over “Atlas Shrugged.”


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