“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, December 18, 2009

John Kerry's Foolish Contentions

I happened to see a clip of John Kerry being interviewed in Copenhagen just after I rose yesterday morning.

Suffice to say, that sort of experience can put you off your entire day.

It's difficult to overstate the pointlessness of Kerry's officiousness. As a failed presidential candidate, he has zero credibility on many issues. That morning, he was, of course, pushing climate change legislation.

Whatever that ultimately means.

In the wake of the East Anglian email scandal, it takes an especially dense, myopic, shall I say stupid person to claim, as Kerry did, that the science behind this farce is solid, and believable.

As did his fellow Democratic greenie, Al Gore, Kerry likened anyone who doesn't agree with him to also believing the earth is flat.

How can these guys simply ignore the leaked emails between the major global warming proponents in the earth sciences which displayed their hiding of inconvenient evidence that doesn't make their case, stonewalling of opposing views, and outright lies?

I'd say the 'flat earthers' are those Senators, and others, who, knowing of the contents of the East Anglian emails, don't stop to thoroughly review and revisit each and every piece of so-called published evidence ever provided by those arguing for these cumbersome, economy-wrecking carbon- and greenhouse gas-related government initiatives.

Thank God that this administration and cannot simply commit to ill-considered proposals from or at Copenhagen.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Inmates Redesign The Asylum- Barney Frank & Chris Dodd's Bogus New Financial Regulatory Vision

I recently wrote this post discussing the stealth approach that House and Senate Democrats are taking with their financial sector regulatory "reform" bills.

What I didn't adequately touch on in that piece is the very perverse prospect of two of the major architects of the recent US financial services sector's crisis claiming to be capable of redesigning regulatory and related elements to prevent future occurrences of such problems.

Let's recall the facts. Barney Frank personally drove Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase higher proportions of option ARM, low-doc, no-doc and, generally, poorer-quality mortgages from the private sector. Chris Dodd and fellow Democratic Senator and Finance Committee member Kent Conrad both accepted sweetheart loans from Countrywide, Angelo Mozillo's mortgage finance company, while failing to adequately supervise and rein in the growth of poor quality, often improperly documented mortgage loans. Both also failed to act on Bush administration concerns regarding the explosive growth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through guarantees of bonds backed by the poor quality loans.

Oh, and, by the way, Barney Frank, to my knowledge, has never addressed the contetion that a person with whom he was romantically involved was a lobbyist involved with Fannie Mae. I'm sure it's irrelevant.

Now, these Congressional worthies would have us believe that, having been instrumental in wrecking the residential finance sector and, by extension, the entire US finance sector, they are in a position to tell us how to organize, supervise and regulate the sector in the future to avoid similar calamities.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, they overlook the rather simpler, more obvious solution, i.e., fewer government guarantees and less inept regulation.

If Fed, FDIC, OCC and other regulators had done their job in the first place, Frank's and Dodd's judgemental errors and political favoritism would have been stopped in their tracks. Unfortunately, our vast, overmanned and overly-complicated bank regulatory system failed in its primary mission.

Shouldn't that have triggered a more cold-eyed look at how the current players failed in their regulatory oversight jobs, rather than simply layering on more and more complicated rules, classifications and regulations?

How many people believe that, if someone failed to do their job in the first place, the right solution is to give them increased responsibilities and hope for a better outcome next time around?

Well, evidently, at least two- Frank and Dodd.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wonderboy's Financial Plumber

As I discussed a wide range of topics, some business in nature, others political, with my friend B yesterday at lunch, the subject of tax cheat and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner came up.

I lamented Geithner's wet noodle posture while "negotiating" with Goldman Sachs et. al. over paying them the full value due them from AIG for credit derivatives.

B mentioned conversations he has had with Fed officials who know Geithner. They characterized him as an operations guy. That is, a guy who knew how to run the financial plumbing of the Fed, meaning its various money transfer systems and such.

But nobody ever accused Geithner of being able to fill, let alone even shine, Paul Volcker's shoes. Volcker, you may recall, headed the New York Fed, before being chosen to become probably the most effective chairman of our central bank in its history.

Judging from his stumbles and misfires this year, it looks like my friend's information is correct. Geithner got fleeced by Wall Street CEOs, and, for that dismal performance, was rewarded with the job of Treasury Secretary.

No wonder we still have no sensible financial leadership in Washington.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stealth Passage of the Barney Frank's Financial Regulation Bill

Yesterday morning on CNBC, I heard Wisconsin Republican Representative Paul Ryan remark that Barney Frank had rammed his bloated, misguided bill on financial sector regulatory reform through the House.

It's another one of those huge bills with so many hidden details and bad ideas that few Congressmen probably even know what they passed. It's sure to have loads of unintended consequences.

For example, certain large financial institutions will qualify for treatment as 'too big to fail,' and be subject to a federal government commission to determine if it is in danger of insolvency, and if it should be saved.

Funny, but I always thought that was up to creditors. Or, if it's a bank, perhaps the FDIC.

But some shadowy federal government panel?

What happened to bankruptcy as the normal process for those companies which get into too much financial trouble?

Ryan opined that this bill will abet "crony capitalism." That is, large, bloated financial service firms will make use of the revolving door between industry and government to insulate themselves from failure and buy government accommodation. The smaller banks, Ryan noted, will be hurt because they have to play by the rules without such connections.

You can bet that nowhere in this legislation did Frank allow his own culpability in driving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to securitize more questionable mortgage loans to be addressed and, for the future, prevented.

Instead, we will have a bewildering new set of rules for credit provision. Some will put onerous new demands on companies that simply want, as a by-product of their main business, to allow customers to buy using credit.

As Ryan indicated, by using health care as the big distraction, the Congressional Democrats are stealthily redesigning yet another sector of the US economy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

How The Media Lies About Glenn Beck

Barbara Walters selected Glenn Beck for one of her 10 most fascinating people of 2009. Here's the clip from her program last week.

Beck noted on a program later in the week that even Walters wrongly accused him of inciting violence. See for yourself.

See her at 4:20 in the clip say, in a slightly shocked voice,

"Glenn Beck is somebody who incites people to violence?"

In that later program, Beck implored anyone to provide evidence that he ever incited anyone to violence.

No one, to my knowledge, has done so yet.

Certainly Walters had no evidence. So much for unbiased, responsible major media coverage, eh?