Friday ReadsPosted: July 6, 2012
There are a couple of finance stories that I’ve been following that I’m getting ready to write more bout. One is the story about the manipulation of LIBOR by Barclays with possible involvement of JPM and others. Here’s an article from The Economist to get us started on the topic. Its title includes the word “banksters”. That should be telling.
At present, the scandal rages in one country and around one bank. Barclays has been fined $450m by American and British regulators for its attempts to manipulate LIBOR. The bank’s first attempt to ride out the storm failed miserably; Bob Diamond, Barclays’ chief executive, resigned this week. The British government has ordered a parliamentary review into its banks. The reputation of the City of London, where LIBOR is set by collating estimates of their own borrowing costs from a panel of banks, has been further dented.
But this story stretches far beyond Britain. Barclays is the first bank in the spotlight because it offered to co-operate fully with regulators. It will not be the last. Investigations into the fixing of LIBOR and other rates are also under way in America, Canada and the EU. Between them, these probes cover many of the biggest names in finance: the likes of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. Employees, from New York to Tokyo, are implicated (see article).
I’m just delving into the details now. It will take me awhile to get to the point of being able to describe it nontechnically so please be patient. This is huge. It will likely show us why the moves to remove Dodd-Frank and the Volker Rule are as criminal as the intent.
Well, I certainly wouldn’t wish Bobby Jindal on the country but it appears that our Governor has made the short list in the Romney VP stake. Frankly, anything he does is only to further his professional political career having done nothing else. Judging from my LA twitter feed, he might just have fled the state because every one is mad at him over his move to end public education as we know it. The man has a weird personality and he excels at ambition and lying. He’d be perfect for the job, frankly. Romney and Jindal are a matched set of amoral liars. Unfortunately, he won’t quit even if he gets the nod which only puts my state in worse condition than it is since he took over. Ask me about our more than double unemployment rate since he took over. He’s got his eye on 4 years from now.
On readiness for office, conversations with Romney insiders and allies suggest that they have no qualms about Portman or Pawlenty. One of Romney’s biggest complaints about President Obama is that he is in over his head and had “never run anything before.” Pawlenty governed the state of Minnesota for two terms; Portman ran the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Jindal is in his second term as governor of Louisiana. Paul Ryan, however, falls short in this regard; he was a Capitol Hill staffer and a marketing consultant before becoming a congressman at age 28.
As for chemistry with the candidate, Pawlenty, Portman and Ryan have all campaigned alongside him multiple times. Each endorsed him at critical moments in the primary process and appeared with him on the stump when they did. And each got a turn as his key surrogate on Romney’s June bus tour, which ran through their states. Jindal has not yet campaigned with the presumptive nominee, so look for that to happen soon in a swing state near you.
Does this picture remind you of something from the John Kerry Files? Notice the dressage horses are missing. Romney going one way on the lake. Then, the other way on the lake … then back again the other way on the lake …
I’ll just say it: I don’t think the political pundit class understands just how toxic the Swiss/Caymans/Bermuda accounts issue is for Romney. Not that they don’t know it’s a liability at all. But I don’t think they realize the extent of it.
Here’s a report just out from ABC News on how Ted Strickland introduced Obama in Ohio …
“Oh, what a contrast, my friends, between these two men who would be president!” Strickland said, standing outside the Wolcott House Museum. “President Obama is betting on America and American workers, and Mitt Romney is betting his resources in the Cayman Islands, in Bermuda, in Switzerland and God only knows where else he is putting his resources.”Fair or not, it just rolls off the tongue. Immediately understandable. And assuming you’re not talking to the deeply ideological committed or hyper-partisans, how exactly do you understand that a man running for president has parked a lot of his money in offshore tax havens?
Whatever harsh message you’re trying to prove — out of touch with lives of ordinary Americans, plays by a different set of rules, isn’t focused on America and American workers — it fits right in.
Set aside all questions of legality. And I think Romney’s probably too smart and close to the vest to break any laws. But how do you explain it? What’s the good explanation?
Do you seek the safe harbor of Romney’s 15% tax rate?
How many of you know any one that hides assets in off shore banking havens? Better yet, how many savvy politicians would do it?
The attacks on Mississipi’s sole abortion clinic seem to be aimed at sending a court case to SCOTUS to test Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. Creeping theocracy threatens the health of American women.
Earlier this week a district court issued an eleventh-hour stay to block a Mississippi law designed to shut down the state’s last surviving abortion clinic. It’s the only one that has muscled through a spate of regulations aimed at making Mississippi “abortion-free,” in the words of Gov. Phil Bryant (R).
“The Court has considered the parties’ arguments and finds Plaintiffs satisfy the requirements for temporary injunctive relief to maintain the status quo until the newly framed issues can be more thoroughly examined,” wrote U.S. district judge Daniel P. Jordan III.
Bryant’s intentions are clear: make Mississippi the first state without access to abortion. But that’s a tricky legal proposition as a result of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the two key Supreme Court rulings that protect abortion rights.
The question before the courts is whether the new state law is legitimate under Roe and Casey. If so, pro-choice advocates fear it would threaten abortion rights protections nationwide
“In this case, Plaintiffs have offered evidence — including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers — that the Act’s purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi,” wrote Jordan. “They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted.”
A hearing is scheduled for July 11 to determine if a preliminary injunction should follow. That’s a reasonably likely scenario since the Bush-appointed Judge Jordan issued the stay on the basis that the plaintiffs have “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
Whether or not the case climbs up to the Supreme Court and puts Roe at risk of being overturned depends on the breadth of the lower courts’ ruling. But neither side is particularly keen on going down that road — at least for now.
“From a pro-choice perspective, the less the current Court does to define Casey, the better. From a pro-life perspective, they want to wait until there’s a clear shot at Roe v. Wade,” said Scott Lemieux, a political science professor at the College of Saint Rose.
Rush Limbaugh has a major problem when it comes to women. In the past, the conservative talk radio host has accused them of being sluts for using birth control and called those who support feminism “feminazis.” (Media Matters has compiled a pretty good list of Limbaugh’s sexist and misogynistic remarks over the years.) Now, the caustic commentator has come up with a new calumny: “When women got the right to vote is when it all went down hill.”
He made the remark on his radio program Tuesday, adding: “Because that’s when votes started being cast with emotion and maternal instincts. …”
That’s right. According to Limbaugh, America messed up big-time when it allowed all of its citizens—not just men—to vote.
I have no idea what makes people vote Republican any more but I don’t think it has anything to do with sanity. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?