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Saturday, August 20, 2011
In an 80-page letter to federal regulators, a former Moody’s senior vice president says the firm systematically squelched its analysts’ private doubts to keep deals and profits flowing.
Moody’s managers intimidated analysts who stood in the way of favorable ratings, and its compliance department harassed employees who took an independent stand, according to the former analyst, William J. Harrington.
According to Harrington, a fundamental conflict of interest permeated the firm’s culture: Like other credit rating agencies, Moody’s is paid by the very companies whose securities it is supposed to grade objectively.
“Moody’s incentivized an analyst to accede to all items demanded by an external paymaster and to work to the paymaster’s schedule,” Harrington wrote.
“The goal of management is to mold analysts into pliable corporate citizens who cast their committee votes in line with the unchanging corporate credo of maximizing earnings of the largely captive franchise,” he wrote.
Repeatedly, Moody’s management ignored internal warnings that employees responsible for rating securities backed by home mortgages were “pumping out worthless opinions,” he wrote.
The aptly named Sub Specie has fallen for a common legend believed by many of the half-educated and historically illiterate:"If it weren't for the goddamn Muslims, we wouldn't have great ancient literature!!! They preserved it for us, you know. Oh, fcuk, no, you didn't know...did you? Not only did they preserve all that s#it, but they contributed so much to math, medicine and science (ironically while Europe was a chaotic s#ithole full of rotting bodies)."It's always interesting to receive what apparently is intended as a history lesson from someone who quite clearly knows nothing of the Eastern Roman Empire. The idea of "the Arab transmission of the classics" is false, as should be readily apparent to those who are aware that most of the ancient works lost to the West were "discovered" in conquered Spain, not the Middle East. Moreover, it is obvious that the Muslims did not contribute much of their own in the interim period when they possessed the Greek classics and the post-imperial Latins did not.
"The Arab transmission of the classics is a common and persistent myth that Arabic commentators such as Avicenna and Averroes 'saved' the work of Aristotle and other Greek philosophers from destruction. According to the myth, these works would otherwise have perished in the long European dark age between fifth and the tenth centuries, had the Islamic philosophers not preserved them by translating them into Arabic, to be passed on to the Latin philosophers in the West after the reconquest of Spain from the Muslims during the twelve and thirteenth centuries. This is incorrect. It was actually the Byzantines in the East who saved the ancient learning of the Greeks in the original language, and the first Latin texts to be used were translation from the Greek, in the 12th century, rather than, in most cases, the Arabic, which were only used in default of these. "
This is bizarre, and frankly worrisome...
Aide: Giffords now knows who died in shootingHer loved ones had been keeping the scope of the tragedy from her until she was strong enough to handle it.Anyone who has cared for victims of tragedies, as I have, will probably find this to be bizarre. Car crash victims, for example, are typically separated in the early phases of their emergency care, commonly even to separate hospitals, and they often are left unaware of the status of their fellow victims. This can create a great deal of anxiety as they desperately want to know if their family or friends (or even strangers in the other car) are alright.
“She knew for some time that six people had died and 13 were injured, including herself,” said Mark Kimble, who is Giffords’ new spokesman. “In late July, shortly before she went to Washington, she wanted to know more information, specifically about who had died. That’s when her husband told her.”
Gabrielle Giffords, according to this report, knew for "some time" that 6 people had been killed and she knew the crowd was filled with people close to her, and yet for six months she didn't ask who they were? I say 'didn't ask' rather than 'wasn't told' because it's simply implausible that her handlers could have successfully withheld that critical information from her for so long against her wishes.
Frankly, and with no pleasure, this makes me worry for her mental status. Her injury resulted in severe damage to the speech centers of her brain, as I explained the neuroanatomy in an earlier post, but we were led to believe that her mentation had not been affected. That is certainly plausible and I pray that's true but that six-month delay before being "strong enough to handle it" is worrisome.
Possibilities could include, sadly, diminished mentation due to the brain injury, or -- understandably -- mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The former wouldn't likely improve and the latter is treatable, but if it incapacitated a sitting Congress person for six months, America deserved to know, rather than have it covered up. Recall the cover-up of now former Congressman David Wu's mental illness that ended tragically.
I hope this report is wrong. Or there's some other explanation. Anything. But for her sake and the sake of her constituents and the nation, it's important we know her capacity to serve.
Gov. Jan Brewer has been censored by Facebook, and has asked that her message be propagated. I am happy to oblige:
After I posted the following statement and photo yesterday, Facebook censored the post and removed it because the photo apparently violated their “Facebook Community Standards.” Before it was removed, it had received over 10,000 likes and comments.Regardless, I’m reposting the photo and statement. I think many of you will agree with me – - Obama’s backdoor amnesty plan violates American standards of following the rule of law and the US Constitution.
Please click “like” and share with your friends.
The Obama administration cannot get its amnesty schemes through Congress, so now it has resorted to implementing its plans via executive fiat. There’s simply no other description for today’s announcement that the federal government will not pursue the deportation of individuals who are in the country illegally but meet certain criteria.
This plan amounts to backdoor amnesty for hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of illegal aliens. Especially disturbing is that it comes in the wake of the Obama administration sanctioning the sale of weapons to Mexican drug cartels – even as border states such as Arizona come under threat from those same illicit organizations. With this announcement, the President is encouraging more illegal immigration at the exact moment we need federal focus on border security.
Just last month in speaking to the National Council of La Raza, President Obama rejected the idea of bypassing Congress and imposing immigration reform. He said, “Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. And believe me, right now dealing with Congress, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting … But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
President Obama got it right last month and got it really wrong today.
Over the next 15 months, I’m certain we’ll hear a lot of talk from the Obama administration about its concern for border security. Those of us who truly care about the rule of law will remember the President’s actions of today. We need to remind President Obama that we elected a president that serves beneath the law and did not anoint a king that is above the law.
I love that last line. Good on you Governor! ◄Dave►
In an attempt to squash the lingering questions of his birth place and eligibility to hold the Presidential office, President Obama finally supplied what was suppose to be an official long form birth certificate from the State of Hawaii.
However, this has only added fuel to the fire and stirred up more questions than answers. There are a number of things about the newly surfaced birth certificate that yields compelling evidence that it is a forgery. Close examination has shown that the birth certificate appears to have been typed on two different typewriters and there is terminology on it that was not used until years later.
After a meeting with members of the local Tea Party and Dr. Jerome Corse, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has announced that he will launch an official investigation into the authenticity of the birth certificate and whether or not Obama will legally be allowed to be placed on the 2012 ballot in Arizona’s most populace county. Arizona has a state law, recently passed that any candidate must be able to provide adequate documentation to prove their eligibility to run for office before being placed on a ballot.
- A drunk New York NY police officer was arrested on a sexual assault charge after a witness called 911 while seeing him rape a school teacher at gun point early in the morning. Police arrived in time find him with the victim who was able to tell them what happened.  http://is.gd/yEKkbj
- A state investigation into how an East Dublin GA cop fatally shot an unarmed man during investigation into fatally shooting of unarmed man reopened after discovered cop missed gun training  bit.ly/oUbyY7
- Ontario Provincial cops accused of leaving bound rape victim tied up & untreated for 5 hours while they waited for a police photographer  bit.ly/nYl93g
- Spring Lake NC settles suit for $150k to man claiming continuous harassment by police eventually led to an officer shooting him needlessly.  bit.ly/qLsj1c
- Palmetto FL cop was arrested for Aggravated domestic assault with a deadly weapon on allegations the pointed an AR-15 and taser at his family and told them he could kill at any time and get away with it.  bit.ly/rdkU4V
- Daytona Beach FL police detective setenced to probation for resisting arrest in dispute when stopped for speeding on her way to where police were arresting her son.  thesent.nl/qtj8s8
- Philadelphia PA cop arrested on agg assault, unlawful restraint & other charges in alleged attack on his ex-girlfriend  bit.ly/rrgO1s
- Peel ON police accused of profiling by a 60yr-old black man claiming a cop interrogated him in back of cruiser while she was looking for a 20yr-old suspect.  bit.ly/pRxyIB
- Pennsylvania State trooper sentenced to 2-23mo prison for assaulting Humane Society police officer at pizza shop  bit.ly/q2soxs
- Fairfax Co VA police accused of harassing biker’s funeral procession & threatening to taser dead man’s brother  http://t.co/oc8lMYW
- Gwinnett Co GA cop gets probation in no contest plea deal for tasering a Waffle House employee as a joke  bit.ly/ovIrw6
- Radcliff KY cop among 26 arrested in child predator sting, allegedly solicited sex from cop posing as 14yr-old  thesent.nl/p7ajeu
- Marlow OK cop gets suspended sentence in plea to perjury in case where judge stopped drug trial & had him charged with lying under oath  bit.ly/r7PekT
- 2 Glendale CA cops “released” from dept for unspecified misconduct, one subject of false arrest suit by lawyer  bit.ly/pyblTn
- Kelleys Island OH cop arrested on drunk driving charges after head-on crash into female motorist, tested .208 BAC  bit.ly/raMlaD
- Indianapolis IN cop gets probation & time served in plea deal for DUI and fraud charges involving prescriptions  bit.ly/qNy2l6
Also, before I go I wanted to relay that the NYCLU wants to hear from NYC residents about how they feel about the NYPD. A confidential survey is available at bit.ly/pjksfR
A Republican congressman is blaming media "arrogance" for the paltry coverage of Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) second-place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who has endorsed Paul, told the Hill that "fair-minded people don't know why Ron Paul is not given adequate press." He pointed the finger at the "arrogance of certain people in the media who don't think he can win."
aJones said he was especially disappointed in the conservative-leaning press.
Despite finishing a close second behind Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) in the straw poll, Paul attracted little attention from the media. Over the past week, cable-news shows and print outlets have primarily focused on Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R).
The perceived snub of Paul was the topic of a segment on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." The clip was linked on the influential Drudge Report website.
Jones said the press "is going to have to deal with Ron Paul eventually," predicting Paul will do very well in the Iowa Caucus and perform better than expectations in New Hampshire.
Many political pundits don't believe Paul can win in November 2012, and doubt he will win the GOP nomination. Despite strong support from the grassroots and a healthy campaign war chest, Paul did not win one state during the 2008 presidential primary. Yet his showing this year in the Iowa Straw Poll was much stronger than four years ago, when he finished fifth. Paul ended up in fifth place again in the Iowa Caucus months later.
Asked if Paul can beat President Obama in the general election, Jones responded, "absolutely," citing the president's low approval ratings on the economy.
Part 1 of a Series
During the War of 1812, the British blockaded American ports. Before the war, America had still been a largely agricultural country dependent on Britain for manufactured goods. The blockade forced Americans to do their own manufacturing. It started mostly in homes and barns but began to prosper. This infant manufacturing economy was concentrated in New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Because cotton and other agricultural products were so profitable in the South, it remained a predominantly agricultural economy. By the end of the war, 20 percent of the Northern workforce was engaged in manufacturing compared to only 8 percent for the South.
This was the beginning of two sectional interests: one manufacturing and the other agriculture. At the end of the war a flood of low-priced British manufacturing inventory threatened the existence of the North’s budding manufacturing economy.
Over and above the revenue necessary to sustain normal U.S. Government operating expenses, the Tariff of 1816 sought to pay off war debts and act as a protective barrier for America’s emerging manufacturing economy. A tariff of 25 to 30 percent was thus placed on manufactured cotton and woolen imports. This allowed American manufacturers to raise their prices without being undercut by British competition. The average tariff on imports increased from 7 percent in 1816 to 20 percent by 1820.
This increased the profitability of American manufacturing by about 25 percent. The problem was that it meant higher consumer prices, higher costs of doing business, and lower living standards for everybody else, especially agricultural exporters. Hence the tariff that brought Northern manufacturing prosperity was a burden on the South.
Moreover, rather than being satisfied with their new prosperity at the expense of other commercial and regional interests, Northern manufacturers demanded higher tariffs to increase their profits still more. This cry grew louder in 1824, when Northern industry was experiencing a recession.
This was the perfect opportunity for Representative Henry Clay of Kentucky to introduce a new and higher tariff. On March 30, 1824, Clay, recently elected Speaker of the House, stood before his colleagues, seeking support for new tariff legislation:
“Are we doomed to behold our industry languish and decay yet more and more? But there is a remedy, and that remedy consists in modifying our foreign policy and in adopting a genuine American System… the only means which the wisdom of nations has yet discovered to be effectual: by adequate protection against the otherwise overwhelming influence of foreigners.”
Henry Clay was a proponent of what he called the “American System.” His formula for building a great industrial nation was big government intervention in three areas:
1. High protective tariffs to protect U.S. industry from foreign competition;
2. “Internal Improvements”—corporate subsidies
3. A centralized National Bank.
These were the policies of Clay’s Whig Party and had been the policies of Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Party. They would also become the policies of the new national Republican Party in 1856.
The Tariff of 1824 was truly a protectionist tariff. The average tariff on dutiable goods was raised to 35 percent. It was broadened to include iron products and some agricultural products. Clay made extensive use of logrolling promises (You roll my log, and I’ll roll your log) to increase support for the bill. Even then, it passed only by a narrow margin, 107 to 102 votes in the House and 25 to 21 in the Senate. Only three of 67 Southern Representatives and two of 16 Southern Senators voted for it. Because it benefited manufacturing at the expense of agriculture and commerce and benefited the North at the expense of the South, it appeared to Southerners to be a violation of Article 1 Section 8 and Article 5 Section 9 of the Constitution Hence the South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia state legislatures condemned it as unconstitutional. The South Carolina Legislature also condemned Clay’s “American System” as “a system of robbery and plunder” that “made one section tributary to another.”
Thus began 37 years of heated political conflict between North and South that would eventually provoke seven major cotton-producing states to secede. The South began to see the North a driven by insatiable sectional greed and blind disregard for Constitutional limits and economic injuries suffered by the South.
In 1862, British political analyst John Spence lamented the triumph of protectionism in the sectionalist 1824 Tariff with a precise statement of its moral deformity:
“The idea of a moderate system, generally beneficial to to the industry of the country, without grievous hardship to any particular class, became altered into the reality of corrupt political bargains between special interests, to impose heavy taxation on all others for their own profit.”
English Puritan Thomas Manton ((1620-1677) is credited with this statement on how greed numbs the conscience and makes its stealthy advance:
“There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man’s affections center in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them…When the desire has gotten hold of the heart, it shuts out all other considerations but such as may promote its views. In its zeal for the attainment of its end, it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so also it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern between right and wrong; it takes evil for good; it calls darkness light, and light darkness. Beware then of the beginnings of covetousness for you know not where it will end.”
The Road to Civil War (sic)