Thursday, June 24, 2010

State of Corporate Governance

Somehow I doubt a bill that starts out tepid and gets watered-down from there will provide anything like the response necessary to prevent, or even delay, the next crash. I sez that Glass Steagall warded off bubbles for decades, and I think it ought to be a good place to start reigning in bankster power. Another place to learn a lesson might be Canada's economy, which survived the bubble well.

Robert A. G. Monks (longtime shareholder activist, Corporate Governance sage, and Reagan appointee), thinks the model of self regulating business is a failure and he calls the Dodd/Frank efforts to inject accountability "pathetic".

I still think that the best purpose of corporate governance is to protect profit for investors from management, since I believe the tycoon-types are morally insane (the modern term is psychopathic personality). It did not escape my notice, for instance, that Mr. Monks in the above video said...

"The failure was largely attributable to the unaccountability of the Chief Executive Officers who ran companies for their own benefit, and for the benefit of other top officials, without any conscience about the public consequence or the long-term consequence of their actions."

I think that many CEOs are, in point of fact, morally insane. This means they are literally incapable of acting from conscience. This means their conscience and their desires are one and the same thing. This means that everything justifies satisfying a desire.

Proper governance ties CEO wealth to corporate success so that society can follow a psychopath to economic prosperity. It is a gamble whose risk should now be evident to all, namely that the morally insane are hoarders when it comes to Power, and experts at corruption.

CEOs need to be made to believe again that their Power does not come at our expense, but at our profit.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal out

I wasn't sure president Obama would can McChrystal even though he richly deserved it. It looks like General Petraeus is going to step in. Here is the announcement:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quick link

Here is a link to the Rolling Stone article on Gen. Stanley McChrystal that is currently sweeping other conversation off the face of the news planet:

The Runaway General

This guy sounds a lot like Donald Rumsfeld to me, that is, someone whose arrogance is not tutored by their ineffectiveness. His next order should be his last, and the sooner it is delivered the better.

Clearly he is unfit for his command-post if he thinks bashing allies is something you do in front of reporters.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Quick Hit


Paul Krugman sez, “52 senators voted against extending aid to the unemployed despite the highest rate of long-term joblessness since the 1930s.”


I’ve lost a lot of respect for Nobel prizes since president Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize sans accomplishments, but I have noticed Paul Krugman (and Keynesians) are often right about macro-economics.

I think it is too bad congressional leaders are looking towards Alan “What bubble?” Greenspan, when the evidence everywhere backs up Paul Krugman (job creation is too slow, consumer spending is down, home construction is down, etc.).

I guess I will have to take comfort in the fact that the CEO-types that created the mess are reasonably  comfortable at our expense.

Robert A.G. Monks discusses Financial Reform legislation

Robert Monks discusses the financial reform legislation now before Congress in this clip below. He seems to feel now was the moment for nationalizing corporate governance laws, and that the moment is being lost. What we have now, in his words, "is a race to the bottom".

My favorite line from the clip is, "I have to say that if the answer is the SEC you've asked the wrong question."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quick Hit

According to the work of a group of government and independent scientists under the direction of Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the amount of oil now being unleashed into the Gulf is between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day


There are 55 gallons of oil in a barrel, which means between 1,925,000 and 3,300,000 gallons of oil are spilling into the Gulf of Mexico daily.

This oil is going to continue to come ashore, day after day, well after the leak is plugged. Soon it should make its way around Florida and up the eastern seaboard.

President Obama seems to think a speech will impress the nation, when what is needed is action. Specifically, he needs to place BP into temporary receivership, seize their US assets, and put America first.

If he didn't want the job he should have stayed in Chicago.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quick push

Kevin Drum has "a Modest Tax Proposal" that I like, so I thought I'd give it a quick push by posting a link.

Here is a summary:

"Obama should propose that the corporate income tax be abolished completely, to be replaced by a carbon tax and a financial services tax."

Here's the link for more

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quick hit

"In their attempt to justify the war crime of torture, the CIA appears to have committed another alleged war crime – illegal experimentation on prisoners."

- Nathaniel A. Raymond -
Director of PHR's Campaign Against Torture


Nobel Peace Prize winner Barak Obama made a lot of hay over the policies of the Bush administration, and did a lot of arm-waving over the closure of Guantanamo, but in the end he continued the Bush policies and human experimentation of prisoners happened on his watch.

It is monstrous to torture and conduct human experiments on a human being. Either that, or Adolf Hitler wasn't so bad.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Soothing words of malice

Christopher Hedges believes the Christian right is in the mood for fascism, and sums up their mindset like so:

"The reality-based world, one where Satan, miracles, destiny, angels and magic did not exist, battered them like driftwood. It took their jobs and destroyed their future. It rotted their communities. It flooded their lives with alcohol, drugs, physical violence, deprivation and despair. And then they discovered that God has a plan for them. God will save them. God intervenes in their lives to promote and protect them. The emotional distance they have traveled from the real world to the world of Christian fantasy is immense. And the rational, secular forces, those that speak in the language of fact and evidence, are hated and ultimately feared, for they seek to pull believers back into “the culture of death” that nearly destroyed them."


Intolerant political movements are usually fertilized with rage channeled by blame. When People work hard and wind up in poverty anyway, they search for answers. It is at this moment that disciples of destruction advance with soothing words of malice.

We all know there plenty of economic despair upon which fascists can draw strength. Could this be happening here?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Oil vents

Apparently a freshly "furious" president Obama says "venting" won't help the BP-spill. I am 100% in agreement with that statement, and don't care if Obama is furious or not.

I do want him to take BP into receivership so American interests are foremost, necessary resources can be mobilized, and truthful information can be disseminated. If he wants to do that coldly and expressionlessly, then I'm all for it. If he wants to do that wearing a cowboy hat and spouting invectives like an 18th century prospector, then I'm all for it.

Obama is really showing his stripes on this oil spill. He is a corporate man through and through and seems to have faith, even now, in the right of corporations to rule.

It reminds me of Alan Greenspan's quaint notion that money knows best.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Quick Hit

In 2008, at least 60 percent of vacation spending in Florida occurred in beachfront cities.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ham-fisted Israel at it again

Israeli politicians seem incapable of acting in their own interests when it comes to accumulating allies. Their latest self-defeating action was to murder humanitarians in international waters to placate the paranoid and the fearful in their ranks.

The US, as expected, moved to negate a UN response. This, however, cannot but impede our war efforts in the Gulf and further endanger our soldier's lives due to the uncritical support it exposes. In other words, this is a gift-wrapped recruitment tool handed to extremists.

Surely Israel just handed its enemies a victory, while simultaneously making it more difficult for its biggest ally to continue support, and also infuriating trading partners like Turkey and Egypt.

I can think of no other nation that behaves as self-detrimentally as Israel does with such regularity. In this case it is metaphorically peeing in its own well (of potential political support) and biting the hand that feeds it (once-again foiling U.S. interests) for good measure.

How long do Israeli politicians think America can continue acting against self-interest?

I would say they are woefully inadequate unless they move to make immediate amends. Here is an example of the type of condemnation they have rained upon themselves. In this case, it originates from U.S.:

Israel's Murderous Attack

ADDENDUM: Egypt has just announced it is opening its border with Palestine to humanitarian aid. This surely indicates Israel's allies in the region are receiving political pressure in opposition to Israel's security wishes.

Open Border

What Israeli politicians have secured by this action is hard to fathom, while what they have lost is becoming quite clear.

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin