Parisian Family Office, CEO. Began Wall Street, 1982. Founded investment firm, CHIPPEWA PARTNERS, Native American Advisors. Active Trader. White Earth Chippewa Tribal member. Was NYSE/FINRA arb. Conservative, raised on Great Plains reservations. Pureblood, clot-shot free. In a world elevated on a dopamine binge, this is his take! Written from MT Ghost Ranch on the Yellowstone River, TN farm Pamelot or San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, CASA TULE'. Always been, will always be, an optimist.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
It’s here: Your moment at the plate. You’ve whiffed more than a few … and, yes, we’re counting. But you’ve been gifted another at-bat, and the President’s tired. Seventh inning stuff is coming out of his teleprompter, and this full-count fastball will be straight, level, and slow. You won’t see another one like this for five years.
An embattled first term president is faced with an outcome that he must, at all costs, prevent, and he’s done very little ground work ahead of it. He is about to become the first President in American history to preside over a default on the national debt, unless you vote to let him raise the limit on the financial burden we leave our children. He would ultimately be crazy to deny any reasonable option, absolutely anything, rather than live with the outcome of his refusal. Politically speaking, he’s whispered a prayer to the Greek God of Imprudence and Fiscal Insanity, raised a one-finger salute to the nation’s savers through the sunroof of a stolen golden Beemer, and revved it toward the draw-bridge that you were elected to control.
America’s debt has been moving straight up since the early 1980s. In the beginning it was ok. Debt is not, in itself, a bad thing, and a reasonable amount of leverage on the balance sheet can be positive for any entity, including the United States. But we’re well past that threshold. Researchers Reinhart and Rogoff, in their exhaustive recent work, This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, show that, historically, when debt in an economy gets above .9x, or 90% of GDP, the interest burden creates a negative cycle from which nations struggle to recover. If we include the unfunded liabilities we’ve committed to in order to support programs like Medicare and Social Security, the United States of America’s financial obligations represent 8.7x, or 871% of GDP, almost 10x the amount that Reinhart & Rogoff determined lead to ultimate economic failure. In terms that are much easier to identify with, this comes to a debt of $1,386,340 for every family in the US! When you consider the average family’s ability to pay, it all begins to rhyme with those 2007 no - doc mortgages, doesn’t it? In fact, if the US was a corporation, we’d be in bankruptcy proceedings and you, kind sir, would be holding a pink slip, a legal summons, and a scrap of paper with Dick Fuld’s cell phone number on it for advice on staying out of jail – because the truth is that he is no more guilty than you, and you no less than him, and we can stop kidding ourselves whenever you’re ready.
But, politically, you ask… what can really be done? After all it’s always the other guy. You know, that, sniff - sniff…, mean congresswoman from a lunatic district who disagrees. It’s her fault. She doesn’t understand math. And she’s just intractable. Intractable! She believes that America’s social contract (I can’t find that in the constitution… ) is more important than the critically important task of shooting Tomahawk missiles at other parents’ kids to support… uhhm… different kids that we don’t really know, in a war that’s only sort of, well... a war. I mean, the nerve of that… woman. And there are others like her. And there’s an election coming up every two years. A bigger one every four. Wait… what in God’s name did that lunatic McCain just say? … Anyway, progress is too much to expect, and after a couple years of trying, you just… roll with the punches… do what you can… Right?
When it’s time for that morning look in the mirror, you tell yourself it’s harder than you thought. Too much of it seems bigger than the promises you made to get there. In the face of disagreement, in the thrall of tight votes and divided leadership, you simply can’t get it done the way you’d hoped. So you parse the polls, you chase the cameras, you fondle your constituents, and you wonder what the view looks like from the upper chamber. You ultimately retire to the lobbying job, with one hell of a pension, and live in a way that you despised before you realized what two kids in college, vacations in Europe, and a wife with a strappy Jimmy Choo habit would cost. You’ve kicked the proverbial can down the road, and maybe you tell yourself that it’s all our political system will allow. And so it goes.
Or you find your moment - that point of crisis when rare circumstances put the bat in your hand, and you have the leverage to make a change - the kind of change that’s identified by far more than a focus-grouped slogan; the kind that alters the course of history. You can do it by simply standing firmly for the principles upon which you were elected.
To blame you for catastrophe, legislators first have to explain the rejection of an acceptable alternative. Barack can load the teleprompter with the righteous indignation of his Father’s Dreams and level each syllable with a stage actor’s grace. The senate can whine and Harry Reid will triangulate desperately toward that elusive line between patriotism and pandering, sensitivity and simpering, missing every second and third step along the way. You’ll have to hold through the deluge because the bully pulpit wins the news cycle, but an administration bears the blame. Deflecting reporters is a privilege of the political class, but a President is beholden to history.
Certainly you could play for a single; just get a runner on base and hope like hell that the relief pitcher isn’t as strong as he’s been for the last ten years. You could pick and pry and get just enough to say you won; aim for destabilization in the next election, and keep looking for your next shot. You could bunt something unintelligible and complicated enough to confuse the anchorman and the AARP, pick the flowers from the fertilizer, and beseechingly extend the mess into the camera lens. You could head for the primrose path with a pension and the lobbying job, and wonder, in weak moments, what your grandparents would say about abdication of duty.
Or you could rise to the challenge and do something meaningful - something that would answer that cynical question, the one that is on the lips of a generation raised to mute sound bites and soapboxes with the bored sweep of a pointer finger, but whose votes elected this President. Their question: What does any of it really mean?
If not now… when? Whether you win the next election or not…whether the next news cycle gives you a boost or not…. Will you get this chance again? The President is in a bind that no speech, no dog-wagging war, no bill, and no mindless populism can change. His back is against the 2012 wall and this time the outcome is binary. He knows it. He absolutely has to have you help him raise the debt limit.
This is legacy stuff, and it doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you claim, so keep it simple. Leave out the social invasions. Stay out of bathrooms, bedrooms, churches, and doctor’s offices. Cancel the earmarks and the garbage. Skip the things that sound good but won’t work. Shoot straight and don’t strut. Do it early. Do it clearly and forcefully, but respectfully, and explain it with logic that doesn’t require lies. Deliver it in a way that leaves no doubt about your goals, your intent, or your resolve, and leave the cigars at home. Let your most aesthetic, most intelligent, most media-savvy person front it, and limit the bill to one page.
Send the President a bill that says Federal debt, in all forms and definitions, must be less than 60% of GDP by 2016, less than 50% by 2020, and less than 40% by 2024, or, in each of those years, a bi-partisan group will cut Federal Funding at the strategic, and line item level, until the goal is met. Furthermore, debt must stay below the benchmark thereafter, short of a Declaration of War or National Emergency supported by a two thirds vote of both houses of congress. And in the case of temporary exception, anything over the maximum must receive the same two-thirds vote each year or immediately go back to the limit via the same committee.
Barack will not like this choice, and he will thrash and froth. He’ll reload the teleprompter again and again in fiery waves of verbal and emotive genius that will make you question everything you believe, and, ultimately, your congressional reason d’être. But, in the end, a solution he hates will be better than having his name on the first and only default in the history of the United States.
So plant your feet and point your finger at the bleachers. Tell the President that you don’t intend to change a word because a default now is no different than a default later, and you’d rather see him get the credit. Give him a clear choice and a good look at the filthy cesspool that lies in wait on the other side of the decision, and let him decide whether to court disaster. Then take him to the wall.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
What they should do is deport all American troops from the Middle East back to Alabama and Georgia and leave the military-industrial complex to fend for itself.
Obamas 2008 campaign promises ring hollow and thousands of Americans die.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
What a country, yet the Fed prints $15 trillion and America and the President are concerned about a birth certificate in a campaign run? The huckster Trump and the Teleprompter-in-Chief are waging war.
America loses again but hey, we have DWTS.
Monday, April 25, 2011
This program rocks. There was the Head Coach, I believe they have nicknamed him Coach D, the athletic director and the high school principal. All three who surely could have been doing other things other than watching 8th graders slip and slide on wet grass. It was a good feeling to see and to note that the athletic director and principal were out and about amongst the parents, fielding questions and introducing themselves.
Refreshing for sure. And just three more reasons why Milton High School is a class act.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Ironically, the financial system isn't in great shape according to Standard and Poors:
"Additional fiscal risks for the U.S. include the potential for further extraordinary official assistance to large players in the U.S. financial or other sectors, along with outlays related to various federal credit programs. We estimate that it could cost the U.S. government as much as 3.5% of GDP to appropriately capitalize and relaunch Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two financial institutions now under federal control, in addition to the 1% of GDP already invested. The potential for losses on federal direct and guaranteed loans (such as student loans) is another material fiscal risk, in our view. Most importantly, we believe the risks from the U.S. financial sector are higher than we considered them to be before 2008 ".
In other words, the government has thrown trillions at the big banks, but instead of using those funds to shore up their balance sheets and return to prudent banking practices, the big boys have used the money as new gambling chips for speculative commodities plays which are hosing the American consumer at the grocery store, Wal Mart and the gas pump.
Good thing the Easter bunny only eats grass.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
My oldest son is an engineering student at Georgia Tech and instead of gracing the skin-filled beaches of Florida for spring break we took him on a family trip to Israel. He was glad he went! As a family we enjoy the shooting sports and we had an opportunity to spend a morning at an Israeli Defense Forces military training facility. We were able to shoot every "machine-gun" type weapon that is in use for the Israeli army. Only one of the rifles we fired was fully automatic, the rest all semi-auto. My preference was the M-4!
Although lasers were not used for sighting, (lasers can be locked onto by the enemy), the red-dots in the scopes were really the ticket to shoot some tight rounds. My only wish is that we all would have had better ear protection once the firing began. And a special thanks to the guy who did all of the clip loading for us. He really saved some time. Here is a picture of sons, Hunter, Jordan and ol' Dad!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Late on Friday the CBO put out its comparison of the Obama's budget, proposed back in February, with the CBO baseline assumption. The bottom line, and probably the main reason for the implicit S&P downgrade of the US, is that comparison the President's budget to the CBO baseline indicates that deficits are expected to rise by 41% over the next 10 years: the CBO project a deficit of $6.7 trillion while the President's number is $9.5 trillion, a 41% increase or $2.7 trillion.
Got printing presses?
Yet the Wall Street scumbags who committed bank fraud, money laundering, and America's greatest financial crimes are walking free, have Eric Holder watching their back, have a license to break the laws, have Congress, the Executive Branch and Federal Reserve aiding,abetting, and financing their robbery of the taxpayers, pension funds, and anyone with two dimes to rub together.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I think we can break last year's record here in Georgia!
Ever notice and wonder why there is no more accountability in the world these days? Wall Street executives steal our money and receive bonuses, but, no one goes to jail. BP, Haliburton and Trans-ocean can kill 9 U.S. oil workers, spill millions of gallons of oil in our oceans and pollute our shores, but, no one goes to jail. Japanese officials can falsify safety reports, poorly plan for natural disasters and release radio-active waste into the environment, but, no one goes to jail. U.S. Senators cheat on their wives, bride their staff and break lobbying laws, but, no goes to jail or even loses their seat in the Senate. Former presidents can torture people, lie about taking America to war, killing thousands of Americans and running-up the U.S. federal deficit, but, no one is accountable
And nobody goes to jail!
What a country. Only in Amerika!!!!!!!!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
In July 2010, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) selected a stimulus project proposal from the Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Ojibwe to create seven new public computer centers and to renovate ten existing facilities in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs on their northern Minnesota reservations. Yet when the tribes did the math for the $2.5 million Headwaters Tribal Community Center project, it just didn’t add up. The federal stimulus grant contributed $1,722,371 toward the broadband project, while the tribes and their Boys and Girls Club partners’ projected share of the project was to be $793,731—about a third of the total cost. According to Leech Lake Band officials, after closer scrutiny of the project, they concluded that the final price tag for the project would be significantly more than the amount submitted in the grant application.
“The grant was written poorly,” said Leech Lake Accountant Nancy Stevens. “The project would have cost more than originally thought.” How much more? Hundreds of thousands of dollars that would ultimately be billed to the Leech Lake Band, according Stevens. To be sure, it took awhile to reach the decision to return the grant money to the US Treasury. A representative from the White Earth Band of Ojibwe told the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota that they would have liked to pursue the program, but were unable to acquire another grant to cover the shortfall. Leech Lake Band officials also attempted to revise the program’s allotments, but Stevens said they were rejected by the feds.
My condolences to his family. He was a shining light to the shit-parade of the main stream media and financial crack heads spouting and touting the Wall Street mantra.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
God help America!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
In August 2009, John Mack, at the time still the CEO of Morgan Stanley, made an interesting life decision. Despite the fact that he was earning the comparatively low salary of just $800,000, and had refused to give himself a bonus in the midst of the financial crisis, Mack decided to buy himself a gorgeous piece of property — a 107-year-old limestone carriage house on the Upper BeerEast Side of New York, complete with an indoor 12-car garage, that had just been sold by the prestigious Mellon family for $13.5 million. Either Mack had plenty of cash on hand to close the deal, or he got some help from his wife, Christy, who apparently bought the house with him.
The Macks make for an interesting couple. John, a Lebanese-American nicknamed "Mack the Knife" for his legendary passion for firing people, has one of the most recognizable faces on Wall Street, physically resembling a crumpled, half-burned baked potato with a pair of overturned furry horseshoes for eyebrows. Christy is thin, blond and rich — a sort of still-awake Sunny von Bulow with hobbies. Her major philanthropic passion is endowments for alternative medicine, and she has attained the level of master at Reiki, the Japanese practice of "palm healing." The only other notable fact on her public résumé is that her sister was married to Charlie Rose.
It's hard to imagine a pair of people you would less want to hand a giant welfare check to — yet that's exactly what the Fed did. Just two months before the Macks bought their fancy carriage house in Manhattan, Christy and her pal Susan launched their investment initiative called Waterfall TALF. Neither seems to have any experience whatsoever in finance, beyond Susan's penchant for dabbling in thoroughbred racehorses. But with an upfront investment of $15 million, they quickly received $220 million in cash from the Fed, most of which they used to purchase student loans and commercial mortgages. The loans were set up so that Christy and Susan would keep 100 percent of any gains on the deals, while the Fed and the Treasury (read: the taxpayer) would eat 90 percent of the losses. Given out as part of a bailout program ostensibly designed to help ordinary people by kick-starting consumer lending, the deals were a classic heads-I-win, tails-you-lose investment.
So how did the government come to address a financial crisis caused by the collapse of a residential-mortgage bubble by giving the wives of a couple of Morgan Stanley bigwigs free money to make essentially risk-free investments in student loans and commercial real estate? The answer is: by degrees. The history of the bailout era reads like one of those awful stories about what happens when a long-dormant criminal compulsion goes unchecked. The Peeping Tom next door stares through a few bathroom windows, doesn't get caught, and decides to break in and steal a pair of panties. Next thing you know, he's upgraded to homemade dungeons, tri-state serial rampages and throwing cheerleaders into a panel truck.
The impetus for this sudden manic expansion of the bailouts was a masterful bluff by Wall Street executives. Once the money started flowing from the Federal Reserve, the executives began moaning to their buddies at the Fed, claiming that they were suddenly afraid of investing in anything — student loans, car notes, you name it — unless their profits were guaranteed by the state. "You ever watch soccer, where the guy rolls six times to get a yellow card?" says William Black, a former federal bank regulator who teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri. "That's what this is. If you have power and connections, they will give you a freebie deal — if you're good at whining."
This is where TALF fits into the bailout picture. Created just after Barack Obama's election in November 2008, the program's ostensible justification was to spur more consumer lending, which had dried up in the midst of the financial crisis. But instead of lending directly to car buyers and credit-card holders and students — that would have been socialism! — the Fed handed out a trillion dollars to banks and hedge funds, almost interest-free. In other words, the government lent taxpayer money to the same assholes who caused the crisis, so that they could then lend that money back out on the market virtually risk-free, at an enormous profit.
Cue your Billy Mays voice, because wait, there's more! A key aspect of TALF is that the Fed doles out the money through what are known as non-recourse loans. Essentially, this means that if you don't pay the Fed back, it's no big deal. The mechanism works like this: Hedge Fund Goon borrows, say, $100 million from the Fed to buy crappy loans, which are then transferred to the Fed as collateral. If Hedge Fund Goon decides not to repay that $100 million, the Fed simply keeps its pile of crappy securities and calls everything even.
This is the deal of a lifetime. Think about it: You borrow millions, buy a bunch of crap securities and stash them on the Fed's books. If the securities lose money, you leave them on the Fed's lap and the public eats the loss. But if they make money, you take them back, cash them in and repay the funds you borrowed from the Fed. "Remember that crazy guy in the commercials who ran around covered in dollar bills shouting, 'The government is giving out free money!' " says Black. "As crazy as he was, this is making it real."
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Monday, April 04, 2011
Friends called police after not hearing from Charlie Wilson, according to various media reports. When officers arrived at Wilson's Moultrie home Wednesday, they couldn't get inside initially because of the stacks of boxes. Investigators were able to make their way into the home through a back entrance. Once inside, it took about two hours for rescuers to reach the man. Rescuers had to climb over belongings stacked to the ceilings to reach Wilson, who apparently died about three weeks ago.
Neighbors told WTOC Channel 11 they were shocked to learn Wilson could barely move around inside his home due to the clutter. He was a friendly man, willing to help anyone in need, friends and neighbors said.
"He always like to collect things around the house, but I didn't expect the inside to look like the outside," Kimiko Shealey said. "It was like a really big shock for me to have to see them have to cut a wall to get to him."
Brock said Wilson's death is a sad reminder of the importance of checking on loved ones, especially those that live alone. “Talk to them,” Brock told the newspaper. “Say, ‘Call me every day or two so I’ll know you’re OK, or I’ll call and check on you.’”
Sunday, April 03, 2011
They also swear they’re gonna straighten up and fly right this time. There is one little detail they forgot to mention – no one actually wants to lend them money. Nobody wants to buy U.S. Treasury bonds. Not Gross of PIMCO, not Buffett. Not Chippewa Partners.
Charles Ferguson, who deservedly won an Oscar for his must watch movie of 2010, Inside Job, which exposed such self-caricatures as Larry Summers, Napoleon Dynamite Sr, and Glenn Hubbard for the hollow shams they are, and who made waves by making the only logical statement at this year's Oscar celebration by asking why nobody on Wall Street had gone to prison, appeared on Charlie Rose in yet another must watch interview. Ferguson is once again given a chance to clarify his position on why nobody will likely ever go to prison for what amounts to the greatest generational and class heist ever witnessed: "Do you expect that there will be prosecutions for criminal wrongdoing coming out of what we now know?" The answer: "Whether there will be or not, is a function of political pressure because it is unfortunately disastrously, tragically clear that the Obama administration has no interest in doing anything about this." The reason, according to Ferguson for Obama's (lack of) action is: "there is a menu of answers: he is personally very conflict averse, to cold-blooded political calculation, to lack of experience and therefore insecurity in large very scale economic and financial matters, and therefore being a prisoner of his advisors. Perhaps some combination of all of those things..." In other words true lack of change that banker pocket change can believe in. As for what would take to fix the broken system we find ourselves in: "(i) change the role of money in elections, (ii) to pay regulators well, and (iii) have law enforcement that is necessary to enforce the laws we have." Alas the Inside Job director does not see any of these happening any time soon. Neither does anybody else.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Friday, April 01, 2011
The Arab Bank Corporation, which is chaired by the head of Libya's state investment fund, however is not subject to Libyan sanctions. But some US lawmakers were incredulous about the Fed lending to the Libyan-government backed banks. Democrat-allied Senator Bernie Sanders said the Fed made "46 emergency, low-interest loans" to the bank, providing a total of $26 billion in credit, though not at one time. "It is incomprehensible to me that while creditworthy small businesses in Vermont and throughout the country could not receive affordable loans, the Federal Reserve was providing tens of billions of dollars in credit to a bank that is substantially owned by the Central Bank of Libya." The Fed records show huge numbers of short-term liquidity loans made to American banks and the US units of banks from all over the world at the peak of the financial crisis, many for far larger sums. A New York unit of the French-Belgian bank Dexia, which had huge potential liabilities in guarantees on municipal bonds, garnered loans for as much as $33.5 billion.