The March for Science is going to be on April 14 this year. It is important this year more than ever to stand up for Science and for STEM in the United States as it is all under attack daily throughout our government in its current iteration.
At a time when America needs science and technology to make significant leaps forward to catch up with the rest of the world who has been supporting education, higher education, science, math, technology and engineering with massive efforts, our nation’s leaders have chosen to make war on science at every opportunity and in every agency, every policy, every possible way.
We need education to support STEM now more than ever and to support education for our children and adults to be competitive in a global playing field where we have fallen behind. Now, rather than supporting our nation to be in a leadership role in science, technology, innovation and education, it is being de-funded, demeaned, derided, discredited, dismantled and destroyed.
These actions will set our nation behind by years upon years against other nations’ efforts supporting STEM, higher education and science, in particular. Please join the March for Science – whether you are a scientist or not to show America’s business leaders and political decision-makers that we stand together supporting fact-based and evidence-based decision making, scientific reason and educated thinking.
Federal Lanham Act Remedies for False Advertising –
1. Historical Background –
Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act prohibits any false description or representation of goods. Although this section was originally construed narrowly, to reach only “passing off” and other behavior resembling trademark infringement, modern cases regard the statute as providing a federal remedy against false advertising.
2. Standing: Who May Invoke Section 43 –
A plaintiff seeking injunctive relief under § 43(a) must show a likelihood of economic injury due to the defendant’s conduct in order to be entitled to relief. If the plaintiff seeks damages, it must demonstrate an actual loss of sales (and / or loss of revenue, my note – actual money, but can include lost opportunity costs.)
3. What Constitutes a False Description or Representation –
Any falsehood with a tendency to mislead or deceive is actionable under section 43(a), provided it is material. The plaintiff need not prove that the defendant acted intentionally.
(from – “Capsule Summary”)
pp. 20 – 21, also pp. 148 – 150
Unfair Trade Practices & Intellectual Property,
author – Roger E. Schechter,
Black Letter Series, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minn.; 1986
Hmmmm . . . . – wonder if those laws still exist? After watching the Goldman Sachs hearings in the Senate committee yesterday, when investors are told that a thing is good investment securities, when they know it is not – isn’t that applied to laws like this? Or rather, aren’t laws like this applied to situations like that?
I found another section of this book which had this sentence – “Nonetheless, some courts will impose a duty to pay if the equities of the situation require it to prevent unjust enrichment.” – What constitutes “unjust enrichment”?
English unjust enrichment law is a developing area of law in unjust enrichment. Traditionally, work on unjust enrichment has been dealt with under the title …
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_unjust_enrichment_law – Cached – Similar
English unjust enrichment law is a developing area of law in unjust enrichment. Traditionally, work on unjust enrichment has been dealt with under the title of “restitution“. Restitution is a gain-based remedy, the opposite of compensation, as a loss-based remedy. But the event it responds to is the “unjust enrichment” of one person at the expense of another.
Hazell v. Hammersmith and Fulham LBC  2 AC 1. Banks paid councils a lump sum (for Islington, £2.5m). The councils then paid the banks back at the prevailing interest rate. Banks paid councils back a fixed interest rate (this is the swap part). The point was that councils were gambling on what interest rates would do. So if interest rates fell, the councils would win. As it happened, interest rates were going up and the banks were winning. Islington was due to pay £1,354,474, but after Hazell, it refused, and waited to see what the courts said. At first instance Hobhouse J said that because the contract for the swap scheme was void, the council had been unjustly enriched with the lump sum (£2.5m) and it should have to pay compound interest (lots) rather than simple interest (lots, but not so much). But luckily for local government, three law Lords held that Islington only needed to repay with simple interest. There was no jurisdiction for compound interest. They said this was because there was no ‘resulting trust’.
Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale v Islington LBC  AC 669, the council had no authority to enter into a complex swap transaction with the German bank. So the House of Lords held that the council should repay the money they had been lent and a hitherto unknown ‘unjust’ factor was added to the list. Birks argued that the better explanation in all cases is an ‘absence of basis’ for the transfer of property. Searching through or adding to a list of open ended unjust factors simply concludes on grounds of what one wishes to prove, grounds that ‘would have to be constantly massaged to ensure that they dictated an answer as stable as is reached by the shorter ‘non basis’ route.’ (Birks (2005) 113)
The following eleven categories are examples of “unjust factor” (or what Peter Birks argued could be unified under one principle of a basis of a right being absent) which may ground a claim of restitution for unjust enrichment.
Unjust enrichment is a developed and coherent field in continental civil law systems. Continental lawyers say someone is unjustly enriched when there is no basis for their possession or title to some right or property. A more correct way of saying it is that someone has been “unjustifiedly enriched”. In German, the term is Ungerechtfertigte Bereicherung (§812 BGB) and in France the term is Enrichissement sans cause. English lawyers, however, have been accustomed to identify an “unjust factor”. The difference between “unjust factors” and “absence of basis” as a unifying principle has generated a lot of debate, particularly since Peter Birks changed his mind in his second edition of Unjust Enrichment (2005) in the Clarendon Law Series, and argued that the continentals had got it right.
The two leading theorists that have revived unjust enrichment were Lord Goff, who produced Goff and Jones on Restitution and Professor Peter Birks.
Black Letter Series, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minn.; 1986
(excerpt – )
To constitute “unfair” conduct, an advertisement or commercial practice must pose a risk of substantial, unmitigated, unavoidable consumer injury.
(further – )
These advertisements may be deceptive, however, if analyzed under the historic definition of that term. Under the classic test, an advertising claim is deceptive if it has any tendency to deceive a significant number of consumers.
(also found on pp. 225 – )
2. True. The original version of the statute [VIII. Federal Trade Commission Regulation of Unfair and Deceptive Practices] only dealt with “unfair methods of competittion.” The 1938 Wheeler-La Amendment added the “unfair and deceptive acts and practices” language.
(and on pp. 228)
4. True. Such statutes have been applied against defendants who were making casual sales of used goods.
(and therefore, why shouldn’t it be applied to investment firms, banks, hedge funds and others in the investment community who engaged in deceptive and misleading practices that would’ve been illegal in any other context, including as the laws and statutes are applied to regular Americans being involved in casual sales of goods that were unlikely to have created the huge ramifications that the Wall Street players caused, my note.)
Unjust enrichment is a legal term denoting a particular type of causative event in which one party is unjustly enriched at the expense of another, and an obligation to make restitution arises, regardless of liability for wrongdoing.
Liability under the principle of unjust enrichment is wholly independent of liability for wrongdoing. Claims in unjust enrichment do not depend upon proof of any wrong. However, it is possible that on a single set of facts a claim based on unjust enrichment and a claim based on a wrong may both be available. A claim based on unjust enrichment always results in an obligation to make restitution. A claim based on a wrong always results in an obligation to make compensation, but may additionally result in an obligation to make restitution and on the other hand it will result in an obligation to make reimbursement which will allow the normal citizen to the courts for its wrongdoing which it never intended to do so. For discussion of restitution for wrongs, see the page on restitution.
At common law, a claim based on unjust enrichment can be submitted to five stages of analysis. These can be summarized in the form of the following questions:
Was the defendant enriched?
Was the enrichment at the expense of the claimant?
There are two established approaches to this issue. Traditionally, common law systems such as those of England and the US have proceeded on the basis of what may be termed the ‘unjust factor’ approach. Traditionally, civil law systems such as those of France and Germany have proceeded on the basis of what may be termed the ‘absence of basis’ approach. More recently, many common law systems have showed signs of a possible move towards the ‘absence of basis’ approach (see for example the law of North Dakota in the section on the United States below). Both approaches will be discussed.
The ‘unjust factors’ approach requires the claimant to point to one of a number of factors recognized by the law as rendering the defendant’s enrichment unjust. English law clearly recognises at least the following unjust factors:
‘Absence of consideration’ is particularly controversial because the cases that support its existence as an unjust factor can also be used to support the view that English law has begun to favour the ‘absence of basis’ approach (see next paragraph).
The ‘absence of basis’ approach does not deal in individual unjust factors. Instead it seeks to identify enrichments with no legitimate explanatory basis. Imagine that A contracts with B that A will pay $150 up front for B to clean his house. A pays the money. B’s enrichment has a legitimate explanatory basis – he was paid under a valid contract. However, let us now change the example and assume that the contract was in fact void. This is discovered after A has paid the money but before B cleans the house. B’s enrichment no longer has a legitimate explanatory basis so B must repay the $150 to A.
Notice that in the example just given, exactly the same conclusion would be reached using the ‘unjust factors’ approach. Under that approach, A would not be able to point to an unjust factor provided that the contract was valid, but could point to the unjust factor of total failure of consideration once we assume that it was void. In the vast majority of cases, a properly developed ‘unjust factors’ approach and a properly developed ‘absence of basis’ approach will reach the same result.
 What remedies are available to the claimant?
It is necessary to distinguish personal remedies from proprietary remedies. A personal remedy asserts that the defendant must pay the claimant a sum of money. By contrast, a proprietary remedy asserts that some property in the defendant’s possession belongs to the claimant, either at common law or in equity. There are several arguable examples in the English case law of the courts giving a proprietary remedy in an unjust enrichment claim. However, some commentators maintain that, in English law, unjust enrichment only ever triggers a personal remedy.
There are several reasons why it may be important for the claimant to seek a proprietary rather than a personal remedy. The most obvious is that showing that one is entitled to a proprietary interest in some property means that one need not compete with the defendant’s unsecured creditors in the event of his insolvency. It is also generally accepted, although with little justification, that a claimant who is entitled to a personal remedy only will be restricted to simple interest, while a claimant who is entitled to a proprietary remedy can get compound interest. The availability or non-availability of a proprietary remedy may also have consequences for limitation periods and for the conflict of laws.
English law gives effect to restitutionary proprietary interests (assuming that it does at all) through a number of devices. One of these devices will be discussed and another two will be mentioned briefly.
It doesn’t matter if you are a “market maker” or not, such as Goldman Sachs and about 2000 others are – they still can’t store explosives under their desks because they must abide by the laws which apply to that just as we all do, and they still can’t engage in failing to meet OSHA standards for a work place, nor can they be exempted from the regulations, statutes and laws governing the rest of us and the business laws that generally apply to everything.
I know yesterday during the hearings, the term “market maker” was used as a declaration of why “we get to get away with doing it this way, by law – because we qualify as a market maker.” That doesn’t mean everything else in the law and in international law doesn’t apply to them. It does not exclude their businesses, their business participation, their business practices and decisions, their business processes and their marketing practices from the laws governing everything else.
An Icelandic 1000-krónur note. The value of the Icelandic króna declined significantly during 2008.
Economic growth in Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 2000 to 2007. Iceland is in red.
The 2008–2010 Icelandic financial crisis is a major ongoing economic crisis in Iceland that involves the collapse of all three of the country’s major banks following their difficulties in refinancing their short-term debt and a run on deposits in the United Kingdom. Relative to the size of its economy, Iceland’s banking collapse is the largest suffered by any country in economic history.
In late September 2008, it was announced that the Glitnir bank would be nationalised. The following week, control of Landsbanki and Glitnir was handed over to receivers appointed by the Financial Supervisory Authority (FME). Soon after that, the same organisation placed Iceland’s largest bank, Kaupthing, into receivership as well. Commenting on the need for emergency measures, Prime MinisterGeir Haarde said on 6 October, “There [was] a very real danger … that the Icelandic economy, in the worst case, could be sucked with the banks into the whirlpool and the result could have been national bankruptcy.” He also stated that the actions taken by the government had ensured that the Icelandic state would not actually go bankrupt. At the end of the second quarter 2008, Iceland’s external debt was 9.553 trillion Icelandic krónur (€50 billion), more than 80% of which was held by the banking sector. This value compares with Iceland’s 2007 gross domestic product of 1.293 trillion krónur (€8.5 billion). The assets of the three banks taken under the control of the FME totaled 14.437 trillion krónur at the end of the second quarter 2008.
The financial crisis has had serious consequences for the Icelandic economy. The national currency has fallen sharply in value, foreign currency transactions were virtually suspended for weeks, and the market capitalisation of the Icelandic stock exchange has dropped by more than 90%. As a result of the crisis, Iceland is currently undergoing a severe economic recession; the nation’s gross domestic product decreased by 5.5% in real terms in the first six months of 2009. The full cost of the crisis cannot yet be determined, but already it exceeds 75% of the country’s 2007 GDP. Outside Iceland, more than half a million depositors (far more than the entire population of Iceland) found their bank accounts frozen amid a diplomatic argument over deposit insurance. German bank BayernLB faces losses of up to €1.5 billion, and has had to seek help from the German federal government. The government of the Isle of Man will pay out half of its reserves, equivalent to 7.5% of the island’s GDP, in deposit insurance.
( . . . )
On 24 October, it emerged that Norway’s semi-public export credit agencyEksportfinans had made a complaint to Norwegian police concerning the alleged embezzlement of 415 million Norwegian kroner (€47 million) by Glitnir since 2006. The Icelandic bank had acted as an agent for Eksportfinans, administering loans to several companies: however Eksportfinans alleges that, when the loans were paid off early by borrowers, Glitnir kept the cash and merely continued with the regular payments to Eksportfinans, effectively taking an unauthorized loan itself.
OMX Iceland 15 closing prices during the five trading weeks from September 29, 2008 to October 31, 2008
Trading in shares of six financial companies on the OMXNordic Iceland Exchange was suspended on 6 October by order of the FME. On Thursday 9 October, all trading on the exchange was frozen for two days by the government “in an attempt to prevent further panic spreading throughout the country’s financial markets”. The decision was made to do so due to “unusual market conditions”, with share prices having fallen 30% since the start of the month. The closure was extended through Monday 13 October due to continuing “unusual market conditions”.
The market reopened on 14 October with the main index, the OMX Iceland 15, at 678.4, which corresponds to a plunge of about 77% compared with 3,004.6 before the closure. This reflects the fact that the value of the three big banks, which form 73.2% of the value of the OMX Iceland 15, had been set to zero. The values of other equities varied from +8% to –15%. Trading in shares of Exista, SPRON and Straumur-Burðarás (13.66% of the OMX Iceland 15) remains suspended. After a week of very thin trading, the OMX Iceland 15 closed on 17 October at 643.1, down 93% in króna terms and 96% in euro terms from its historic high of 9016 (18 July 2007).
Trading in the shares of two financial services companies, Straumur–Burðarás and Exista, resumed on 9 December: together the companies account for 12.04% of the OMX Iceland 15. The values of the shares in both companies dropped sharply, and the index closed at 394.88, down by 40.17% on the day. Trading in shares in SPRON and Kaupthing remains suspended, at prices of ISK 1.90 and ISK 694.00 respectively.
Ratings of Icelandic sovereign debt
(long-term foreign currency)
The four credit rating agencies which monitor Iceland’s sovereign debt all lowered their ratings during the crisis, and their outlook for future ratings changes is negative. The Icelandic government had a relatively healthy balance, with sovereign debt of 28.3% of GDP and a budget surplus of 5.5% of GDP (2007). Debt is now 90 percent of GDP with a budget deficit.
In addition, the value of foreign currency bonds which mature in the remainder of 2008 is only $600 million, and foreign currency debt service in 2009 is only $215 million, well within the government’s ability to pay. However the agencies believe that the government will have to issue more foreign currency bonds, both to cover losses as the banks’ overseas operations are liquidated and also to stimulate demand in the domestic economy as Iceland goes into recession.
On 24 October, the IMF tentatively agreed to loan €1.58 billion. However the loan had still not been approved by the Executive Board of the IMF on 13 November. Apparently, UK and the Netherlands had halted IMF’s aid to Iceland as the Icesave dispute had not been resolved. Due to the delay Iceland found itself caught in a classic catch-22 situation, loans from other countries could not be formally secured until the IMF program had been approved. The Icelandic government spoke of a $500M (€376M) gap in the funding plans. Dutch finance ministerWouter Bos stated that the Netherlands would oppose the loan unless agreement was reached over deposit insurance for Landsbanki customers in the Netherlands.
The IMF-led package of $4.6bn was finally agreed on 19 November, with the IMF loaning $2.1bn and another $2.5bn of loans and currency swaps from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. In addition, Poland has offered to lend $200M and the Faroe Islands have offered 300M Danish kroner ($50M, about 3% of Faroese GDP). The Icelandic government also reported that Russia has offered $300M. The next day, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom announced a joint loan of $6.3bn (€5bn), related to the deposit insurance dispute.
In 2001, banks were deregulated in Iceland. This set the stage for banks to upload debts when foreign companies were accumulated. The crisis unfolded when banks became unable to refinance their debts. It is estimated that the three major banks hold foreign debt in excess of €50 billion, or about €160,000 per Icelandic resident, compared with Iceland’s gross domestic product of €8.5 billion. As early as March 2008, the cost of private deposit insurance for deposits in Landsbanki and Kaupthing was already far higher (6–8½% of the sum deposited) than for other European banks. The króna, which was ranked by The Economist in early 2007 as the most overvalued currency in the world (based on the Big Mac Index), has further suffered from the effects of carry trading.
Coming from a small domestic market, Iceland’s banks have financed their expansion with loans on the interbank lending market and, more recently, by deposits from outside Iceland (which are also a form of external debt). Households also took on a large amount of debt, equivalent to 213% of disposable income, which led to inflation. This inflation was exacerbated by the practice of the Central Bank of Iceland issuing liquidity loans to banks on the basis of newly-issued, uncovered bonds — effectively, printing money on demand.
In response to the rise in prices — 14% in the twelve months to September 2008, compared with a target of 2.5% — the Central Bank of Iceland has held interest rates high (15.5%). Such high interest rates, compared with 5.5% in the United Kingdom or 4% in the eurozone for example, have encouraged overseas investors to hold deposits in Icelandic krónur, leading to monetary inflation: the Icelandic money supply (M3) grew 56.5% in the twelve months to September 2008, compared with 5.0% GDP growth. The situation was effectively an economic bubble, with investors overestimating the true value of the króna.
As with many banks around the world, the Icelandic banks found it increasingly difficult or impossible to roll over their loans in the interbank market, their creditors insisting on repayment while no other banks were willing to make fresh loans. In such a situation, a bank would normally have to ask for a loan from the central bank as the lender of last resort. However, in Iceland the banks were so much larger than the national economy that the Central Bank of Iceland and the Icelandic government could not guarantee the repayment of the banks’ debts, leading to the collapse of the banks. The official reserves of the Central Bank of Iceland stood at 374.8 billion krónur at the end of September 2008, compared with 350.3 billion krónur of short-term international debt in the Icelandic banking sector, and at least £6.5 billion (1,250 billion krónur) of retail deposits in the UK.
The Icesave logo, advertising it as “part of Landsbanki, Reykjavik, Iceland”
The situation was made worse by the fact that Icesave was operating as a branch of Landsbanki, rather than as a legally independent subsidiary. As such, it was completely dependent on the Central Bank of Iceland for emergency loans of liquidity, and could not turn to the Bank of England for help. The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) was aware of the risk, and was considering imposing special liquidity requirements on Icelandic deposit-taking banks in the weeks before the crisis. However the plan—which was never implemented—would have forced the Icelandic banks to cut interest rates or stop taking new deposits, and might even have sparked the sort of bank run it was designed to prevent. The Guernsey authorities were also planning on bringing in restrictions on foreign banks operating as branches and on transfers of funds between Guernsey subsidiaries and parent banks (“parental upstreaming”). Landsbanki operated in Guernsey through a legally independent subsidiary.
The existence of a bank run on Landsbanki accounts in the UK in the period up to 7 October seems confirmed by a statement from the bank on 10 October, which said “Landsbanki Íslands hf. transferred substantial funds to its UK branch during this time to fulfil its Icesave commitments.” The transfer of funds from Landsbanki Guernsey to Heritable Bank, a Landsbanki subsidiary in the UK, also suggests a bank run in the UK. A transfer of “substantial funds” from Iceland to the UK would have been a significant downward push on the value of the króna, even before the effects of any speculation.
The current economic climate in the country has affected many Icelandic businesses and citizens. With the creation of Nýi Landsbanki, the new organisation which replaces the old Landsbanki, around 300 employees will lose their jobs due to a radical restructuring of the organisation which is intended to minimise the bank’s international operations. Similar job losses are expected at Glitnir and Kaupthing The job losses can be compared with the 2,136 registered unemployed and 495 advertised vacancies in Iceland at the end of August 2008.
Other companies have also been affected. For example, the private Sterling Airlines declared bankruptcy on 29 October 2008. The national airline Icelandair has noticed a significant slump in domestic demand for flights. However, the airline states that year-on-year international demand is up from last year. Guðjón Arngrímsson, a spokesman for the airline, said “we’re getting decent traffic from other markets… we are trying to let the weak [króna] help us.” He has also stated that it is impossible to predict whether the company will be profitable this year.Morgunblaðið, an Icelandic newspaper, is cutting some jobs and merging parts of its operations with the media corporation 365. The newspaper 24 stundir has ceased publication due to the crisis, resulting in the loss of 20 jobs.
Importers are particularly hard hit, with the government restricting foreign currency to essential products such as food, medicines and oil. The €400 million loan from the central banks of Denmark and Norway is sufficient to pay for a month’s imports, although on 15 October there was still a “temporary delay” which affected “all payments to and from the country”.
The assets of Icelandic pension funds are, according to one expert, expected to shrink by 15–25%. The Icelandic Pension Funds Association has announced that benefits will in all likelihood have to be cut in 2009. Iceland’s GDP is expected by economists to shrink by as much as 10% as a result of the crisis, putting Iceland by some measures in an economic depression.Inflation may climb as high as 75% by the end of the year.
Unemployment had more than tripled by late November 2008, with over 7000 registered jobseekers (about 4% of the workforce) compared to just 2136 at the end of August 2008. As 80% of household debt is indexed and another 13% denominated in foreign currencies, debt repayment is going to be more costly. Since October 2008, 14% of the workforce have experienced reductions in pay, and around 7% have had their working hours reduced. According to the president of the Icelandic Federation of Labour (ASÍ), Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, these figures are lower than expected. 85% of those currently registered as unemployed in Iceland stated that they lost their job in October, after the economic collapse.
Over £840 million in cash from more than 100 UK local authorities was invested in Icelandic banks. Representatives from each council are meeting to try to persuade the Treasury to secure the money in the same way that customers’ money in Icesave was fully guaranteed. Of all the local authorities, Kent County Council has the most money invested in Icelandic banks, currently £50 million.Transport for London, the organisation that operates and coordinates transport services within London, also has a large investment at £40 million. Local authorities were working under government advice to invest their money across many national and international banks as a way of spreading risk. Other UK organisations said to have invested heavily include police services and fire authorities, and even the Audit Commission. It is hoped that about one-third of the deposited money will be available fairly rapidly, corresponding to the liquid assets of the UK subsidiaries: liquidation of other assets, such as loans and offices, will take longer.
In an emergency sitting of Tynwald on 9 October, the Isle of Man government raised compensation from 75% of the first £15,000 per depositor to 100% of £50,000 per depositor. The Chief Minister of the Isle of Man, Tony Brown, confirmed that Kaupthing had guaranteed the operations and liabilities of its Manx subsidiary in September 2007, and that the Manx government was pressing Iceland to honour this guarantee. Depositors with Landsbanki on Guernsey found themselves without any depositor protection.
On 11 October, an agreement was reached between the Icelandic and Dutch governments on the savings of about 120,000 Dutch citizens. The Icelandic government will cover the first €20,887 on savings accounts of Dutch citizens held by Landsbanki subsidiary Icesave, using money lent by the Dutch government. The total value of Icesave deposits in the Netherlands is €1.7 billion. At the same time, Iceland and Britain reached an agreement on the general contours of a solution: Icesave deposits in the UK total £4 billion (€5 billion) in 300,000 accounts. The figure of €20,887 is the amount covered by the Icelandic Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund (DIGF; Tryggingarsjóður in Icelandic): however, the DIGF had equity of only 8.3 billion krónur at the end of 2007, €90 million at the exchange rates of the time and far from sufficient to cover the Dutch and British claims.
The cost of deposit insurance in the UK is not completely clear as of November 2008. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) paid around £3 billion to transfer deposits from Heritable Bank and Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander to ING Direct, while the UK Treasury paid an additional £600 million to guarantee retail deposits that were higher than the FSCS limit. The Treasury also paid out £800 million to guarantee Icesave deposits that were higher than the limit. A loan of £2.2 billion to the Icelandic government is expected to cover the claims against the Icelandic DIGF relating to Icesave, while the exposure of the UK FSCS is expected to be £1–2 billion.
The crisis also prompted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reduce its foreign aid to developing nations, from 0.31% to 0.27% of GNP. The effect of the aid cut was greatly amplified by the falling value of the krona, leading the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) to see its budget fall from $22 million to $13 million. Since Iceland’s foreign aid is targeted in sectors for which the country has particular expertise (e.g. fisheries, geothermal power), the cutbacks will have a substantial impact in countries which receive Icelandic aid – most noticeably in Sri Lanka, where ICEIDA is pulling out altogether.
On February 27, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iceland’s new government is trying to raise $25 million by selling its ambassadorial residences in Washington, New York, London and Oslo.
On August 28, 2009, Iceland’s parliament voted 34-15 (with 14 abstentions) to approve a bill (commonly referred to as the Icesave bill) to repay the United Kingdom and the Netherlands more than $5 billion lost in Icelandic deposit accounts. Initially opposed in June, the bill was passed after amendments were added which set a ceiling on the repayment based on the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Opponents of the bill argued that Icelanders, already reeling from the crisis, should not have to pay for mistakes made by private banks under the watch of other governments. However, the government argued that if the bill failed to pass, the UK and the Netherlands might retaliate by blocking a planned aid package for Iceland from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Under the deal, up to 4% of Iceland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be paid to the UK, in sterling terms, from 2017-2023 while the Netherlands will receive up to 2% of Iceland’s GDP, in euro terms, for the same period. Talks between Icelandic, Dutch and UK ministers in January of 2010 dubbed as “Icesave” did not result in any specific actions being agreed upon. 
In April 2009, Iceland’s state prosecutor hired Eva Joly, the Norwegian-French investigator who led Europe’s biggest ever fraud investigations into bribery and corruption at oil group Elf Aquitaine, as special consultant to a 20-member ”economic crime team” to “investigate suspicions of criminal actions in the period preceding the collapse of the Icelandic banks” which may involve several Iceland’s business and banking leaders. Joly stated that the investigation will require a minimum of 2–3 years to build up enough evidence to secure prosecutions.
In an interview Joly stated that:
“Finding proof will start at home in Iceland, but my instinct is that it will spread. If there are things relevant to the UK we will get in touch with the Serious Fraud Office. If there are things relevant to Germany we will get in touch with their authorities. In Iceland, there is more than enough for a starting point for the investigation, given all the talk about market manipulation and unusual loans. If these are proved they are embezzlement and fraud. The priority is tracing any flow of assets from the banks and getting them back.”
The investigation is expected to focus on a number of questionable financial practices engaged in by Icelandic banks:
Almost half of all the loans made by Icelandic banks were to holdings companies, many of which are connected to those same Icelandic banks.
Money was allegedly lent by the banks to their employees and associates so they could buy shares in those same banks while simply using those same shares as collateral for the loans. Borrowers were then allowed to defer paying interest on the loan until the end of the period, when the whole amount plus interest accrued was due. These same loans were then allegedly written off days before the banks collapsed.
Kaupthing allowed a Qatari investor to purchase 5% of its shares. It was later revealled that the Qatari investor “bought” the stake using a loan from Kaupthing itself and a holding company associated with one of its employees (i.e. the bank was, in effect, buying its own shares).
Scrutiny of Icelandic business leaders
Since the crisis began, many of Iceland’s business leaders, who had previously been considered financial gurus who greatly developed Iceland’s economy, are now under intense public scrutiny for their roles in causing the financial crisis:
Reportedly, all of those under scrutiny are now rarely seen in public and some have apparently left the country. They are also reportedly the subjects of an ongoing investigation to determine if any of their business practices warrant criminal prosecution.
Statements from former politicians
Former Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson has claimed that Iceland needs to investigate “unusual and unconventional loans” given by the banks to senior politicians during the years before the crisis.
Björn Bjarnson, the former Minister for Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs, has started a blog detailing the problems with the business sector and the efforts to cover them up. This was cited as an example of how politicians and businessmen, who traditionally held a tight grip over the Icelandic media, have lost this control and that dozens of similar blogs have been created. Björn stated that:
“I have written a lot about problems in the business sector over the last 14 years, and I can only compare some parts of it to Enron. Here companies have been playing a game, using the media and publishing to make themselves look good. We only hope that the foreign media will soon begin to understand what has been going on.”
Some of the 6000 protesters in front of the Alþingishús, seat of the Icelandic parliament, on 15 November 2008.
Parts of the Icelandic public have arranged protests against the Central Bank, the Parliament and the government’s alleged lack of responsibility before and after the crisis, attracting between 3000 and 6000 people (1–2% of Iceland’s population) on Saturdays.
And a little about the Freedom of Information Act and financial firms –
§ 38:249 (US Code)
K. Eighth Exemption: Reports by Financial Institutions
1. In General
§ 38:249 (US Code) Introduction
5 USCS § 552(b) (8) provides an exemption from FOIA disclosure for matters that are contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.
Accordingly, a number of federal offices and agencies, including the Treasury Department, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve System, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation have promulgated regulations affirmatively applying Exemption 8 to relevant information in their possession.
Some regulations, however, such as those of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, may contain provisions for the discretionary release of reports that are otherwise exempt.
As stated in the legislative history of the FOIA, Exemption 8 is designed to insure the security and integrity of financial institutions, since the sensitive details collected by government agencies which regulate financial institutions could cause great harm if they were to be indiscriminately disclosed. A major concern is that the disclosure of such reports containing frank evaluations of investigated banks might undermine public confidence in the soundness of such institutions and cause unwarranted runs on banks.
A secondary purpose behind the enactment of Exemption 8 is to safeguard the relationship between the banks and the supervising agencies. There was concern that if bank examinations are freely made available to the public and to the banks’ competitors, the banks will be less likely to give the agencies their full co-operation – (which they don’t do now, my note).
The courts have indicated that Exemption 8, like the other FOIA exemptions, must be narrowly construed, but this does not mean that the plain meaning of the language of the exemption can be overlooked.
Practice pointer: Although reports prepared by bank regulatory bodies are beyond the scope of FOIA disclosure, such reports might nevertheless be subject to discovery in the course of litigation.
Exemption 8 does not create independently any evidentiary privilege, its effect being only to permit the withholding of such information from the public generally.
If, however, the federal banking agency forbids the bank to disclose a report of an examination without agency approval, discovery of examination reports must be sought from the agency and not from the bank as part of pretrial discovery in litigation involving the bank. (or financial investment, financial brokerage, stock market records, or investment “auction” facility, my note).
(from pp. 256 – 257, 15 Fed Proc, L Ed; )
§ 38:250. What “financial institutions” are governed by
The term “financial institution” has been interpreted to include banks and other related institutions.
Thus, two sets of federal regulations, those of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve System, indicate that the exemption is applicable to reports relating to the affairs of any bank or affiliate thereof, bank holding company or subsidiary, broker, finance company, or any person engaged, or proposing to engage, in the business of banking, extending credit, or managing or controlling banks.
It has been held that examination reports of federal savings institutions are also exempt from disclosure. Although some fears have been expressed that if Exemption 8 is construed literally, the records relating to a closed bank will be perpetually sealed, it has been held that such records come within the scope of Exemption 8, at least where the bank has only recently been closed and where the records have not yet been turned over to GSA.
One question is whether national securities exchanges are considered to be “financial institutions” within the meaning of Exemption 8.
In one case, a Securities and Exchange Commission staff study on an off-board trading problem raised by a rule of the New York Stock Exchange, as well as of the transcripts made and documents received by the SEC in the course of its investigation, were held not? to be exempted from FOIA disclosure by reason of Exemption 8.
But it has been held that an SEC report regarding an inspection of one of the lesser stock exchanges is exempt as pertaining to a financial institution.
(and from pp. 259, 15 Fed Proc, L Ed)
§ 38:252 Other exempt information
Other types of information that have been held to be exempted from disclosure under 5 USCS § 38:252 (b) (8) include reports of the Comptroller of the Currency concerning the policies of a national bank, reports of FDIC examiners, and reports of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board concerning the financial conditions of savings associations.
Information concerning disciplinary proceedings involving specific stock exchange members, since it is of value to SEC supervision of the stock exchange, is protected by Exemption 8.
Freedom of Information
Federal Procedure, Lawyers Edition; 1990
§ 38:249 (US Code)
§ 38:250 (US Code)
§ 38:252 (US Code)
Volume 15, § 38:1 – 38:600
So much for the concept of transparency. It seems that is simply a term to be used in public displays of political arena working and not an application used in fact, in process, nor in financial services processes.
Conflict of Laws –
Entry, pp. 1085, Vol. 4, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1978
The law of conflict of laws has to do with the resolution of problems that result from the fact that there exists in the world a multiplicity of different sets of courts and different systems of private laws; that is, law dealing with relations between persons. As the earth is presently organized, its surface is divided among nations that are independent of each other and that have no world government above them. Each of these nations maintains its own set of courts in complete independence of every other nation, and each nation has its own set of laws, written or unwritten.
The Law of Conflict of Laws: Function and Sources –
While in such countries as France, Sweden, Peru, or Japan, one single system of law obtains for the whole country, diversity exists in many others, especially nations organized upon a federal pattern, such as the United States, Canada, and, to a minor degree, West Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, or Soviet Union [today, Eastern European nations and Russia]. ( . . . )
Even in countries whose political structure is of the unitary rather than the federal pattern, differences can be found. In the United Kingdom, for example, considerable difference exist between the laws of England, Scotland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and Northern Ireland. (I’m not sure the extent to which that is true today, my note).
Diversity of laws exists frequently between a country and its colonies. (etc.)
Diversity of laws develops where a country is divided. (etc.)
Diversities of law within one country may also exist on an ethnic or religious basis. (etc.)
Because of the spread of Western civilization over the entire planet, the laws of modern nations, at least insofar as they are concerned with relations between private individuals, present a considerable measure of uniformity. (to some extent, my note).
They are sufficiently different, however, to make it important to know to what situations one ought to apply the law of one country, state, region, or group rather than that of another, especially when dealings are carried on between persons of different law units.
This question of determining which of the world’s numerous laws is the proper one to apply in a particular situation is in itself a legal question.
Those rules of law by which such questions of choice of law are determined constitute a major part of that field of the law that is known as private international law or the law of conflict of laws.
Other parts of this field of the law are concerned with the problem of jurisdiction — that is, the problem of determining in what cases the courts of a particular country or state are, or are not, to go into action — and, furthermore, with the problem of stating what weight, if any, is to be given in one country or province to the judgments and other decisions of the courts or other agencies of other countries or provinces.
In countries adhering to the French legal tradition it is customary to regard as parts of private international law also those rules that deal with nationality and with the legal position of aliens and nonresidents.
In accordance with usage in countries of the English legal tradition, however, the present article will be limited to jurisdiction, foreign judgments, and choice of law.
The name private international law, which is generally used in countries of European-continental tradition, and occasionally also in England, seems to indicate that it is a part of international law — that is, that system of law that is superior to all sovereign states and that, at least in theory, is uniform throughout the world.
This view was commonly held for many centuries, and when the name private international law was coined in the 19th century it was meant to signify that the supranational body of international law consisted of two parts, public and private international law.
While the former would determine the proper conduct of sovereign nations toward each other in both peace and war, the latter would, in a uniform way, tell all nations in what cases their courts ought or ought not to take jurisdiction, under what conditions foreign judgments were to be enforced or otherwise recognized, and in what cases the laws of one nation were to be applied rather than those of another.
pp. 1087, Vol. 4 (same entry – Conflict of Laws)
In the United States, the Constitution provides that “full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state.”
Under this clause, the states, and by statute, the territories, are obliged mutually to enforce their money judgments and to recognize the res judicata and law-changing effects of their judicial acts, provided the state by which the judgment was rendered was acting within the scope of its jurisdiction as defined by the Supreme Court of the United States.
The only other defenses that might be raised are grave irregularity of the proceedings in which the judgment was obtained and, in certain cases, lack of finality.
In countries that follow the general principles of the common law, a foreign judgment usually is willingly enforced and otherwise recognized unless (1) the country by which it was rendered lacked jurisdiction according to the notions prevailing in the place where recognition is sought, or (2) the proceedings in which the judgment was obtained were tainted with fraud or were otherwise grossly unfair, or (3) the recognition or enforcement of the foreign judgment would seriously interfere with an important public policy of the country or state where recognition or enforcement is sought.
In addition to these requirements, most civil-law countries (except, of course, those few in which foreign judgments as such are not enforced at all) also demand that reciprocity with the country whose judgment is sought be recognized. (. . . )
Nowhere will a foreign judgment be enforced or recognized unless the country by which it was rendered had jurisdiction to do so under the notions obtaining where recognition is sought. These limits are sometimes wider, however, than those that a country will concede to others for the exercise of their jurisdictions.
pp. 1088, Vol 4
The greatest difficulties have arisen in the field of contract. Many courts and writ have held that problems of the law of contract are generally to be decided under the law of the place where the contract was made.
Under a refinement of this theory (1978, my note), problems concerning performance are to be decided under the law of the place where the contract was to be performed.
But where is a contract made when it was concluded by the exchange of letters between Tokyo and Paris, or San Francisco and Chicago? Where is the contract of sale to be performed when the seller has to obtain the goods in New Orleans and ship them from New York to Amsterdam, and the buyer, a business firm in Oslo, has to pay the price at a bank in London?
furthermore, what intrinsic connection with the parties’ relationship does the place of contracting have at all, if, as frequently happens, the contract was made at a place at which quite accidentally the parties’ minds met. Should German law really be applied to a contract concluded by a Dane and an Italian while they were flying over Germany in an airplane?
The view most widely followed by the courts of both civil-law and common-law countries is that problems concerning an alleged contract are to be decided in accordance with that law which the parties expressly agreed to be applicable, or which is recognizably that law upon the basis of which the parties negotiated and made their contract.
Theoretical objections to this practical view still carry some weight, especially in the United States. Where no particular law can be discovered as the one upon the basis of which the parties transacted their business, detailed differentiations must be made depending on the kind of contract in question (sale, insurance, transportation, contract for services, suretyship, etc.) and on the particular problem to be decided.
Although the field of contract is the most important for international and interstate trade, it is the one beset with the most uncertainties as to choice of law. Fortunately, the substantive laws do not widely differ from one another, and business has learned to avoid many of the difficulties through resorting to arbitration and appropriate drafting. Through skillful draftsmanship the experienced international lawyer can prevent many of the difficulties that can so easily arise under private international law.
(out of the order offered in the text – but important here)
The notion that the courts of a country should ever have to decide problems under foreign law rather than invariably deciding all problems coming before them under the law of their own country is by no means self-evident.
It has its rationale mainly in the thought that it would be unjust to teh parties concerned if a problem were decided under a law that they did not know might cover their situation when they began the transaction that led to the subsequent litigation. (but does not apply to false advertising, misrepresentation, fraud and other illusory, illegal, fraudulent, corrupt, unfair, unscrupulous or criminal business practices, my note, because even at a very basic level, those engaging in it know by its nature to be wrong and likely to fail the merits of any legal test of acceptable practices. – cricketdiane)
(further, on pp. 1088, Vol 4 – Conflict of Laws)
The necessity to apply the law of a foreign country or province, however, constitutes an inconvenience to the court and the parties. Although judges are familiar with the law of their own country, they cannot be expected to be familiar with the laws of the whole world. (but they can read at least as good as I can, my note.) Foreign law must therefore be especially pleaded and proved, often at considerable inconvenience and expense.
European and American scholars of the late 19th centuries attempted to reduce the whole field of choice of law to a few principles that could be expressed in a small number of highly generalized maxims.
Their results, however, proved impractical. Since the problems of choice of law are almost as manifold as those of substantive private law, these efforts turned out to constitute oversimplifications.
Mid-20th-century writers and courts regard it as their task to elaborate patiently those detailed rules of narrow application that are necessary to do justice to the infinite variety of actual life.
Some U.S. scholars also stress the interests of states to implement their policies over divergent policies of other states. The results of the manifold efforts can be found in the works listed in the bibliography. Here no more can be done that state some overall approaches, which must not be regarded as rules of immediate applicability. (their note, not mine.)
(also out of order from the text – )
In their general approach to the problem of jurisdiction, the common-law countries still proceed from the long-obsolete notion that no civil suit could be commenced in any way other than by the defendant’s arrest by the sheriff. Consequently, an action can still be brought in any place in which the defendant is personally served with process, (or in which they own property or have conducted business, my note), even though he may be there only for a few minutes to change airplanes.
In modern times it has come to be widely held, however, that personal service upon the defendant is no longer an indispensable requirement of jurisdiction and that an individual may be sued in the country or state of his residence, even if the summons is not personally pressed upon him. a corporation can always be sued in the country or state in which it has been incorporated.
(and, also out of order – but very interesting – )
As another example, the courts of New York regard themselves as an “inconvenient forum” for suits between nonresidents concerning a tort committed outside New York.
With few exceptions, Anglo-U.S. courts will not try controversies concerning title to, or trespass upon, land situation outside the state. (my note, but this changes when it involves money, securities, exchange of securities, fraud, fraudulent business practices, currency manipulation or currency forms as the property in question.)
(etc. – lots more good information here, but I need to lookup something else.)
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1978
pp. 1085 – 1088; Vol. 4, “Conflict of Laws”
Essentials of Business Law, Second Edition –
1984, 1986, West Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minn.
authors – Smith, Mann, Roberts
pp. 700 – 701, 702 – Part Nine, Regulation of Business
Figure 39 – 3 Restraints of Trade
Restraint – Standard
Price fixing … Per se illegal
Market allocations … Horizontal: per se illegal
Vertical: rule of reason
Group boycotts … per se illegal
Tying arrangements … per se illegal (* if seller has power in tying product or a not insubstantial amount of interstate commerce is affected in the tied product.)
However, in the text –
Economic analysis indicates that a monopolist will use its power to limit production and increase prices. Therefore, a monopolistic market will produce fewer goods at a higher price than a competitive market. Addressing the problem of monopolization, Section 2 of the Sherman Act prohibits monopolies, attempts to monopolize, and conspiracies to monopolize.
Thus Section 2 prohibits both agreements among businesses and, unlike Section 1, unilateral conduct by one firm.
Although the language of Section 2 appears to prohibit all monopolies, the courts have not interpreted it in that manner. Rather, they have required that in addition to the mere possession of market power there also must be either the unfair attainment of the monopoly power or the abusive use of that power once attained.
It is extremely rare to find an unregulated industry with only one firm, so the issue of monopoly power involves defining what degree of market dominance constitutes monopoly power. Monopoly power is the ability to control prices or to exclude competitors from the marketplace. The courts have grappled with this question of monopoly power and have developed a number of approaches, but the most common test is market share.
A market share greater than 75 percent generally indicates monopoly power, while a share less than 50 percent does not. (but what constitutes the actual market base is subjectively determined, my note). A 50 to 75 percent share is inconclusive (1986).
Market share is the fractional share possessed by a firm of the total relevant product and geographic markets, but defining the relevant markets is often a difficult and subjective project for the courts.
The relevant product market, as demonstrated in the case which follows (at the bottom of pages 701 – 702), includes products that are substitutable for the firm’s product on the basis of price, quality, and adaptability for other purposes. For example, although brick and wood siding are both used in buildings as exteriors it is not likely that they would be considered as part of the same product market. On the other hand, Coca Cola and Seven-Up are both soft drinks and would be considered part of the same product market.
The relevant geographic market is the territory in which the firm sells its products or services. This may be at the local, regional, or national level. (or in the cases we have today – in the international arenas, my note.)
For instance, the relevant geographic market for the manufacture and sale of aluminum might be national, whereas that of a taxi company would be local. The scope of the relevant geographic market will depend on such factors as transportation costs, the type of product or services, and the location of competitors and customers.
If sufficient monopoly power has been proved, it must then be shown that the firm has engaged in unfair conduct. The courts have not yet agreed on what constitutes unfair conduct (that is not true even when it was written and certainly not now – my note).
One judicial approach is that a firm possessing monopoly power has the burden of proving that it acquired such power passively or that it had the power “thrust” upon it. An alternative view is that monopoly power, when combined with conduct designed to exclude competitors, violates Section 1. a third approach requires monopoly power plus some type of predatory practice, such as pricing below marginal costs (among others, my note.)
(from – )
Essentials of Business Law, Second Edition –
1984, 1986, West Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minn.
authors – Smith, Mann, Roberts
pp. 700 – 701, 702 – Part Nine, Regulation of Business
excerpt from “Operations Management, Strategy and Analysis” by Krajewski, Ritzman: 1993, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
(pp. 296 – 299: also pp. 300 about diseconomies of scale, found below first reference passages and Managerial Practice 8. 1 “The Agony of Too Much – And Too Little – Capacity”)
Capacity is the maximum rate of output for a facility. The facility can be a work station or an entire organization. The operations manager must provide the capacity to meet current and future demand or suffer the consequences of missed opportunities.
Capacity plans are made at two levels. Long-term capacity plans, which we describe in this chapter, deal with investments in new facilities and equipment. These plans look at least two years into the future, but construction lead times alone can force much longer time horizons.
Currently, U.S. investment in new plant and equipment is $550 billion annually (1986). Service industries account for more than 64 percent of the total. Such sizable investments require top-management participation and approval because they are not easily reversed.
Short-term capacity plans, which we discuss in later chapters, are constrained by long-term plans. Short-term plans focus on work-force size, overtime budgets, inventories, (short-term capital plays, etc., my note), and the like, rather than on capital investment decision.
Capacity planning is central to the long-term success of an organization. Too much capacity can be as agonizing as too little, as Managerial Practice 8. 1 demonstrates. When choosing a capacity strategy, managers have to consider questions such as, should we have one large facility or several small ones? Should we expand capacity before the demand is there or wait until demand is more certain? A systematic approach is needed to answer these and similar question and to develop a capacity strategy appropriate for each situation.
Capacity planning requires a knowledge of current capacity and its utilization. A statistic often used to indicate the degree to which equipment, space, or labor (or throughput of product, my note) is currently being utilized is the average utilization rate, calculated as follows:
Average Utilization Rate = Average Output Rate divided by Capacity
and expressed as a percentage. The average output rate and the capacity must be measured in the same terms, that is, time, customers, units, or even dollars.
Output Measures – are the usual choice of product-focused firms. Nissan Motor Company confidently states its capacity to be 450,000 vehicles per year at its Tennessee plant. Capacity is well understood as an output rate because customization is low.
For multiple products, however, the capacity measure must recognize the product mix. For example, ( . . . )
Input Measures – are the usual choice of process-focused firms. For example, managers of a job shop think of capacity as machine hours or number of machines. Just as product mix can complicate output capacity measures, so also can demand complicate input measures.
Demand, which invariably is expressed as an output rate, must be converted to an input measure. Only after making the conversion can a manager compare demand requirements and capacity on an equivalent basis.
(pp. 297 – Managerial Practice 8. 1)
The Agony of Too Much and Too Little Capacity
Too Much Capacity –
The commercial real estate market in most major U.S. cities is sick, (1993) caused in part by the recession in the early 1990s. At the same time many tenants, especially those in the financial industry, are undergoing restructurings expected to cut demand for office space for years to come.
The vacancy rate of office space is 26 percent in Miami, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, and Dallas alike; it is 20 percent nationwide. Values have declined as much as 30 percent in some markets, and the capacity glut hurts everyone. For example, the CenTrust Tower in Miami, a 47-tower building built by a failed thrift for $165 million, was recently sold for only $38 million.
To make matters worse, the real estate industry is suffering from a virus becoming known as the “rollover risk.” Tenants from well-planned and pricey buildings are being lured to cheaper, empty buildings.
With the exception of the credit squeeze, rollover risk may be the single greatest obstacle to the recovery of the real estate market.
“There isn’t a tenant in Washington who pays the rent who isn’t getting two calls a week from brokers asking the tenant to break the lease and move into cheap space elsewhere,” says a banking consultant in Washington, D.C. “The entire market is being cannibalized.”
Too Little Capacity –
In the late 1980s the world’s airlines re-equipped their fleets and vied to buy a record number of commercial passenger jets. Orders for Boeing, Airbus, and McDonnell Douglas surged to more than 2600 planes.
Douglas alone had a backlog of some $18 billion in firm orders for its MD-80 and new MD-11 widebody. That’s enough to keep its plant fully utilized for more than three years.
Despite the number of orders, Douglas’ commercial aircraft division announced a startling loss, Airbus had yet to make money, and even the mighty Boeing fought to improve subpar margins.
The large number of orders caused many problems. For one, Douglas’ suppliers in the metal forging industry were unable to keep pace with sales. Another problem was with its own work force: In two years, Douglas’ work force doubled, but training periods were abbreviated and the new hires were much less productive than seasoned employees.
Plant managers tried to keep on schedule by pushing planes along the assembly process, even if all the work at one particular station had not been completed.
Work was also subcontracted to other plants, including a sister plant that makes combat planes and a leased plant owned by the U.S. Air Force.
Because of the capacity shortage, costs skyrocketed and profits plummeted. By the start of the 1990s, the capacity pressure was relieved because American had cut back on the hypergrowth strategy that had set the pace for the entire airline industry in the 1980s.
Sources: “Office Buildings, Under Pressure Already, Face Threat to Their Leases,” Wall Street Journal, September 27, 1991; and “Planemakers Have It So Good, It’s Bad,” Business Week, May 8, 1989.
(from pp. 297, Operations Management, Strategy and Analysis, 1993)
Diseconomies of Scale –
New Rules Breed Wasteful Mergers – Law in the News pp. 705, Part Nine – Regulation of Business, Essentials of Business Law, Second Ed., 1986
New Rules Breed Wasteful Mergers by Herman Schwartz
Public policy is always fertile ground for irony. Today, for example, the economic landscape is strewn with merger fiascos, but current antitrust policy toward these combinations is increasingly lenient. “economic efficiency” is now the “only goal” of merger policy, according to a former Justice Department official.
As a result, the merger wave of the 1980s surges ahead, reachinng a new peak last week with the Allied Corporation’s $5 billion plaanned union with the Signal Companies, the largest industrial merger ever (outside the oil industry).
This preoccupation with economic efficiency ignores Congressional intent and judicial precedent. The legislative history of the antitrust laws contains almost no mention of efficiency, production or price. Rather, there is an insistent Jeffersonian concern for the small entrepreneur – for social, not economic reasons.
Thus, the Supreme Court has always ruled that efficiencies cannot save an otherwise illegal merger.
Steel mergers were supposed to “rationalize” a sick industry. But LTV, for example, is having so much trouble digesting Republic that, even though LTV’s own steel sales rose substantially in the first quarter of 1985, it lost $156 million and operated less efficiently than the other top steelmakers; before the merger LTV had been among the most efficient.
Elsewhere, the once-voracious ITT will spin off 12 industrial technology acquisitions in its third major asset sale in eight months, with more to follow. G.E. has shed Utah International, after a loss of perhaps $3 billion.
Du Pont’s acquisition of Conoco was described by one market analyst as “dead weight pulling Du Pont down all the time.” And the history of railroad mergers like that of Penn Central (permitted in the name of “efficiency”) is dismal: in 1979, Forbes magazine concluded that 14 out of 17 rail mergers were unsuccessful.
At least some of these deals would have been blocked by an antitrust policy more consistent with Congressional intent and established law. ( . . . )
One merger consultant estimated that 70 percent fail.
(out of order in the content of the article – )
Nevertheless, when the Administration (1985 article, my note), took office, William F. Baxter, then the Assistant Attorney General in charge of anti-trust, promptly redrew Federal guidelines to ease restrictions on mergers between competitors. The guidelines further legitimized virtually any “vertical” merger — between customer and suppliers — or between companies in neither a directly competitive nor supply relationship.
Soon, deals — such as the proposed Allied-Signal merger — were proposed “that never would have been . . . before the Reagan Administration took office,” as one businessman put it. (etc. Last June, the Antitrust Division further softened the guidelines.
Experience shows that the supposed benefits of a merger are often illusory.
( . . . ) Today, Mobil is trying to spin off Montgomery Ward, after pouring over $600 million into it, and is taking a $500 million charge against earnings. Exxon has written off a $1.3 billion investment in Reliance Electric. . . . And Arco’s divestiture of its refining and retailing operations shows that vertical integration may yield not efficiencies, but trouble.
pp. 705, Essentials of Business Law, 2nd Ed.
inset article from New York Times Company, 1985
Managerial Considerations in Job Design and Work Measurement pp. 279 – 281, Operations Management, Strategy and Analysis
Compensation Plans –
Compensation plans based on work measurement typically involve incentive schemes. Those used most often are piece rate and individual incentive plans.
Piece Rate Plans – piece rate is a compensation plan based on the number of units processed during a day or week. (my note – that is whether it is stocks, bonds, investment “deals”, seams in a pair of blue jeans or what management must specify as a “fair day’s work.” – that last part came from the text.)
Individual Incentive Plants – sometimes, incentive plans are used to motivate workers. Such plans reward output that exceeds a predetermined base level. (etc.)
Quality and Compensation Plans – the purpose of incentive pay is to encourage high levels of output from employees. However, a high rate of output may be achieved at the expense of quality. What is the advantage to a company if a worker produces at 115 percent of standard but has a 20 percent defective rate?
In Chapter 3, when we discussed total quality control, we argued that quality at the source is critical for achieving world-class quality performance. Incentive plans that do not recognize and reward quality may not motivate the worker to produce high-quality goods.\
Two basic approaches are used to recognize quality in incentive pans. The first is the autocratic approach, which docks the worker’s pay for defective production or requires the worker to repair all defects at a lower rate of pay.
The second is the motivational approach, which is based on the concept of extra pay for extra effort. (etc.)
Many variants (including game theory popular in the last twenty-five years whereby the extreme levels of compensation, rewards, perks and bonuses of the executives are used as a motivating carrot for all mid-level performs who would be enticed to think they could have that eventually too, my note) of the motivational approach of including quality in work measurement are used in practice. the important point is that quality should be clearly recognized when compensation plans are being developed.
(Apparently, there also needs to be a standard set for what represents “quality” especially in the financial investment industries – because not every deal qualifies as “the deal” nor should it be, as exemplified by yesterday’s Senate hearings with the mid-level management / decision makers of the Wall Street investment firm, Goldman Sachs, – 04-27-10, Senate investigations committee.)
It has resulted in the collapse of large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments and downturns in stock markets around the world. In many areas, the housing market has also suffered, resulting in numerous evictions, foreclosures and prolonged vacancies.
It contributed to the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in the trillions of U.S. dollars, substantial financial commitments incurred by governments, and a significant decline in economic activity.
Many causes have been proposed, with varying weight assigned by experts. Both market-based and regulatory solutions have been implemented or are under consideration, while significant risks remain for the world economy over the 2010–2011 periods.
And on pages 300 – 301 of the same book – Operations Management, Strategy and Analysis, 1993 -in the section titled “Economies of Scale”
there is also – Diseconomies of Scale
. . . Historically, many organizations have subscribed to the concept of economies of scale. The concept seems simple: Increasing a facility’s size (or scale) decreases the average unit cost.
But in reality, it’s not at all simple. At some point a facility (or business, corporation, bank or conglomerate, my note) becomes so large that diseconomies of scale set in. Excessive size can bring complexity, loss of focus, and inefficiencies, which raise the average unity cost. (etc.)
muckety map - good example of diseconomies of scale - AIG / Goldman Sachs / Wall Street bailouts
(Figure 8.1 found on page 300 of the book below – not really applicable)
Figure 8.1 also shows a second dimension to the concept. Not only is there an optimal size for a facility but also an optimal operating level for a facility of a given size. Economies and diseconomies of scale are represented not just between cost curves but also within each one.
As the output rate approaches a facility’s best operating level, economies of scale are realized. Beyond that level, diseconomies set in.
pp. 300 – 301, Operations Management, Strategy and Analysis
My Note – I had another chart or two about these general concepts and some online information that I found awhile back, however – by the time I find it in my computer – it could be awhile. Therefore, I’m going to take a break, start a new blog entry and check online for the ones I was trying to find, which would have to be easier.
Share in GDP of U.S. financial sector since 1860 - must not include derivatives - Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University - Thomas Philippon, The future of the financial industry
Derivatives were suggested to be over $600 Trillion dollars – I don’t think that is included in the GDP . . .
(of anywhere, now that I think about it, my note) – cricketdiane
On August 17, someone who wanted to see how the Earth looks from 440 miles away in space downloaded the one-millionth Landsat satellite image scene from a U.S. Geological Survey web site at its Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Since the USGS opened its full Landsat archive to user access at no charge last October, the response from across the nation and around the globe has grown exponentially.
“USGS satellite operations and its data archives at EROS enable experts, or any interested member of the public, to see the land objectively with unbiased, consistently calibrated data,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “The historical depth and reliability of these earth observations are vital to scientists and land managers across the country and across the Department of the Interior in projects that range from climate change studies and invasive species surveys to the monitoring of drought and assessment of wildfire damage.”
One development of particular note is that the very oldest data in the archive, dating to over three decades ago, is being downloaded at unprecedented levels – with land-surface change detection emerging as a primary use of Landsat data.
“The opening of the Landsat archive to free, web-based access is like giving a library card for the world’s best library of Earth conditions to everyone in the world,” said Adam Gerrand, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Landsat 1 was launched on July 23, 1972, and subsequent Landsat missions have continually acquired land-image data across the globe. Scientists, educators, and the general public use these data for a wide array of activities ranging from supporting disaster relief efforts to making agricultural crop assessments to identifying sites for cell phone towers.
The health care reform debate so far has been like having the makers of nuclear bombs at the table for disarmament talks – for understandable reasons – they will do all they can to undermine the success of those talks.
With the health care industry more dangerous than heart disease and cancer put together in the number of preventable deaths that are a direct result of their misogyny, incompetence, barbaric practices, profiteering, and mishandling of knowledge and expertise, who needs an enemy?
When we have beheld a common enemy, the citizens of the United States have joined to problem solve and correct the most intolerable and inhumane situations that have been instigated by the powerful, the corrupt, the overbearing, the perverse, the tyrannical, the unconscionable, and by those who would profiteer at the exceptional expense of all. We have stopped them. We have meted out justice to them and we have corrected their twisted concepts of how the world works.
When are we going to do that for these conservative right-wing corporate monstrosities that have been running our country and our lives into the ground for over a quarter of a century at the hands of their perverted reasoning and immoral application of the universal principles founding our nation?
While deeming themselves qualified to judge every last element of American life from sexuality and normalcy to acceptable uses of time and daylight and money, based on some picture show from the 1930’s glamorized by Hollywood’s elite, these monsters of the business community, right-wing politics, Christian fundamentalism, conservative Republican re-interpreters of freedom and democracy have managed to destroy just about everything they touched.
And so it goes and they still want more and more and more and more and more. When did they ever consider that they were above washing their own dishes and wiping their own asses or that they had the right to use all the resources we have put into our collective good as their own private party slush funds to serve them and no one else?
They certainly don’t mind the word socialism when it comes to covering the business losses from their extreme gambling addictions gone bad in the stock market, in bad corporate decisions to leverage against every last dollar or dime the corporation might make over the next twenty years or on the level of any number of other stupid financial gambling practices. Then, its our money to the rescue and not one Republican nor conservative excuse for a human being says that they shouldn’t be doing that with the taxpayers money more than a weak and playful, “oh, don’t do that . . . “ in the way a little kid would say it with a smirk on their face and a twinkle in their eyes.
That private party group of conservatives and right-wing business leadership needs a deluxe room out of town without a cellphone or a computer and no access to taxpayers money for awhile where they can re-evaluate their views of reality without anybody telling them what to think or how to think about it or what it means. And, that’s the truth.
– cricketdiane, 08-14-09
[and to repeat from my last post – ]
Excuse me but, the health industry as we currently have it – has killed more people and maimed more people than the devil himself.
The refusal to find a way to offer reasonable costs for health care has resulted in more inhumane cruelties than many wars that have been fought.
Health care, good care, good health and quality of life research wasn’t paid for by a few Christian fundamentalists or conservative talk show hosts or Republican business people – We, as American taxpayers covered the costs of that research, those breakthroughs, and that knowledge.
When did we decide that access to those tax funded benefits to society belonged only to a meager few who deemed themselves and their families more worthy of that care than the rest of us?
[And from the article in the Guardian UK which started my look at the ideas]
‘Evil and Orwellian’ – America’s right turns its fire on NHS
The National Health Service has become the butt of increasingly outlandish political attacks in the US as Republicans and conservative campaigners rail against Britain’s “socialist” system as part of a tussle to defeat Barack Obama’s proposals for broader government involvement in healthcare.
[ . . . ]
Slickly produced television advertisements trumpet the alleged failures of the NHS’s 61-year tradition of tax-funded healthcare. To the dismay of British healthcare professionals, US critics have accused the service of putting an “Orwellian” financial cap on the value on human life, of allowing elderly people to die untreated and, in one case, for driving a despairing dental patient to mend his teeth with superglue.
[ . . . ]
The degree of misinformation is causing dismay in NHS circles. Andrew Dillon, chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), pointed out that it was utterly false that Kennedy would be left untreated in Britain: “It is neither true nor is it anything you could extrapolate from anything we’ve ever recommended to the NHS.”
Others in the US have accused Obama of trying to set up “death panels” to decide who should live and who should die, along the lines of Nice, which determines the cost-effectiveness of NHS drugs.
One right-leaning group, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, lists horror stories about British care on its website. An email widely circulated among US voters, of uncertain origin, claims that anyone over 59 in Britain is ineligible for treatment for heart disease.
A $1.2m television advertising campaign bankrolled by the conservative Club for Growth displays images of the union flag and Big Ben while intoning a figure of $22,750. A voiceover says: “In England, government health officials have decided that’s how much six months of life is worth. If a medical treatment costs more, you’re out of luck.”
The number is based on a ratio of £30,000 a year used by Nice in its assessment of whether drugs provide value for money. Dillon said this was one of many variables in determining cost-effectiveness of medicines. He said of his body’s portrayal in the US: “It’s very disappointing and it’s not, obviously, the way in which Nice describes itself or the way in which we’re perceived in the UK even among those who are disappointed or upset by our decisions.”
The broader tone of the US healthcare debate has become increasingly bitter. The former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin last week described president Obama’s proposals as “evil”, while the radio presenter Rush Limbaugh has compared a logo used for the White House’s reform plans to a Nazi swastika. Hecklers have disrupted town hall meetings called to discuss the health reform plans.
[ . . . ]
Defenders of Britain’s system point out that the UK spends less per head on healthcare but has a higher life expectancy than the US. The World Health Organisation ranks Britain’s healthcare as 18th in the world, while the US is in 37th place. The British Medical Association said a majority of Britain’s doctors have consistently supported public provision of healthcare. A spokeswoman said the association’s 140,000 members were skeptical about the US approach to medicine: “Doctors and the public here are appalled that there are so many people on the US who don’t have proper access to healthcare. It’s something we would find very, very shocking.”
Now there are 923 comments – the first 715 included many personal stories of how people in the UK have experienced their health care system and some comments of people who have a range of experience with both the US, Canadian and UK systems of health care.
It is well worth reading through at least the numerous comments that reflect those experiences to know about it instead of repeating whatever came in some anonymous email rounded through fifty “forwarded to” addresses from who knows where . . .
– my note
My point is this –
Where people are actually discussing and relating their experiences with the health care system in the UK that is known to be socialized medical care, it is upfront about its frame of reference and where it has originated. These experiences can be considered as we work to change what is plainly broken in our health care system. Maybe some parts of these international systems can be used to make our decisions about what we want to have available to our nation and to every citizen in the way of health care and medical costs.
At least we could take an intelligent look at some of what works and what doesn’t – I mean, really – what do we want to live with for the near future as well as fifty years from now? Just remember that whatever is done will be undone before anyone can derive any benefit from it – that is how American politics of aristocratic right-wing business interests works. They claim it is free market capitalism, but in fact it isn’t because it excludes any and all from competing with them on a level playing field. That is just as they want it. And they will remake it into that at every turn, no matter what changes.
– cricketdiane, Cricket House Studios, 2009
Since socialized medical systems are kicking our butts in offering quality of care at a reasonable cost, it doesn’t mean that socialized medicine is the only way to do that. It does mean that we need to improve what we are doing to a huge extent. And that is a fact.
In rushing health-care reform, Obama has pushed democracy to the side – National Review Online – August 12
In the last few weeks, the debate over health care has taken an angry and contentious turn by any standard. Town-hall meetings and public rallies, not known for their docile tenor under normal circumstances, have been punctuated by unusually spirited opposition to Democrat proposals for sweeping reform. What began as a few isolated outbursts of […]
Click to continue reading “In rushing health-care reform, Obama has pushed democracy to the side – National Review Online – August 12?
August 12th, 2009 | Category: Bible, Current Headlines, News, Prophecy, Religion | Leave a comment
(Note from Jan)
Our radio programming from August 8 is now posted at the link below. Guests include Caryl Matrisciana with her new film emphasizing Islamic infiltration into government and other high places. This is a silent jihad. Also, Jack Alnor cautions about some of today’s televangelists who are “fleecing” Christianity. Hear the disturbing sound bytes: http://www.olivetreeviews.org/radio/mp3/
For podcasting information, […]
Click to continue reading “(Note from Jan)”
August 12th, 2009 | Category: Bible, Current Headlines, News, Prophecy, Religion | Leave a comment
States Cut Aid to College Students as Demand Booms
Struggling with budget shortfalls that reach into the billions, several states are making deep cuts in college financial aid programs, including those that provide a vital source of cash for students who most need the money.
Click to continue reading “States Cut Aid to College Students as Demand Booms”
August 12th, 2009 | Tags: CNSNews | Category: Uncategorized | Leave a comment
The White House deal with Big Pharma undermines democracy
Aug. 10, 2009 | I’m a strong supporter of universal health insurance, and a fan of the Obama administration. But I’m appalled by the deal the White House has made with the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying arm to buy their support.Last week, after bei…
Click to continue reading “The White House deal with Big Pharma undermines democracy”
August 12th, 2009 | Tags: Eagle Forum | Category: drug companies, health care refrom | Leave a comment
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The Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person
* Is There a Right to Healthcare?
* Obamacare and Conscience Protections in Healthcare
* Obamacare and Abortion
* A Disturbing Finding on the Abortion Front
* The New Guidelines for Stem Cell Research
* Ideology-Free Science?
“While we’re at it…”
July 21, 2009 9:00 am EST
The Westchester Institute’s new blog, While we’re at it… is now online.
A blog by the Fellows of the Westchester Institute for Ethics & the Human Person, dedicated to enriching the quality of contemporary moral discourse, and fostering sound prudential judgment in cultural and political matters.
Visit our blog by clicking here
Father Thomas Berg, LC
Is There a Right to Healthcare?
Sorting out a complex issue
By Father Thomas Berg
August 11, 2009
9:00 am EST
In a provocative op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal in late July, Theodore Dalrymple (the pen name of British physician Anthony Daniels) argued that there simply is no such thing as a fundamental right to healthcare. “Where does the right to health care come from?” asked Dalrymple. “Did it exist in, say, 250 B.C., or in A.D. 1750? If it did, how was it that our ancestors, who were no less intelligent than we, failed completely to notice it?”
My Note – so I went and read what he had to say – which included this –
“So what about a fundamental human right to adequate healthcare? On that count, the U.S. Catholic bishops have been firm believers for decades. In a 1993 resolution on health care reform titled “A Framework for Comprehensive Health Care Reform” the bishops wrote:”
“Our approach to health care is shaped by a simple but fundamental principle: every person has a right to adequate health care. This right flows from the sanctity of human life and the dignity that belongs to all human persons, who are made in the image of God.”
The statement goes on to explain that the existence of this right was already affirmed in Pope John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris which reads:
Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill-health… (n.11).
My Note –
But then, Father whatever used these statements to decry and denounce any “fundamental right to health care” in a twisted and perverse intellectual argument which is exactly the opposite of what these authorities said.
And then, I watched on CNN last night as Lou Dobbs repeated the same bull about there being no fundamental right to health care as if that were some basic sensible, moral Christian principle. Did he even check where any of that nonsense had been influenced or had originated and why those people would believe that way? – cricketdiane
“Theodore Dalrymple (the pen name of British physician Anthony Daniels)”
Anthony Daniels (psychiatrist)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anthony (A.M.) Daniels (born 1949) is a British writer and retired physician (prison doctor and psychiatrist), who generally uses the pen name Theodore Dalrymple. He has also used the pen name Edward Theberton and two other pen names. Before his retirement in 2005 he worked as a doctor and psychiatrist in a hospital and nearby prison in a slum area in Birmingham. His philosophical position is compassionate conservative . He is a critic of liberal thinking and utopian thinking in general.
Daniels has revealed in his writing that his father was a Communist businessman, while his Jewish mother was born in Germany and came to the United Kingdom as a refugee from the Nazi regime.
“Daniels does not baulk at the use of the concept of evil. Numerous articles of his have evil in the title.” – found below
In 2005 he retired from England to move (with his wife) to France, where he plans to continue writing. His columns frequently appear in The Spectator as well as in City Journal, a magazine published by the Manhattan Institute.
He has worked in Zimbabwe (then known as Rhodesia), Tanzania, South Africa, Kiribati, the east end of London and central Birmingham (UK), amongst other places.
Regarding his pseudonym Theodore Dalrymple, Daniels says he chose a name that sounded suitably dyspeptic, that of a gouty old man looking out of the window of his London club, port in hand, lamenting the degenerating state of the world. 
Daniels has written extensively on culture, art, politics, education and medicine drawing upon his experience as a doctor and psychiatrist in Zimbabwe and Tanzania, and more recently at a prison and a public hospital in Birmingham, in central England. He has travelled to many countries in Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere.
In his commentary, Daniels frequently argues that the so-called progressive views prevalent within Western intellectual circles minimize the responsibility of individuals for their own actions and undermine traditional mores, contributing to the formation within rich countries of an underclass afflicted by endemic violence, criminality, sexually transmitted diseases, welfare dependency, and drug abuse.
He contends that the middle class abandonment of traditional cultural and behavioural aspirations has, by example, fostered routine incivility and ignorance among the poor. Although he is occasionally accused of being a pessimist and misanthrope, his defenders praise his persistently conservative philosophy, which they describe as being anti-ideological, sceptical, rational and empiricist.
Daniels’ writing has some recurring themes.
* The cause of much contemporary misery in Western countries – criminality, domestic violence, drug addiction, aggressive youths, hooliganism, broken families – is the nihilistic, decadent and/or self-destructive behaviour of people who do not know how to live. Both the smoothing over of this behaviour, and the medicalization of the problems that emerge as a corollary of this behaviour, are forms of indifference. Someone has to tell those people, patiently and with understanding for the particulars of the case, that they have to live differently.
* Poverty does not explain aggressive, criminal and self-destructive behaviour. In an African slum you will find among the very poor, living in dreadful circumstances, dignity and decency in abundance, which are painfully lacking in an average English suburb, although its inhabitants are much wealthier.
* An attitude characterized by ‘gratefulness’ and ‘obligations towards others’ has been replaced, with awful consequences, by an awareness of rights, a sense of entitlement. The result is resentment as, naturally, those rights are violated by parents, authorities, bureaucracies and others in general.
* Technocratic or bureaucratic solutions to the problems of mankind produce disasters in cases where the nature of man is the root cause of those problems.
* One of the things that makes Islam attractive to young westernized Muslim men, is the opportunity it gives them to dominate women.
* It is a myth (its name is: cold turkey) that withdrawal symptoms of an opiate addiction (i.e. heroin) are virtually unbearable. It is hardly worse than flu.
* Criminality is much more often the cause of drug addiction than its consequence.
* The ideology of the welfare state is used to diminish personal responsibility. Erosion of personal responsibility makes people dependent on institutions and favours the existence of a threatening and vulnerable underclass.
* Moral relativism can easily be a trick of an egotistical mind to silence the voice of conscience.
* Multiculturalism and cultural relativism are at odds with common sense and statistical evidence.
* The decline of civilised behaviour, such as: self-restraint, modesty, zeal, humility, irony, detachment, is a disaster for social and personal life.
* The root cause of our contemporary cultural poverty is intellectual dishonesty. First, the intellectuals have destroyed the foundation of culture, and second, they refuse to acknowledge it by resorting to the caves of political correctness.
* Beyond and above all other nations in the world, Britain is the place where all the evils summarized above are most clearly manifest.
1. ^ Website Skeptical Doctor. For an example of an article written by Edward Theberton, see: Black Marx (The Spectator, 5 juli 1986). The characteristic opening sentence of the article reads: If the people of Mozambique could eat slogans, they would be fat.
2. ^ a b Theodore Dalrymple. Where nobody knows your name. (Globe and Mail, Feb. 16, 2008).
3. ^ Profile published in the New York Sun, 2004.
4. ^ It was not a happy marriage; Daniels characterised his parents as having chose[n] to live in the most abject conflictual misery and created for themselves a kind of Hell on a small domestic scale . In his essay ‘What we have to lose’, in: Our Culture What’s Left of It, p. 158, Anthony Daniels wrote: (…) my mother was a refugee from Nazi Germany (…) She had left Germany when she was seventeen (…) .
5. ^ A good number of Daniels’ themes are discussed in the interview by Paul Belien with Daniels: ‘Dalrymple on Decadence, Europe, America and Islam’, in: The Brussels Journal, the Voice of Conservatism in Europe, 17 September 2006.
6. ^ Life at the bottom. The Worldview that makes the Underclass (passim).
7. ^ What is Poverty, City Journal, spring 1999.
8. ^ ‘The Law of Conservation of Righteous Indignation, and its Connection to the Expansion of Human Rights’, in: In Praise of Prejudice. The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas, p. 68 (chapter 17).
9. ^ When Islam Breaks Down, City Journal, Spring 2004.
10. ^ Cold turkey is no worse than flu New Statesman, 09 April 1999. See also: Romancing Opiates (passim).
11. ^ Addicted to lies: junking heroin is no worse than flu.
12. ^ ‘The Uses of Metaphysical Skepticism’, in: In Praise of Prejudice. The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas, p. 6 (chapter 2).
13. ^ Multiculturalism Starts Losing its Luster, City Journal, summer 2004.
14. ^ All our Pomp of Yesterday, City Journal, summer 1999.
15. ^ Not with a Bang but a Whimper (passim). Daniels does not baulk at the use of the concept of evil. Numerous articles of his have evil in the title.
* Coups and Cocaine: Two Journeys in South America (1986)
* Fool or Physician: The Memoirs of a Sceptical Doctor (1987)
* Zanzibar to Timbuktu (1988)
* Sweet Waist of America: Journeys around Guatemala (1990)
* The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys in a Vanishing World (1991) (published in the U.S. as Utopias Elsewhere)
* Monrovia Mon Amour: A Visit to Liberia (1992)
* If Symptoms Persist: Anecdotes from a Doctor (1994)
* So Little Done: The Testament of a Serial Killer (1996)
* If Symptoms Still Persist (1996)
* Mass Listeria: The Meaning of Health Scares (1998)
* An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Medicine (2001)
* Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass (2001) ISBN 1566633826
* Violence, Disorder and Incivility in British Hospitals: The Case for Zero Tolerance (2002) ISBN 0907631975
* Our Culture, What’s Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses (2005) ISBN 1566636434
* Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies And The Addiction Bureaucracy (2006) ISBN 1594030871 (published in the U.K. as Junk Medicine: Doctors, Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy ISBN 1905641591)
* Making Bad Decisions. About the Way we Think of Social Problems (2006) (Dr. J. Tans Lecture 2006; published by Studium Generale Maastricht, The Netherlands. Lecture read on Wednesday 15 November 2006. ISBN 9789078769019)
* In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas (2007) ISBN 1594032025
* Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline (2008) ISBN 1566637953
* Second Opinion. A Doctor’s Notes from the Inner City (2009) ISBN 9781906308124
Search Wikiquote Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Anthony Daniels (psychiatrist)
* The Skeptical Doctor (detailed biography, links to current writings, book reviews, speeches and interviews)
* Compassionate Conservative (profile published in the New York Sun, 2004)
* An interview with Theodore Dalrymple
* Diagnosis: decadence
* Violence, Disorder and Incivility in British Hospitals: The Case For Zero Tolerance (book published by the Social Affairs Unit, 2002)
* City Journal Articles by Theodore Dalrymple
* The Social Affairs Unit Articles by Theodore Dalrymple
* New English Review Articles by Theodore Dalrymple
* Spectator articles by Theodore Dalrymple
* Standpoint Articles by Anthony Daniels
* Book review by Arthur Foulkes of Life at the Bottom
* Book review: Our Culture, What’s Left of It
* Lecture Review: Making Bad Decisions, About the way we think of social problems by Danya Chaikel for Crossroads. Lecture given in Maastricht, the Netherlands on 15 November 2006.
* An interview with Theodore Dalrymple about modern society for Dutch public television (video ca. 40 minutes)
* Audio podcast interview (.mp3 file, 24.1 MB, 52 min. 34 sec.) on CBC Ideas with Theodore Dalrymple by Paul Kennedy (< site: podcast.cbc.ca)
* Audio podcast interview (.mp3 file, 24.1 MB, 52 min. 34 sec.) on CBC Ideas with Theodore Dalrymple by Paul Kennedy (< site: goodreads.ca)
Robert GeorgeThe Scholars Forum moderated by Dr. Robert George, brings together a selection of the world’s leading ethicists, moral theologians, scientists and scholars from related fields to work together toward resolving some of the most difficult moral questions facing mankind. These invitation-only gatherings are designed to foster the highest degree of sustained and fruitful dialogue among those scholars most competent to resolve the ethical questions under discussion.
To date, the Westchester Institute has hosted seven such gatherings. To learn more about each Scholars Forum, please select the following links.
November 6-7, 2008
The Church’s Competence in Applying the Norms of Natural Law
April 10-11, 2008
When do we Die? Brain Death, Irreversible Circulatory Cessation, and the Debate over the End of Life.
May 16 – 18, 2007
On the Criteria for Determining the Totipotency of the Human Embryo
October 26 – 27, 2006
On De Facto Unions and Same Sex Marriage
March 2 – 3, 2006
On the Definition of ‘Human Embryo’ and the Criteria for Distinguishing the Human Embryo From Non-Embryonic Entities
November 3 -4, 2005
On the Morality of Condom use to Prevent the Spread of HIV
April 28 -29, 2005
On the Morality of Altered Nuclear Transfer
October 28-29, 2004
On the Morality of Heterologous Embryo Transfer
It looks like there are a lot people who have been deciding to judge when life ends and the value of continued services to the elderly – there sits the actual “death panel” that Sarah Palin is fond of calling to the attention of the seniors citizens in America.
She neglected to mention that there were such people behind the scenes in the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, Christian fundamental moralists, academic circles, big business statistics and demographics marketing executives and among the right-wing conservative Republican Party leadership who have already been making those decisions for all of us.
2. Ask the dumb questions that make it obvious you don’t know.
3. Ask the same dumb questions of everybody, especially specialists and attorneys who would know what it actually means, until you understand it.
4. Look it up, but don’t expect that to make any sense of it until you can form the right questions to ask using the right words to convey what you are asking.
5. Expect to communicate poorly until the basic principles start to gel in your mind – but keep trying until you get the communication right.
6. Don’t expect anybody to believe you know anything about anything – it won’t be about that anyway. It will be about someone else proving they know more than you do – so let them.
7. Learning is the one thing that can’t be fudged, it can’t be cooked to appear to be what it isn’t. The skills of learning are yours simply by applying them.
8. If you know a lot about something – remember this: you can’t now, nor ever know everything about it. There will always be more to remember than you have ever thought to ask about it and there will always be more to learn about any one thing than what you’ve ever considered about it.
9. There will always, always, always be times that appear to be complicated which are indeed complicated. It is the magic of being alive as a human being that the capacity exists within each of us to challenge the reality before us and apply ourselves to it despite its complexity and difficulty.
10. Whatever can be learned, can be mastered and there will still be more to know and to learn about it. There will always be ways to apply new ideas and new information and new processes and new paradigms to that mastery.
11. If you ask, the only fool is the one who pretended to know and didn’t – not you or me for accepting the limitations of knowledge and sought to know more.
12. Living is not a game, not a premise easily dismissed and not a practice session for something else. It is lived in the now with all the fullness and depth of the entire universe available. It doesn’t matter what people think about that – living is intrinsically powerful by virtue of itself regardless of anything else. What you do with it is up to you.
– cricketdiane, 08-07-09
Adding 2 plus 2 to get 8,633,000,000 –
(A Cricket House Studios thought of the day thing.)
My Note – A little about this year’s poisoning of horses (real life in America, and I should’ve put the story about the Holocaust survivor that was strangled, beat and killed in his home – 90 years old, survived horrors of prison camps in Hitler’s version of Germany, and this is what America gives him in his final years, unbelievable) and below that, what the current uses of the “Patriot Act” and Homeland Security are doing to a 43-year old UK man who has a form of autism and is brilliant in spite of it –
* At least 20 horses were deliberately poisoned on farm, authorities say
* Toxic oleander leaves were found with apples, carrots in horses’ stalls
* No word yet on possible motive or sickened horses’ prognosis
updated 8:00 a.m. EDT, Sat August 1, 2009
(CNN) — More than 20 horses became ill when they were intentionally poisoned with toxic leaves in southern California this week, authorities said Friday.
These oleander bush leaves, toxic to horses, were found in a San Diego, California, stable.
An exact number of horses sickened was unclear, but officials believe they were more than 20. The animals, whose prognosis was not known, were under the care of veterinarians.
Polo horses may have been poisoned
Twenty-one ponies who mysteriously died as they were being prepared for a major match in Florida are likely to have been poisoned, vets believe.
By Tom Leonard in New York
Published: 6:38PM BST 20 Apr 2009
A horrified crowd at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington watched in silence on Sunday as vets tried desperately to save the animals after they collapsed or became dizzy as they were led out of their trailers.
The team is owned by Victor Vargas, a Venezuelan businessman, close confidant of Hugo Chavez and one of the richest men in South America.
Vets at the scene, who inserted intravenous tubes and tried to cool them down with fans and water, said the horses suffered pulmonary edema, an accumulation of fluid in their lungs, and heart failure.
They had high temperatures and were disoriented but felt no pain.
The as yet unidentified toxin could have been in tainted food, vitamins or dietary supplements, or some combination of all three that caused a toxic reaction, said Scott Swerdin, a vet who treated the horses.
James Belden, a local vet who worked for the team, Lechuza Caracas, said it was a clear case of “some sort of poison” and played down the possibity of steroid abuse.
[ . . . ]
John Wash, president of club operations for the International Polo Club Palm Beach, said the polo teams were told by veterinary officials that whatever killed the horses wasn’t airborne or contagious.
“It won’t just be the polo scene in Wellington, I think it will affect the polo scene worldwide,” Mr Wash said.
“In polo’s history there’s never been an incident like this that anybody can remember. This was a tragic issue on the magnitude of losing a basketball team in an aeroplane crash.”
40 MPs in plea to Barack Obama over computer hacker Gary McKinnon
More than 40 MPs have issued a highly unusual direct plea to the Barack Obama urging him to halt the “shameful” extradition of a British computer hacker to the United States.
By John Bingham and Christopher Hope
Published: 8:00AM BST 01 Aug 2009
Gary McKinnon: British judges agree to more extraditions than US counterparts British computer hacker Gary McKinnon suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism Photo: AP
David Cameron, the Conservative leader, also threw his weight behind a campaign against plans to send Gary McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, for trial in the US accused of breaking into sensitive military networks.
It came as the 43-year-old lost an eleventh hour High Court challenge to the move claiming that it would worsen his condition and represent “inhuman” treatment.
In a letter, seen by The Daily Telegraph, a group of MPs urged Mr Obama to halt the extradition arguing that “most reasonable individuals” would view it as disproportionate given his mental state.
[ . . . ]
Mr McKinnon, described by his own legal team as an eccentric, claims that he was merely searching for evidence of UFOs when he hacked into almost 100 US government computers from his bedroom in north London shortly after the September 11 attacks of 2001.
Although his extradition has already been agreed after a lengthy legal process, he launched a last-minute High Court challenge attempting to force the Home Secretary to block the move earlier this year.
His lawyers also challenged the decision by Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, not to sanction a trial in this country – something which would preclude extradition.
The lawyers argued that sending him for trial in the US, despite his mental condition and with the prospect of up to 60 years in prison if found guilty, would breach his human rights.
But despite accepting that extradition to the US could cause Mr McKinnon’s mental health to deteriorate and even worsen the risk of suicide, two senior judges ruled that it did not represent a “inhuman or degrading treatment”.
[ . . . ]
Forty MPs including Michael Ancram, Sir Patrick Cormack and Peter Bottomley signed the letter, organised by the Conservative member Angela Browning who is Vice President of the National Autistic Society.
Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Former Liberal Democrat leader, Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, and Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, also spoke out against the extradition.
Karen Todner, Mr McKinnon’s solicitor, said: “I have today sent a letter to President Barack Obama signed by 40 members of a cross parliamentary group of MPs asking him to step in to bring this shameful episode to an end. It is a sad state of affairs if this Government cannot protect our most vulnerable citizens.”
Any Supreme Court case is not thought likely to be heard until next spring, in the run-up to the expected general election.
[ . . . ]
Mr Cameron said: “Gary McKinnon is a vulnerable young man and I see no compassion in sending him thousands of miles away from his home and loved ones to face trial.”
Speaking on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice Mrs Sharp described the attempt to extradite her son as a “disgrace”.
“I’m desperately trying to get through to Obama,” she said. “This is from the Bush era … it is not of Obama, he would not want this to happen.”
Is That the best they can do with our money – to process and prosecute someone who is obviously not a terrorist, didn’t intend harm and was capable of getting into secure computer databases of our government. They ought to be hiring him instead of prosecuting and persecuting Gary McKinnon – he’s obviously brilliant and we need his expertise, and so does the government of the UK and Interpol and the European Parliaments’ cybersecurity forces.
What are they thinking to bring this man to the United States away from all that he knows and subject him to sitting in a jail cell through the fall and Christmas, locked away from everyone he knows in the abusive environments of our prison system? Why in the hell would anybody do such a thing given that what he did hacking into the government agency computer networks took a brilliant ability that we so desperately need?
How dare anyone destroy that brilliance, genius and level of knowledge when it caused no harm, was not intended to cause harm and was in no way related to terrorism, nor to a terrorist act? Then, to sit him in our jails until Spring of whenever without a due recourse because the bureaucracy of the Republican Party’s Bush Administration is still in unfettered tyranny? Are you kidding me – what kind of people would do this and get it so backwards when we are desperate to have people exactly like this man help us in our intelligence and cyber security fields? If they do this to him, there is nothing worth saving in America because there is apparently too much wrong with it to fix . . .
The United States of America has no business acting like a senseless bunch of Gestapo bastards without the insight or good judgment of a rock. It is a waste of time, effort and resources along with the fact that no good comes of it and it undermines the very foundation of our nation’s premise.
– cricketdiane, 08-01-09
Title – (this is not a sentence, it is a paragraph for a title – sorry about that),
US – Republican Administration Policies continue unabated, unhindered, and without regard, using their “conservative thinktank” policies to impose and define America with Abuses of Human Rights, Violations of Civil Rights, Oppression of the Disadvantaged and Disabled – These Bush, Reagan and even, Nixon era bureaucrats are still using their Gestapo tactics of unbridled cruelty, senseless unmerciful viciousness and psychotic sadistic whims on citizens lives while causing egregious harms against mankind – Here is what their efforts are using our money and resources to do this time – (leftover evils from previous Republican bureaucratic policies) –
I still say – they ought to be hiring this guy, Gary McKinnon instead of giving him hell across two countries and using countless manhours, resources, administrative efforts, prosecution funds and costs to both countries, as well as the mental stress, inconvenience and difficulties it has caused him and his family (and in his community) – it is an insane waste of resources and a complete waste of his talents when we most need them available to us in both countries and in the European Parliament facilities, as well.
– my note
US oppression (of diversity – differences and disabled individuals – elderly – poor – disadvantaged – homeless – destitute – nonconformist – creative – gifted – intelligent – genius – brilliant – talented – unusual) continues along conservative christian values of intolerance and shameful cruelty / sadistic games with human lives – the same as the Bush administration CIA, NSA, police brutality and domestic policies of castes and oppression.
In the words of our Chinese counterparts – “Don’t try to catch a falling knife.” I saw it on the bloomberg ticker one night last fall and nearly fell out of my chair considering its implications. It might be correct – it may be that the United States who has demanded that every other nation abide by certain human rights protections for citizens, cannot do the same at home nor in any policies or action it takes. That would be a shame for it to continue that way.
GOP near-unity on Sotomayor sends message
Published: July 29, 2009 at 7:46 AM
WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) — U.S. Republicans have sent a message to President Barack Obama that even moderate Supreme Court candidates he nominates will be opposed, analysts say.
Only one Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Tuesday voted to confirm the nomination of the nation’s first Hispanic high court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, despite her mainstream legal credentials in a show of party solidarity, the Los Angeles Times reported.
I didn’t vote for none of yah – I didn’t get to do that, due to events in my own life, but I guarantee you that I couldn’t have begun to have done as crappy a job as y’all have with it.
And, I know better than what you are doing right now with the opportunities you have in Washington – because I know this –
As American Citizens, we didn’t hire you to read off the damn opinion of some backroom Republican crony who told you what you are to think about something – whether its the Sotomayor nomination or health care or climate change legislation or anything else.
We did not cast a vote that ever elected some Republican or conservative crony in a backroom somewhere to think for you. Most people in America don’t even know who they are and certainly weren’t given the chance to vote for them to think everything through that would be in front of you. They are not the ones sitting in those seats to legislate and make decisions.
We elected you to represent our interests as Americans. Even though I didn’t get to vote for you or against you, I know beyond a shadow of doubt that you are given that seat to represent my interests as an American citizen. Every dime of my money and everybody else’s money is at your hand, every intelligent resource is available to you and paid for by us and every last opportunity available to the United States is sitting right there at your side within your hand’s reach. Do not tell me that you are there to represent the Republican Party instead of me and my fellow citizens.
We sent you to Washington to think through whatever was in front of you and represent our interests in the matter. If you can’t do that and think through some of this stuff for yourself with the staff you have and resources available to you, then you don’t need to bed warming that chair up in Washington. And, you sure don’t need to be using it to provide a “united front” for the conservative caucus, the Republican Party, the US Chamber of Commerce which is being run by bankers, nor for the other cronies backing your breakfast. They didn’t elect you and believe it or not – you don’t represent them unless you work in their corporation. That is not your job as an elected official and decision-maker in the United States government.
You are there in Washington to represent me and the people of the United States – the interests of the citizens and the interests of our nation, along with our futures. Without that, there is no reason for you to be there. Using that seat to get in the way of anything constructive being accomplished, is a waste of everyone’s time, effort, money, goodwill and trust. You sure don’t need to warm a seat where decisions must be made for the good of us all and the good of our country, if stalemating, blockading, undermining, and bastardizing are the only things you are there to do.
Not one of us put you up there in Washington to have the Republican Party, conservative caucus, bankers, oil companies, big businesses, Wall Street junkies nor anybody else think for you. We didn’t elect you to do that, not this time and in fact, not ever. We didn’t hire you to be a good little soldier for the Republicans and tote the party line – this isn’t Stalin’s USSR where you’re sitting.
This is the United States of America and in case you haven’t noticed, your perverse follies, previous decisions and Republican policies have left us in an economic war zone where America used to be and we are all losing. You’ve taken America from the first class world leader status that we had enjoyed right up until the reign of the Republican conservative takeover, and torn it to shreds. You’ve left the United States in a position that resembles third world underdeveloped or undeveloped economic conditions, and where crime, violence and oppressive state and local government corruption is rampant and common.
If the Republican Party and business leaders haven’t noticed, where the America we have before us is now because of their “leadership” –
there is pervasive poverty, homelessness, decimated communities, foreclosures, unemployment, destitution, families in crisis, pervasively common domestic violence and death without ever leaving home, massive sickness and death from food poisoning because of FDA and Dept. of Agriculture failure to regulate, staggering numbers of bankruptcies, staggering numbers of commercial bankruptcies, inflation in the basic commodities for everyday life, empty community halls and gymnasiums, crumbling infrastructures in every town and county in America, failing schools and children who cannot read despite our “no child left behind” programs, staggering numbers of commercial and industrial “accidents”, cities and suburbs filled with violent crimes, massive ponzi schemes that defrauded huge numbers of citizens and generally very expensive, massively incompetent government systems doing none of the things they were designed or intended to do.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
You’ve done a real bang ’em up job up there in Washington for the past thirty years of letting somebody else do your thinking for you and even I couldn’t have mucked it up worse than you’ve managed to do. How dare you waste our time now with stalemating tactics and a bunch of strategic Republican Party nonsense. Who the hell do you think you are and who do you think you are going to have to deal with when they’re done with you? We put you into office, we pay your salaries, we pay for your taxi rides, limousines and plane trips, we are paying for you to live in nice houses and sit your shitty asses in $6,000 chairs. We are paying for your staff members and the research you have done to make decisions where you sit. What the hell do you think is going to happen to the United States if you keep on doing it the way you’ve been doing it?
It’s time to stop dicking around, get off your dead Republican asses and get with the others we’ve elected up there in Washington to get something done. Get in there, use your brains and fix this mess. Eventually you will have to notice that you aren’t the ones cooking your own dinners, mowing your grass, cleaning your houses, shining your shoes, washing your clothes, fixing your toilets, driving your family where they go, filling the car with gas or in fact, doing any of the number of other things that are required for you to wipe your hairy ass.
Personally, I wouldn’t trust any of you to lead me from one side of the street to the other safely – but since, you have been elected by my fellow citizens to positions of leadership you need to know this –
Whether you know it or not – every one of you up there in Washington is a member of a team and it isn’t the Republican Party, Democratic Party nor conservatives nor big businesses nor liberals. You are either on our team USA to serve the interests of the citizens of the United States and the interests of our national concerns or you are nothing that serves the United States and you don’t belong there wasting time, energy and resources that could be used to the good of us all.
And, right now considering the economic and social crises that we all face, when you use your positions to antagonize, undermine, stalemate, block, and degrade the efforts of others – you are acting as an anathema and an enemy to all that is good and that could be done while you are there.
– cricketdiane, 07-29-09
And by the way, whether you know it or not – every one of you up there in Washington is a member of a team and it isn’t the Republican Party, Democratic Party nor conservatives nor big businesses nor liberals. You are either on our team USA to serve the interests of the citizens of the United States and the interests of our national concerns or you are nothing that serves the United States and you don’t belong there wasting time, energy and resources that could be used to the good of us all.
Another note –
Whatever marketing genius convinced you as a politician and legislator that you must serve the Republican “brand” – failed to note the unique capacity and position in which you serve and its broader implications.
The actions you take or fail to take, the decisions you make or decide against supporting will last long after the Republican Party ceases to exist and will have lasting effects far beyond the ability of any narrowly focused conservative thinktank, party, or group to perceive.
“But McConnell said Friday, in an appearance at the National Press Club, that, “The normal constituencies must be widened,” signaling a likely strategy for Republicans in the months ahead.” – from article below (FoxNews – January 2009)
Republicans Craft Careful ‘Resistance’ in Congress
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says his party will pose a “principled resistance” when appropriate, but will also try to work with the Obama administration.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. gestures as he answers questions at the National Press Club in Washington, Friday, Jan. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Rest assured, Republicans in Congress will put up a “strong, principled resistance” to the Democratic majority when called for, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday.
But with Republicans’ numbers diminished in the Senate and virtually weightless in the House of Representatives, mounting that resistance will be no easy task.
The GOP, wounded badly in the 2006 and 2008 elections, is still trying to rally and redefine itself, not only to make gains in 2010 but to put its stamp on policy.
To do so, McConnell and other Republican leaders plan to strike a fine balance between bipartisan cooperation and thorn-in-the-side politics.
“Stylistically, it is somewhere between cooperation and confrontation,” said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report. “It took them eight years to get in this hole. It’s going to take a while to get out.”
On the other hand, he said, “The nature of the opposition is they’re supposed to oppose.”
Among those leading that opposition in the early stages are Georgia Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who is heading up re-election efforts in the Senate.
Cornyn, one of former President Bush’s top defenders, is already biting at the ankles of Democrats at every turn and could play the prickly counterpart to his more bipartisan colleagues.
Cornyn was the lone senator who prevented Clinton from being confirmed on Inauguration Day by raising concern about donations to her husband’s foundation. (He later dropped his opposition after a talk with Sen. John McCain.)
Plus Cornyn raised critical questions about Eric Holder, Obama’s nominee for attorney general, contributing to a delay in his confirmation vote before the full Senate.
And he warned Democrats not to seat Al Franken as Minnesota’s next senator until his Republican rival, Norm Coleman, exhausted all legal options.
Most recently, on Wednesday, Cornyn’s committee took on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a news release for inviting lobbyists to an inaugural brunch two days earlier. Spokesman Brian Walsh said in the statement that in order for President Obama to change the culture in Washington, he’d first have to change Reid.
“I didn’t come to the Senate to be a wallflower, and the only tools you really have available in the Senate are your voice and your vote,” Cornyn said.
Meanwhile, Price vigorously opposed the release of the second half of the $700 billion financial bailout. And he, along with Cornyn, blasted Obama for ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility Thursday. “It’s unfortunate that national security has taken a back seat to political appeasement,” Price said in a statement.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh told FOX News’ Sean Hannity that leaning moderate is the wrong way to go for the Republican Party. He said the moderate wing got their candidate in McCain and lost.
[My Note – Rush Limbaugh is the Republican Party in America. To have that thinking to run the United States into the ground, who needs enemies . . . ]
“The blueprint for landslide electoral victory is right there, and the Republican Party and conservative movement has just washed it away,” Limbaugh said. “The people that are running our party now have such a defeatist inferiority complex. … They want to be accepted by people that hate them.”
But McConnell said Friday, in an appearance at the National Press Club, that, “The normal constituencies must be widened,” signaling a likely strategy for Republicans in the months ahead.
John Feehery, a Republican strategist and one-time aide to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, said the GOP only hurts itself by ignoring the center.
To appeal to more Americans, he advised Republicans to target Democrats in Congress instead of Obama, and to use the president’s “change rhetoric” against hyperpartisan members. He said Republicans can regain the moral high ground by exposing hypocrisy and corruption in the rival party.
A string of corruption cases led to huge Republican losses in the 2006 congressional elections, and now the GOP is trying to shine a light on Democrats improprieties.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, for instance, lambasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for keeping Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee despite the fact he’s being investigated for tax problems.
House Republicans are now so outnumbered that they have few options for pushing through their agenda in Congress. They can try to partner on some issues with the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, but they may be more successful just making noise in the media.
In the Senate, however, Democrats still do not have a filibuster-proof majority, so Republican senators are in a position to carry more weight and squeeze concessions out of Democrats.
Moderates in particular have a chance to hold clout. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, for instance, just got a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee, and Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee. Rothenberg said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., are two rising stars to watch. Alexander is Republican Conference chairman and Thune has moved into the ranks of leadership as a lead deputy to Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. Thune has been a quiet voice of compromise on energy issues but a tough fiscal conservative.
[ . . . ]
Conservatives have long criticized the financial bailout package, charging that the distribution of funds was irresponsible. And in the upcoming stimulus package, Republicans are pushing against Democratic spending proposals and pushing for items like tax cuts. House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia on Friday presented Obama with proposals that rely exclusively on tax cuts and envision none of the federal spending backed by Democrats and the White House.
Some of the GOP resistance is symbolic, though it provides political cover. For instance, Republicans in the House — along with Democrats — voted on Thursday to withhold the second half of the $700 billion stimulus package, even though a prior Senate vote in favor of releasing the money trumped any action from the House.
But Republicans caused headaches for Democrats earlier in the week when they waved around a report that showed the Democrats’ economic stimulus proposal could take as long as 10 years to work its way into the economy.
In response to the study, Peter Orszag, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, sent a letter to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., late Thursday pledging that at least 75 percent of the stimulus package would be spent in 2009 and 2010.
[ . . . ]
Analysts suggested Republicans should also reach out to friendly think tanks to bolster their agendas.
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan, who is running for another term, is doing that with his newly created Center for Republican Renewal, a think tank he says will help the GOP “reclaim the mantle as the party of ideas.”
FOXNews.com’s Judson Berger and FOX News’ Trish Turner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Blaise Hazelwood, who served as the political director of the Republican National Committee and spearheaded the famed “72 Hour Project,” proved her mettle again last week — shepherding Steele to his unexpected victory in the race for RNC chairman. Hazelwood, who worked with a team of political pros including the Anderson brothers (Wes and Curt), Brad Todd and Jim Dyke on Steele’s behalf, is now in line for a plum position at the RNC if she wants it.
Hazelwood’s whole life has been politics. She is a fifth-generation Arizonan whose grandfather was close to former senator Barry M. Goldwater. She was president of Teen Republicans in Arizona as well as an intern on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
Despite her Arizona lineage, however, she was born in Washington because her father was working at the Interior Department during the Nixon administration.
Why is it that everyone in the Republican Party and Conservative Groups that hijacked it over the past thirty years has some relationship to Barry M. Goldwater and Richard M. Nixon? That includes the unbelievable number of people appointed to cabinet positions in the Republican administrations over the last thirty-six years, the agency heads, the decision-makers, the policy makers, and in the thinktanks that have diverted charitable money intended for community supports and programs for the poor into their own coffers.
Why is it that the conservative fundamentalist right-wing political parties and groups are some of the most vice-ridden, vile, vicious, cruel, intolerant, greedy, corrupt, sexually immoral, criminal and malicious groups that have ever walked the earth regardless of where they are operating? What makes it like that? They have perpetrated the most violent anti-social psychotic police and military policies and practices, they’ve tortured with cruelty and disregard – both in the US and around the world, they’ve encouraged their friends, children and authorities in their command to beat the homeless, poor and disadvantaged to death.
They’ve incited intolerance, removed personal rights and freedoms, undermined the Constitution of the United States and lawful Constitutional rights given to citizens around the world, practiced religious, social, economic and cultural / racial intolerance across the United States and generally, instituted a caste system in a country where democracy, freedom and individual rights used to be. Who are these vile slags of humanity and why do they get away with it just because they dress better than I do?
Hazelwood first came to prominence as the driver behind the “72-Hour Task Force” in 2001, the party’s last major revision to its tactical campaign playbook which is credited with revolutionizing the Get Out the Vote efforts. Hazelwood has led and managed political operations, high-profile grassroots programs and political campaigns. She received a lot of praise for her work as Political Director at the Republican National Committee in 2002 and 2004, spearheading their successful online Team Leader program and the construction of Voter Vault, the RNC’s voter file database. She went on to serve as the Director of Media and Political operations for the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2006 cycle under Senator Elizabeth Dole.
Beginning in November 2008, Hazelwood managed Michael Steele‘s campaign for Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Steele was elected as the new RNC Chairman on January 30, 2009. Hazelwood followed the new Chairman to the RNC and served as his Chief of Staff through the transition until March 2009. She then returned full-time to her companies in Alexandria, Virginia but continues consulting as a top advisor to Chairman Steele and the RNC.
Hazelwood’s whole life has been politics. She is a fifth-generation Arizonan whose grandfather was close to former senator Barry M. Goldwater. She was president of Teen Republicans in Arizona as well as an intern on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
Despite her Arizona lineage, however, she was born in Washington because her father was working at the Interior Department during the Nixon administration. She was named for St. Blaise. The name was chosen by her mother, who wrote a dissertation on the Roman Catholic saint while studying for a doctorate in early Christian art at Georgetown University. Hazelwood has admitted that being named after a little-known male saint caused confusion when she was younger.
Hazelwood began door-to-door canvassing as a 10-year-old in Arizona when her father was running for precinct committeeman, and she learned firsthand the value of human contact, meticulous organization and volunteer muscle in political campaigns. Her grandmother was a campaign volunteer in the days before computers, when voter files were kept on index cards. She told the Washington Post in 2003, “I always heard stories about my grandmother. It was all personal contact, and it obviously worked.”
After graduation from Vassar College, Hazelwood’s first job was staff assistant at the RNC, but shortly after the 1994 GOP landslide, her days appeared numbered. The new political director, Curt Anderson, was planning to clean house, and told Hazelwood and others they should start looking for work somewhere else.
“I didn’t like that answer,” she told the Washington Post. “I decided that I wanted to stay here, that I wasn’t done at the RNC, so I started getting there at like six o’clock in the morning. He was a very early person, too. I would read the papers and brief him as he came in, do whatever I could to get his attention, and so he finally decided to keep me.”
Her career since has been a succession of campaigns and grassroots organizing across the country, often anchored by positions at the Republican National Committee. She worked for Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign and for James S. Gilmore III’s successful 1997 gubernatorial campaign in Virginia.
After those campaigns, she joined Curt Anderson’s political consulting firm. Then, in the summer of 2001, moved back to the RNC to help the Bush team manage its outreach to parts of the conservative coalition.
Republican National Committee
“Blaise Hazelwood is credited with bringing back the culture of grassroots campaigns into the Republican Party.”
Hazelwood worked as Political Director at the RNC in 2002 & 2004. Matthew Dowd, Senior Advisor at the time said, “She’s got good intuition, and she’s exceptionally well organized. She’ll do whatever it takes to get the job finished. She’s not concerned about being the last person to leave the office or getting on an airplane to get the job done.”
72 Hour Program
“When the history of the Republican Party’s midterm election victories of 2002 is written, President Bush will get the headline and much of the credit, but a large footnote will go to a young political operative named Blaise Hazelwood.” -The Washington Post, 2003
Hazelwood, only 31 at the time, was serving as political director of the Republican National Committee (RNC), and it was her responsibility to coordinate the party’s “72-Hour Program,” an 18-month effort designed to put shoe leather back into politics and beat the Democrats in turning out the vote, especially in the final three days, 72 hours, of the campaign. The 72-Hour Project was born of necessity after the 2000 election, when Republicans discovered that Democrats had done a better job of getting their voters to the polls in one of the tightest presidential races in history.
With prodding from White House senior adviser Karl Rove, White House political director Ken Mehlman and RNC Deputy Chairman Jack Oliver, the party undertook a top-to-bottom review of its get-out-the-vote operation, poured more than $1 million into more than 50 experiments to test how best to reach out to voters and then methodically set about implementing their findings in the midterm campaigns.
“I’m confident from the testing and from human life experience that making a volunteer telephone call or knocking on someone’s door makes much more impact than just doing it paid,” Hazelwood said.
Her weekend routine was a mind-numbing series of conference calls consuming as much as 16 hours in which she updated her checklists state by state: how many volunteers signed up; how many people on the streets; how much literature distributed; how many voters identified. The overall goal was to flood precincts in competitive states with GOP volunteers going door to door in the final 72 hours of the campaign. Three weeks before the election all the planning and execution began to converge. She told the Washington Post, “All of a sudden this one weekend, everything started clicking. All of the work that everyone had put into this for the past year and a half started happening.”
Her work paid big dividends on Election Day, when a surge of Republican voters in states such as Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Missouri overwhelmed the Democrats and turned what many had called one of the most competitive midterm campaigns in history into a substantial Republican victory.
In addition to implementing the 72 hour program, Hazelwood is also credited with creating Voter Vault, the Republican Party’s voter file database which is used by campaigns all over the country.
National Republican Senatorial Committee
In 2005, Hazelwood moved over to become Elizabeth Dole’s right-hand-woman, serving as campaign and media director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) through the 2006 election cycle.
Hazelwood founded Grassroots Targeting in 2005, turning her expertise in the practice of microtargeting into a business. In 2004, few top campaign staff knew what to do with raw microtargeting data. The young staffers who had time to play with the data were the ones in the remote field offices. In 2008, they’re now running the show and want to be able to get their hands on the data. Grassroots Targeting is the first firm to create its own software, called GT InAction, so campaigns can do just that. It lets a campaign manager select the voters he’d like to reach, such as married men who are regular churchgoers who make above $100,000. Since the software is web-enabled, direct mail and phone vendors can go in and use the data as well. Hazelwood believes, “if you’re spending this much time and money to put this together, people should actually use the data.” She also adds that she tries “to empower the campaigns as much as possible, because they know their campaigns the best.”
With respect to the 2008 Presidential race, she recently explained,
“With Bush, our targeting efforts focused on turning out the base. Now with McCain, it’s about convincing the swing voters. It’s a different audience we’re going after, and we’re able to find those swing universes much better than we would have in the past. But sometimes microtargeting isn’t user-friendly enough — a lot of campaigns get a book that explains it, and then that book goes on the shelf. I’ve built software that allows campaigns to understand their microtargeting data more easily. They can pull their own email and phone universes. The software will tell you, ‘These are the swing groups, these are the people who are most likely to turn out.’ All the end users have to do is pick what groups they want to target. If you have the budget to mail to only 40,000 people, you can decide which group you want and enter into the calculator exactly what you want your numbers to be.”
Microtargeting for Bobby Jindal
One of Grassroots Targeting’s most notable clients is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who has been talked about as a future presidential candidate. Most microtargeting models focus on issues and likelihood to vote Democrat or Republican. However, that wasn’t necessarily going to help Bobby Jindal win his 2007 gubernatorial race in Louisiana, where most voters are registered Democrats who typically vote Republican. Strategists realized that to avoid a run-off, Jindal needed 42 percent of culturally conservative Democrats to vote for him on Election Day.
Hazelwood built her model around that core group. She said, “usually when you build models, you are building them on everyone [in a district], but the cultural conservatives were our target universe. We actually did survey work and tracked them all summer long.” Using that research, Jindal talked to voters in each segment of this custom universe. And on Election Day, he hit the magical 42 percent and won the race.
In 2007, Hazelwood cofounding iWeb Strategies with Brian Lyle. Lyle has been working in technology for over a decade and with Hazelwood since 2003. He served as the Deputy Director for the RNC’s Team Leader online program in the 2004 election cycle. In 2006, he worked with Hazelwood at the NRSC as eCampaign Director before joining her to found iWeb. He designed and managed one of the “Top 5 Mold Breaking Websites” of the 2002 election cycle according to Campaigns and Elections magazine.
In November 2008, Hazelwood signed on to lead Michael Steele’s campaign to become the next RNC Chairman in the first open race since 1997. The telegenic former Maryland Lieutenant Governor had developed a national following with his Fox News commentary. Also, those who saw Steele behind-the-scenes of his 2006 Senate race knew him as a free spirit whose first instinct is to rethink campaign conventions. An insurgent campaign in a time of internal party unrest fit his personality well.
That Steele won the chairman’s race didn’t surprise many Republican activists across the country; however, Steele’s Jan. 30 win did shock the old bulls of the Republican establishment. The core of Steele’s winning coalition were the RNC’s newer members. In fact, half of Steele’s 21-person “whip team” on the committee rose to their current Party leadership roles after the election of 2006. Steele made sure his campaign screamed “change.” Under Hazelwood’s leadership in what looked like a sleepy Christmas-time race, Republicans responded in ways few inside the Beltway press corps noticed. Though the race is decided by the 168 party insiders, Steele asked Republican activists around the country to sign up to support his bid for chairman. In the two months after Obama’s victory, his website enlisted 42,000 such activists.
Hazelwood put the 42,000 to work with the same innovative thinking that led to the 72 Hour Program. She asked those online supporters to email their national committee members. While urging a vote for Steele, the supporters pledged a specific donation of volunteer hours to their state parties which caught the eye of hungry state chairmen.
With Hazelwood, Steele built a leadership team, and a winning campaign, with tactics, ideas, and coalitions rarely before used in the GOP. Steele promised to shake things up at party headquarters, and to the old guard’s surprise, the new RNC was in a mood to shake.
Following Chairman Steele’s election, Hazelwood went with him to the RNC and served as Chief of Staff through the transition period. During this time, Steele brought in RNC Members from around the country to assist him in assessing each division within the RNC and make recommendations for improvements.
In a press release, the RNC announced that “the transition team will help implement the sweeping changes Steele proposed during his campaign for chairman. Under Chairman Steele’s leadership, the RNC will focus on recruiting a new cadre of top-notch candidates and operatives, build new volunteer networks, and forge new working relationships with state and local parties. The team will also immediately begin preparing for the gubernatorial and local elections later this year in Virginia and New Jersey.” Hazelwood was integral to these transition efforts and also to supporting the Chairman in beginning to fulfill his mission to “bring this Party to every corner of the country and ask people to join us and work with us.” The Chairman added that “by standing on our principles, we can expand and grow. My transition team will take a fresh look at everything with an eye toward preparing to win the campaigns of the future.”
Having overseen the first two months of the Steele administration at the RNC, Hazelwood, in an e-mail to Republicans around Washington on March 12, announced veteran GOP strategist Ken McKay would take over as the RNC’s chief of staff.
Hazelwood is now working full time at Grassroots Targeting and iWeb Strategies based in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia while staying very involved in an advisory role with the RNC and Chairman Steele.
Who was running the show when the World Trade Towers had two planes run up their asses, bringing the city of NY to a standstill and killing thousands of people? Who was at the helm when umpteen different terrorist acts occurred across the free world and the United States without hindrance despite all the money we’ve been paying for specialists and resources to take care of it?
Who was running the states and federal government when thousands of people were sickened and hundreds died from E.Coli in hamburgers they bought at restaurants or ate at school lunches? And, who was running the country when thousands were poisoned and hundreds died from peanut butter sold to nursing homes and schools and meals on wheels programs?
Who was running the United States when thousands of American children died at the hands of bad judgments made by social service workers either because they were taken from homes where they shouldn’t have been and put into the homes of foster care and mental health institutions that killed them or were returned to people that were abusing them in the first place?
Who was it that had the reins of power when the CEOs, bankers and Wall Streeters were being given hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries, perks and bonuses while running their companies into the ground and laying off hundreds of thousands of workers who actually did do their jobs?
And, who was the group in power while this country created the greatest impoverished landscape that has ever existed in this nation since the Great Depression which as a matter of fact, was also created by the hands of greed in the same party who were also running things at that time?
Who was it that diverted money from every program intended to help people get on their feet and demanded that faith-based organizations take on that job while stealing those charitable funds to underwrite their own conservative thinktanks, lobbyists and pet projects for the rich?
Weren’t the Republicans in power? Weren’t the conservatives getting things done the way they wanted when all this resulted? Wasn’t it the big business interests which were running the show that were served over everyone else’s interests? Wasn’t it the right wing fundamentalists that had their way with all of it? Is it now to be believed that they had nothing to do with it? And, that the way they didn’t do it or did do it resulted in something other than what we see, what the facts indicate and what we have experienced? Are they kidding?
And, just for note – the prosperity which they created for themselves did not extend to the rest of us and as it turns out, wasn’t real anyway. It was a pretense without foundation which is exactly why our economy is mucked up to the extent it is today without much recourse to stabilize it in any due measure, let alone to rebuild it.
– cricketdiane, 07 – 09
(Tell me something, why should anybody want to innovate , invent or create solutions for a bunch of bastards that can’t do anything but put their feet in the ground and make nothing possible.)
My Note –
Why do experts and news commentators / producers tell the public that everything is fine (macro-economically) when all the numbers say something else? Durable goods orders are down because? Unemployment, layoffs and underemployed numbers are still up and possibly even rising, if we were able to see the true numbers. Companies are going out of business and bankruptcy courts are filled with filings across a broad spectrum of businesses. Commercial real estate loans are an accident waiting to happen and foreclosures of people’s homes continue to be in the stratosphere with many loans still expected to reset through the end of this year and next.
The number of homeless have increased to the point of devastation in communities across the US and everybody is watching to see if the durn stock market numbers mean something about a “rebound” – those numbers aren’t real. The shifts in value among stocks, commodities and financial derivatives are coming from huge players managing other people’s money – what do they know besides a guess considering they make their money whether they win or lose?
We have a population who does not know how to survive unless all the conditions are known quantities arranged in a certain order and progress along a recipe which doesn’t now exist for them. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to engage that with the real facts, some measure of truth, candid honest appraisals of where things stand now and a set of skills for “thinking on your feet,” resourcefulness and “flying by the seat of the pants” successfully?
Thanks, Ali – for your efforts and for all of the CNN team, but we really are getting to the hardest part now, when everyone is tired of the bad news and no jobs and it isn’t going to get better soon nor go back to the old way that it was, regardless.
– cricketdiane, 07-29-09
A Note to Ali Velshi – CNN Financial Reporting and Economics
Ask Ali Velshi
E-mail Ali Velshi with your questions about the economy or call him live on CNNRadio, at 11 a.m. ET
LOS ANGELES, July 29 (UPI) — Seven percent of U.S. fifth-graders and their families have experienced homelessness — 11 percent for blacks — and it takes a toll, researchers say. (from 2004 – 2006)
[ . . . ]
Dr. Tumaini R. Coker of Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and the Rand Corp. and colleagues analyzed data from a study of 5,147 fifth-grade students. Interviews of students and parents were conducted during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years and included children from Birmingham, Ala.; Houston and Los Angeles.
“It was unexpected to see such a high prevalence of family homelessness in this sample of fifth-grade students, were literally homeless — staying in places like shelters, cars or on the streets,” Coker, the lead author, said in a statement.
By ANTHONY HALL, United Press International Published: July 29, 2009 at 8:18 AM
U.S. home prices and mortgage news have crept back into the headlines, as government officials took another swipe at helping homeowners Tuesday.
Officials from the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development sat down with bank executives in Washington to review the Make Homes Affordable program, which aims to help troubled homeowners with loan modifications.
It is a program with a goal of helping 4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure that has, to date, been frequently touted as underwhelming at best. Only 200,000 loans have been modified since March, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
[ . . . ]
The problem, in a nutshell, is profits. After weeding out homeowners behind on their payments who may be able to catch up on their own, without assistance, and those who would fail to keep up payments even with a modified loan, there are few well-intended homeowners left, the Boston Federal Reserve Bank said in a study of the nation’s housing predicament.
Alan White, a professor at Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana, said lenders could cut down on the number of borrowers who end up defaulting again by giving them more help in the first place. He said too many modified loans don’t result in low enough payments. Also, he said, there may be fewer borrowers who can get out of trouble on their own because of continuing difficulties in the economy.
“The servicers are making assumptions that are much too anti-modification,’’ White said. “The servicers have the authority’’ to help borrowers, “they just don’t want to use it.’’
The study, coauthored by Manuel Adelino and Kristopher Gerardi, also rebuts a widely held suspicion that the holdup in modifying loans is because of investors who control them through mortgage-backed securities. The Fed found no difference in the rate of aid between investor-controlled loans and those that lenders own directly.
[ . . . ]
The number of foreclosure proceedings increased to 844,389 during the first quarter of 2009, up 73 percent from the first quarter of 2008, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
“You have more money going to the banks and the servicers than you do to the homeowners,’’ he said. “It would make more sense to just give money to the borrowers.’’
Durable goods orders drop 2.5 percent in June
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP
2 hours ago
WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket durable goods plunged in June by the largest amount in five months, reflecting the continuing troubles in the auto industry and a steep drop in demand for commercial aircraft.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods fell 2.5 percent last month, much larger than the 0.6 percent decline that economists had expected. It was the biggest setback since a 7.8 percent fall in January.
Mass. woman killed, fetus removed from womb
2 hours ago
WORCESTER, Mass. — A pregnant woman was found dead in her apartment with her fetus cut from her womb, and police on Wednesday were trying to find the missing baby, which they said could have survived.
Authorities said 23-year-old Darlene Haynes was about eight months pregnant and the child would have needed immediate medical attention to survive.
Officials say Haynes also has a 1-year-old daughter who is safe with relatives.
Police said Tuesday that they had interviewed the father of Haynes daughter, Roberto Rodriguez.
Haynes had a restraining order against Rodriguez, who allegedly pushed her into a glass table in June and cut her arm, then grabbed her by the throat and slapped her, the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester reported, citing court records.
Court records also showed Rodriguez was charged with hitting Haynes in 2008 in a case that was continued without a finding.
That is the life experiences of America which awaits our daughters, our women, our children, our day-to-day living with what really happens in the United States for women every single day, every moment of every year . . .
And, from one of the UPI articles above, a hidden set of information about the oil speculators (it shouldn’t have been buried in another article, if they wanted anybody to read about it – )
Regulators also took a first swipe at curbing speculation in the oil market Tuesday with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission holding the first of three hearings to explore moves to limit large bets that could manipulate prices.
Oil prices rose sharply in the summer of 2008, provoking concern that speculators were making fast gains at the public’s expense. Following a humbling fall in prices last fall, prices moved forward again this year, gaining about 50 percent since January.
In August, the CFTC will issue a report documenting the size of oil positions and the number of firms participating, which could shed light on the speculative nature of oil investments, the Post reported.
Asian markets were mixed Wednesday. The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.26 percent, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 2.37 percent. The Singapore Straits Times index dropped 0.76 percent. The S&P/ASX in Australia dropped 0.64 percent.
In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 index rose 0.81 percent. The DAX 30 in Frankfurt rose 1.79 percent. In France, the CAC 40 gained 1.43 percent, while the broader DJStoxx600 rose 0.76 percent.
*** Lenders avoid redoing loans, Fed concludes
Study cites lack of profit in aiding the distressed
By Jenifer B. McKim
Globe Staff / July 7, 2009
Mortgage lenders don’t try to rework most home loans held by borrowers facing foreclosure because it would probably mean losing money, a study released yesterday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston concludes.
Officials from Hope Now, the private-sector alliance of mortgage servicers and investors, were unavailable for comment yesterday.
The Fed’s study found that only 3 percent of seriously delinquent borrowers – those more than 60 days behind – had their loans modified to lower monthly payments; about 5.5 percent received loan modifications that did not result in lower payments.
What would a Republican-led palace coup be without the involvement of self-admitted dirty trickster Roger J. Stone Jr.?
According to The New York Times, Stone, who learned to play political hardball on the 1972 Richard Nixon election campaign, at least knew in advance about the Republican’s retaking of the New York Senate last week.
In addition, a judge is to rule today whether the coup was legitimate in the first place.
[ . . . ]
Stone was an adviser to Golisano on his unsuccessful 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Golisano’s third attempt to win that office.
Stone’s connection to the Senate upheaval may come through billionaire B. Thomas Golisano, the driving force behind the takeover.
[ etc. ]
Stone has also had a connection to the Senate, as he once served as an adviser to Republican Joseph L. Bruno, then the senate majority leader.
Stone resigned from that position in 2007 after he was accused of leaving a threatening voice message at the office of Spitzer’s father. Stone denied the accusations.
Bruno resigned from the Senate last year. This January, a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of concealing work he did for labor unions and private companies that did business with the state.
Sarkozy wants to strengthen the ILO to face international
LEMONDE.FR avec AFP et Reuters | 15.06.09 | 16h21 • Mis à jour le 15.06.09 | 18h55 LEMONDE.FR with AFP and Reuters | 15.06.09 | 16h21 • Mis à jour le 15.06.09 | 18h55
The french president Nicolas Sarkozy called on Monday 15 June, Geneva strengthening the role of the International Labor Organization with respect to major financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and the Organization World Trade Organization (WTO). “It is necessary that the ILO can have something to say to the WTO, IMF and World Bank,” said Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking during a mini – Jobs Summit organized by the ILO. Le chef de l’Etat a défendu devant les 183 membres de l’organisation une “révolution” qui permettrait de rendre obligatoires les normes votées par l’OIT. “Une norme qui n’est pas obligatoire n’est pas une norme, c’est comme une feuille qui s’envole dans le vent” , at-il insisté sous une nuée d’applaudissements. The head of state has defended before the 183 members of the organization a “revolution” that would make mandatory the standards adopted by the ILO. “A standard which is not required is not a standard, c It is like a leaf that flies in the wind, “he insisted in a cloud of applause.
Submitting a new article.
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Airflo APM2O Lionceau airplane is moved to the static exhibition area one day before the opening of the 48th Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget airport near Paris June 14, 2009. The Paris Air Show opens Monday under a morose, uneasy cloud.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
A group of Mexicans are unfurling a pair of pants which is 60.1 meters long on Sunday in an effort to break the Guinness World Record for longest pants. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev questioned the dollar’s future earlier this month, saying it isn’t “in a spectacular position, let’s be frank, and its prospects cause various questions.” Alexei Ulyukayev, first deputy chairman of the bank, said June 10 that some reserves may be moved into bonds issued by the International Monetary Fund.
Still, Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said in an interview two days ago that the dollar is in “good shape,” and that “it’s too early to speak of an alternative” to the U.S. currency.
On a visit to Beijing on June 2, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said there will be enough demand for record sales of U.S. debt. In March, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on the U.S. “to guarantee the safety of China’s assets.” China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, has proposed the eventual creation of a new, supranational currency.
[ . . . ]
The Congressional Budget Office projects the federal budget shortfall will reach a record $1.85 trillion this year, with the gap exceeding $600 billion through the year 2019.
June 15 (Bloomberg) — International purchases of American financial assets grew more slowly in April as China, Japan and Russia pared demand for Treasuries, underscoring the danger of U.S. reliance on foreigners to finance its fiscal deficit.