About Bernie…

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In 2008 when I joined the Obama bandwagon I had this underlying suspicion that he was more about hype than substance. That he was saying things he knew would arouse me but was mainly saying them to get elected. He, like Bill Clinton and George Bush before him, didn’t really speak the words from his heart. You can’t say that about Bernie.

Sanders has a long track record of doing what he says. He also has a record of accomplishments that proves him to be a pragmatist that I believe this country seriously needs today. He votes  based on substance, not party. We have way too much “party” in our politics today.

It seems strange that so many of us are disgusted with the way our current political system operates but are just too fearful of voting for alternatives. Until we vote the IN’s out we will never see any significant progress in our way of doing government.

No, Bernie won’t win any beauty contest. He is not the strapping figures of John Kennedy or even Ronald Reagan. If we really want change then we must vote for it and I am coming to believe that Bernie might be the first step in that process.

2016-02-06_10-59-15.pngIt bothers me that Hillary has made millions of dollars making speeches to Wall Street firms and then refuses to release any words she said to them.  It should be absolutely clear to anyone who has been paying even the slightest attention that Bernie has no fans on Wall Street and won’t be asked to give a speech there anytime soon.

I love what Mark Shields said on a recent PBS Newshour. I will try to paraphrase it here:

The mortgage crisis was a terrible thing so we must hunt down those people who perpetrated this fraud and give them billions of dollars.

Bernie and Elizabeth Warren seem to be the only two people in congress who are upset as I and many other are by this logic. Billions were given to pull them out of the troubles they caused and not one person was ever indicted for the trillions it cost the American taxpayer!  I recognize that partisan politics has just become increasingly extreme since the Reagan years. We HAVE to do something to pull it back to some level of sanity if we hope to even exist.

To close out this post, I just want to be able to vote for a person who I know is true to his word and actually believes what he says.  Not a person who says what he thinks will get him elected simply because he/she craves the power of the office. I want to be able to vote for a person with “true” passion for the people.

Right now I am coming to believe that Bernie is the only person currently in this race to meet that objective. Maybe he can’t be elected but we will never know until we try….

Houses passes bill easing rules regulating Wall Street

Republican proponents insisted the new legislation would reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and spur creation of new jobs.

SOURCE:  Houses passes bill easing rules regulating Wall Street – Yahoo News.

RegulationsI think every one of those GOPers in this new congress need to have the words above tattooed on their foreheads. Ok more realistically written on a Post-It note and stuck on the foreheads. I’m sure that mantra is going to be their reason for every bill they pass in the coming two years as it has been for the last couple of decades. But as usual there is a big difference between rationalization and reality.

It’s funny that when they are in power Wall Street almost always does worse than when the Dems are there. When Mr. Bush came into office the stock market was at 11,000 when he left eight years later it was at 8,000 mainly due to GOP decisions made while he was in office. Then came Mr. Obama and the stock market went from 8,000 to almost double that in six years. I don’t know when the 1%ers who control more wealth than the rest of us combined are going to realize that the GOP are just not that good for them.

The “Regulatory burdens” that this new GOP majority want to eliminate are what was put in place to reign in the worst capitalistic greed. It doesn’t seem to concern these yahoos that the lack of regulatory burdens is what caused the near complete collapse of our entire economy just six short years ago.  To me, and I hope many of you, regulatory burdens are the necessary rules for living in a people centered democracy but yes I do realize that we have become much less people centered in this new century. I pray that we can turn that around.

Eliminating taxes and therefore government is the goal of much of Republican’s action. They seem to do a good job of listening to their rich donors but not so much in listening to those who elected them.  I know I have spent a lot of words here hitting on the GOP majority now in congress but that doesn’t mean that I think the other party did much better. All those yahoos need to learn some basic lessons about representing us. A democracy is about all the people not just about those who finance the political campaigns. They are there to do the people’s business not to blindly follow whatever their leadership or even more so the monied interests tells them to do. It is a shame that one of the first things they wanted to do as the new majority was to give more power to those who almost put us down. But maybe even more shameful was the second thing and that was to start whittling down Social Security. Shame on all of them for that mentality… and shame on us for not taking them to task for not doing the people’s business….

An LOL Moment… :)

2015-01-08_07-27-57In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, the newly elected majority leader suggested that the growing signs of an economic recovery — 5 percent GDP growth, 320,000 additional jobs in November, all-time highs in the markets on Wall Street and plunging gas prices, to name a few — just might have something to do with the election of a Republican Congress….

“That Mitch McConnell is one funny guy,” said Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee. “He likes to remind people all the time that he’s not a scientist. Now we know he’s not a mathematician or an economist either.” SOURCE: Mitch McConnell: It’s Funny How The Economy Improved When The GOP Took Over Congress.

Oh the politicians.  You gotta love them. I think on occasion they even believe what comes out of their mouths but the quote above is not one of them.  I searched for a photo of Mitch smiling and this is the closest I could come. He is a quintessential politician who has been in office for decades and nothing seems to be able to move him out. Politicians helping the economy?  I just pray that they don’t do too much damage. They tried to push back the rules on Wall Street that help prevent another melt-down. Thankfully that didn’t work. But they did start the dismantling process for Social Security on the very first day in power. More to come on that I’m sure…

Me Too…

Warren Elizabeth“I’m worried a lot about power in the financial services industry and I’m worried about the fact that basically, starting in the ’80s, you know, the cops were taken off the beat in financial services. These guys were allowed to just paint a bull’s-eye on the backside of American families,” Warren said. “They loaded up on risk. They crushed the economy. They got bailed out. What bothers me now, they still strut around Washington, they block regulations that they don’t want, they roll over agencies whenever they can.”  SOURCE: Elizabeth Warren Sidesteps Clinton Question, Says Wall Fat Cats ‘Strut Around Washington’.

I am not a U.S. Senator but I too worry about all the power in the financial services industry and how they seem to be in almost total control of our nation’s wealth. With the help of their many Republican friends they seem so easily to knock back any attempt at regulating their behavior.

It was widely acknowledged in 2008 that outright greed was driving that sector and it almost took the country down with them. But as Mrs. Warren’s quote above says it bothers me even more that only five years later they are back to strutting around Washington and are back to their totally absurd year-end bonuses. They say the average 2013 Wall Street bonus was about $1.2 million!

These guys mock those of us who worked hard for thirty or more years to get what they make in one. Capitalism by its very nature is one of gaming the system. If you are very good at it you will make tons of money. Capitalism is all about money and our incessant drive for it whereas Democracy is about one person, one vote that is supposed to level all playing fields. Democracy is where the true power in our society should  and must eventually reside. If only we could convince that 50% plus who don’t even bother to vote that they can change things if only they take the time to put their opinions in the ballot box.

In a true democracy the Wall Street broker is no more powerful than the kid working at McDonald. It is much easier to change things in this country than most believe. If you don’t like having to work for a wage that can’t even provide the basic necessities for your family, you can change that with your vote.  The primary elections in my State are next Tuesday and I can fairly safely predict that less than one in four potential voters will even show up at the polls.  How sad is that?? If only people realized the power that they hold.

Thanks Elizabeth for helping me to remember that…..

Big year ends with Wall Street hopeful for 2014

As Wall Street’s best year in more than 15 draws to a close, few are expecting a repeat performance in 2014, though traders have plenty of reasons to feel optimistic.

SOURCE: Big year ends with Wall Street hopeful for 2014: Fidelity.

I have a fair share of stocks in my retirement portfolio and have seen them go up quite a bit this year. It almost reminds me of the year 1998 when I started thinking about retiring. It is good news to see stocks going up especially since the Feds have bond interest rates stuck at 0% for so long.

But then I look at this year from a political view and things couldn’t have been worse. Total gridlock and the total “do-nothingness” congress. How can these two things occur in the same year? Of course my hero Will Rogers  had already told me but I failed to listen I guess.

Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for. — Will Rogers

In fact he told me even more bluntly and I am paraphrasing because I can’t find the quote right now

The best thing congress can do for the country is take a two-week vacation.

Those yahoos spend more time at home than they did in Washington this year. Maybe that in financial terms is a good thing. But I do kind of wish they would have stayed around long enough to do a little something for the guy out of work and struggling to feed his family.

Hoorah for Elizabeth Warren….

Warren Elizabeth“Most big corporations trade well above book value,” Warren said, referring to the measure of a company’s assets minus liabilities. “But many of the Wall Street banks right now are trading below book value. And I can only think of two reasons why that would be so. One would be because nobody believes that the banks’ books are honest, or the second would be that no one believes that the banks are really manageable.”

Warren’s comment on bank accounting came after she repeatedly — and apparently rhetorically — asked a panel of top regulators to cite the last time they had hauled a big Wall Street bank into court rather than settled. There were mostly halting responses and promises to get back to Warren with more information at a later time. That question — why there has not been more accountability for top bankers in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown — taps into a deep vein of public anger on both the left and right. And it is Warren’s most potent political weapon.

Source: Elizabeth Warren strikes fear into Wall Street – Ben White – POLITICO.com.

I don’t think I am the only person who is shouting hooray for Elizabeth Warren, the new senator from Massachusetts. Ms. Warren is a former Harvard Law Professor who is currently taking the banking sector by storm or maybe I should say tornado. She is striking fear in the banking sector of both the big bank CEOs and the regulators. It is about time someone struck back for the people.

When the financial sector did an almost meltdown in the last year of the Bush administration there was rage throughout the country. Especially when the government had to fork over billions of bucks to keep them afloat. It seemed the “too big to fail” tag put on them by both the Bush and later the Obama administrations varnished over the severe faults found in the banking sector.  No one was prosecuted or otherwise punished for the gross risks they took in the pursuit of profits or for the regulators who were derelict in their duties in allowing them to do so.

People screamed about the “too big to fail” mantra for a few months and then  our government seemed to move on to the next  disaster without really addressing this one. Within a year the CEOs and upper management of the big banks were back at the trough getting their million dollar bonuses. It was not until this Harvard law professor went after them that anyone seemed to notice.

I loved the way Senator Warren chastised the regulators who were supposed to protect the taxpayers  for not doing their jobs either before or after the meltdown.  When she asked them how many Wall Street banks were prosecuted in court they were too ashamed, or maybe a better word was embarrassed, to say that none were; they settled all the matters out of court with usually a slip on the wrist. To me and I hope many of you, I don’t see any difference between what these guys did and a guy who goes into a local branch and robs it. That guy is probably behind bars for the next twenty years  while all the bankers are back to doing almost the same things they were before.

Here is to you Senator Warren. Keep up the attacks. I hope you can land some of these guys in jail. That would be the only way that future bankers would learn that actions have consequences and those consequences are jail time for them.

Worried About Not Worrying Enough..

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Source: ‘Fear’ gauge showing little of it.

Wall Street 1Some investors interpret the benign numbers as evidence that worries about gridlock in Washington and the slowing global economy are overblown.

But others worry that the low readings are a sign of complacency, and that the potential for further declines in response to unexpected bad news isn’t reflected in stock prices….

If Wall Street is nothing else it is about worrying.  Those guys buy and sell on the slightest hint of something different happening. The above quote comes from Fidelity Investments as a form of advice to its investors.  What it basically says is that these guys are worrying that they are not worrying enough so something might come up and surprise them. Does that sound like paranoia to you? It sure does to me.

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The Trouble With Wall Street Is……

The trouble with Wall Street is well, Wall Street. Those folks in New York City, especially Manhattan, think they are the center of the universe.

Lets move our financial institutions to Omaha Nebraska.  That will give them more common sense than they would ever be able to gain on that little island in New York.  Warren Buffett has done pretty well with himself by staying there all these years. He has weathered most of the melt-down in pretty good shape. He doesn’t let the flashy lights of fame and fortune cloud his judgment.

The people who live in or near New York City don’t really have any idea of what the rest of the country is about or what our priorities are. I lived in that area for four years waiting to finish out my corporate life before claiming my pension and leaving soon thereafter.  When many in that area learned that I was from Indiana the first question they asked was  “what is there to do out there in the Midwest?”. To them anything outside of  their area is simply a “cornfield with lights”. They don’t understand that there is life without having to live packed together with millions of other people.

I won’t reserve this mentality for only those in the Northeast as those California folks think much the same way but on a different topic. They can’t understand the changing seasons have an appeal to some of us. They can’t understand why any of us would want to live where it gets cold or where there is no ocean.

So, getting back to the original premise of this post lets move our financial district to Omaha. Maybe some saner minds would then prevail for the very fact that not many of those Manhattan folks would follow their jobs to the “cornfield with lights”. But then again maybe I am wrong about that.  Greed is a powerful thing…

But what do I know….

Biggest One Day Gain!!!

 

You gotta love all the spin masters on Wall Street these days. I noticed these headline here several times this year.

BIGGEST ONE DAY GAIN!!!

But what they don’t talk about is that the day before was the biggest one day loss so all that the gain did was put us back to where we were the  day before yesterday.  These guys will do just about anything to try to justify their big year-end bonuses.

But what do I know….