Showing posts from September 25, 2016

'Stumpf Is Lucky': Comments of the Week

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[Banksters and Crime and Punishment, US-style. *RON*]

American Banker, 25 September 2016.
On Wells Fargo chief executive John Stumpf getting grilled by lawmakers for three hours:
Stumpf is lucky. A community bank CEO having presided over a fraud proportionally this large would already have his assets frozen, be awaiting prosecution, and have been personally fined a substantial amount of money, not to mention that he would be under an order barring him from ever working at a bank for the rest of his life. Stumpf gets to keep his hundreds of millions and worst case, resign and enjoy his several homes." Related Article: 'You Should Resign': Stumpf's Rough Day on Capitol Hill

It’s strike three for Warren Buffett as Wells Fargo faces investigation

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[Interesting set of facts about "Mister Clean," Warren Buffett, in the wake of the Wells Fargo debacle. Two other incidents lead to questions about the billionaire investor's wholesome reputation. *RON*]

By Jonathan Rochford, Market Watch, 23 September 2016

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is famous for his “front-page-of-the-newspaper test.”

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, he described it, simply, as not doing anything he would be embarrassed to have written up on the front page of the newspaper. To encourage ethics over profits, he tells his managers: “Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.”

However, three recent incidents have brought Buffett to the front page of the newspaper, damaging his previously wholesome and folksy reputation.

Strike one is Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Clayton Homes being profiled for predatory lending. Buffett defended …

Exclusive: Probe of leaked U.S. NSA hacking tools examines operative's 'mistake'

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[Very interesting story. "Representatives of the NSA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the office of the Director of National Intelligence all declined to comment." Notice, at the very end of the article, how weird a knot the "cybersecurity expert" is willing to tie himself into in the attempt to convince us that "the Rooskies did it!" (As opposed to they are just stupid.) *RON*]
By Joseph Menn and John Walcott, Reuters, 22 September 2016
A U.S. investigation into a leak of hacking tools used by the National Security Agency is focusing on a theory that one of its operatives carelessly left them available on a remote computer and Russian hackers found them, four people with direct knowledge of the probe told Reuters.

The tools, which enable hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc, were dumped onto public websites last month by a…

Your Vote For Jill Stein Is Not A Wasted Vote

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["There are differences between the two candidates and the parties. But those differences aren't enough to save your job." The Democrats aren't owed votes that go to Stein, especially when they haven't campaigned for them. Neither party should be allowed a majority; neither should be allowed to believe they have a mandate. Americans will not yet say that the first past the post system is part of the problem. *RON*]
By Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof  / Mint, 22 September 2016

Published in partnership with Shadowproof.

When Jill Stein ran as the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2012, media attention to her candidacy was rare. Now, with two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in history, she has received widespread attention. There seems to be record interest in third party campaigns, including Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

The Nation published a debate between Socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama …

How to Suffocate Your Economy: Drown it in Massive Private Debt.

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[A demand-side view of the economy, focused on the role of private debt in slowing growth. The whole world has too much private debt: history suggests this won’t end well. *RON*]
By Richard Vague, Evonomics, 24 September 2016
Why does the IMF keep badly missing its global growth forecast? And what does that have to do with the 2016 presidential election?

In the years since the 2008 global crisis, when the world’s growth rates tumbled, the IMF has dutifully printed forecast after forecast predicting rebounding growth rates. But in reality, rates have fallen well short of these predictions, as seen in Chart 1.

Your Mutual Fund Has Your Proxy, Like It or Not

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["'Mutual funds are a top-down autocracy. How can they be expected to go after the corporations they’ve invested in when there is such conformity of abuse?' Mr. Nader asked... Unfortunately, there is little that investors can do to change this dynamic. But here is an idea. If your fund company votes the wrong way on issues you care about, register your displeasure by voting against the fund’s directors in its annual election. Maybe that will get someone’s attention." *RON*]

By Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times, 23 September 2016

Do you think executive compensation is out of control or that a company should have to disclose its political contributions?

If so, you may also think that your mutual fund should vote on these and other issues in accordance with your beliefs. Good luck with that.

As investors, we are supposed to be able to sound off on corporate governance matters at the companies whose shares we own. We do so by voti…