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Archive for June 12th, 2008

Obama’s Birth Certificate

By- Suzie-Q @ 7:00 PM MST

Senator Obama’s Birth Certificate

Posted By Bob Cesca

June 12, 2008

The far-right has been attempting to add more rumors to their list of hilarious lies. The latest one is that Senator Obama refuses to release his birth certificate because he isn’t who he says he is.

Well… Here’s the birth certificate.

And here’s more from Markos.

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Oh Oh..Lehman Brothers Is In Big Trouble…

GEF @ 6:08 PM MST


NEW YORK: Lehman Brothers is doing business as usual with most of its derivatives trading clients, but at least a couple have scaled back their operations as the bank prepares to post its first loss since becoming a public company 14 years ago, in a sign of the challenges being faced by the investment firm.

Traders and managers at more than a dozen banks, brokers and hedge funds said in the past week that nothing had changed in their dealings with Lehman. Its chief financial officer said Monday that there had been “no material loss” of clients during the quarter. Officials at Lehman declined to comment for this report.

But one portfolio manager at a large hedge fund said his firm had reduced its new trades with Lehman in recent months, and another trader at a leading U.S. institutional fund manager said he was no longer trading with the bank at all. Both declined to be identified because they were not authorized by their firms to speak for attribution.

To be sure, investment banks are always losing and gaining customers. And while concerns about the future of Bear Stearns triggered a run on that bank in March, Lehman is unlikely to suffer a similar fate any time soon.

That is because the U.S. Federal Reserve is willing to lend billions of dollars to investment banks to prevent another collapse like that of Bear Stearns, which was acquired by JPMorgan Chase last month.

Lehman Brothers has about $100 billion of assets at its holding company that are either cash or could be easily used to raise funds. Lehman has also just raised $6 billion of new capital.

Still, Lehman may find that companies, banks and hedge funds are less willing to trade with some of its subsidiaries, which could cut into the profitability of its derivatives franchise, said Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.

“You would much prefer to do a trade with a higher-rated bank,” said Hintz, a former chief financial officer at Lehman.

Customers buying securities are not usually choosy about the credit quality of the bank selling them. But derivatives – contracts whose value is derived from a security or index – are long-term trades. Clients are typically more careful about entering into a derivatives contract that may require collecting money from a bank in five or more years.

Hintz said Lehman’s derivatives businesses in areas like fixed income, equities, and commodities could face earnings pressure as customers become more selective about their trading partners, known as counterparties.

Given the choice of trading with a commercial bank or Lehman for the same product at the same price, the commercial bank might be a more attractive counterparty now, Hintz said.

Hintz reduced his third- and fourth-quarter estimates for Lehman last week because of these concerns, but said on Tuesday that Lehman’s balance sheet was “bulletproof.”

Lehman Brothers raised $6 billion of convertible preferred securities and common stock Monday, and said it expected to post a $2.8 billion quarterly loss next week.

After closing at a five-month low Monday, its shares closed down another 6.7 percent at $27.50 on Tuesday. They are down more than 60 percent over the last 12 months.

Amid these difficulties, ratings agencies are cutting Lehman’s credit ratings. Standard & Poor’s downgraded Lehman to “A” from “A-plus” last week, and Moody’s Investors Service on Monday changed its outlook on Lehman to “negative” from “stable.”

S&P downgraded Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley last week as well, and U.S. investment banks in general could lose derivatives business over time to commercial banks.

Clients, on the whole, are staying loyal to Lehman. On Monday, the chief financial officer, Erin Callan said, “We are not having any conversations with counterparties or lenders about whether they feel confident extending funds and credit to us.”

But not every client that reduces its new trading volume with Lehman will have a conversation with the bank about it, Hintz said.

And even if few clients are scaling back their exposure to Lehman, some are monitoring the bank more closely.

Aneet Deshpande, head of trading at Allegiant Asset Management, has exposure to Lehman Brothers through some over-the-counter derivatives. Allegiant has been reviewing these positions, he said.

“They have the capital,” he said. “We are not worried but we will still be watching.”

Leslie Rahl, president of the risk management advisory firm Capital Market Risk Advisors, said all institutions should plan what to do in the event of a counterparty default. But she added, “I do not think that’s what we have here.”

Dan Fuss, vice chairman at the investment manager Loomis Sayles, which oversees more than $100 billion in fixed-income securities, said last week, “We have no hesitation whatsoever at all in dealing with Lehman.”

“They are a fine firm and financially strong,” he said.

But not all were persuaded by the argument that support from the Federal Reserve eliminated concerns about counterparties.

“Even banks that have been backed by the Fed for a long time fail,” said Adam Compton, co-head of global financial stock research at RCM Global Investors. “It just takes more time. Fed backing does not make you financially invincible.”
RELATED NEWS:

LEHMAN BROTHERS SHAKES UP TOP MANAGEMENT

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Jon Stewart: Clarification Of McCain’s *C* Word

By- Suzie-Q @ 6:00 PM MST

H/T to my friend Bob Cesca ;)

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GEF @ 5:38 PM MST

Central bank body warns of Great Depression

by Gill Montia

Story link: Central bank body warns of Great Depression

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the organization that fosters cooperation between central banks, has warned that the credit crisis could lead world economies into a crash on a scale not seen since the 1930s.

In its latest quarterly report, the body points out that the Great Depression of the 1930s was not foreseen and that commentators on the financial turmoil, instigated by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, may not have grasped the level of exposure that lies at its heart.

According to the BIS, complex credit instruments, a strong appetite for risk, rising levels of household debt and long-term imbalances in the world currency system, all form part of the loose monetarist policy that could result in another Great Depression.

The report points out that between March and May of this year, interbank lending continued to show signs of extreme stress and that this could be set to continue well into the future.

It also raises concerns about the Chinese economy and questions whether China may be repeating mistakes made by Japan, with its so called bubble economy of the late 1980s.

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Bush, Cheney And Rice At Lowest Ratings Ever

By- Suzie-Q @ 5:00 PM MST

Bush, Cheney, and Rice sink to lowest ratings ever.»

From: Think Progress

By Amanda at 11:52 am

A new Harris poll finds that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are now registering their lowest approval ratings ever. Some highlights:

President Bush’s latest ratings are 24 percent positive and fully 75 percent negative. Previously, his worst numbers were 26 percent positive and 72 percent negative in April of this year. His ratings are substantially worse than those of any president, except for Jimmy Carter (22%-77% in July 1980), since Harris first started measuring them in 1963.

Vice President Cheney’s ratings are even worse, 18 percent positive and 74 percent negative, compared to his previous low of 21 percent positive, 74 percent negative last July.

Secretary of State Rice’s ratings are much better than those of the President and Vice President, but also have fallen to their lowest point ever, 39 percent positive and 54 percent negative, compared to 42 percent positive and 51 percent negative last October.

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Evening Jukebox… Kissing a Fool

By- Suzie-Q @ 4:55 PM MST

George Michael – Kissing a Fool

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By- Suzie-Q @ 2:00 PM MST

Iraq Vet: McCain’s ‘Not The Only Person Who Suffered In War,’ ‘He Doesn’t Get A Free Pass’»

From: Think Progress

By Ali at 12:24 pm

Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was asked on the Today Show whether he had an estimate of when troops could come home from Iraq. McCain replied, “No, but it’s not too important. What’s important is the casualties in Iraq.” Defending McCain against what his campaign called “a false attack,” Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) cited McCain’s Vietnam experience as justification for McCain’s assertion.

Appearing on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night, VoteVets Vice Chairman and Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Brandon Friedman disputed the idea that McCain’s military experience gave him “carte blanche” on war issues. He called McCain’s comments “a morale crusher,” and said veterans like him “would expect a lot more” from someone who’s “been in our shoes”:

FRIEDMAN: John McCain should know better. You know, he’s been in our shoes. He’s had it worst than most of us. You know, he should know better. … You know, we all respect John McCain’s service. But he’s not the only person who suffered in war. We have troops coming back from this war who are quadriplegics, who’ve been maimed, who had to go through so much. And, you know, it doesn’t give him a carte blanche reason to say something like that. He doesn’t it get a free pass.

Despite the McCain camp’s attempt to spin away his comments, the fact is McCain has a history of being careless when it comes to soldiers. He spearheaded opposition to Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) 21st Century GI Bill, helped block legislation lengthening the time soldiers spend at home between deployments, and has consistently voted against increasing funding for the Veterans Administration.

Though McCain constantly touts his support of the troops — and their support of him — his record belies his rhetoric.

Transcript follows:

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By- Suzie-Q @ 12:00 PM MST

McCain In 2005: I “Totally” Support Bush On The “Transcendent Issues” (VIDEO)

June 12, 2008 11:46 AM

It has been observed that one of Sen. John McCain’s most foreboding obstacles in seeking the White House will likely be the lengthy paper trail that comes with a 25-year congressional career.

And so it is, perhaps, with the macro-theme of the general election: whether or not McCain is an extension of the George Bush presidency. The Senator has worked hard to dispel such a perception, pointing to various policy disagreements with the White House and lashing out against those who claim he would be Bush’s third term.

But McCain’s case is complicated by his own words from just three years ago. In a June 2005 appearance on Meet The Press, the Senator told moderator Tim Russert that, far from being at odds with the White House, he had “been totally in agreement and support of President Bush” on “the transcendent issues.”

RUSSERT: The fact is you are different than George Bush.SEN. McCAIN: No. No. I-the fact is that I’m different but the fact is that I have agreed with President Bush far more than I have disagreed. And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I’ve been totally in agreement and support of President Bush.

WATCH THE VIDEO

McCain went on to insist that, on domestic policies, he and the president had butted heads – which is true on issues like combating climate change and campaign finance.

“But,” he quickly added, “I will argue my conservative record voting with anyone’s, and I will also submit that my support for President Bush has been active and very impassioned on issues that are important to the American people. And I’m particularly talking about the war on terror, the war in Iraq, national security, national defense, support of men and women in the military, fiscal discipline, a number of other issues. So I strongly disagree with any assertion that I’ve been more at odds with the president of the United States than I have been in agreement with him.”

At the time of the interview, McCain was dismissing speculation that he harbored hopes of a White House run. But it was nearly accepted fact in Washington that he would eventually put his hat in the ring. An appeal to Republican voters, whom McCain had alienated with his streaks of independence following the 2000 election, was required for this to happen.

Now, however, that proximity to Bush could prove a detriment to McCain’s electoral hopes. And rare is the day that he publicly touts the similarities of his policies and those of the White House.

“You will hear from my opponent’s campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I’m running for President Bush’s third term,” McCain said recently in a speech in New Orleans. “You will hear every policy of the president described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it’s so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it’s very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false.”

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By- Suzie-Q @ 9:30 AM MST

Menendez: McCain Has Taken Sides With Hardliners And Anti-Immigrants

June 12, 2008 09:38 AM

One of Congress’ most influential Hispanic members says that John McCain “walked away” from the Latino community and is not a “person of principle” on immigration reform — a perception that could haunt the Arizona Republican in the general election.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Sen. Robert Menendez offered a scathing rebuke of McCain, painting him as a candidate who sold his political soul to secure his party’s presidential nomination.

“In my mind, he has dramatically shifted. He has really taken a Republican tact,” said the New Jersey Democrat. “It seems to me, and it is out there in the community, that he walked away at a critical time. And when you take that view, which shows that he is not the person of principle that he would like to show himself being, and you wear the Republican mantle that is so negative and anti-immigrant… I think it is very hard for John McCain to make hay with Latinos at the end of the day.”

During the course of the Republican primary, McCain veered away from his support of a comprehensive immigration reform bill, citing, openly, the political pressures being put on him by the conservative base.

“I understand why you would call it a, quote, shift,” McCain told reporters. “I say it is a lesson learned about what the American people’s priorities are. And their priority is to secure the borders.”

Ultimately, the move helped McCain net his party’s nomination. But not without a cost. As Menendez argues, many now believe that the GOP nominee caved for political gain; something McCain’s camp adamantly denies.

“Everyone knows that John McCain risked his political life to lead on the bipartisan immigration reform effort last year,” his spokesperson Brian Rogers told The Huffington Post. “He bucked his party in the middle of a presidential campaign, and was attacked relentlessly for it. These cheap partisan attacks are unfortunate and absurd.”

How McCain transitions on immigration during the general election could, in the end, be a major determinant of his candidacy’s success. Will he try to champion his initial position, which included pathways towards citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country? Or will any move away from conservative orthodoxy be seen, as Menendez predicts, as a flip-flop-flip of historic proportions?

“The question that I would ask is: ‘How are we supposed to believe you?’ said Menendez. “Considering what they did to John Kerry on the question of the war, this would be much easier to do with John McCain. It would be: ‘I was with you, before I was against you, before I was with you.'”

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Brown wins crunch vote on 42 days

anthony @ 17:21 BST

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has narrowly won a House of Commons vote on extending the maximum time police can hold terror suspects to 42 days.

Thirty-six Labour MPs joined forces with Conservatives and Lib Dems to vote against the proposals.

But that was not enough to defeat them – although the government still faces a battle in the House of Lords.

The 42-day proposal was passed by 315 MPs to 306 – with votes by the nine DUP MPs proving crucial.

Six SNP MPs also voted against the proposal, as did three Plaid Cymru MPs and three from the Northern Ireland-based SDLP.

But there was uproar in the Commons as the result of the key vote on 42 days was announced after five hours of tense debate – with Tory and Lib Dem MPs shouting “You’ve been bought” at the DUP benches.

They claim the DUP was offered a string of inducements – including extra financial help for Northern Ireland – to guarantee its support.

(more…)

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