Richard Wright, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, has died today following a struggle with cancer. He was 65.
If you’re selling toothpaste, your claims must be vetted by legal and medical professionals. But not if you’re selling a candidate.
If you’re selling a candidate, not only can you lie about his record, but more to the point, you can lie about his opponent.
These lies are seen and heard by millions, not only when they run as paid advertisements, but also when they are run again for free on 24-hour news networks hungry for controversy. And after they are run for free, they become talking points in an “unbiased” conversation that pretends there are two sides to every story, even when one side is lies. Two words: Swift Boat.
So here’s my idea. One that could actually work, if America’s networks remember they are Americans first, revenue seekers second.
Just as they once united to stamp out cigarette advertising, radio and TV stations and advertisers must get together and agree that false statements in political advertisements will not be tolerated. If you run a political ad that proves to be a lie, your network will pay a steep fine, and the advertiser will pay an even steeper one.
Mario Labbé, an executive with a Montreal-based record company, says his Canadian passport triggers a red alert on the computers of U.S. customs agents every time he tries to board a flight to the U.S. — which is about once a month for the past seven years.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wrote a letter to Labbé in 2004, saying he had been placed on their watch list after falling victim to identity theft. At the time, the department said there was no way for his name to be removed.
Although Labbé wrote letters to the U.S. department, his efforts were in vain, prompting him to legally change his name.
“So now, my official name is François Mario Labbé,” he said.
“Then you have to change everything: driver’s license, social insurance, medicare, credit card — everything.”
Although it’s not a big change from Mario Labbé, he said it’s been enough to foil the U.S. customs computers.
Shhhhhh! Don’t tell the terrorists!
Feel safer yet?
In an opinion called “Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line” published yesterday:
Things today just aren’t that bad.
The author is an adviser to John McCain’s campaign.
If only that joke wouldn’t be over their heads…
In 1998, Long-Term Capital Management nearly collapsed. They had $129 billion in assets and $124 billion in liabilities. But the real problem was that they were counterparty to $1.25 trillion in derivatives trades. Because their collapse might have created a chain-reaction throughout the financial system, then-President of the NY Fed William McDonough called together the heads of the major commercial banks and investment banks and politely asked them to cooperate. The banks bailed out LTCM without any government backstop. (Bear Stearns declined to participate in the bail-out, a fact never forgotten by its peers.)
Bear Stearns (10-Q) had $399 billion in assets (or “assets”) and $387 billion in liabilities (10-Q page 5). But the real problem was that they were counterparty to $2.7 trillion in derivatives trades (10-Q page 36). That was enough for the Fed to give JP Morgan a hand in taking them over last March.
Lehman brothers (10-Q) has $640 billion in “assets” and $613 billion in liabilities (10-Q pages 5-6). But they are counterparty to “only” $729 billion in derivatives trades (10-Q page 40). This weekend, the current President of the NY Fed, Timothy Geithner, has called together the heads of the major commercial banks and investment banks and is politely asking them to cooperate. But this time, they want another deal like Bear Stearns. Think of it as a high-stakes game of chicken, with Hank Paulson representing you. We will know the outcome by 8 P.M. EDT tomorrow.
Merrill Lynch has $966 billion in assets and $931 billion in liabilities. They are counterparty to $4.2 trillion in derivatives trades
It is now clear that we are again – as we were in mid- March at the time of the Bear Stearns collapse – an epsilon away from a generalized run on most of the shadow banking system, especially the other major independent broker dealers (Lehman, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs). If Lehman does not find a buyer over the weekend and the counterparties of Lehman withdraw their credit lines on Monday (as they all will in the absence of a deal) you will have not only a collapse of Lehman but also the beginning of a run on the other independent broker dealers (Merrill Lynch first but also in sequence Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and possibly even those broker dealers that are part of a larger commercial bank, I.e. JP Morgan and Citigroup). Then this run would lead to a massive systemic meltdown of the financial system.
The Church of England will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin’s ideas. It will call “anti-evolutionary fervour” an “indictment” on the Church”.
The apology, which has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church’s director of mission and public affairs, says that Christians, in their response to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, repeated the mistakes they made in doubting Galileo’s astronomy in the 17th century.
“The statement will read: Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practise the old virtues of ‘faith seeking understanding’ and hope that makes some amends.”
You know, it wasn’t really only your first reaction that was wrong. It was your second, third, and up to your two millionths reaction just a few weeks ago that you were getting this wrong. Next time, don’t rush to judgment before careful study. And when you get a moment, tell your religious colleagues in the U.S. that perhaps time they took a careful look at that which they so readily reject out of hand.
Andrew Darwin, a great-great grandson of the scientist, said: “Why bother? When an apology is made after 200 years, it’s not so much to right a wrong, but to make the person or organisation making the apology feel better.”
“I got nothing good to say about Obama,” Lacasse told News 13. “If I see anybody touching that sign, I got a club sitting right over there.”
The stupid, it hurts…
The American financial system was shaken to its core on Sunday. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said it would file for bankruptcy protection, and Merrill Lynch & Co. agreed to be sold to Bank of America Corp.
The U.S. government, which bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a week ago and orchestrated the sale of Bear Stearns Cos. to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in March, played much tougher with Lehman. It refused to provide a financial backstop to potential buyers. Without such support, Barclays PLC and Bank of America, the two most interested buyers, walked away. Barclays said Monday it pulled out of the potential deal after deciding it wasn’t in the best interest of shareholders.
Late Sunday night, Lehman said it intends to file for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Lehman said none of the broker-dealer subsidiaries or other subsidiaries of LBHI will be included in the Chapter 11 filing and all of the broker-dealers will continue to operate. Customers of Lehman Brothers, including customers of its wholly owned subsidiary, Neuberger Berman Holdings LLC, may continue to trade or take other actions with respect to their accounts, Lehman said.
On Sunday night, Bank of America struck an all-stock deal to buy Merrill Lynch for $29 a share, or $50 billion.
As mentioned here (but buried), it’s an ALL STOCK deal – a stock swap, not a cash deal.
BAC is using its overvalued shares to buy Merrill, so doesn’t care if it’s “overpaying,” since they expect their shares to drop more than 41% before Q1 2009. If their shares do drop more than 41%, they will actually pick up Merrill at a “discount.”