Saturday, February 28, 2009

President Obama's Performance Management Slows to Crawl

President Obama is a committee man. He appointed a number of point people and study groups in his first month and a half in office. One appointment that failed was White House Performance Officer. Nancy Killefer didn't perform her obligation to pay taxes in a timely manner. She withdrew her nomination. Is the White House close to a replacement? Not so, says Federal News Radio.

Six weeks into the term, the White House is not any closer to naming a new deputy director for management and chief management officer. Several sources say the White House has rejected at least three potential deputy director for management candidates, and are not close to naming one. Desenberg says this delay causes concern.

"We are trying to be patient on that but it is getting a little late here," he says. "I know it has only been 40 days, but we were under the impression that a lot of these people were ready to go in first couple of weeks." Desenberg says some lawmakers are considering introducing performance management legislation in the next few weeks to address this issue.

Congress writing performance management legislation? That hapless group couldn't ask White House Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend why she ommitted the hospital with the highest patient death toll from her Katrina Lessons Learned report. Corporate owners, Tenet Health and The Carlyle Group, are grateful for Fran's pitiful analysis. But that's old news, however unresolved.

Setting targets and holding people accountable is junk management theory. Wall Street set aggressive goals and bribed executives to perform. They produced vaporware financial products, rating them AAA. Investing is dead for many people.

Greed and leverage brought down Wall Street. Big money and heady power killed the public's confidence in politics. Both need Dr. Deming's quality management theory, known as profound knowledge. Congress and the White House remain ignorant. Any performance management efforts from this bunch will harm the country.

RNC Protesters vs. CPAC Inciters

Two groups call for revolution. One has their e-mail monitored, while police plants infiltrate their membership. The other is promoted by the media, while politicians clamor for the microphone to offer incendiary comments. It's the Republican National Convention protesters vs. the Conservative Political Action Conference talking heads. Choose your form of revolution and you get radically different social responses. RNC agitators found themselves surrounded by police in riot gear, contained for hours, and beaten with canes. CPAC wingnuts ate cake, while they awaited their turn on cable news channels. Rush Limbaugh's closing speech will be shown live on CNN. What kind of revolution will Rush inspire for Generation Rx'ers? America is absolutely bizarre. Political leaders purposefully fracture our country. The question is how many pay attention to our Washington putzes. Politics and investment are junk at the moment. Poor quality sent both into the gutter. Both want hair of the dog medicine to get out. That means ugly flopping by Joe the Plumbob, Newt, and Rush. I can't watch anymore, our leadership is abysmal. Ironically, two groups in the best position to watch citizens, AT&T and Google, sponsored the revolution fest.
Update 11-20-21:  Social media magnified the fracture over the last twelve years.  Social media's woes will be amplified in the metaverse.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama Supports Lebanese Sovereignty?

Did President Obama flip flop from his 2006 stand on Lebanon? While its democratic neighbor to the south pummeled Lebanon for six weeks, Senator Barack Obama said:

"I don't think there is any nation that would not have reacted the way Israel did after two soldiers had been snatched. I support Israel's response to take some action in protecting themselves." (August 22, 2006)

"I don't fault Israel for wanting to rid their border with Lebanon from those Katyusha missiles that can fire in and harm Israeli citizens, so I think that any cease fire would have to be premised on the removal of those missiles." (July 2006)

Democratic Israel did not respect Lebanese sovereignty. It not only bombed Southern Lebanon, Israel attacked key infrastructure sites throughout democratic Lebanon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama Seeks to Double Foreign Aid

America will continue tampering on the global stage. President Barack Obama's 2010 budget unveiled a program to double foreign aid. One big winner is Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported:

"It's our understanding that the president's budget request includes $2.775b. in security aid to Israel for FY-2010, in line our commitment under the 10-year plan," AIPAC spokesman Josh Block said. "We applaud the administration for strengthening America's commitment to Israel's security and understanding the unique defense challenges facing our democratic ally Israel."

Aid for Israel is security aid, military support, bombs, planes, munitions, etc. That doesn't jive with the OMB rationale:

The budget, according to the text put out Thursday by the Office of Budget Management, "puts the United States on a path to double foreign assistance. By increasing foreign assistance, the United States will reach out to the global community and renew its role as a leader in global development and diplomacy."

Nearly $3 billion in weapons rings a discordant tone.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rick Perry's $35 Million Fix

Texas Governor Rick Perry showed his preference for corporate vs. individual welfare. He proudly gave $35 million to Vought Aircraft Industries, an affiliate of The Carlyle Group. They promised to add 3,000 jobs in Dallas/Ft. Worth. That was on top of the 3,300 they already employed. Carlyle fell far short. Vought doesn''t even employ 6,000 company wide.

"This is exactly how addicts get hooked on drugs."

Is Vought hooked on interest payments from Texas taxpayers' $35 million? They have a decade or so to pay it back. That sounds like serious dependency. Failure to perform and failure to pay. That sounds like a corporate cash addict. The public is sick of American corporatocracy, whether state or federal sponsored.

Obama Issues PSD

President Obama issued his first Presidential Study Directive on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. It didn't focus on Frances Townsend's pitiful excuse for a White House Lessons Learned report on Hurricane Katrina . It won't seek information on why Fran omitted the hospital with the highest patient death toll, 34 patient deaths at Memorial Medical Center.

It won't explore links between George W. Bush and brother Jeb with Memorial's two coporate owners. Twenty four deaths occurred in LifeCare's unit. Ten were Tenet Health's.

Weeks before landfall, The Carlyle Group purchased LifeCare Hospitals. George W. Bush served on the board of CaterAir, a Carlyle affiliate. Jeb Bush was appointed to the Tenet board. It occurred a year after Fran's whitewash of a report.

President Obama's study directive will not explore any of this. Rahm Emanuel made sure to protect his Carlyle and GRTC Golder Rauner benefactors, the parties in the LifeCare sale.

But Fran did testify at the hearing. Maybe she's in line for an Obama job?

Obama's Speech Hides the Matrix

President Obama is a powerful speaker. There's code and there's the Matrix. I found a number of things he said uninspiring:

"A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future," and I will let them expire at the end of 2010.

"our job - is to solve the problem," so why hasn't throwing $9 trillion at the problem worked? And it's going to take more?

"My budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue," so what does it do? It sounds like sandbagging, or purposeful lowering of expectations.

"creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans," i.e. citizens are responsible for their retirement. Businesses dumped defined benefit plans in favor of 401(k)'s. In an economic crisis, they cut their match. The employee is own their own, which leads me to health care, the target of the next great dump.

"And in each of these years, one million more Americans have lost their health insurance. It is one of the major reasons why small businesses close their doors and corporations ship jobs overseas. And it's one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget," note his reference to employers and the impact of health insurance costs on their bottom lines. This implies the dumping of health insurance costs, either to the individual or government.

"because we're also suffering from a deficit of trust, I am committed to restoring a sense of honesty and accountability," but that doesn't apply to my Justice Department's UBS settlement or an honest painting of Tom Daschle or Ashton Carter.

"it is easy to lose sight of this truth - to become cynical and doubtful; consumed with the petty and the trivial," pure Bush level discounting of critics, even those using theory.

"They need more reform. That is why this budget creates new incentives for teacher performance; pathways for advancement, and rewards for success," expect teacher pay for performance to distort the education system, just at CEO incentive pay imploded Wall Street.

"if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis; if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity; if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then someday years from now our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, "something worthy to be remembered." America lacks the leadership in corporate board rooms and our hallowed halls of government to perform. It led us into this morass and plans to prime the greed and leverage pump yet again.

Non-ideological change is nonsense, balderdash, obfuscation. The blue team won and they get to turn the immense federal budget toward their corporate sponsors and wealthy donors. That's what this speech is about. Ignore last night's bizarre applause fest. Watch the legislation and the Justice Department's pursuit of "Just Us". Actions speak louder than words.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Obama's Appointment of Ashton Carter: Politican Fiction

President Obama's team spun the appointment of Ashton Carter as the Pentagon's major weapons buyer. They presented Carter as an outsider. He was an Undersecretary of Defense under William Perry. They work together at Global Technology Partners, LLC, a defense oriented investment firm. Carter is one of seven partners in GTP. What links to they have to defense contractors?

Duetch-Board director of Citigroup, Cummins, Raytheon, and Schlumberger Ltd


Kaminski-Board director of Bay Microsystems, CoVant Technologies, DFI International, General Dynamics, In-Q-Tel, Inc., and RAND

Hermann-Board of Directors for Orbital Sciences Corporation

Perry-Board of Directors of several emerging high-tech companies.

Stenbit-Board of Directors of MITRE, SMA, Cogent Systems, Viasat, Loral, SI-International, Cryptek, Defense Systems Group, Lockheed Martin, Crossroads, McDonald Bradley and NexQL.

Painting Carter as an outsider is fiction. His business and personal relationships are no better than the average Bush appointee.

Consumer Confidence Implodes

The latest reading on consumer confidence sank to a record low of 25. Never in 42 years has the number been so paltry. Greed and leverage brought America to its knees. That happens to be the taxpayer funded tonic to get us out. We owe it to abysmal leadership, from plush board rooms to our hallowed halls of government. Despite a vote for change, sorry leadership remains firmly in place. Sad days, as the people suffer.

Monday, February 23, 2009

FBI Director Warns of Homegrown Terrorists

America remembers Timothy McVeigh, a homegrown terrorist trained by the U.S. military. He used a rudimentary fertilizer bomb to blow up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. But that's not the image FBI Director Mueller invoked in his homegrown terror comments. WaPo reported:

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III today warned that extremists "with large agendas and little money can use rudimentary weapons" to sow terror.

"The prospect of young men, indoctrinated and radicalized in their own communities . . . is a perversion of the immigrant story," Mueller said.

Meuller spoke before the Council on Foreign Relations, a study group intent on spreading American corporatocracy abroad, either by bribes or military force. He made no mention of Christian warriors trained by the U.S. military. Meanwhile, Fox talking heads promote a coming civil war.

They discuss a coming "civil war" led by American "Bubba" militias -- Glenn Beck says he "believes we're on this road" -- and they contemplate whether the U.S. military would follow the President's orders to subdue civil unrest or would instead join with "the people" in defense of their Constitutional rights against the Government (they agree that the U.S. military would be with "the people"):

Retired military members populate various Bubba militia groups. They'll turn on the government in a McVeigh like fashion, if Glenn's vision materializes. Funny, Abraham Lincoln had this to say about America.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Fear will cause us to lose our freedoms. It already has. Lion, tigers and homegrown terrorists...

Obfuscation Obama on Bush E-mails

President Obama promised an open and transparent government. Yet, Obama's Justice Department defends the Bush administration's handling of millions of lost e-mails. The AP reported:

"We do not know how many more e-mails could be restored but have not been, because defendants have not looked," the National Security Archive said in the court papers.

Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, noted that President Barack Obama on his first full day in office called for greater transparency in government.

The Justice Department "apparently never got the message" from Obama, Blanton said.

Between this move and the UBS settlement, it seems Bush "Just Us" hasn't changed. I looked forward to reading Hurricane Katrina e-mails from Joe Hagin, Fran Townsend, and Andy Card. Obama's obfuscation isn't helping.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Three Days to Bushehr Start Up Test

Israel is aghast over Iran's nuclear program. The Bushehr nuclear plant begins preliminary operation Wednesday. Haaretz reported:

Switching on the Bushehr plant could dismay some in the United States, Israel and Europe who are deeply suspicious of Iran's intentions.

Moscow says the plant poses no proliferation risk as Iran will return all spent fuel rods to Russia.

What will American neocons and Israeli warmongers do? Bombing an operating nuclear plant is terrorism.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

U.S./Israel Rhetoric on Iran Heats Up

Israeli newspapers cite an Iranian madman and his accelerated pursuit of nuclear weapons. The U.S. analyst shouting "fire" works for Iran Policy Committee. This group is not the U.S. State Department or the IAEA.

Two war loving neocons sit in key positions on Iran. One, President Obama appointed Dennis Ross as his Special Adviser on Iran. He hasn't appointed a special envoy, despite saying the situation with Iran is urgent. Even white flag France beat America to the diplomatic punch.

Two, James Woolsey is an Advisory Council member for the Iran Policy Committee. American and Israeli elements make the case for war. Pay attention to Israeli news. Currently, a number of Congressmen are visiting the Jewish state. Howard Berman and John Kerry hit the front pages, but there's no sign of Chuck Schumer. I thought I heard Governor Patterson say Chuck was in Israel during a CNBC interview.

Pay attention folks, something is up. With neocons that usually means violence.

Friday, February 20, 2009

UBS Gives 300 Names of Possible 52,000 Tax Cheats

The Obama Justice Department got off to a Bush-like start. The $780 million settlement was well short of an estimated $1 billion fine. The big win was release of names, estimated between 250 and 300. This is a drop in the UBS cheater pool of an initial 20,000. The IRS sued UBS alleging the number is closer to 50,000.

UBS Donations

#14 for Obama Presidential campaign--$505,017
#3 for Emanuel Congressional campaigns--$86,100

How many of the tax cheats sit in corporate board rooms? How many served in America's hallowed halls of government at some time in their career? The public will never know, as Obama's "Just Us" Department sealed the settlement.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama's Transparency Promise Fails

The Obama Justice Department reached a settlement with UBS, the Swiss bank that helped 17,000 Americans cheat Uncle Sam. The offshore tax haven ran for years, even after a 2001 promise to share names with the IRS. In 2006, executives decided not to stop the practice. They couldn't part with its $200 million annual contribution to the bottom line.

The $780 million fine is less than four years of profit. It's also less than an anticipated $1 billion penalty. Did a $505,000 investment in the White House save $220 million in fines? UBS They are the #3 lifetime donor for Rahm Emanuel at $86,100. Despite evidence of widespread criminal activity, only one man has been indicted. He's a Swiss citizen, legally protected from extradition.

Phil Gramm's UBS ended up with a sweet settlement, one that will stay private. The deal is under seal. It won't be on an Obama website. American justice for the big money boys.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama Defends Secretive Bush Justice Department

The open and transparent Obama administration is AWOL on domestic wiretapping, data collection on travelers and U.S. citizens, and interrogation of suspected terrorists. The AP reported:

In half a dozen lawsuits, Justice lawyers are defending Bush administration decisions to withhold records from the public. They have opposed formal motions or spurned out-of-court offers to merely delay these cases until the new administration rewrites Freedom of Information Act guidelines and decides whether the new rules might allow the public to see more.
Now Change Means No Change from Bush.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Carlyle Group Revamps Global Financial System

U.S. Treasury Chief Tim Geithner sold world economic leaders on his plan for public-private partnerships to save the global financial system. Private equity underwriters (PEU's) are the big winner. The Carlyle Group raised $1 billion for investment, with plans for $2 billion more. This is on top of a $1.35 billion distressed debt fund. The Stimulus package includes $26 billion in tax breaks for companies buying back their own debt. Citizens, who dipped into their IRA or 401(k) to save their house, get no break. WaPo reported:

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner last week said he will seek private-sector help for the banks, offering loans at favorable rates and putting up government backing to reduce the risks to investors like Carlyle.

With $40 billion in cash on the sidelines waiting for the right play, Carlyle could find many profitable deals in the financial sector.

Two other signs are worth noting. One, Carlyle co-chairs two efforts at remaking the global financial system. Co-founder David Rubenstein heads the World Economic Forum study, while Senior Adviser Arthur Levitt leads a financial industry study group.

Two, what Carlyle's Rubenstein says, the Obama team does. The blue links to the current White House are numerous. Corporafornication remains alive and well.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

America's Bribing Warrior Culture

The U.S. military entices noncitizens with citizenship. The New York Times reported:

The American military will begin recruiting skilled immigrants who are living in this country with temporary visas, offering them the chance to become United States citizens in as little as six months.

This gets immigrants into the system. If they have a storied career, they could land in a newly freed country, one in need of rebuilding. President George W. Bush's team lost $8 billion in cash in Iraq. Did military men get any of that money pie? Senior military officers, who oversaw the program, are under investigation for corruption. NYT reported:

Yet officials say that several criminal cases over the past few years point to widespread corruption in the operation the men helped to run.

Noncitizens could win a double, citizenship and wartime booty.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Congress Reacts by Limiting Board Room Virus Growth

Congress restricted executive pay for financial firms in the stimulus package. The Washington Post reported:

The bill, which President Obama is expected to sign into law next week, limits bonuses for executives at all financial institutions receiving government funds to no more than a third of their annual compensation. The bonuses must be paid in company stock that can be redeemed only when the government investment has been repaid.

Consider Dr. Deming's management theory: By optimizing part of the system, the whole is subopitmized. When CEO's optimize executive incentive compensation, it suboptimizes the company. Employees, shareholders and customers pay the price. Look at executive stock option performance over a decade. Some 30% of executives cheated by backdating options. Only a handful paid a legal price for their sins of stealing millions from shareholders.

With the measure, lawmakers seek to address public outrage over extravagant Wall Street paydays even as taxpayers bail out the industry.

In doing so, Congress shows its ignorance. Elected officials remain firmly wed to the pay for performance tit. The Obama team plans to spread Wall Street's toxic management to education and health care.

Congressional tampering with financial CEO's is akin to restricting the growth of a lethal virus to 20%. Toxicity remains in corporate board rooms and our hallowed halls of government. Obama's non-ideological, practical change is Dr. Deming's "Off to the Milky Way!"

Friday, February 13, 2009

PCA & Lehman Brothers: Two Market Killers

Poor quality can kill an industry. Salmonella tainted peanut products join Wall Street's innovative financial vaporware as market busters. Lehman Brothers failed last September. Peanut Corporation of America died today. Both bankrupt firms will be unwound, with injured customers much worse for the wear.

Securitization and peanut production lines will reopen. The question remains, who's buying?

Obama Spreads PPP's and P4P in Federal Sandwich

Rather than peanut butter and jelly, President Obama plans to solve the ills of America with public-private partnerships and pay for performance.

The first move is a sly one. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the stimulus package provides up to $30 billion for highway construction. President Eisenhower spent over $500 billion on highway infrastructure.

Why the pittance from President Obama? Because, the private sector has $200 billion slated for investment in public infrastructure. The Obama team loves public-private partnerships (PPP), almost as much as George W. Bush.

Treasury Chief Tim Geithner announced he would bankroll private entities, those in our shadow banking system. Public-private investment entities would purchase the cyanide laced securities from banks, insurance companies, and whoever else Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke certify. PPP's happen to keep the green flowing to lobbyists, elected leaders and their respective political parties.

Whether private or governmental, poor leadership makes an organization ineffective. Bad management theory is the cause. People suffer from decades of haplessness and cluelessness in board rooms, the Capital, and the White House.

If PPP's are concerning, wait for pay for performance (P4P). P4P will invade education and health care. Executive incentive pay and commissions produced garbage investment products, which eroded the foundation of Wall Street. Think what it'll do for hospital care or children's education. Pppppfffffttttt!

President Obama, between PPP and P4P which is the salmonella tainted peanut butter and which the lead contaminated jelly? Spread at America's risk.

Update: Federal bank regulators received millions in bonuses, despite missing signs of the financial system meltdown.

Update 4-16-11:  Naked Capitalism tackled P4P, throwing it nicely to the dirt.

Update 4-26-12:  Another bloody nose for P4P in the VA Medical System.   The toxic daisy chain is ready to explode in health care.  Expect widespread cheating and sub-optimization.

Update 4-20-14:  Chicago crime statistics were fudged under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a longtime proponent of bribing people to do their job.  The drop puzzled Chicago citizens and police officers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frances Townsend's Organization Determines Effectiveness

Bush White House Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend continues to advise the Obama team from the sidelines. Her CNN commentary stated:

There is no more solemn responsibility that the president bears than to protect American lives. During my 4½ years at the White House, I came to believe that, for this reason, organization must be dictated by effectiveness.

Effectiveness is dictated by organization? What organization inspired Mrs. Townsend to omit the hospital with the highest death toll from her White House Lessons Learned Report on Hurricane Katrina?

Bush's most solemn responsibility failed 34 patients in New Orlean's Memorial Medical Center. Twenty four deaths belonged to LifeCare Hospitals. The long term acute care hospital company rented a floor of Memorial. Tenet Health had the other ten deaths.

Weeks before Katrina sideswiped New Orleans, The Carlyle Group purchased LifeCare. President George W. Bush served on the board of Carlyle affiliate CaterAir in the mid 90's. Tenet Health appointed Jeb Bush to their Board of Directors in 2007, just over a year after the release of Fran's incomplete report. Jeb's board compensation is $37,000 a day.

Aware citizens know most of the red team is tainted. Why didn't the blues weigh in on Fran's sorry tome? I found two connections. One, Bob Kerrey, D-Nebraska of 9-11 Commission fame, sits on the board of Tenet Health. The for-profit hospital company benefits from federal silence as they face wrongful death lawsuits.

Two, the firm that sold LifeCare to the Carlyle Group is connected to Rahm Emanuel, Preisdent Obama's Chief of Staff. Between his service in the Clinton White House and his Congressional position, Rahm Emanuel worked for an investment banker. GTCR Golder Rauner's chairman advised Mr. Emanuel on his career. GTCR was Rahm's account. Representative Rahm Emanuel headed the Democratic Leadership Council. Did Golder Rauner want their connection to LifeCare omitted from the Lessons Learned report?

Organization determines effectiveness. It's easy to see why Fran's report was so hapless. Calling it an investigation is a sad joke.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shadow Carlyle Group to Buy Bank?

America’s shadow banking system wound up greed and leverage to implosion levels. Now they get to buy banks? The Financial Times reported Carlyle Group is in talks to buy BankUnited, a Florida bank. DealBook reported:

The move comes as Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner is reportedly preparing a rescue plan for the financial industry that would seek to induce private investors to buy the contaminating assets that wiped out the capital of many banks.

More hair of the dog medicine from Uncle Sam. One might expect fatigue, after an eight year corporafornication binge. The big money boys must be using performance enhancing drugs. Taxpayers prepare to bend over for public-private partnership.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Peanut Butter, Politics, and Wall Street Innovation

The public distaste for peanut butter, politics and investment risk is palpable. Poor quality can destroy a market. The month long dribbling of potentially dangerous peanut butter products caused consumers to stop buying. Sales are down 25%.

The daily whine on CNBC is low volume on the exchanges. Americans voted for change. It's hard to see anything but a continuation of Bush sponsored corporafornication. Lobbyists rake it in as they scrounge for stimulus funds or the latest financial rescue.

Several friends worked very hard to get Barack Obama elected. They've turned off their television sets, sure they're the victim of the latest bait and switch.

Poor leadership is rampant in America, from plush corporate board rooms to the hallowed halls of government. It can kill consumer confidence in a brand, even implode a market. Where will salmonella tainted peanut butter, hyper-competitive politics and investment vaporware go? Without a return to quality, they'll be repackaged and sold to the general public. If you don't see a Dr. W. Edwards Deming stamp on the label, don't buy.

(Dr. Deming was the quality guru who taught Japanese leaders after WWII. He said quality begins in the boardroom. Unfortunately, very few companies follow his teachings and there is no stamp.)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Steele & Obama's Urine Leadership

While America yearns for political leaders, party chiefs piss on their respective fiefdoms. Politico reported:

Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has requested the resignations of the entire RNC staff. Obama's new team at the Democratic National Committee also requested mass resignations.

Maybe political organizations benefit from a lack of institutional knowledge or memory, but it looks like a fealty move. Anyone keeping their job will know who hired them back. Loyalty trumps everything. Give the boss what he wants. If that means shipping salmonella poisoned peanut butter to elementary schools, do it!

Steele and Obama marked their territory. Are you standing under the stream? They can call it a golden shower, but I'm not buying it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Obama's Change Equals Spin

The Obama team tried the Friday evening news release on HHS nominee Tom Daschle. The story dropped his $2 million association with Alston & Bird, a lobbying firm, and $140,000 in tax problems. The public was not impressed.

Tom's revelations came after two other nominees showed their IRS dirty underwear. Treasury Chief Tim Geithner passed. What guy doesn't have some ugly looking shorts? But White House Performance Officer Nancy Killefer's nomination died with her soiled panties.

Next up to the plate is Leon Panetta for the top CIA spot. Last year he made $831,000 in director's fees and speaking engagements. He also worked for a St. Louis based lobbying firm.

Leon spoke at The Carlyle Group's annual investors conference. Funny, David Rubenstein lamented at the SuperReturn conference that he needed to do more lobbying. Will he call Rahm Emanuel, the beneficiary of over $16,000 in Carlyle donations his last Congressional run? Will they call Leon Panetta, the recipient of $28,000 in speaking fees?

Mr. Panetta will oversee America's premier intelligence arm, historically an international bad actor. Carlyle owns Booz, Allen, Hamilton, the huge government consulting and intelligence contractor.

Big oil has an insider voice at the highest levels of national security. General James L. Jones continues Chevron's run of having board members in charge of the National Security Agency. Leon Panetta sat on the board of BP, North America. Obama's change is oily spin.

Now Change means No Change from W.

Don't believe it? Ask the transparent Obama for the list of sponsors and attendees at the Energy Reception during the Democratic National Convention. Coming to a website near you, soon. Doubtful.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Beware Obama's Bad Bank

The bad bank to buy up toxic assets shows Obama can corporafornicate in Bush-like fashion. I thought that was the Federal Reserve's plan. The Fed uses leverage to buy back cyanide-laced Tylenol investment products. Recall greed and leverage got America into its current fix.

Obama's promise to waive IRA penalties for people trying to save their homes? Haven’t seen it, but I did notice the private equity boondoggle for firms buying back debt on the cheap.

NPR noted the purpose of the bad bank is to get toxic assets back into investors hands. What? Should J & J not have destroyed all the Tylenol they pulled from the shelves? Should they have put it in bad inventory and sold it through discount stores?

The big money boys want to restart securitization and Obama's bad bank would facilitate them. Be sure to check the freshness date on your CDO's. The Corporawhorehouse on Pennsylvania Avenue has a new occupant.

3 Million Nonplanners Await Government Coupons

The American people didn't plan for the switch to digital television said the Senator from Minnesota on CSPAN. She added 3,000,000 were on the waiting list for $40 coupons for a digital converter box. I am one of those. Here's my experience:

As soon as the government announced their online site was up and running to request coupons, I tried to apply. The system was inoperable, likely overloaded. Weeks later, I successfully applied.

Never having received a coupon in the mail, I applied again. Nothing ever came.

Welcome to the state of customer service in America. Leaders provide incapable systems and blame customers for "not planning". How did 3 million non-planners end up on a waiting list? Congress holds the public in utter contempt.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Curious Case of Landmark Aviation & Standard Aero

Should Americans be worried about planes flying to the U.S. from the United Arab Emirates? Consider the following facts:

1. When President Bush allowed the Treasury Secretary to approve foreign investment in U.S. companies, he removed a provision that would have required CFIUS to "monitor the effects of foreign investment in the United States."

2. Congress is concerned over a Bush agreement to share nuclear technology with the United Arab Emirates. They identified lax export control laws as a major concern.

3. Dubai Aerospace purchased two U.S. companies with North American airport operations. The Carlyle Group sold Landmark Aviation and Standard Aero to the UAE firm in 2007. The deal closed between the Dubai Ports World brouha and the NASDAQ Borse controversy. It got no U.S. newspaper coverage.

4. Landmark Aviation is rumored to be a rendition carrier. Dubai Aerospace promised to sell the terminal portion of Landmark, only keeping its aircraft maintenance division. Standard Aero maintains military and business aircraft.

5. Rahm Emanuel's mentor, the head of GTCR Golder Rauner, purchased part of Landmark Aviation. President Barack Obama kept rendition on the list of CIA tools.

6. In a radio interview Frances Townsend told Brian Lehrer that al Qaeda would keep any WMD's in their control and not send them through the general commercial system. That means access to trusted planes with U.S. landing rights.

What's entering the U.S. from our oil rich friends in the Persian Gulf? What are the odds a $1.5 billion payday for The Carlyle Group greased the skids for the next attack? Probably low, but stay tuned.

Transparency's Magic Bullet? Horse Hockey

President Obama and his supporters believe transparency will cure government problems. Put information on the web and bureaucrats will clean up their behavior. Balderdash!

President George W. Bush posted his Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned report on the web. His whitewash produced many questions, some are included on this blog. Those questions were sent to elected officials, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senator John Cornyn, and Representative Mike Conaway. No politician addressed them. Neither did the Bush White House, author Frances Townsend, the Department of Homeland Security, FBI or Justice Department.

"Transparency" couldn't produce one reply from dozens of inquiries. One failure of a theory requires its modification. Transparency is not the magic bullet, as promised. Leadership is required, one based on profound knowledge. As Dr. W. Edwards Deming said, "It's management's job to know."