Friday, February 26, 2010

Gov. Paterson is out

New York Gov. David Paterson who became Governor amid controversy and is now embattled in controversy himself announced Friday that he will not seek the Democratic nomination for New York Governor in 2010. Paterson has been the subject of rumors regarding his private life.

With Paterson out, the attention and spotlight are now on Attorney General and former Clinton HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. Al Gore's former confidante is expected to enter the race in late March, early April, and with Paterson out, he is expected to face former Congressman Rick Lazio.

Cuomo is favored and will most likely be the next Governor of New York.

Crist denies rumors of Independent run

Two well known and high placed Florida Republican operatives speaking on condition of anonymity Thursday evening indicated that Florida Governor and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Crist would leave the GOP and mount an Independent run for the Senate. Crist flatly denied these rumors Friday as he attacked Republican rival Marco Rubio.

Crist is trailing Rubio up until a few months ago an obscure former state House Speaker by as much as 30 points and has come under the scorn of Republican activists through the state for his support of President Obama's stimulus plan.

Crist has until April 30th to reconsider an Independent run for the Senate. Polls in Florida show that Crist would win a three way for the Senate however Marco Rubio is heavily favored in the GOP primary.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Quayle to run for Congress

Just as Richard Nixon's grandson is seeking a seat in Congress in NY, former Vice-President Dan Quayle's son, Ben, is running for a Congressional seat in Arizona.

Ben Quayle, the son of the former Vice President, a lawyer and businessman has announced intentions to run for John Shadeggs seat in the House. Shadegg an eight term Phoenix Republican is retiring.
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A Quayle and Nixon in Congress, God help us!

Mort Zuckerman considers NY Senate run

Billionaire media and real estate tycoon Mort Zuckerman is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in New York in 2010. Zuckerman known to support Democrats and liberal causes might challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as a Republican in order to avoid a costly primary.

Associates speaking on anonymity said the publisher is considering conducting a poll to test his viability in a US Senate race.
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I doubt Zuckerman will run. This sounds like a Bloomberg, change parties and spends tons of money to get political power. Gillibrand is turning out to be a great Senator and will have my support in Nov.

Key Staff leave Crist campaign

Top staffers are abandoning the Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate campaign in the latest round of setbacks for the one term Florida Governor running for the Senate.

Crist's media consultant stopped working for the campaign at the end of January and his political director is leaving at the end of the month.

Meanwhile the Florida Chamber of Commerce poll has challenger Marco Rubio leading by 18 points in the GOP primary.

Crist and Rubio have agreed to debate on Fox News next month and Crist wants to debate Rubio on "Meet the Press".

This has become a national primary. I am encouraging my Republican friends to become Democrats but if that's not an option, then I encourage them to vote for Crist then Kendrick Meek in the general.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The French Newspaper Liberation attacks Goldman Sachs

In the article "Goldman, prise la main dans le Sachs" , The French Newspaper Liberation accused Goldman Sachs of having speculated on the bankruptcy of Greece while advising Athens for years.

I translated the article in English (sorry my English is not perfect....) as I found it pretty interesting.


By Gregoire Biseau and Jean Quatremer

What if Michael Moore and his film Capitalism: a Love Story, was far short of reality? What if the flagship of the "banksters" was at the heart of a case of subprime state in Europe? Goldman Sachs, the most powerful bank in the world, has speculated on the back of Greece while being remunerated by Athens to help manage its debt. This is the accusation that sticks in the mind of all the European bankers. And even beyond. Rare occurrence, the politicians are on the front lines for doubting the integrity of the octopus Goldman Sachs. Without ever naming it, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has unsheathed the first Wednesday. She considers "scandalous" that some banks have been able to help make up the deficit of Greece and thus provoke a crisis in the entire euro area. The next day, it was the turn of the French economy minister, Christine Lagarde to ask if "The Firm", as it is nicknamed, had helped Greece to disguise the reality of his debt. "It's a question that we must have the answer, "she said on France Inter. She is not the only one. The U.S. bank with $ 13.3 billion profit in 2009 is part of all potential conflicts of interest in the Greek crisis. Both advisor and speculator. In short, the worst face of global finance ...

Destination Athens

We start in November 2009. The new Socialist government of George Papandreou is tearing its hair. How to convince the markets and Brussels that it will be able to stick to its austerity program to reduce an abysmal debt (112% of GDP)? The situation seems untenable. It’s at that time, tells the New York Times, that a delegation of bankers from Goldman Sachs, led by their No. 2, Gary Cohn, landed in Athens. Our dear bankers have made an appointment to present their latest marvel: "A financial instrument allowing to postpone to a very distant futuret he cost of the health system of the country ." And then allow Athens to breath a little air. Goldman Sachs feels a bit here at home. Gary Cohn would have met at least twice the Prime Minister of Greece. This proximity doesn’t surprise anyone. "This is part of the culture of American finance and particularly Goldman Sachs to maintain direct contact with heads of state or minister of finance," says a European banker. The former institution of Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury underGeorge Bush knows very well all the subtleties of the Greek debt. It is is its specialty. "Goldman is not interested in the debt market in large countries like France or Germany, it prefers the small market, like Greece or Portugal, because it is more volatile and therefore more speculative. It's much easier to make money fast. And more discreetly. “

Already, between 2001 and 2004, Goldman Sachs is found in the room to help the Greeks to cover their debt. How? Two distinct ways. First, through foreign exchange swaps. Swaps, What is it? When a country sells its debt to the market, it has the ability to issue bonds denominated in euros or another currency. To hedge against currency risk, the government in question uses financial instruments (the so-called swaps). Until then, just very normal. Several countries have used this technique: quite basic. Where the case is complicated and can be illegal in the eyes of the European Commission is that the government and the bank board may decide to change the parity of the exchange rate of their coverage, without telling anyone. And then improve - artificially - the value of their debt. Another trick is to anticipate future revenue. That is what Goldman Sachs would have done by advising the Conservative government of the time to "anticipate the payment of airport charges, to enable it to reduce its debt amounting to 0.5% of GDP" , as a good connoisseur of the file told the newspaper. The bank would have earned, according to U.S. media, between 200 and 300 million Euros for this consultation.

Rumors of Bankruptcy

Was all that grub illegal in the eyes of Eurostat, which sets the rules of the game in terms of public debt? It seems that the Commission and Member States knew exactly what was happening in Rome and Athens. But now, the rules have changed. "Since 2004, one can not reduce its deficit and debt," said a spokesman for the Commission. Still, the topic today is explosive and the reputation of Goldman Sachs sulfurous enough for that Eurostat decided to order a thorough investigation into this period to determine whether the bank crossed the yellow line.

The end of 2009 turns to the nightmare scenario for Greece. The rating agencies, Fitch first degrade the signing of its debt to BBB +. This equates to a dunce cap. The markets are beginning to doubt the soundness and credibility of the plan of Athens. The euro falls. The interest rate paid by Greece take off. Traders love getting scared. Goldman Sachs will help them well. On Monday, January 25, Greece has a rendezvous with the market. The country wants to issue 3 billion euros of debt. A debt is a financial product like any other: a piece of paper with a price (the wage rate) and maturity (the redemption date). The price evolves on the market according to supply and demand of investors.

To go canvass customers, Athens requires the help of a handful of banks including, again, Goldman Sachs. Their mission? To reassure potential buyers (insurance companies, pension funds, but hedge funds ...) on the quality of the Greek "paper". The operation proved a huge success: 25 billion euros request for 8 billion euros finally issued. All the financial markets players want some of the Greek debt. For one simple reason: it is paid at an unbeatable rate: around 6%.

Bogus Information

This is the lull ... for twenty-four hours. On Wednesday, January 27, the Financial Times, the bible of market operators, says that China has refused to buy 25 billion euros of Greek loan, provided exclusively through ... Goldman Sachs. This is Gary Cohn, in person, writes the FT, which has proposed the deal to Greek Prime Minister. The news spread panic. For traders, Athens is close to the abyss as it is obliged to seek direct help from China. Athens denies pronto. But investors are demanding immediately an even higher risk premium. This was so strange that all professionals quickly realized that this information was bogus. "No country buys 25 billion euros of debt at once. We all laughed when we read that, "recalls a French banker. Decrypts a professional: "I can not imagine that the Financial Times did not verify with Goldman Sachs information of that importance . This means that the bank had an interest in this kind of rumor spreads even if it is false. "And why? To make cash. For when one is called Goldman Sachs, it seems that one not only touch, with the right hand, commissions for its role as banker advising the Greek government. But one also speculates with his left hand against ... Greece.

Opaque markets

The bank recognizes only one thing: while it advised the Greek Government, it recommended to its clients (primarily hedge funds) to buy Greek CDS (Credit default swap). What is a CDS? A financial product, a kind of insurance to protect against the potential failure of a State. A piece of paper that can be highly speculative. Clearly, if Goldman Sachs advised buying the CDS, it means that it anticipates a price increase of that CDS. Therefore there is a risk on Greece. Not very elegant, for the first bank council of Athens. More serious is that Goldman Sachs was at that time a very large players who speculated on the CDS market against Greece. In cahoots with the U.S. hedge fund Paulson who became rich betting against the subprime mortgage market in the US. "It is a rule of ethics of our profession, comment a European banker, one can not be both be paid to help government and speculate on the CDS of the country's debt. And yet it seems that Goldman Sachs does. "

The problem is that it is impossible to prove. For the CDS market is completely opaque and unregulated. And when we put the question to a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, it is always the same answer: "No comment." One thing is certain: the false information from the FT profited the bank by creating a climate conducive to speculation. According to the good old adage "you buy on the rumor and sell on the facts". Goldman Sachs speculated against the euro. According to U.S. officials, between January 26 and February 2, hedge funds and investment banks (including Goldman Sachs) massively sold euros against dollars. They liquidated 43 741 contracts in euros, or about 5.5 billion euros, as many contracts as in September 2008, at the height of the crisis. In short, the U.S. bank would have won on all counts.

Temptation of conspiracy

Despite our repeated requests from the bank, it was impossible to have precise answers to our questions. Even the most banal. A flow diagram of Goldman Sachs in Europe? "No it doesn’t exist". A true black-box procedures made of iron. Other figures speak for it. But hidden. Thus, February 15, in the middle of the storm against Greece, Otmar Issing, former "chief economist" of the European Central Bank, signs an article in the Financial Times (again). He believes that the partners of Greece should not rush to its rescue. The Honorable central banker, formerly of the Bundesbank, sign the paper as a former ECB President and the Center for Financial Studies. Gently he forgets to specify that he is also an international advisor to Goldman Sachs .... A further illustration of the double game of the bank.

So should we yield to the temptation of Anglo-Saxon "conspiracy" against the eurozone, driven largely by Goldman Sachs,? Not in the sense that it would be a planned and coordinated attack. As they say in the French government: "They make money, nothing personal in there." However, "many Anglo-Saxons economists and market operators are delighted that it happens, says a high French official, they have a sense of revenge after the collapse of the American liberal model, the problems of the eurozone are a divine surprise. "And of course for profits and bonuses for bankers Goldman Sachs...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Paul wins CPAC Straw Poll

In a huge embarrassment for the Conservative Political Action Conference, Texas Congressman Ron Paul won the 2012 Presidential straw poll followed by Mitt Romney.

The New York Times reports that Paul won 31% of the vote followed by Romney who captured 22%.

"When Mr. Pauls name was announced in the packed ballroom of a Washington hotel, it elicited hoots and boos along with applause. Although Mr. Romney won fewer votes, he seemed to draw stronger applause".
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This is too funny! CPAC is a serious conservative organization and there giving there votes to Ron Paul!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bayh will not run for re-election to Senate; possible White House run in 2012?

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, a moderate Democrat, former Governor, and immensely popular elected official in Indiana announced today that he will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2010. Polls in Indiana indicated that Bayh would win re-election however he indicated this desire to serve in Congress "has waned". There is speculation that Bayh might challenge President Obama in the 2012 Democratic primary and is preparing to lay the groundwork.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Diaz Balart to leave Congress

U.S. Congressman Lincoln Diaz Balart, a Miami Republican, is leaving Congress following the 2010 elections. Diaz-Balart made his plans known in Miami yesterday and within minutes his brother, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart who represents District 25 made it known that he will run for Lincoln's Dist. 21 seat. Dist. 21 is seen as more Republican friendly.

I think both seats are in contention especially District 25. Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz should jump into the race for District 21 against Mario Diaz Balart. Manny is a well respected former Mayor and would be a strong candidate against Mario Diaz Balart.

As for the Dist. 25 seat, a crowded Republican primary is expected however there aren't any names being mentioned on the Democratic side. This seat is winnable and Dems should come up with a candidate.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New York State Senator Expelled

The New York Senate has expelled one of it's own.

According to the New York Times, The New York State Senate "expelled a senator convicted of domestic assault, the first time in nearly a century that the Legislature has forced a member from office".

"The Senate voted 53 to 8 to immediately oust the senator, Hirman Monserrate, a Queens Democrat convicted last fall of a misdemeanor for dragging his companion down the hallway of his apartment building."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Franken rips into Axlerod

Sen. Al Franken a Progressive Democrat from Minnesota "ripped into" White House advisor David Axlerod "during a tense, closed-door session with Senate Democrats," according to Politico.

Sources say Franken "criticized Axlerod for the administration's failure to provide clarity or direction on health care and the other big bills it wants Congress to enact."

"Democratic Senator's are frustrated that the White House hasn't done more to win over the public on health care reform and other aspects of its ambitious agenda--and angry that, in the wake of Scott Brown's win in the Massachusetts Senate race, the White House hasn't done more to chart a course for getting a health care bill to the president's desk."
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Franken and Senate Democrats are right. As Ron Gunzburger said on Twitter last week, this is mirroring a Carter Presidency. The Obama Presidency is becoming the best comedy show in Washington and I predict that if he continues on this path and unemployment continues to remain high, he will be a one term President. He has not shown progressive leadership, he has not shown any leadership. He's playing let's make a deal with Congress and he's still not getting anything done.

Landrieu wins New Orleans Mayoral race

Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu won the New Orleans Mayoral race in a landslide and will avoid a runoff. Landrieu will take office May 6th, his victory will cement the Landrieu clans status as Lousiana's preeminent politcal dynasty.

Landrieu's father, Moon Landrieu, left office as Mayor of New Orleans in 1978, his sister Mary is the senior Senator from Lousiana.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Indiana Congressman headed to New Hampshire

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence. Don't know who he is? Well neither does the rest of America at least for now.

The conservative Republican Indiana Congressman is headed to New Hampshire which will host the first in the nation Presidential primary in 2012 and I think he could be a formidable contender for the nomination.

Pence is the number three Republican in the House and is well received by the conservative base. Pence had been viewed as a strong and formidable challenger to Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, leading Bayh by 3 points in a Senate poll, Pence ultimately decided against running most likely in order to prepare for a Presidential run.

Pence is a staunch Reagan conservative and a newcomer to the national political scene. He could be very formidable on the GOP side in 2012.
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Pence is formidable but I think a Democrat will be elected in 2012, most likely President Obama, though I am still hoping for a Dean Presidency.

White House prepares for two Supreme Court retirements

According to Politicalwire.com, the White House is preparing for two Supreme Court retirements.

Lawyers for President Obama "have been working behind the scenes to prepare for the possibility of one, and maybe two Supreme Court vacancies this spring," ABC News reports.

"Court watchers believe two of the more liberal members of the court, justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, could decide to step aside for reasons of age and health. That would give the president his second and third chance to shape his legacy on the Supreme Court."
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If these retirements actually come to pass, Hillary and Deval Patrick would be great Supreme Court Justices. Hillary has already indicated that she most likely will not serve a second term as Secretary of State and Patrick was a deputy in the Clinton Justice Dept. Both should receive consideration and ultimate appointment.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Nixon grandson to make run for Congress

Chris Cox, the grandson of former Republican President Richard Nixon, will run for Congress in New York's 1st district. The 30 year old Cox will take on Democratic U.S. Congressman Timothy Bishop.

Cox's mother is Tricia Nixon Cox and his father Ed Cox is a New York attorney and Chairman of the New York Republican Party.

Cox is a graduate of Princeton and NYU Law. He is an attorney, international business advisor and political analyst. Cox led John McCain's effort in New York in 2008.
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I encourage everyone to get involved in this race. We cannot let a Nixon get into Congress.

Alan Grayson for US Senate 2012

It is apparent much to my disappointment that Florida Congressman Alan Grayson most likely will not run for the Democratic nomination for President in 2012. The grassroots movement appears to be with Howard Dean and many of us believe that Dean would be a great candidate to primary President Obama from the left.

That said, I firmly believe that Grayson should take on conservative Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in the 2012 Senate Democratic primary. Nelson has been a total disappointment in the Senate, he was a key Senator in killing the public option in the health care bill, the public option was never an option for the Senator from Florida.

Nelson is a DLC Democrat and I would love to see a great progressive like Grayson take him on in the 2012 primary. A Grayson for President run in 2012 is off the table most likely but a Senate run should be looked at with an eye on the White House in 2016.

I love Grayson and I think he would be great in the US Senate.

Professor Howard Zinn 1922-2010

America has lost a great progressive with the passing of Professor Howard Zinn. Professor Zinn was an anti war activist, American historian, author, playwright and Professor of Political Science at Boston University. Zinn was active in the Civil Rights movement and lobbied "to end the practice of the Southern Historical Association of holding meetings at segregated hotels."

Zinn wrote one of the earliest books calling for with drawl from Vietnam. VietNam: The Logic of Withdrawal was published in 1967 by Beacon Press. Zinn was a member of the Advisory Board of the Disarm Education Fund.

Zinn opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq and wrote extensively about it.

Zinn died January 27th and said he would like to be remembered "for introducing a different way of thinking about the world, about war, about human rights, about equality," and "for getting more people to realize that the power which rests so far in the hands of people with wealth and guns, that the power ultimately rests in people themselves and that they can use it. At certain points in history, they have used it. Black people in the South used it. People in the women's movement used it. People in the anti-war movement used it. People in other countries who have overthrown tyrannies have used it".

A great quote from Ron Gunzburger on Twitter

Ron Gunzburger who is the publisher of Politics1.COM and a great guy by the way has a great quote on Twitter that I just had the share:

"To date Obama eloquent/classier Carter. Time to grow a spine: more LBJ/Reagan strength, less Carter/GWHB wimpyness in 2010. Lead!".

Great quote, I couldn't agree with you more Ron. When W. Bush wanted to do something, he just did it, he didn't care if he violated the constitution, he bypassed Congress, the UN and just did it. He shoved his right wing conservative lunatic agenda down America's throat. Obama needs to get some of that Bush arrogance! As Nike says, "Just do it!". Threaten Congress on health care! Tell them that if they don't pass a health care plan, you will go into their districts and let them know their constituents know that they have failed you!! As I have said before, less hope and more audacity.

Obama is an eloquent speaker with a lot of optimism but I didn't vote for this guy so he could travel the country with an optimistic message. I voted for him because I wanted a progressive agenda implemented. I have no doubt that we would have been better off with John Edwards in the White House. I also think Hillary would have been slightly better. It's funny because the Democratic elders told us, you know nothing about this guy. Well they were right, so far he has sold us out!

Again HOWARD DEAN 2012!! PLEASE RUN HOWARD!

JD Hayworth will run for McCain seat

Former Arizona Congressman JD Hayworth has made his political intentions for 2010 known: he will run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate taking on longtime Senator and 2008 Republican Presidential nominee John McCain.

Hayworth hasn't formally announced yet but his soon to be campaign has made robust phone calls through the state informing Arizona voter's that Hayworth will soon jump into the race for the US Senate.

Polls in AZ show the race could be tight.
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It's funny because Charlie Crist is an ally of John McCain. McCain endorsed Crist for Governor and Crist delivered Florida to McCain in the January GOP Presidential primary. Crist was on the short list for VP with McCain. Now both are facing challenges from the right and both are in trouble politically. It would be very funny to see McCain and Crist defeated in the primaries and would signal that the GOP is making a sharp turn for the right. It would be great for Democrats!

Sorry Charlie, Republicans want Rubio

Former Florida House Speaker and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio now holds a 12 point lead over Republican Governor Charlie Crist according to a Rasmussen Reports Survey.

Rubio has been slowly climbing in polls and last week led Crist by 3 points in a Quinnipiac poll.

Things are not looking good for the governor. The legislative session which will keep the Governor busy in Tallahassee begins in a month. Florida's unemployment rate is above the nations and foreclosure rates continue to mound in Florida. Charlie is the CEO of Florida and will get much of the brunt for this.

I stick with my prediction that Rubio will win the primary in August and I think Kendrick Meek can beat Rubio.