Daily Archives: January 18, 2011

Pete the Banker: Goldman’s Morally Hazardous Facebook Offering


Goldman Sachs together with its select foreign clients are investing in Facebook through a private placement valuing the firm at $40 – $50 Billion, the initial steps in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) transaction which is likely to come to market in 2012.  By structuring the transaction as a limited private offering Goldman avoids 
both the lengthy process and required filing of public disclosure statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The exclusivity of this offering is prompted by Goldman’s cozy relationship with its clients, “For Goldman executives who manage money for wealthy families, so-called special investments have long been a major selling point in luring clients to the firm. The argument to prospective clients is that by placing their money with Goldman, they have access to the same investment opportunities as the firm, long considered one of the world’s smartest investors.”  (here)
Goldman will earn both significant fees on the private placement and ultimately on the IPO and Goldman as well as its clients hope to benefit by significant appreciation in the valuation of Facebook during the period leading up to and perhaps after any Initial Public Offering.  Citing intense media scrutiny and criticism of the transaction, Goldman who originally planned to offer participation to both American and Foreign clients restricted the sale to foreign clients.   (here)
It should be clearly established that the risk involved in this private placement and the subsequent IPO should be exclusively borne by Goldman and its investors.  They and they alone should bear the risk of loss on both their equity contribution as well as any debt employed.  But by virtue of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, “moral hazard” has effectively been institutionalized and Goldman can effectively shift the risk of any potential loss on this offering to the Treasury and the American taxpayer.  If they profit they and their customers will prosper.  If they fail they will run to the Federal Reserve and Treasury for a bail out. 
“Remember that Goldman Sachs is now a bank-holding company – a status it received in September 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, in order to avoid collapse (see Andrew Ross Sorkin’s blow-by-blow account in “Too Big to Fail” for the details.)
This means that it has essentially unfettered access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window – that is, it can borrow against all kinds of assets in its portfolio, effectively ensuring it has government-provided liquidity at any time.
Any financial institution with such access to such government support is likely to take on excessive risk – this is the heart of what is commonly referred to as the problem of “moral hazard.” If you are fully insured against adverse events, you will be less careful.
Goldman Sachs is undoubtedly too big to fail – in the sense that if it were on the brink of failure now or in the near future, it would receive extraordinary government support and its creditors (at the very least) would be fully protected.
In all likelihood, under the current administration and its foreseeable successors, shareholders, executives, and traders would also receive generous help at the moment of duress. No one wants to experience another “Lehman moment.”
This means that Goldman Sachs’s cost of financing is cheaper than it would be otherwise – because creditors feel that they have substantial “downside protection” from the government.”  (here)
So much for the Administration’s pledge to end Too Big To Fail, excessive Financial Institution speculation, and further taxpayer bail outs.  And not only are American taxpayers subsidizing Goldman’s operations, but they aren’t even allowed to benefit by participating in the IPO process.  It seems only the wealthiest families can pay and play.  Well, we can’t say we weren’t forewarned about wealth redistribution during the 2008 election campaign.  Apparently, that $5 Million (Charles Gasparino, “Bought and Paid For”, 2010, page x) donated to Democrats by Goldman Sachs and its management team reaped big rewards for Goldman and a select few of its wealthy foreign clients.  

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

GIUSTO BELIEVES KULO KNEW ABOUT GOLDSCHMIDT RAPE

The former Multnomah County Sheriff and former driver for then-Governor Goldschmidt (and blogger for VictoriaTaft.com) says he believes former Governor Kulongoski knew about Goldschmidt the child rapist. Hear the interview Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
 
This the day after we read (here) that Goldschmidt’s victim all those years ago has died at the age of 49. Here’s an excerpt from the Zero:

“She was a good person who suffered a great deal in her life,” said the woman’s mother, who added, “We’re glad her suffering is at an end.”


The mother declined to identify the cause of death but said her daughter had been in the hospice for about five weeks.

Giusto was Goldschmidt’s Oregon State Police driver during his years as Governor. Goldschmidt admitted raping the child when he was Mayor of Portland. 
Eventually Giusto began seeing Goldschmidt’s estranged wife, Margie. Giusto told me today that when she found out about the child rape she divorced him. In legal papers released, Margie Goldschmidt had claimed she believed the young victim had been complicit.
Kulongoski denied knowing about the rape even though Goldschmidt’s former speech writer, Fred Leonhardt, claimed he was the one who told him. See Leonhardt’s statement at www.TedKnew.blogspot.com. Here’s an excerpt:

The Oregonian neglected to remind its readers that such acts aren’t confined to Capitol Hill or to Republicans: In 2004 it reluctantly reported that Governor Ted Kulongoski and others in Portland’s political and business circles were accused of knowing former governor Neil Goldschmidt had repeatedly raped his children’s 14-year-old babysitter while mayor of Portland in the 1970’s.
I was the accuser.
The story of Neil and the girl had circulated for years in Portland bars and boardrooms, among lawyers, judges, reporters, editors, business executives, developers, elected officials­many of whom had gained power and wealth from their association with Goldschmidt.
No one spoke up; no one confronted him.
Goldschmidt, unencumbered by conscience and sheltered by those who knew the truth, went on to a stellar career: U.S. secretary of transportation, Nike VP, and governor of Oregon, where he was touted as presidential material. As his speechwriter (and as-yet unaware of his sordid past), I proudly helped author Neil’s “Children’s Agenda,” inspiring Oregonians to protect and defend those most vulnerable to poverty, neglect and, too often, sexual predators.
Convinced by Neil’s former state police bodyguard in 1994 that the rumors were true, I told Kulongoski, my close friend and at that time Oregon’s attorney general. But the statute of limitations had expired, and Neil had obtained a confidentiality agreement from his now-adult victim in exchange for cash.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Zero’s "Politifact" Goes After Claims About Rigler Elementary

Let’s go back to the beginning. We received a phone call at the program on KPAM 860 from the relative of a Rigler teacher who claimed that, unlike any other children of faith, Muslim kids were allowed to use school facilities to pray as often as they wished (Muslim adherents can pray up to five times per day) and had their gear stored at school in a room to accommodate their needs when they wanted to pray. 

We checked it out and found out from a school official it was true. My producer contacted Matt Shelby, the spokesman for Portland Public Schools, whom I was told was checking into it but said that of course they did make accommodations for children of faith. So it was a half confirmation, if you will. (here’s the original post complete with his comments) Shelby has now confirmed that children have used the accommodations before but he claims it’s been a long time.  He’s attempting to suggest that I “LIED” about the situation at Rigler. That is NOT true. I did not lie. I may have conflated his “checking it out” with the other confirmations but it’s not a lie–intentional or otherwise. In fact his subsequent email/comment on the blog (which was held up because, a) it awaited moderation, b) while I checked out his claim) actually CONFIRMS the accommodation at Rigler. 

Here’s Matt’s email/comment to the blog:

    Victoria,
    The reader board in Spanish advertises: days with no school in November, Parent Teacher conferences and Book Fair.
    Rigler School does not have any students that pray as part of their school day. This includes, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Mormons and other groups mentioned in the article.
    Consequently, the school does not have any space or equipment devoted to any type of religious practice at school
    Four years ago, Rigler did have two brothers who asked permission to pray during their lunch during Ramadan. The school did give them a quiet space to use; they missed no instructional time to do so and only prayed once a day.
    Those are the facts.
    Remind me when you or Eric spoke to me about this. I don’t recall.
    Matt Shelby
    PPS Communications

When Matt refers to the reader board at Rigler he’s referring to a reader board in front of the school which is all in Spanish. I translated the reader board. I was being sarcastic and engaging in what we call satire when I said in the caption: 
I actually know a little Spanish, hence I actually read most of it right. The “prayer rug” reference was satire. I figured I’m not the only person who knows a little Spanish and that most people would know it was a joke. 
Now let’s get to the part where Shelby says the school has no students who pray as part of their day,

“This includes, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Mormons and other groups mentioned in the article.”

Since children of other faiths don’t require separate places to pray during the day and Muslims are the only adherents who pray as many as five times a day, his reference to other religions is immaterial. People of other faiths don’t have to go to another room–provided by the school by the way–and pray, therefore this is a moot point.
And here’s where we get to it. Shelby confirms that the district has provided a spot at the school to pray.
Four years ago, Rigler did have two brothers who asked permission to pray during their lunch during Ramadan. The school did give them a quiet space to use; they missed no instructional time to do so and only prayed once a day.
The people we spoke to about it confirmed these things but not when. That Shelby’s example happened four years ago is interesting but not material. That the school provided the space to pray is the material point. That they prayed only during Ramadan is helpful but not material. The fact that they prayed “once a day” is of no material value.
What is material is this: The school district provided a place for children of one religion to pray during school hours. My understanding is the school actually stored the equipment (prayer rugs etc) to help them do it. Matt doesn’t take up this concern.
Personally, I think there should be more prayer in school. I believe that this same accommodation would NOT occur for children of other faiths. Indeed, the ACLU and other groups have seen to that. The dockets of many courts are peppered with cases fighting just such unequal treatment.
Perhaps it is this last point that Shelby is most concerned about. We spoke on the program with an expert in establishment clause cases using the information we were given by the folks who confirmed this.
Ken Klukowski is quoted on the original blog post:

Klukowski says case law regarding Muslim prayer and other considerations hasn’t caught up with the real world on this issue but says this situation is, “completely inconsistent with how federal courts have treated other religious groups especially Christian.” Not only can you not have Christian prayer in school but you can’t even have a moment of silence because it was “intended to help facilitate prayer”– a violation of the establishment clause according to a Supreme Court decision.
He believes cases like this and others involving special accommodations for Muslim students, for instance separate foot washing sinks in school, need to have a full, frank judicial reconsideration to put all religions on the same footing. He believes if these students were Christian or Orthodox Jew they would not be given a separate room in which to pray during school hours.


Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Tucson Tea Party Threatener Has Alias & Oregon Ties

H/T 5th Listener Marc for picking this up.  Who’s Prince Eric Fuller the Tucson Tea Party Threatener? A former Oregonian who was convicted of sodomy and went to the US Supreme Court to argue that government should pick up his legal tab. That’s the way it looks by these bloggers who have tracked down his info. It seems hard to refute–even for the gullible Zero. Interesting story. He seems to have gone to Arizona to change him name after the big to-do with SCOTUS. See his intellius info here for his Oregon connections. 
Then it appears he headed to Tucson to start over with a new first name. Here’s wht the bloggers over at Greg Howard’s blog in AZ say about the situation.

So, at the bottom of the pile, we find that the Prince Eric Fuller who fought the payment of costs all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court had pleaded guilty to a sexual offense. The sentence was probationary, work-release type thing so common in the past, and still too common today.
And now the only question remaining is: Is the James Eric Fuller who changed his name from Prince Eric Fuller the same person who pleaded guilty to this charge, only to become forever enshrined in the annals of American jurisprudence?
Let’s look at the remaining evidence, and the reader may draw their own conclusion.


It seems Fuller had been involved in an altercation earlier the day of the shooting with another man at the Giffords event. See the info here.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Killing Job Killing ObamaCare Begins TODAY.

Here’s the game plan as detailed in Politico (here):

  • Hearings start. White House will have to explain bill.
  • GOP will call for votes dismantling the bill.
  • McConnell will push for vote on house bill in Senate.
  • Republicans will chip away at individual parts such as federal mandate to buy insurance.
  • Stop funding the bill.
  • Stop funding HHS–Democrats may force shut down of government if this part gets to Senate. Good.
  • This will set up another repeal effort in the spring. 
  • Call your house member and Senator and tell them to stay strong: 202 224 3121
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Tucson Tea Party Threatener Has Alias & Oregon Ties

H/T 5th Listener Marc for picking this up.  Who’s Prince Eric Fuller the Tucson Tea Party Threatener? A former Oregonian who was convicted of sodomy and went to the US Supreme Court to argue that government should pick up his legal tab. That’s the way it looks by these bloggers who have tracked down his info. It seems hard to refute–even for the gullible Zero. Interesting story. He seems to have gone to Arizona to change him name after the big to-do with SCOTUS. See his intellius info here for his Oregon connections. 
Then it appears he headed to Tucson to start over with a new first name. Here’s wht the bloggers over at Greg Howard’s blog in AZ say about the situation.

So, at the bottom of the pile, we find that the Prince Eric Fuller who fought the payment of costs all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court had pleaded guilty to a sexual offense. The sentence was probationary, work-release type thing so common in the past, and still too common today.
And now the only question remaining is: Is the James Eric Fuller who changed his name from Prince Eric Fuller the same person who pleaded guilty to this charge, only to become forever enshrined in the annals of American jurisprudence?
Let’s look at the remaining evidence, and the reader may draw their own conclusion.


It seems Fuller had been involved in an altercation earlier the day of the shooting with another man at the Giffords event. See the info here.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Killing Job Killing ObamaCare Begins TODAY.

Here’s the game plan as detailed in Politico (here):

  • Hearings start. White House will have to explain bill.
  • GOP will call for votes dismantling the bill.
  • McConnell will push for vote on house bill in Senate.
  • Republicans will chip away at individual parts such as federal mandate to buy insurance.
  • Stop funding the bill.
  • Stop funding HHS–Democrats may force shut down of government if this part gets to Senate. Good.
  • This will set up another repeal effort in the spring. 
  • Call your house member and Senator and tell them to stay strong: 202 224 3121
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Will the Oregonian Reporter Janie Har Please Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone, the Dept of Redundancy Dept is on the Line.

Here’s a 3fer Near 16th & Johnson

The Oregonian’s “Politifact” piece (here) on my and Senator Tom Coburn’s recent claims (here and here) about spending stimulus dollars on redundant bike signs was met with a “False” ruling from reporter Janie Har. Coburn’s claim of a million dollars in stimulus funds spent on redundant signs was a stand alone claim. I thought he made a good case.  But I was surprised my claim–about the asphalt bike signs–was found false. How could it be? I had pictures of these workers putting on the new bike signs which I put on the blog. I said I didn’t take pictures at the time but testified as they were within feet of existing bike signs. She emailed me to ask about them and I told them where I saw them: along Johnson Street in NW Portland. This is what Har said about my claim that the signs were redundant and unnecessary:

That leaves Taft’s sharrows.
“Those pictures on my blog were of signs on the roads just laid down by those workers. Just feet away were existing painted signs on the streets,” Taft wrote to PolitiFact.
“Bicyclists already use the roads on which these signs were painted. Signs already existed there and new ones were therefore redundant and, in my opinion, a waste of taxpayer money.”
The new sharrows did duplicate smaller bike boulevard markings in some locations, but not even close to all of them. And the photo Taft snapped was on Northwest Johnson Street around 23rd Avenue. The only other bike sign nearby is a wayfinding sign, which we don’t see as a duplicate because they serve different purposes.

PDX’s Million $ “Stimulus”
Frankly, I’ve been busy with doing the program everyday and hadn’t had much time to devote time to  debunk the claims, but I decided today was the day. The net result is: Har’s claim is untrue. It’s so colossally untrue that I can’t believe she committed it to print before checking! I want a retraction from the Zero.
Someone said to me today, “What’s the big deal? It’s only the Oregonian, nobody reads it.” But what’s online is forever and it goes to my integrity. It has my picture next to a sign that says “False” and I want a retraction.
How Is This NOT Redundant?
How could she have missed these? Herewith is what Janie Har didn’t bother to see/look at/observe/report on before ruling my claim was “false.”
The small circular signs were original, the bigger ones with the chevrons were the stimulus bike signs. 
Redundant? Not to the Zero!
This is approx 24th & Johnson (That’s my shoe)

 

3 fer Near 16th & Johnson

Approx 18th & Johnson

Near 19th & Johnson

How are these signs not redundant? Anyone?

Near 18th & Johnson
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Wash State Dem Drafting Bill To Compensate Exonerated Inmates

I think we all are relieved to see any prisoner that is wrongfully convicted be exonerated and let them get on with their lives. Such was the case with Alan Northrop and Larry Davis, convicted in 1993 of rape and kidnap.

The Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington Law School was able to get the courts to review DNA evidence under the latest methods and it was seen that neither mans DNA matched. Charges were dropped and they were freed.

Unfortunately, they were freed in the midst of one of the worst economic downturns ever. Northrop found work at $12.00 a hour in a metal fabricating plant and Davis remains unemployed, working only 3 days since his release he says.

With the help of the Innocence Project Northwest, Rep. Tina Orwall (D. 33rd LD) is drafting a bill to provide exonerated inmates compensation to the tune of “$50,000 per year spent in prison, plus $50,000 more for every year spent on death row and $25,000 for every year on community supervision or as a registered sex offender.”

Additionally, the proposed legislation would “include providing health care and paying child support obligations incurred by prisoners during their incarceration,” and might well also “guarantee free tuition at state schools for the former prisoners and their children.”

Upon release, Alan Northrop was hit with owing $111,000 in back child support, half of which was forgiven by DHS, the other going to his ex.

Alan Northrup, one of those exonerated last year says, “They owe us – somebody does. I’m struggling right now. I need every penny.”

Rep. Orwall said, “The bill is about fairness. I know the money can’t make up for the losses they’ve experienced, but it could help them rebuild their lives. They really need a certain amount of support and resources.”

With the state facing a $4.6 Billion budget gap, payments would not begin until 2014.

Read more HERE and HERE

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com