Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Thinking about Stresses
Stresses placed upon US individuals, households, and auto giants are real and realistic. Hypothetical stresses just dealt the biggest 19 financial behemoths are not even close!I’ve been thinking about stresses. Actually I’ve been thinking about Treasury Secretary Geithner’s stress tests, rosy scenarios, the missing laugh track, the classes of 2009, households, and the automotive giants. Last week the public learned the “results” of Treasury Secretary Timmy (the Tiger) Geithner’s stress tests which had been performed on America’s 19 largest financial (banking) behemoths. These few mega-institutions handle roughly 90% of America’s banking volume. The “what if” scenarios applied to each were designed to provide benchmark insight into “would these institutions remain viable and solvent should the economy continue its downward spiral into further recession/depression in 2009 and 2010?”
You see an army of 200 federal examiners had gone over the books and calculated the impact of growing unemployment, asset (particularly real estate portfolio lending) deterioration, potential exposure on other investments, and various personal credit/loan write-offs. The unstated goal was to re-assure the general public that our banking behemoths were on solid ground and that there was no reason to fear any 1930’s type meltdown. With combined assets of an estimated $11.72 TRILLION, these 19 were clearly regarded as “too big to fail” - so any integrity of an honest testing was suspect. It was set up from the get go to advance all of them to the next grade level in the spirit of “no child (or mega bank) left behind.” Well, guess what? THAT is exactly what happened!
The worst case scenarios (of what can go wrong, will go wrong) for the coming two years suggested a “further potential exposure” of a mere $599 BILLION in losses (roughly 5.1% of total assets). The public was informed that 10 of the 19 were looking at a combined potential shortfall of $75 BILLION in this hypothetical two year worst case $600 BILLION of additional write-off losses. In effect, the BIG 19 already had $525 BILLION (or 87%) of these hypothetical losses covered! The 10 institutions facing any shortfalls could raise the needed capital themselves through common stock offerings and/or debt convertible paper. NO more taxpayer nor Treasury/FED bailouts would be necessary! THIS was exactly what the public needed (and wanted) to hear. How convenient!!! It was even announced that the highly rosy scenario figures had been negotiated (?) with the respective institutions. Humm... The only thing missing from the press conferences and media sound bytes about these tests were the background laugh tracks from TV network situation comedies.
A pensive analysis of Geithner’s stress tests shows them for what they are – spin, hype, and a “Hail Mary Media Pass” for May of 2009. The Obama Administration is currently promoting how the equity markets have experienced a significant up-tick in recent weeks, and that the increase of a mere 563,000 jobless claims for April 2009 was the smallest in six months! Short term positive market swings, and ONE “not as awful” labor number have more credibility than Geithner’s stress test, but do they mean we have turned the corner? Obama’s Administration needs to be very careful here because premature zealousness can come back to haunt them. There are too many variables looming on the horizon (both home and abroad). Any attempt at willful optimism being “the fix” for our economic/financial problems just isn’t going to happen.
This country is experiencing a great deal of stress. The high school and college graduating classes of 2009 are facing toughest job market in well over 30 years. Outstanding credit card debt and personal bankruptcies continue to set monthly records. One in five households now owes more than the real estate behind their mortgages is worth. Chrysler went into the government mandated Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May; GM will more than likely follow suit in June. The auto workers’ unions may end up with stock equity stakes in the surviving emergent companies, but will auto workers save their jobs here in the outcome? Stresses placed upon US individuals, households, and auto giants are real and realistic. Hypothetical stresses just dealt the biggest 19 financial behemoths are not even close!
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2008 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at email@example.com.
Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.
This story was published on May 11, 2009.