The MF Global Collapse Explained (And Why It Should Be a Crime)

Corzine photoAnybody using the financial services industry puts their faith and trust in a whole lot of people they have never seen or ever will. We all rely on regulators and regulations that are instituted by state and federal governments.  In fact, almost anybody who has any savings probably has them parked in one of our financial institutions. To sharpen your focus on this, remember that about 80% of the balance of your checking account is tied up in loans that some strangers have promised to repay.

As a test of your thinking, how would you like to invest in this, as described in Wikipedia?

…2005 saw Man Financial make its largest deal with the transformative $323 million acquisition of client assets and accounts from entities of Refco, following the U.S. financial-services group’s collapse in late 2005. The Refco deal…boosted Man Financial’s scale in retail and institutional business.

In June

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Chevy Volt Sales Figures Inflated With Fleet Purchases

Last night on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox News Channel, NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica discussed disappointing sales of the Chevy Volt, and GM’s apparent goosing of sales figures through fleet sales. Here’s a transcript:

Neil Cavuto: Ten thousand Volts. That was the sales jolt that GM was hoping for this year. But with less than two weeks to go, lets just say that this puppy may be about to short circuit big time. Volt watcher Mark Modica says the numbers may be even worse than they appear. They are going to be well shy of that right, Mark?

Mark Modica (National Legal and Policy Center): Correct.

Neil Cavuto: What is the real story?

Mark Modica: Well, not only are they not hitting the goal, but it seems like a lot of these purchases, once again are being purchased by taxpayers, who through federal funds are giving … Read More ➡

Facebook Caves to Greenpeace After Pressure Campaign

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Greenpeace, which has campaigned against technology companies for nearly two years over their coal-burning electricity use at “cloud computing” data centers, has convinced one – Facebook – to promise to use renewable energy at facilities they build in the future.

The international environmental pressure group’s members have singled out the popular social networking site in a drive to “Unfriend Coal,” in order to fight the global warming problem that is still vivid in their collective imagination. They are particularly incensed that Facebook has built data centers in Oregon (Pacific Power) and North Carolina (Duke Energy) that are customers of utilities that generate a large percentage of their electricity from coal. Greenpeace initiated its campaign using the site’s own online tools against it, by starting groups in English and Spanish that gather members who wanted “Facebook to run on 100 percent renewable energy.” The group also attempted to … Read More ➡

FERC Flunks Duke Energy-Progress Energy Merger Proposal, Again

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Fresh from its latest payoff of environoia groups in exchange for their support of their merger, Duke Energy and Progress Energy must return to the drawing board after the second rejection of their proposal by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

It’s a story of two Davids against a Goliath, and no, it’s not the utilities against the big bad government regulator. Rather, two small eastern North Carolina cities – Rocky (“Gonna Fly Now”) Mount and New Bern – convinced FERC that the merger plan would harm their ability to purchase electricity in a competitive environment. Both municipalities deliver power to their residents through a cooperative of cities and towns in eastern North Carolina, but dissented from their fellow members’ approval of the merger. Coastal New Bern has been led by Mayor Lee Bettis Jr., a former New York Mafiosi defense lawyer, who has vowed to “go it alone the … Read More ➡

Are Chevy Volt Fleet Sales Latest Evidence of GM Deception?

Sales for the Chevy Volt have been stagnant and it has become apparent that lack of supply is not the reason. GM CEO Dan Akerson is responsible for tying the success of GM into the success of the Volt by having made lofty claims that the vehicle was, in fact, the future of the company while investing a major portion of marketing dollars to help support the perception. Deception was evident as statements were made that the vehicle was “virtually” sold out and supply couldn’t keep up with demand, while evidence surfaced that this was not the case. GM cancelled plans to run a second shift for the vehicle even as it continued the ruse and floated rumors that there were huge waiting lists of purchasers for the vehicle.

The latest nail in the coffin for the Volt is the discovery that the lithium-ion batteries that power the vehicles … Read More ➡

Indiana Official Indicted After Improper Duke Energy Interactions

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The former head of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, who was fired in October 2010 by Gov. Mitch Daniels for improper contact with top officials at troubled Duke Energy, has been indicted.

The Indianapolis Star reported that David Hardy was charged on Monday by a grand jury with failure to disclose secret meetings with Duke executives, and for his aid to IURC’s top lawyer in his effort to get a job with Duke. The newspaper, after it obtained emails via open records request, had revealed over several months “that Hardy had been chummy with industry executives and autocratic with his staff. That raised questions about whether Hardy had compromised the agency’s mission of balancing the needs of utilities and ratepayers.” 

Indiana laws forbid private communications about active cases between regulators and company representatives. In one February 2010 meeting Hardy met with Duke Energy CEO James Rogers and two other … Read More ➡

UAW Gets $12 Million from GM as Taxpayers Get Scrooged

Bloomberg reported last week that General Motors will be paying $12 million in additional bonuses to its UAW workers for meeting “quality targets.” It’s nice to see the holiday spirit of giving at GM. Unfortunately; US taxpayers are not faring as well as Government Motors’ politically favored union members.

The Obama Administration still refuses to exit its stake in GM with Treasury serving as Money Manager for the American taxpayers. Geithner and friends continue to gamble on a market-timing strategy to “maximize” taxpayers return on its GM bailout (sorry, “investment.”) So, how are they doing?

Back in July, I criticized Treasury’s decision to continue holding the 500 million or so shares of GM that taxpayers own. Treasury could have filed to sell shares at the first available date in May at about $31 a share. The July share price was around $28 a share. The financial wizards at the Obama … Read More ➡

Duke Energy Caves In to Pressure Groups’ Demands

Rogers photoIn yet another ploy to overcome opposition to their merger, Duke Energy and Progress Energy agreed with environmental groups last week to a few million more dollars in payoffs for “clean” energy schemes, and to implement energy efficiency programs that would reduce customers’ electricity use by seven percent of retail sales by 2018.

The deal has been planned for months, and when approved by state and federal regulators, will create the largest investor-owned electric utility in the nation. Combined the companies serve residents and businesses in Florida, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Coastal Conservation League, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Southern Environmental Law Center all intervened in the hearings before the North Carolina and South Carolina utility regulatory commissions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also must approve the deal.

NLPC reported in September that the environmental pressure groups – whose calling cards are … Read More ➡

It’s About More Than Polar Bears for Coca-Cola

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Recently NLPC has reported about Coca-Cola’s holiday ad campaign to protect polar bears with donations up to $3 million to the World Wildlife Fund, which was a barely disguised effort to fund environmental pressure groups’ fraudulent global warming fight.

But Coke’s passion to avert climate catastrophism runs deeper than the Arctic ice. The company even has a position statement that says “the consensus on climate science is increasingly unequivocal,” that “global climate change is happening” (everyone agrees with that – it always has changed and always will), and that “man-made greenhouse gas emissions are a crucial factor.”

“Across the Coca-Cola system, we recognize that climate change may have long-term direct and indirect implications for our business and supply chain,” the company Web site says. “As a responsible multinational company, we have a role to play in ensuring we use the best possible mix of energy sources, improve the … Read More ➡

Consumer Reports’ Chevy Volt Safety Double Standard

In January of 2010 USA Today reported that Consumer Reports (CR) temporarily suspended its recommended rating for eight Toyota models. This was in response to the possibility of Toyota models being unsafe as accusations were made that the vehicles had sudden acceleration problems and NHTSA investigated the alleged incidents. In CRs’ words, “Although incidents of sudden acceleration are rare, we are taking this action because the vehicles have been identified as potentially unsafe without a fix yet being available to consumers.” CRs’ response to the Chevy Volt NHTSA fires is quite different from the Toyota response.

Change a few words on CRs’ comments to fit the Volt situation and we would have justification for removal of CRs’ recommended rating on President Obama’s favorite car. That’s not happening. The latest internet headlines to hit regarding CR and the Volt tout that the Volt, as well as the Nissan Leaf, are “cheaper … Read More ➡