Will Obama’s Goldman Sachs Attack Expose Al Gore? Or Other Dems?

Will Obama’s Goldman Sachs Attack Expose Al Gore? Or Other Dems?

Posted By Richard Pollock On April 22, 2010 @ 12:00 am In Column 1, Money, US News | 36 Comments

Whether Wall Street colossus Goldman Sachs has committed a crime remains to be seen, but the investigation may well uncover the environmental lobby and its public figurehead. For nearly a decade, Goldman Sachs has been a quiet but major investor in cap and trade. And Goldman’s main investment partner has been Al Gore.

About a decade ago, Goldman executives recognized that personal fortunes could be made with the invention of a carbon trading system through the passage of a U.S. cap-and-trade bill.  This area was well suited to Goldman Sachs, the architects behind the complex world of futures trading and exotic derivatives.

Goldman joined Al Gore in 2004 and capitalized his investment company, Generation Investment Management. Strangely for a man who was a heartbeat away from the presidency, Gore decided to register his company in London — not the United States.

In November 2004, Gore unveiled GIM. Standing at his side was David Blood, the CEO of Goldman Asset Management. Blood was to become his co-founder (the new company was quickly nicknamed “Blood & Gore”). It was established with the initial capital of $206 million, much of it from Blood clients at Goldman Sachs.

Gore also turned to Goldman Sachs guru (and later Bush Treasury Secretary) Henry Paulson to help him establish GIM. At the time, Paulson himself was an eco-warrior of sorts, serving as chairman of the board of the Nature Conservancy.

Today, seven of Gore’s GIM chief partners are from Goldman Sachs. The company is now valued [1] at $2.2 billion.

It doesn’t stop there. The Goldman Sachs/Gore team then established the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a new cap-and-trade carbon trading platform, and partnered with the UK-based Climate Exchange, Plc (CLE), a holding company [2] listed on the London Stock Exchange [3]. CLE does carbon trading in Europe. In late 2004, they also created the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange [4] (CCFX).

In September of 2006, Climate Exchange Plc acquired [5] the remainder of CCX it didn’t own [6] and placed £12.2 million of new shares with Goldman Sachs [7].

Goldman is reported to have made an investment of $23 million in the venture. Between Gore and Goldman, they are the largest investors in the Chicago Climate Exchange, owning 20% of it.

Last year, in an expose from Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi (Inside the Great American Bubble Machine [8]“) Taibbi identified Goldman Sachs as the father of some of our most notable modern day economic crises. He profiled a firm that handsomely profiteered over both the tech bubble and the metastasizing housing bubble.

Taibbi predicted Goldman’s next big play in cap and trade. This would become our next bubble. Taibbi tagged Goldman Sachs a “gangster state, running on gangster economics.”

Marc Morano, publisher of Climatedepot.com, agrees:

Goldman Sachs is helping to engineer the next great bubble. And we are talking about subprime science, subprime politics, and subprime economics. Goldman Sachs is at the forefront of the subprime economics of carbon trading.

Although cap and trade has temporarily faded in Washington, D.C., carbon trading still lives in the nation’s capital. Next week, Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are expected to unveil a new cap-and-trade bill.

The idea of turning a free, colorless, and odorless gas into a product still attracts the money people. Myron Ebell, director of Freedom Action, says:

These Gore investments could potentially make him a billionaire. For a guy who started with just a small fortune he could end up with a very large one.

In describing its own mission, CCFE’s website is reminiscent of last Friday’s SEC fraud charge on mortgage derivatives:

Chicago Climate Futures Exchange® operates the leading U.S. marketplace for environmental derivatives, financial instruments whose underlying values are tradeable environmental assets.

CCFE was launched in 2004 and is part of the Climate Exchange Plc (LSE: CLE.L) group of companies, which comprise the world’s leading exchanges specializing in environmental derivatives. Also owned by Climate Exchange Plc are the European Climate Exchange® (ECX®) and the Chicago Climate Exchange® (CCX®), of which CCFE is a subsidiary. ECX is the dominant exchange by trading volume for carbon derivatives in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.

Morano thinks the tarnished Goldman Sachs brand can taint Al Gore and cap-and-trade advocates:

You add to that the underpinnings of the people who backed [cap and trade] and helped create it are tied to Al Gore and Goldman Sachs, and then you have a real crisis in confidence. And then you have more woes for the global warming establishment.

Goldman Sachs is one of the most politically connected investment firms in all of America. In the 2008 political cycle alone, the Goldman Sachs PAC lavished $5.9 million upon candidates for Congress.

Three out of four Goldman Sachs dollars went to Democrats. Nearly $1 million more went to Barack Obama. Goldman Sachs was the second-highest contributor to the Democratic presidential candidate. And in the last three years Goldman Sachs spent a cool $12.3 million to lobby the halls of Congress.

Even Barack Obama, who seems to be needling Goldman in his war against Wall Street, has himself turned to the storied Wall Street firm. Neel Kashkari, who led Goldman’s security investment banking practice, was tapped to run Obama’s TARP government bailout program.

As the presidential attack on Goldman intensifies, will Obama wound some of his closest political allies?

Obama and Biden to Celebrate Earth Day by Tying Up New York Air Traffic

Obama and Biden will board separate jets in Washington on Earth Day morning to fly 250 miles up to New York, where they will land at separate airports to attend separate events within a few miles of each other… Jets will be forced to circle and burn more fuel as they wait for the VIPs to come and go… 

Obama and Biden to Celebrate Earth Day by Tying Up New York Air Traffic

April 21st, 2010 • By Matt Molnar Share/Bookmark

 

On a day when many Americans will be reflecting upon how they can reduce their impact on the environment, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will board separate jets in Washington on Earth Day morning to fly 250 miles up the east coast to New York, where they will land at separate airports to attend separate events within a few miles of each other.

The parallel visits of Air Force One (a 747/VC-25 aircraft) and Air Force Two (a 757/C-32A aircraft) will delay dozens, if not hundreds of commercial flights at Kennedy and LaGuardia and other nearby airports as no-fly zones are implemented. Jets will be forced to circle and burn more fuel as they wait for the VIPs to come and go. Their security contingents consisting of dozens of cars, SUVs and helicopters will burn even more. Throw in thousands of commuters’ cars and delivery trucks sitting idle in traffic as law enforcement closes large swaths of the city and you have yourself a very Earth-unfriendly day.

Rush Limbaugh: ‘Thank you, Mr. President!’ Grateful to Obama ‘for arousing the sleeping, silent majority’

Rush Limbaugh: ‘Thank you, Mr. President!’

Grateful to Obama ‘for arousing the sleeping, silent majority’


Posted: April 16, 2010
4:08 pm Eastern

© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Playing off of President Obama’s remark to Democrat donors yesterday that tea-party protesters should be thanking him instead of protesting his policies, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh on his show today ran off a string of reasons he’s grateful to Obama, culminating with “arousing the sleeping, silent majority” who are prepared to give his party an unprecedented thrashing at the polls in November.

Obama was speaking in Miami at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.

“Since today happens to be tax day, I should just point out that one-third of the recovery act went to tax cuts. Tax cuts that strengthen the cornerstone of the American dream,” Obama began.

Lowering his tone of voice in an apparent aside, he then shared with the Democrat donors that he had been “a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies, about taxes.”

“You would think they would be saying thank you,” Obama said to laughter from the audience. “That’s what you’d think.”

After playing the clip on his show today, Limbaugh commented: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a classic illustration of authoritarian mocking control. He hasn’t cut anybody’s taxes. The recovery act stimulus bill – it’s more like loaves and fishes. There are no tax cuts in that. There were some tax credits. It’s all bogus.

“But he wants to be thanked,” Limbaugh continued. “OK, I will oblige.”

Watch the video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d6-Dg_bmYA&feature=player_embedded

       

Limbaugh thanked Obama for more than a dozen moves, including seizing General Motors and Chrysler, appointing a “pervert” as safe-schools czar, the “generational theft” of American wealth through massive borrowing and spending, insulting and endangering Israel, driving up the unemployment rate to double digits and “exploding the annual deficit” to a level at which it can never be repaid.

Limbaugh concluded: “But most of all, Mr. President, thank you for arousing the sleeping, silent majority, because we have been asleep too long.

“November is coming, Mr. President,” Limbaugh warned. “That is when we will really thank you.”

Obama mocks, we remember

Obama mocks, we remember

By Michelle Malkin  •  April 15, 2010 09:24 PM

President Obama derided the Tea Party activists at a Miami fund-raiser tonight. You keep laughing, chump:

He says he’s been a little amused over the past couple of days when people at the rallies complained about taxes. Quoting the president: “You would think they’d be saying thank you.”

Yeah? Thanks a lot:

By all estimates, the budget outlook is daunting. The latest projections of the Congressional Budget Office reckon the cumulative deficits under President Obama’s policies to be $12.7 trillion from 2009 to 2020. In 2020 the estimated annual deficit will be $1.25 trillion, or 5.6 percent of the economy (gross domestic product), despite assumed “full employment” of 5 percent. And the deficits get larger with every succeeding year. Given unavoidable uncertainties, these precise projections are likely to prove wrong. But their basic message seems incontestable: there’s a large and growing gap between the government’s promises and the existing tax base.

How big a tax increase would be needed to close the gap? Well, huge. To put things in perspective, all federal taxes (income, payroll, and excise) averaged 18.1 percent of GDP from 1970 to 2009. Under CBO’s assumptions about Obama’s policies, taxes in 2020 would already be slightly higher, at 19.6 percent of GDP. But on top of that, there’d need to be a further tax boost approaching a third to balance the budget, because spending is projected at 25.2 percent of GDP. Needless to say, this would be the largest tax burden in U.S. history, even including World War II.

Like the Tea Party sign says: “We’ll remember in November.”

I like this one even better: “We can see November from our house.”

Science Czar’ Admits the Big Green Lie

‘Science Czar’ Admits the Big Green Lie

Posted By Christopher C. Horner On April 14, 2010 @ 8:33 am In Environment, News, Politics | 89 Comments

The video vault has now provided us another glimpse [1] into the fever swamp occupied by President Obama’s moonbat science czar John Holdren. Holdren of course is the man brought in to put a scientific imprimatur on the Left’s latest excuse for much of its economic agenda, wrapped as it is in the cloak of averting environmental crisis.

First, the merely good news arising from Holdren’s odious openness: it floated to the surface just in time for my new book [2] coming out Monday (but available for pre-order now, before today’s ’s Ways and Means Committee “green jobs” hearing causes a run on them! Really.). In these pages Holdren, Carol Browner and a few others receive close inspection, particularly in Chapter 3 “Van Jones Was No Accident: Obama’s Radicals” (also relevant to this discussion is Chapter 6, “Green Eggs and Scam: The Wholesale Fraud of ‘Green Jobs’”).

More on all of that, including some pretty startling internal documents, in a few days.

Now for the even better news. As detailed in “Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America [2]“, Holdren is a longtime global-cooling-then-warming alarmist who’s also on record advocating the constitutionality of sterilizing [3] the public through the drinking water supply to address the “population crisis” when it reaches the point that his kind believe is just  too much to bear.

As is also detailed, he and his ilk like to see (and shriek) crisis pretty much everywhere they look, and transparently as an excuse for their real obsession with massive government usurpations of individual liberties — or, ahem, Power Grabs [2]. So to them that point where statist seizures are urgently required is always right…about…nnnow.

Read the rest of this entry »

Defaults Rise in Loan Modification Program

Defaults Rise in Loan Modification Program

By DAVID STREITFELD

The number of homeowners who secured cheaper mortgages through the government’s modification program only to default again nearly doubled in March, continuing a worrisome trend that threatens to undermine the entire program.

Treasury Department data released Wednesday showed that 2,879 loans that were permanently modified have defaulted since the program’s inception in the fall, up from 1,499 in February and 1,005 in January.

Almost all the cancellations were apparently prompted by the buyer being unable to make the new payment. A scant handful — 37 in March — were due to the loan being paid off, presumably because the borrower sold the house.

The modification program, which the Obama administration says will help as many as three or four million households avoid foreclosure, is too new to have much of a track record. But the evidence is beginning to suggest that for some borrowers, having a loan modified is not the end of their struggle against foreclosure.

Julia R. Gordon, senior policy counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending in Washington, said she expected the number of post-modification defaults to continue to rise.

“It’s definitely alarming to look at those statistics,” she said. “The current model for modifications doesn’t necessarily produce sustainable results.”

The Treasury Department said the defaults were expected. “We always anticipated that some homeowners would not sustain a modification,” a Treasury spokeswoman, Meg Reilly, said.

As a result, she said, the foreclosure relief program has been greatly expanded. New elements focus on allowing distressed homeowners to sell their properties for less than they owe and on shaving the principal owed by borrowers.

The notion of cutting principal, however, has already run into some resistance by the big banks, and its fate in uncertain. That program will not be in place until the fall.

Many modification recipients are burdened by a tremendous amount of debt, both on their house and credit cards.

Treasury data shows that the median savings for borrowers receiving permanent modifications is $512 a month. But the borrower’s debt load, which includes not only the house, property taxes and insurance but homeowner association fees, home equity loans, car loans, alimony and credit card interest, remains very high.

Even after modification, $61 out of every $100 earned by the borrower goes to servicing his debt, government figures show. For increasing numbers of modification recipients, it is apparently still too much to stave off financial collapse.

Many of these private plans either kept the payments the same or increased them. Inevitably, these mortgages suffered the highest failure rate — about two-thirds of the borrowers were once again behind in their payments after a year, government data shows.

Loans where the payments were decreased by at least 20 percent failed at a slower but still significant rate of about 40 percent.

On the surface, the modification program appears to be doing better after a much-criticized start. The process begins with a trial period of several months, after which the modification becomes permanent if both parties agree.

While fewer people are entering trial modifications each month, more of them are expected to receive permanent modifications.

The number of active permanent modifications in March was 227,922, an increase of 35 percent from February. Another 108,212 permanent modifications are awaiting borrower approval.

The Government Greenpeace

The Government Greenpeace

Posted By Rich Trzupek On April 14, 2010 @ 12:10 am In FrontPage | 6 Comments

National unemployment rates may be high, but there’s no shortage of work if you happen to be an academic type willing to conduct Environmental Protection Agency-funded research and undertake EPA directed studies. Last October, the EPA formally began the process of creating new stormwater management rules. We’ve actually got quite the pile of stormwater management rules already, including measures crafted during the Clinton administration and then implemented during the Bush administration. But, having never met a regulatory program that went far enough for her tastes, EPA head Lisa Jackson took one look at a report prepared the National Research Council [1] that reviewed the Agency’s stormwater management programs and fell in love. This will come as a shock, but the NRC committee [2] that looked into the issue – a committee consisting mostly of academics – concluded that new stormwater regulations are desperately needed.

The NRC’s recommendations are troubling, but entirely typical of what happens when a group of professors get together to decide how to run the world. It should be noted up front that I did not read the NRC’s report in full, since the organization charges the public more than forty bucks [3] to purchase copies of this study, notwithstanding that it is being used to set public policy. No doubt the full report contains a number of hidden gems, but the Executive Summary, which NRC kindly allows citizens to download for free, provides enough of a peek behind the curtains. If Jackson’s EPA follows the NRC’s advice – and history suggests that Jackson generally takes the most radical environmental advice available – then there are more rules coming, more restrictions on your lives and, of course, more tax dollars that need to be redistributed. If you think that using the adjective “radical” to describe the advice Jackson is getting from NRC is a bit over the top, don’t take my word for it. Here’s how NRC describes what is needed in their Executive Summary:

“Radical changes to the current regulatory program (see Chapter 6) appear necessary to provide meaningful regulation of stormwater dischargers in the future.”

What kind of radical changes appear necessary? How about having USEPA use its licensing authority to place further restrictions on the formulation and use of even more consumer products? Quoting again from the Executive Summary:

“EPA should engage in much more vigilant regulatory oversight in the national licensing of products that contribute significantly to stormwater pollution. De-icing chemicals, materials used in brake linings, motor fuels, asphalt sealants, fertilizers, and a variety of other products should be examined for their potential contamination of stormwater. Currently, EPA does not apparently utilize its existing licensing authority to regulate these products in a way that minimizes their contribution to stormwater contamination. States can also enact restrictions on or tax the application of pesticides or other particularly toxic products. Even local efforts could ultimately help motivate broader scale, federal restrictions on particular products.”

In other words, if a product is used outdoors or is part of a machine that is used outdoors, like your automobile for example, it needs to be regulated, restricted and possibly taxed. Just what an ailing economy needs. What could possibly go wrong? It’s easy to imagine some well-meaning EPA committee deciding that tire residue left on the street, to take one example, helps deteriorate stormwater quality. Ergo, the EPA should come up with standards for tire wear. Of course such standards might make tires more expensive, but that’s not EPA’s problem; they’re here to save a planet or two. Or perhaps such standards would unintentionally lead to more blowouts, but that will be the tire manufacturer’s fault, not EPA’s. Of course I don’t know if any of this is going to happen as far as tires are concerned, but that kind of thing will inevitably happen somewhere when EPA sticks its nose into the free market. It always does. The EPA is Exhibit A when it comes to demonstrating the timeless truth that is the Law of Unintended Consequences.

NRC also believes that another layer of bureaucracy is necessary to better manage stormwater. They believe that stormwater permitting should be “watershed based,” a proposal that would essentially create a new regulatory authority in between the local agencies that already have jurisdiction over stormwater and state and federal agencies charged with overseeing their programs. How to pay for more rules and more bureaucracy? The federal government ought to pour more money into these programs of course.

The regulated community isn’t quite as fired up about NRC’s recommendations as is Lisa Jackson. Many members of the regulated community recently commented most unfavorably about these proposals. Their comments are part of the USEPA docket [4] covering a proposal to start gathering information in anticipation of formulating new rules. Ironically, the regulated community offering damning comments in this case doesn’t consist of evil corporations, it’s rather made up of the organizations that are currently responsible for stormwater management which, like the EPA itself, are units of government. The question of whether one regulatory agency can regulate so much so as to offend fellow regulators has thus been answered in the affirmative. The National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies [5] (NAFSMA) commented on EPA’s proposed Information Collection Request (ICR) wondering, among other things, why EPA was abandoning the Phase 1 and Phase 2 stormwater management practices that have been put into place already. From NAFSMA’s comments, dated December 23, 2009:

“In addition to our comments on the specific elements of the ICR, NAFSMA must express its strong concern that EPA’s announced intention to promulgate a substantial change to the Phase I and Phase II stormwater program, based on this ICR, constitutes a breach of the current regulations and the program evaluation agreement reached through the Stormwater Phase II Federal Advisory Council Act (FACA) in which NAFSMA was an active and involved participant with three of our members involved throughout the process.”

That’s from an organization representing almost one hundred state and local stormwater management agencies, serving about 76 million people. Many comments in the docket from individual agencies themselves are similarly critical, of both the approach the EPA is taking and the manner in which it’s approaching the issue. I can’t recall the last time local environmental agencies were this critical of their federal counterpart. That ought to tell you something about what’s happening in Lisa Jackson’s EPA. Admittedly, I’ve never been a big fan of the EPA, but then I have to work them, so my perspective is a tad jaded. Still, while no friend of industry, the EPA has traditionally blunted most of the worst excesses that extreme environmental groups would otherwise foist on America. No longer. There’s little to distinguish between Greenpeace and Lisa Jackson’s EPA.

When pressed, you can usually get an honest, informed environmental advocate to admit that our air and water actually got cleaner under George W. Bush’s administration, as they have under every administration since Nixon’s. The problem they say, such as it is, is the Bush didn’t “go far enough.” That’s a political argument, not a scientific one, because no Republican president can ever “go far enough” to satisfy the environmental movement. Bush’s EPA promulgated regulations reducing mercury emissions from power plants on a massive scale. It wasn’t enough. Bush’s EPA faithfully followed George H.W. Bush’s wetlands restoration policies, such that we had many more wetlands when W left office than when he first took the oath of office.

It wasn’t enough. It’s never enough. Most veterans in the EPA understand the politics involved and take that kind of criticism with more than a few grains of salt. Lisa Jackson appears to have swallowed the most extreme environmental activist arguments whole and, mostly unnoticed by both the press and policy-makers, has unleashed a series of crippling initiatives that will do untold damage to the nation’s economy at a time we can least afford it.