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Corporate Cronyism At Its Finest

Congress is poised to renew the Import-Export Bank and while Delta Airlines is lining up their lobbyists to oppose the reauthorization they were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  

Flight Global reports that Delta Air Lines has received export credit financing from Export Development Canada (EDC) for its order of up to 70 Bombardier CRJ900s, even as it opposes similar support from the Export-Import Bank of the US (US Ex-Im) to certain foreign carriers.

EDC agreed to provide between Canadian dollars (C$) 500 million ($484.4 million) and C$1 billion in financing for the order, under an agreement that was signed in December 2012 and disclosed by the export credit agency (ECA).

Atlanta-based Delta ordered 40 firm CRJ900s with options for another 30 aircraft the same month. At list prices, the firm order is worth $1.85 billion and the entire order $3.29 billion.

Delta-subsidiary Endeavor Air took delivery of the first aircraft on 29 August and will have 12 in its fleet by the end of the year, Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows. The regional carrier already operates 41 CRJ900s.

EDC declines to comment on the structure or tenor of the financing.

Delta’s use of export credit comes as it opposes similar financing to certain foreign competitors. The carrier filed a lawsuit with Hawaiian Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) against US Ex-Im in April claiming negative economic consequences of the ECA’s loan guarantees for widebody aircraft.

“It's really investment grade companies that are owned by the government where the president of the country, the chairman of the board and the president of the airline are one in the same,” said Richard Anderson, chief executive of Delta, in a May speech.

While Delta is not government-owned, it is rated near investment grade and capable of securing competitively priced debt on commercial markets. It rejoined the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 index on 10 September after being dropped in 2005 and maintains B+, B1 and B+ ratings from rating agencies Fitch Ratings, Moody’s and S&P.

In addition, Delta’s claim of negative economic consequences stems from its having to compete with foreign carriers, such as Emirates, Etihad Airways and Korean Air, that benefit from US Ex-Im loan guarantees.

Air Canada could make a similar argument towards Delta’s use of EDC financing. The carriers compete on routes between Canada and the USA, including between Atlanta and Toronto Pearson where Delta flies CRJ900s as well as other Bombardier aircraft, according to Innovata FlightMaps Analytics.

American Airlines acknowledges some form of double standard between Delta’s claims and actions. Will Ris, senior vice-president of government and regulatory affairs at the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier, told Flightglobal that American does not take a position on US Ex-Im financing to foreign carriers as it uses export credit itself, at an event in Washington DC on 24 September.

The airline has used financing Brazilian development bank BNDES for the Embraer regional jet fleet at its subsidiary American Eagle Airlines.

Delta did not immediately comment on its use of EDC financing while objecting to US Ex-Im guarantees.

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Greenspan, Bernanke
Meltdown Problems
The leaders of the United States Federal Reserve banking system have trotted out the enormous chutzpah required to actually sue the leading German bank for doing a tiny part of what our Federal Reserve allowed and even encouraged here in this country. Putting the matter into the simplest terms, the Fed would like Deutsche Bank to repay a few Billion dollars because they claim that the FED lost money when DB didn’t pay enough attention to whether people receiving home loans in Germany actually had jobs or not.
 We say “chutzpah” (what the British call “cheek”) in describing our Fed Banking because meanwhile, here in the United States the Fed completely ignored for over thirty years far worse banking practices which nearly brought about the complete collapse of the American financial system and that today threatens to give the country stagflation and eventually run-away inflation.  Fed Chief Alan “Don’t-you-dare-tie-me-to-the-meltdown” Greenspan even went so far as to lead the cheerleading for the tricky straw that broke the camel’s back: unregulated derivative investment. To be specific, the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke has for years given a wink and a nod to and ignored the impact of . . . .
A)   The Jimmy Carter 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA ’77) and five expansions of it (four by Clinton; one by Bush, Sr.) between 1992 and 1998 that created the sub-prime lending crisis by forcing banks and mortgage companies to knowingly make very ill-advised home loans.
B)   The activities of ACORN in browbeating and shaking down mortgage lenders and banks to accelerate the evils of CRA ’77 and the sub-prime lending crisis.
C)   The shift in mortgage banking from 1975 when one in every four hundred-four loans was “suspect” (administered at 3% down payment or less); to 1985 when one in every one hundred-ninety-six such loans was suspect; to 1995 when one in just seven loans was suspect; to 2005 when worse than one in three such loans (34%) was highly suspect, granted often without any down payment at all.
D) The final Clinton steroid version expansion of CRA legislation in 1998 which made it easier for ACORN to get unqualified loan-seekers into $450,000 homes in 1999 than it had been to get such people into $110,000 to $120,000 homes a decade earlier.
E)   The final ACORN assault on the nation’s home mortgage industry by abusing the CRA laws to get houses for people . . . .
1)     Without jobs
2)    Without good credit ratings
3)    Without rental histories
4)    With only food stamps to list as “income”
5)    Enrolled in other welfare programs
       6)    and even for Illegal aliens 
F. Fed Chief Alan Greenspan heartily approved the onslaught of derivative investments saying they “held the key to eliminating financial downturns in the future.” Of course, it was derivatives of lumped-together junk mortgages that proved to be the final nail in the financial melt-down coffin which collapsed so many large financial institutes . . . you’re a great man, Alan, a truly great man.
G.    Once retired from his post as Fed Chief, Greenspan worked as a special consultant to . . . wait for it . . . Deutsche Bank . . . that’s right . . . .
H.     In a speech in February, 2004, Greenspan suggested that more home-seekers should take out ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) after he’d deliberately held the nation’s interest rates artificially low for a decade . . . in effect, sabotaging the individual lenders almost as much as the CRA laws were sabotaging the nation
I.           According to Wikipedia,  in referring to the part Greenspan played in allowing the financial-meltdown, Matt Taibbi called Greenspan a vain "classic con man" and a undistinguished economist who, through political savvy, "flattered and bullshitted his way up the Matterhorn of American power and then, once he got to the top, feverishly jacked himself off to the attention of Wall Street for 20 consecutive years." Taibbi said Greenspan had "established himself as an infallible oracle, and a lot of it had to do with his ability to seduce key media figures, sometimes literally." Taibbi reported a Wall Street term called the "Greenspan put" which "meant that every time the banks blew up a speculative bubble, they could go back to the Fed and borrow money at zero or one or two percent, and then start the game all over", thereby making it "almost impossible" for the banks to lose money. The chapter Taibbi dedicated to Greenspan in his book Griftopia bore the title The Biggest A__hole in the Universe.
J.  Even now as the nation seeks to fight its way back to prosperity, present Fed Chief Ben Bernanke is inflating the currency and denying at every juncture that he’s doing so. The rising price of gas and food is 95% Bumbling Ben’s fault and only 5% due to other extraneous factors.
In fairness to Greenspan it must be said that for the first ten years of CRA ’77 legislation he was not the Fed Chief, Paul Volcker was. In fairness to Volcker, none-zero-nada-zip-not one of the five CRA ’77 expansions to come was law when Volcker was in office . . . and ACORN in those days was largely confined to Clinton’s Arkansas (It began life in 1977, as the “Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now”) so the percent of suspect loans in the entire country only doubled in the first decade vs. multiplying by 28-fold under Greenspan. Greenspan never once notified the nation of the immense danger from this cancerous assault upon the nation’s mortgage system or reminded progressive lawmakers of the harm they were doing. Ronald Reagan deserves huge censure for putting a man of such monumental incompetence into such a power seat.
Credit Default Swaps and other derivatives were praised on several occasions by Greenspan as valuable instruments that would make severe financial downturns impossible. In March, 1999, he said, “ . . . I am quite confident that market participants will continue to increase their reliance on derivatives to unbundle risks and thereby enhance the process of wealth creation.” In another speech he opined that “derivatives have increased the standard of living globally.” How could such an idiot get any job in the financial industry? Just about any asinine investment works in a wide-open bull market; the key to understanding dangers is to see what happens in a severe downturn when everybody wants to sell and get out all at once.
The ultimate Greenspan lunacy was uttered in 2004 when he summed up the value of derivatives for protecting the financial markets: “Not only have individual financial institutions become less vulnerable to shocks from underlying risk factors, but also the financial system as a whole has become more resilient.”
So now our FED has the ironic gall to criticize and bring suit against a German bank for a sin perhaps 1/10,000 the size of our own failings which brought the entire world to the brink of financial cataclysm. Good job, Bernanke, good job.
Ya’all live long, strong and ornery,
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Obama's Media Free-Ride Shows No Sign of Abating
After receiving three of the most fawining years of media coverage in candidate, nominee and presidential history, Barack Obama is so-dissatisfied with his treatment at the hands of the press that he now has several initiatives in the works to dramatically curtail freedom of the press. It seems our president’s narcissism is so great that every time even the faintest negative coverage appears he is totally shell-shocked.
Item #1 Fox Cable News Channel has been the subject of constant Obama administration disdain and complaint since Day 1 of his presidency. Obama was notably silent when Fox and other media attacked G. W. Bush for his spending policies and other perceived weaknesses. Negative news is just not ever considered fair.
Item #2 the president is setting records for dodging the press, Fox News as well as all his toadies at ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, PBS, and CNN have all complained as Obama has now stretched his record for going without a press conference for well over nine straigt months now.
Item #3 each of the last ten or eleven Obama attempts at press control during demagoguery and demonization exercises (for example toward the TEA Party, Arizona’s new immigration laws, withering attacks on Wall Street, British Petroleum etc., etc.) has witnessed the mainstream press immediately adopt the preferred Obama hate-term verbiage (exactly as presented by Robert Gibbs and others) in discussions over the next ten days or so without bothering to actually investigate the stories behind the Obama vilifications.
Item #4 Stories that reflect anti-Obama realities are just not covered. For example,
A. the climate-gate scandal in East Anglia University where worldwide temperature data was fudged, manipulated and ditched to more properly reflect a “global warming” that is NOT in fact occurring . . . has not materialized now five months after the thousands of CRU e-mails were leaked.
B. Coverage of the Obama/Gore et. al CCX scandal is non-existent in the mainstream media. Since the conflict of interest story would cost Americans 40% of their economy to legislated carbon exchanging that would benefit the Obama-Gore-Sandor-Rogers founded and funded CCX (Chicago Climate eXcange) partnerships by TRillions of dollars . . . and since this story is no longer possible in Europe where the whole continent is now utterly skeptical about global warming but global warming is still giving credence in America thanks to the mainstream media’s deliberate refusal to cover the Climate-gate story . . . the media has now become the story.
C. Likewise the media’s refusal to cover the CCX crews’ strange gyrations to save the bankrupt Shore Bank of Chicago is incredibly self-serving to Obama.
D. The media has not mentioned Obama’s failure to respond to incredible flood destruction in Tennessee and tornado disasters repeating in Oklahoma and nearby areas. Comparison to the comparable Hurricane Katrina treatment of the G.W. Bush efforts are shocking.
E. The media nine days after the fact began echoing the Obama liturgy released that day that the administration had been “on the job since day one” regarding the BP gulf oil spill.
F. None of the mainstream media have covered the fact that federal safety inspectors have deliberately given British Petroleum “passes” on 1990 and 1994 safety standards for offshore drilling.
G. None of the mainstream media have covered the fact that federal safety standards required ten individual fire booms (aimed at preventing exactly the sort of fire, explosion and leak that BP experienced) be on hand at each drilling site and that BP had ZERO fire booms available.
H. None of the mainstrem media has focused on the fact that BP has another site 55% deeper pumping out 450% more oil with the very same lax safety ambience which the federal government has NOT insisted upon improving.
I. None of the mainstream media has seemingly read the Arizona Immigration law, but instead give positive coverage to protestors of a law that is far more “immigrant-friendly” than the federal laws they’re based upon and which go to immense lengths to prevent racial profiling. Instead the mainstream media again have spent three weeks mirroring the Obama party line on Arizona’s laws.
J. None of the mainstream media is actually calling for the president to see to it that the federal Immigration people start doing their jobs in Arizona.
K. None of the mainstream media think it’s significant that five key officials in the Obama administration have been lambasting Arizona and yet, admitted they have NOT read the bill. Specifically Holder and Napolitano’s ignorance and vilification amounts to criminal behavior.
L. None of the mainstream media is willing to take Obama to task for its administration’s unwillingness to use the simple and accurate term “radical Muslim jihadists.” Nor have they taken the administration to task for its policy of homeland security by luck.
M. Nevertheless, Barack Obama is directly setting out to control the internet.
N. Nevertheless, Barack Obama is setting into motion laws that would make the “tone” of criticism of politicians a crucial matter placed under control of the government.
O. Barack Obama has already three times illegally employed the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) to back his political agenda and, of course, received a pass from the mainstream media.
P. The media refuses to notice that Barack’s promised openness, honesty, transparency, and cleaning up of Washington’s political games has not only NOT materialized, it has NOT even been attempted.
Q. Barack Obama is still on honeymoon with the mainstream media and still allowed to say, “it’s all the Bush Administration’s fault." Even though Obama has now quadrupled the deficits and tripled the national debt.
R. The mainstream media has shown no urgency to explore the character of the Obama administration itself and the laws it passes and the abuses it drops upon the Constitution. The word “socialism” is certainly taboo.
S. The mainstream media has allowed Obama to play the race card for three consecutive years now. 48% of Whites supported Obama which is more votes and a higher percentage of white votes than Kerry or Gore received. Only 4% of Blacks voted for Mc Cain. Allowing Obama to use the racism ploy is a hideous distortion of the truth.
T. Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s recent anti-semitic rants as well as his original “God Damn, America” comment received only a wrist-slap from the mainstream media and Obama’s twenty-year connection to Wright has been totally unexplored.
U. The media has refused to cover Obama’s connections and support of communist Raila Odinga’s presidential campaign in Kenya. Willfully overlooking that Odinga signed a pact with the 10% Muslim populace to make shariah law the law of the land a la the Taliban, if elected. Nor have they covered Obama’s speeches to the Muslims while wearing muslim garb. Nor the riots arsons, killings etc. against Christian and other religions conducted by Kenya’s Muslims which got Odinga made part of the cabinet of the man who defeated him.
V. The media refuses to read “Dreams from My Father” Obama’s first autobiography and to explore the communism of Barak (no “c”), Sr. specifically calling for Kenya to consider 100% taxes upon the rich; nationalization of foreign businesses and redistribution of wealth from non-Black Kenyans to the black populace.
W. The media has not explored Obama’s statement that “I have always been a Christian, never attended Muslim schools and never practiced Islam.” The statue of 10-year old Barack in the Muslim school he attended for parts of three years (1969, ‘70 and ’71) and his four plus years in Indonesia is willflly overlooked by the mainstream media. The more the man lies, the more they love him.
X. In short, the mainstream media has abandoned its job and become merely a cheerleading arm for Obama’s administration and the great man himself.
Ya’ll live long, strong and ornery,
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If you think you pay enough taxes . . .

It’s an experience few ever expected would happen to them, not only surrendering their U.S. passport, but doing so gladly. Being an American in Paris, or anywhere outside our own borders is a very expensive proposition time- and money-wise. Oh, and then there’s the matter of aggravation. If this sounds like an utterly horrendous and impossible situation to you, American expatriates in foreign lands can assure you . . . it’s even more so to them as they live out some godawful scenarios day after day . . . .

It used to be that the number of Americans turning in their passports in any given year could be measured in the dozens. It used to be that except for a few political malcontents, it just never happened. Right now thousands of applications for renouncing American citizenship are filling up the in-boxes in U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. Today 95% of these acts are because of taxes or aggravation or both. The United States, you see, is the nastiest nation in the manner it treats its expatriates among all the countries in the world. We are the only nation in the industrialized world that taxes its citizens overseas . . . making them subject to taxes where they live on top of back home and fewer and fewer of them given today’s climate see any long-term benefit to retaining their American citizenship. One of the main bugaboos has been recent attempts by the United States to pry into the finances of the expatriate citizens.

A lot of the aggravation expatriates feel, for example, is tied up with complex and time-consuming laws requiring expatriates to report all foreign bank accounts with balances in excess of $10,000 and exceedingly large penalties for those who don’t comply either on purpose or by accident. While these laws were aimed at the criminal element, the toll on the lawful expatriate can be devastating. One brother of a friend of Rajjpuut’s put it this way. “Just didn’t know the law and my $18,000 bank account could have landed me in prison or cost a huge fine, talk about a life-destroying slip up. I wonder how many big-crooks with accounts in Switzerland or the Cayman’s they catch with their crappy laws zero, I’d guess. I’m not sure how many times they’ve changed that law, but they were finally successful, they got me. They’ll nail lots of honest citizens for sure, well let ‘em stuff my *&%^$#(8@/? passport.

The biggest hassles, however, come from the compliance of foreign companies with American financial and savings laws. Americans living outside the country are quite often refused certain services because of all the hoop-jumping required for the foreign banks and financial institutions who just don’t want to be bothered for a miniscule number of American customers. The logistics of being an expatriate American is tiresome, at times costly and, many expatriates believe increasingly aggravating to the point of questioning the value of their citizenship. In a Time Magazine article the founder of the American Citizens Abroad (ACA) advocacy group Andy Sundberg speaking about America's attitude toward expatriates put it this way, “We have become toxic citizens.”

Sundberg says that unfortunately more and more expatriate Americans can help America and themselves by just renouncing their citizenship. Not only escaping the financial burden of double taxation but actually bettering the U.S. economy because without being Americans they’ll face fewer logistical nightmares and “it’ll become much easier for them to get a job abroad, and to set up, own and operate private companies promoting American exports.” Sad as it may seem, that ‘s the only win-win situation for many expatriates. The biggest downside is that they can only stay ninety days in the United States in a given year which tends to make the decision to surrender American citizenship difficult for many. But the sense of greater freedom and the huge financial relief drives more and more to do it. Sometimes families and friends tend to look upon the expat as a “Benedict Arnold” which complicates matters, but most understand. However, even when you hang up your U.S. passport for good, expatriates still get punched in the nose . . . you guessed it, there’s an “exit tax.”

Ya’all live long, strong and ornery,


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