Saturday, May 19, 2012

Romney Had A Dream

  As if you did not know that everything that Mitt Romney takes credit for is a “ dream “ that he had.

Romney "Dreamed" That He Deserved Credit For Steel Dynamics

by Been There 1963  on Thursday, May 17,2012

In his ad touting Steel Dynamics, Romney takes false credit for other people's hard work. Here's what actually happened 18 years ago.

Like the rooster who takes credit for the sunrise, the Romney campaign touts the success of Steel Dynamics.  "American Dream," is a 60-second campaign spot that shows workers talking about their company, which grew from nothing in 1994 to a 6,000-employee operation. The workers say nothing about Romney or Bain Capital, for obvious reasons.  And about 25-seconds into the ad, a voiceover drives home a fraudulent message: "But SDI almost never got started. When others shied away, Mitt Romney's private leadership team stepped in." 

Suppose the Winklevoss twins took credit for saving Facebook's IPO.  Their claim would be far more plausible than Romney's suggestion, that his "private leadership team" played an essential role in SDI's startup. The startup of Steel Dynamics is well known and well documented.  Bain's role was, to put it charitably, minor. I know because I remember that deal and the people who put it all together. As with his bogus claims that he "created" 100,000 jobs or deserves credit for the auto bailout, or played an instrumental role the success of Staples , Romney shows a limitless contempt for facts.

SDI's startup began on June 30, 1994. Up until that date, the company was just a couple of guys with a business plan who had burned through most of their $731,000 in equity funding. They had no money to build their planned greenfield steel mill in Butler, Indiana. But on June 30, SDI closed about $370 million in debt and equity financing, which enabled construction to begin.

That's the way it works whenever a large industrial project is being financed. Nobody puts in real money until all of the financing and contractual arrangements are nailed down and executed. And prior to June 1994, there was never any shortage of financiers willing to step up. The entire financial plan was designed so that no financial sponsor, like Bain, could ever exert control. There are many private equity deals set up so the financial equity sponsors are able to call the shots. But not this time.

On June 30, 1994, a senior secured credit agreement for an amount of about $200 million, the $55 million Subordinated Debt Purchase Agreement, the Equity Agreements, which provided for $81.3 million in equity contributions, the Stockholders Agreement, and the Registration Agreement, all became effective simultaneously.  Bain's equity contribution was less than 5% of the total $370 million initial financing.

According to the Shareholders Agreement, Bain Capital would have no more than one director on a 10-person board, which was comprised of four members of SDI management, three individuals representing different companies within SDI's supply chain--from Preussag, Omnisource and Heidtman--plus three individuals representiing financial investors: Bain, GE Capital, and a Connecticut venture capital firm, J.H. Whitney.  GE Capital and J.H. Whitney also stepped up to take pieces of the convertible subordinated notes, but not Bain.

When SDI went public in November 1996, Bain's 13.3% equity stake was smaller than that of GE Capital, Preussag Stahl AG, or Omnisource.

The startup relied very heavily on government financing provided from outside the U.S.   The German government-owned development bank, Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau , or KfW, was by far the largest lender in the $200+ million bank facility.   That government sought to support SDI's purchase of advanced German technology and machinery, which were the guts of the new mini-mill.

SDI's founder, Keith Busse, is well known as a pioneer in the steel industry.   The story of how he and his team at Nucor built the first-of-its-kind mini-mill, relying on advanced German technology, in Crawfordsviile, Indiana in 1987 is was known throughout the industry by 1991. It was also detailed at length in two New Yorker profiles, and in a terrific book, American Steel , by Richard Preston. The Crawfordsville plant was the first mini-mill to fabricate flat rolled steel, a higher-end product compared to the mini-mills' traditional product, reinforcing bar.   In very simple terms, moving the manufacture of flatrolled steel toward mini-mills, and away from blast furnace production, was somewhat analogous to the move toward desktops computers away from mainframes.   Mini-mills had much lower capital and operating costs, and much greater operating flexibility.  In 1993, Busse and some colleagues decided to leave Nucor and strike out on their own.

From SDI's incorporation in September 1993 up until June 29, 1994, Busse's team worked with an investment banker to pull all these different financing arrangements together, so that they could all close simultaneously.  He was from a Cleveland investment banking firm (since subsumed by UBS) called  McDonald & Co,  and his name was David Stickler.  Busse's reliance on Stickler is evident in an article published in Crain's Cleveland Business  soon after the deal closed. I can attest to the veracity of the story. Bain was just one of many investors who put up a relatively small amount of money but exercised no effective control. There was never a moment in time when SDI's startup was in danger of not happening, but for the "leadership" of Bain Capital or Mitt Romney.

Again, the parallels with the Winklevoss twins cannot be overstated. It's a stereotype come true. A rich kid from Harvard, who offers nominal value-added, feels entitled to take most of the credit for the hard work done by others. It doesn't matter if it's the auto bailout , or the expansion of Staples, or SDI. That's how Romney envisions his "American Dream."

House Passes $642 Billion Defense Bill Under Veto Threat

   While much of America was waiting for the Facebook IPO on Friday and their chance to maybe make a little bit of money on the stock, the House Republican band of merry men was busy passing another one of their bills designed to fuck the taxpayer while giving their “ Masters “ more of your tax dollars for shit that is not needed.

By  Joan McCarter  on Fri May 18, 2012

House Republicans ignored the requests of the generals and a White House veto threat today, passing their bloated defense spending authorization bill, 299-120.

The bill breaks the spending agreement made last year as part of the Budget Control Act, and spends much more than the Pentagon has asked for on programs it opposes.

That includes: a new missile defense system on the east coast;

indefinite detention as included in last year's National Defense Authorization Act.

For these reasons, and more, the White House has said it will veto the bill.

keeping ships and aircraft that the Pentagon is trying to retire; rejecting the military's request for domestic base closings; and about $4 billion more than the administration and the Pentagon set as a spending limit.

And there's more, including a ban on "same-sex marriages and 'marriage-like' ceremonies on military bases." Additionally, it includes "indefinite detention without trial of terrorism suspects, including U.S. citizens, captured on U.S. soil," despite a decision by a federal judge issued yesterday to block implementation of  indefinite detention as included in last year's National Defense Authorization Act.

For these reasons, and more, the White House has said it will veto the bill.

   After President Obama veto’s this sorry bill, the Republicans will try to use it as a campaign gimmick for Mitt Romney by pressing the narrative that Obama is soft on U.S. defense.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Newest Birther Conspiracy

    The stupidity from the communist ( GOP ) party just keeps getting better and better as the days pass by.

    Here is the latest foolishness from the birthers, brought to you by

Hunter for Daily Kos.

Talking Points Memo:

“Dreams From My Real Father,” a 97-minute film narrated by an Obama impersonator, weaves the narrative that Obama’s grandfather wasn’t a furniture salesman but an undercover CIA agent who convinced Barack Obama Sr. to marry his teenage daughter to hide the fact that she was impregnated by a 55-year-old communist named Frank Marshall Davis. [...]

The film has been favorably reviewed by WND’s Jerome R. Corsi, who wrote an entire book arguing that Obama’s birth certificate is a fake and that he was really born in Kenya and ineligible to be president of the United States.

Of course, both conspiracies cannot simultaneously be true (for that matter, not even one of them can be true, given the readily available evidence, but setting that aside for a moment, etc). It is a bit odd, however, that now "secret Muslim Kenyan" is no longer the go-to conspiracy theory for some people. No, "secret Muslim Kenyan" is what the government wants you to think. In reality, Barack Obama was the offspring of a communist, his grandpa was an undercover CIA agent and he was quickly shuttled off to Bill Ayers for proper indoctrination into how to someday be a secret communist president posing instead as a secret Muslim Kenyan president. Oh, and all of this took place so that, many decades later, children could stay on their parents' health insurance a bit longer. I think.

This does, however, nix the whole notion of Barack Obama not being a citizen, so not all birthers are as quick to endorse it as Jerome Corsi. Jerome Corsi, after all, would endorse the notion that Barack Obama was a space alien brought here to help Hitler take over France but that the time-traveling plotters involved got their timing wrong by 70 years or so, so long as it made Jerome Corsi a few bucks to say it. Orly Taitz, for one, is not amused:

WND and Corsi, wrote Taitz, are “trying to kill the case by making up an American citizen father for Obama.”

Conflicting conspiracy theories? Which one to believe? That one over there has America's Dumbest Sheriff endorsing it, but this one comes with a film narrated by an Obama impersonator. If that isn't evidence, what is?

On the other hand, why would you even go with the "Obama's father was really an elderly secret communist" angle? Is this a new schism between people who are more afraid of a black president and those who are more afraid of a communist one? Was the original conspiracy just getting too cluttered, just like any other long running franchise, so that a reboot was needed in order to wedge all the new, most fashionable ideas in? I have no idea. I had some previous notion that perhaps Corsi would, for his newest trick, announce that Barack Obama was in fact fathered by bad kerning, and as a typographical-American should be removed from office on that basis. It hardly matters what the conspiracy is, so long as you provide it with a decent narrator.

Hearing about things like this (and how very, very prevalent they are, when it comes to politics, science, or anything else that somebody, somewhere, finds personally objectionable), the only conclusion one can come to is that humankind is, for all our preening, made up of some damn stupid individuals—and that our ancestors are unbelievably damn lucky to have managed to form governments or civilizations at all, given what they had to work with.

I can't imagine how many of our primate ancestors made the very early discovery that fire equals good, only to have their heads caved in by fellow primates that were certain fire was a plot by the primate devil and/or the primate Illuminati. How many thousands of years went by before the whole "let's use fire to keep warm" or "hey, let's cook this damn meat to make it less putrid" thing took off to the point where the vaguely bipedal practitioners didn't just get torn to bits for suggesting the idea? That is impressive enough, but then to have gone on to develop bronze, or cement, or Nintendo systems—now that took some true miracles. No, the astonishing thing about civilization is that it can withstand such a very large percentage of crackpots, during any given era, who are bent on knocking down the whole thing because it conflicts with their own personal motivations or notions of which particular bogeymen are waiting behind which particular corners.

What was I talking about? Oh, I was saying how miraculous it was that human civilization can actually exist, given the omnipresence of such profound dunderheads as Jerome Corsi, Orly Taitz, et al. Yeah, that. I don't know why I can no longer hear the name "Jerome Corsi" without thinking of world-shattering, civilization-crumbling stupidity, but it just pops into my head, every single damn time.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Friday Funnies:JPMorgan,Mitt Romney

Jay Leno:"The average college graduate now leaves school $27,000 in debt. But the good news is that now it means they are more than qualified to work as financial advisers at JPMorgan."

Jimmy Fallon: "Police in California just burned 34,000 marijuana plants that were growing in a state park. The police were very angry about finding all that weed until the wind changed direction."


"David Letterman: JPMorgan lost $2 billion in bad trades. They made bad investments — for example, those gay wedding chapels in North Carolina. What were they thinking?”

"Jimmy Fallon-This week investors will be able to buy shares of Facebook stock for the first time ever. It's great – now you can lose all your money in the same place you lost all your time."

Romney Gains In Polling

  According to a new Gallup poll, GOP president wanna-be Mitt Romney has made an 11% jump in the polling on his favorability ranking. Can you believe it? 50% of Americans have a favorable view of this clown, his highest ratings since Gallup began tracking Romney back in 2006.


Romney's increasing favorable numbers appear to be fueled by his growing popularity with Republicans and self-described independents. Among Republicans, Romney's favorable number has jumped 22 points since February to 87 percent. Meanwhile, 48 percent of independents view Romney favorably—an 11-point increase since February.

   With those numbers in mind, it’s worth noting that at present more Americans view President Obama unfavorably ( 46% ) than Romney ( 41% ).

Romney's favorable rating is two points lower than that of President Obama—which currently sits at 52 percent.

   I was actually starting to believe that the citizens of America were getting a little bit smarter than in the past. I guess that is not the case, especially among the Republican voters. It would seem that the Independent voter is also losing their mind.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CHART: Spending, Taxes, And Deficits Are All Lower Today Than When Obama Took Office

By Guest Blogger on May 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Our guest blogger is Michael Linden, Director for Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for Center for American Progress Action Fund".

Federal spending is lower now than it was when President Obama took office. I’ll pause to let you absorb the news.

In January 2009, before President Obama had even taken the oath of office, annual spending was set to total 24.9 percent of gross domestic product. Total spending this year, fiscal year 2012, is expected to top out at 23.4 percent of GDP.

Here’s another interesting fact. Taxes today are lower than they were on inauguration day 2009. Back in January 2009, the CBO projected that total federal tax revenue that year would amount to 16.5 percent of GDP. This year? 15.8 percent.

One last nugget. The deficit this year is going to be lower than what it was on the day President Obama took office. Back then, the CBO said the 2009 deficit would be 8.3 percent of GDP. This year’s deficit is expected to come in at 7.6 percent.

The fact is that Obama inherited a disaster of a federal budget. Eight years prior, when President George W. Bush took the oath of office, there was a $281 billion surplus. By the time Obama was sworn in, he was facing a $1.2 trillion deficit. Inconvenient though it may be for conservatives (especially those who are running for president), the truth is that spending, taxes and the deficit are all lower today than when President Obama took office.

This material [article] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Obama Campaign Comes Out With Guns Ablazin'!

By brooklynbadboy  Mon May 14, 2012   Original Post

I just want to extend a hearty OOHRAH to the Obama Campaign for taking off the goddamn gloves and going to work on Mitt Romney's ribcage and kidneys. The Monday morning carpet bombing is a beautiful thing to behold. I think the Bain attack ad is pitch perfect and spot on.

I'm especially glad they opened up with the Kansas City story. That's a good way to make Romney protect his face. He now knows the Obama Campaign isn't playing tiddly winks. They're going to go right at his entire life experience. (They should go to work on Mormonism too, but I know they don't have the stomach for it. However, hope springs eternal.).

As has been pointed out, there are so many ways to go with Bain. Mitt Romney is touting it has is central justification for being president. So its totally fair game to mine this thing and flesh out every end of the story. And trust, there are at least several big stories in every single swing state. Every one. If the Obama Campaign keeps it up, and ignores the assmunch pundits in Washington, you'll see Romney's numbers begin to drop in short order over the summer and his negatives climb even higher.

What's so beautiful about the Bain ad is that Romney can't blame "a Democratic legislature" or "economic conditions" or anybody else for his activities. He was the founder and boss of Bain. Everything they do, he's the only guy responsible because he was in charge. The moment he starts running from his record at Bain, that's when you know he's bloody and headed for the canvas.

Kudos to Campaign Manager Jim Messina and media & oppo teams.

Also republished by The Federation.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Bankers Play Their Billion Dollar Games

By Klaus Staeck on 10 May 2012    Original ( German )

Translated By Ron Argentati

While I tend to devour books, I can't digest everything. That's why, when I find a lack of material in my own files, I turn to those newspaper sections dealing with finance, financial markets or just plain money. The articles I find are occasionally quite compelling. In order to ensure they aren't overlooked, they sometimes merit headlines similar to one I saw recently in a conservative daily newspaper, which bore the luridly seductive banner, “Billions in Blessings for Hedge Fund Managers.”
It dealt with that sector of the financial world in the United States that Franz Münterfering, Germany's former Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, compared to the voracity of a plague of locusts. That description appeared in the professional journal Absolute Return, which, along with Forbes magazine, regularly reports on the blessings of the market, going even so far as to publish the names and incomes of those most blessed. That's how I discovered that a certain Ray Dalio, working for the hedge fund firm Bridgewater Associates, earned $3.9 billion in 2011 alone. Instinctively, you read such a statement twice just to make sure you didn't misread it; then you begin to wonder just what they mean when they say “earned.”
Just what sort of superman with such sublime capabilities can claim to have “earned” such an annual sum in the literal sense? And who had to be bled dry for him to do so? Who were the losers? In any case, the report informs us that hedge fund managers claim that their sole duty is to make a profit regardless of market conditions.
Boundless Greed
Of course, not every fund manager did as well as Dalio that year. That was made apparent when they ranked the top 25 managers and their total compensation sank from $22 billion down to $14.4 billion. Among the losers: the scandal-ridden John Paulson, uncrowned king of risk takers like himself. While he may have profited from betting on a price collapse in the housing market and a rise in the value of bank stocks, he suffered bitter losses when the Chinese forestry giant Sino Forest collapsed.
Developments in the banking sector are equally interesting. Bankers around the world are raking in the money as never before. It's exactly as if their unbridled greed had never plunged the world into one of the worst-ever financial crises and the ever-patient taxpayers hadn't rescued many of the banks in their clique from going broke. Just a reminder: In Europe alone, taxpaying citizens ponied up €1.6 billion (around $2.1 billion) without their governments ever asking them if they approved of the bailout.
After a brief cooling-off period, the speculation has now resumed, and the most reckless wagers are again being thoughtlessly made. There's absolutely no sign that the men (as well as a few women) are concerned with the immorality of it all, despite all the pretty words they're dredging up out of the suitcase of values they all carry. No sign whatsoever that unbridled risk-taking poses any threat to the entire national economy, something that has already been resoundingly proven. Because the fact remains that short-term success for the banks determines how much they pay their managers. That's why it must be the duty of the politicians to ensure that pay for performance — also called bonuses — will only be granted when it can be determined that the risks taken are acceptable relative to the outcome. It is totally unacceptable that there is an industry in which success is wildly rewarded, but the public is on the hook for its failures.
The forbearance of even the most patient of taxpayers has to come to an end sooner or later.