Open Forum – 21 March

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31 Comments

  1. You may have seen the news reports yesterday afternoon that the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (Republican Sen. Richard Burr from North Carolina) sold more than a million dollars in stock in February, after learning how devastating the coronavirus could be. He had inside information about what could happen to America, which is now happening. But he didn’t warn the public.

    He didn’t give a primetime address. Didn’t go on television to sound the alarm. He didn’t even disavow an op-ed he had written just ten days before claiming that America was, quote, ‘better prepared than ever for coronavirus.’

    He didn’t do any of those things. Instead, what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money. And then he stayed silent. Now, maybe there’s an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading.

    There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time of crisis. And that appears to be what happened.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  21st March 2020

      So did Democrat Senator Feinstein who strangely doesn’t seem to be getting the same MSM vitriol. And all of them are saying their share portfolios are managed independently. Maybe they are, who knows?

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  21st March 2020

        ““During my Senate career I’ve held all assets in a blind trust of which I have no control,” Feinstein tweeted. “Reports that I sold any assets are incorrect.”

        Feinstein and her husband, investment banker Richard Blum, sold shares in Allogene Therapeutics, a biotechnology company, according to her financial disclosures. They sold shares on Jan. 13 and Feb. 18. The stock subsequently rose in value, peaking in early March.”
        https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Feinstein-denies-wrongdoing-in-stock-sale-before-15145862.php
        Wouldnt biotech be doing well in this time ?

        Burr is not saying anything about a ‘blind trust’
        “Burr said Friday that he has asked the Senate Ethics Committee to look into his stock sales and denied he had traded on nonpublic information. He said he had “relied solely on public news reports to guide my decision regarding the sale of stocks.”
        But of course news varied and stocks were still rising, knowing when to fold is a huge advantage

        Burr , the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee was privately telling donors a much more dire story than his public comments a month or so back according to comments from those who attended his ‘Tarheel Club’ gatherings

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  21st March 2020

          Reuters:

          In a statement Friday, Burr said he relied only on public news reports to guide his decision on the Feb. 13 stock sale.
          “Understanding the assumption many could make in hindsight, however, I spoke this morning with the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and asked him to open a complete review of the matter with full transparency,” Burr said.

          Loeffler, who has a fortune with an estimated worth of $500 million, wrote on Twitter she was informed of the transactions three weeks after they occurred.

          “This is a ridiculous and baseless attack,” she wrote, adding that she and her husband are not involved in investment decisions for her portfolio.

          Inhofe denied a New York Times report he had sold shares after attending a January briefing for senators. “I do not have any involvement in my investment decisions,” he said in a statement.

          Feinstein said in a statement her money is in a blind trust and she had not attended the January briefing.

          Reply
      • Stop spreading falsehoods about Feinstein. Her stocks were held in a blind trust unlike the Republican senators.

        Her Biotech stock was sold low by the blind trust managers and if she or her husband were trading in on the crisis it was a stock to keep for a pandemic.

        And she was not downplaying or lying about the pandemic to the public.

        Big big differences to the GOP-ers.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  21st March 2020

          I didn’t smear Feinstein, just reported the facts. The smears are all coming from your side as usual.

          Reply
    • There was a senators’ Senate Health Committee briefing on January 24.

      From January 27 onward, Republican Senators Richard Burr, Ron Johnson, Kelly Loeffler, and Jim Inhofe have all dumped millions of dollars worth of stocks while telling the public that coronavirus was a Democrat hoax, a media hoax, and no worse than the flu.

      Loeffler started selling shares the same day she was briefed – January 24. By February 4, her husband (the chairman of the N.Y. Stock Exchange) had shut down a deal to buy eBay and quietly started selling off close to $20 million of his own stock.

      Johnson not only quietly flicked his shares off, but he then voted against the US Government’s COVID relief package. The same guy who wants to investigate Hunter Biden.

      When this whole thing is over with, America have a lot of people dead from the coronavirus, and a bunch of Republicans who failed their constituents while secretly stuffing their own pockets.

      I guess when you’re worth half a billion dollars you just don’t give a shit about annoying little details like ethics.

      Reply
      • These four GOP-ers are the poster children for the duplicity, graft, swampiness, and incompetence that marks both the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the GOP in the Trump era.

        Morally bankrupt the lot of them. And their defenders.

        Reply
      • These four Republican senators realized, through their briefings with government experts, that the president’s PR spin was wrong and that America was in great danger.

        However, they not only refused to tell their constituents what they knew publicly, but they actively participated in Trump’s gaslighting.

        Meanwhile, they took the time to protect their families’ riches from the consequences that would follow once the crisis hit America.

        All of which adds up to a scam where elected “representatives of the people” with inside knowledge of the truth sold their stocks to protect themselves while the president, his son, and his chief economic advisor were telling the public that everything was wonderful and that they should be buying stocks.

        Morally bankrupt the lot of them. And their supporters.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  21st March 2020

          What information did they have that was not public?

          Why do you think Feinstein’s trust managers sold at the same time?

          Reply
  2. lurcher1948

     /  21st March 2020

    I wonder if the National Party is having a barbecue this weekend to discuss the less than stella performance by Simon Bridges.His relentless negativity and beneficiary bashing at a time when we should draw together will reflect in the polls.Jacinda positive, Simon negative and who want negativity in a crisis.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  21st March 2020

      Poor Simon. The sacrificial goat tied to a tree bleating while tigers circle. Who’d be a politician?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  21st March 2020

        Stellar, not Stella. I think that the PM’s being very negative, dwelling on the worst case scenario and spreading fear and alarm to the extent that she’s sending the economy into recession unnecessarily.

        The Be Kind thing is ludicrous. People won’t be if they weren’t before.

        Reply
  3. The US slide continues, the Dow Jones on Friday was down another 913 points (4.55%).

    The market peaked at about 29500 on five weeks ago, but closed this week at 19,174.

    Reply
    • The DJIA is down 15% this week and 30% in the last month. It’s now 2.8% below where it was when Trump came into office three years ago.

      American companies have spent about US$1.4 trillion repurchasing their own shares over the past three years, fuelled by Trump’s corporate tax cuts. Now they want to be bailed out. Again.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  21st March 2020

        US Govt spent about $13 trillion over the past three yesrs which it has to get from those US companies and their owners and employees.

        Guess why it won’t just bankrupt them all?

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  21st March 2020

          Stock buybacks is mostly used to avoid paying taxes on dividends… yes they have a double tax on dividends … but buy backs avoids tax completely…well defers the tax until the stock is sold , which means other tax saving methods can be used including lower rate of capital gains tax

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  21st March 2020

            Buy back s increase earnings per share and increase bonuses to executives

            Reply
  4. For the record, Peter Alexander (NBC’s WH correspondent) handed Trump an opportunity to reassure the nation. He refused. Not only did he refuse, he attacked Alexander for asking for reassurance.

    Peter Alexander’s colleague, Larry Edgeworth, had just died of Covid-19 and Alexander was seeking reassurance for Americans who are worried about their own loved ones. Trump responded by viciously attacking him.

    Reagan or Clinton or Obama would have thanked the reporter for the question and given a terrific answer. So would a President Pence.

    But once again, Trump hijacked the narrative with his own particular nastiness.

    Reply
  5. duperez

     /  21st March 2020

    In the middle of it all this week was one little incident. President Trump insisted on calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese Virus.’ A picture, supposedly of Trump’s notes, has been circulated showing the word ‘corona’ ruled out and he word ‘Chinese’ entered over it. It seems the picture is genuine.
    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-chinese-virus-notes/

    The bizarre thing to me wasn’t the picture, the intent, or the upshot from it all but what Trump said in his explanation. Not even what he said really but the example it is of the new normal.

    The ease with which a comment was made and passed by suggests that risible, farcical and preposterous are the new normal, not to be questioned or lambasted.

    Trump said that he called it the ‘Chinese’ virus because he ‘liked to be accurate.’

    It was just another passing second when new protocols from the front aren’t highlighted by new protocols from the back. Maybe it will take a journalist at a press conference to deliver a little stinging slap to the world by saying, “Fuck off, that’s nonsense, stop treating us like shit.”

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  21st March 2020

      What’s your point? Why shouldn’t he call it the Chinese virus since it was? The Chinese are running their own propaganda campaign trying to escape blame.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  21st March 2020

        My point is that having a persistently lying, misleading, misinforming person telling the world that they like to be accurate calls for someone to tell them ‘bullshit.’

        The claim about his love of accuracy is itself not accurate. At every turn the lying should be called. Should reality be determined by someone with a tenuous grip on it?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  21st March 2020

          Oh, so you are complaining he doesn’t really like to be accurate. You could have said that much more succinctly.

          And if he likes to be inaccurate he was really just doing what he likes by saying he doesn’t. Why be shocked or surprised? You should be used to it by now. And none of that has any relevance to whether it is apt to call it the Chinese virus.
          Certainly everyone knows what that means at present.

          Reply
          • duperez

             /  21st March 2020

            You got it – perfectly. He spends his life trying to be inaccurate and tells people he likes to be accurate which will be sucked up by those who trust him and will believe what he says. When they can’t see the dystopian world they’re living in he can do whatever he likes.

            When intelligent people like you accept things, are not shocked or surprised but shoulder shrugging accepting and saying we should be used to it, we are where people like him want us to be.

            Reply
          • Duker

             /  21st March 2020

            I think the old system of a ‘popular name’ meant some countries got a flu named after them even though it didnt originate there. Most recent was ‘Mexican flu’ from about 15 years ago ( some kids bought it back to NZ after a school visit to Mexico) and of course Spanish Flu.
            Chinese Covid 19 definitely came from China , even China said it began in the Wuhan animal market…they are trying to say ‘really dont know’.
            The medical bureaucrats came up with a non specific location naming system, doesnt mean Trump has to use it

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  21st March 2020

            I told you often that I ignore what he says and watch what he does, duperez. I recommend that strategy. It will be good for your judgement and blood pressure.

            Reply
  6. Duker

     /  21st March 2020

    Look at this, airport bureacracy plays hardball on a small pacific Island, so the airline cancels all flights leaving them stranded.
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/412279/marshall-islands-loses-international-air-link-after-covid-19-measures

    Wouldnt even let the passengers and crew into the terminal when technical problem prevented plane leaving and they had to sleep in plane and on tarmac. Right decision I think for airline to end flights for a while

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  21st March 2020

      Airlines and governments have to start working together. Economic pressures will force it despite political posturing.

      Reply
  7. Zedd

     /  22nd March 2020

    a word to the wise… 🙂

    Reply

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