“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Obama Rocks the Stocks.

The Chicago Tribune takes a look at the stock market acumen of Barack Hussein Obama.

...The investments that stirred concern involve two speculative stocks with business interests influenced by the government: AVI Biopharma, a biotech company, and SkyTerra, a satellite communications company. The transactions were first examined by the Web site and The New York Times later disclosed the involvement of Obama campaign contributors in the companies.

AVI was developing a drug to fight avian flu and two weeks after Obama purchased the stock he introduced legislation to increase funding to combat the virus, which was spreading in Asia at the time. SkyTerra received government permission to build a national wireless network on the day Obama purchased his shares.

Obama has said he was not involved in selecting the stocks and said they were held through a "quasi-blind trust." His staff has stressed that the trust, which invested only in the two stocks, suffered an overall net loss of $13,000, even though Obama made a 28 percent profit on his investment in AVI.

Still, the selection of two small-capitalization, speculative stocks is peculiar given the investment instructions provided by the legal document establishing the trust, which Obama named the Freedom Trust.

An attachment to the trust document describes the risk profile as "moderately conservative," with an investor willing to accept "some year-to-year volatility consistent with long-term equity trends." But placing all of the trust's assets in two stocks in small companies is a much more aggressive investment strategy likely to feature more volatile returns than overall stock market trends. Indeed, AVI soared, and SkyTerra surged before plunging.

"There is nothing moderately conservative about that portfolio. It is speculative," said William Reichenstein, a Baylor professor of investments.

Stephen Horan, head of private wealth at the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute, a standard-setting organization for investment professionals, said the risk profile described in the trust document suggests an emphasis on large-capitalization stocks.

"That tells me you're going to have substantial exposure to blue-chip, large-capitalization stocks. That's how you capture the moderately conservative part of that," Horan said.

The stock selection is more consistent with the after-the-fact explanation that Obama offered when he spoke to reporters this week: that he wanted to make "aggressive" investments with his $100,000.

The purchase of the stocks, in February 2005, also came months before establishment of the trust, on May 31, 2005.

Campaign spokesman Bill Burton said Obama was "in the process" of establishing the trust when he instructed a broker to begin purchasing stocks with the money he had set aside.

That explanation raises questions about why Obama rushed ahead with stock purchases rather than waiting to establish the trust, since the trust's purpose was to remove potential for an appearance of a conflict of interest in choosing investments.
The rest of the story


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. MLK had a dream.
    MSM enables nightmares for the prols.

  3. It was cattle futures that worked out so well, for Hillery, wasn't it?

    Day by day, the Man from Hollywood, Mr Al "Oscar" Gore, will look better and better to the Dems.

  4. Quite a picture, Bobal.
    Plus I got to learn that we get along w/canuckistanians and cheese eaters:
    ``Hawaiian Starlight'' aims at showing to the public astronomical images obtained with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT).
    Our goal at CFHT is not only to show the wonders of the sky as seen from Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, one of the best observing site in the world for ground-based astronomy, but to also share the science revealed through these images.

    Hawaiian Starlight is a collaboration between CFHT and Edizioni Scientifiche Coelum whose editorial expertise in the field of astronomical images brings a unique edge to the final tuning of images captured by CFHT. The collaboration started with the publication of a calendar in 2000, a production that had been entrusted to the Coelum team because of their experience in astronomical image treatment, their skills of presentation, and their enthusiasm for Astronomy.

    These web pages aim to show these elements as well as providing exposure to our activities and the Mauna Kea Observatories in general.

  5. Allen sure can pick the music for the bar.

  6. Clapton can raise the hair on your arms.........

  7. Late summer, 1967, the Plaka section, Athens. Three days of R&R.

    Sat down for an iced coffee , Time magazine, review of Clapton and Cream.

    Intrigued with a hippy Dutch girl next table.
    Spoke English.
    Eyes for the day. Thought they may also work for the night.

    Small talk, more coffee.

    Asked her if she knew Clapton and Cream.

    Great mouth, nice talker, brown legs slightly dusted with golden hair. Didn't care.

    More talk, more coffee.

    Suggested we find music store. Buy an album called Cream. She asked what I did. I lied. She knew I lied , pretended she believed me. Same golden hair on her arms. I wondered.

    Bought the album twice. One for the me. One for the night.

    Been a Clapton fan ever since.

  8. Derek & the Dominos aka Duane and Eric

    A commenter asks on this web page if a guitar tone could be declared NSFW. Duane comes in on this jam @ :57, as only he could do.

    Amazingly, Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks' nephew, Derek Trucks, who has played in ABB since 2000, is now touring with Eric (very appropriate since this tour is basically Eric's tribute to that era of his musical life). Not many people realize that Eric asked Duane to join his band after the Layla sessions, from which this recording comes. Duane was stupefied, but could not/would not abandon the band he had created. The ABB has survived and thrived for almost 40 years now. And the only one whose tone, technique and soulfulness has ever come close to matching Duanes' - Derek Trucks, who at age 25 has now lived a year longer than Duane did.

    Complete, high quality and LEGAL audience recordings of concerts from this tour can be found here, as well as live recordings of many of your other favorite artists.

  9. Back to Google for another very important aspect of the long term play there - Google Apps. Web based applications are the way of the future. Even Microsoft understands that the business model for selling software is transitioning from license revenue to a combination of advertising and subscription revenue, from desktop to web. If you go to that link, you'll find the standard version of Google Apps with lots of functionality, is available for FREE (Google Docs & Spreadsheets - think Word & Excel without the bells & whistles). Gmail is already by leaps and bounds the best web based email app & is in some ways better than MS Outlook, in most ways its equal, and only in a few ways (primarily enterprise oriented) lacking. This represents an entirely new market for advertising. Google is preeminently positioned to deflate Microsoft's Office cash cow while making money for itself at the same time. Sun Tsu would smile.

  10. j. willie, on the previous post, I extended an invite for you to post here at The Elephant. You do not have to comment here, but if interested send us an email and we will open the link.

    Whether you do or not, we are all enjoying your input here at the bar.

  11. 2164,

    Thank you for the humbling invitation. You, Whit & Bob set quite a high standard as proprietors, which keeps the clientele coming back for more. Email sent your way last night/early this morning.

    You are one of the few people I "know" who keeps hours as crazy as I do. The good thing about not sleeping much is that you get to experience more of life! That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

  12. j willie,

    The Allmans still hail from Macon, right up the road from here. As you know, Duane's accidental death to place there. It is a small world, as you see.

    Thanks for the memories.

  13. "Quasi-blind trust" is what you have to have to believe this.