Wesley Clark’s Sleeze Attack Against John McCain

Sunday, on “Face the Nation” retired Army general, Wesley Clark, made direct assaults against John McCain’s military service and his qualifications to be president. Clark insinuated that commanding a training squadron in peactime wasn’t equal to commanding that same squadron during war; that it didn’t require ordering bombs to be dropped. He also stated that getting shot down while flying in combat didn’t qualify a person to be president.

Let’s not even compare John McCain’s experiences to Barack Obama’s since there’s really no comparison. In many ways, retired General Clark is right. Flying a ground attack fighter through a barrage of SAM missles over North Viet Nam is no more presidential than parking your PT boat in front of a Japanese destroyer and getting it cut in two. Also, being a prisoner of war in North Viet Nam for five and a half years is no more presidential than shacking up with a German spy in a downtown Charleston, SC hotel for several months during World War II. President Kennedy was given a medal for not being able to outmaneuver a destroyer with his agile PT boat. He was put in charge of the PT boat in the South Pacific to get him out of the European theater after living with a woman in Charleston who was found to be a German espionage agent by the FBI.

When taking Air Force ROTC in college, my classmates and I were constantly being barraged with the notion that where else but in the military could a young officer get such leadership experience with the responsibility over numerous personnel and millions of dollars of equipment. Was all of that just a bunch of hogwash? The military builds leaders … at all levels of command. That was the military message. Maybe Wesley Clark should review some of the “propaganda” that the military indoctrinates it’s officer candidates with if his view is so contradictory to the time honored line. According to what I was taught, and based on my experience while on active duty … during peacetime … squadron commanders get a lot of executive experience.

And, Wall Street, as well as corporate America, amply rewards that executive experience. Wesley Clark should know. He’s been a beneficiary.

Let me tell you a story … a factual and true story.

Back in 2006, I became interested in some low priced biotech stocks that were involved in doing research in the area of flu vaccines. I invested in several of these and followed them closely for about a year, buying and selling, trying to get a sense of why they were moving as they did. These were really budget stocks … less than $10 a share … and one fluctuated between $1.20 and $2.00 a share. I actually did quite well with that stock when buying selling it in lots from 3 to 10,000.

Watching these closely and continuing to do research on them, trying to figure why they moved as they did, I began to notice that the financial analysis of these stocks was being done primarily by one company, Rodman and Renshaw. When the stocks were doing terribly and some bad news about them would come out, the analyst would write a glowing and promising review of the stocks and a predictable group of suckers … I mean investors … would rally the stock. I quickly learned to buy on the bad news and sell on the predictable rallies that would occur after the financial analyst would make his report. It became a matter of trying to pick the trough the stock hit before the predictable good news would come out. I actually did fairly well.

Over time, my curiosity about Rodman and Renshaw grew and I decided to research it. I found that Rodman and Renshaw had started filing financial reports with the SEC and reviewed these. To my surprise, Rodman and Renshaw’s stock was virtually worthless with the bulk of the financial transactions involved paying legal fees to maintain it’s public corporate status … less than $100,000 a year.

On further investigation, my findings were quite surprising. Rodman and Renshaw was a New York city firm that dealt, as best I could tellat the time, exclusively with biotech stocks … but not just any biotech stocks. They seemed to specialize in biotech stocks that were in extreme financial distress and in great need of cash to continue their research. Rodman and Renshaw organized biotech “fairs” to match their biotech clients with their investor clients while having their financial analysts write glowing reports which were publically available for market researchers like myself.

Not that long ago, Congress passed a bill called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Another name for this bill is the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002. It was designed to force publicly traded companies to clean up their accounting practices and provide greater transparency for the investing public. One of the sections of this act was specifically aimed at financial analysts, holding them accountable for their assessments of publicly traded corporations and theoretically protecting them from executive pressures to overvalue or falsely valuing the corporations they were analyzing.

Rodman and Renshaw refers to itself as a full service investment bank and a leader or specialist in PIPE and RD transaction markets. PIPE stand for “private investment in public equities” and RD stands for “registered direct placements”. Basically, what this means is that they’re in the business of arranging private funding for these corporations, in essence diluting the real value of the stocks, while they’re being trading on the open market. In other words, it’s like the selling out of K-Mart to private investors during their bankruptcy and receivership without these companies actually having to declare bankruptcy … doing all of this while promoting these stocks to the gullible public who aren’t watching and questioning the financials.

It seems that back in 2006, Rodman and Renshaw got into a little trouble. One of the stocks they were promoting was being followed by a financial analyst at their firm by the name of Matthew N. Murray.

It seems that a stock he was following and had done an analysis on had risen in price on the stock market. In following quarterly review, he maintained his valuation of the stock in spite of its superfluous rise in the market. He was approached by his supervisor and “encouraged” to raise his valuation of the stock which he refused to do stating that his original assessment of the stock was a truer representation of its actual value rather than it’s market price. This was his job … what he was supposed to do.

Murray reported the actions of his supervisor and possibly others to the Senate Finance Committee since the actions of the Rodman and Renshaw executives was a violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. And, he was subsequently fired … also a violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The chairman of Rodman and Renshaw was called to testify before the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Group Investigating Firing at a Brokerage Firm – New York Times

In her New York Times article, Gretchen Morgenson points out that Rodman and Renshaw was a privately held company at the time of the article. It appears that some time in May of 2007 it became a publicly traded company. So, it’s possible that it may have been able to avoid prosecution under Sarbanes- Oxley although that would bring into question why the Senate finance Committee held inquiries and why Mr. Murray made his complaint to them. Evidence presented in Ms. Morgenson’s article would indicate that,for some reason, Rodman and Renshaw were doing their best to try to discredit Mr. Murray …. which wouldn’t be necessary if they weren’t subject to the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley. They would simply thumb their nose at the Senate committee.

While digging a little deeper into the financial history of Rodman and Renshaw, I ran across some interesting facts. A group of investors bought a firm in Colorado that was involved in real estate and land development. They, then sold all of its assets. Next, they bought a defunct firm based in New Jersey that had, years before, been involved in market trading. It’s name was Rodman and Renshaw. So, they bought a name … that sounded respectable. Next, they found a lucrative market to manipulate … primarily biotechnology … with struggling companies who had an extremely long shot of discovering something of worth but at great expense with frequent and heavy losses … sucking up lots of capital.

Rodman & Renshaw

Read the New York Times article and note the date. A nose thumbing is exactly what Rodman and Renshaw did to the Senate Committee. In November of 2006, elections were held in which the Democrats gained control of the committees in both houses of Congress. By the time I had correspondence with Ms. Morgenson in the fall of 2007, the issue was dead … apparently dying as it was probably tabled by the now Democratic controlled Senate Finance Committee.

By the way, if you haven’t taken the time to read the New York Times article, the chairman of the board of Rodman and Renshaw was then and is now retired Army General Wesley Clark.

Frankly, my sleeze-meter went off the register when I was doing the research on Rodman and Renshaw. Watching the interview of Wesley Clark on “Face the Nation” reminded my why.

Addendum: 7/1/2008 – Review of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Section 5 deals with securities analysts. It is the one section of the act which says nothing about a publicly traded company but refers to securities analysts who are employed by brokers or dealers involved in investment banking without specifying whether they are public or privately owned. To me, this implies that any broker or dealer who is involved in investment banking, which Rodman and Renshaw claims to have been doing since 2003, are subject to the provisions in this section.

Section 501 — Treatment of Securities Analysts by Registered Securities Associations and National Securities Exchanges

Barack Obama Claims Kennedy Talked the Soviet Union Missles Out of Cuba

Wait a minute.

Barack Obama, in trying to rebuke John McCain’s statement that he, Obama, is inexperienced in foreign diplomacy by wanting to talk to America’s enemies, said in a speech today that John Kennedy talked the Soviets into removing their missiles from Cuba.

Was growing up in Middle Georgia something of a dream … or rather nightmare … during that time or is Barack Obama conveniently rewriting American History to suit his presidential campaign?

I grew up in a small town in middle Georgia which had two major railways that crossed just east of the courthouse. My parent’s home was at the top of a hill about five blocks above and north of the downtown area with its’ one stoplight one block north of the courthouse. The major north-south line which I think was Atlantic Coastline Railway ran through a shallow ravine about three blocks behind and east of my parents home. From our vantage point we could see the cars and flatbeds of every train that came through on that line.

I can recall cars loaded with armaments heading south … tanks, trucks, jeeps, … missiles … all loaded and headed South … dark painted passenger cars for troops.

I recall going to visit relatives in LaGrange and passing through the small hamlet of Mauk … multiple midrange ICBM’s on flatbed cars with a command car parked on the sidings at this two or three house spot in the middle of nowhere … the cars painted that dark Air Force blue.

OF course we couldn’t see those parts of the Atlantic fleet that were carrying out the Cuban Blockade to stop the Soviet Union from delivering (more) nuclear missiles to Cuba … bu they were plenty evident on the TV.

I was satisfied from my “safe” home far from Cuba that I was seeing as much of a potential war as I wanted to. At the ripe old age of 11, I along with many of my friends, were getting our own first hand view of what a military crisis looked like. The Cuban Missile Crisis wasn’t taking place more than a thousand miles from home. It was taking place in our back yards. Furthermore, we were all well aware that, should hostilities break out living less than 50 miles from Robins AFB with it’s Strategic Air Command facilities would afford us the opportunity for a front row view of what living with high levels of nuclear fallout would be.

The most affluent families quickly purchased and installed fallout shelters in their back yards. They were the hottest things selling that fall for the privileged few. We weren’t one of the affluent. My father, as a government employee, was part of the Civil Defense Cadre. One evening, during that time, I got my first look at a Geiger counter. The little ticking noise heard when you turned it on sounded slightly ominous … background radiation my father explained. I’m not sure that it wasn’t the soul piece of equipment that he received to perform his duties. Maybe he got one of those yellow helmets too. Personally, I was morbidly fascinated by the Geiger counter.

I think my father, besides not having the money to buy a fallout shelter, was rather pragmatic. What would the fallout shelter buy you other than a little claustrophobic time? Besides that, I don’t think he looked forward to living in a 7 by 12 cylinder with my sisters and me for a couple of weeks … or months. Just kidding … I know he loved all of us and would have done anything he felt was practical for us. I just don’t think he considered surviving a nuclear holocaust if at all possible given our proximity to Robins AFB was in any way practical.

Right Dad, you check the radiation levels 50 miles from ground zero (if the Russians were that accurate) and tell all of those people with the fallout shelters when it’s safe to come out … if you live that long. Frankly, in my Podunk, Georgia, there were no public buildings … or any other buildings … adequate for public fallout shelters.

Is that the talking diplomacy of John F. Kennedy that Barack Obama is referring to?

If I remember correctly, it was Kennedy’s ineptitude in Vienna, Austria in a meeting with Khrushchev a little earlier where Krushchev made him look like a pimple on an adolescent boy’s nose combined with his total botching of the Bay of Pigs invasion that led to the mess we were in.

Bay of Pigs Invasion – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kennedy was so ineffective that Khruschev started building the Berlin Wall a month or so later and started putting missiles in Cuba a year later. Khruschev was definitely impressed with John f. Kennedy.

This is the person Barack Obama wants to emulate. Does it remind you of the movie, “Dumb and Dumber”?

I recently saw part of the Ted Sorenson interview on the “Tim Russert Show” on MSNBC. Fortunately, I didn’t get to watch the entire episode. I was queasy enough after seeing just the end of the interview. It was another lovefest reminescent of the Bill Moyers/ Jeremiah Wright interview on PBS. Somehow, Sorenson managed to convert his high school debating skills into world saving wisdom and aptitude. And, Tim Russert couldn’t “oou” and “aaah” enough, “Imagine that … high school debating skills … Oouuu …. Aaaah.” I had to check the channel and TV listings to make sure I wasn’t watching Big Bird on Sesame Street.

Tim Russert show on MSNBC – Meet the Press, online at MSNBC- msnbc.com

Sorenson was bragging about being one of Kennedy’s new intellectual advisors replacing “those advisors” who had been there for the Bay of Pigs fiasco. The only problem he failed to mention was the man at the head of the table was still the same.

So …

Is Barack Obama going to take us back to the Kennedy days? Is that his view of the future and “change”?

Frankly, it sounds like more “SOS” to me …

Defining “Typical” for Barack Obama

Barack Obama, at least twice in the past week, referred to his grandmother as a”typical” white person. He was referring to her fear of black men and her stereotyping of blacks.

Since Barack Obama is considered an educated and intelligent person, I was curious regarding exactly what he meant … so I decided to look up the definition of the word, “typical”. I’m presuming he means exactly what he says (except, obviously, when he isn’t being truthful) and I wanted to be sure I understood exactly what he was saying.

So … I went to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, Seventh Edition. I used that edition since it was from my college days … hopefully not too outdated.

Typical (adj.) – (I’m presuming everyone knows how to pronounce it by now. ) 1. constituting or having the nature of a type: symbolic, 2a. combining or exhibiting the essential characteristics of a group (my emphasis), 2b. conforming to a type.

Okay.

So, Barack Obama feels that his grandmother’s fears and stereotypes are part of the essential characteristics of white people. Interesting. It makes me wonder exactly how many white people Barack Obama actually knows. Maybe he’s been immersed in his black experience in south Chicago too long and has absorbed a little more of Jeremiah Wright’s venom than he is aware of.

His comments are “typical” of a paranoia, that everyone is out to get him, everyone is against him. In a perverse way, paranoia is like a grandiose and egocentric personality, that the paranoid person actually matters enough for everyone to be out to get him. I suppose running for president is one way to prove that hypothesis.

Everything I’ve seen and heard of him, his pastor and the congregation of Trinity Church of Christ leaves me with no doubt that he is well suited to represent them. Whether he’s suitable to represent anyone beyond that population is yet to be proven. Even his election to the United States Senate may represent a fluke since he had poorly organized opposition with the last minute introduction by the Republican party of Alan Keyes, not even a resident of the state of Illinois.

Why would anyone with such a low opinion of so many of his fellow men desire to represent them before the world? Will electing him to be president of the United States actually change his opinion and satiate his thus far insatiable need for self identity and recognition? How many books has he written about himself?

Remember the John F. Kennedy quote from his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country.” (http: //www. famousquotes.me.uk/ speeches/ John_F _Kennedy /5.htm)

Somehow, I get the feeling that Barack Obama and his wife, Jeremiah Wright and his congregation and a lot of other people have this backwards. Their lives are filled with an expectation that things should be done for them. Everything is owed them and they owe nothing. It appears to me that they are always expecting their country to do something for them … and its never enough. Everyone is to blame for their problems except themselves. So, they wallow in their hate filled misery … blaming white America, blaming corporate America, blaming the world.

I have too much respect for my black friends to say that this is a “typical” black attitude. But, it is “typical” of people like Jeremiah Wright, regardless of their color.

And Barack Obama has revealed his common and base nature by referring to his grandmother as “typical” anything. He just really isn’t that special. America has been more than generous to him and deserves better in return.