A poster above mentions the mob and rogue companies. As far as I know there is almost no public information suggesting a connection between HLF or some of its distributors and the mob. HLF is as clean as Berkshire it would seem
Yet caution is a virtue. This mention of the mob reminds me of the Equity Funding Corporation story.
Equity Funding Corporation, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, had been widely touted as the fastest-growing large insurance company in the United States.
Then came the inside informer. (excerpts below via SEC document)
"The story, if it could be believed, was startling. Dirks said his source had alleged that one-third of the insurance policies carried on the books of EFCA' s life insurance subsidiary, EFLIC, during 1969 and 1970 were fictitious.
Dirks also stated his source had reported that EFLIC used different names and spellings of .policyholders to help dupe the auditors. Although prodded by Zukowski, Dirks refused to disclose the identity of his source, indicating that .the source feared Mafia retaliation at the behest of EFCA.
In response to a suggestion from Zukowski that the source might be trying to short the stock, Dirks indicated his doubt of that likelihood by remarking that his source appeared to him to be a religious man.
Courtney considered the market at that time to be extremely "nervous" and thought that any kind of negative rumors concerning EFCA could seriously undermine the price of its stock. Indeed,
he had cautioned Dirks during the telephone conversation that he could "get into trouble" if he spread about wild rumors about EFCA.
The stock price imploded when the negative findings of the regulators were made public.
*******- Herbalife CEO “Michael Johnson is a predator,”*******. “This is a criminal enterprise.”******Herbalife is a $24 billion "scam.”******** “The fraud is affecting more and more people,******** “It is time to shut the company down.”******** (via Forbes quoting Ackman today)
Yet another lab safety breach. This time neither anthrax nor smallpox. This time the dangerous avian flu.
From the Hil today:
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday said it has closed two laboratories and halted some shipments of dangerous disease samples after discovering new safety breaches, including one that involved the dangerous avian flu."
"The new safety lapse with bird flu — a virus that scientists have long feared could create a deadly pandemic — is another embarrassing misstep for the CDC and federal health officials."
“I’m upset, I’m angry, I’ve lost sleep over it,” Frieden the CDC chief said.
Regarding the recent anthrax safety breach (about which I posted recently) Reuters remarked:
"The safety breach in the nation's premier bioterror lab raises new doubts about security measures at the CDC, whose infection control protocols are held up as a model to the world."
Today news sources again are reporting a safety breach.This time to do with with smallpox. Fortunately, the folks that found the vials of smallpox did not unknowingly get infected A recent study that I reported here (which was declassified in part) showed that an infection of as few as five people is more likely than not to spread over the globe and become a global emergency. So the good news is that we did not have a global-wide infection spread that could have resulted in millions of deaths.
The news today about the smallpox strikes me as analogous to some fireman finding an armed nuclear bomb in some old abandoned building in New York City. It has been pointed out by weapon's experts that the damage potential of a smallpox release in a city would produce as much economic damage as a nuclear bomb going off.
Regarding todays story on smallpoxt, here is what CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said: “At the end of the day, we don’t know why [the vials] showed up,”
The FBI is investigating. Someone had to have violated some safety protocol.
There are thousands of labs in the world. Are there other vials with smallpox? Could they trigger an accidental and initially undetected smallpox release?
Because there are no failure-proof lab safety systems, and the harm potential so great we must do what we can to mitigate potential failures. What can we do?
I believe that we are these (and other) lab safety breaches are conclusive evidence for the need to permanently stockpile smallpox vaccine and antivirals to deal with human fallibility.
Also these breaches suggest a conceivable means by which terror or criminal groups could come into unexpected possession of a smallpox
Excerpts via Reuters today
As many as 75 scientists and staff in U.S. government laboratories in Atlanta may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after researchers failed to follow safety procedures, prompting an investigation by federal authorities.
The safety breach in the nation's premier bioterror lab raises new doubts about security measures at the CDC, whose infection control protocols are held up as a model to the world.
via Value Walk
"Ted Braun expects a movie release date early in 2015
"Academy Award winning documentary producer Glen Zipper, who won an award for the movie Undefeated, is teaming with Ted Braun, award winning director of movies such Darfur and Now, are combining their talents to untangle the Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) International story."
Perhaps the DOJ, SEC, FTC, and AG will make this an action movie. What roll will HLF executives play -- good guys or bad guys?
How encouraging is the President's budget for medical countermeasures?
Three points come to mind --
One :the medical countermeasures budget viewed on a per year basis is about what it has always been.
The 2015 medical countermeasures budget is less then a two percent reduction relative to 2014
And a two percent reduction when compared with other defense budgets reductions -- which are percentage wise much greater -- is a positive sign of support for medical countermeasures.
Two: there are very few medical countermeasures that are available for the government to purchase. At the moment perhaps only anthrax and smallpox.
Three: a contract for medical countermeasures of say $500 million over a 4 year delivery would take about $125 million of the medical countermeasure annual budget.
Budget sequestration has been much more savage in other areas of defense contracting. -- excerpts -
"Many of the decisions of how to comply with the sequestration budget levels were made at the
component level within DoD, so it is worth examining and comparing how the major DoD components
"Contract obligations by the Army, which declined by 15 percent between 2011 and 2012,
continued to decline dramatically in 2013 (-21 percent).
"Air Force contract obligations, which increased by 5 percent between 2011 and 2012, declined slightly faster (-22 percent) than for the Army.
"Contract obligations by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) declined at the highest rate (-23 percent), but this
comes after a large one-year surge in contract obligations for fuels in 2012.
"The category of “Other DoD”, which includes all DoD contracting functions (such as the Missile
Defense Agency and TRICARE) not captured by the other four component categories, declined slightly
faster than overall defense contract obligations between 2012 and 2013 (-18 percent), after showing
The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2015 Budget for HHS
$543 million to support the purchase and maintenance of medical countermeasures and other material in the Strategic National Stockpile,
$8 million below FY 2014
(smaller change then for most other government budget items)
In 2005, The Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted GSE legislation, but unanimous Democratic opposition to the bill in the committee doomed it on the Senate floor. Without any significant Democratic support, debate could not be ended in the Senate, and the bill was never brought up for a vote
In 2014, another ghost appears and disappears.
Senator Warner has my vote for the most stupid person in the room.
But there is a 12- way tie for second most stupid.
To give the appearance of being considerate is to say "to consider the bill"
; -- whereas to be clear is to say "to flush it"
Thursday, May 15, 2014
538 Dirksen Senate Office Building
COMMITTEE ON BANKING, HOUSING, AND URBAN AFFAIRS
will RECONVENE in EXECUTIVE SESSION to consider S. 1217
For more detail google the following document:
**Prepared Remarks of Melvin L. Watt, Director, FHFA at the Brookings Institution Forum on the Future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ------ Managing the Present: The 2014 Strategic Plan for the Conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -----5/13/2014**
The announcement is a significant shift in strategy for the mortgage financiers, driven by the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Melvin L. Watt.
Mr. Watt announced a number of changes for Fannie and Freddie, changes that would perpetuate the two government-sponsored enterprises’ presence in mortgage finance, rather than shrinking it.
Mr. Watt’s remarks come as Fannie and Freddie have returned to profitability, and as legislators in Washington have started to consider how to remove them from government conservatorship.
The federal government rescued Fannie and Freddie from collapse in 2008, with a bailout that cost about $190 billion. Since then, they have stabilized their loan portfolios and paid about $200 billion in dividends to the federal government.
On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee is due to vote on a bill that would wind the agencies down. But Congress is not expected to pass any reform measures in the foreseeable future.
I want to make something clear as to the above post. The Mortgage News Daily is not the source of the claim that the Crapo bill is mere posturing. That is my opinion based in part on the reasons stated.
via mortgage new daily:
In yesterday's update on housing finance reform it was noted that Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) was hoping to have 16 favorable votes lined up before bringing S 1217, the Johnson-Crapo housing reform bill, to a vote in the Senate Finance Committee. Twelve committee members - six Republicans and six Democrats, had committed to the bill, two Democrats were opposed, and four others were undecided. There are 22 committee members.
The CARPO bill is mere posturing. The House puts forth as many as 10 thousand bills in a Session, and the Senate somewhat less. It is a no loss situation for sponsors. They can claim that they are doing something for various interests. The assumptions in the bill about capitalizing a replacement entity has been proven to be a pipe dream by Pershing Square. That fact alone shows the supporters of the bill to be merely posturing or ignorant of the realities that a real bill must satisfy.
Bloomberg reported this morning that the four undecided Democrats, Charles Schumer (NY), Jeff Merkley (OR), Robert Menendez (NJ) and Jack Reed (RI) had joined Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Sherrod Brown (OH) in deciding they would not support the legislation.
While Johnson, Chairman of the Committee, still has the votes necessary to recommend the bill to the full Senate, the opposition of so many Democrats lessen the probability that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will bring the bill to the floor.
Cheyenne Hopkins says in her Bloomberg piece that the Democrats agreed in a private meeting yesterday that they would not support the bill without significant revisions. They are said to have agreed that the structure of the proposed Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation (FMIC) which is supposed to replace the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) in operating the secondary market and in providing a catastrophic backstop against mortgage default losses seemed unworkable. The Democrats also want stronger support for affordable housing goals.
Two cattle herdsmen infected with a novel species of Orthopoxviru. "The discovery brings up the question of what other viruses might be circulating out there that are even more closely related to smallpox and cowpox," Vora says.
via the CDC’s 63rd Annual Epidemic Intelligence Services (EIS) Conference today --
"We consider this family of viruses very important because smallpox could be used as a bioterrorism agent," says disease detective Neil Vora, who led the team that made the discovery.
-The virus doesn't yet have a name, Vora says, because so little is known about it.-------Vora and his team quickly figured out they were dealing with a poxvirus. But it turned out to be one that had never been seen before.
The EIS hosts an annual scientific conference for the national and international public health community-----EIS officers are on the public health frontlines, conducting epidemiologic investigations, research, and public health surveillance both nationally and internationally..)