The Moral Bankruptcy of International Organizations

In the category of “headlines so obvious that you can’t believe you haven’t seen them sooner” here is a BBC article titled

Qatar’s Bin Hammam accused of buying 2022 World Cup

While I am far from a football expert I wrote about it here in particular how the greens that protest everything under the sun didn’t seem to mind NOT using some of the dozens of world class stadiums already built for football (soccer) around the world and let Russia and Qatar win the next 2 world cups, which required the construction of many more stadiums, which strikes me as completely the opposite of being “green”, but I can’t follow their logic anyways.

Back to the Qatar bid which seemingly MUST have been based on bribery because no logical set of criteria would award this tournament to a bidder that

1) had a non-existent history of success and barely even participated in the sport on the global stage
2) had no facilities to utilize
3) would likely have to play games under the blazing sun in virtually a furnace
4) would have to truck all fans in from around the world to attend the games

But of course we know why they won as is stated in the article above.

Suspended Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has made public an e-mail that claims Mohamed Bin Hammam “bought” the 2022 World Cup finals for Qatar.

I do like Australia’s response to the final outing of this obvious outcome.

Meanwhile, independent Australian senator Nick Xenophon has demanded that Fifa refunds the Aus$45.6m (£29.6m) they spent on their unsuccessful bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Xenophon said: “It appears corrupt and highly questionable behaviour goes to the core of Fifa. “Australia spent almost $46m on a bid we were never in the running for.”Now we hear that bribes may have been made to fix the result for who will head up Fifa.”

Finally let’s just drop the pretense of these international organizations being for anything other than the interests of those that run them. That goes for the Olympics too. Want to reward Russia for their fine behavior in the international stage, including the invasion of Georgia and general meddling in all the states on their borders? Give them the winter Olympics, in a facility that isn’t even built (no bribery there, either).

She Is Like Us

Back when the “protests” were raging in Madison (I hesitate to call the protests anymore – they were staged political rallies, hence the quotation marks) one and only one politician came up here to wage war. Sarah Palin.

I had a short back and forth with Lex Green on the subject. When she was up here she ripped Obama a new one at a Tea Party rally. Sarah never backs away from a fight. She simply doesn’t care how much bad ink is spilled on her name. Have you ever seen such a violent reaction from the MSM and the left (as if there is a difference) over a person? At that time Lex and I agreed that we would, perhaps, vote for Palin in the Republican primary since it looked (and still looks to me) that she is the only on in the field that isn’t a squish. How about Cain/Palin? Palin/Cain?

I saw these photos today and they are absolutely fantastic. She seems to be gaining momentum. I wonder if she will run, or if she is just in it for the money. Looking at the photos, I think she is sincere. Right now, she has my vote. I don’t give a damn if she can’t win the R primary or the general election. She strikes a chord with me.

I could be wrong, of course.

A Great Article on Asset Allocation

In today’s Barron’s magazine there is an interview with Dennis Stattman of BlackRock Global Allocation called “Mixing It Up in an Uncertain World”. In this article he discusses his world view and his views on asset allocation. It is a great article and highly recommended.

Dennis starts by explaining that our current situation is odd.

The first thing you have to realize… is that it is an artificial environment because of extraordinary government measures, both on the fiscal and monetary side… but our portfolio strategy has to take into account with what is going on with our unit of account, the US dollar.

Read more

Academic Research on Insider Trading

In today’s Barron’s magazine there is an article titled “Keeping One Step Ahead of the News“. The article summarizes an academic study by Nitesh Sinha (University of Illinois at Chicago). Barron’s tagline was:

A provocative new academic study suggests the government should scrutinize options trading for hints of insider trading. Volume seems to arrive before the news does.

The study took researched how the options market behave before “surprise” news came out. They took two incidents involving Baxter International and Bank of America and showed that option volume increased by a factor of more than 500 prior to the news coming out, which was obviously sign of something interesting occurring (if it can be replicated on a larger scale). Generally the SEC seems to go after stock trading rather than the options market for insider trading, but per the authors there are a lot more ways to trade on information in the options market and it is also easier to “short” bad news (just buy a put) when for the cash market you actually need to “short” the stock which is more complex.

It is important to realize that these sorts of researchers actually DO find major items that the SEC misses from time to time; the “options backdating” scandal (where executives chose the most advantageous day where the price was lowest as the date of issuance for their options) was broken by researchers and not the SEC itself. It will be interesting to see if this study can be extended or similar ones launched and how far these investigations go. Unlike the options dating scandal where the companies themselves were charged in this case if you see an strange event like a bump in trading they would have a lot of work to do in order to determine who profited and why and whether or not it was based on insider information.