Washington in August…
DC is a nice town this time of year, despite the high temps and afternoon rain storms. Most of the hot air leaves (when Congress goes), roads are less congested, stores and restaurants easier to access, and a pleasant calmness settles over a city that most of the year never is too calm. (For you regular Wash Post readers, I penned these lines two days before Kathleen Parker wrote some of the same in her Sunday op-ed piece, which also discussed her recent medical setbacks.)
Nothing major shaking here on the GSE scene—or behind it contrary to what some suggest (see below)—occasionally a positive comment here an article there. The F&F world remains, all about the HERA and Third Amendment court cases.
I Just Disagree (Gently) and Told Him So….
Quote from Tim Howard 717’s Blog (segment from lead blog piece, as of 8-15-2015):
“I apologize for the delay between posts, but critical developments continue at a rapid pace. On virtually every front of this war, we continue to make great gains. President Obama is facing increasing pressure to do the right thing, I have heard whispers that fractures are developing within the high command. Some of our most powerful hidden allies are prepared to take matters into their own hands if he refuses to take the actions necessary to save Fannie and Freddie from destruction.”
The tone and substance of the above is one of the reasons I shared my “concern,” last week, with “Tim Howard 717,” the author who is the most ardent/prolific advocate, still suggesting powerful ‘inside the Beltway” forces are clashing--behind the scenes--that soon will produce an Obama free-the- GSEs act which lets F&F get more market responsive and keep some/all of their earnings.
“Tim Howard 717,” eons ago, adopted that nom de guerre—without seeking (and still hasn’t sought) its rightful GSE owner’s permission. The owner—in this side bar issue--is Fannie Mae’s former longtime CFO and my colleague and friend, J. Timothy Howard.
Apparently, the ersatz “Tim” wanted to enhance the receptivity for his GSE commentary, so he expropriated a name he thought could accomplish that—and never has given it up—I am sure there is some self-fulfilling success to his choice, since he now oversees a very often visited F&F blog.
His poor judgment in trafficking in someone else’s name is one thing but, what bothers me most is repeating the meme about an Admin poised to do a GSE-180. It’s cruel.
Large numbers of 717’s readers self-identify as F&F common or preferred stock shareholders. When he regularly makes the above questionable claim, he is telling his F&F investing posters, who are metaphorically thirsty, “There is an accessible cool bubbly brook—and $20 to $50 per share price--right over this hill.” Maybe, but....
TH717 never identifies the sources for his “it’s coming” stories, but that doesn’t stop him confidentially feeding his readers—who are hard core and possibly a bit politically naïve--a hope for something which may never happen, telling them some variation of “the truth will prevail.”
Unfortunately for those of us who want/hope the truth to win out, federal judges/courts don’t always see the world the way plaintiffs suing the government do, no matter how much common sense the plaintiffs and their attorneys provide.
Last week, I told the guy still camouflaging with “real Tim’s” name, I have been unable to find any DC evidence of what he purports to be imminent.
While that may suggest his intelligence network is better than mine, I see NOTHING that would substantiate this Administration suddenly reversing field, since it has bad mouthed Fannie and Freddie from its earliest days--not just occasionally but consistent heavy duty blasting, in multiple congressional hearings and public speeches. (Caveat: Except of course this WH feigned, “He worked at Fannie?”, when President Obama dipped into the deep Fannie talent pool for a National Security Advisor.)
Now if TH717’s suggestion--of a coming momentous GSE turnabout decision--is a reflection of this Administration quaking in its boots because of events in Judge Margaret Sweeney’s court or even developments with the appeal of the original specious Judge Royce Lamberth decision--given the normal snails’ pace of legal action and the multiple appeals still available to the WH (all of which eat the clock)—I submit the b-baller in President Obama, or his AG Loretta Lynch, just has to run a delaying “four corners offense” through next year’s elections until BHO’s successor is sworn in on January 20, 2017.
It’s not that far away and that kicks the GSE can down the road for another president and Congress.
That is less humbling for Obama than giving up now, even though “release, recap, and return” is more honest, bold, forthright, pro-middle class, and legacy building, than jumping because Uncle Sam’s ass—and the Obama Admin’s--may get kicked in one court.
But, until the first federal judge makes a pro-plaintiff decision, GSE advocates will have to exist on hopes and rumors (speculations found in several GSE blogs, not just 717’s) and pray the Congress doesn’t screw up too much of the F&F operational side with blatant legislative interference.
The Positive TH717 News
I read 717’s blog regularly. He often details provocative things; has some very bright, GSE- aware posters (far more than write into my blog), who offer riveting items, many of whom post as “anonymous,” so I can’t follow exactly who is offering what sage like advice. But, the dialogue is fascinating.
Other blogs I follow are GSE Links, Investors Unite, the GSE blog on Google, which some posters call “PBJ,” Investors Hub, Fannie Mae Shareholders, and more.
They all contain insight and value for me. There are very few websites where F&F-smart people congregate, who believe in the GSEs as institutions, support their historic housing mission success, and follow their fate.
I don’t think my blog contains too much hype, beyond my admitted cynicism. I try and source most everything I discuss or tie it to events/activities others, independently, can review and then decide for themselves.
If it turns out that 717 is correct and Barack Obama flips, I’ll be the first to offer “mea culpa,” apologize to him for my doubts, and cheer the results.
But, until that time, I just don’t believe.
(Note: Sources on 717’s site—not the author--seem worked up over some, unidentified, major GSE event they believe is happening today, Monday, 8-17, when my blog publishes. He professes no knowledge of same and doesn’t seem to sign on.)
A Coming Departure?
Oddlot Prediction: Remember where you heard it first. It seems to me only a matter of time before Fannie CEO Tim Mayopoulus bids good bye to the enterprise. Mel Watt’s increased salary decision got started with TM’s desire to earn additional compensation and the HBC’s Ed Royce (R-Cal.) legislation re-buffed that and him. I am betting Mayopoulus—who has impressed observers--will be in great demand and soon will go elsewhere to earn what he believes he is worth.
Hold the calls. This is my opinion and I have no knowledge from TM—whom I’ve never met--or his associates that he is packing his Fannie Mae professional bags.
Another Big Bank Business Perversion
Latest big bank travesty. Citizens Bank—Rhode Island headquartered and the 13th largest US bank by assets--will pay a $35 million fine for failing to credit the proper amount to checking/savings accounts when the customer provided a lower figure than they actually gave the bank employee, holding on to those excess dollars and pennies . That’s major nickel and dime poop, BS, but it happened.
How hard can that be for banking institutions?
It’s also a good reminder, no matter how much you like your favorite bank, large or small, always carefully check all of your transactions (credit card bills, too). The institutions make mistakes, sometimes intentionally.
What Others Are Saying
Former Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.)—newly minted head of “United against Nuclear Iran” (UANI) argues why Congress should reject the Obama Iran deal.
“If I were a carpenter and you…,” the NYT’s Tom Friedman looks at how different Israelis might look at the Iran deal.
Which Senators still are available to support President Obama on the Iran deal?
Kissing Trump’s Gluteus Maximus!
Huff Post on Roger Ailes’ “Megyn who?” actions.
I’m not from Iowa or New Hampshire, but I am rooting for you Donald to get the GOP nod!!
Maureen Dowd takes her foot from ck long enough to oloto sup with the Donald>HRC’s neck long enough to sup with the Donald.
Trouble in Bernie-land?
Wells Fargo Hires ex-Warner Aide to Lobby
The best part of this story is the post article comments and the fact that Wells had one of the worst low-income housing records of all the big banks. So, are they hoping this new lobbyist will help them match or exceed that infamy?
Bloomberg’s Al Hunt offers a sober and non-sensational view of the US economy.
The Hill Soldiers On