Securities Attorney Briefing 17 October 2016

Securities Attorney Tom Krebs


Iraq launches Mosul offensive to drive out Islamic State

Iraqi government forces launched a U.S.-backed offensive on Monday to drive Islamic State from the  northern city of Mosul, a high-stakes battle to retake the militants’ last major stronghold in the country. Two years after the jihadists seized the city of 1.5 million people and declared a caliphate from there encompassing tracts of Iraq and Syria, a force of some 30,000 Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Sunni tribal fighters began to advance. Helicopters released flares and explosions could be heard on the city’s eastern front, where Reuters watched Kurdish fighters move forward to take outlying villages. A U.S.-led air campaign has helped drive Islamic State from much of the territory it held but 4,000 to 8,000 fighters are thought to remain in Mosul. Residents contacted by phone dismissed reports on Arabic television channels of an exodus by the jihadists, who have a history of using human shields and have threatened to unleash chemical weapons. “Daesh are using motorcycles for their patrols to evade air detection, with pillion passengers using binoculars to check out buildings and streets,” said Abu Maher, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State. He and others contacted were preparing makeshift defences and had been stockpiling food in anticipation of the assault, which officials say could take weeks or even months. The residents withheld their full names for security reasons and Reuters was not able to verify their accounts independently. The United States predicted Islamic State would suffer “a lasting defeat” as Iraqi forces mounted their biggest operation in Iraq since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. But the offensive, which has assumed considerable importance for U.S. President Barack Obama as his term draws to a close, is fraught with risks. These include sectarian conflict between Mosul’s mainly Sunni population and advancing Shi’ite forces, and the potential for up to a million people to flee Mosul, multiplying a refugee crisis in the region and across Europe. “We set up a fortified room in the house by putting sandbags to block the only window and we removed everything dangerous or flammable,” Abu Maher said. “I spent almost all my money on buying food, baby milk and anything we might need.” Qatar-based al-Jazeera television aired video of what it said was a bombardment of Mosul that started after a speech by Prime Minister Haider Abadi, showing rockets and bursts of tracer bullets across the night sky and loud sounds of gunfire. “I announce today the start of the heroic operations to free you from the terror and oppression of Daesh,” Abadi said on state TV. “We will meet soon on the ground in Mosul to celebrate liberation and your salvation,” he said, surrounded by commanders of the armed forces.

Big Winner From London’s Brexit Exodus Isn’t Even in Europe

The ultimate winner if Brexit forces banks to flee London may lie 3,500 miles away, far beyond the borders of Europe. New York, even more than Frankfurt or Paris, is emerging as a top candidate to lure banking talent if London’s finance industry is damaged by Britain’s divorce from the European Union, according to politicians and industry executives. That’s because the largest U.S. city, rather than European finance hubs, is the place that rivals the depth of markets, breadth of expertise or regulatory appeal boasted by London. Continental Europe will win some bank operations to satisfy regional rules ensure time-zone-friendly access to its market, but more may eventually shift across the Atlantic to the only other one-stop shop for business. “There is no way in the EU there is a center with the infrastructure or regulatory infrastructure to take the role London has,” particularly in capital markets, John Nelson, chairman of Lloyd’s of London, said in an interview. “There is only one city in the world that can, and that is New York.” For many global investment banks, London is their largest or second-biggest headquarters. If the benefits of scale are diminished by having to move roles to Europe, banks may look to shrink their London operations even further by moving any workers able to do their job just as well from a different time zone, including global-facing roles in merger advisory, trading and back-office technology and finance. More:

Iraqi Forces Attack Mosul, a Beleaguered Stronghold for ISIS

ERBIL, Iraq — Mosul’s residents are hoarding food and furtively scrawling resistance slogans on walls, while the city’s Islamic State rulers have feverishly expanded their underground tunnel network and tried to dodge American drones. After months of maneuvering, the Iraqi government’s battle to reclaim Mosul, the sprawling city whose million-plus population lent the most credence to the Islamic State’s claim to rule a fledgling nation, has finally begun. In the early hours Monday, an announcement by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of the campaign’s opening was accompanied by artillery barrages and a rush of armored vehicles toward the front a few miles from the city’s limits. Those forces will fight to enter a city where for weeks the harsh authoritarian rule of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, has sought to crack down on a population eager to either escape or rebel, according to interviews with roughly three dozen people from Mosul. Among them were refugees who managed to sneak out in recent weeks and residents reached by contraband cellphones in the city. Just getting out of Mosul had become difficult and dangerous: Those who were caught faced million-dinar fines, unless they were former members of the Iraqi Army or police, in which case the punishment was beheading. More:

21 Chibok Schoolgirls, Reuniting With Parents, Tell of Boko Haram Slavery

ABUJA, Nigeria — They were taken deep into the Sambisa Forest to Boko Haram’s stronghold, where the more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok were offered a choice: Join the militants or become their slaves. About half of them chose to join and marry the fighters and were taken away, never to be heard from. Those who refused endured more than two years of servitude, washing, fetching water and cooking for Boko Haram. The girls, nearly all of them Christians, lived in grass huts and were forced to convert to Islam. At first they ate rice and maize. But then food became scarce. During their captivity in the forest, a few of them died. These were the stories that parents of the schoolgirls from Chibok heard Sunday from 21 girls released last week after the Nigerian government negotiated their freedom. The parents of the freed girls, as well as parents of girls still held captive, were bused to the nation’s capital for a joyful reunion ceremony at a hospital run by the country’s secret police service. Videos of the ceremony showed reunited families hopping up and down together in celebration, singing Christian songs of praise. “I felt like it was the day that I born her into this world,” said Ruth Markus, the mother of Saratu Markus, one of the freed girls. “I danced and danced and danced.” The girls are in the custody of the secret police, and they are receiving medical and psychological care, government officials said. They were scheduled to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday. Mr. Buhari, who took office a year ago, had pledged during his campaign to find the girls. Officials have said they expect more girls to be released soon. As many as 276 girls were taken in April 2014 when members of Boko Haram stormed their boarding school during exam week. About 50 escaped in the initial days after the abduction, but before last week only one had been found since: Amina Ali, who was discovered this year roaming in the forest with a baby. Boko Haram fighters have captured and killed large groups of other schoolchildren, but the kidnapping of the students from Chibok caught the world’s attention, fueled by a #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign. More:

Meet Matteo Renzi — the Justin Trudeau of Italy and the Obamas’ final state dinner honoree

On Tuesday, the president and first lady will welcome Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to the White House for what is likely to be the last state dinner of the Obama administration. It’s bound to be a big, glittery affair: Celebrity chef Mario Batali will be in the kitchen, and singer Gwen Stefani will perform after dinner.  At the center of it all: Renzi, 41, the youngest prime minister since Italy became a unified nation in 1861. Haven’t heard of him? You should — he’s charismatic, ambitious and a master of social media. Here’s everything you need to know about one of Europe’s rising stars:  Nickname: Renzi is known as “Il Rottamatore,” which translates roughly as “the Scrapper” or the “Demolition Man,” for his willingness to toss old programs and policies on the trash heap. He’s bold, impatient and not afraid to make enemies to move his country forward. “It’s when I have everyone against me,” he told Vogue in an interview this month, “that’s when I have the most fun.” Renzi has been compared to both Machiavelli and “House of Cards” president Francis Underwood. The Florentine Machiavelli, he told students last year, has a bad rap: He was actually a great leader in Italian history. Underwood, on the other hand, is an exaggerated fictional character. President Obama, for one, is a fan. “I have been very impressed with the energy and the vision and the reforms that he is pursuing to unleash the potential of the Italian people and the Italian economy,” he said after a White House meeting with Renzi last year. “His willingness to challenge the status quo and to look to the future has made him a leading voice in Europe.” How he got the job: Renzi wasn’t elected to his current role. He became prime minister in February 2014 after a bloodless internal coup in his party. He rose through the ranks of Italy’s Democratic Party, a center-left coalition, and was elected secretary three years ago. Not long after, he pressured the sitting prime minister — unpopular and politically weak — to resign so that Renzi could create a new government. His cabinet, the youngest in Italy’s history, has an equal number of male and female ministers.–the-justin-trudeau-of-italy-and-the-obamas-final-state-dinner-honoree/2016/10/14/f69ba2b0-9227-11e6-9c52-0b10449e33c4_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-lifestyle%3Ahomepage%2Fcard


Customers pile in, analysts fret as U.S. banks offer rich card awards

Morrie Low, a 27-year-old Seattle cocktail server, has found an unlikely new source of pleasure: credit card companies. After working off card balances he built up during college, Low started collecting new cards in May specifically to reap the increasingly lucrative travel awards banks are offering to encourage spending on their cards. In August, Low snagged a new Sapphire Reserve card, from JPMorgan Chase & Co, which has become a magnet for millennials willing to pay the $450 annual fee for a sign-up bonus worth as much as $1,500 in travel, plus $300 in annual spending credits and more freebies. Now Low is planning a trip to Germany with his girlfriend on JPMorgan’s dime. “I have never been to Europe, so that is something pretty cool about this hobby,” he said. The Reserve card opens up a new front in the war among banks to build up their lucrative credit card businesses. While it may be fun for customers, investors and analysts worry that battle will eat away the fat profit margins that made the sector so attractive to banks in the first place. “You have five or six big national players and they are going around killing one another,” said Chris Kotowski, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. More:

Lack of new blood casts doubt over Wells Fargo’s change plan

Wells Fargo & Co’s decision not to introduce new names onto its board or into the ranks of its senior management in the wake of a sales scandal has raised questions about whether it can truly fix the culture which caused its problems. The United States’ third-largest bank by assets has been plunged into crisis by revelations that its branch staff created as many as 2 million accounts without customers’ knowledge in order to meet internal sales targets. John Stumpf, the bank’s chairman and chief executive, left last week in response to a public outcry and the bank put Tim Sloan, a 29-year Wells Fargo veteran and Stumpf’s heir apparent, into the CEO role. Once viewed as an unambiguous asset, Sloan’s long tenure at the bank is now prompting questions about whether he has the necessary critical distance to overhaul an aggressive sales culture that allowed the misconduct to fester for years. “There’s something wrong with Wells on a cultural basis and you’d think they’d need to bring in an outsider to fix it,” said Paul Miller, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets. Wells Fargo declined comment. The San Francisco-based bank has long had a reputation as a place where a tight-knit group of senior managers worked together to deliver industry-leading returns. But the recent episode has made the closeness of top executives look like a handicap. During Sloan’s first earnings call last week, Miller asked him whether the bank would bring an outsider into its executive leadership ranks. “It’s a fair question and one we’ve been getting asked,” the new CEO replied. However, Sloan said that following recent changes, the board “is comfortable with and very supportive of the management team.” More:

Puerto Rico’s Governor Warns of Fiscal ‘Death Spiral’

Reach for your wallets. It is going to be expensive to pull America’s largest territory out of its death spiral, Puerto Rico’s outgoing governor warned the island’s new federal oversight board on Friday. Even if Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents keep tightening their belts, and even if the creditors who lent it $74 billion agree to less than full repayment, the island will still “need the assistance of the federal government to bring this economic and humanitarian crisis to an end,” said Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, addressing the panel that the Obama administration set up to handle the territory’s staggering debt. He urged the board’s seven members to join him “in one voice before Congress” to seek help. Twenty floors below the room in Lower Manhattan where the governor made his remarks, protesters chanted their opposition to colonialism — which is how they view the power that the panel holds to make decisions about Puerto Rico’s future. It was the first substantive meeting of the board, known in Spanish as the junta, the Spanish word for political group, that Congress created this year to direct Puerto Rico’s financial affairs. The group is similar to the control boards that have led other distressed American jurisdictions, like New York City in the mid-1970s. But because of heightened sensitivities about Puerto Rico’s colonial history, Congress gave Puerto Rico’s governor, and not the board, the authority to draft the 10-year fiscal plan that will become the basic road map for moving Puerto Rico out of its financial troubles. Most of Friday’s meeting was devoted to the governor’s delivery of his fiscal plan and questions from the board. Next, the board will review the plan and decide whether amendments are needed. More:

The drug industry’s answer to opioid addiction: More pills

Cancer patients taking high doses of opioid painkillers are often afflicted by a new discomfort:  constipation. Researcher Jonathan Moss thought he could help, but no drug company was interested in his ideas for relieving suffering among the dying. So Moss and his colleagues pieced together small grants and, in 1997, received permission to test their treatment. But not on cancer patients. Federal regulators urged them to use a less frail — and by then, rapidly expanding — group: addicts caught in the throes of a nationwide opioid epidemic. Suddenly, Moss said, investors were knocking at his door.

“As clinicians, we wanted to help palliative patients,” said Moss, a professor and physician at University of Chicago Medicine. “The company that bought our work saw a broader market.” Today, Moss’s side project is hailed as the next billion-dollar drug. And the once-disinterested pharmaceutical industry is bombarding doctors and the public with information about a serious, if previously unrecognized, condition common among the millions of Americans who take prescription painkillers. They call it “opioid-induced constipation,” or “OIC.” The story of OIC illuminates the opportunism of pharmaceutical innovators and the consequences of a heavily drug-dependent society. Six in 10 American adults take prescription drugs, creating a vast market for new meds to treat the side effects of the old ones. Opioid prescriptions alone have skyrocketed from 112 million in 1992 to nearly 249 million in 2015, the latest year for which numbers are available, and America’s dependence on the drugs has reached crisis levels. Millions are addicted to or abusing prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that, from 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people died in the United States from prescription-opioid overdoses, which have contributed to a startling increase in early mortality among whites, particularly women — a devastating toll that has hit hardest in small towns and rural areas. More:

Wall Street Is Starting to Talk About a Big Democratic Sweep in November

With Clinton strengthening her lead on Trump, Wall Street strategists are wondering if a Democratic sweep is a possibility in D.C. next month. Markets have performed very well under the gridlock of the last several years, so theoretically a sweep by one party or another could disturb that status quo.

A note out from Morgan Stanley this morning sheds more light on what Wall Street is now expecting come November. Throughout the election cycle, they had by and large predicted that Clinton would win the presidency, but fail to gain control of both chambers of Congress. They also expected that if Trump were to pull off an upset, he could see a Republican sweep, leading to the prospect of less gridlock in D.C. In recent weeks, however, Clinton’s gains have led some to ask if a win by her would also be able to see a Democratic sweep. The team at Morgan Stanley, led by Michael Zezas, says not so fast.

“To date, the biggest risk to our ‘policy incrementalism’ view had been a Republican sweep of the White House and both houses of Congress,” they write. “With Trump’s chances fading, and Clinton’s lead growing, the ‘Democratic Sweep’ now carries greater, albeit still small, odds, raising the prospects for increased infrastructure spending and for heavier regulation of the financial and pharma sectors,” they said, adding that while they don’t expect to see a big comeback in Trump’s polling numbers between now and November 8, they also don’t expect them to fall much further. More:

Trump’s son-in-law discussing post-election Trump TV network

Donald Trump‘s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has reportedly contacted a top dealmaker in the media industry within the past couple of months about creating a Trump television network, the Financial Times reported. Kushner and Aryeh Bourkoff, the founder and chief executive of LionTree, a boutique investment ban, reportedly had a short conversation regarding the possibility of setting up a Trump television network following the presidential election. But there have been no other developments.

Vanity Fair in June reported the GOP nominee was mulling the idea of creating a cable channel as his personal media company. The publication said Trump had talked about a “mini-media conglomerate” for the “audience” after his presidential campaign. The Republican nominee has since said he has “no interest in a media company.” He called the prospect a “false rumor” in an interview last month with The Washington Post. Trump often rails on the media’s coverage of his campaign. In recent days, he has argued the media, in connection with Hillary Clinton‘s campaign, is rigging the election.

When Trump goes looking for a media brawl, this feared lawyer steps in

When Donald Trump has needed a legal brawler, he has often turned to Marc Kasowitz, a hard-edged Manhattan attorney whose website cites a description of him as one of the most “feared lawyers in the United States.” Kasowitz fits into the long-running pattern of Trump pursuing confrontational legal strategies and embracing tough allies, including the late attorney Roy Cohn, who Trump said earlier this year “could be a nasty guy” as he helped the businessman’s real estate empire grow in Manhattan.

Last week, when the New York Times wrote about women’s claims of sexual assault by Trump, Kasowitz sent a letter demanding “a full and immediate retraction and apology.” Two weeks earlier, when the Times released three pages of Trump’s 1995 income tax returns, Kasowitz sent a letter threatening “prompt initiation of appropriate legal action.” Years before that, Kasowitz helped lead Trump’s losing battle against an author who cited sources claiming Trump was not a billionaire. “It’s a trench fight with them. It’s just brutal stuff,” said Roddy Boyd, a former New York Post and Fortune reporter who covered Kasowitz’s cases a decade ago. Boyd says he personally was threatened by Kasowitz with a suit over his reporting on two companies the attorney represented. Kasowitz’s firm also subpoenaed Boyd to obtain his hard drive and notes he had taken while reporting on a third company, Boyd said, adding the subpoena was rejected in court in 2011. Kasowitz did not respond to requests for comment, and Trump was not made available for comment. In 2004, Trump told the magazine the American Lawyer that members of Kasowitz’s law firm were “not good lawyers, they’re phenomenal lawyers.” More:

A Funny Thing May Happen on Way to Trump-Clinton Thursday Roast

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will attempt the improbable, if not the impossible Thursday night: to act civilly and good-naturedly rib each other at New York’s annual Al Smith charity dinner. The dinner, named after the state’s 42nd governor and the first Catholic U.S. presidential candidate, includes the Democratic and Republican White House nominees almost every four years. Smith became known as “The Happy Warrior” for his friendly style of political combat and for pushing some of the state’s early worker-protection and child-welfare laws. Now the ecumenical goodwill that has characterized past dinners may be in doubt amid an election season marred by hostility, personal attacks and sex-scandal accusations. The event will occur just 24 hours after the campaign’s third and final debate. Trump has declared his intention to wage a “scorched Earth” strategy in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election, and Clinton, citing Trump’s remark, accused him of engaging in a “hateful, divisive campaign.” “We’re all craving some level of decency,” said foundation board member Maureen Sherry, a former Bear Stearns Cos. managing director and author of “Opening Belle,” about sexism on Wall Street. “Whoever will prevail on that evening will be the one who can take the higher road.” As has been the custom over the dinner’s 71-year history, the audience inside the Waldorf Astoria ballroom will include about 1,500 in white-tie formal attire. They have paid $3,000 to $15,000 per person, raising about $5 million for Catholic charities providing services to impoverished New York children, said Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for New York’s archdiocese.

The state’s top elected officials will attend, as will Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Zwilling said he didn’t know whether Dolan would be placed between the two candidates, as has been the practice in some past years. Sherry, an independent who said she isn’t voting for either major candidate, said Trump may use his appearance before the cardinal to remind the group of last week’s WikiLeaks disclosure, in which Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, said that for some the Catholic faith is “the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion.” “If I was writing his speech that would be an obvious dig,” Sherry said. “But again, we’re hoping for the high road.” More:

WATCH: Here’s the fake-debate “SNL” skit that caused Donald Trump to melt down in real life


Lawyer: Three of suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore’s law clerks fired

The clearing of vestiges of suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore’s tenure on the Alabama Supreme Court included the firings of three of his clerks, according to Moore’s attorney. Moore’s head law clerk and two other law clerks were fired by acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart and Justice Michael Bolin, according to a statement from Mat Staver, of the legal group Liberty Counsel which represents Moore. The firings followed Stuart’s request in an Oct. 10 letter asking Moore to arrange for the removal of his personal effects from his office and to return his keys to the state’s Judicial Building on or before Oct. 18.

Moore is appealing his suspension without pay for the rest of his term by the Alabama Court of Judiciary. The COJ found he violated canons of judicial ethics for a Jan. 6 administrative order he issued to the state’s probate judges. The COJ found that Moore’s order tried to get the probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court and refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses. “This is outrageous,” Staver stated Friday of the firings and order to remove personal effects. “The appeal is pending but these justices are acting as if the case is over.” The actions were taken despite Moore’s pending motion for the recusal of four Alabama Supreme Court justices and three former justices from hearing the appeal of his suspension, Staver stated. “The hostile treatment of Chief Justice Moore, the demand he remove his personal effects, and the abrupt termination of his three law clerks (who had been temporarily reassigned to other justices) is unseemly,” Staver stated. “The case is still pending, yet these justices make it appear like they have already decided against Chief Justice Moore.” Moore last week again defended his administrative order to probate judges in an interview with television station WSFA in Montgomery.

“It came on a legal order, and I will stand by this order till I hear one judge tell me which paragraph in this order is illegal, immoral, or unethical, they can’t do it,” Roy Moore said told the television station.

Bentley-Mason Rendezvous is “Backstory” to Latest Document Leak

MONTGOMERY—Under the guise of cooperation, Gov. Robert Bentley’s office released a second round of internal documents to the House of Representative’s Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary is looking into the possibility of impeaching the Governor. Portions of these documents, like the first batch turned over to the committee earlier this month, have been selectively leaked to media outlets in an attempt to shift the investigation and public attention away from Bentley and on to Alabama’s former top cop, Spencer Collier. The latest round of accusations shows Collier supposedly asking Bentley’s then-body-man Ray Lewis to delete or alter log-in sheets at the Governor’s mansion. Sign-in/sign-out logs are kept at the Governor’s mansion, as well as at the Blount Estate and beach property, as one of the security protocol’s to ensure the Governor’s safety. Out of over 10,000 pages Bentley’s office say were turned over to the committee, at least 61 pages were secreted away in a scheme staffer’s link to the Governor’s alleged mistress, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Last week, Huntsville’s WHNT19 reported ALEA staffer, Ashley Cook, stated, “[Ray] was being asked to delete certain things, and get rid of certain things, mansion logs and different things. Ray said he would not do it. He also said Mrs. Bentley was aware of the logs and that it, and her lawyer was, and that it would not be in the best interest for anybody to do that.” As for the sign-in logs at the Mansion, those with knowledge of the events described by Cook challenge the accuracy of the leaked portions provided to the press. “This is not what happened at all,” said one former trooper. “This all snowballed because Mrs. Bentley looked at the logs on a particular Sunday, and found Mrs. Mason had spent much of the night with the Governor while she was out of town.” Those with direct knowledge of the events surrounding the first “document dump” say Mason hand-selected many of the so-called quotes to paint Collier in an unflattering light and chose which reporters should receive them.

Alabama Supreme Court rejects Shelby DA’s appeal of stand your ground case

The Alabama Supreme Court last week rejected an appeal by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office of a judge’s order tossing out the murder indictment against a former Marine in the shooting death of a mentally unstable woman. The case was a test of  Alabama’s stand your ground law. In a decision with no opinion, the Alabama Supreme Court on Friday refused to review the case of Demetrius R. Watson, of Calera. Watson’s attorney, Richard Jaffe, issued a statement after Friday’s decision by the Supreme Court. “Richard Jaffe and Brett Knight of the Birmingham, Alabama law firm of Jaffe, Hanle, Whisonant & Knight have maintained from the beginning that Demetrius Watson did everything he could not to use his weapon while defending children and elderly family members on his property,” according to a statement from Jaffe. “Even the warning shot he fired did not stop the threats on his life while being attacked.”

Shelby County District Attorney officials did not respond to requests for comment and whether they could continue the appeals. More:

How Siri Became a Southern Belle

I was late coming to the iPhone party. Several years ago, my husband and I were taking a drive when my old phone, a Droid, passed away. Suddenly, it started barking, “Droid! Droid! Droid!” over and over again. We couldn’t figure out how to make it stop, so we pulled over and put it in the trunk till it finally talked itself to death. The minute we got home, I splurged on an iPhone with Siri, the talking iPhone assistant who, I was told, could take dictation and free me from typing text messages. (In order for me to type swiftly on that flat surface, I would need an iPhone the size of my turkey platter.) My first dictated message went something like this: “Well, I finally got an iPhone!” Siri heard: “Whale, I finally got an iPhone.” Later I tried: “Just wanted to see how y’all are.” Siri heard: “Just wanted to see how are you out there.” Bless her heart, she couldn’t even get the text address right. Siri asked: “To whom shall I send it?” I replied: “Jerry White.” [Awkward silence] [More awkward silence]  Finally, Siri said: “I do not understand Ferierai.” At the time, I was a frequent blogger, so I posted an open letter to the good people at Apple, whose work I have long admired:   Dear Apple, Before your next upgrade to the iPhone, please help Siri get her Southern on. Send her to an SEC game, a crawfish boil, and maybe a cotillion. Feed that girl some catfish and fried green tomatoes, for heaven’s sake. In all honesty, we think she would be happier with a Southern name like Lillian or Annabelle or maybe something double like Celia June. And tell her it’s a little rude to rush right in there and ask why we’re pestering her. She should start by asking about the family and inquiring as to our health—maybe swap a couple of recipes. It’s not just our own convenience we’re concerned about. It’s Siri’s well-being. Don’t you want the Charleston Junior League to think she was raised right? She’ll never pass for a Kappa without a little more polish. Sincerely, A Misunderstood Customer in Alabama.  Now here I am, two upgrades later, and I am amazed at the progress Siri has made. Sure, it’s possible that her newfound Southern-ese is just a byproduct of more advanced technology. On the other hand, maybe she spent a semester at Ole Miss. (I wonder if she went out for cheerleader?) The important thing is that she can understand “y’all” now. And the all-important “Mama.” Granted, our girl still struggles a bit with “fixin’ to.” And she occasionally gets completely stumped by the Southern word for “my mother and her close extended family,” also known as  “Mama ’n ’em.” (Baby steps.) But over all, Siri is dangerously close to being ready to hold her own at a Rush party. (She’s not quite ready for the homecoming court, but it’s just a matter of time before she achieves pageant hair.)


Nostalgia for the Grace of George H.W. Bush

The suggestion, the vice president told his 1988 campaign diary, was “strange and unbelievable.”  twenty-eight years ago, George H. W. Bush, fresh from securing the Republican presidential nomination to succeed Ronald Reagan, was about to choose a running mate of his own. His campaign manager, Lee Atwater, always on the lookout for the unconventional and the unexpected, had apparently had informal talks with Donald J. Trump, the New York developer. Mr. Trump, Mr. Atwater told his boss, was willing to be considered for the second spot on the Republican ticket. Mr. Bush found the thought outlandish and, after reporting the conversation in his diary, promptly forgot about it. Now, nearly three decades later, much of America, like the George Bush of 1988, finds the possibility of a Trump administration “strange and unbelievable.” Unlike Mr. Bush, however, we don’t have the luxury of being able to put the New York mogul out of mind. Of all of 2016’s many madnesses, large and small, one stands out for the historically minded: In the relatively short span of a quarter century, the Republican Party has veered so far out of its usual lane that George H. W. Bush has privately said that he will be voting for the wife of the man who dispatched him from the White House — the 92-year-old’s first-ever vote for a Democratic nominee.

It’s worth recalling that the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, was relatively stable and sane as recently as two decades ago. As Henry Adams once remarked of the movement from Washington to Grant, the journey from George H. W. Bush to Donald J. Trump disproves Darwin. More:

14 amendments? Sorting through the sneakery

There’s one solid rule when it comes to amending Alabama’s impenetrable constitution:  If in doubt, say no. In November, voters will be asked to approve 14 confusing and debatable amendments, which is like adding 14 more ineffectual chapters to War and Peace. Ours is the longest constitution in America and probably the world, a dodgy document from the start, convoluted and confused by so many absurd amendments that nobody anywhere is a genuine expert on all it says. These 14 would push the number of amendments to Alabama’s constitution above 900 – or 34 times as many amendments as the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution has its bill of rights. Alabama’s is a bill of goods. So my default is no. If there is a shred of doubt about an amendment, just say no.

Amendment 1, changing the way Auburn University Trustees rotate off the board. Perhaps it’s an innocuous housekeeping. Or perhaps it’s a way to keep Trustee Jimmy Rane or someone else on the board just a tad longer. Not today.

Amendment 2 would ban shifting state park money to other uses, and would let parks uses private companies for some park operations. I’m a fan of keeping park money in the parks, but if the privatization language makes your squeamish, default to doubt.

Amendment 3, changing the way local constitutional amendments are voted on. If the Legislature unanimously agrees, a local amendment would only be voted on by the county in question. It speaks to the absurdity of the constitution, but cleans up the ballot and clears some of our constitutional nuisances. It’s a yes.

Amendment 4 would give a little more home rule to county commissions. If you think the best government is the most local, this one is a yes.

Amendment 5 would reorganize sections of the Alabama Constitution that address Alabama separation of powers, purportedly not changing the substance of those powers. So why? Why why why? It’s a no.

Amendment 6 would clarify a two-thirds vote of the Alabama Senate to impeach a state official. They ought to be clarifying this one in a year when they are not trying to impeach a governor. Unless this is a referendum on the future of Robert Bentley.

Amendment 7 is local to Etowah County, which is one of the stupid things about Alabama’s constitution. If you don’t live in Etowah County, just butt out and don’t vote on it.

Alabama is already a “right to work” state, meaning employees can’t be forced to join a union. Amendment 8 would “enshrine” that in the state constitution. Because we need more enshrining. No.

Amendment 9 would let judges in Pickens County be appointed until the age of 75. Which makes the spider sense tingle enough to say no. But if you aren’t from Pickens County, stay out of it.

Amendment 10 is local to Calhoun County. If you ain’t from around there, don’t meddle.

Amendment 11 would immortalize and incentivize manufacturing zones for business recruitment, which have no business in a constitution. No.

Amendment 12 would set up a governing body to oversee Baldwin County toll roads. Again, if you live in Baldwin make your pick. If you don’t, skip it.

Amendment 13 would remove age restrictions and ban future age restrictions for government officials, except for judges. Oh hell no.

And Amendment 14 would guarantee that bills passed in questionable circumstances under Budget Isolation Resolution would remain in effect, rather than face possible court challenge. You might as well call it the “we-play-by-our-own-rules-and-we-make-’em-up-as-we-go-along amendment. No, on 14, even if it could allow challenge on 600 local bills. The bill that spawned this amendment, after all, could create a slush fund for Jefferson County legislators.

If they have to follow the rules of the constitution in the first place, maybe they will see a need for a new one.

Morning Money

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2017 — If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, as seems likely, she will have a challenging time corralling a liberal wing that wants to block trade deals and ostracize the party’s corporate wing. Getting anything done on business taxes will be hard. We have more on how the left is feeling about Clinton these days below. But she may face even tougher sledding among Republicans, who at this point seem likely to hold onto power in the House and possibly the Senate as well.

MM spoke to the University of Chicago’s Austan Goolsbee, who served as a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama about the challenge ahead as the GOP navigates a post-Trump world. “I think the Trump experience has deeply scarred the GOP. They kind of can’t be for anything because they don’t fully understand who their electorate is and you see that play out on trade agreements where Republicans used to provide two-thirds of the votes. …

“A lot of mainstream Republicans are no longer for mainstream Republican views because they don’t know what their electorate is for. That’s going to be a much bigger problem for her. There’s actually a lot of common ground between the Elizabeth Warren people and the Clinton people … I think the hard part is going to be finding any of cadre of Republicans to go for anything even if it’s totally reasonable.”

WHAT WALL STREET WANTS — MM spoke with one of the top banking lobbyists in Washington late last week. No, the industry doesn’t expect Wall Street names to run Cabinet agencies or for Clinton to roll back Dodd-Frank. They just hope she puts some people in the West Wing and around the government that have some experience in the business world: “The idea that you would have no one with industry experience at Treasury or the Fed on in the Cabinet is such horrible public policy. Should we have no doctors at NIH? No ranchers at the Agriculture Department? No one who ever built a rocket at NASA?

“You need a blend of people at every cabinet agency. … If we hadn’t had people with industry experience dealing with the financial crisis our response would have been much worse. … Just because you have industry experience doesn’t mean you are going to carry their water. Just look at Gary Gensler.”

HACKED EMAILS GIVE LEFT HOPE ON HILLARY — POLITICO’s Zachary Warmbrodt and Ben White: “While Hillary Clinton comes off as cozy with Wall Street bankers in emails released by WikiLeaks, there’s one group that sees potentially positive signs in the hacked messages: progressives. Some of those who have been pushing hardest for a crackdown on corporate excess say many of the emails underscore how she’s trying to wrestle with liberals’ demands and come to grips with the growing populist sentiment in the Democratic Party.

“There are numerous examples of the campaign trying to figure out where it stands in relation to Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders … And at times, Clinton’s attempts at a leftward shift caused some in the finance industry to feel shunned by the former New York senator. ‘The campaign was clearly evolving toward the left in the exact sort of way I imagine Bernie Sanders was seeking to push her,’ said Jeff Hauser, executive director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Revolving Door Project” Read more.

GOLDMAN TRANSCRIPTS HACKED — The hacked emails dumped over the weekend included transcripts of Clinton’s paid Goldman Sachs speeches. And they were just as MM previously reported: pretty soft on Wall Street and often embarrassingly fawning. They were also wonky, detailed and for the most part quite boring. Clinton boasted of her strong relationships with Wall Street, suggested the industry could help with further regulation and expressed openness to revisiting at least parts of Dodd-Frank. These things could have been damaging during the primary against Bernie Sanders. They are mostly a nothing burger now. You can find them here.


A PUTIN COUP ATTEMPT — A smart DC wonk emails: “People are not taking the daily disclosure of hacked emails by Wikileaks seriously enough. This is not mere hacking. This effort is being directed by an enemy of the United States for the purpose of inflicting serious if not lethal political damage to one candidate for the Presidency of the United States. It is a Cyber-coup, the equivalent of days gone by when an enemy would use guns to install a friendly stooge or strongman to take over a government.

“The battleground and weapons may be cyber, but it is just as serious as any other coup: Russia is trying to politically kill Clinton’s presidential prospects and to get Trump elected. Trump and his people know this and are already rewarding Putin and Russia by their favorable statements, including regarding future foreign and defense policy. Everyone regardless of party affiliation should treat this like any other coup attempt attack on the United States.”

ICYMI — The hacked John Podesta emails include one from 2008 in which Mike Froman, then a Citigroup executive and now USTR, emailed lists of potential executive appointments for then-Senator Barack Obama. Many wound up in exactly the office Froman suggested. The email caught fire with both left and right with critics saying it showed undue influence from Citi, which would later receive a massive federal bailout. The email and lists are here.

ASIA SHARES DIP — Reuters: “Asian shares dipped on Monday while the dollar held firm near seven-month high against a basket of major currencies after comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen boosted long-dated U.S. bond yields. … Yellen said on Friday the Fed may need to run a ‘high-pressure’ economy in order to reverse damage from the global financial crisis that depressed output. Her remarks were not addressing immediate policy concerns directly and did not change prevailing view that the Fed is likely to raise interest rates in December.

“Yet speculation that she may prefer to keep easy monetary policy stance for a long time even if inflation exceeds its 2 percent target pushed up long-dated U.S. bonds, with the 30-year bond yield hitting a four-month high of 2.565 percent … As higher U.S. bond yields could attract more foreign investors, they helped the dollar post its largest weekly rise against a basket of six major currencies in more than seven months last week.” Read more.

DRIVING THE WEEK — Final 2016 presidential debate takes place Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. in Las Vegas and will last 90 minutes. Fox News’ Chris Wallace will moderate. Topics will include immigration, entitlements and debt, the Supreme Court, the economy, foreign policy, and each candidate’s fitness to serve as president. … Trump campaigns in Green Bay, Wisc. on Monday … Bernie Sanders and Chelsea Clinton are among the surrogates on the trail for Clinton on Monday. The candidate does not have any appearances scheduled before the debate … Industrial Production at 9:15 a.m. Monday expected to rise 0.2 percent … Consumer prices at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 0.3 percent headline and 0.2 percent core … Index of leading indicators at 10:00 a.m. Thursday expected to rise 0.2 percent … Bank of America reports earnings Monday, Goldman Sachs on Tuesday and Morgan Stanley on Wednesday … China releases GDP figures Wednesday … ECB announces latest policy decision on Thursday.

WHERE THE RACE STANDS NOW — FiveThirtyEight has Clinton’s chance of winning at 86.6 percent. RCP average has Clinton up 5.5 percent. ABC/WP poll out Sunday had Clinton up 4 while NBC/WSJ had her up 11.

CENTRAL BANK BALANCE SHEETS SOAR — Bloomberg: “The world’s biggest central banks are bulking up their balance sheets this year at the fastest pace since 2011’s European debt crisis to boost lackluster economic recoveries with asset purchases that are supporting stock and bond prices. The 10 largest lenders now own assets totaling $21.4 trillion, a 10 percent increase from the end of last year, data collected by Bloomberg show.

“Their combined holdings grew by 3 percent or less in both 2015 and 2014. The accelerating expansion of central banks’ balance sheets comes as debate rages over whether their asset purchases and continued low interest rates are creating bubbles, especially in the bond market. Such quantitative-easing programs are aimed at driving up the prices of the securities they purchase to lower bond yields, encourage investment and boost economic growth.” Read more.

STOCKS HIT BY ANTI-TRADE MOOD — WSJ’s Riva Gold and Georgi Kantchev: “Some big global investors worry that the broad slowdown in world trade and growing populist opposition to new trade agreements are undermining corporate profits and could be the next big drag on the stock market. U.S. equity prices have been supported for the past three decades by an acceleration of global trade and a freer flow of capital. Those lifted economic growth and allowed companies to take advantage of new markets and economies of scale. The S&P 500 is up nearly ninefold since October 1986, according to FactSet.

“But now there is worry that the party is ending. ‘We believe globalization has probably reached its peak,’ said Marino Valensise, head of the multiasset team at Barings, a member of the MassMutual Financial Group with $275 billion in assets under management. ‘The market won’t like it.’” Read more.

PROGRESSIVES PLEASED — Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s call for Mary Jo White to step down as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission is pure red meat for progressives. Jeff Hauser, Director of the Revolving Door Project, comments: “I think White has been building up a record for years that puts her in a position for the most disappointing appointment of the Obama Administration.”

GOP BUILDING FIREBOMBED — NYT’s Liam Stack: “A firebomb tore through the Republican Party headquarters in North Carolina’s Orange County on Saturday night, and graffiti warning its members to flee town was painted on the walls of a neighboring building, the party and police officials said on Sunday.

“The party posted images on Twitter of the damaged building in Hillsborough, N.C., on Sunday afternoon that showed blackened walls, charred couches and burned campaign signs for Donald J. Trump and several local candidates. A window was broken, and a swastika was spray-painted nearby alongside the words ‘Nazi Republicans leave town or else.’” Read more.

BATTLE FOR MOSUL BEGINS — AP’s Adam Schreck: “Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of military operations to liberate the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants early Monday, launching the country on its toughest battle since American troops left nearly five years ago.

“Before the prime minister’s announcement, Brig. Gen Haider Fadhil told The Associated Press in an interview that more than 25,000 troops, including paramilitary forces made up of Sunni tribal fighters and Shiite militias, will take part in the offensive that will be launched from five directions around the city. In addition to carrying out airstrikes, the U.S.-led international coalition will also offer artillery fire, he added.” Read more.

BUYING OFF BREXIT — FT’s George Parker, Martin Arnold and Alex Barker: “Britain would continue to pay billions of pounds into the EU budget after Brexit to maintain cherished single-market access for the City of London and other sectors under plans being discussed by Theresa May’s cabinet.

“To appease Tory Brexiters, ministers are looking at ways to finesse future payments. For example, Britain might make bigger-than-expected contributions to EU security programmes or use the aid budget to fund European projects.” Read more.

CUBAN CIGAR CAPS CUT — Washington Post’s Abha Bhattarai: “The Obama administration on Friday lifted restrictions on how many cigars and bottles of rum Americans can bring back from Cuba, part of continuing efforts to mend more than five decades of strained relations between the nations.

“Under the new rules, which take effect Monday, Americans may bring back up to 100 Cuban cigars, whether purchased in Cuba or other countries, for personal consumption without paying customs taxes.” Read more.

PUERTO RICO PLEADS CASE — POLITICO’S Colin Wilhelm: “Puerto Rico’s governor painted a dire picture of his island’s future Friday, arguing his case in Lower Manhattan before a federal oversight board to allow the island to restructure its debts through a bankruptcy-like proceeding.

“Padilla pressed for congressional action on another significant budget area, health-care spending on Medicare and Medicaid, since federal funding from Obamacare will expire next year.” Read more.

DEFICIT WATCH — Bloomberg’s Saleha Mohsin: “The U.S. budget deficit as a share of the economy widened for the first time in seven years, marking a turning point in the nation’s fiscal outlook as an aging population boosts government spending and debt. ‘The slowdown in tax collections suggests some cooling in labor market activity,’ said Gennadiy Goldberg, a strategist at TD Securities LLC in New York. He sees the higher budget deficits implying more borrowing needs by Treasury.” Read more.

CURRENCY KUMBAYA — WSJ Ian Talley’s: “The U.S. Treasury Department sharply toned down its criticism of China and other Asian export giants in its latest currency report to Congress on Friday, an assessment in stark contrast to the heated election-year rhetoric targeting Beijing’s exchange-rate policy as a central threat to the U.S. economy.

“Treasury said authorities in China, Japan and Korea have resisted the temptation to use their currencies to gain a stronger export advantage, a marked turnaround from recent years and the fruits of a successful global campaign. Preserving a two-decade precedent, no country was named a currency manipulator.” Read more.

ASKTHE BRITS: DON’T SLEEP ON TRUMP — Matthew Goodwin in POLITICO Magazine: “Don’t underestimate the power of nativist populism. That’s the harsh lesson we in Britain learned less than four months ago, when Brexit blew up in our faces and confounded nearly every prediction. It’s one the Austrians and French are learning even now, as they keep counting out (then are forced to count back in) right-wing populist backlashes to the establishment.

“And it’s the lesson that American pundits who are already predicting a comfortable victory for Hillary Clinton over the embattled Donald Trump — if not a historic landslide — should take on board before they start relaxing too much in the next few weeks.” Read more.

FIRST LOOK: GOP CANDIDATE DEFENDS GREENBERG — From statement going out Monday from New York GOP state senator and House candidate Jack Martins: “The New York State Attorney General’s office has hit a new low in its 11-year crusade against Hank Greenberg by trying to use his military service against him. Maurice R. ‘Hank’ Greenberg is an American hero; a highly decorated Army captain who stormed the beaches at Normandy, participated in the liberation of the Dachau death camp and served his country with honor in the Korean War.”

FIRST LOOK II: JPM COMMITS MORE TO SMALL BIZ — Per release out this a.m.: “JPMorgan Chase is announcing today a $75 million commitment to support women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses. … Small Business Forward provides access to necessary capital, seeds new funds for underrepresented businesses and expands opportunities for them in high-growth business.” Release is here.

POTUS Events

10:00 am || Receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
11:25 pm || Delivers remarks about his record on education; Benjamin Banneker Academic High School; Washington
2:30 pm || Releases the “Cancer Moonshot Report”

All times Eastern
Live stream of White House briefing at 12:45 pm

Floor Action

The Senate meets in a pro forma session at 11 a.m. The House is out.

The Tide rolled to another victory Saturday, trouncing Tennessee 49-10. And unfortunately, Ohio State is still undefeated. Onward!

Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy face off in a televised debate co-hosted by POLITICO Florida. The Orlando Sentinel’s Steven Lemongello with more:

With just three weeks until election day and the Senate majority in play, Republicans are facing a big problem: lack of cash. “Republicans are set to be massively outspent on TV ads in seven of the eight states that are likely to decide control of the chamber,” report Alex Isenstadt, Seung Min Kim and Kevin Robillard.

“The spending disadvantage could badly hinder the GOP’s prospects, and it has led to growing frustration among the party’s top strategists — many of whom are convinced it’s long past time to cut Trump loose and focus almost exclusively on preserving the Senate majority. … As of Friday afternoon, the [NRSC] had reserved just $5 million for the four week stretch — a small fraction of the $40 million booked by the DSCC.”

Securities Attorney Briefing 14 October 2016

Securities Attorney Tom Krebs


Obama lifts all restrictions on Cuban rum, cigars

MIAMI — Attention U.S. visitors to Cuba: Bring home all the Cuban rum and cigars you want. The Obama administration announced Friday, a new round of executive actions designed to increase trade and travel with the communist island. And this is the one many Americans have been waiting for — no more restrictions on the island’s famed rum and cigars. The new regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department will make it easier for U.S. companies to import Cuban-made pharmaceuticals, U.S. agricultural companies to sell their products to the island and Cubans to purchase U.S.-made goods online. The changes follow a series of steps taken since President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced on Dec. 17, 2014, that the Cold War foes would normalize relations after more than a half century of enmity. “The Treasury Department has worked to break down economic barriers in areas such as travel, trade and commerce, banking, and telecommunications,” Treasury SecretaryJacob Lew said. “Today’s action builds on this progress by enabling more scientific collaboration, grants and scholarships, people-to-people contact, and private sector growth.” More:

What Top Bank Lawyers Were Doing at Secret Versailles Summit

It’s a Wall Street club that’s virtually unknown on Wall Street. It has no name or official membership list, and it meets only once a year, in locations such as Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne, Connecticut’s Litchfield County, and, this year, Versailles. The attendees are top in-house lawyers for some of the world’s most powerful banks — people who sit at the table for decisions that can shape multibillion-dollar litigation tabs for the likes of Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. For this year’s meeting, in late May, the lawyers descended on Trianon Palace Versailles, a luxury hotel less than two kilometers from the palace of Louis XIV and adjacent to the royal park. The gatherings, which were described by several people familiar with them who asked not to be identified, tend to feature discussions of nuts-and-bolts issues such as managing relationships with the board and whether compliance personnel should receive stock incentives. More:

The Sept. 11 Lawsuit Bill Is Weaker Than It Appears

For 14 years families of Sept. 11 victims have tried unsuccessfully to use the courts to pin responsibility for the terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia. Legal obstacles have blocked those efforts, but on Sept. 28, Congress passed legislation—overriding a veto by President Obama—advertised as clearing the families’ path. “We rejoice in this triumph and look forward to our day in court,” declared Terry Strada, whose husband, Tom, died at the World Trade Center and who heads 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism. A close inspection of the statute, however, reveals that last-minute changes diluted the law’s effectiveness. As a result, “it’s unlikely the 9/11 victims and families’ claims will get anywhere,” says Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin specializing in national security. Survivors of the terrorist attacks and families of victims began suing the Saudi kingdom and various Saudi government-supported charities in 2002, arguing that the defendants bore at least partial responsibility for al-Qaeda’s assault; 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. Riyadh has denied any hand in the attacks. The suits, which were consolidated in federal court in New York, ran up against a defense based on the concept of sovereign immunity, which in most circumstances protects foreign governments from private legal action in U.S. courts. Plaintiffs in the Sept. 11 case allege, among other things, that Saudi officials in the U.S. assisted two of the hijackers in Southern California. The plaintiffs also claim that a Saudi religious official spent the night before the attacks in the same Virginia hotel as three hijackers. The Saudi government has argued that the plaintiffs lack sufficient evidence to prove any of these allegations. Lawyers representing the kingdom did not respond to a request for comment. Seven years ago, the families and survivors—numbering about 9,000 individuals—began lobbying for legislation that would, in effect, instruct the courts that they were misinterpreting sovereign immunity law and to let the Sept. 11 litigation finally proceed to the substantive question of Saudi liability. Earlier versions of the legislation would indeed have accomplished that goal by allowing suits even when the defendant was a foreign country and most of the alleged wrongful conduct took place overseas. The bill, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (Jasta), drew opposition from the Obama administration—and eventually the president’s veto—because of the likelihood that it would provoke the ire of Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, and the possibility it would influence other countries to pass similar laws encouraging lawsuits against American soldiers, diplomats, and civilians. And within a day of the veto override, congressional leaders appeared to be backtracking from the statute—for the very reasons Obama cited. “I would like to think there’s a way we can fix so that our service members do not have legal problems overseas while still protecting the rights of the 9/11 victims,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters. More:

Thais say farewell to their beloved king and ponder his presumed heir

BANGKOK — Thousands of mourners lined the streets Friday for a last glimpse of Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej during a funeral procession that also marked an important moment of image building for his presumed heir. The late king’s body was received by Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn at a Bangkok hospital, which the ailing monarch had made his virtual home for years before his death was announced Thursday at age 88. The funeral cortège then headed toward the ornate Grand Palace to perform the ritual bathing of the body in accordance with Buddhist tradition. Bhumibol, the world’s longest-serving monarch, was on the throne since 1946 and was the only king that most Thais had ever known. Along the route in central Bangkok, mourners dressed in black sat quietly clutching photos of the dead monarch in his military uniform or posing with his two dogs, as municipal workers passed out juice in the blazing heat. “My heart is broken,” said Suprajit Rattanawong, 39, a fourth-grade teacher. She began weeping again when she spoke of the man she considered a father figure and inspiration. “We all feel the same.” A pall hung over the Southeast Asian nation of nearly 70 million as Thailand. Television stations played on repeat somber biographies of Bhumibol, who remained a beloved figure to the Thai people for his tireless work ethic, paternal aura and willingness to aid the rural hinterlands. “Truly the King of Hearts,” said a headline in the English language daily the Nation. The solemn task of memorial and succession began with the removal of the king’s body from the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok ,where he had spent much time in recent years treated for a lung infection, kidney disease and other ailments. He had not made a public appearance in months before his death was announced. As the country launched into and extended period of mourning that will last a year, fears remained that the king’s death could further fracture Thailand’s political system and disrupt a plan for elections to be held in 2017. The country has been riven by conflict for over a decade and has been run by a military junta since 2014.


Goldman’s Online Lender, Marcus, Opens (to Those With the Code)

After years of behind-the-scenes planning, Goldman Sachs is opening its new online lending platform, Marcus, on Thursday. Borrowers will be able to visit and apply for unsecured loans of up to $30,000 to refinance their credit card debt or pay for a household project. The new site takes an unusually casual tone for Goldman as it tries to lure in customers. “Debt happens — and it can happen to anyone. We created Marcus to help you better manage it,” the site says. “No jargon. No tricks. Just straight talk,” it promises. Initially, applications will be limited to people who get a code from Goldman in the mail. Goldman said this week that it would send the code to millions of people. The company is focusing on customers with a credit score above 660, so-called prime credit. Marcus is a significant departure for Goldman, which has traditionally avoided consumer-oriented banking, focusing instead on government and corporate clients. That has earned it a reputation as the most elite firm on Wall Street.

Since the financial crisis, though, Goldman has viewed consumer banking as a new opportunity that can help the firm overcome some of the regulatory and reputational difficulties it has faced in recent years.

Marcus is the centerpiece of Goldman’s push into consumer banking, and the firm has put significant resources into designing and planning the site and the products it will offer. The venture is named for the man who founded Goldman Sachs in the 19th century, Marcus Goldman. More:

Tiny Bank-Beating Trading Firm Doesn’t Use Any Human Traders

One of the world’s fastest-growing trading shops doesn’t have any traders. XTX Markets Ltd. has emerged as a foreign-exchange powerhouse, relying on programmers and mathematicians to fuel its rise into the global top five earlier this year. Now, after becoming a formidable player in currencies, XTX has its sights set on growing in stocks, commodities and bond markets. But in a world where the difference between profit and loss can be tiny fractions of a second, XTX says it relies more on smarts than speed. Instead of building microwave networks to ferret out prices a microsecond before anyone else, XTX uses mathematical models that are tuned with massive data sets. It says its technology has computing power comparable to some of the world’s top supercomputers. XTX’s rise comes amid a market shift: In an arms race where just about anyone can lease ultra-fast trading systems, it’s harder than ever to get an advantage simply by being fast. That may have opened up an opportunity for firms with sophisticated statistical models, says Greenwich Associates. As XTX co-chief Zar Amrolia sees it, a key trial for the London-based firm comes when it competes in even more markets that are dominated by high-frequency traders, particularly in the U.S. More:

How to Fix the Tax Code and Close Donald Trump’s Loopholes

Donald J. Trump, a self-proclaimed billionaire who paid no federal income tax for years, has conceded the tax code is “unfair” and says he alone can fix it. So it seems only fair to ask: how? Last week I asked both the Trump and Clinton campaigns to explain how they would overhaul the tax code to ensure that Mr. Trump (and others like him) pay at least some federal tax. Thus far, Mr. Trump has proposed nothing that would close even a single loophole that allowed him to amass a fortune and indulge a lavish lifestyle while paying no federal income tax for many years. Asked about that in last Sunday night’s debate, Mr. Trump said he would end the favored tax treatment of carried interest (a special tax break for operators of hedge funds and private equity funds), as didHillary Clinton. But that would cost Mr. Trump nothing, since carried interest is reported as capital gains, and he had none in 1995, the year for which The New York Times obtained pages from some of his tax returns. Nor would Mrs. Clinton’s proposals to increase taxes on people in high-income brackets necessarily have any impact on him, since Mr. Trump apparently wasn’t in an upper bracket for many years. He had no net income to report in the years he paid little or no tax because his near billion-dollar loss in 1995 allowed him to offset income for three previous years and as many as 15 years into the future. Even so, it wouldn’t be hard to make sure people like Mr. Trump pay at least some federal tax, experts told me this week. There’s already a simple road map: Although Mr. Trump didn’t have to pay any federal, New York or Connecticut income tax in 1995, he did have to pay income tax in New Jersey. At the time New Jersey took a much tougher approach to the kind of losses Mr. Trump took advantage of than did the federal government. (Under subsequent governors, including Mr. Trump’s staunch ally Chris Christie, New Jersey amended its tax code so it’s now as generous to real estate developers as the federal tax code.) Since Mr. Trump hasn’t released any of his tax returns, including the schedules from his 1995 returns, it’s impossible to know the precise source of the nearly billion-dollar loss he reported and other losses he used to shelter his income for years. Nonetheless, the returns reveal enough about the loopholes Mr. Trump took advantage of. Here are four simple reforms that would almost surely close them:  Shorten or eliminate the period in which loss carry-overs can be used to offset other income. Mr. Trump was able to use his enormous loss to shelter income for up to 18 years. Current federal law is even more generous. Businesses and high-net-worth individuals like Mr. Trump, who get most of their income from so-called pass-through entities like partnerships and limited liability companies, can smooth their income streams by using losses to offset income in both past and future years. Currently, losses realized in one year can be used to offset income reported in the two previous years and can be carried forward for as long as 20 years. The carry-over period was expanded to 20 years from 15 in 1997. Tax experts generally favor some degree of loss carry-overs for businesses. But whatever the merits of such an approach, there’s no reason it should be available to wealthy people like Mr. Trump. More:

New Zika transmission zone identified in Miami area

Florida health officials have identified a new neighborhood in Miami as a Zika transmission zone, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office said Thursday. The one-mile square area is bounded by NW 79th St. to the North, NW 63rd St. to the South, NW 10th Ave. to the West and N. Miami Ave. to the East. The new zone is the second in Miami-Dade County where mosquitoes currently are spreading Zika. The other is a 4.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach covering most of South Beach and Middle Beach, between Eighth Street and 63rd Street from the ocean to the bay. In a statement on his official website, Scott said health officials had identified five people — two women and three men — as carriers of the virus. Three of them live in the area and the other two either work in or have visited it. Health officials say Florida has had more than 1,000 cases, while Miami-Dade County continues to be the only area with ongoing active transmission of the virus. There is no vaccine for the Zika virus, which produces mild symptoms but can cause birth defects if pregnant women are infected. The governor said the latest discovery “underscores the urgent need for federal funding to combat the Zika virus.” Scott noted that it had been two weeks since federal funding to fight Zika was approved by Congress and signed by President, however Florida had not yet received any of the money. “We don’t need bureaucratic timelines – we need funding now,” Scott said.

Scott said he has asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to identify specific best practices for defeating Zika in this latest area, noting that each area is different. Officials in the past have mounted eradication efforts through widespread spraying and by eliminating such mosquito breeding grounds as bird baths and other standing water. Although the populations of the two species of mosquito that transmit the Zika virus ( will thin out in the U.S. by mid-October in colder weather, according to tropical disease experts, they will likely return next year.

Advisers finding more social media success

Financial advisers are increasingly comfortable tweeting and posting to Facebook and LinkedIn as securities regulators have made their expectations about social media more clear. Advisers are finding success using social sites to cull prospects, build their brand, communicate with clients and improve their referral network. They typically post mostly professional content, but many also share some personal information. “My main goal with social media has been placing myself as a thought leader in my niche,” said Justin Reckers, chief executive of Wellspring Divorce Advisors. He’s on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and uses social media manager Hootsuite to quickly add content to all three with one click. He said many prospects have viewed his social media presence after someone else has referred him. The Securities and Exchange commission recently added to its social media rules, issuing a requirement that advisers disclose their addresses or pages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites. The new information must be listed on their firms’ Form ADV, which in the past only asked for advisers to list their own websites. More:

Looming digital regulation has U.S. truck industry scrambling

A new regulation that will force U.S. trucking companies to electronically log employee hours is designed to limit accidents by keeping tired drivers off the road. It may also drive smaller trucking firms out of business. A trucking industry survey earlier this year of mostly small operators found that 84 percent lacked electronic logs, according to load-matching firm Paper logs allow transport companies already facing razor thin margins to fudge the books, boosting their hours on the road to help the bottom line. But a mandated switch to a digital system by late December 2017, regulators say, will boost safety by preventing exhausted truckers from driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) forecasts the regulation would save 26 lives per year and prevent 562 injuries.

An FMCSA cost-benefit analysis found the new rule would cost truck firms $1.8 billion across the sector to implement, but fewer crashes and less paperwork would save $3 billion. Industry experts argue that whatever those savings, the smaller firms and independent owner operators that are the backbone of a highly fragmented market will take a productivity hit, making it difficult to pay off their trucks that have doubled in price since 2000. As a result, small to mid-size trucking outfits will need to find more drivers to haul the same amount of freight — and seek other ways to cut costs — in order to make it. “Some of the smaller (trucking) companies are just not going to survive” the change to electronic logs, said Dan Clark, head of BMO Transportation Finance, North America’s largest truck and trailer financing company. More:

Gun accidents kill kids every other day

Hours earlier, he was a happy 4-year-old who loved Ironman and the Hulk and all the Avengers. Now, as Bryson Mees-Hernandez approached death in a Houston hospital room, his brain swelling through the bullet hole in his face, his mother assured the boy it was OK to die. “When you are on the other side,” his mother, Crystal Mees, recalls telling him, “you are going to see Mommy cry a lot. It’s not because she’s mad. It’s because she misses you.” And this: “It’s not your fault.” But whose fault was it? Bryson shot himself last January with a .22-caliber Derringer his grandmother kept under the bed. It was an accident, but one that could be blamed on many factors, from his grandmother’s negligence to the failure of government and industry to find ways to prevent his death and so many others. The Associated Press and the USA TODAY Network set out to determine just how many others there have been. The findings: During the first six months of this year, minors died from accidental shootings — at their own hands, or at the hands of other children or adults — at a pace of one every other day, far more than limited federal statistics indicate. Tragedies like the death of Bryson Mees-Hernandez play out repeatedly across the country. Curious toddlers find unsecured, loaded handguns in their homes and vehicles, and fatally shoot themselves and others. Teenagers, often showing off guns to their friends and siblings, end up shooting them instead. Using information collected by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan research group, news reports and public sources, the news media outlets spent six months analyzing the circumstances of every death and injury from accidental shootings involving children ages 17 and younger from Jan. 1, 2014, to June 30 of this year — more than 1,000 incidents in all. Among the findings:

Trump Said to Block Campaign’s Requests to Do Self-Opposition Research

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump rebuffed political aides’ requests to research his past, people familiar with the matter said, a decision that contributed to his campaign being caught unprepared for the past week’s barrage of claims he mistreated women. Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, requested that Trump submit himself to a forensic evaluation that is traditional for any public figure seeking office, according to people granted anonymity to speak freely about the campaign’s start-up days last year. Opposition research would allow Trump’s new political team to prepare for potential attacks on his candidacy. Paul Manafort and his team made a similar request when they took over the reins after Lewandowski, who was ousted this June. Trump declined, the people said, and the issue became a point of contention among his closest political advisers and some long-time employees at the Trump Organization. Trump spokespeople Jason Miller and Hope Hicks didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Now, Trump is fighting an onslaught of scrutiny of his behavior toward women, less than one month before voters cast final judgment on him and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Some of the scrutiny is a result of Trump’s own words, including in a 2005 video that surfaced Friday where he bragged about being able to do “anything” to women because of his fame.

Both the New York Times and People magazine reported fresh allegations Wednesday from women who say Trump touched them inappropriately, without their consent. The candidate has flatly denied all accusations, tweeting that the incidents never happened. More:

White House warns Trump not to attack Michelle Obama
In his latest, and perhaps most vehement campaign tirade, Donald Trump held his fire when it came to first lady Michelle Obama. And the White House suggested Thursday that Trump should continue to steer clear of the president’s wife, suggesting that an unprecedented attack on the first lady is a surefire way for the GOP nominee’s standing to plummet further. “I can’t think of a bolder way for Donald Trump to lose even more standing than he already has than by engaging the first lady of the United States,” principal deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters during a gaggle aboard Air Force One.

Trump has proven to be a counterpuncher throughout his presidential bid, launching retaliatory attacks at everyone from Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama to Republicans, the media, a Gold Star family and even Heidi Cruz, who’s married to Trump’s former GOP rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. But Trump has repeatedly pulled his punches when it comes to the first lady, who has spoken out against him while campaigning for Clinton, including earlier Thursday, when she pilloried him in the wake of his comments about sexually assaulting women with impunity in an “Access Hollywood” tape leaked last week. He did invoke the first lady at Sunday’s presidential debate, though, falsely claiming that Michelle Obama attacked Clinton in television ads.  “I’ve gotten to see some of the most vicious commercials I’ve ever seen of Michelle Obama talking about you, Hillary,” Trump said. PolitiFact rated Trump’s claim false, noting that the ad he appeared to reference came from a pro-Trump super PAC and that whether her remarks were aimed at Clinton are unclear. “I think the only reference to the first lady that Donald Trump made was thoroughly debunked by every fact-checker who looked at it,” Schultz said.

Utah Rejects Donald Trump’s Advances, as Evan McMullin Emerges as the Conservative Alternative

Donald Trump’s misogyny has sent him—and the Republican Party—to unfathomable depths of unpopularity. And nowhere is it more pronounced than the state of Utah, which has voted Republican for over 50 years. Both Clinton and Trump are running behind their party’s traditional support in the state, and in a remarkable turn of events, former Congressional aide and CIA operative Evan McMullin is mounting a credible, independent challenge to beat them both in the state. Clinton and Trump both received 26 percent support in Utah, while independent candidate Evan McMullin moved into a statistical tie, with 22 percent, according to Salt Lake City polling firm Y2 Analytics. The survey was taken after news of a leaked tape showing Trump bragging about sexual assault. “People in Utah are really conflicted because they believe that Trump is bad, but Hillary is worse. And there is also righteous indignation that [Republicans] have been aligned with such a terrible person,” said an aide for a Republican member of Congress from Utah. For comparison, in 2008 Sen. John McCain beat Barack Obama in the state, 62 percent to 35 percent. Romney, a popular Mormon presidential candidate, beat Obama here, 73 percent to 25 percent. The state hasn’t supported a non-Republican for president since 1964. “Both Trump and Clinton are under-performing historical trends here,” said a source working on a Republican campaign in the state. “We were definitely surprised by the poll results… This is a wide-open race.” More:

How Trump’s Going Ballistic Over Sexual Assault Allegations Against Him

At the beginning of the second presidential debate Sunday, moderator Anderson Cooper questioned Donald Trump about the hot-mic recording of him bragging about kissing and grabbing women’s genitals without their consent. “Have you ever done those things?” Cooper asked. Related:  From walking into a teen dressing room to joking about his obligation to sleep with contestants, Trump’s a storied pageant creep. “No, I have not,” Trump said, contradicting what he told then Access Hollywood host Billy Bush on the now infamous 2005 tape published by the Washington Post Friday. Over the last 24 hours, a procession of women have come forward saying Trump did do the things he bragged about in 2005 and denied on Sunday. Jessica Leeds told The New York Times that Trump groped her breasts and tried to put his hands up her skirt on an airplane in 1980. Rachel Crooks told the same newspaper that he forced himself on her outside an elevator in 2005. Mindy McGillivray told the Palm Beach Post Trump grabbed her butt at Mar-A-Lago in 2003. People journalist Natasha Stoynoff recalled Trump pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue down her throat while she was on assignment from the magazine, writing a story about Trump’s first anniversary with his wife Melania. All four of the women who came forward on Wednesday reported their horror at watching Trump lie during the debate. The Trump campaign is responding to their allegations with a battery of denials, deflections, legal threats, insults and airplane forensics. Here’s what the candidate and his staffers have said over the past few days. Insults: On Tuesday evening, the Republican candidate lashed out at the female New York Times reporter who questioned him about Leeds’ and Crooks’ accusations. “You are a disgusting human being,” Trump told Megan Twohe. In a speech Thursday in Florida, the GOP nominee again angrily took aim at the journalists who’ve written stories about his accusers, as well as the publications that ran those stories (“the failing New York Times“), Hillary Clinton (“Honestly, she should be locked up”), and the women who came forward against him. He spoke with particular disdain of former People journalist Natasha Stoynoff, implying that she was not attractive enough to make a pass at. “Look at her,” Trump said. Legal threats:

On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyer dispatched a threatening letter to Times executive editor Dean Baquet demanding a retraction. “Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se. It is apparent from, among other things, the timing of the article, that it is nothing more than a politically-motivated effort to defeat Mr. Trump’s candidacy,” Marc Kasowitz wrote. “We hereby demand that you immediately cease any further publication of this article, remove it from your website and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology. Failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies.” In his Thursday speech, Trump referenced “the lawsuit we are preparing against” the paper.

Also Thursday, a Times lawyer responded with his own letter, noting, essentially, Bring it on. More:

The New York Times to Trump: Go ahead, sue us

The New York Times is responding forcefully to Donald Trump, refusing his demand to retract an article in which two women allege the Republican presidential nominee groped or kissed them without consent.

“Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump’s unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself,” the Times’ legal team wrote in a statement to Trump’s lawyer. See letter at link below. In a letter to Times executive editor Dean Banquet Wednesday night, Trump’s attorney said the “libelous” article attempts to undermine Trump’s presidential campaign, and he demanded the newspaper remove it from online and issue a retraction and apology.

The GOP nominee also lashed out at the reports during a rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday afternoon, calling the women’s allegations “totally and absolutely false.” “These claims are all fabricated, they’re pure fiction and outright lies,” Trump said Thursday. “These events never happened and the people who said them meekly understand.” During his rally, Trump said he was “preparing” to sue the Times. “If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or to be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight,” the Times’ statement reads.

UH-OH: Chris Christie Issued Criminal Summons Over “BRIDGEGATE”

Chris Christie’s already faltering political career is looking increasingly shaky. In the midst of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign imploding, as Christie and his fellow Trump surrogates work to hold back the flood of sexual-harassment allegations against the Republican nominee that have surfaced in the past 24 hours, the New Jersey governor just got hit with a major legal crisis of his own. After weeks of testimony in the ongoing “Bridgegate” trial suggested that Christie was aware, or even complicit, in the 2013 scheme to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge, a New Jersey judge on Thursday signed a criminal summons against Christie, ruling that there is probable cause to investigate him for official misconduct. The criminal summons follows testimony by the prosecution’s star witness in the Bridgegate case, David Wildstein, a former Christie ally who alleged that the governor was not only aware of the plan to engineer a massive traffic jam to exact revenge on a political rival, but laughed about it, and later tried to cover up his involvement. Now, the onetime presidential hopeful could be facing an indictment of his own. Bill Brennan, the community activist who originally filed the complaint against Christie, cheered Bergen County judge Roy McGeady’s decision to allow the complaint to move forward. “When the governor conspires to turn the power of the government against the people, it becomes a totalitarian regime and it is a crime of highest order,” Brennan saidThursday. “When you listen to the nonchalant manner in which these people are discussing, the magnitude of the pettiness is just . . . it’s absurd,” Brennan asserted in a separate interview. Days before Brennan had filed his September 30 complaint, Wildstein testified that he and another Christie ally, Bill Baroni, had “bragged”and joked about the lane closures to Christie while attending a 9/11 memorial ceremony in 2013. Wildstein, who pleaded guilty last year to his role in the scheme, has also alleged that Christie conspired with New York governor Andrew Cuomo to cover up the real cause of the lane shutdowns, by allegedly getting Cuomo to issue a false report indicating that the lane closures were related to a traffic study, thereby masking the involvement of Christie’s aides. Christie, who is serving as a top adviser to Republican nominee Donald Trump, has vehemently denied any involvement in the Bridgegate scandal. “This is a dishonorable complaint filed by a known serial complainant and political activist with a history of abusing the judicial system,” Brian Murray, Christie’s press secretary, told Vanity Fair in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “The simple fact is the Governor had no knowledge of the lane realignments either before they happened or while they were happening. This matter has already been thoroughly investigated by three separate independent investigations. The ruling is being appealed immediately.” More:

The janitor felt invisible to Georgetown students — until one changed his life

Every night, they had the same routine. The Georgetown University business student would settle in for his cram session — soda, chips, books lined up. And the janitor would come in to start his night shift — polishing each of the windows in the study room, moving amid all those books and chips and sodas. Invisible. “There was this space, like ice separating us,” said Oneil Batchelor, an immigrant from Jamaica. The janitor worked around the students — many of them in their 20s like him, many with entrepreneurial ambitions like him — for nearly a decade before one of them finally broke that ice last year. A nod one night. A hello the next. And within weeks, Batchelor and the student, Febin Bellamy, were having long talks about being immigrants, about wanting to be entrepreneurs, about politics and history and music. Bellamy even went to Batchelor’s church and met his 6-year-old daughter. After he formed that bond with the once-invisible worker, Bellamy couldn’t stop noticing the others. “Once you see it, you can’t unsee it,” the 22-year-old said. The minimum-wage cafeteria workers dishing up food, the locker-room attendant scrubbing the stinkiest places, the maintenance man doing back­breaking work in the garden while students maneuver around him, heads bowed to their phones. It’s not just affluence, age and pedigree that create this yawning gap at a school where tuition and room and board run more than $65,000 a year.

“Everybody’s in their own world,” Bellamy said. “A lot of students have good hearts and were raised right. It’s just not always easy for them to get to know people around them.” Each of those workers has a story. Many of them are immigrants, and their collective histories of war and flight and families left behind offer a master class in geo­politics. No tuition needed. Bellamy understands because these are his people. His family immigrated to the United States from India when he was 5. When they got to New York, his mother worked as a nursing assistant and his father as a customer service rep while they were going to college at night and raising a family in the few hours left over. Bellamy started at a community college and then transferred to Georgetown as a junior. He knows the scrap and fight the folks fixing pipes and cleaning bathrooms have inside them. So he had a brainstorm. What if he found a way to introduce the workers to the students? And that idea went from a class project in April to a fundraiser making real change today. He did it in the language his peers understand: a Facebook page. He calls it Unsung Heroes, and he began posting little profiles of workers around campus. Students learned that the guy who cleans the business school windows, Batchelor, left a place of little opportunity in Jamaica 20 years ago and dreams of opening his own jerk-chicken joint someday. They learned that one of the cooks at the Leo O’Donovan Dining Hall, José Manzanares, saw family members killed in El Salvador’s civil war and escaped when he was a teenager. More:–until-one-changed-his-life/2016/10/12/cf8c27fe-9087-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html?postshare=6641476388249309&tid=ss_fb-bottom


Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore asked to clean out office, turn over keys

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been asked to turn over his keys and clean out his office. Acting chief justice Lyn Stuart sent two letters to Moore’s home in Gallant (Etowah County) on Monday. In one letter Stuart states that since Moore was recently found guilty of the ethics charges he must contact the court’s marshal “to arrange the removal of your personal effects from your office and to return your keys (both brass and card) to the Judicial Building on or before October 18, 2016.” In the other letter Stuart told Moore that “in an effort to keep the judiciary running smoothly and efficiently, any letters addressed to the Chief Justice that appear to contain official information will be opened by my staff.” “Letters that appear to be personal will not be opened,” Stuart wrote. “Any unopened mail or opened mail that is personal will be held and made available for you to pick up from the Marshals.” Moore was suspended without pay Sept. 30 by the Alabama Court of Judiciary, which found Moore had violated canons of judicial ethics for a Jan. 6 administrative order he issued to the state’s probate judges. The COJ found that Moore’s order tried to get the probate judges to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal orders declaring gay marriage legal.

Instead of removing him from office, the COJ suspended Moore from office for the remainder of his term, which effectively ends his judicial career. Moore is 69 and Alabama law prohibits candidates 70 and older from running for election or re-election to a judicial seat. “The Court of the Judiciary lacked the unanimous 9-0 votes to remove the Chief, but the punishment that the Court created is de facto removal,” Moore’s attorney, Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel stated in a press release. “Removing the Chief Justice’s name from the official Supreme Court letterhead and demanding he remove all his personal items sure looks like removal to any objective observer,” Staver stated.

State Community Colleges Get New Workforce Leader

MONTGOMERY–The Alabama Community College System has a new plan for preparing students for lucrative careers and a new man to lead the way. ACCS on Wednesday announced the hiring of Jeff Lynn as the system’s new director of workforce development. In that role, Lynn, who served in a similar role for the State of Louisiana, will work with companies to develop training programs that provide students the specific skills required by some of the top companies in the state and country. “Jeff Lynn is the Warren Buffett of workforce development,” said Jimmy Baker, the acting chancellor of ACCS. “He is great at what he does and he is known for getting results. We are thrilled to welcome him to Alabama.”

Lynn isn’t exactly new to the state. He lived in Auburn and his mother still resides in Lee County. That was one of the major factors that convinced him to leave Louisiana. “My mother has some rental homes that she’s trying to find a tenant for. I called her the other day and told her that I think I found one for her,” Lynn joked. “She was thrilled and I was too. I look forward to the challenge.” Lynn certainly could have stayed in Louisiana, where he helped transform the state’s workforce development program and was primarily responsible for its remarkable success. Lynn built that state’s “LED Fast-Start” jobs program, which customized the workforce and training for new and specialized companies. That program was rated as the nation’s best workforce development program for the past seven years. In addition, Lynn created a number of industry-specific certification programs for both high schools and two-year colleges in the state, and he developed programs for higher education employees. “Workforce development is a collaborative effort on many levels,” Lynn said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about being back in Alabama because I really feel like there are a lot of people working towards the same goals here. There’s a big interest in this program and ensuring that it succeeds. That’s very important.” Lynn is a graduate of Auburn University and has spent 30 years in the field of manufacturing and workforce training. He has worked with dozens of top companies to develop training programs, including Kia Motors, Siemens, Toyo Tires, Lockheed Martin, IBM and GE Capital.

Malpractice in Alabama: Tough laws protect doctors, penalize injured patients

William Hoston discovered in 2007 he never had the terminal cancer diagnosed the year before by his oncologist, and didn’t need the surgically-implanted port in his chest where doctors dosed him with toxic cocktails of chemotherapy. Hoston wasn’t the only patient treated by Dr. David Gay Morrison of Montgomery who received devastating diagnoses and aggressive treatment for cancer they didn’t have, according to disciplinary documents that cited more than a dozen similar cases. In 2008, the 67-year-old sued Morrison for medical malpractice, noting the emotional and physical toll inflicted during more than a year of unnecessary cancer treatment. Hoston lost his case – as do about 90 percent of patients in Alabama who allege injury due to medical malpractice. Between 2004 and 2014, Alabamians received fewer payments per capita in medical malpractice cases against practitioners than residents of any other state, according to an analysis of federal data. More:


Finally, an Alabama warrior gets his due

Moments in a life stand out. The days spent talking to old warriors who took their grit and duty to places like Normandy and the Pacific and anonymously changed the world. Hearing their stories – pulled so often from dark and haunted places — is nothing but honor. Hours in the tiny Smithfield barbershop of James Armstrong, learning of life under General Patton, and how it opened that old man’s eyes to a world bigger and freer than the one he would find back home in Birmingham. It was better than any school.

Some people in life stand out, because they make us better for the memory. Armstrong was one.

Armstrong radiated not just righteousness, but goodness.  He was a soldier and a patriot, who risked his life for country and did something even tougher when he came home. He risked his children. So they’d have a better life. I still feel chills from the day Armstrong told me of his 1963. He sued to integrate Birmingham schools, and his sons, 11-year-old Dwight and 9-year-old Floyd, were among just five black students chosen to do it. They would enter Graymont School near Legion Field, and forever change Alabama. Armstrong feared for those boys. And he should have. The family dog was poisoned in the fallout. Racists chucked a rock through a window of his Buick. More:

Morning Money

DEPRESSING POLL OF THE DAY — The latest Marketplace-Edison Research survey shows economic anxiety is up to 36 from 20 a year ago (the scale runs 0-100). But that’s not the depressing part of the poll’s findings. It’s this: 25 percent of Americans “completely distrust the economic data reported by the federal government, including statistics like the unemployment rate, the number of jobs added, and the amount of consumer spending.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, that number soars to 48 percent of Donald Trump supporters compared to just 5 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters.

Trump’s constant railing about phony economic numbers as well as his citing vast conspiracy theories that an international cabal (including global bankers) is bent on stealing the election from him certainly can’t be helping. Trump tripled down on these theories in a dark speech in Florida on Wednesday that sounded to MM very similar to the coded nationalist, anti-Semitic rhetoric spouted by Father Charles Coughlin on the radio in the 1930s. Dark times, indeed.

The survey also found that 62 percent of Americans believe the economy is “rigged” in favor of certain groups. Full findings and methodology are here.

CAN TRUMP’S BRAND SURVIVE TRUMP? — POLITICO’s Lorraine Woellert: “Early last week, the Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver launched a meet-the-Trumps contest to publicize its grand opening. As the big day approached, a Twitter stream tracked progress on the project’s luxe finishing touches. Then the world heard Donald Trump brag about groping women, and the fun stopped. The developer, the Holborn Group, hasn’t tweeted about the property since.

“The tower’s fall opening has been pushed to January. Coincidence? Neither Holborn nor the Trump Organization responded to requests for comment. Trump the candidate has been tarnishing Trump the brand for at least a year. Macy’s, Perfumania, Serta and the PGA severed ties soon after he kicked off his candidacy with a speech that accused Mexico of sending criminals and rapists to the U.S. … ‘If there is a game changer, this is it,’ said Gene Grabowski, a partner at Kglobal, a D.C.-based public affairs firm. ‘Until last week, his brand was bulletproof. Now I’m not so sure.’” Read more.

CLINTON TEAM WORRIED ABOUT WALL STREET SPEECHES — POLITICO’s Ben White: “Hillary Clinton’s top advisers late last year were extremely worried about revelations in Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street banks and argued internally about ways to soften the political blow, newly hacked emails show.

“In an email exchange from November 2015, as Clinton was preparing for challenges from the left in the Democratic primary, campaign aides Brian Fallon, Jake Sullivan and Dan Schwerin, along with outside adviser Mandy Grunwald, discussed leaking excerpts from a paid Clinton speech to Deutsche Bank to offset reporting in POLITICO and other outlets on gentle things the candidate said about Wall Street in paid remarks to Goldman Sachs” Read more.

WARREN CALLS FOR MARY JO WHITE’S FIRING — POLITICO’s Patrick Temple-West: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren is calling on President Barack Obama to immediately replace the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, her strongest condemnation yet of the nation’s stock-market regulator. ‘I do not make this request lightly,’ Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, said in an Oct. 14 letter to Obama. ‘I have tried both publicly and privately to persuade Chair [Mary Jo] White to direct the agency’s resources toward pressing matters of compelling interest to investors and the public, and toward completing those rules that Congress has required it to implement.

“‘But after years of fruitless efforts, it is clear that Chair White is set on her course. The only way to return the SEC to its intended purpose is to change its leadership,’ Warren said. Obama appointed White as head of the SEC in January 2013. But Warren, who voted to confirm her, started her attacks in 2015 saying she was ‘disappointed’ with White’s performance at the SEC.” Read more.

PLEASE READ — Again, we are going to try hard to stick to our “less Trump” theme in MM, promise. But if you haven’t read Trump’s speech in Florida, you should. The danger lurking in it is very real. Text and video is here.

HOW TO BLOW CRISIS MANAGEMENT — WSJ’s Emily Glazer: “It was clear John Stumpf, chief executive of Wells Fargo & Co., was in trouble on Sept. 20, when senators from both parties castigated him over the bank’s sales practices. … The bank could have been better prepared. Summoned for hearings in Washington, Mr. Stumpf and other executives didn’t answer many questions from legislators — in public or private — about sales practices that had led the bank to agree to a $185 million fine and regulatory enforcement action. …

“Even before the hearings, Wells Fargo had been slow-footed in responding to outrage over employee behavior that included opening as many as 2 million unauthorized accounts without customer knowledge. It misjudged the significance of firing 5,300 employees over five years for related bad behavior, failing to tell its own board of the number before regulators made it public. The botched response, a textbook example of how not to handle a crisis, reached a peak when Mr. Stumpf stepped down” Read more.

TAX REFORM AHEAD? — Via Goldman Sachs: “Corporate tax reform is an area of (rare) common agreement for Clinton and Trump … An earnings repatriation tax holiday would benefit firms with high earnings overseas: At present, foreign earnings are taxed only if and when they are repatriated. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have proposed a lower one-time tax on untaxed foreign profits of US firms. A tax holiday would benefit our newly rebalanced basket of 50 S&P 500 stocks with the highest earnings held overseas …

“Stocks in the basket account for $1.7 trillion of $2.4 trillion earnings held overseas by all S&P 500 firms. Stocks include MSFT, GE, AAPL, and PFE. Our economists assign a 50% likelihood of tax reform during 2017: Under the current consensus election outcome of a Clinton victory and a divided Congress, agreement on tax and other issues is uncertain. In addition, a tax holiday would likely be part of a more comprehensive corporate tax reform package.”

HARD BREXIT OR NO BREXIT — POLITICO’s David M. Herszenhorn: “In unusually blunt language, European Council President Donald Tusk said Thursday that the U.K. should brace for the ‘painful; consequences of leaving the EU, and flatly ruled out any possibility of Britain gaining access to the single market without allowing the free movement of workers. British leaders, including Prime Minister Theresa May, have insisted that the U.K. will retake control of immigration policy — a core demand of the proponents of Brexit.

“But German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already said that the four fundamental freedoms enshrined in the EU treaty were non-negotiable, a position Tusk reiterated in plain, forceful language. ‘The only real alternative to a hard Brexit, is no Brexit,’ Tusk said.’“Even if today, hardly anyone believes in such a possibility.’ … In his speech at a conference sponsored by the European Policy Centre, Tusk mocked the leading proponents of Brexit who had promised British voters that when it came to the EU, they would be able to have their cake and eat it, too” Read more.

BUYER’S REMORSE — WSJ’s Thomas Gryta and Deepa Seetharaman: “Verizon Communications Inc. signaled it may demand to renegotiate its $4.8 billion deal for Yahoo Inc. following the internet company’s recent disclosure of a data breach that affected more than 500 million accounts.

“Legal experts said the contract language gives Verizon leverage to renegotiate or even walk away because of the security breach, but enforcing material adverse change clauses is difficult and courts have resisted their use.” Read more.

DEUTSCHE HIRING FREEZE — NYT’s Chad Bray: “Deutsche Bank has instituted a companywide hiring freeze as the embattled lender looks to speed up efforts to reduce costs and regain the confidence of investors as concerns mount about the progress of its turnaround, according to a person familiar with the bank’s plans.

“The lender is restricting new hiring across its business for the time being, but it would still make external hires as necessary for crucial functions, such as compliance or anti-money-laundering programs, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.” Read more.

ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN — Bloomberg’s Sarah McBridge: “Hyperloop Technologies Inc., a Los Angeles-based company building a futuristic transportation system, said it raised $50 million in convertible-debt financing and hired Uber Technologies Inc.’s former chief financial officer.

“Hyperloop is working on technology that would use magnetic levitation in low-pressure tubes to transport people and goods at airplane-like speeds.” Read more.

SAUDI TECH FUND — FT’s Leslie Hook: “SoftBank and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund are preparing to launch a new tech fund that will manage as much as $100bn, in a move that will create one of the largest tech investment funds in the world.

“The new fund, dubbed the SoftBank Vision Fund, will be based in London and seeded with $25bn from SoftBank and up to $45bn from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund over the next five years, according to a statement from Masayoshi Son’s Japanese telecoms group.” Read more.

SCORE ONE FOR EXXON — Washington Post’s Steven Mufson: “In a victory for ExxonMobil, a federal judge in Texas has issued a discovery order against the Massachusetts attorney general in the hotly-contested investigation about whether the oil giant concealed information about climate change from investors and the public.

“The new discovery order could open the door for an intrusive examination of Maura Healey’s internal phone records, other communications and depositions related to the Exxon case, a prospect Exxon relishes given the sweeping nature of subpoenas that the Massachusetts and New York attorneys general had obtained to investigate the company.” Read more.

AVERTING INVERSIONS — FT’s Barney Jopson: “Jack Lew, the US Treasury secretary, announced on Thursday that he was modifying the plans designed to deter deals known as inversions, which scuppered Pfizer’s $160bn takeover of Allergan when they were unveiled in April.

“The Treasury’s revisions include exempting from its crackdown the “cash pools” that companies use to manage cash. It is also exempting transactions where it deems the risk of earnings stripping is low and transactions between banks that use related-party loans in their roles as financial intermediaries.” Read more.

GIVE PEACE A (SECOND) CHANCE — AP’s Cesar Garcia: “President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Thursday that he is extending a ceasefire with Colombia’s largest rebel movement in a bid to give more time to efforts to save a peace deal rejected by voters.

“Santos said in a televised address that he was extending by two months the ceasefire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia until Dec. 31.” Read more.


CHABOT ON WELLS — Per House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio): “Mr. Stumpf’s resignation is a first step but there are countless more steps Wells Fargo must take to correct the damage their employees did to millions of Americans by creating fraudulent accounts in their names without their permission.

“The egregious nature of these actions cannot be overstated. The next step should be for Wells Fargo to fully respond to our Committee’s formal request for detailed information about how this scandal impacted their small business customers.”

HOW CLINTON AIDES TRIED TO STEER STEYER MONEY — POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia: “Aides to Hillary Clinton’s campaign privately debated how billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer could best help the Democratic candidate without violating campaign finance laws, according to hacked emails released by WikiLeaks Thursday.

The aides attempted to figure out a way that Steyer could host an event with Clinton even though his super PAC, NextGen Climate, was planning independent expenditures. Campaign finance rules bar coordination between campaigns and outside groups that do independent expenditures.” Read more

SAMSUNG TAKES $3 BILLION HIT — Reuters: “Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Friday said it expected to take a hit to its operating profit of about $3 billion over the next two quarters due to the discontinuation of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. The outlook brings to about $5.3 billion the total losses the global smartphone leader has forecast as a result of the overheating issues, after it said on Wednesday it would suffer a $2.3 billion hit to third-quarter profit.

“The premium device that was meant to compete with Apple Inc’s latest iPhones at the top end of the smartphone market had to be scrapped earlier this week, less than two months after its launch, due to safety fears. The South Korean tech giant said in a statement on Friday it expected the blow to profit to be in the mid-3 trillion won over the next two quarters – in the mid-2 trillion won range in the October-December period and about 1 trillion won ($900 million) for the first quarter of 2017.” Read more.

DEPT OF BWAHAHAHAHA — This is a real story in the WSJ by Monica Langley: “Donald Trump will broaden his attack against the media to hit globalism and the Clinton Foundation by charging that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is part of a biased coalition working in collusion with the Clinton campaign and its supporters to generate news reports of decades-old allegations from several women.” Read more.

POTUS Events

11:15 am || Delivers remarks at a Hillary for America campaign event; Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport
1:00 pm || Departs Cleveland
2:20 pm || Arrives White House
3:35 pm || Convenes his National Security Council for a periodic review of the Counter-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria; Situation Room

All times Eastern

Floor Action

The House is out. The Senate meets in a pro forma session at 2 p.m.

Securities Attorney Briefing 13 October 2016

Securities Attorney Tom KrebsInternational

Navy launches Tomahawk missiles at rebel sites in Yemen after attacks on U.S. ships

The U.S. Navy launched Tomahawk missiles early Thursday from the Red Sea at three coastal radar sites in Yemen, destroying targets associated with missile attacks on U.S. ships this week. The Tomahawks were launched from the destroyer USS Nitze at about 4 a.m. at three locations in territory held by Houthi rebels north of the Bab el-Mandeb strait, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said. President Obama authorized the strikes upon the recommendations of Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway,” Cook said. “The United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world.” The strikes were announced late Wednesday in Washington. A defense official said the radar sites were in remote areas where there was little risk of civilian casualties, but declined to say how many Tomahawks were used. The equipment was set up near Ras Isa, north of Mocha and near Khoka. All are on or near Yemen’s western coastline. The Tomahawk strikes followed cruise-missile attacks that were launched against Navy ships on Sunday night and Wednesday from Yemen. Another missile launched Oct. 1 caused near-catastrophic damage to the HSV-2 Swift, a catamaran-style high-speed vessel that was operated by the Emiratis and once was a part of the U.S. Navy. Video of the strike published online shows the ship engulfed in a fireball.

Deutsche Bank to pay $9.5 million penalty over research info: SEC

Deutsche Bank will pay a $9.5 million penalty to settle civil charges that it failed to properly safeguard material non-public information generated by its research analysts and of publishing an improper research report, U.S. regulators said Wednesday. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE) securities unit encouraged its equity research analysts to communicate with customers and its own traders, and failed to implement policies to prevent the analysts from disclosing non-public reports on trading recommendations and changes in estimates. The bank settled the case without admitting or denying the charges. In a statement, Deutsche spokeswoman Amanda Williams said the bank “takes its research analyst communications and conduct very seriously.” She added that the bank has a robust policy in place and has taken steps to correct issues identified by the SEC. The SEC also charged the bank for issuing a research report about retailer Big Lots (BIG.N) urging investors to buy stock, even though the former analyst who had prepared it privately told certain bank employees the stock should have been downgraded. The former analyst, Charles Grom, was charged by the SEC in February. Without admitting or denying the charges, he agreed to pay a $100,000 fine and be suspended from the industry for a year. The bank had fired Grom in February 2013 “for conduct not consistent with firm standards,” according to the SEC’s prior order in the matter. The SEC also charged the bank on Wednesday for failing to provide certain electronic records to the regulator during the course of the probe. The SEC said it had sought messages on the bank’s internal communications system, but the bank “could not represent that it had recovered” all of the messages because it did not preserve them. The SEC’s case against Deutsche Bank harkens back to issues raised more than a decade ago after the agency and the former New York Attorney General struck a global settlement with 10 banks accused of various conflicts of interest in their research departments. Deutsche was not one of those banks.

Thai King Bhumibol Has Died at Age 88, Royal Palace Says

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest reigning monarch, has died, according to an announcement from the palace. He was 88. Bhumibol died Thursday at 3:52 p.m. on Thursday at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital, having been ill and treated there since 2014, the statement said. The government subsequently declared one year of mourning. “The team of doctors did as much as they could but his condition didn’t improve and continued to deteriorate,” it said, adding that he passed away “peacefully.” Bhumibol has been a symbol of unity in Thailand, which had 10 coups during his seven-decade reign. He had been ill for years, making limited public appearances and spending most of his time in the hospital. “It’s a great loss to Thai people,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said in a broadcast across Thai TV stations. Thousands of Thais who gathered on Thursday outside of Siriraj Hospital broke down in tears when the news was announced. Many held photos of the monarch and dressed in pink for good luck to help him recover. Thailand’s stock market and the baht have fallen this week after the royal palace said Sunday the king’s condition was unstable. Prayuth’s government had earlier urged citizens not to panic over rumors circulating on social media. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, is the king’s only son and heir apparent. While his father is beloved for his royal works, Vajiralongkorn doesn’t have the same adulation.

Nigeria confirms release of 21 girls kidnapped in Chibok by Boko Haram

Boko Haram Islamist have released 21 of more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists in 2014 in the northern town of Chibok, the Nigerian government said on Thursday. “The release of the girls … is the outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Boko Haram brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government,” a presidency statement said. “The negotiations will continue.” Around 270 girls were taken from their school in Chibok in April 2014. Dozens escaped in the initial melee, but more than 200 are still missing. The kidnapping triggered worldwide outrage promoted by a Twitter hashtag #bringbackourgirls. The presidency gave no details on the deal, saying only that the 21 girls were very tired and would first rest in the custody of the national security agency. Afterwards the girls would be handed over to Vice President Yemi Obinsajo, the statement said. President Muhammadu Buhari will travel to Germany on Thursday. Authorities said in May that one of the missing girls had been found and President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to rescue the others. Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency to create an Islamic state in the northeast has led to the deaths of 15,000 people and displaced more than two million. The Nigerian military has been carrying out a large-scale offensive in the Sambisa forest, Boko Haram’s stronghold, in the last few days. The jihadist group, which last year pledged loyalty to the militant group Islamic State, controlled a swathe of land around the size of Belgium at the start of 2015. But under Nigeria’s army, aided by troops from neighboring countries, has recaptured most of the territory that had been lost. The group still stages suicide bombings in the northeast, as well as in neighboring Niger and Cameroon.

Your friends in Moscow would like to offer a frank appraisal of your U.S. elections

MOSCOW — “English is not my mother tongue; I don’t know whether this may sound decent,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began, as though channeling an overwhelmed exchange student. He had been asked what he thought about Donald Trump‘s “Pussy” moment. Well, actually, he had been asked about Trump’s “Pussy Riot” moment. It was a trap. The trepidation was fake. “There are so many pussies around your campaign on both sides that I would prefer not to comment,” Lavrov concluded in a grave deadpan. Such is 2016, not the first year the word “pussy” entered the elections (Hi, Clint Eastwood) but certainly the first time it has dominated multiple news cycles.  Call Wednesday’s remarks Moscow’s most pointed commentary yet on this raucous U.S. election cycle (never mind the hacking). “Oh my goodness, I wasn’t expecting that,” Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent for CNN, said with a laugh. Lavrov, the veteran Russian diplomat “fond of cigars, whiskey and outfoxing the U.S.,” as the New York Times once put it, chuckled. Russia’s embassy in Washington, or whatever verified being runs that account, promptly tweeted it out. Though outrageous, Lavrov’s remarks fit a trend. For all the talk of Russian President Vladimir Putin praising Donald Trump (he did call Trump “talented,” but not “a genius”), Russian officials have largely passed on journalists’ requests to explicitly support Trump or Hillary Clinton. But Moscow has offered indictments of the U.S. election process, saying that accusations of Moscow’s meddling were a Clinton campaign scheme to divert attention from scandals in the Democratic Party. At an economic forum this summer, Putin asked journalist Fareed Zakaria: “Do you really think presidential elections there are democratic?” Things have gotten worse since then. U.S.-Russian relations are in a nosedive, primarily over the war in Syria and the bombing of Aleppo. Amanpour may also have upset Lavrov by bringing up an old bone of contention in her question: “Russia had its own Pussy Riot moment. What do you think of Donald Trump’s Pussy Riot moment?” And Russia’s senior diplomat, a gruff negotiator of the old school,  enjoys the effect of a sharp word. “F—ing morons,” he once muttered at some overeager photographers, a hot-mic incident that his Russian colleagues celebrated in poetry. “Who are you to f—ing lecture me?” Lavrov told David Miliband, then-British foreign secretary, during the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, according to the Daily Telegraph. (Lavrov said he was quoting a colleague.) Often, Russians enjoy needling Americans for their prudishness. T-shirts with Lavrov telling off Miliband have appeared from time to time in Moscow since 2008. It won’t be a surprise if they print a new run tomorrow.

U.S. Bars RBS From Managing 401(k)s in Rare Warning to Banks

The U.S. government has prohibited Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc from managing 401(k) plans and other retirement funds, a decision that has little impact on its business but that could send a signal to other banks and hedge funds with criminal records. RBS was required to seek special permission from the Labor Department to continue managing certain classes of U.S. retirement and pension money after the parent company pleaded guilty to foreign-exchange collusion and a unit admitted to interest-rate manipulation. The Labor Department rejected the bank’s waiver request in an Oct. 6 letter obtained by Bloomberg, standing by a preliminary rejection it issued last year. An RBS representative couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The Labor Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. RBS has already exited its U.S. pension businesses as part of a restructuring. The lack of investors affected by the decision was one of the reasons the department cited in rejecting the request. More:

Billionaires had a rough year in 2015 – relatively

Billionaires on average became poorer last year as their collective fortunes shrank, even as Asia continued to crank out a new billionaire nearly every three days, a study released on Thursday found.

Transfers of assets within families, falling commodity prices and a stronger dollar helped reduce total billionaire wealth by $300 billion in 2015 to $5.1 trillion. That meant the average billionaire — there were 1,397 of them, a net gain of 50 over 2014 — was worth only $3.7 billion, the survey of 14 big markets by Swiss wealth manager UBS (UBSG.S) and advisory group PwC [PWC.UL] discovered. “After more than 20 years of unprecedented wealth creation, the Second Gilded Age has stalled,” the report found. The United States added only a net five billionaires as 41 joined and 36 dropped out of the ranks of the ultra-rich. China alone, buoyed by its tech sector, minted 80 new billionaires. It suggested Asia’s newly rich could learn from their counterparts in Europe, where old money is especially adept at passing wealth down the generations. Germany and Switzerland had the greatest share of such old wealth.

Two decades of unparalleled fortune generation are about to make way for the greatest wealth transfer in history, the study also found. It estimated that fewer than 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion — a sum the size of India’s economy — to their heirs in the next 20 years.


How to Win the Cyberwar Against Russia

The basic facts about Russia’s election-year hacking of the American political system are clear. For more than a year, the Russian government has repeatedly infiltrated the computers of both parties’ presidential campaigns to steal data and emails to influence the outcome of the election. In response, the Obama administration has promised a “proportional” response against Russia. What’s much less clear is what a “proportional” response could mean. This is an unprecedented situation for the American national security establishment — which means the Obama administration’s response will set a precedent for future foreign-directed cyber-plots. The first thing the U.S. government will have to determine is whether the Russian actions rise to the level of an attack — something that would require a direct U.S. response. There are many examples of cyber-infiltration that fall short of that designation, qualifying rather as nuisance activities or even garden-variety espionage. The activities in question, however, cross an important political and operational threshold by attempting to influence the American public on behalf of one of the candidates for the presidency. Most egregiously, the release of internal Clinton campaign emails violates a wide variety of U.S. laws, and the potential release of material related to her email server investigation late in the campaign season could have extraordinary impact on the election.

These are actions that affect the heart of the U.S. democratic process. They may not exhibit physical damage of the sort that we saw in North Korea’s attack on Sony Pictures, which did millions of dollars of damage to hardware. But the political and symbolic meaning of Russia’s actions nonetheless elevate them to something requiring a response. When an attack has been identified, the next step is to attribute it — to determine whom to hold responsible. U.S. intelligence officials seem to have already done this, at least to the satisfaction of the White House. But it’s worth remembering that attribution is especially challenging in the world of cyber-conflict. The Russians have managed to cling to a veneer of deniability, at least in public, by relying on a clever pattern of cut-out agents, ranging from Russian cyber-criminals to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This is a version of the hybrid warfare we’ve seen used so effectively in the attacks in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea — essentially using the cyber-equivalent of the unmarked soldiers (so-called little green men) that led the fight into Ukraine. More:


U.S. jobless claims at 43-year low; import prices edge up

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits held at a 43-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength that could pave the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in December. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department added to data such as September automobile sales and manufacturing and services sector surveys in reinforcing the view that economic growth picked up in the third quarter after a sluggish performance in the first half of the year. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 246,000 for the week ended Oct. 8, the lowest reading since November 1973, the Labor Department said. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 3,000 fewer applications received than previously reported. It was the 84th consecutive week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with robust labor market conditions. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller. Minutes of the Fed’s Sept. 20-21 policy meeting published on Wednesday showed several officials believed it would be appropriate to increase interest rates “relatively soon” if the economy continued to gain strength.

The U.S. central bank raised its benchmark overnight interest rate last December and has held it steady since, largely because of concerns over low inflation. But there a signs that inflation will gradually rise toward the Fed’s 2 percent target as the dollar’s rally fades, which should ease some of the deflationary pressures from overseas. More:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren goes on tirade after Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf retires

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpfneeded to do more in the wake of a sales scandal in which as many as 2 million accounts were opened without customer authorization.Stumpf retired on Wednesday amid questions about the bank’s sales practices, which resulted in $185 million in penalties. Last month, Warren grilled the then-CEO, accusing him of “gutless leadership” andfailing to hold himself accountable for his staff’s actions. Warren tweeted on Wednesday that she would still like to see Stumpf “return every nickel he made” during the period the fake accounts were opened, as well as face an investigation by the Department of Justiceand Securities and Exchange Commission.

SEC Said to Demand That Cooperman Agree to Hedge Fund Suspension

Wall Street’s top cop demanded that a resolution of its insider-trading case against Leon Cooperman include the billionaire investor accepting a temporary suspension from the hedge fund industry, according to people familiar with the matter. Before suing Cooperman last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission pushed the outspoken trader to agree to a settlement that would have required him to pay about $8 million in penalties and prevented him for some period of time from managing money for clients, said the people who asked not to be named because the meetings were private. Cooperman has shown no signs of wanting to negotiate, as he’s repeatedly denied wrongdoing and said his firm met with the SEC before it filed the lawsuit to explain why its allegations were “totally unwarranted.” Cooperman and SEC spokeswoman Judy Burns declined to comment. Cooperman, 73, has described his fight against the regulator as a battle for his legacy, arguing that any fine is irrelevant because it would be far less than he annually donates to charity. But an industry suspension could have significant consequences, potentially affecting his role at Omega Advisors Inc., the New York hedge fund he’s built over more than two decades through savvy stock picks. More:

Despite having the tools, most financial advisers don’t track sales leads

In an era where the most commonly used software at an advisory firm is the CRM — somewhere in the realm of nine out of 10 advisers have one, according to our most recent technology study — it’s a shock to learn that sales leads aren’t tracked by the majority. Just 38% of firms said they formally tracked leads at their firm. We define a lead as having a “touch” or coming into contact with an individual who could become a client through a basic lead generation practice of the firm, whether it’s an established referral network or a marketing activity. A prospect, on the other hand, is a lead that the firm has gathered information on and has been validated as a qualified lead. By “qualified” we mean they meet the minimum of being able to afford your basic price/minimum fee or other measure, such as minimum assets, and meet your “niche,” whatever those qualifiers may be. Among those firms who track leads, 72% did so at the firm level and 28% at the individual adviser level. The average firm converts 33% of their qualified leads — or prospects — to clients. The conversion rate for leads — what we’ll describe as “warm leads,” or those who could be a client — was 21%.

Group’s Tactic on Hillary Clinton: Sue Her Again and Again

In between her extensive debate prep and her final, frenzied bid to raise money and win over voters, Hillary Clinton has had to carve out time to answer 25 detailed questions about her use of a private email server as secretary of state. The questions came not from the F.B.I., which has closed its investigation into the issue, or from Congress, or even from a news outlet. They came from a nonprofit organization called Judicial Watch. If the 2016 election has brought forward a new generation of Clinton antagonists — WikiLeaksBreitbart, Russia — it has also reintroduced America to an old one. Judicial Watch was one of the Clintons’ original tormentors, a charter member of what Mrs. Clinton famously called a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to destroy her and her husband by seizing on any potential scandal.

The organization filed its first lawsuit against the Clintons shortly after its formation in 1994, and it pretty much never stopped. It is currently the plaintiff in more than 20 suits involving Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee. “People always used to say to me, ‘What are you going to do when the Clintons leave?’” Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, said in an interview. “Well, the Clintons never really left.” Neither has Judicial Watch, the indefatigable Clinton adversary that has probably done more than any other individual or organization to create the narrative that Mrs. Clinton is still battling: that she is untrustworthy. It is a narrative that her Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, has tried to exploit at every turn, whether he was labeling her “Crooked Hillary,” saying there was something “very fishy” about the suicide of her former law partner, Vincent W. Foster Jr., or suggesting that she might be concealing serious health problems. Judicial Watch’s strategy is simple: Carpet-bomb the federal courts with Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. A vast majority are dismissed. But Judicial Watch caught a break last year, when revelations about Mrs. Clinton’s private email server prompted two judges to reopen two of the group’s cases connected to her tenure as secretary of state. The lawsuits have since led to the release of hundreds of Mrs. Clinton’s emails — which have, in turn, spurred dozens of news releases and fund-raising letters from Judicial Watch that hype the significance of these documents, while putting them in the least flattering light possible for Mrs. Clinton. The group’s lawyers were given permission to depose several of her senior aides from her time at the State Department. What is more, Mrs. Clinton herself will have to answer 25 detailed questions about her use of a private email server as secretary of state. The questions, some with multiple parts, ask her to explain her rationale for using the private server and her reaction to warnings about the potential for security breaches, among other things. Her answers, to be provided via written testimony to the court, are due by Thursday. Just getting this far has represented a victory for Judicial Watch, which operates out of a nondescript office building in the shadow of the Capitol. More:

Hillary Clinton, Paul Ryan and the relationship that could shape Washington

It was October 1998, and Hillary Clinton’s midterm campaign swing for Democratic candidates brought the first lady on a Saturday afternoon to a middle-school gymnasium in Janesville, Wis. A 28-year-old conservative upstart from the town was running for Congress — and Clinton, rallying 1,200 people with a rip-roaring denunciation of Republicans, was trying to stop him. Clinton’s efforts failed, of course. Paul D. Ryan went on to win, and he has held his House seat in Wisconsin’s industrial southeastern corner for nearly two decades as he has risen to become the highest-ranking Republican in the country. Clinton and Ryan did not know each other then, and they barely have a personal rapport now. When they served together on Capitol Hill, they did not collaborate. They have crossed paths only a few times, in perfunctory meetings while she was secretary of state. Clinton, 68, and Ryan, 47, also have no apparent social ties — although they do share a book agent, Washington superlawyer Robert Barnett. Nonetheless, their relationship could become Washington’s most important in determining whether the federal government functions over the next four years, should Clinton win the presidency and Ryan retain his majority — as polls show is probable, although not certain, for both. This year’s melodrama of a campaign has provided a window into the uneasy Trump-Ryan relationship, which appeared to reach its breaking point this week. What’s less clear is what a Clinton-Ryan relationship would look like. “It’s fine,” Ryan said flatly, when asked about his relationship with Clinton at a late September breakfast hosted by the Economic Club of Washington. “I’ve only had two or three conversations with her. . . . I can’t really say I know her very well.” The relationship would hinge on how Clinton decides to begin her potential presidency. She could claim an electoral mandate and launch a pitched battle to pass the more progressive parts of her agenda. Or she could start with a relatively incremental push on a menu of domestic issues on which she and Ryan have shared interests, including infrastructure investment, criminal justice revisions and anti-poverty measures.

FBI (re)issues statement on Podesta hack

The FBI is reacting to the hacking of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails by re-issuing a broadly-worded statement about cyber threats to those active in American politics. “The FBI is aware of media reporting on cyber intrusions involving multiple political entities, and is working to determine the accuracy, nature and scope of these matters,” an FBI spokesperson said. “The cyber threat environment continues to evolve as cyber actors target all sectors and their data. The FBI takes seriously any allegations of intrusions, and we will continue to hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.” The FBI statement came after Podesta told reporters that he talked with the FBI Sunday, which told him an investigation is underway. Messages hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account began appearing on the WikiLeaks website Friday, with more emails dumped out this week. “I was in touch with the FBI on Sunday. They confirmed that they are investigating the criminal hack of my email, and we are of course, fully cooperating in that investigation,” Podesta told reporters on Clinton’s campaign plane Tuesday night. “We also learned today from law enforcement authorities that that investigation is part of the ongoing investigation of hacking into democratic organizations by Russian intelligence.” The statement issued by the FBI is identical to one the law enforcement agency issued on July 29 in response to reports of hacking into systems run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. A few days before that the FBI specifically acknowledged it was probing hacks of Democratic National Committee emails and files that led to turmoil during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

However, as the reports of hacking spread across the Democratic establishment, FBI officials decided not to publicly confirm or deny each new hacking victim.


Marine Corps may scrap iconic “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” slogan

The Marine Corps may scrap its iconic recruiting slogan, “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

The change is being considered ahead of a national advertising campaign slated to launch next year, according to reports in Marine Times. ‘The Few, The Proud’ does a great job distinguishing ourselves from the other branches and making us prestigious to recruits, but it doesn’t say anything about what we do or why we exist,” Lt. Col. John Caldwell, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command told Marines Corps Times. “We believe the new campaign products require a unique tagline to achieve the effort’s objectives.” The new advertising strategy – which will emphasize the fighting nature of the Marines – has already been approved by Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller. Once developed, the new tagline would be used on recruiting materials replacing “The Few, The Proud” slogan. Caldwell said the change has nothing to do with the inclusion of women into combat jobs service-wide. “It has everything to do with clearly defining who we are and what we do as United States Marines. It’s all about our irreducible fighting spirit. That’s the fighting spirit of the organization and that’s the fighting spirit of all its Marines,” Caldwell said. The Marine’s best-known slogan has been in use since 1977 when it first appeared in a television commercial though a version of the phrase can be found in a 1779 ad looking for members of the Continental Marines. In 2007, the slogan was added to Madison Avenue’s Advertising Walk of Fame.

Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in literature

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday for work that the Swedish Academy described as “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

He is the first American to win the prize since Toni Morrison in 1993, and a groundbreaking choice by the Nobel committee to select the first literature laureate whose career has primarily been as a musician.

Although long rumored as a contender for the prize, Dylan was far down the list of predicted winners, which included such renown writers as Haruki Murakami and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o. This is the second year in a row that the academy has turned away from fiction writers for the literature prize. And it’s possibly the first year that the prize has gone to someone who is primarily a musician, not a writer. The permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, made the announcement in Stockholm. In a televised interview afterward, Danius said that Dylan “embodies the tradition. And for 54 years, he’s been at it, reinventing himself, creating a new identity.” She suggested that people unfamiliar with his work start with “Blonde on Blonde,” his album from 1966. “Bob Dylan writes poetry for the ear,” she said. “But it’s perfectly fine to read his works as poetry.” More:

A brief guide to the flood of allegations women have made against Donald Trump

Donald Trump has been hit with a series of new allegations over the past 24 hours about his treatment of women — including multiple accusations of unwanted groping in stories reported Wednesday evening.

The reports come as Trump grapples with the fallout from a Friday Washington Post report of a 2005 video in which he speaks in lewd and sexually aggressive terms about women. Those comments — and Trump’s remarks about them at Sunday night’s debate — reportedly spurred some of these women to speak up. They also come as a newly discovered “Entertainment Tonight” video from 1992 shows Trump speaking about a young girl and saying, “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”

Here’s a brief recap of the most recent developments:



Why Alabama is only state driving unauthorized Mexican immigrants away as other arrivals surge

Growing up fatherless with four siblings in a small rural village in Kitui County, Kenya, Annah Musenya had a difficult first 14 years. “My life was really bad – we had problems, we starved,” she said “The village life in Africa – we had to fetch water from the river and gather firewood; it was very hectic. And we didn’t even have shoes all this time.” Now 29 years old, Musenya lives on a leafy street on Birmingham’s South Side with her husband and son, who is about to celebrate his first birthday. A dramatic shift: The story of Musenya’s journey to Alabama is one of persistence and hard work, and perhaps especially luck and good fortune, as an aunt in Greece took her in at the age of 14, providing a more stable home more than a decade before she moved to the U.S. But it is also part of a larger narrative of immigration to this state, one that is marked as much by its boon to the economy as by the enduring fallout of the failed H.B. 56 anti-immigration legislation of 2011. Musenya moved to the U.S. last September as an authorized immigrant here on a K-1 visa reserved for people engaged to marry American citizens. But many thousands of people illegally arrive in the U.S. each year, and a new report released last month by the Pew Research Center presents a broad view of recent trends in unauthorized immigration to America. For many years, the popular image of the undocumented immigrant in Alabama was that of a Mexican laborer, crossing the border illegally and working in fields, chicken-houses or other low-wage areas. But the Pew report reveals that the face of immigration to the Yellowhammer State shifted dramatically from 2009 to 2014. Over that period, Alabama was the only state in the nation to experience a decrease in the estimated number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, while simultaneously seeing an increase in the number of unauthorized immigrants coming in from other countries.


Petition to Remove Sen. Jeff Sessions from Judiciary Committee Reaches 30K Signatures

A petition launched online to remove Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) from the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary has reached more than 30,000 signatures, following controversial remarks from the senator on Republican Nominee Donald Trump. At least 32,000 people have signed the petition on, according to website administrators. The petition was put online following Session’s refusal to dub Trump’s hot-mic comments, which were published over the weekend by The Washington Post, as sexual assault. The petition says Sessions shouldn’t be able to define “laws governing sexual assault” if he “can’t define sexual assault.” In the hot-mic tape, Trump brags about groping and kissing women without their permission. Following Sunday night’s Second Presidential Debate — in which CNN’s Anderson Cooper confronted Trump about his comments back in 2005 on Access Hollywood — Sessions told the Weekly Standard: “I don’t characterize that as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch.” “Sen. Sessions is a former U.S. Attorney, if you can believe it, and is a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” the petition reads. “We cannot have men like this deciding judicial nominations and laws governing sexual assault.” Sessions is a Republican member of the Committee, which is charged with confirming federal judges appointed by the president. He is the chair of the subcommittee on Immigration and The National Interest.



America The Banana Republic

In a statement on the huge state-sponsored salvage of private bankruptcy that was first proposed last September, a group of Republican lawmakers, employing one of the very rudest words in their party’s thesaurus, described the proposed rescue of the busted finance and discredited credit sectors as “socialistic.” There was a sort of half-truth to what they said. But they would have been very much nearer the mark—and rather more ironic and revealing at their own expense—if they had completed the sentence and described the actual situation as what it is: “socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest.”I have heard arguments about whether it was Milton Friedman or Gore Vidal who first came up with this apt summary of a collusion between the overweening state and certain favored monopolistic concerns, whereby the profits can be privatized and the debts conveniently socialized, but another term for the same system would be “banana republic.” What are the main principles of a banana republic? A very salient one might be that it has a paper currency which is an international laughingstock: a definition that would immediately qualify today’s United States of America. We may snicker at the thriller from Wasilla, who got her first passport only last year, yet millions of once well-traveled Americans are now forced to ask if they can afford even the simplest overseas trip when their folding money is apparently issued by the Boardwalk press of Atlantic City. But still, the chief principle of banana-ism is that of kleptocracy, whereby those in positions of influence use their time in office to maximize their own gains, always ensuring that any shortfall is made up by those unfortunates whose daily life involves earning money rather than making it. At all costs, therefore, the one principle that must not operate is the principle of accountability. In fact, if possible, even the similar-sounding term (deriving from the same root) of accountancy must be jettisoned as well. Just listen to Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, as he explained how the legal guardians of fair and honest play had made those principles go away. On September 26, he announced that “the last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work.” Now listen to how he enlarges on this somewhat lame statement. It seems to him on reflection that “voluntary regulation” was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, because investment banks could opt in or out of supervision voluntarily. The fact that investment bank holding companies could withdraw from this voluntary supervision at their discretion diminished the perceived mandate of the program and weakened its effectiveness. More:


Don’t attack lawyers who defend criminals: Column

The Republican National Committee recently embraced an uninformed smear in an advertisement condemning Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine for his past legal representation of people accused of crime. The Democratic vice presidential nominee is an attorney who took on a number of criminal cases, including death penalty cases, before running for office. The GOP ad says Kaine “has a passion for defending the wrong people” and that “long before Tim Kaine was in office, he consistently protected the worst kinds of people.” It is as if the politicians attacking former criminal defense lawyers believe the public cannot or will not distinguish between the lawyer and the crime their long-ago client was accused of committing.

In the second presidential debate, Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for defending a man accused of rape when she was a private lawyer decades ago. Clinton offered no response. In the past, when asked about having defended a criminal, Clinton acted like a politician chagrined because her adversary’s opposition research had just revealed an embarrassing moment from her past. She defended her role by noting that “when you’re a lawyer you often don’t have the choice as to who you will represent. And by the very nature of criminal law there will be those you represent you don’t approve of. But, at least in our system, you have an obligation. And once I was appointed I fulfilled that obligation.”

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which I currently serve as president, does not endorse or oppose any party or candidate for office. However, NACDL strongly condemns attacks by any party or candidate directed at any lawyer as a result of the attorney’s representation of clients in criminal matters. The nation’s criminal defense bar deserves gratitude, not condemnation. The men and women who represent accused persons, without regard to economic station or racial, ethnic, or national background, render a vital service to the nation. Most are proud to be criminal defense lawyers, and rightly so. Indeed, they are acting in the best traditions of our Founding Fathers. More:


Be careful, Bradley Byrne, Donald Trump might grab you!

Bradley Byrne is the reason I don’t write nice things about people. It’s easy to criticize someone, especially politicians. They do all sorts of awful things, and for the most part, they deserve it.

But praise? That comes with risk. And this week I praised the Alabama congressman for showing courage when he rescinded his endorsement of the Great White Grope, Donald Trump. It was tepid praise, sure, but it was praise, nonetheless. “Be careful,” my colleague John Archibald said. “You know what happens when you write something nice about somebody.” Yes. They turn out to be a thief, a child molester or … Artur Davis. Give someone a little credit, and you hitch your boat to theirs. If that boat goes down, you could, too. You look stupid. By this point, I expect everyone has heard the tapes or knows what’s on them, including little kids who are now asking their parents what some of those words mean.

Over the weekend, some Alabama politicians were quick to react. Maybe too quick. Sen. Jeff Sessions told the Weekly Standard, a conservative policy and opinion magazine, that he wouldn’t characterize the things Trump described as sexual assault. The Weekly Standard included a transcribed snippet of the conversation. SESSIONS: This was very improper language, and (Trump has) acknowledged that. TWS: But beyond the language, would you characterize the behavior described in that (video) as sexual assault if that behavior actually took place? SESSIONS: I don’t characterize that as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch. I don’t know what he meant— TWS: So if you grab a woman by the genitals, that’s not sexual assault? SESSIONS: I don’t know. It’s not clear that he—how that would occur. By Monday, Sessions was walking back his statement that — although it was transcribed verbatim — he called “completely inaccurate.” If Trump’s statements on the Access Hollywood tape were a campaign-ending embarrassment and possible extinction-level event for the GOP, Sessions was going to make certain Alabama got a piece of that. “My hesitation was based solely on confusion of the contents of the 2005 tape and the hypothetical posed by the reporter, which was asked in a chaotic post-debate environment,” Sessions said in a press release. “I regret that it resulted in an inaccurate article that misrepresented my views.” Verbatim transcription = inaccurate article. Got it. Moving on. No matter whether Sessions understands the definition of sexual assault, at least he’s been consistent in his support for Trump.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who during the primary supported Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said over the weekend that he wouldn’t vote for either Trump or Clinton. Some have said this is ironic, seeing how Bentley, too, has been caught on tape saying salacious things, but considering that we live in Trump’s America, I can see how some folks might have missed a crucial difference between the two. Consent. 

Rep. Martha Roby unendorsed, also, called for Trump to step down. And then there was Byrne. “It is now clear that Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States and cannot defeat Hillary Clinton,” Byrne said. “I believe he should step aside and allow Gov. Pence to lead the Republican ticket.” In Alabama, stepping out like that takes guts, or so I wrote. This is, after all, the state that, according to statistics wonks like Nate Silver, is mostly like to go hardest and heaviest for Trump on Election Day. There would be blow-back, surely. The torrent of hate and hysteria came swiftly, erupting all over Roby and Byrne’s Facebook pages like a dog that ate Pop Rocks. So far, Roby has stood her ground. Good for her (fingers crossed). The governor has, too. Same for him (knock-on-wood). But then Byrne gave everyone some … clarity. “He will support the Republican ticket on Election Day, as he has pledged to do all along,” his spokesman said on Tuesday. “He just believes that person should be Mike Pence.”

And then on Wednesday, Byrne made a full reversal, saying he would vote for Trump. Profiles in courage, this ain’t. When I wrote that column earlier this week, most of the mail I got wasn’t … uhm … nice. Trump supporters (I won’t put all Republicans in that basket) said I was an idiot. In retrospect, maybe they had a point. Democrats said I let Roby and Byrne off too easy. Why, after all, was it courageous to dump Trump now when they stuck by him when he’d said so many awful things before? Fair enough. It’s enough to make me glad I wasn’t on that stage at the townhall debate Sunday night, when undecided voter, Karl Becker, asked each of the candidates to say something nice about the other. Praise comes with risk.

And I don’t want to get Bradley Byrned again.

Morning Money

LEFT PRESSES SCHUMER ON BANKING COMMITTEE — Via POLITICO’s Zachary Warmbrodt: “Several progressive groups are calling on Sen. Chuck Schumer — expected to be the Senate’s next Democratic leader — to avoid letting the Banking Committee become too cozy with the financial industry in the next Congress. At issue are concerns that the committee’s contingent of moderate Democrats might grow. Progressives have been on alert amid speculation around whether Evan Bayh, who is campaigning in Indiana to return to the Senate after working for a lobbying and law firm, would regain seniority on the panel.

“In a letter sent today, the advocacy groups asked Schumer to ‘publicly state your intention to ensure the makeup of the Senate Banking Committee reflects the [Democratic] Party’s consensus in support of financial reform.’ ‘The Committee already conspicuously harbors several of the Democratic Caucus’s most conservative, Wall Street-friendly members,’ groups including, Rootstrikers, New York Communities for Change and CPD Action said in the letter to the New York senator.” Read more.

FROM THE MAILBAG — Reuters Breakingviews’ Rob Cox has an alternative view of Sheryl Sandberg’s future: “I have my money on Sheryl running for governor of California – beating Gavin Newsom – and after a term or two running for POTUS.”

MORE FROM CLINTON WALL STREET SPEECHES — POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney: “Hillary Clinton frequently offered warm and at times sympathetic words for Wall Street during her paid speeches before some of the biggest financial powerhouses as the nation was still recovering from the 2008 crisis, according to excerpts flagged as problematic by her speaker’s bureau …

“WikiLeaks’ trove of hacked emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s Gmail account includes an 80-page attachment seemingly from Harry Walker Agency that highlights hundreds of ‘speech flags.’ The document sorts the speech excerpts by more than 50 categories, including China, Clinton Foundation, Equal Pay, Government Surveillance, Islam, Personal Wealth, and Praising Wall Street” Read more.

TRUMP ECON TEAM OFTEN AT ODDS — WSJ’s Nick Timiraos: “Trump stormed to the GOP nomination without the help of a formal economic team and only a smattering of position papers. Since then he has assembled an eccentric band of advisers to shape policy— many of whom openly disagree with several of his key economic prescriptions.
Economist Larry Kudlow … hasn’t been shy in highlighting these differences, as he did after Mr. Trump torched the political independence of the Federal Reserve in a speech last month in New York. …

“This week, after the campaign was buffeted by controversies including a 2005 video in which Mr. Trump made lewd comments about women, Mr. Kudlow was even blunter. ‘If he continues to drop into these rabbit holes, I will write in Mike Pence,’ he said on CNBC … Advisers describe Mr. Trump’s economic shop as a decentralized, free-wheeling operation that communicates mostly by email and speaks infrequently with the candidate himself. Instead of fleshing out positions live they relay memos to Stephen Miller, the campaign’s policy director, or Steven Mnuchin, an investment banker who is the campaign’s finance chairman. And the team, to the pride of some, is unusually lean on advisers with any White House or government experience” Read more.

SPEAKING OF TRUMP — MM is not going to get into the multiple allegations of sexual assault lodged against Trump on Wednesday. You can get plenty of that elsewhere. In fact, the level of Trump content in here is likely to drop significantly in the coming weeks unless something happens to suggest he has any chance of resurrecting his campaign and winning the White House.

Because at the moment, there is no scenario under which Trump can win. The question is only how much further damage he can do to the civic life of the nation. And once it’s done, we will have plenty of coverage of how the GOP rebuilds itself and deals with a core of voters who embrace Trump’s xenophobic, racist, misogynistic message and live in a self-confirming information bubble that is entirely detached from anything resembling reality.

FIRST LOOK: CARLYLE ON CENTRAL BANK WOES — Carlyle’s Kewsong Lee, Deputy CIO for Corporate Private Equity and Head of Global Market Strategies, and Jason Thomas, Director of Research have a new paper out Thursday arguing that “central banks realize suppressing long-term interest rates doesn’t make sense. And given concerns about Deutsche Bank and Euro lenders, ECB tapering could be a real risk to consider.” Read the paper.

STUMPF REACT — Cowen’s Jaret Seiberg: “We see the decision by Wells Fargo to replace John Stumpf with Tim Sloan as CEO and Stephen Sanger as chairman as a positive move to address the bank’s political liability over cross selling. What it won’t do is end the investigations of whether bank employees broke the law. And the bank is still stuck in the middle of a fight between Democrats and the GOP over the CFPB.

“This is not over … All of the pending investigations will continue. This includes the criminal probe of whether senior executives or regional managers engaged in fraud as well as whether the bank retaliated against those who complained about illegal cross-selling practices. We continue to expect that Wells Fargo will be bogged down in this controversy for the next two years”

Seabreeze Partners’ Douglas Kass emails: “What was the size of Stumpf’s severance package? If it is large it could result in more backlash from authorities and public opinion than if he had stayed! Why did tone-deaf Wells Fargo board replace Stumpf with a veteran who has spent three decades at the bank? And who ran the commercial banking business? Why not someone new and not “tainted”?”

FED DIVIDED — Mohamed A. El-Erian on Bloomberg View: “The minutes of the September meeting of the [FOMC] … explained why three Fed board members had dissented from the majority’s ‘close call’ decision to keep rates unchanged. The highly anticipated transcript provides insights into internal and external developments, illustrating the ‘unusual uncertainty’ that policy makers must contend with. The transcript is an important reminder of how difficult it has become to maintain a high level of conviction about the correct policy in a time of such fluidity in the economic, financial, political and institutional environment.” Read more.

ASIAN STOCKS TUMBLE — Reuters: “Asian stocks stumbled to three-week lows and U.S. stock futures and Treasury yields fell after China’s September trade data showed a sharp decline in exports, raising fresh concerns about the health of the world’s second biggest economy. … Risky assets have had a torrid start to the final quarter of 2016 after recent outperformance as concerns around the outcome of U.S. elections, fallout from a ‘hard Brexit’ and a struggling German banking sector spread turmoil in markets.

“Early on Thursday, the mood soured after data showed Chinese imports in dollar terms were back in contractionary territory in September while exports dropped by a sharper-than-expected 10 percent.” Read more.

THE BIG IDEA: BIG TECH MONEY; FEW JOBS — WSJ’s on Hilsenrath and Bob Davis: “The technology revolution has delivered Google searches, Facebook friends, iPhone apps, Twitter rants and shopping for almost anything on Amazon, all in the past decade and a half. What it hasn’t delivered are many jobs. Google’s Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc. had at the end of last year a total of 74,505 employees, about one-third fewer than Microsoft Corp. even though their combined stock-market value is twice as big.

“Photo-sharing service Instagram had 13 employees when it was acquired for $1 billion by Facebook in 2012. … This outcome is a far cry from what many political leaders, tech entrepreneurs and economists predicted about a generation ago … The gap between what the tech boom promised and then delivered is another source of the rumbling national discontent that powered the rise this year of political outsiders Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.” Read more.

KASICH FOR TPP — Ohio Governor John Kasich in a WP op-ed: “For me, the only common-sense direction is forward, because trade is the foundation of peace. Not only will the TPP promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, but also it will help maintain the United States’ essential strength in that hemisphere at a time of increased Chinese and Russian assertiveness.” Read more.

DUDLEY: SLACK REMAINS — POLITICO’s Jimmy Vielkind: “There is extra ‘slack’ in the labor market that has given the Fed … pause about raising interest rates, the president of the organization’s New York branch said during a speech. Bill Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and vice chairman of the powerful Federal Open Markets Committee … discussed the state of the economy during a breakfast roundtable sponsored by the Business Council of New York State.

“Dudley said that employment gains reported in payrolls have led him to conclude that there is still room for more jobs to be added. … ‘As the labor market has improved, people who were discouraged are actually going back into the labor force, so that’s actually augmenting the supply of workers so that’s allowing us to grow payroll at a pretty decent clip without pushing down the unemployment rate,’ Dudley said. Read more.

STUMPF STEPS DOWN — Reuter’s Dan Freed and Elizabeth Dilts: “Wells Fargo & Co’s veteran chairman and chief executive officer, John Stumpf, abruptly departed on Wednesday bowing to pressure over its sales tactics that has damaged the bank’s reputation and put Wall Street under renewed scrutiny.

“The bank is splitting the role of chairman and CEO with Stephen Sanger, its lead director, becoming chairman … The bank’s shares, which have slumped in the wake of the scandal, rose 2 percent in after-hours trading after the bank announced Stumpf’s exit.” Read more.

FARGO FALLOUT — FT’S Ben McLannahan: “The 63-year-old joins a long list of bank chief executives forced out in ignominious circumstances over the past decade, including Chuck Prince at Citigroup, Stan O’Neal at Merrill Lynch and Ken Lewis at Bank of America. His downfall is likely to have at least three big consequences for the rest of the big US banks.

“One is with respect to clawbacks of pay … Another is the separation of the roles of chairman and chief executive, which has long been a vexed question for the banks. Tim Sloan, the former president and chief operating officer who is stepping up to CEO of Wells, is not taking the additional title of chairman. Stephen Sanger, the lead independent director and former CEO of General Mills, is assuming the role — and not on an interim basis.” Read more.

FED MINUTES REVEAL CLOSE CALL — Bloomberg’s Christopher Condon and Jeanna Smialek: “At their Sept. 20-21 session, the Federal Open Market Committee voted 7-3 to leave interest rates unchanged. Minutes released Wednesday showed ‘several’ of those who supported the decision to wait on tightening policy said the decision was a ‘close call.’ Several also indicated it would be appropriate to raise rates ‘relatively soon.’

“Following the minutes’ release, investors continued to see about a two-thirds chance of a rate increase in December, based on prices in federal funds futures contracts. They assigned a 17 percent chance to a move in November, when the Fed meets a week before the U.S. presidential election.” Read more.

SNAP PICKS ITS BANKS — Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier and Alex Barinka: “Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will lead the offering and were notified of their role early this week, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG, Allen & Co., Barclays Plc and Credit Suisse Group AG will also be involved as joint book runners, the people said.

“Snap, with a private market value of $18 billion after its last funding round, will be the largest social media IPO since Twitter Inc. in November 2013.” Read more.

GIG ECONOMY … WITH BENEFITS — NYT’s “Two former drivers for Uber are eligible for unemployment payments, New York State regulators have ruled, finding that they should be treated as employees rather than independent contractors, as the company has maintained.

“The decision could make it more difficult for Uber, its rival Lyft and other new businesses operating in what is known as the gig economy by raising their costs and challenging their business model.” Read more.

HOLLANDE’S HOWL — POLTICO’s Bjarke Smith-Meyer: “France’s François Hollande has lashed out at the U.S. government for issuing multibillion-dollar penalties against European companies.

“’When the (European) Commission goes after Google or digital giants which do not pay the taxes they should in Europe, America takes offense,’ the French president said in an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur magazine that was picked up by Reuters. ‘And yet, they quite shamelessly demand 8 billion euros from BNP or 5 billion euros from Deutsche Bank.’” Read more.

BONDS LIKE HOTCAKES — TheStreet’s Bradley Keuon: “Last week’s $3 billion bond sale by Deutsche Bank (DB) was so good — for investors — that the lender was flooded with additional requests to buy the debt on similar terms.

“Deutsche Bank, based in Frankfurt, needs to sell bonds now, partly because it has about 21 billion euros ($23 billion) of debt securities coming due in 2017 and doesn’t want to wait until the last minute, according to David Hendler, principal at bond-analysis firm Viola Risk Advisors.” Read more.

TRUMP DESTORYS HIS OWN BRAND — WP’s Jennifer Rubin: “Donald Trump, a world-class narcissist with no interests beyond self-promotion and money, in all likelihood entered the presidential race as a promotional gimmick. That’s what former advisers suggest, at any rate. It’s the only thing Trump has ever been good at — self-promotion, that is. His actual real-estate business cratered, as the 1995 tax returns show. A string of businesses (vodka, airlines, mortgage brokerage, football team) all failed.

“But through it all, Trump’s insatiable desire for publicity and expertise in media manipulation — from exaggerating his wealth to assuming the identity of a PR man — fueled his image and generated a certain level of wealth (less than advertised, but still). Not only will Trump lose the 2016 election, but also his brand’ — such as it is now — is that of a creepy old man, a bigot, a misogynist” Read more.

POTUS Events

10:00 am || Receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
12:15 pm || Departs White House
1:25 pm || Arrives Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2:05 pm || Takes a tour of projects at the White House Frontiers Conference; University of Pittsburgh
3:30 pm || Delivers remarks and participates in a White House Frontiers Conference panel discussion; Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
6:05 pm || Departs Pittsburgh
6:50 pm || Arrives Columbus, Ohio
7:45 pm || Delivers remarks at an event for the Ohio Democratic Party and Governor Ted Strickland; Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus
8:40 pm || Departs Columbus, Ohio
9:25 pm || Arrives Cleveland, Ohio

All times Eastern

Floor Action

The House is out. The Senate meets in a pro forma session at 2 p.m.



IRS Tax Tip


Filing Extension Deadline Almost Here
Double Check ACA Information on Your Return

If you received an extension of time to file your 2015 federal tax return, you have until Oct. 17 to double check your return and information on it that is related to the Affordable Care Act. The health care law includes  the individual shared responsibility provision and the premium tax credit that may affect your return.

Many people already have minimum essential coverage. If this applies to you, you’ll simply report your coverage when you file your tax return by checking a box on your Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

Most taxpayers simply need to check a box on their tax return to indicate you had health coverage for all of 2015. For any month that you or anyone in your family did not have minimum essential coverage, you need to either claim or report a coverage exemption or make a shared responsibility payment when you file your tax return.

If you enrolled in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for the premium tax credit. If you benefited from advance payments of the premium tax credit, you must file a federal income tax return to reconcile your advance credit payments, even if you’re otherwise not required to file.  Failing to file will prevent you from receiving advance credit payments in future years.

The Interactive Tax Assistant tool can help you determine if you qualify for an exemption, if you need to make a payment, or if you are eligible for the premium tax credit. Taxpayers can visit for additional information on how the Affordable Care Act affects their return.

Remember that filing electronically is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate tax return. Electronic filing options include free Volunteer Assistance, IRS Free File, commercial software and professional assistance.

Before filing the 2015 return, be sure to make a copy and keep it and all supporting documents for a minimum of three years. Doing so will make it easier to fill out a 2016 return next year. In addition, you will often need the adjusted gross income amount from your 2015 return to properly e-file your 2016 return.

For more information about the Oct. 17 extension deadline for filing 2015 tax returns, see IRS Special Edition Tax Tip 2016-14 and news release IR-2016-130.

Securities Attorney Meeting 10 October 2016

Securities Attorney Tom Krebs


U.S. Formally Accuses Russia of Stealing D.N.C. Emails

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday formally accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and from a range of prominent individuals and institutions, immediately raising the issue of whether President Obama will seek sanctions or other retaliation for the cyberattacks. In a statement from the director of national intelligence, James Clapper Jr., and the Department of Homeland Security, the government said the leaked emails that have appeared on a variety of websites “are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.” The emails were posted on the well-known WikiLeaks site and newer ones that have run under the names and Guccifer 2.1. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement said. It did not name President Vladimir V. Putin, but that appeared to be the intention. For weeks, aides to Mr. Obama have been debating a range of possible responses to the Russia action, from targeted economic sanctions to authorizing covert action against the computer servers in Russia and elsewhere that have been traced as the origin of the attacks. The White House has not said whether Mr. Obama has reviewed those options, or decided on any. The statement said that the recent “scanning and probing” of election systems “in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company,” but did not say the Russian government was responsible for those probes.

How the Oracle of Oxford Won a Cult Following

Only a Silver Ferrari 488 parked in the lot hints that this is anything but a run-of-the-mill business complex on the outskirts of Oxford, England. It’s not until you get inside a suite of offices on the second floor that you begin to sense real money is being made here. On one wall, there’s a long, neatly handwritten list of U.K.-listed companies. On another, flatscreens display a big, constantly changing number. On this particular day, it ticks over to a nice, round £15 billion ($19.5 billion). These are the offices of one of Britain’s most celebrated fund managers, Neil Woodford, and the number on the screens is the amount Woodford Investment Management has amassed in assets since he left Invesco Perpetual in April 2014. To have raised that much money so quickly is the stuff of legend in an industry where it normally takes at least three years to get truly established, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its forthcoming issue. The venerated Bill Gross, for instance, has raised around $1.9 billion (£1.5 billion) since he left Pimco in September 2014 to join Janus. When Woodford was at Invesco, where he attracted a cult following as he built up about £33 billion in assets in around 26 years, he was among the biggest individual investors in U.K. stocks. On Oct. 15, 2013, the day he announced he would be moving on, Invesco shares slumped more than 7 percent. Money followed him. St. James’s Place, a FTSE 100 wealth manager, took £3.7 billion of its clients’ assets out of Invesco and turned it over to Woodford before he’d even turned on the lights at his new firm. St. James’s Place puts its trust in individuals, not firms, Chief Executive Officer David Bellamy said in a telephone interview. “We weren’t backing Woodford Investment Management, and we weren’t making a statement about Invesco,” he says. “We were with Neil.” Woodford, 56, is dressed casually—jeans, navy T-shirt—when he sits down for a rare interview in the company boardroom; he looks more like a rugby player than a financier.

Deutsche Bank fails to score Justice Dept. deal, shares fall

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) shares fell more than 3 percent on Monday after Chief Executive John Cryan failed to secure a speedy deal with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) over the weekend over the misselling of mortgage-backed securities. Cryan was attending the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s autumn meetings in Washington, raising hopes that he might personally negotiate down the $14 billion fine the DoJ has demanded. “One had hoped that a quick agreement was possible,” a German trader said. By 0818 GMT, Deutsche Bank shares had pared losses but were still at the bottom of a flat German blue-chip index .GDAXI, down 3 percent at 11.74 euros. “They had a bit of a bounce up last week, but I would still steer clear of Deutsche Bank,” said Terry Torrison, managing director at Monaco-based McLaren Securities.”They were never going to sort out the U.S. issues that quickly, and whatever happens, I still think they will need to have a rights issue.” Deutsche Bank is expected to issue new shares, sell assets, or both, once it knows the scale of the fine, to ensure that its capital ratio remains within regulatory limits. It is struggling to restore market confidence, which took a blow when the $14 billion figure was leaked but which was already low as investors questioned whether Cryan had a credible plan to revamp the bank.



Five takeaways from second presidential debate

Americans tuning in for the second presidential debate on Sunday night got a heaping helping of adult-only television. The debate started off in the gutter, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton delving deep into personal details of their private lives. Things got nastier from there. Here are five takeaways from a jaw-dropping debate in St. Louis. An ugly campaign gets uglier:  The candidates and their spouses and families glumly strode into the Washington University in St. Louis auditorium on Sunday night knowing exactly what they were in for. The first 10 minutes of the debate focused on Trump’s obscene remarks that surfaced over the weekend from a 2005 television appearance. The graphic, sexually explicit comments provoked a stampede of Republicans away from his campaign and calls for him to drop out of the race one month before Election Day. “You described kissing women without their consent and grabbing their genitals,” debate moderator Anderson Cooper said. “That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?” Trump’s wife Melania and his adult children looked on from the crowd. Trump sought to deflect from that controversy by attacking Clinton for her treatment of the women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment or rape. Shortly before the debate, the campaign took a surreal turn as Trump held an impromptu press conference featuring three of those women: Paula Jones, Juanita Broaderrick and Kathleen Willey. A fourth woman, Kathleen Shelton, was also on hand. Clinton had been appointed to defend the man accused of raping Shelton when she was 12. The man pleaded to a lesser charge. The women sat side-by-side in the same auditorium as Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton, to bizarre and dramatic affect. The gutter talk continued after the debate, as Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway beat back at the Republicans in Congress fleeing Trump’s campaign, saying several members may have made unwanted sexual advances on her and have otherwise “rubbed up against women or stuck their tongues in their mouths uninvited.” Both candidates entered the night with horrible favorability ratings. Polls show the public believes the campaign has brought out the worst in people. Sunday night is likely to exaggerate those sentiments. This debate is unlikely to change the race:  The reaction to the first debate was swift and nearly unanimous: Clinton had won in a rout and would get a bump in the polls because of it. The reaction to the second debate was mixed, with pundits cast into despair over the ugliness and declaring that both candidates had scored points and absorbed damaging blows. An instant poll from CNN/YouGov found 47 percent viewed Clinton as the winner, with 42 percent saying Trump had won it. Trump endured an awful opening stretch in which he had to defend his past sexually explicit remarks. But he had a few memorable zingers and stayed on the attack no matter the question — something he failed to do at the first debate. Clinton struggled through questions about her private emails and server and paid speeches to Wall Street. But she’s far more natural in the town-hall setting, warmly approaching the citizen questioners as Trump stalked the stage or lingered awkwardly behind her. A draw is a win for Clinton, who leads in nearly every battleground state and is the overwhelming favorite among election handicappers to be the next president. Trump entered the night in free fall. He may have stopped the bleeding, but he didn’t alter the dynamics of the race, which are very much against him. More:


Colleges Pay Millions to Host a Presidential Debate

Winning the right to host a presidential debate is an expensive victory. Washington University in St. Louis is prepared to spend between $4 million and $5 million to host a 90-minute matchup between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Sunday evening. That’s in line with what Hofstra University (where the first debate of 2016 took place) and Longwood University (the site of this year’s only vice-presidential debate) shelled out to bring the candidates to campus. Why spend so much money on something that’s over so quickly? According to Steve Givens, the man in charge of debate preparations at Washington University, “it’s an addition to [students’] educational experience here that is almost priceless.” And then there’s the fact that $4 million-plus, which Givens says the private university will pay for out of its operating budget without the help of sponsors it has relied on in the past, is a drop in the bucket for a school with $2.7 billion in operating revenues and an endowment of nearly $7 billion. (For context, according to a report from the American Council on Education, just 1.6 percent of all colleges and universities had an endowment of more than a billion in 2012. And while operating budgets and endowments are different, schools often use investment returns from their endowments to support operating costs.) That clearly limits the number of schools that can host. Hofstra stepped in for the first debate after Wright State University in Ohio, which was originally slated to host it, said costs that had ballooned to some $8 million and mediocre fundraising hauls made it a financially risky prospect. Several wealthy alumni picked up most of the tab at Hofstra. But for schools that can swing it, there are plenty of reasons to sign up. More:


Hurricane Matthew blamed for at least 19 deaths, severe flooding

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Hurricane Matthew pummeled the Atlantic seaboard Sunday, drenching North and South Carolina, where rescuers rushed to save hundreds of people from flooding and strong winds.

The storm, which swept from the coast of Florida to Virginia Beach, has entered a dangerous new phase, sparking record flooding in North Carolina and causing power outages for more than 2 million people across five states. The death toll in the United States has climbed to at least 19, but local authorities warned that it could rise as people attempt to return home and are met with contaminated water, downed power lines and flooded roadways. Five people are missing in North Carolina, which has seen the most deaths so far. Even after the storm was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday and it moved out to sea, officials warned that the worst is not over. It could be days before waters crest and repair crews are able to reach all of those who have been affected, they said. “Hurricane Matthew is off the map, but it’s still with us and it’s still deadly,” North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said at his second news conference of the day. Significant flooding continues in parts of South and North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service. Up to 20 inches of rain have been reported in some areas, with more expected. More:


Airbnb Offering Rentals for $0 to Those Affected by Hurricane Matthew

As Hurricane Matthew hits the Florida coast this morning, bringing with it powerful winds strong enough to knock out power for thousands of residents and causing millions of others to evacuate, Airbnb is hoping to come to the aid of those affected by the storm. The rent-a-room company activated its Disaster Response Program Thursday that allows willing participants to “open their doors to those in need or find emergency accommodations,” according to the program’s website. Hurricane Matthew was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds at 2 a.m. ET today. As of today, the program is activated in parts of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. That means more than 3,000 homes are available to those in need for $0. Any type of accommodation is offered currently on the website from a“comfy couch” in Orlando to an entire villa in Davenport, Florida. Airbnb spokesman Nick Shapiro in a statement to ABC News added, “We encourage hosts in safe, inland areas to aid in this effort by listing their available rooms or homes on the platform to help the growing number of evacuees. This is the first major hurricane threat this area has seen in years, and we are hopeful that Airbnb can help play a small part in making the evacuation process easier for residents and their families. Our thoughts continue to be with everyone impacted by the storm, and we thank the dedicated government and emergency response personnel who are keeping our communities safe.” Airbnb’s Disaster Response Program was created after Hurricane Sandy hit the New York area in 2012. More than 1,000 Airbnb hosts in New York opened their homes free of charge.


DC participants share tiny bit of blame for Wells Fargo

John G. Stumpf, chairman and chief executive officer, Wells Fargo & Co., had some surprising, hidden and unwitting enablers in the fake accounts scandal — participants in defined contribution plans. How? Every year for more than a decade, large institutional investors have voted at the Wells Fargo annual meeting on a critical issue: whether to install an independent chair rather than allow the CEO to keep that job himself, effectively serving as his own boss. The right chair could have added muscle to board oversight. A separate chair is an approach used by 46.5% of 256 medium to large U.S. banks, according to MSCI Inc. The structure provides an extra measure of assurance against the risk of misfires by a chief executive. Every year, a majority of Wells Fargo’s largest institutional investors has voted to keep both jobs in the hands of a single individual. The current two largest institutional investors after Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the largest holder with 9.9% of the stock, are BlackRock (BLK) Inc. (BLK), with 5.6% of shares and Vanguard, 5.4%. BlackRock and Vanguard voted at Wells Fargo annual meeting in April against splitting the top two jobs, according to mutual fund proxy-voting records. Mr. Stumpf won re-election to the board by a 94.9% vote in favor. BlackRock, Vanguard and other managers invest more than $3 trillion on behalf of defined contribution participants, according Pensions & Investments’ report on the 1,000 largest retirement funds. Plan participants, in turn, rely on the funds to invest, engage and vote on their behalf to add value and protect against loss. More:


Religious investors lose faith in Wells Fargo after scandal

A group of nuns and other religiously-affiliated investors have lost faith in embattled Wells Fargo & Co and filed a shareholder resolution calling on the bank to report on the root causes of a fake accounts scandal that led to a $190 million settlement struck with regulators last month. The faith-based investors say they also want the report to cover improved controls after revelations bank employees opened as many as 2 million checking, savings and credit card accounts without the customers’ permission in order to meet sales quotas. The resolution resembles one the Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia and others filed for the bank’s 2014 annual meeting and then withdrew, on the understanding the San Francisco-based bank would provide more specifics on areas like its risk controls. But that did not happen, said Sister Nora Nash, a nun who is director of corporate social responsibility for the Catholic religious order, despite a series of meetings held in person and by phone with bank leaders including Wells Fargo lead independent director Stephen Sanger and a top ethics officer, Christine Meuers. “They haven’t done what we would have,” said Nash in a telephone interview. “Now it is biting them in the face.” Wells Fargo spokesman Oscar Suris declined to comment. The resolution is one among a series filed recently at Wells Fargo, including several from other investor groups affiliated with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility in New York. Other resolutions call on Wells Fargo to study a breakup and to split the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. All cite the Sept. 8 settlement Wells Fargo struck with bank regulators over the accusations. Other authorities have since begun probes, while CEO John Stumpf faces political pressure and calls to resign. The shareholder resolutions, proposed for the bank’s annual meeting to be held next spring, show how the tables have turned for Wells Fargo. Coming out of the financial crisis, it initially appeared to take less criticism than other large lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America. Both agreed under pressure from religious investors to provide reviews of their business practices in reports that amounted to mea culpas. “In some cases, our controls fell short, and in others, we simply weren’t meeting the standards we had set for ourselves,” JPMorgan said in a 2014 report. (


Trump Taj Mahal closes after years of losses

The Trump Taj Mahal, an iconic casino hotel on the Atlantic City boardwalk, ceased operations Monday after hemorrhaging losses for years and negotiations with employees’ union broke down, according to its owner, Icahn Enterprises. “Today is a sad day for Atlantic City.  Despite our best efforts, which included losing almost $350 million over just a few short years, we were unable to save the Taj Mahal,” said a statement released Monday by Icahn Enterprises, which is owned by billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

The shutdown was widely expected after its management announced in August that the hotel, beset by labor strife and the decline of Atlantic City as a resort and gaming destination, was losing “multimillions a month” and is likely headed for closure. Its employees, seeking health care and pension benefits, went on strike on July 1.


Yahoo’s Hacking and Spying Scandals Could Shave $1 Billion Off It’s Sales Price to Verizon

The hits keep coming for Yahoo C.E.O. Marissa Mayer. Since closing a deal in July to sell Yahoo to Verizon for $4.8 billion deal, the embattled Internet company has been embroiled in a near-constant stream of scandals. Last month, Yahoo confirmed that it had been hacked in 2014, compromising some 500 million user accounts—a security breach that caught Verizon executives unaware. This week it was revealed that Yahoo cooperated with a government request last year to help U.S. intelligence monitor customer e-mails, building a special tool to scan “hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts,” Reuters reported. Now, those disclosures could cost Yahoo. In light of both security issues, the New York Post reports that Verizon is pushing to knock down Yahoo’s original sales price by as much as $1 billion. (Verizon and Yahoo both declined to comment to Vanity Fair.) The Post, citing “several sources,” says Verizon feels Yahoo’s value has diminished as a result of the hack, and that Verizon’s Tim Armstrong is “pretty upset” that Yahoo did not disclose it. Verizon has confirmed it was given two days’ notice about the data breach before the public found out last month—two months after it acquired Yahoo. Former interim Yahoo C.E.O. Ross Levinsohn called the Yahoo hack “troubling” on CNBC Wednesday, adding, “If I’m sitting at Verizon right now . . . just from a business standpoint, I’d probably reserve a bunch of money against the deal or go back to Yahoo and ask for a discount.” The Post’s sources say Armstrong is trying to reduce the price of the deal, or get out of it entirely. “In the last day we’ve heard that Tim [Armstrong] is getting cold feet. He’s pretty upset about the lack of disclosure and he’s saying [what] can we get out of this or can we reduce the price?” a source told the Post. If you ask Armstrong outright, however, things between Verizon and Yahoo seem to be going just fine so far. “I think people knew the businesses were similar, but I think it’s more similar. I think what I mean by that is that Yahoo is going through a turnaround and a lot of that work and strategy is similar to what AOL did when we were turning around the company,” he said in a recent interview with Business Insider. “So I think there’s a lot of opportunity there for us to speed up on both sides.”


NFL teams could face huge fines for posting game GIFs and videos on social media

The National Football League has released new social media guidelines for teams that prohibit the use of live streaming and distributing GIFs, according to ESPN. The rules are apparently designed to ensure viewers go through official NFL channels for video content. This means that teams that post reaction GIFs during games could face steep fines. ESPN and Mashable obtained a pair of memos which outlined the new rules. Teams are not permitted to post video from within the stadium to social media, including live streams from services such as Facebook Live or Periscope. According to Mashable, the prohibition begins at kickoff, and ends an hour after the game’s conclusion. Teams are also prohibited from posting their own game highlights, and can’t take video and turn it into GIF form to post online. Mashable reported that the League informed teams that it considers “video to be ‘anything that moves,’” but that it would be clarifying its policy regarding GIFs with teams. The NFL warned that violations will result in steep fines: up to $25,000 for the first offense, $50,000 for the second, and up to $100,000 for additional infractions. Mashable reported that additional violations could result in the “loss of rights to post League-Controlled Content (including game footage).” SB Nation notes that these fines could be higher than the ones levied on players for illegal hits. The policy will go into effect on October 12th.


Dirty Words Won’t End Trump – Endorsing Sexual Assault Might

The Washington Post‘s David Fahrenthold dropped a Friday afternoon bombshell: a 2005 hot-mic recording of Donald Trump talking to Billy Bush before filming a soap opera cameo. From abortion to Zika, all the reasons you shouldn’t cast a vote for the GOP nominee. Here’s the quote from the recording that should immediately end his chances of becoming president:  “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” In just a few hours, the story has spread like wildfire. But here’s the important thing that every outlet should be clear about when they report on it: This is not a story about lewd comments. Rather, this is a story about the Republican nominee for president talking, without compunction, about how he supports sexually assaulting women. Every headline must make this clear. CNN almost got it right in its story this afternoon. Its headline reads, “Trump bragged on hot mic about being able to grope women.” That is close to accurate, but it could use even stronger language. Kissing and groping women without their consent is sexual assault. That needs to be how every outlet talks about the Washington Post report. Notably, in this way, the Washington Post also failed in its piece. Rather than making the piece about Trump endorsing sexual assault – the real shocker here – the paper framed the story as being about bad language. “Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005,” reads the headline. More:


Trump Video Demolishes GOP Unity as Party Fears Easy Clinton Win

Donald Trump’s decade-old boasting of groping women in vulgar terms finally severed his last tenuous support from many top Republicans, by tearing away the one thing they were clinging onto as they backed him through gritted teeth. They no longer think he can beat Hillary Clinton. The 2005 video was the breaking point for many Republican officeholders who stood by their nominee after he derided Mexican migrants as “rapists” in his 2015 launch speech, attacked Arizona Senator John McCain’s war record, made crass comments about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, smeared the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. soldier, bashed a federal judge over his Mexican ancestry, and feuded with a Latina Miss Universe. The fracturing of the party’s fragile support for Trump comes on the eve of the second presidential debate Sunday in St. Louis and after a brutal stretch that damaged his already shaky standing in the polls. The cascading events broaden what many analysts see as Clinton’s already-clear path to winning the election in 30 days, and elevated Republican fears of their candidates losing Senate and House races. “The presidential election is over,” said Doug Heye, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee and longtime critic of Trump. He said it’s time for Republicans to “confront our demons” and reflect on how they allowed Trump to become the party’s standard-bearer. “Donald Trump represents an indelible stain on the GOP’s soul.” By day’s end, Trump was reduced to insisting repeatedly he wasn’t going to quit the race, and the fate of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate did not seem fully assured, as some Republicans were seeking a way to make Pence the presidential contender, not Trump. For her part, Clinton made clear through her campaign officials that she would abide by the oldest rule in politics: when your opponent is self-destructing, stay out of the way. Campaign officials said she would not speak of the videotape until the debate Sunday — all the better to marshal its political and emotional punch in prime time.


Melania Trump sports ‘pussy-bow’ at debate

Melania Trump opted to wear a Gucci garment to the second presidential debate with an eyebrow-raising name: a “pussy-bow” shirt. The hot pink blouse, which retails for $1,100, was identified by multiple fashion mavens on social media as the one Donald Trump’s wife was sporting at the Sunday debate in St. Louis. “Pussy-bow shirts are one of Gucci’s signature silhouettes,” a product description for the “pussy-bow silk crepe de chine shirt” reads. “We think it’s a chic way to elevate office or weekend looks.”

The fashion choice came just days after Trump, the Republican was widely condemned following the Friday release of an audiotape from 2005 in which he described, in vulgar terms, his attempts to have sex with women. Saying he’s “automatically attracted to beautiful” women and “just starts [kissing] them,” Trump told then-“Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush, “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Whatever you want. Grab them by the p—y.” Melania Trump, the GOP presidential nominee’s wife of 10 years, released a statement Saturday calling her husband’s remarks “offensive” and “unacceptable.” She said she had accepted an apology from Trump.


The war against Columbus Day

A growing number of communities are now ditching the traditional Columbus Day holiday in favor of Indigenous People’s Day, which, supporters say, is meant to promote an accurate telling of the United States’ history and commemorate the resilience of its original inhabitants against European settlers.

On Thursday, Vermont Gov. Peter Schumlin signed an executive proclamation marking the second Monday of October as Indigenous People’s Day. According to the proclamation, the day is to recognize that the state “was founded and is built upon lands first inhabited by the Indigenous Peoples of this region,” an NBC affiliate reported. The move came three days days after City Council members in Phoenix voted unanimously to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, the Arizona Republic reported. It won’t replace Columbus Day because Phoenix already doesn’t celebrate that as a city holiday. “It is important to acknowledge the original people of this land, and that is something that Columbus Day has completely contradicted,” Laura Medina, an Arizona State University student and activist, told the City Council on Monday, according to the Arizona Republic. Also this week, the City Council in Denver, which observed Indigenous People’s Day last year under a temporary proclamation, made the holiday permanent after a unanimous vote Monday, according to Fox News affiliate KDVR. Phoenix and Denver join at least 26 other cities across the country that will celebrate Native Americans on Monday, while federal and state governments observe Columbus Day. The idea of celebrating Indigenous People’s Day was first proposed nearly 40 years ago, when a delegation of Native nations to a U.N. conference Geneva passed a resolution. Thirteen years later, in 1990, the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Ecuador passed a resolution changing Columbus Day into a celebration of Native Americans. Berkeley, Calif. and South Dakota became the first city and state, respectively, to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day in the 1990s.


Who supports Trump?

THE USA TODAY Network surveyed Republican governors, senators and U.S. representatives across the country to ask whether they planned to back their party’s nominee in the wake of a newly released video in which Donald Trump is heard making lewd comments about women. Many are continuing to endorse Trump, but dozens are now backing away or denouncing his comments. See where they stand below and click to see their comments.


Fact check of second debate:


Columbus Day 2016: What’s open, what’s closed on Oct. 10?

Columbus Day – which falls on Oct. 10 this year – is a time to commemorate the day in 1492 that Italian explorer Christopher Columbus first sighted what we now know as America. The day first became a legal holiday in the U.S. in 1892, when it was commemorated as “Discovery Day.” It became a federal holiday in 1937 following a proclamation by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Until 1970, the day was celebrated on Oct 12, no matter which day of the week it occurred. After 1970, the holiday was fixed to the second Monday in October in keeping with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that placed the observance of certain holidays on Mondays. Columbus Day is celebrated in the U.S., as well as some parts of Canada, Puerto Rico, Italy and Spain. Latin American countries mark the day as “Day of the Race” in honor of the different heritages in the area. Columbus Day is not recognized in Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon or South Dakota. Hawaii celebrates Discoverers’ Day in recognition of its Polynesian heritage and South Dakota commemorates “Native American Day.” Reflecting the controversy surrounding Columbus’ treatment of Native Americans, other cities have replaced Columbus Day with different events, including Berkeley, California’s Indigenous People’s Day and places in Oklahoma that celebrate “Native American Day.” In places where it is celebrated, Columbus Day is marked with parades and fairs and events centered on Italian-American heritage.

Tropical Storm Nicole could become hurricane by Tuesday

Tropical Storm Nicole could become a hurricane for a second time and threaten Bermuda this week.

That’s according to the National Hurricane Center, which was tracking the storm in the central Atlantic on Monday. The hurricane center had previously said Nicole could reach hurricane strength today. However, that was pushed back a bit to Tuesday in the latest forecast update. As of the last advisory, at 4 a.m. CDT Monday, Tropical Storm Nicole was located about 505 miles south of Bermuda and was moving north at7 mph. Nicole had winds of 65 mph, unchanged from Sunday. Hurricane force winds begin at 74 mph, and the hurricane center thinks Nicole will begin to strengthen more tonight and reach that mark by Tuesday.

The hurricane center’s official forecast path takes Nicole to the north and eventually northeast, which will take it very close to Bermuda, possibly by Thursday. Even though the storm is far from the island, the hurricane center said waves kicked up by Nicole — and the former Hurricane Matthew — will make for rough seas over the next few days. They could also cause rip currents. Nicole has already reached hurricane status last Thursday. It then quickly intensified to a Category 2 hurricane before weakening back to a tropical storm just as quickly. The hurricane center’s intensity forecast suggests Nicole could reach Category 2 strength again.



In Alabama, a strong voice of reason is silenced

I’m just going to say it. There are but a handful of people in Alabama who will stand before the masses and say what they believe. Straight up. Whether it’s popular or not. In your face. Whether you want to hear it or not. Clear. Whether you like the way it is said or not. And one of them lost his voice this week. One of them had his voice taken away. Josh Moon, whose column has become a go-to for readers of the Montgomery Advertiser — and for others who want an unfiltered, unvarnished take on Alabama news — announced on Twitter this week that his column had been taken from him. Moon  used his final column, headlined “The Other Side is important,” to talk about the thing that matters most to this republic and this state: Conversation. And dissent. And he used it to hint at his own circumstance:   “But too often now, people have shut out that Other Side,” he wrote. “They want that voice to go away. They want to live in the bubble of information that makes them feel most secure with the world the way they believe it exists.

“Unfortunately, they have been very successful in that mission,” he went on. “With media entities, including newspapers, struggling to find revenue, it has become easier and easier to justify squashing the unpopular viewpoint and providing more opinions that keep customers happy. Even if it keeps them misinformed and unnecessarily angry in the process.” He made it pretty clear. And the news – and outrage — set the Alabama Internet abuzz. Because readers know Moon has stepped on some of the biggest toes in Montgomery of late. He surgically assaulted views many Alabamians hold dear. Moon ripped the veneer off the Poarch Creek Indians and blasted Luther Strange with regularity. He urged Alabama football players to express themselves in protest over racial inequities in America. He wrote that supporting Donald Trump is “deplorable” and that corruption at Alabama State University is rampant. His pen is sharp and his tongue sharper, and he pushed limits in a style both insightful and inciting. And that’s what good columnists do. It’s what extraordinary columnists do. They stand against a mob and ask for calm. They stand against the status quo and demand action. They afflict the hell out of the comfortably privileged and they try their best to comfort those who suffer inevitable afflictions. They speak truth to power. And in Moon’s case, it appears power spoke back. Montgomery Advertiser Executive Editor Bro Krift would not comment on why Moon’s column was dropped, or whether it was due to pressure from advertisers or anyone else. All he would say is … “He is a fantastic investigative reporter. We are glad he is here.” Say it ain’t so, Bro. Say it ain’t so. Yes, in a sense I know I’m pouring one out for a homie here. The tilt-against-windmills club in Alabama is pretty small. But it is a loss, for Alabama and for me personally. Josh Moon, who can be controversial and opinionated and rude and compassionate and brilliant, is one of the few people I read often and think “I wish I’d written that.” But not always.

Because sometimes we agree. And sometimes we disagree. And agreement has nothing to do with his worth or mine. As Moon himself wrote in the last column, what built America was “the Other Side,” and the value of dissenting views. If the expectation of columnists – or anyone with a public voice – is to simply say what others want to hear, we might as well shutter the republic and put a wreath on the casket of democracy. Alabama, especially, needs insight. Almost as much as it needs inciting.

Morning Money

DEBATE WRAP: WALL STREET GETS MORE AIRTIME — Let’s leave aside for the moment that Donald Trump threatened to jail his opponent if he wins or once again defended Vladimir Putin and Russia over hacking the U.S. election while directing praise to murderous Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. Let’s instead move to the financial services front, where carried interest got some heavy play.

Asked what he would do to make sure the wealthy pay their fair share, Trump cited the carried interest tax treatment enjoyed by private equity and some hedge fund investors: “Get rid of carried interest. One of the greatest provisions for people like me, I give up a lot when I run because I knockout the tax code. She could have done this years ago. She was the United States senator.” (Changing the tax treatment of carry would not actually mean much of anything to Trump.)

He later added: “Hillary Clinton has friends that want all of these provisions, including the carried interest position. That’s very important to Wall Street people and they want the carried interest provision and it’s interesting why she is leaving carried interest.”

Clinton of course is not “leaving” carried interest, as she later pointed out: “Well, here we go again. I have been in favor of getting rid of carried interest for years starting when I was a senator from New York.”

Goldman Sachs also got a mention when Trump cited the leaks from Clinton’s paid speeches that came out over the weekend. “Her papers went out to the banks and Goldman Sachs and everything else. She said things that just came out.” Translate that however you want. “Her papers went out … ” Say what now?

GETTING IT WRONG ON TAXES — Trump claimed during the debate that Clinton would “massively” raise everyone’s taxes. In fact she’s said she would not raise them on anyone who makes less than $250,000 per year. Read more.

TRUMP also butchered the rate of economic growth, suggesting it is “the slowest … since 1929.” That ignores the many recessions since the Great Depression including the 2.8 percent contraction in 2009. Every time Trump brings this up, MM thinks he is trying to say the slowest recovery since World War II but he never gets it right. He could make a decent case against Clinton here if he bothered to get the facts straight. POLITICO’s Danny Vinik has more.

The full POLITICO Wrong-O-Meter is here.

MM’S FAVORITE LINE … came from Trump on whether he would be a president for “all the people”: “And I’ll be a people that will turn our inner cities around and will give strength to people and will give economics to people and will bring jobs back.”

Hit us with some of those economics!

WEIRDEST MOMENT … came at the end when Trump praised Clinton for never giving up and never quitting. It was a nice moment coming after Clinton praised Trump’s kids. But one of Trump’s favorite go-to lines is that Clinton is unhealthy and lacks the stamina to be president. Head scratcher.

ON HIS OWN TAXES … Trump did not dispute that he used his nearly $1 billion tax loss in 1995 to offset his personal income tax.

Anderson Cooper: “Did you use that $916 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?”

Trump: “Of course I do.” Pressed by Cooper, Trump would not say how many years of income tax got wiped away by the loss.

BASIC TAKEAWAY — Trump did not turn in a strong performance. His constantly striding the stage and crowding Clinton looked deeply weird, even menacing. He probably didn’t stop the bleeding over his repulsive comments about women revealed over the weekend. He spoke like a third-world dictator and appeared to have no clue what’s happening in Aleppo. But Clinton landed no crushing blows and so Trump will continue to stumble along toward the finish line of a race he remains almost certain to lose.

FWIW … CNN/ORC poll of 537 registered voter debate watchers awarded the night to Clinton, 57 percent to 34 percent, a slightly smaller margin than her win in the first debate. Poll. … And a YouGov poll of 812 registered voters gave the debate to Clinton by 47 percent to 42 percent. Clinton won on nearly all measures including being more prepared, positive and presidential. But Trump won on being more evasive and negative! So there’s that.

Oh and there was that bit where Trump referred to Clinton as “the devil,” that was a high point.

And the moment when Trump said he had “not spoken” with his running mate Mike Pence about what to do about Russia’s civilian bombing in Syria and “disagreed” with Pence’s statements. That was … unusual.

Headline Trump will like, via the FT: “Trump regains footing in bitter second debate”

FT’s Ed Luce: “By the expectations barometer, Donald Trump ‘won’ the second debate. He was expected to implode and did not. … By any historic standard, threatening to imprison your opponent if you are elected would have finished a presidential nominee. Saying “she has hate in her heart” might well have too. Yet in the twisted context of America in 2016, it served as Mr Trump’s comeback.” Read more.

MARKETS SAY CLINTON WON — Reuters: “The Mexican peso climbed and U.S. stock futures crept higher on Monday as markets saw less chance of a victory by Republican nominee Donald Trump in his U.S. presidential bid amid a scandal over comments he made about women.” Read more.

BUT PESO GAINS LIMITED — Bloomberg: “Mexico’s peso pared its climb as investors weighed whether the second presidential debate would affect sentiment toward Donald Trump following a weekend of unprecedented crisis in the Republican nominee’s campaign. Crude extended losses and the yuan weakened.

“The peso, seen as a bellwether for traders’ views on Trump’s prospects, jumped as much as 2 percent against the dollar as he was questioned over vulgar comments about women that were captured on video, before trimming gains to 1.3 percent after the debate concluded.” Read more.

CLINTON WALL STREET SPEECHES REVEALED — POLITICO’s Patrick Temple-West: “Hillary Clinton praised Wall Street in private remarks to bankers before her presidential campaign, telling executives that the financial industry knows best how to reform itself and that it was simplistic to blame banks for the credit crisis.
Those comments … will fuel skepticism about her vow to crack down on Wall Street abuses.

“They also underscore one of the biggest concerns of progressives: that Clinton is too close to the industry — her top contributor in the campaign with $58 million in donations — and might appoint bankers rather than independent watchdogs to key regulatory positions if she becomes president. … Among the emails released by WikiLeaks is one that includes excerpts from her remarks at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley in 2013 and 2014.” Read more.

WALL STREET REACT — A top exec emails MM: “The business establishment finds her comments in the transcripts released so far reassuring. For all the same reasons they didn’t want them out in the primaries presumably.”

WIKILEAKS FLY AROUND — Here are some of the most embarrassing speech excerpts in the hacked email. None are terrible but some the Clinton campaign would certainly like to have some back: “[N]ow, obviously, I’m kind of far removed because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven’t forgotten it.”

“You just have to sort of figure out how to … balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically … [P]olitics is like sausage being made. … . So, you need both a public and a private position” …

“That was one of the reasons that I started traveling in February of ’09, so people could, you know, literally yell at me for the United States and our banking system causing this everywhere. Now, that’s an oversimplification we know, but it was the conventional wisdom.

“And I think that there’s a lot that could have been avoided in terms of both misunderstanding and really politicizing what happened with greater transparency, with greater openness on all sides, you know, what happened, how did it happen, how do we prevent it from happening? You guys help us figure it out and let’s make sure that we do it right this time. …

“Now, it’s important to recognize the vital role that the financial markets play in our economy and that so many of you are contributing to. … So even if it may not be 100 percent true, if the perception is that somehow the game is rigged, that should be a problem for all of us, and we have to be willing to make that absolutely clear”

“Today, there’s more that can and should be done that really has to come from the industry itself”

“[T]he people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.”

“You know, part of the problem with the political situation, too, is that there is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives. You know, the divestment of assets, the stripping of all kinds of positions, the sale of stocks. It just becomes very onerous and unnecessary.”

“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.” Full release.

HOUSE GOP FREAKS ABOUT TRUMP — POLITICO’s Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan: “House Republican leaders are paralyzed over how to respond to Donald Trump’s vulgar comments about women, aware that he could turn against them but also cognizant that the GOP nominee has now put control of the chamber in serious danger.

“The leaders are tentatively planning to tell Republican lawmakers on a Monday morning conference call that they should feel free to abandon Trump as they seek to save their own political careers, according to multiple sources involved in planning. But top aides and lawmakers warn that the plan could change depending on Trump’s debate performance.” Read more.

CHINA PEGS YUAN AT SIX-YEAR LOW — WSJ’s Gregor Stuart Hunter: “The Chinese yuan was guided toward a six-year low against the U.S. dollar on Monday, as the country’s markets returned after a weeklong holiday. In onshore trading, the currency was on track for its biggest one-day loss against the U.S. dollar since the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union in June.

“The yuan entered the basket of currencies backing the IMF’s special drawing rights, an international reserve currency, on Oct. 1. The People’s Bank of China set its daily reference rate for the yuan at 6.7008 against the U.S. dollar, a depreciation of 0.3 percent from its last fixing of 6.6778 on Sept. 30, before the National Day holiday. Monday’s fixing was the weakest level for the currency since September 2010” Read more.

SUMMERS ON CENTRAL BANKER ANXIETY — Larry Summers: “As the world’s finance ministers and central bank governors came together in Washington last week … the mood was sombre. The spectre of secular stagnation and inadequate economic growth on the one hand and ascendant populism and global disintegration on the other led to widespread apprehension. … [T]he pervasive concern was that traditional ideas and leaders were losing their grip and the global economy was entering into unexplored and dangerous territory.

“After seven years of economic over-optimism there is a growing awareness that challenges are not so much a legacy of the financial crisis as of deep structural changes in the global economy. There is increasing reason to doubt that the industrial world is capable of simultaneously enjoying reasonable interest rates that support savers, financial stability and the current financial system and adequate economic growth at the same time.” Read more.

COMING THURSDAY: LIQUIDITY RULE — Via Cowen’s Jaret Seiberg: We believe the SEC liquidity rule on tap for Thursday has more upside than downside for asset managers. It is true the rule will impose a three-day liquid asset requirement for mutual funds and ETFs and open the door to swing pricing. Yet it more importantly – in our view – takes off the table asset managers being deemed systematically important, which would have resulted in capital requirements.”

COMING FRIDAY — Banks earnings from several giants including JPMorganChase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo (which should have a very interesting earnings call).

JOBS DAY REWIND — A fairly stat-quo jobs report Friday with the good news coming from 444,000 returning to the labor force. HPS cheat sheet is here.

MORE CLINTON SPEECH HIGHLIGHTS — POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Sarah Wheaton: “WikiLeaks released a trove of emails apparently hacked from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman email account, unleashing thousands of messages that reveal for the first time excerpts of Clinton’s paid speeches — including those delivered before Wall Street — that were flagged as problematic or potentially damaging.”

The speech excerpts also delve into her support for a Canadian-style universal health care system and offer revealing comments about trade, which could prove controversial after Clinton dragged her feet in voicing fierce opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that progressives loathe.” Read more.

WALL STREET WARNS ON BREXIT — FT’S Martin Arnold: “Leading Wall Street banks are more likely to head for New York than the eurozone if they move out of London, their bosses have indicated, adding that the UK’s exit from the EU could trigger a break-up of the remaining bloc.

“Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, and James Gorman, chief executive of Morgan Stanley, said at the annual meeting of the International Institute of Finance in Washington that they feared Brexit could trigger a wider crisis.” Read more.

  1. MA GOES TO HOLLYWOOD — WSJ’s Alyssa Abkowitz and Erich Schwartzel: “Hollywood’s highest-grossing director is teaming up with Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in a partnership that will help Mr. Spielberg’s Amblin Partners produce, finance and distribute movies, the companies said Sunday.

“Alibaba Pictures will take a minority equity stake in Amblin and gain a seat on its board. The companies didn’t disclose financial terms of the deal.” Read more.

FRANKFURT MAKES ITS MOVE — FT’S Patrick Jenkins and Lauran Noonan: “Germany is considering changing its labour laws to make Frankfurt a more attractive hub for banks looking to move staff out of London after Brexit, in the latest attempt by EU countries to woo financial institutions from Britain.”

“People briefed on the plan said Germany was looking at imposing an upper salary limit on employee protections of 100,000 euro or 150,000 euro, which would make conditions such as redundancy terms less generous.” Read more.

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS TOSS TRUMP — POLITICO’s Burgess Everett, Seung Min Kim, and Rachael Bade: “Republicans locked in tight congressional races went on an historic stampede Saturday away from their own presidential nominee, as top GOP officials deemed it untenable to run for reelection in battleground states while still supporting Donald Trump.

“The most prominent defection was Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Vietnam War POW who stuck by his Trump endorsement despite repeated slights, starting with the candidate’s barb last year that he prefers “people who weren’t captured.” New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte was the first vulnerable Senate GOP incumbent to withdraw her support on Satuday. Joe Heck, a Republican running in Nevada, quickly followed suit.” Read more.

POTUS Events

No public schedule.

Floor Action

The House and Senate are out.

AROUND THE HILL—Days until the election: 29.