Happy Thanksgiving, America!
If you're not feeling very "happy," remember, no matter how bad things are, they could always get worse (and we may be going there). So, whatever you have now, be thankful for that.
Speaking of thanks and of things getting worse, here's a shout out to the so-called "Super Committee":
What a bunch of losers.
Hmmm, speaking of losing... I wonder if anyone on the Supercilious Committee shorted the market before their announcement that they had nothing to announce. Hey, maybe they waited until the end of the day on Monday - when it was already known that they had sold America short - to break the news, so they could add to their shorts as stocks broke support levels.
No "maybe" about, it in my book.
Oh, you don't think they would do that - short the market? You think that would be unethical? You think that would be illegal? You think that's insider trading?
If you're about to sit down to your big Thanksgiving dinner and are scared you'll eat too much, don't worry. You're about to lose your appetite, and probably get sick, too.
What's Really Going on in Washington
If you didn't see the segment, it was about "How politicians and their friends get rich off insider stock tips, land deals, and cronyism that would send the rest of us to prison."
By the way, that's not a quote from "60 Minutes." That's the subtitle of "Throw Them All Out," a just-released book by Peter Schweizer. "60 Minutes" "broke" its inflammatory story based completely - 100% - on Schweizer's book.
I read "Throw Them All Out" in just one quick sitting. I couldn't put it down. It's not long, but it is absolutely, unequivocally, full of explosive revelations about what is really going on in Washington. You have to read it. You owe it to yourself. You owe it America's future.
If everyone in America read this book before next year's elections, we would collectively Throw Them All Out...
As soon as I finished the book, I contacted Peter.
Turns out, besides being the William J. Casey Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the author of "Do As ISay, Not As I Do;" "Reagan's War;" and "Architects of Ruin," he is also a very cool guy who happens to be hot under the collar about what's happening in America.
We have a lot in common - being steamed about the pain that Americans are feeling, that is.
Peter said to me - and this is a direct quote - "It's outrageous that the permanent political class in Washington is able to skirt the rules and laws that apply to the rest of us. This is not about a few corrupt politicians. This is about an entire system that has been compromised."
You're going to want to read the book, even if you saw the "60 Minutes" segment, because there are many more unbelievable, very, very juicy exposés in the book than the segment could have possibly served up.
And since it's Thanksgiving, I thought I'd roast a few turkeys - here and now.
A Thanksgiving Day Feast
What follows are excerpts taken directly from "Throw Them All Out" (with Peter's permission):
"Throughout 2009, Washington was consumed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what became commonly known (at least to its critics) as Obamacare. The health care industry and pharmaceutical companies employed thousands of lobbyists to shape the legislation.
"One of those at the center of shaping the bill was Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. He serves as a member of the Health Subcommittee on the powerful Senate Finance Committee. As the bill snaked its way through the House and Senate, where Kerry was actively pushing it, the Kerrys began buying stock in the drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals. In November alone they bought close to $750,000 in the company.
"Senator Kerry wasn't the only congressional trader in pharmaceuticals. John Tanner, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee bought up to $90,000 worth. Also buying Teva were Senator Jim Webb of Virginia and Congressman Vern Buchanan of Florida. Senator Tom Carper of Delaware sat next to Kerry on the Senate Finance Committee's Health Subcommittee. Carper began buying health care stocks that would benefit from the legislation he was supporting. He bought...Nationwide Health Properties...Cardinal Health and CareFusion. Congresswoman Melissa Bean of Illinois...along with her husband...are active traders (however) the only stock purchases they made during 2009 were in the health care sector. They bought shares in Cardinal Health, CareFusion...Mylan and Teva.
"Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado...was a tireless advocate for Obamacare. While Polis was praising the benefits of health care overhaul, he was buying millions of dollars' worth of a private company called Bridge Health International. One of the things Bridge Health offers is medical tourism: providing less expensive medical procedures in countries such as China, Mexico, India, Thailand, Costa Rica and Taiwan. Polis put between $7 million and $35 million into the company. (Note from Shah: There's a lot more on what Polis did, but you're going to have to read the book, because it just gets better...)
"Congressman John Boehner, who was leading the opposition to Obamacare in the House of Representatives, may have been fighting John Kerry on policy matters, but he was entirely allied with him when it came to investment decisions. On December 10, 2009, Boehner bought numerous health insurance company stocks, including tens of thousands of dollars in Cardinal Health, Cigna, and Wellpoint...Boehner purchased shares in Big Pharma companies Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, Forest Labs, Covidien, and Pfizer. He also bought shares in CareFusion."
To see who else bought what and how much they made - you'll be very jealous - read the book.
These weren't lucky trades. They were sure bets.
And that's just what happened around one bill working its way through Congress.
Of course, before the advent of Obamacare, we were dealing with the credit crisis, and Congressmen were dealing their way into some lucrative positions and very much out of harm's way, long before the public was told how bad things really were becoming. Take a look:
"One of those who played a central role in government decisionmaking during the crisis was Congressman Spencer Bachus, then the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee. Bachus was regularly involved in private meetings and phone conversations. As he was having those high-level discussions, however, he was aggressively buying and selling stock options.
"From July 2008, when the first rumors of the crisis were heard, to the dark days of November, with international markets in near free fall, Bachus engineered no less than forty options trades, betting that the market, a sector of the market, or an individual company would go up or down at critical times. On September 8, Hank Paulson received a disturbing call from General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt. GE was having trouble selling its bonds, Immelt quietly told him. Just two days later, Bachus shorted General Electric options. He did so four times in a single day...and more than doubled his money."
There were others who made money on the crisis using their inside information, but even more insiders saved tens of millions of dollars by dumping stocks while the public was told not to panic.
Not being the type to name names, I'm just going to spill a few here. Congressman Jim Moran, Democrat of Virginia. John Kerry, again. Sheldon Whitehouse. Dick Durbin. Representative Shelley Capito. Rahm Emanuel. And others.
It's getting late, and you may be hungry for more turkey stories, but I don't want to ruin your appetite for the book. So I'll just leave you with these gems:
- You will love reading how Nancy Pelosi manipulated the legislative agenda to make money on the Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) initial public offering (IPO), one of at least 10 lucrative IPOs she and her husband has enjoyed so far in her Congressional career.
- You will really love the one about the runway near her house in Napa Valley's wine country. It's just out-of-control.
- Or, how Pelosi, Dennis Hastert, and Judd Gregg "earmarked" hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to put in roads, a six-mile rail system for almost a billion dollars, or improve a project near a property they owned and wanted to see appreciate, or that they owned and had earmarked money to improve personal projects.
- And when it comes to "green innovation," you will literally be sick to learn how many TENS of BILLIONS of dollars have just been wasted - excuse me, invested - in companies controlled by campaign donors, including ones owned or controlled by several billionaires and the likes of the ubiquitous Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS).
I'm getting ready for some turkey myself, so forgive me if I don't have time to get into the mystery man I alluded to in Sunday's issue of I&I. If you read "Throw Them All Out," you will figure it out.
Otherwise, I'll give him up next Thursday. (So please make sure you're signed up to receive Wall Street Insights & Indictments. Don't worry, it's free.)
So again, Happy Thanksgiving.
And while you're giving thanks, don't forget to thank Peter Schweizer for having the guts to name names and uncover some of the mounting garbage in Washington stinking up America.
Get the book, and help me and Peter THROW THEM ALL OUT!
News and Related Story Links:
- Money Morning:
It's Not Just Congress - the System Has Failed
- Money Morning:
Your Vote Will Help Us Put the Squeeze on Congress
About the Author
Shah Gilani boasts a financial pedigree unlike any other. He ran his first hedge fund in 1982 from his seat on the floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. When options on the Standard & Poor's 100 began trading on March 11, 1983, Shah worked in "the pit" as a market maker.
The work he did laid the foundation for what would later become the VIX - to this day one of the most widely used indicators worldwide. After leaving Chicago to run the futures and options division of the British banking giant Lloyd's TSB, Shah moved up to Roosevelt & Cross Inc., an old-line New York boutique firm. There he originated and ran a packaged fixed-income trading desk, and established that company's "listed" and OTC trading desks.
Shah founded a second hedge fund in 1999, which he ran until 2003.
Shah's vast network of contacts includes the biggest players on Wall Street and in international finance. These contacts give him the real story - when others only get what the investment banks want them to see.
Today, as editor of Hyperdrive Portfolio, Shah presents his legion of subscribers with massive profit opportunities that result from paradigm shifts in the way we work, play, and live.
Shah is a frequent guest on CNBC, Forbes, and MarketWatch, and you can catch him every week on Fox Business's Varney & Co.