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Jay Rosen noted in the heading of his widely-praised Guardian piece on News Corp. that the, “Phone hacking crisis shows News Corp is no ordinary news company.  Rupert Murdoch's news organisations are not in the news business. What they crave is influence.”

I have read what seems like volumes of material on the Standard & Poor’s downgrade since the news came out Friday, and much of what I’ve read limits the scope of analysis to the rating agency itself, Standard & Poor’s.  This is a mistake, imo.

Standard & Poor’s is just one segment of the huge conglomerate, McGraw-Hill, a corporation whose philosophy, leadership and conduct bear great resemblance to News Corp.’s, and who has similarly found itself in much controversy related to its reckless behavior and inordinate influence in recent years.  I hope to show that Terry McGraw, McGraw-Hill’s Chairman and CEO, is using his corporation in a similar manner as Murdoch and to accomplish many of the same ends.  I hope to show how Standard & Poor’s differs from the other major rating agencies, especially in terms of its much greater conflicts of interest as a subsidiary of a large conglomerate.  Along the way, I have noted a possibly significant related event that has been largely ignored as far as I can see.

In the process of going through all this, I believe the capture by the free-market, low-tax, austerity purists of President Obama, as well as the leaders of other parts of the world who have seemingly gone even more all-in on austerity, will begin to make a lot more sense.

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. - more than just a ratings agency

According to its 2010 annual report, McGraw-Hill’s annual income of $6.2 billion is three times greater than Moody’s (just over $2 billion) and 7 ½ times greater than Fitch Group (about $820 million).  The Fitch Group is headquartered in Europe (a subsidiary of FIMALAC, which additionally does a bit of non-U.S. investing under another subsidiary) and its overall influence in the U.S. is less than S & P and Moody’s, and often has been regarded as the tie-breaker for the other two.

McGraw-Hill has four separate segments and derives the majority of its $6.2 billion in revenues from segments not at all related to its investment ratings and advisory/consulting services while Moody’s derives all of its $2 billion in revenues from these services.  For 2010, McGraw-Hill reported revenues of $2.4 billion (39% of total revenues) from its education segment, which includes textbooks and instructional and standardized testing materials; $0.9 billion (15%) from its information and media segment, which includes J.D. Power and Associates; Platts energy and commodities information; McGraw-Hill Construction; Aviation Week and nine local TV stations; $1.7 billion (27%) from Standard and Poor’s; and $1.2 billion from its financial services segment (19%).

There is already plenty of conflict of interest that arises when your company has both ratings and advisory services (as all three ratings companies do) - think of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen and Enron, where the influence of its advisory services and its desire to maintain that revenue stream was at the core of its fraudulent audit of Enron.  The ratings agencies’ malfeasances and hypocrisies due in large part to this same conflict have been well-documented elsewhere (albeit still unpunished).  However, McGraw-Hill takes conflict of interest to another level when they own businesses that are in competition with or can report (or not report) on those whom they rate (through the S & P subsidiary).  I was going to correlate it with, say, Ernst & Young (accounting firm) buying a fast-food chain, but that actually pales in comparison, since a company (or a country, for that matter) often does not have a choice in whether S & P rates them.

Terry McGraw is in control

McGraw-Hill has maintained and will continue to maintain that their company has adequate walls to protect against these conflicts between its divisions, but that always has been and always will be a fiction.  This is particularly true when you have a strong, controlling Chairman/CEO who has been or whose family has been in control of the corporation for decades, again like Rupert Murdoch with News Corporation.  Family members have been top executive officers of the company for much of the time since James H. McGraw began doing business in 1888, and the company has long been regarded as a family business even though it’s now publicly traded.

A corporation tends to mirror the values of its leadership even when fairly decentralized, much more so when it has a strong, central leader.  Strong leaders also typically are used to getting their way, which puts them at a distinct competitive advantage when dealing with one who seeks compromise.  (And I think you know in whose direction I’m looking.)

To summarize, Terry McGraw is McGraw-Hill (and S & P, by extension).

Terry McGraw has had a longtime political bent

I searched the OpenSecrets.org website for contributions and found that Terry McGraw had prolific personal political contribution activity beginning in the early 1990’s, which was very heavily weighted toward Republicans until the mid-to-late 2000’s, when he hedged his bets with Democrats such as Lieberman as the Dems came back into power.  The heads of his S & P and Financial segments also had more than a little recent activity, but not at the high volume or with the partisanship of their boss.  A look at the executives at Moody’s showed little or no personal political activity, which is what one should expect of a supposedly neutral ratings company, or at least one that cares to give the appearance of neutrality.

McGraw has long believed societal success to be a function of business success, and has been a fierce defender of free markets and international trade agreement and a fierce attacker of anything that he perceives as getting in the way, such as entitlements.  From a late-2006 interview with the Wharton School (where he obtained his MBA):

{Interviewer quoting McGraw} But "as good as it {the economy} is," he said, "the American public does not seem to connect to the strength of the economic record. Why?" Cost of living increases "have certainly made inroads [and] for most Americans, disposable income has gone down. Consumer consumption remains at an all-time high, while savings rates are at historic lows, in fact are negative. The lack of any reform on federal entitlements increases costs and inhibits innovation. And more protectionist tendencies hold back our ability to open new markets and foster more active trade, which would allow for more economic growth."

To further his anti-entitlement bona fides, McGraw was on the board of the Pete Peterson Institute for International Economics for much of 2008, along with fellow board members Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers and Paul Volcker and honorary board members Alan Greenspan and George Shultz.  This, along with a review of McGraw’s more recent activities below, makes Obama’s complete intellectual surrender on economic policy a bit easier to understand.

Terry McGraw has had a longtime Broderesque fetish on bipartisanship

More from the late-2006 Wharton interview:

{Interviewer lead-in} The recent elections have made Business Roundtable chairman Harold (Terry) McGraw III hopeful that a less partisan political atmosphere can lead to real progress in addressing America's economic challenges. "The election is over," said McGraw, chairman, president and CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies, in a Wharton Leadership Series lecture two days after the November 7 election. "I'm tempted to add, 'Thank goodness.' It wasn't necessarily our finest hour, given all the mud that was thrown around.

Perhaps if we can turn that mud into a new layer of topsoil, we can begin to plant the seeds that will form more productive policies. But now it's time for our political leaders to get to work."

Compare this to what S & P said in its statement defending the downgrade:

More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.

Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics any
time soon.

Is there any remaining doubt that this is Terry McGraw speaking his mind rather than his S & P division rendering a dispassionate financial opinion?  As we will see, McGraw’s idea of bipartisanship is all sides agreeing to his (business’s) demands first.

Since the financial meltdown and with little acknowledgment of his company’s role in it, Terry McGraw has worked feverishly to expand his influence in the U.S. and abroad

It is not unusual or unexpected for the CEO of a large corporation to hold prominent, influential leadership positions in organizations that foster relations with other businesses and government officials to promote business interests.  It’s part of the job description for such positions, and McGraw has held more than his share of these positions, and has chaired these organizations in many cases.

What makes McGraw unique is that he has used his “bully pulpit” to go far beyond the mere promotion of business interests; it is clear he has become one of the movers and shakers of economic and political policy, both in the U.S. and abroad.  And he has not been afraid to amp up the rhetoric in doing so.  A small sampling of McGraw’s recent much higher profile and louder voice:

1.  In November 2010 (right after the Republican wave election), McGraw joined Obama and several other CEO’s on a trip to India.  The administration’s attitude change was already being noted by business.

2. A December 2010 CNBC interview with the self-explanatory title:  McGraw: The Korean Free Trade Agreement Is a Test of Our Commitment to Markets

3. McGraw favorably reviewed Obama’s SOTU speech from the night before in a January 26 interview with business leader fanboy Andrew Ross Sorkin with the usual utter disconnect:  excited that Obama was talking about growth and a more business friendly environment to enable it (read:  less regulation) while saying deficit reduction was critical and reducing tax rates was important.  When Sorkin pressed him on the elephant in the room (ummm, entitlements, silly), McGraw didn’t mind that Obama failed to mention it; so much to cover, you know.  The words jobs and unemployment did not come out of the mouth of either participant, which makes Obama’s “going through the motions” approach to jobs, when he bothers to talk about it at all, a little more understandable.  It’s simply not a concern for the elites.

Possibly burying the lede:  while Terry McGraw is out saving the world from common sense economic policy, is he not minding the family store?

One interesting angle to this story that I have not seen elsewhere - possibly gleaned from my looking from the perspective of Terry McGraw and the whole of the McGraw-Hill Companies - is that McGraw’s company is apparently under attack from activist investors who are seeking fundamental changes to the company, possibly to include breaking part of it up.

These are not just your run-of-the-mill activist investors.  According to reports, the two main investment groups involved are Jana Partners, LLC, a hedge fund that has a history of aggressively seeking change in the companies in which they invest, and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.  Both have interesting connections that need further exploring.

Jana Partners is about ten years old, and one its two original managing directors and its public face in most of its past negotiations (and confrontations, in many cases) with its target companies is Barry Rosenstein.  It just so happens that Rosenstein is a major Democratic contributor, who has hosted fundraisers for the likes of Al Franken.

Jane Hamsher posted a very good timeline of S & P’s debt rating manipulations and orchestrations.  It would probably be a good idea to add to the mix the investment actions of Jana Partners, LLC, as well as McGraw’s statements to the media, some of which are noted in this diary.

According to its 13D and 13F filings, Jana Partners began investing in McGraw-Hill in First Quarter 2011 (3.1 million shares), continued to pick up shares in April and May (1.2 million), and added another 4.6 million shares in June and July.  Combined with the 6.5 million shares that the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan picked up over the same period, this brought the combined ownership level over the 5% threshold that requires reporting.  McGraw-Hill had to be aware this was happening due to the volumes involved, and Jana Partners and McGraw-Hill both have acknowledged having preliminary discussions.

What is the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan connection?  It so happens that the Ontario, Canada Teachers figured prominently in a section of the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation study released early in 2011 that promoted, you guessed it, standardized testing as a means to improve student performance.  (The education arm of McGraw-Hill has been deeply involved in lobbying for standardized testing under the No Child Left Behind Act for years.  Some Ontario Teachers are not too crazy about performance testing.) The Ontario Teachers were highlighted by McGraw-Hill as an example of how even a highly unionized group (you know, those people) can be effective educators if they do the proper performance testing. These teachers are unionized by law of the province of Ontario. So, to summarize, you have one activist investor being a major Democratic Party contributor and the other a union pension plan.

I’m not sure what to make of it at this point, but you cannot ignore the timing of the investment action and the players involved.  I can’t imagine that Terry McGraw was too happy upon seeing his family-owned business going back over 120 years under attack by an activist hedge fund run by a big-time Democrat and a union pension plan, but stranger things have happened.

In conclusion - how oligarchs behave:  Terry McGraw in plain view

I wanted to end with the entire picture of McGraw’s avaricious, Rupert Murdoch-like political influence coming into clear focus, from a March 23 CNBC Squawk Box Europe interview when McGraw was in London getting ready to tell the Eurozone how it needed to do things.  That the Eurozone governments since have adopted or indicated they would adopt pretty much what McGraw discussed that early Spring day makes clear the power that he is able to wield through his and other CEO’s corporations.  I strongly recommend watching the entire interview, but in case that doesn’t work for you, here are McGraw’s words from that interview in full (except for a few you know’s excluded - he says that a lot) with the interviewer’s questions paraphrased for brevity and continuity.

{Host introduces McGraw and notes that the U.K. is going to austerity, and asks McGraw whether austerity is the right plan.}

McGraw:  Well, I think for the developed countries, we all have to go down the same path, and hopefully the sooner the better that you get there.  Nobody wants to get out in front of the chancellor, but I think it’s probably going to be a very responsible approach.  You’re going to have to reduce spending, you’re going to have to hold tax rates, and I think that, you know, the initiative on the corporate tax rate to reduce it by one percentage point a year over the next four years, taking it from 28% to 24%, I think that is a really good message.  On average, Europe has got a corporate tax rate of about 28 1/2%.  As people start to go down this path, that’s good.  Now in the United States, you know, we have a statutory corporate tax rate of 35%, and if you put state and local taxes in, it’s 39.2%.  Now, you know, the highest is Japan at 39.5%, but, essentially the United States has got the highest tax rate for corporations, and now, that’s not good for growth.

{Host notes that not really fair to compare tax rates across countries with the differences such as allowable deductions in getting to the income to be taxed.  Further notes that it is a philosophical war, and that the U.S. showing better growth profile for now with less austere policy, and asks McGraw, “Who’s got the right strategy?”}

McGraw:  Austerity has to be part of the dialogue, and we have to go that direction.  You know, it’s not comforting, it’s not what everybody wants to talk about, it’s what we need to talk about.  What we need to talk about is what you’re talking about:  is growth.  Over time, you’ve got to create an environment that is conducive to making those kind of investments.  So if you have higher tax rates, if you have higher regulatory burdens, if you’ve got things that are impediments to, you know, business making those investments, you know, that’s not good.  So, from our standpoint, growth is the answer, it’s going to take time.  Create an environment, government’s responsibility, thru tax and regulatory issues that allow for that investment to be made, and then, business get on with it, take the lead on this.  And business people have to be part of the public policy initiative to get that done.

{Host indicates that the biggest impediment is politics, and that what are first bold moves become watered down due to opposition outcry.}

McGraw:  Ah, now we’re into leadership and courage.  What we need at a time like this is honest conversation and you need strong political leadership, and people will understand.  It’s fairness, too.  I mean, you know, you can’t have one sector doing better than the other sector, and, you know, regulatory schemes back and forth.  There’s got to be a sense of fairness to all of that.  But, you know, I think here in the UK, you are seeing very, very strong leadership.  I mean, no politician wants to come out with an austere budget.  But that’s the reality, and that’s where we are, and we have to do it.  But, I think you then have to change the conservation to start talking about where, then, are these major opportunities?  Where is the growth coming from, what sectors is it coming from, what kind of investment is being made, are you really going to proceed that way?  And here’s where connectedness I think becomes very important.  We will see on Thursday and Friday, when we start talking about the Eurozone, and what some of the regulatory and what are some of the financial apparatus that we are going to put in place, to help unite.  You know, this notion of dividing and all of that isn’t good.  I mean, how do you unite and help, you know, some of the countries that are not doing particularly well get better?

That last part is nothing but a challenge to Obama’s manhood.  It’s not hard to imagine how McGraw has worked in tandem with his board buddies from the Pete Peterson Foundation, Geithner and Summers, to capture Obama; just as it isn’t hard to imagine how McGraw has worked in tandem with his fellow big-shot CEO’s to pit governments all over the world against one another for their business.  If you perceive one of these governments as going a little soft on you, I have to believe that lowering its credit rating, or even threatening to do so, would provide pretty strong leverage in your negotiations.  That’s not a very patriotic thing to do to your native country, but it’s quite an effective tactic for persuading it to come around to your business model.

Jay Rosen’s words apply to Terry McGraw every bit as much as they apply to Rupert Murdoch.  The behavior of these two is not an outlier, it is an example of what big business has become and the business model of total control that they are pursuing.  This is why anti-trust laws came into being, and what can happen when they are not applied.

Originally posted to rollotomasi on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 09:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's a testable hypothesis: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BrooklynBlue
    However, McGraw-Hill takes conflict of interest to another level when they own businesses that are in competition with or can report (or not report) on those whom they rate (through the S & P subsidiary).

    If you're right about conflicts of interest based on sibling companies are skewing their ratings, then we'd expect to see divergence between S&P's ratings of companies that compete w/ its siblings and the ratings of the other NRSOs.  

    Similarly, given that one other NRSO had already downgraded the US and another has a negative outlook on us, it's going to be tougher to argue that there's but-for causality between the personal political views of those on the ratings committee and the downgrade.

    •  As the diary noted, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OHdog

      S & P / McGraw-Hill's rationale (deficit spending, lack of political agreement) for the U.S. debt downgrade have strangely coincided with Terry McGraw's stated views over the years.  Also, a conflict of interest is still a conflict of interest, even in those times you choose not to act upon it.

      I'm sure S & P has rated many corporations the same as others, but that does not remove the conflict of interest, or prevent it's being employed when S & P / McGraw-Hill chooses to do so, i.e. the U.S. downgrade.

      Oh, and the dead giveaway that you are propagandizing on behalf of your business betters is that you actually gave credence to China's agency's downgrade.  Really?  S & P was following their lead?

      •  The dead giveaway that you don't know what you're (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BrooklynBlue

        talking about is that the agency to which I was referring was Egan-Jones, a US NRSO, not a Chinese ratings org.

        •  My banker friend downgraded the U.S. debt, too (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OHdog, OleHippieChick

          Who's heard of either one?  The point is influence.  The market (and/or the commentariat) didn't quake in its boots until S & P / McGraw-Hill did its thing.  S & P / McGraw-Hill has much greater influence, and is using it any way they can.  Quit trying to avoid the issue of S & P / McGraw-Hill's abuse of its influence.

      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BrooklynBlue
        S & P / McGraw-Hill's rationale (deficit spending, lack of political agreement) for the U.S. debt downgrade have strangely coincided with Terry McGraw's stated views over the years.

        That's everyone's rationale.    Whether or not he holds personal political views X, Y, Z, the key factors in sovereign debt ratings are political turmoil and deficit spending.  
        •  S & P / McGraw Hill is expressing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OHdog, OleHippieChick

          Terry McGraw's political views.  And I don't agree with Terry McGraw's political views.  Austerity programs right now during the recession are a recipe for economic disaster, and a lot of economists agree with me.

          Requiring cuts of x amount by future governments is also irresponsible.  How can one predict what condition will be then?  Look at California for an example of what tying the hands of future governments (and by extension, the people) can do for you.

          And the cry of lack of agreement is absurd.  All governments disagree, or at least they should.  What McGraw is really saying is, "All sides should agree to do it my way."

          McGraw is clearly stating political opinions and ideologies and has done so for years, as I pointed out in the diary, and S & P / McGraw-Hill is being used as a weapon to affect political policy.  As before, quit trying to change the subject from S & P / McGraw-Hill's undue influence.

          •  It seems... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BrooklynBlue

            you are trying to say that the credit downgrade is unwarranted because you disagree with Terry MCGraw's political views, and austerity programs are a recipe for recession.  That's some crazy-ass logic.

            You also are saying that Tim McGraw is not entitled to political opinions because he runs a rating agency.  Also, some crazy-ass logic.

            •  Speaking of crazy-ass logic (0+ / 0-)
              • I said it is unwarrented precisely because it represented Terry McGraw's often-stated political views and not dispassionate analysis.
              • I said austerity programs are a recipe for, not just recession, economic disaster during a recession.  (I know Terry McGraw doesn't think in in these terms, but jobs in a recession and high unemployment will become only tighter with austerity, as many economists have noted.  Perhaps cheaper labor is the goal here?)
              • Where did I say Terry McGraw was not entitled to his political opinions?  I said he's not entitled to present them in the form of supposedly-neutral analysis that has great effect on world markets and economies.  If I cared at all about the perception of my firm's reputation as a neutral, dispassionate, and careful analyst, I would probably keep my political mouth and pocket both shut, particularly in light of how and why my firm contributed to the crash of 2008-9.  Instead, Terry McGraw has been going around the world dropping his pearls of wisdom on policy makers (not to mention playing them against one another) and financial news programs alike.
              • Read my comment again (and again until you understand it if need be).    It would be nice if you quoted what I said directly rather than changing the words around a bit (and changing the subject) to fit your purposes.
              •  I understood you quite well... (0+ / 0-)

                •I said it is unwarrented precisely because it represented Terry McGraw's often-stated political views and not dispassionate analysis.

                The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  Your statement makes an illogical leap.

                 •I said austerity programs are a recipe for, not just recession, economic disaster during a recession.  (I know Terry McGraw doesn't think in in these terms, but jobs in a recession and high unemployment will become only tighter with austerity, as many economists have noted.  Perhaps cheaper labor is the goal here?)

                This sort of general statement is exactly where I have issue with your logic.  Austerity DOES cause a slowing of the economy in the near term, there is no question about that.  However, your attempt to proclaim LASTING impact on the economy has no support from either Keynesian, nor Austrian economic theory.  And to say his goal is cheaper labor is just ridiculous.  Looks to me like his goal is not to get caught with his pants down again like he did in 2008.

                 •Where did I say Terry McGraw was not entitled to his political opinions?  I said he's not entitled to present them in the form of supposedly-neutral analysis that has great effect on world markets and economies.  If I cared at all about the perception of my firm's reputation as a neutral, dispassionate, and careful analyst, I would probably keep my political mouth and pocket both shut, particularly in light of how and why my firm contributed to the crash of 2008-9.  Instead, Terry McGraw has been going around the world dropping his pearls of wisdom on policy makers (not to mention playing them against one another) and financial news programs alike.

                You most certainly did link the two by mentioning statements McGraw made years before the downgrade, and then citing parts of the S&P analysis that mirrored prior statements made by McGraw in an attempt to disparage McGraw for making the decision for political reasons.  

                By the by, did you happen to see the story regarding the SEC investigation of the S&P for insider trading.  Strangely enough, the investigation was initiated after the downgrade.  Do you think McGraw knew that was coming?  I do.  Yet he went ahead with the downgrade anyway.  That smacks of a righteous act, not political maneuvering.  He knew the White House would be none to pleased, and he knew he take some heat.  

                Not to mention, sometimes the real world catches up to theory.  US credit was not downgraded when McGraw made his statements in years past.  It was downgraded last week.  

                 •Read my comment again (and again until you understand it if need be).    It would be nice if you quoted what I said directly rather than changing the words around a bit (and changing the subject) to fit your purposes.

                I believe I understand your comment quite well, thank you.  And what is my purpose?  If you think it's anything other than to expose faulty logic, you have guessed incorrectly.  

                •  Why do you keep changing the subject? (0+ / 0-)

                  You're the one who is talking nonsense, twisting my words to fit your talking points, and then crying, "Crazy ass logic!" and you continue to do so.  I'll leave you to enjoy your own word salad above, except to say you're talking out of your posterior about austerity.  If you cut spending during a recession and in a time of high unemployment, you can turn it into something much worse and longlasting.  Paul Krugman, for one, sees it this way, but I guess the Nobel Prize winner is using crazy ass logic, too.

                  I understand how you would want to change the subject from the facts, none of which you have refuted, and how they show that Terry McGraw / S & P / McGraw-Hill and Rupert Murdoch / FOX News / News Corp. are not too dissimilar in the way they conduct business.  I understand why you would want to change the subject from McGraw / McGraw-Hill's undue and increasingly dangerous influence on national and international policy.  I understand why you would want to change the subject from the total lack of integrity and professionalism that S & P has displayed in the run-up to the financial crisis and in using the downgrade as a political weapon to effect this increasing influence.

                  More folks are catching on to Rupert Murdoch's and Terry McGraw's business model of increasing world power and influence, and not being too particular about how they do so.  Steve Pearlstein brought up the Business Roundtable, an organization with which Terry McGraw is familiar, in some of his crazy ass logic titled "Blame for mess starts with the corporate lobby."

                  •  LOL!!! (0+ / 0-)

                    Guess you didn't see the 30 year bond auction results on Thursday.  Guess you spend more time reading Murdoch than watching the price of gold (and it's not at all time highs due to McGraw, it was already there before his ratings downgrade) .   Guess you haven't been watching the unemployment rate stay static, or the housing market continue to crumble.  So go ahead and decry T.M. as a kook to whom noone should listen.  It doesn't matter one wit what he says.  The sad thing is that you don't understand the markets don't care two craps what he says.  The markets were already moving to defensive positions before he gave his infamous downgrade.  

                    •  Since you cannot refute any of the facts (0+ / 0-)

                      I've presented, you resort to "crazy ass logic" and LOL's in an attempt to ridicule and divert attention from Terry McGraw / S & P/ McGraw-Hill's and other corporations' ever-increasing influence and the dangers to society that presents.  You've failed.

                      •  I refute... (0+ / 0-)

                        your assertion that T.M. has ever increasing influence on society through his influence on the economy.  

                        Before his downgrade:  gold rising, stock market in correction due to the end of stimulus, unemployement static, and the housing market deteriorating.  

                        After his downgrade:  gold rising, stock market in correction due to the end of stimulus, unemployement static, and the housing market deteriorating.

                        The only difference has been in the price of oil, which has come down.  But I hardly attribute that to T.M.

                        You have merely ASSERTED that he has a negative impact on the economy, you have not provided EVIDENCE of what that impact actually was.  I ask you to provide tangible numbers and to show direct causal relationship.

                        •  And you say I'm using crazy-ass logic? (0+ / 0-)

                          Major, major projection.

                          You continue to misstate what I said, and I'm not sure whether it has been intentional, you simply don't comprehend very well, or some combination of the above where your biases predominate.  I'm leaning toward the latter at this point.  Since you've already wasted too much of my time, I'm done with you.  Cheers.

                          •  Oopsie... (0+ / 0-)

                            No facts to back yourself up?  Fine then.  Run away coward.

                          •  Coward? No (0+ / 0-)

                            Just the good sense to look the other way from the crazy person shouting on the street corner.  You've added nothing to the discussion from the get-go except to name-call and you should be troll-rated.  (I almost did but decided not to waste the bullet; it would be more damning that folks see your comments than not.)  Probably the behavior I should expect from a corporatist.  Cheers!

  •  Don't you mean "then-Democrat Lieberman"? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rollotomasi, OHdog, OleHippieChick
    I searched the OpenSecrets.org website for contributions and found that Terry McGraw had prolific personal political contribution activity beginning in the early 1990’s, which was very heavily weighted toward Republicans until the mid-to-late 2000’s, when he hedged his bets with Democrats such as Lieberman as the Dems came back into power.

    I don't want to hijack the stream, and I know it's a bit of a quibble, but I want to keep the memory of Al Gore's Worst Mistake accurate enough that Holy Joe will go down as a former Democrat in Name Only.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 03:00:49 PM PDT

  •  You might look up the WPPSS bonds default (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rollotomasi, OHdog, OleHippieChick

    In 1983 the Washington Public Power Supply System defaulted on $2.25 billion of bonds they'd sold to finance building nuclear power plants that were never finished.

    Those bonds were rated AAA by all the agencies almost up to the day they defaulted.  Those agencies are the experts on whether a company or government has the financial means to service debt, but they aren't any smarter than us on assessing the political willingness of a government to stand behind its bonds.

    Standard and Poor should admit that in the case of the United States.  As far as financial strength, the USA is still AAA.  Maybe S&P should have put an asterisk by the rating: AAA* to indicate political uncertainty.  

    If Michele Bachmann gets nominated, we'll deserve a second asterisk, and if she gets elected, we'll be AAA***.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 03:15:16 PM PDT

  •  Need to correct revenue figures in dairy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rollotomasi, OHdog

    it should be $6 Billion and not 6 million:

    McGraw-Hill has four separate segments and derives the majority of its $6.2 million in revenues from segments not at all related to its investment ratings and advisory/consulting services while Moody’s derives all of its $2 billion in revenues from these services.  For 2010, McGraw-Hill reported revenues of $2.4 billion (39% of total revenues) from its education segment, which includes textbooks and instructional and standardized testing materials; $0.9 billion (15%) from its information and media segment, which includes J.D. Power and Associates; Platts energy and commodities information; McGraw-Hill Construction; Aviation Week and nine local TV stations; $1.7 billion (27%) from Standard and Poor’s; and $1.2 billion from its financial services segment (19%).
  •  tipped and rec'd for... (5+ / 0-)

    a provocative look at and presentation of what is a plausible scenario. i trust none of those corporate bastards (especially someone to the manor born) and don't put anything past them after what has come down the pike these last few decades.
    for too long patriotism has been sold as a safety blanket so that motives are not questioned and we can all feel able to warmly and fuzzily sleep at night, secure in the knowledge that the wolf couldn't possibly be at the door. when was the last time you saw a commercial that honestly portrayed the methodology and design behind the corporation selling sunshine and blue sky?
    i applaud the ontario teachers pension plan and the jana partners if indeed their efforts are meant to turn the tide.

  •  Who you gonna call? Acme Guillotines, of course! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rollotomasi

    Excellent diary, rollo.

    Can't eat the flag. That's for sure.
    Kossack Lightbulb 7-2-11

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:25:40 AM PDT

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