Blog Archives

Elizabeth Warren only takes 52 seconds to make it clear that Romney is out of step concerning economic regulations.

First, watch this segment from Rachel Maddow‘s show:

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/47422131#47422131

Elizabeth Warren‘s key statement on Dimon’s excuse for the J.P. Morgan fiasco and how Romney’s claim that economic regulations are stifling growth:

“You know, you really want to say did he hear what Jamie Dimon just said? Jamie Dimon’s own words were that this was stupid. This was sloppy, so stupid, and so sloppy that it wasn’t even picked up by a regulator. There was no one to say hey, wait a minute; I want to review your risk practices. I want to see the kind of risk that this huge financial institution is taking on, because we’re just about three and a half years past the time when you took on so much risk that you brought this economy almost to its knees. So the idea that Mitt Romney thinks that the banks are over regulated. It’s an alternative reality. It’s simply not true. The problem right now is that there’s not adequate regulation.”

Got it? Regulation (which we used to have in adequate amounts due to the abandoned  Glass-Steagall Act) used to keep our economy safe. Romney supports big banks over small Americans. And which of these hold the majority vote (provided they are not conned by Tea Bag Republicans)?

It’s up to all of us to get educated and get the word out.

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Boehner is out to kill anything Obama tries to accomplish…

…will Congress let him? Check out Brian Beutler’s story:
clipped from www.talkingpointsmemo.com

GOP Tries To ‘REIN’ In Obama

What would the “moratorium” on new federal regulations being touted by Minority Leader Boehner actually look like and how would it work? Brian Beutler scopes out the details.

The title of the bill Boehner is backing should tell you a lot: the REINS Act, which stands for Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny.

  blog it

Quote of the Day

Paul Volcker in today’s NY Times:

I’ve been there — as regulator, as central banker, as commercial bank official and director — for almost 60 years. I have observed how memories dim. Individuals change. Institutional and political pressures to “lay off” tough regulation will remain — most notably in the fair weather that inevitably precedes the storm.

The implication is clear. We need to face up to needed structural changes, and place them into law. To do less will simply mean ultimate failure — failure to accept responsibility for learning from the lessons of the past and anticipating the needs of the future.

Couldn’t agree more. Now, about those bonuses…

FTC about to impose Endorsement Guides on Bloggers…

Here is a warning for bloggers like me who often recommend products to buy or places to go (and I note that I don’t get reimbursed for any of this, mores the pity.) The FTC will start a regulation on December 1st (why is it that regulations on Health Insurers or similar institutions take a couple of years before they can be implemented?) which updates their 1980 regulation. Here’s their Press Release:

For Release: 10/05/2009

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials

Changes Affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, Celebrity Endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has approved final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act.

The notice incorporates several changes to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers. The Guides were last updated in 1980.

Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization. And a paid endorsement – like any other advertisement – is deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.

Celebrity endorsers also are addressed in the revised Guides. While the 1980 Guides did not explicitly state that endorsers as well as advertisers could be liable under the FTC Act for statements they make in an endorsement, the revised Guides reflect Commission case law and clearly state that both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement – or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers. The revised Guides also make it clear that celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.

The Guides are administrative interpretations of the law intended to help advertisers comply with the Federal Trade Commission Act; they are not binding law themselves. In any law enforcement action challenging the allegedly deceptive use of testimonials or endorsements, the Commission would have the burden of proving that the challenged conduct violates the FTC Act.

The Commission vote approving issuance of the Federal Register notice detailing the changes was 4-0. The notice will be published in the Federal Register shortly, and is available now on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release. Copies also are available from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs

202-326-3707

STAFF CONTACT:
Richard Cleland

Bureau of Consumer Protection

202-326-3088

(FTC File No. P034520)
(endorsement testimonial guide.wpd)

I’m not sure what changes this will make at Under The LobsterScope or other blogs, but we’ll find out soon enough.

A Quote from Paul Volcker (that we ought to listen to… and the Fed should as well)

“As a general matter, I would exclude from commercial banking institutions, which are potential beneficiaries of official (i.e., taxpayer) financial support, certain risky activities entirely suitable for our capital markets. Ownership or sponsorship of hedge funds and private equity funds should be among those prohibited activities. So should in my view a heavy volume of proprietary trading with its inherent risks.”

– Paul Volcker speaking in Los Angeles earlier this month.

So what does this mean for our economy and what should be done by both President Obama and the Federal Reserve (and which is definitely NOT being done)? Robert Kuttner has an interesting piece in HuffPo called Listening to Paul Volcker.

READ IT. Then think about contacting the President, the Fed and your Congressfolk.