Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hensarling introduces alternative rescue plan

Rep Hensarling has an alternative to the bailout bill to repair the financial sector - H.R. 7223 - and has 50 co-sponsors, including Rep Carter and Rep McCaul. CNBC reports that components of the alternative plan include the following:

  • Require the Treasury Department to guarantee, at up to 100 percent, bank losses resulting from failed mortgage-backed securities originated prior to the plan's enactment. Such insurance, supporters say, would provide immediate value to the securities and a foundation for which they could then be sold. The Treasury Department would finance that insurance by assessing a premium on outstanding mortgage-backed securities.
  • Allow companies to carry back losses arising in tax years ending in 2007, 2008, or 2009 back five years, generating a tax refund and immediate capital
  • Allow a "repatriation window" for profits earned by U.S. firms overseas. Such repatriation amounts would not be taxed if invested in distressed debt (as defined by Treasury) for at least one year.
  • Allow banks to treat losses on shares of preferred stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as ordinary losses, not as capital losses
  • Suspend the capital gains tax rate for two years
  • Limit backing of high-risk loans by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Schedule Fannie and Freddie for privatization
  • Suspend "mark-to-market" accounting until the SEC can issue new guidelines that will allow firms to mark these assets to their true economic value
  • Stabilize the dollar by repealing the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, which alternative bailout supporters say diverts the Federal Reserve's attention from long-term price stability to short-term economic growth
  • Require the Treasury to write rules prohibiting excessive compensation or golden parachutes to executives of failed companies
  • Task the SEC with regular, annual audit reports of entities the federal government has brought under conservatorship or now owns
The basic point is that hensarling is relying on tax reductions and regulators changes to improve credit conditions, rather than an expensive RTC-like asset purchase. This is a superior approach and other Republicans (Cornyn? Smith?) should get on board and support it.

Obamedia Insider - "The Fix Is In"

Via Gateway pundit, an Instapundit article going around the rightosphere:

“Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true. We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in arizona. Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae. Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, others. People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into obama is derided or flat out ignored. The fix is in, and its working.” I asked permission to reprint without attribution and it was granted.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Texas Congressmen who Support Freedom

There are many reasons why the vote on the bailout proposal turned out as it did. Today, the US House voted 205-228 to turn down the President's financial institution bailout proposal. Many Democrats and Republicans turned against their parties in this vote as Democrats favored the proposal 140-95 and Republicans opposed the proposal 65-133.

In legislation, the devil is always in the details. In this case, the devil was in the principle. Banks were forced to make bad loans by government policies. Instead of admitting to passing bad legislation over the last 30 years and ending the policies that inspired bad lending practices, the government tried to cover it up by paying $700 billion to buy back bad loans and cover their own asses.

As Congressman Jeb Hensarling said today, we are on a slipperly slope towards socialism. In the history of government bailouts, the taxpayers have never come out ahead. Buying up these loans sets a bad precedent that says the government's role is to swoop in wearing the white hat and fixing all of our problems. This is not the proper role of government. The experts in the banking industry and market need to be the ones to fix the banking problems, not unelected bureaucrats and Congressmen who take kick-backs from the banks.


Risk of Obama Presidency Now High

Bad news for investors, workers and business people is good news for Democrats. Obama is riding higher in the polls as the finanical crisis continues.

Nancy Pelosi's Speech tanks the Bill

They thought they had the votes to pass the bill. Then Speaker Pelosi spoke:

Nancy Pelosi, making one final pitch for GOP buy-in to the bailout, addressed the chamber, saying, "We have to have a bipartisan vote on this -- that is the only thing that will send a message of confidence to the markets." Pelosi's speech, however, was anything but bipartisan, laying the fiscal crisis on the door of the White House, blasting Bush for opposing a second stimulus package.

Then they had the vote. 94 Democrats voted against the bill, only 66 Republicans voted for the bill.

Some members of the House GOP are blaming Speaker Pelosi's hard-edged partisan speech for the loss. "Progress had been marked by magnanimity with Frank and Hoyer [speeches] ... Hers had a partisan tone," said Rep. Adam Putnam.

Source: http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/

A result of this is a stock market that is reeling. Those Republicans who think the political vote is ‘no’ since the bill is not popular are foolish. Well, guess what, medicine never is, but if you are hired to be a doctor and you let the patient die instead of giving him medicine, you’d be fired and worse. That is what the Democrats will tag on the Republicans. If the economic crisis worsens or dominates the news until the election, it will be a GOP wipeout that will make 2006 look like a picnic. It’s the ultimate folly and the Democrats and MSM will make today’s GOP out to be Hoover II whether fair or not. BTW, locally, Smith (TX) voted Aye and McCaul voted No. Doggett voted No. The only one looking out for our 401(k) accounts was Smith.

UPDATE: House Republican leaders and many members made clear that, however shockingly partisan Speaker Pelosi's speech was, it did not induce vote changes. There is however a clear understory that Pelosi did not push for Democrat votes. She wanted the Republicans to walk the plank on this. Instapundit notes:

PELOSI gave key Democrats a pass on the bailout vote.

UPDATE: Obama Campaign co-chair Jesse Jackson, Jr. voted against the bill. (Via NewsAlert).

So it is now clear that Speaker Pelosi put politics first; since it was unpopular, she was demanding, hectoring actually, the Republicans to vote for it, while not getting her own party members to do so. While she calls it a serious crisis, she acted in a way that indicated it wasn't really to her, since was willing to let the bill die rather than round up a few more Democrat colleagues. The worst Speaker ever hits a new low of partisan duplicity.

Hero of the Taxpayer: Jeb Hensarling

Congressman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, gave an impassioned speech against the bailout on the House floor today. He calls the bill a "slippery slope towards socialism." Great job, Jeb! I am proud of you!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bailout Bill Text Online

Bailout Bill Text (pdf)

Congratulations to McCain and the House Republicans for making this a much better bill than it was. McCain was active in contacting the Republicans on Saturday. It's odd and bizarre even that the Bush administration has been 'taken over' by Paulson who is NOT a Republican but a Democrat. Given how awful Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid and Dodd and Frank are, it's suprising it's not worse. Taken out were the provisions for ACORN, for unions on boards, etc.

Section 132 directs the administration to consider suspending mark-to-market. Good, now is the time for the administration to act on that. Oversight is better, and there is the insurance concept the House Republicans advanced. There is no assurances that the taxpayers are to be protected, but there are some interesting provisions that will help. One is that transactions have to be publicly posted within 2 days. This means there will be a public record of the quasi-'market' of such purchases.

There are "plans to minimize foreclosures" which basically means that the Federal Government is taking over millions of housing units, ie., you are now dependent on the forebearance of the Treasury Secretary. Hmmm, are Democrats thinking of turning a liquidity program into a $700 billion HUD program?

Malkin crowd don't like the bill period but this comment recognizes the role of the Republicans in making it better:

The role played by John McCain appears to have been a constructive one. He supported and worked with the House Republicans. The Democrats no doubt wanted his support for the final product, and that must have enhanced the Republicans’ position at the table. The Democrats would not have wanted an unpopular bailout plan to be supported by Barack Obama and opposed by McCain.

If voters understood the events of the last week, they would probably return control of the House, and perhaps the Senate, to the Republicans. The mainstream media will make sure that doesn’t happen.

Misplaced blame in the financial crisis

A rant of sorts: I can't believe that the Republicans are getting the short stick over the financial crisis. Actually I can believe it, but have that heavy burdensome feeling of a conventional perception that just ain't so. Sure, the Bush administration is at the helm, so they can blame for what happens on their watch, and by implication that is all Republicans, but ...

The Democrats run Congress now and have always had enough influence to protect their own special interests. The Dems protected fannie in 2005 when Republicans wanted better oversight. Obama is in deep with Raines and Johnson and got more Fannie Mae money than anyone except Chris Dodd, who was #1 recipient. Fannie Mae incited the subprime lending boom and bust. Meanwhile the Dems are the majority in Congress and have managed to destroy trust and confidence in Govts handling of the economy through repeated attacks on CEOs, on business ('big oil' etc), tax hikes, regulation attempts/sprees, and wild meddling. In this bailout bill alone, they wants a budget-busting diversion of money to ACORN, a 'destroy-mortgage-cont... clause on bankruptcy, unions on corporate boards, and Govt ownership of banks. Socialist is no longer a hyperbolic term for these guys. (the good news is that the bailout bill has removed most of the poison-pill provisions).

What a sad and sorry spectacle: The Dems cause a problem, the Repubs get the blame, the Dems gain more power and cause more problems - rinse and repeat. We had FDR, we had LBJ and now we will get BHO, the third Liberal Reich.

Let me restate the roots of the problem in the current financial crisis: This was partly due to overexpansionistic Fed policy, but mostly, the core problem was and is subprime lending combined with the housing bubble (which subprime lending helped foster). The seed of this core problem was planted by ACORN and their push for sub-prime lending with the CRA. CRA led to massive increases in subprime lending, and massive increases in subprime lending is at the root of this.

ACORN was represented by Barack Obama when he was a leftwing community activist. Barack Obama was the attorney representing ACORN in their effort in the 1990s to loosen lending standards. The efforts by ACORN worked. An enthusiastic Fannie Mae Foundation report in 2003 singled out one paragon of nondiscriminatory lending, which worked with community activists and followed “the most flexible underwriting criteria permitted.” That lender’s $1 billion commitment to low-income loans in 1992 had grown to $80 billion by 1999 and $600 billion by early 2003. That company was Countrywide Financial, which also gave sweetheart deals to Democrats in Congress like Sen Chris Dodd for political cover.

Bad underwriting was getting hidden by corrupt CEOs like Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson at Fanne Mae and hackles were raised. But Democrats turned back the efforts to reofrm Fannie Mae. In 2005, Obama protected Fannie Mae when McCain and Republicans wanted better oversight of them. Fannie Mae underwrote close to a trillion in subprime loans in the past 4 years, inciting the current mortgage crisis.

Putting leftwing activist Obama and his fellow Democrats Dodd etal in charge is rewarding incompetence, corruption and bad intentions. It’s like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department. The pro-Obama media will not tell the truth about Obama’s links to ACORN and CRA, and will not point out the serious links that tie him to left-wing extremists or to the corrupt insiders to incited this crisis. They will continue to lamely and falsely blame "deregulation" when in fact GOVT INTERVENTION AND LEFT-WING ACTIVISM is the real problem.

YouTube: What Really Caused the Financial Crisis?

This really explains it all.

Manufactured Crises and the leftwing Obama strategy

Barack Obama and the strategy of the manufactured crisis is a must-read that ties in Barack Obama's left-wing community activist roots to ACORN and the creation of the current subprime mortgage crisis:

ACORN showed its colors again in 1991, by taking over the House Banking Committee room for two days to protest efforts to scale back the CRA. Obama represented ACORN in the Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank, 1994 suit against redlining. Most significant of all, ACORN was the driving force behind a 1995 regulatory revision pushed through by the Clinton Administration that greatly expanded the CRA and laid the groundwork for the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac borne financial crisis we now confront. Barack Obama was the attorney representing ACORN in this effort. With this new authority, ACORN used its subsidiary, ACORN Housing, to promote subprime loans more aggressively.
The article ties together the loose connections between the various leftwing groups that have been supporting Obama and supporting the leftwing causes that Obama has supported. As comment on the article notes: "Obama represents a very serious threat because he is the first virus from a virulent strain of Alinsky activism to infect successfully our national political processes." The first, at least, to actually be in the White House.

The seed of this crisis was planted by ACORN and their push for sub-prime lending with the CRA. CRA led to massive increases in subprime lending, and massive increases in subprime lending is at the root of this.

ACORN was represented by Barack Obama when he was a leftwing community activist. Barack Obama was the attorney representing ACORN in their effort in the 1990s to loosen lending standards. The efforts by ACORN worked. An enthusiastic Fannie Mae Foundation report singled out one paragon of nondiscriminatory lending, which worked with community activists and followed “the most flexible underwriting criteria permitted.” That lender’s $1 billion commitment to low-income loans in 1992 had grown to $80 billion by 1999 and $600 billion by early 2003. The company was Countrywide, which became an infamous example of irresponsible subprime lending, and also managed to corrupt Congressmen like Sen Chris Dodd with sweetheart loan deals.

Bad underwriting was getting hidden by corrupt CEOs like Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson at Fanne Mae and hackles were raised. But Democrats turned back the efforts to reofrm Fannie Mae. In 2005, Obama protected Fannie Mae when McCain and Republicans wanted better oversight of them. Fannie Mae underwrote close to a trillion in subprime loans in the past 4 years, inciting the current mortgage crisis.

We come full circle from the current crisis in the financial markets to Obama's earliest days as a left-wing activist in Chicago. Putting leftwing activist Obama in charge is rewarding incompetence, corruption and bad intentions. It’s like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department. The pro-Obama media will not tell the truth about Obama’s links to ACORN and CRA, and will not point out the serious links.

President Obama? Kiss Your Free Speech Rights Goodbye

There is much to be truly frightened by in the prospect of a President Obama. A man who, like Jimmy Carter, will likely give away the national security store. A man who engages in economically destructive class warfare and will further destroy America's heritage as the 'land of the free'. Barack Obama is a liberal Senator, a near-socialist who will throw billions at leftwing special interests. After all, he was a leftwing community activist for many years.

But the worst will be Obama's assault on the first amendment. A case in point is how in Missouri, Democrat DAs will arrest and charge people for anti-Obama statements.

RedState puts it thusly:

Like every megalomaniac in history, Obama's recent attack on free speech is designed to intimidate and punish dissent of a rise to power--it is always the first ploy of those with tyranny in mind. His form of Big Brother is legal maneuvering, hordes of Internet trolls spreading malicious lies and disruption, class warfare, and physical threats if they (the radical far left marxist socialists/communists) don't get what they want in this election. But once elected, it won't stop at free speech!
The diarist reports these incidents and additional links:

1) More Obama gangland tactics: Signs banned at Virginia rally today

2) Are We Becoming an Obama Police State?

3) Missouri Prosecutors, Sheriffs 'Target Anyone Who Lies' About Barack Obama

4) Say The Wrong Obama Thing, Get Arrested — Not So Fast Says Missouri Gov.

5) Obama Campaign Tells TV Stations Not to Run NRA TV Ads

There is more:

Obama goon squads shut down a blog with hacker attacks. A comment says:
This is not the first blog to have been hacked by Obamabots. A couple of Hillary fan websites that have come out for McCain/Palin have also been hacked and had to change servers. A website called "The Real Barack Obama" has also been hacked a number of times.

This is the way of Campaign Obama. Hack into websites (like Bill O'Reilly's) when anyone dares to question their Messiah. "Get In Their Faces" is the new rallying cry. Threaten, intimidate, harrass, all signs of how an Obama administration will be.

Macsmind is just another reason why the most socialistic candidate this nation has ever seen must be defeated.

Govern by the Constitution? Nope, it will be governing by Saul Alinsky and the Communist Manifesto.
This kind of attacks on free speech is what Obama meant when he told people to 'get into the face' of his opponents. Go out there and harrass and harangue and lie and smear. I have a sinking feeling that 2008 will take us back to 1984.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rathergate II - CBS edits interview to harm Palin

CBS does a splice job on Palin interview to make her look bad, mismatching questions and answers to make her answer sound non-responsive. CBS needs to release the full unedited interview; they have done another "Rathergate" in their desperate attempt to help Obama win the election. They excised moderate comments and misamtched questions and answers.
Pink Flamingo."If you read the edits, Palin does not look like an idiot. That's the whole point. Couric had to make her look bad."

This is journalistic malpractice, with a clear intention and agenda of diminishing Governor Sarah Palin that apparently has worked.

It gets worse. American Prowler reported: "...CBS New anchor Katie Couric ordered staff to drop all references to "Governor" or "Gov." from her interview with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin."
And "Producers and editorial staff at both NBC and ABC report that fellow staffers have openly ridiculed Palin, her professional and personal background and her family during production meetings, in the editing bays during video editing for nightly news stories, and while covering Palin at political events...."

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain-Obama debate followup

In the frist debate, I though McCain won. McCain's hammered many points home that all should be fatal to Obama to an educated voter. McCain had a strong finish with a clear message: "I have the ability, the background, the knowledge, and the judgement. I don't think I need any on-the-job training." Time and again, he pointed out where Obama has failed to lead, has a wrong and naive view, and simply doesn't get it when it comes to keeping us safe, being commander in chief, and doing what is right.

One area of leadership is fiscal responsibility: Electing McCain will keep spending so much under control compared with what Obama and the big-spending Democrats would do, there is one solution to the question of how to pay for the bailout: Elect McCain. Hold McCain to his promise to hold the line on spending and we can pay for the bailout. McCain - "We have to cut the spending. ... I saved the taxpayers $6 billion (Boeing contract) "Senator Obama has the most liberal record in the Senate. You can't reach across the aisle from that far left."

McCain won the debate if you go by substance.

1. Obama said 'Jon isright' about 6 or 7 times.
“I think Senator McCain’s absolutely right that we need more responsibility…”
“Senator McCain is absolutely right that the earmarks process has been abused…”
“He’s also right that oftentimes lobbyists and special interests are the ones that are introducing these…requests…”
“John mentioned the fact that business taxes on paper are high in this country, and he’s absolutely right…”
“John is right we have to make cuts…”
“Senator McCain is absolutely right that the violence has been reduced as a consequence of the extraordinary sacrifice of our troops and our military families…”
“John — you’re absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say…”
“Senator McCain is absolutely right, we cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran…”

2. Barack Obama played the "me too" game during the Friday debates on September 26 after Senator John McCain mentioned that he was wearing a bracelet with the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a resident of New Hampshire and a soldier that lost his life in Iraq in 2006. Obama said that he too had a bracelet. After fumbling and straining to remember the name, he revealed that his had the name of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek of Merrill, Wisconsin.hockingly, however, Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family.

3. Obama claimed Kissinger supported the position that the President should just sit down with the president of Iran without preconditions. Henry Kissinger said this weekend "no president should sit down with the Iranian president without preconditions, preset by working level diplomats." He directly said that Obama was wrong and McCain was right, on the 'meet with dictators without preconditions'.

4. Obama stubbornly refuses to admit he is wrong on the surge. He in 2004 said his position was the same as Bush's on Iraq. Obama has flipflopped on Iraq for political convenience but in the end has shown to have had terrible judgment.

5. The timetable - McCain said that Admiral Mullen called it dangerous, Obama said that was not true. ABC Fact Check says: Reports that during a July interview Admiral Michael Mullen warned that the consequences of removing all U.S. troops by 2010 "could be very dangerous." Mullen and any military leader with a lick of sense knows that rigid timetables are recipes for disaster. Who puts a plan in place that ignores conditions on the ground? Mullen responded when asked about a pullout by 2010: "I think the consequences could be very dangerous in that regard. I'm convinced at this point in time that making reductions based on conditions on the ground are very important."

"The Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007 introduced by Obama specifically stated to stop the 2007 troop surge and to remove all combat forces by March 31, 2008. If we had followed Obama's advice we would have LOST IN IRAQ ALREADY and the consequences would have been dire for years to come. McCain said the surge success is fragile and timetable is a bad idea. McCain was right, Mullen was right, Obama was wrong. A timetable in 2008 is still as bad an idea as in 2007.

6. Obama said: "You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong." No, Senator Obama, On This One You Were Wrong and McCain Was Right

7. McCain: "Senator Obama doesn't know the difference between a tactic and a strategy." Obama argued the point, but only proved McCain correct. Obama does NOT understand the surge strategy.

8. Obama "4 times more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan is a mistake." Wow. Can he really be serious? He's basically calling for immediate withdrawal now, or huge buildup in Afghanistan. Either way, it's an out-of-touch comment. McCain answered: "I have been to Waziristan. ... The same strategy he opposed in Iraq we have to employ in Waziristan. The bombing in Islamabad was a warning." (It was a warning from the terrorists to the Government of Pakistan not to work with us.) That was McCain's best answer so far, he shows that he is on another level from Obama. Obama just doesn't get it when it comes to how to deal with the malefactors around the world, and he dishonestly shifts positions, misstates facts, and discounts our military successes in order to bolster his campaign.

9. Obama: Blaming our not talking with North Korea unilaterally for the misbehavior of RPNK Government. This talking point was repeated by Senator Kerry on Fox News Sunday. Yet it is really nonsense. The North Korean Government violated accords long ago, and it was multilateral talks, not unilateral talks, that succeeded.

10. McCain: If Iran gets nuclear weapons it's "existential threat to Israel" and destabilizing.
Proposes league of democracies to address this. This is perhaps the biggest "change" idea of the season. I mentioned this idea in may as one good McCain idea that might change how we address international relations, currently stuck in the UN, a flawed entity, as the main vehicle for many global security issues.
McCain: "What Senator doesn't understand ... It's dangerous" to sit down without preconditions.

11. Obama: "We can't be focussed on Iraq." And yet his whole campaign and world-view revolves around that. McCain, in pointing out how Obama refuses to admit he is wrong on Iraq, says: "We have seen this stubborness before." Message: Obama is the new Bush.

Philosophical Arguments

Nearly every American of voting age this week has been tuned into the "Financial Crisis of 2008." This story has gotten more play this week than the last ever home game at Yankee Stadium! Arguably, the financial crisis is more important to the American public than the New York Yankees, at least during the election cycle and for political spin.

Instead of blogging every day about the dirty details of the buyouts, mergers, and the anti-taxpayer mentality that the government now has, I have chosen to sit back and sift through other people commentary and potential solutions. Here are some of the things the American people should learn from the "Financial Crisis of 2008" and some of the illegitimate philosophical arguments the left has made for 80 years that have led us down this path.

This Crisis is Actually a Scandal
This crisis is not a crisis of banks falling apart and CEO's failing to do their jobs. This is actually a scandal perpetuated by the liberal elite in this country who have been trying to socialize private industries since President Woodrow Wilson. The plank in the Democrat platform that guarantees the right to affordable housing has led to bad policies and fiscal decisions regarding government subsidized housing for decades.


A Quick Point on "Rights"

The liberal Democrat platform has tried to make many things rights over the last 60 years. One of those is "affordable housing." What this really means is that people who cannot qualify to purchase a home because of poor credit and job history, are now receiving credit due in large part to the demands Congress put on Freddie and Fannie in the 1990's and 2000's.

When rent controls were proven to not provide sufficient affordable housing, the new policy that was brought forward is the "right to credit" to force private institutions to make bad loans. We are now seeing how that is ending up as the taxpayers are now asked to bail out the banks and in essence, subsidize "the right to affordable housing."

The philosopshy of liberals is misguided. There are no rights to success in America; only the right to pursue success, which can and does lead to failure many times.

Of course, you can always follow the money. In unearthing this scandal, you will find that many ranking Democrats, including Congressman Frank, Senator Kerry, and Senator Obama, are receiving PAC contributions from Freddie and Fannie to perpetuate bad lending practices and to achieve the socialist goals of the liberal elite.

The liberals have succeeded in guaranteeing affordable housing, not through legislation and elections, but through scandals and underhanded deals with monopolistic banks that are now controlled by the government and taxpayer money. The "banks" can now make "business policies" for lending practices and, if Congressman Frank has his way, the government will become the landlord for homes in America with the courts making decisions as to property rights, loans, and evictions.

If you continue to follow the money, hold on to your pockets for the next "right." The next "right" that the liberal elite want to guarantee is health care. We have to look for the next "crisis" which will lead to a socialization of health insurance and medical care through more taxpayer funded bailouts.

Conservatives are losing the war on philosophy by not being active in the debate and maintaining partisan rancor. The debate on these philosphies and shifting to personal responsibilities is the key to creating a better society for all. More failing bureaucracies is not the solution.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Assoicated Press & Austin American Statement = Squealer

The mainline Press today is becoming more and more like Lenin's propaganda department, like Squealer in the George Orwell novel Animal Farm. More so than ever before.
Propaganda department of Lenin's government
  • worked for Stalin to support his image
  • used any lie to convince the people to follow Stalin
  • benefited from the fact that education was controlled
  • big mouth, talks a lot
  • convinces animals to believe and follow Napoleon
  • changes and manipulates the commandments
Case in point

The AP released a story yesterday about two Austin men who had planned to "disrupt" the Republican National Convention in St. Paul earlier this month. Here is the "very straight forward and descriptive" headline used by the AP and scores of it's affiliate news outlets (including the Austin American Statesman), who dutifully regurgitated the story.

And here is a variation used by a local Austin TV station on its web site.

My three homeschooled boys (ages 9 to 14) agree that the plain sense reading of this headline indicates that the phrase "RNC actions" means "actions of (the) RNC", whatever that is. My 14 year old asked "is RNC the Republication National Committee?" He took the bait. In the spirit of full disclosure I must note that my 7 year old homeschooled daughter said that the men are the ones acting, though she is not sure why she is of that opinion.

At the very least the headline is ambiguous because of the use of the acronym RNC to modify "actions". RNC is the trademark acronym of the Republican National Committee and less frequently used in the Press to short-hand the Republican National Convention.

Also, I'm left scratching my head about the word "actions". I thought the two Austin lefties were just planning some kind of attack (termed a "disruption" in the
AP story) and that the only action taken was by police/security; action to catch the men before they acted.

Attention, AP! Why not come up with a straightforward heading like this:

Federal jury indicts 2 Texas men over planned disruption of RNC

Though RNC remains ambiguous, at least there is no ambiguity about who the perpetrators are.

So, whose image is the AP supporting? Who is the AP's and the Austin American Stateman's Stalin/Napoleon?

VP Interview Questions we will never get to see

"Does it bother you that congressional Democrats are to blame for the Fannie Mae mess but now 'free markets' are the fall guy for the subprime lending mess?"
"Given Biden's many gaffes, like falsely claiming FDR spoke after the stock market crash on TV (even though Hoover was President and TVs weren't invented then), and saying that no new coal plants should be built, do you think he is ready to be Vice President?"
"Now that McCain was proven right about the Iraq surge, what will McCain/Palin do to fix the war on terror?"
"How offended were you by Obama's ad smear against McCain for not using email, even though we know that it is due to war injuries?"

Quotes of the Day - The Bailout

"Only a crisis, real or perceived, produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable." - Milton Friedman, Hat-tip NRO

Paulson Plan will make money: " Paulson could wind up buying more than $2 trillion in notional value loans and home equity and CDOs for his $700 billion. ... My calculations, which assume 50% impairment on subprime loans, suggest it is possible, all in, for this portfolio to generate between $1 trillion and $2.2 trillion -- the greatest trade ever." - Andy Kessler

But economists oppose it: "America's dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity. Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted"

Why McCain suspended his campaign - Putting Bipartisanship First to get more votes for the plan:
"I am told, Maggie, that the way McCain got involved in this in the first place, the Treasury Secretary was briefing Republicans in the House yesterday, the Republican conference, asked how many were ready to support the bailout plan. Only four of them held up their hands. Paulson then called, according to my sources, Senator Lindsey Graham, who is very close to John McCain, and told him: you've got to get the people in the McCain campaign, you've got to convince John McCain to give these Republicans some political cover. If you don't do that, this whole bailout plan is going to fail. So that's how, McCain, apparently, became involved." -Bob Schieffer via Weekly Standard blog

Biden Loves Him the Trial Lawyers

Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web,” picked this up yesterday...

Lawyers in Love
The unstoppable Joe Biden appeared last night at a fund-raiser hosted by the American Association of Justice, a group you probably have heard of under its former name, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. The group changed its name in 2006 because everyone hates trial lawyers and they have not yet managed to sully the name of justice.

Actually, not everyone hates trial lawyers. Biden loves 'em, as ABC's Jake Tapper reports:

"He has never, never, never, never, never, never, never shared the values set that you share," Biden said. "He's an honorable, decent man, but John McCain truly believes, truly believes that you are corporate America's problem," he said to the trial lawyers. "And thank God you are."

Biden said that he's "done more than any other senator combined" for trial lawyers.

"There are two people--you've heard me say it before--two groups that stand between us and the barbarians at the gate," Biden said. "It's you and organized labor. That's it. That is it. So, mark my words, mark my words, if we lose this election, you are going to continue to see a continuation of the onslaught on everything we care about. For real. For real. So, I'm not only thanking you for your help. I would think you're all absolutely brain-dead if you didn't help. And I mean it."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blame Fannie Mae and Congress For the Credit Mess

This article is worth sharing in its entirety because it encapsulates "how we got here" on the current credit crunch.

Blame Fannie Mae and Congress For the Credit Mess


Many monumental errors and misjudgments contributed to the acute financial turmoil in which we now find ourselves. Nevertheless, the vast accumulation of toxic mortgage debt that poisoned the global financial system was driven by the aggressive buying of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The poor choices of these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) — and their sponsors in Washington — are largely to blame for our current mess.

How did we get here? Let’s review: In order to curry congressional support after their accounting scandals in 2003 and 2004, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac committed to increased financing of “affordable housing.” They became the largest buyers of subprime and Alt-A mortgages between 2004 and 2007, with total GSE exposure eventually exceeding $1 trillion. In doing so, they stimulated the growth of the subpar mortgage market and substantially magnified the costs of its collapse.

It is important to understand that, as GSEs, Fannie and Freddie were viewed in the capital markets as government-backed buyers (a belief that has now been reduced to fact). Thus they were able to borrow as much as they wanted for the purpose of buying mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. Their buying patterns and interests were followed closely in the markets. If Fannie and Freddie wanted subprime or Alt-A loans, the mortgage markets would produce them. By late 2004, Fannie and Freddie very much wanted subprime and Alt-A loans. Their accounting had just been revealed as fraudulent, and they were under pressure from Congress to demonstrate that they deserved their considerable privileges. Among other problems, economists at the Federal Reserve and Congressional Budget Office had begun to study them in detail, and found that — despite their subsidized borrowing rates — they did not significantly reduce mortgage interest rates. In the wake of Freddie’s 2003 accounting scandal, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan became a powerful opponent, and began to call for stricter regulation of the GSEs and limitations on the growth of their highly profitable, but risky, retained portfolios.

If they were not making mortgages cheaper and were creating risks for the taxpayers and the economy, what value were they providing? The answer was their affordable-housing mission. So it was that, beginning in 2004, their portfolios of subprime and Alt-A loans and securities began to grow. Subprime and Alt-A originations in the U.S. rose from less than 8% of all mortgages in 2003 to over 20% in 2006. During this period the quality of subprime loans also declined, going from fixed rate, long-term amortizing loans to loans with low down payments and low (but adjustable) initial rates, indicating that originators were scraping the bottom of the barrel to find product for buyers like the GSEs.

The strategy of presenting themselves to Congress as the champions of affordable housing appears to have worked. Fannie and Freddie retained the support of many in Congress, particularly Democrats, and they were allowed to continue unrestrained. Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass), for example, now the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, openly described the “arrangement” with the GSEs at a committee hearing on GSE reform in 2003: “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have played a very useful role in helping to make housing more affordable . . . a mission that this Congress has given them in return for some of the arrangements which are of some benefit to them to focus on affordable housing.” The hint to Fannie and Freddie was obvious: Concentrate on affordable housing and, despite your problems, your congressional support is secure.

In light of the collapse of Fannie and Freddie, both John McCain and Barack Obama now criticize the risk-tolerant regulatory regime that produced the current crisis. But Sen. McCain’s criticisms are at least credible, since he has been pointing to systemic risks in the mortgage market and trying to do something about them for years. In contrast, Sen. Obama’s conversion as a financial reformer marks a reversal from his actions in previous years, when he did nothing to disturb the status quo. The first head of Mr. Obama’s vice-presidential search committee, Jim Johnson, a former chairman of Fannie Mae, was the one who announced Fannie’s original affordable-housing program in 1991 — just as Congress was taking up the first GSE regulatory legislation.

In 2005, the Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted a strong reform bill, introduced by Republican Sens. Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu and Chuck Hagel, and supported by then chairman Richard Shelby. The bill prohibited the GSEs from holding portfolios, and gave their regulator prudential authority (such as setting capital requirements) roughly equivalent to a bank regulator. In light of the current financial crisis, this bill was probably the most important piece of financial regulation before Congress in 2005 and 2006. All the Republicans on the Committee supported the bill, and all the Democrats voted against it. Mr. McCain endorsed the legislation in a speech on the Senate floor. Mr. Obama, like all other Democrats, remained silent.

Now the Democrats are blaming the financial crisis on “deregulation.” This is a canard. There has indeed been deregulation in our economy — in long-distance telephone rates, airline fares, securities brokerage and trucking, to name just a few — and this has produced much innovation and lower consumer prices. But the primary “deregulation” in the financial world in the last 30 years permitted banks to diversify their risks geographically and across different products, which is one of the things that has kept banks relatively stable in this storm.

As a result, U.S. commercial banks have been able to attract more than $100 billion of new capital in the past year to replace most of their subprime-related write-downs. Deregulation of branching restrictions and limitations on bank product offerings also made possible bank acquisition of Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch, saving billions in likely resolution costs for taxpayers.

If the Democrats had let the 2005 legislation come to a vote, the huge growth in the subprime and Alt-A loan portfolios of Fannie and Freddie could not have occurred, and the scale of the financial meltdown would have been substantially less. The same politicians who today decry the lack of intervention to stop excess risk taking in 2005-2006 were the ones who blocked the only legislative effort that could have stopped it.


Quote of the Day

Rudyard's Kipling's "If" is quoted in a Kristol article on McCain. The whole poem is a worthy 'quote of the day' for these times.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you ...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some ideas to fix the credit crisis

How the Democrats created this mess is another account of the Democrat opposition to Fannie Mae Oversight in 2005 that could have prevented the housing bubble and the subsequent crisis we are in. Now the same malefactors who created this mess are going to have a welfare program for the irresponsible plutocrats who bet on leverage in a bubble market. It's easy to go all populist in rage at this outrage, and it's understandable too. However, such declarations won't really solve the problem we are in.

What is the solution? The Paulson way? Paulson's proposal is, like a turkey before Thanksgiving, getting larded up for the Congressional vote. We are told that this plan is necessary because doing nothing will lead to a credit meltdown. This is about stopping Great Depression 2.0. The credit panic last week had the markings of a possible very disruptive, crash-like event: Another 1987; What Asia had in 1998; etc. Great Depression analgoies were pulled out. The credit system had seized up and institutions were even pulling money out of money market funds.

The bailout will in the end not cost as much as that $700 billion price tag. Assets are being marked down to very low prices and the Govt might actually make money on this situation (Congress will make sure that miracle doesn't work to the benefit of the taxpayer alas). But the price of this 'cleanup' will still be stiff to taxpayer overall: Hundreds of billions already to backstop Fannie Mae; more hundreds of billions for a housing bailout; tens of billions for an IRS check 'stimulus'. All of these are non-solutions to a credit crunch caused by bad Government actions and non-oversight.

Heritage has Some thoughts on what not to do.

My view is that Paulson's plan is indeed better than nothing, but it carries the risks of 'moral hazard', corruption, and a continued bleeding of the taxpayer to feed an instant gratification credit system that should be deleveraged more.

We need a solution that doesn't bilk the taxpayer but gets the credit system working - a workout, not a bailout:

1. Assist banks with better pricing on illiquid assets with one rule change:
Suspend the mark-to-market rule for illiquid assets like CDOs.

2. Make the $700 billion bailout mostly SELF-FINANCING WORKOUT that provides liquidity but not a subsidy for the holders of these marked down assets. Solvent companies have crappy suspect assets. The value of these assets is not clearly known, nor is the liabilities involved. But the firms can offload these into the Govt Asset Management organization (RTC-II), that takes these assets and holds on to them while the crisis passes. Here is how:

Govt purchases of distressed assets from currently solvent firms will be based on a 'consignment basis'. The Govt will pay for 40% of assumed market value, and the remainer of the payment held in reserve (or Govt gets senior notes for remainder). When the product is later sold, the original holder is given the sold value if it was anywhere from 40-100% of assessed fair market value. Above that, ie if govt sells at a profit above original assessed value, the Govt and private firms share the gains 50/50. If the Govt sells it for less than 40% of originally assessed value, Govt eats the cost partly, and partly takes up debt from the selling company. Since there is time cost of money, there can be simple rules regarding how much the Govt owes in interest on gains, and/or that can be viewed as a transaction cost.

These rules would add clarity and taxpayer protection. Right now there is no clarity as to the taxpayer liability. Rules regarding how resale gains and losses are are to be assessed is required. The 40% rule enables one trillion in assets to be purchased with only $400 billion in credit, and it can then be 'worked out' over a number of years. The cost is less and the taxpayer protection is much greater. BANKS ARE ABLE TO OFFLOAD ASSETS AT 40% LEVEL AND THEN GET A POSSIBLE "UPSIDE" RETURN LATER IF VALUE BOUNCES BACK. If that 40% level is too small to encourage participation, then it could be raised so long as there is an assurance that taxpayers won't be picking up assets at inflated prices.

3. level 3 assets for all financial reporting institutions must be transparent and reported.

4. NO regulations on financial compensation, and NO equity stakes. The Govt should not takeover these companies. If there is any debt of collateral, it is senior debt. Regulation reform needs to come: Unify the regulation of the financial sector. But that should be in a separate bill, not this bill.

5. Dont muck this bill up with housing and foreclosure stuff. The Dems already did a $200 billion housing bailout, we dont need another right now, save it for the next Congress.

6. McCain wanted in 2005 to regulate Fannie Mae. Democrats killed that plan, as linked to above. It's past time to pass that bill.

The we need a twin bill, An Economic stimulus bill:
1. MAKE THE BUSH TAX CUTS PERMANENT. The cost of this is less than the bailout and the benefit will be HUGE.
2. Then cut the corporate tax rate.
3. Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley (which has killed IPOs).
4. Open up all offshore drilling. No limits.

Will this be the right thing? Will it be enough? We don't know, but we do know that America's economy is strong because it is dynamic and these ideas attempt to set thing aright without undermining our dynamic economy's workings. Anything that destroys the dynamic nature of the economy and its free enterprise moorings, harms our long-term prosperity. We see us slipping further away from that with every Fed and Treasury intervention in the market.

We need to carefully weigh the right way forward here. In the end, the only real crisis we face is the crisis in leadership. It's time for some conservatives to lead and propose alternatives to this bailout bill that are actually better. Cause if its "Paulson Plan or Bust" I don't want to be rooting for the latter.

UPDATE: Don Luskin makes good points on this: "Is it necessary? Will it work? And even then, is it morally justifiable?" His answers: We don't know.
Ron Paul say the Government bailout will cause an economic rough ride. Either way we will have a rought ride, but Ron Paul is saying it's time to get off the Government intervention merry-go-round.

Republican Study Committee has their proposals:
- Two-Year Suspension of the Capital Gains:
- Schedule the GSEs for Privatization:
- Stabilize the Dollar:
- Suspend “Mark to Market” Accounting:

Erie CounterNewsMedia: The London Daily Mail and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

Erie CounterNewsMedia: The London Daily Mail and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

Some Choice Excerpts (from a Brit's View of Sarah)

A pistol-packin' Looby Loo: the Left's worst nightmare
Last updated at 11:27 PM on 04th September 2008

Frank Sinatra would have got the joke. In the words of the great political philosopher, they all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round.

They're all laughing, too, at John McCain for choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. The usual suspects took one look at this pistol-packin' momma and reacted like John McEnroe to a disputed line call: you cannot be serious!

Certainly, the pick came, as the Americans say, out of left field. Sarah Palin is centre stage now, and suddenly it's game on.

Stern, God-fearin', gun-totin' Sarah Palin. Will she get the last laugh?

Sarah Palin is every red-blooded redneck's fantasy figure, every randy schoolboy's Mrs Robinson. She could have stepped straight out of one of long-lost cousin Michael's Ripping Yarns.

Cheerleader, beauty queen, dominatrix of the Harper Valley PTA, mother of five, mayor, governor and now a heartbeat away from the Vice-Presidency.

You couldn't make her up. Law And Order's Fred Thompson, once a presidential candidate himself, hit the baby seal on the head when he said the Left were in a blind panic over what to do about Palin.

A supermarket tabloid is claiming she had an affair, which she denies. Apart from that, the worst the scandal-hounds have come up with is that Palin, as governor, put pressure on a police chief to fire her former brother-in-law.

Given that said brother-in-law had beaten up her sister and threatened to kill her father, I'd say that far from abusing her office, she showed considerable restraint. I'm surprised she didn't put a bullet in his head.

What she does have in spades is experience of the energy industry - the number one concern right now. Palin would drill, drill and drill some more - polar bears or no polar bears. And when the oil companies got greedy, she imposed a windfall tax. Unlike Gordon Brown, who'd keep it, she gave every Alaskan a $1,200 rebate.

With all the hoop-la, it's easy to forget that she's running for Vice-President, not President. Not yet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Put more Money into the Classroom

In 2006, during the Special Session of the 79th Texas Legislature, Governor Rick Perry laid out his vision that 65% of money that school districts spend should go into the classroom in the form of teacher pay or education materials. As of 2008, still only 50% of the money goes into classroom, based on the statewide average.

While private businesses run on 10-15% overhead, public schools spend 50% of their budgets on overhead expenses.

Teachers unions and School Board unions continue to use your tax money to lobby for additional money, but where does it go? I drove by a new sports complex that is being built in Manor, TX today. This football stadium is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. At the same time, I know from an inside source that the Manor school district cannot pay teachers who spent their entire summer developing new cirriculum any extra because there was not enough money in the budget to do so.

Check out this youtube to see an insight as to how the teachers unions are preventing real change and real education from taking place in our school districts.

Obamanation Squared

We've heard it said that Barack will bring about the Obamanation; however, this report from LIFENEWS.COM reveals the woman behind the Obamanation as an abomination in her own right.

That Michelle Obama is pro-abortion is no surprise to followers of the campaign.

In May, she came under fire for a letter she wrote defending partial-birth abortions and defending her husband during his 2004 campaign for saying he opposed a national ban on the gruesome abortion procedure.

At the Democratic convention last month, she attacked John McCain's pro-life views at a fundraiser for a leading pro-abortion group that calls for taxpayer funded abortions and promotes partial-birth abortions.

God help us (especially the unborn amoung us) if this Obamanation-able couple is given the keys to the White House.

Obama-McCain Presidential Race

Obama's Army or Obama's brownshirts? more Obama camp thuggery here. "Senator Obama chose politics rather than the national interest" says McCain campaign, when his minions forced Palin off a New York (would have been bi-partisan) rally against the Iranian Government. Democrats afraid that Jews might see pro-Israel McCain-Palin in a good light. Blacks against Obama protest his gay marriage and abortion stances.

More from Taheri on Obama's misbehavior in Iraq - interfering with US-Iraq negotiations in June (violating the Logan Act), and the questions it raises.

Troopergate? Palin fired a wife-beater, had good cause for her action and the investigation is a partisan witchhunt.

Abortion survivor calls out Obama's votes against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act as denying born alive infants their rights. Gianna Jessen put fear into Obama, and in response, Obama calls it a despicable lie.
Jessen responded to the ad and told LifeNews.com:

"Obama is clearly blinded by political ambition given his attack on me this week. All I asked of him was to do the right thing: support medical care and protection for babies who survive abortion – as I did 31 years ago," she said. "He voted against such protection and care four times even though the U.S. Senate voted 98-0 in favor of a bill identical to the one Obama opposed."

McCain goes on offense on the economy and brings up Obama's advisor Johnson and ties to Fannie Mae. Key McCain quotes:

Senator Obama talks a tough game on the financial markets but the facts tell a different story. He took more money from Fannie and Freddie than any Senator, but the Democratic chairman of the committee that regulates them. He put Fannie Mae's CEO who helped create this disaster in charge of finding his Vice President. Fannie's former General Counsel is a senior advisor to his campaign. Whose side do you think he is on? When I pushed legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Senator Obama was silent. He didn't lift a hand to avert this crisis. While the leaders of Fannie and Freddie were lining the pockets of his campaign, they were sowing the seeds of the financial crisis we see today and enriching themselves with millions of dollars in payments. That's not change, that's what's broken in Washington.

"While Senator Obama and Congressional leaders don't know what to think about the current crisis, we know what their plans are for the economy. Today Senator Obama's running mate said that raising taxes is patriotic. Raising taxes in a tough economy isn't patriotic. It's not a badge of honor. It's just dumb policy. The billions in tax increases that Senator Obama is proposing would kill even more jobs during tough economic times. I'm not going to let that happen."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Democrats and Poverty

What do the top ten cities with the highest poverty rate all have in common? Answer: Democrat leadership.

  • Detroit , MI (1st on the poverty rate list) hasn ' t elected a Republican mayor since 1961
  • Buffalo , NY (2nd) hasn ' t elected one since 1954;
  • Cincinnati , OH (3rd)...since 1984;
  • Cleveland , OH (4th)...since 1989;
  • Miami , FL (5th) has never had a Republican mayor;
  • St. Louis , MO (6th)....since 1949;
  • El Paso , TX (7th) has never had a Republican mayor;
  • Milwaukee , WI (8th)...since 1908;
  • Philadelphia , PA (9th)...since 1952;
  • Newark , NJ (10th)...since 1907.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Empower Texans PAC Releases Endorsements

*** UPDATE ***
Empower Texans updated their list of endorsements today in their weekly newsletter.

Jerry Mikus, the Republican candidate in HD 50, also recieved the Empower Texans prestigious endorsement.

The Empower Texans PAC released their endorsements in the State Legislative races today. The notable candidates who received endorsements in the central Texas area are:

HD 52 Bryan Daniel

HD 47 Donna Keel

HD 17 Tim Kleinschmidt

HD 55 Ralph Sheffield

Republicans need to get out in support of these fine candidates.

Empower Texans PAC is a political action committee set up to promote sound fiscal policies. Their endorsements carry a lot of weight among fiscal conservatives that support tax cuts, transparency in government, and responsible use of public money.

Hackers illegally break into Palin account, media act as enablers to crime

The press has jumped on and released illegally obtained emails to Palin in Palin's email account. The story should be the outrage of such an act, but the press is more concerned with sharing the illegally obtained personal information. As usual the Obamedia is very biased so I want to give the non-Obamedia story:

Media act as enablers to illegal hacking of Palin account

WASHINGTON (FT) - Hackers broke into the Yahoo! e-mail account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, revealing personal messages to the Governor to the media. Requests by the Secret Service to media outlets to reveal the sources of this illegally obtained material have been rebuffed, even though such refusal constitutes obstruction of justice.

The disclosure Wednesday raises new questions about the propriety of the news media in allowing hackers who break the law to drive the media coverage of the candidates. The practice is not new, but a new low was reached in these revelations, as the media wasted no time in releasing material that was not only illegally obtained but also personal.

"This is a shocking invasion of the governor's privacy and a violation of law. The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them," the McCain campaign said in a statement.

At least one of the revealed emails highlighted the unfair press Palin is getting: McCorkell was appointed by Palin to an advisory board on issues involving alcohol and drug abuse. One of the leaked e-mails suggested McCorkell wrote to Palin on Sunday to say she was praying for Palin. "Don't let the negative press get you down!" the message said.

Update: Democrat lawmaker's son in hacker probe:

2008 NASHVILLE – The son of state Rep. Mike Kernell has been contacted by authorities in connection with a probe into the hacking of personal e-mail of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Kernell told The Tennessean. Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, said his 20-year-old son David had been contacted by authorities investigating the hacking of Palin’s personal e-mail account, the newspaper reported on its Web site this afternoon.

Obama, The Senator from Fannie Mae

Open Secrets shows that Barack Obama was the second highest benefactor of donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, at $126,000. The only politician with more was Senator Chris Dodd. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Obama's top advisors and money-raisers were from Fannie Mae:

"You look at Obama's economic advisers, the guys he has counted on from day one and who have raised him a ton -- and I mean a ton -- of money: Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, both of them are waist to neck deep in the mortgage debacle."

Both Raines and Johnson have served as CEO of Fannie Mae, with Raines taking over from Johnson. Both are key political and economic advisers to Obama.

"How can Obama go out with a straight face and saw it was Republicans who made this mess, when it is his key advisers who ran the agencies that made the big mess what it is?" says a Democrat House member who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. "It's his people who are responsible for what may well be the single largest government bailout in history. And every single one of them made millions off the collapse that are lining Obama's campaign coffers."

In such matters, there is always the factor that money was spread around to both sides, but McCain had according to Open Secrets a smaller level of contributions. The real question is: Who has the judgment to do the right thing based on their previous actions regarding these institutions and who who lead them?

  • John McCain attempted to control Fannie Mae and warned about the potential costs to taxpayers. He said in 2006: "I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole." - John McCain, May 25 2006
  • Barack Obama has been advised in his Presidential bid by two ex-Fannie Mae CEOs, both having left in scandal. In the case of Raines, it was reported in 2004: "Although Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines was fired for bungling its books, he’ll get a $26 million parachute — not counting a monthly pension of $116,300 for life. The 55-year-old Washington, D.C. insider and his CFO J. Timothy Howard left their jobs last week under a cloud of suspicion that the execs undermined the financial soundness of Fannie Mae, creating losses of up to $9 billion." NY Post, Dec 28, 2004
  • Obama said and did nothing to point out the malfeasance of these Obama supporters and advisors, and he's had the intention of leaning on these men who created this mess to somehow advise him on how to fix it.
  • Obama and Jack Reed of RI held up any serious reform of Fannie Mae in order to cut out a “low income trust fund” that Fannie had to pay money into to offer loans to bad credit risks. The NILCH (National Institute for low income housing) had a press release that featured Reed and Obama talking about what a wonderful program that was, in May of this year. They were buying votes with Fannie Mae all the while McCain was calling for divesture of some loans in order to shore up Capital Reserves.
  • Obama was not the only Democrat in the tank for Fannie Mae: ‘’These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,’’ said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ‘’The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.’’
  • The bailout of Fannie Mae will cost taxpayers more than $250 billion

Obama has been the Senator from Fannie Mae, a say-nothing do-nothing guy when it comes to this GSE. McCain proposed a way to fix the situation. He was rebuffed, in part because of these Democrats who were in the thrall of Fannie Mae's corrupt contribution gravy train.

That is a pity.

McCain was right about the Iraq surge, the President listened and turned that around. To the discredit of those in Washington, McCain was not listened to on this matter and we are paying the price now. One thing is for certain. Senator Obama, the Senator from Fannie Mae, does not have the right answer to this crisis any more than he had the right answer in Iraq.

PS. Non-shocker, Rush agrees with me. Shocker, so does Robert Reich (quoted by Rush):

In the latter years of the Clinton administration -- when I was not there any longer, I should add -- there was an attempt by Alan Greenspan and Bob Rubin and a few others to deregulate financial markets, and they did. They split commercial banking off from investment banking. And many people say, "Well, that was the beginning of the problem," and then, of course, in 2003-2004, Alan Greenspan reduced short-term interest rates to the point where every single bank wanted to lend money. I mean, if you could stand up straight you could get a bank loan because there was so much pressure to get that money out the door. Money was so cheap. So, yes, there is some responsibility on Democrats, some responsibility on Alan Greenspan and the Fed.

The Obama Test

Take the Barack Obama Test and find out how much you agree or disagree with him.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What McCain should say on Fixing Financial System

“You know that there’s been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall St. And it is—people are frightened by these events. Our economy, I think still—the fundamentals of our economy are strong. But these are very, very difficult times.” - John Mccain, September 15, 2008

This is what McCain needs to say: Obama saw the Iraq problems as a political opportunity, blamed Bush and then proposed the wrong answer and made the wrong predictions. Now Obama sees the economic problems we face as a political opportunity. He again blames Bush and then proposes the wrong answers and makes the wrong predictions.

McCain Tried to introduce regulation over Fannie/Freddie back in 2006


The United States Senate

May 25, 2006 Section 16

McCain is qouted: "For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs--and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO's report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO's report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole."

This strikes me as a pretty big deal. Obama is ridiculing the idea of Mc regulating this mess, and in fact Mc saw the problem in 2006 (maybe earlier).

Meanwhile, O has 2 former CEO of Fannie/Freddie as economic advisors, and is a major recipient of campaign contributions.

What were the Democrats saying?

"These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,’’ said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. "The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."

McCain needs to get back to COUNTRY FIRST and announce that he intends to put COUNTRY FIRST by having a commission look into this and report within the first 100 days in office. The goal should not be new and more regulations, the goal should be reform and fixing what we have. The fact is that markets go 'too far' sometimes, and often when they do an underlying government incitement is behind it.

If McCain goes for REFORM of Government oversight and not mere 'more, more, more' Govt regulation, we might be better off.

Yes, there was a social contract broken. When fannie mae gives ex-Clinton appointees like Gorelick $50 million and dispenses money to Democrats in Congress and the end result is lack of fannie mae oversight *AND* the taxpayers are stuck with the bill - that is a good case for reform. Remember: Obama brought Fannie Mae ex-CEO Johnson to be his VP vetter. Johnson and the other 'insiders' have been at the Fannie Mae trough.

A commission is a GREAT idea. Why? Because it stops the usual Congressional practice of passing bad laws right away or doing a quick fix ('hey, lets write a check to everyone').

If the Democrats have their way, the guilty parties will be on the commission and will end up indicted the innocent and shooting the wounded. Instead, I suggest some people outside it all. Romney maybe. Or Maybe Mayor Bloomberg of NY. Or Lawrence Lindsay, former Fed member. Someone not part of the mess but who wont be cowed or awed by the financial wizards and who knows enough about the business so they can cut through the cr8p and get to the heart of the problems. There will never be a risk free market and to try to create one may be a cure worse than the disease, otoh, systemic risks should be mitigated.

Why Palin Drives the Left Crazy

This article statement struck a nerve:

The liberal base of the Democratic party detests Palin in a visceral way.

I find this an interesting fact, perhaps one of the most interesting in this race. Consider that, on the surface, what is there to get exercised over. A young, reforming Governor, with a great family and a few interesting biographical points. What's the big deal? Why does Palin stir up emotions, positive for most and negative and crazy for a few?

Is it the fact that no matter WHO McCain picked, the left would get furious and turn them into the next "Dick Cheney"? I was convinced we would see that with Romney, for example. Maybe, but I don't recall Cheney being such a lightning rod in 2000. There's something about Sarah. So why do the Leftists hate Sarah Palin so much?

I think it is simple: PREJUDICE. Sarah Palin doesn't so much represent the views that liberals and left-wingers despise. It's hitting the nerve that some of call Liberal elitism. Sarah Palin represents the very people that leftists wish would not exist and werent around to 'screw up' the glorious rise of leftism:

  • Christian fundamentalists
  • Women who are conservatives
  • Prolife and pro-traditional-family women (an existential poleax threat to feminist minset)
  • Hunters and gunowners
  • The 'small town clingers'
  • "Rednecks"

Sarah Palin only MAKES IT WORSE by having a hubby with Eskimo blood. Why is such a family off the liberal 'reservation'? Her husband being in a union makes it worse - how DARE such men vote against their 'class interest'!

We last saw this kind of ugly behavior when Clarence Thomas was nominated. In kind of a bizarro-world twist, conservative glass ceiling breakers threaten the liberals far more than white male ones do. After all, a white male oil man Cheney fits perfectly in with the world view of a liberal. A working Mom who happens to want to drill ANWR does not. These trailblazers pose such a threat to the liberal worldview that they can only respond by going crazy.

Palin is a Bizarro Obama. Instead of stroking all the left-zones (Harvard, community organizer, mixed race who grew up in Indonesia - how multi-culti diverse!, author!) she strokes the right-wing zones (Christian Mom, hunter, and a son in the army) even though her popular and populist governance could hardly be said to be extreme. She's a good, reforming, center-right Governor.

Palin is a test for the left. Can they tolerate a glass-ceiling breaking icon ... on the right? The Left hates the fact that a conservative icon could dare exist. So far, the left has failed the test with screaming, crazy colors.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rangel the Tax Cheat Is Unfit to Write Our Laws

Rep Charlie Rangel (D-NY), the Nancy Pelosi-appointed Democrat in charge of the House tax-writing committee is a tax cheat. He got a sweet deal on a condo from a developer and for 20 years failed to report income on it. I pull my hair out over the arcane minutiae of tax law and try to follow the law - and this Congresscritter cheats on taxes for 20 years?!?! I AM AGHAST.

Charlie Rangel: Time to step aside from office and/or admit that we need tax simplification. YOU ARE UNFIT TO WRITE OUR LAWS WHEN YOU DONT FOLLOW THEM!

Quote of the Day

Saw this apropos quote in the wake of the fall of the stock market today:

Sherman: “We’ve had the devil’s own day today, haven’t we?”

Grant: “Yes. Lick ‘em tomorrow, though.”

Shiloh, TN, April 7, 1862.

Obama - The Ayers Connection II

Shocker video from 2004: Obama cites Ayers as a qualification to serve office.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama's Dukakis in a Tank Moment!

Folks, I've been waiting for a moment when the Obama campaign, already "punch-drunk" in my view from "PMS", Palin Meltdown Syndrome, really politically jumps the shark, ie, Dukakis-in-a-tank. This is Obama's Dukakis in a Tank Moment.

Their tiresome and non-convincing "McSame" theme has the line "John McCain admits he cannot send an email." Aha! Obama is computer Savvy and McCain is not. He's ready for the 21st Century.

Not. So. Fast.

War hero McCain handled fighter-bombers, which is a bit more complex than a PC.

McCain's war injuries sustained from torture are the real reason he doesn't email: “McCain’s severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes.”

Yet John McCain reads email nightly with the help of his wife Cindy:

The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. "She's a whiz on the keyboard, and I'm so laborious," McCain admits.
Nice going Obama. Insult millions of Americans who dont have email accounts, and denigrate a man for his war-induced disabilities. Wow, just wow.


UPDATE: I'm not alone in panning this dumb insult and blunder of an ad.
Powerline: Obama gets tough, shoots self in head. Jonah Goldberg NRO has more:
"In a similar vein I guess it's an outrage that the blind governor of New York David Paterson doesn't know how to drive a car. After all, transportation issues are pretty important. How dare he serve as governor while being ignorant of what it's like to navigate New York's highways."
Ouch! The Obama campaign's mocking of the disability of a war hero, is simultaneously offending old and poor non-internet-connected Americans, veterans and the disabled. No wonder a blogger calls it Epic Fail.

Ace of Spades notes -

Instapundit: Another unforced error from the Obama campaign - devastating comments:

  • don't these people know how to use Google? Or NEXIS? Or something?"
  • "I think they spent months trying to figure out how they can position Obama as better qualified than McCain, and basically came up with the fact that Obama can type."
  • "Such an intelligence blunder on the part of a President could cost lives."
  • "Which have less dexterity: John McCain's hands or Barack Obama's campaign strategists?"
  • "The American people can't help but notice a pattern here. Not only totally incompetent, but nasty and petty. And certainly not presidential."

Gibson's Palin Interview - LiveBlog

Watching the ABC News 20/20 Friday night, where they interview Governor Sarah Palin. The introduction tries the scary music and "who really is Sarah Palin?" line, and threw several low blows at Palin. One was the billing per diem. They mentioned that she bill the state, but failed to mention that it was a drastic reduction from her predecessor, mentioned that she sold the money-hog private jet and flies coach, or mention that she has been actually billing less than she is entitled to.

"Governor of a small populated state" Gibson says. Actually, Alaska is the geographically largest state, Charlie. Why diss this state by calling it small? It's not like its ... Delaware.

"He's regretting not picking her now." Palin on Obama and Hillary. She says Hillary showed "grace". She might be the quote of the night.

In the interview: Gibson says Wasilla went from no debt to debt, but she countered that it was due to a bond issue that people wanted. She mentions the tax reductions, and there were many.

Gibson asks, curtly: "What do you change in the Bush administration plans?" Why the over-focus on an Obama campaign talking point of "change from Bush"? As if change from Bush is the pole star of good policy. (It's not.) And why repeat the question when it was answered with their policies? On the third ask, she says it 1,2,3: 1. Reform taxes. 2. Restrain spending. 3. Reform the oversight of agencies. This great answer apparently displeased Gibson because she didn't sufficiently bash the Bush administration with it.

"We will find efficiencies in every agency." She says the people want to see efficiencies in Government. Mentions that entitlements could be on the table.

Next up are the social issues. Roe v Wade: Palin says "States should be able to decide" on abortion policy. When Gibson brings up her'extreme' position of opposing abortion even in the case of rape and incest, Palin says: "I am prolife ... a culture of life is best for America. ... greater support for adoption and other options."

Embryonic stem cell research: "My personal opinion is we should not be destroying embryos." She correctly points out that it is her personal opinion which is different than McCain's. Gibson seems to only know the liberal talking point positions on this and other topics, and incorrectly states that embryonic stem cell research is the most promising research, when in fact breakthroughs have practically
Guns: "Ban on assault weapons?" She opposes. "I believe in the second amendment." Gibson pressures her: "Is gun violence a health issue?" with graphic of gun violence (hmm, no graphic of an abortion). She responds that gun control takes guns from law-abiding people not criminals.

Without a doubt, she came off as a pro-gun pro-life social conservative, but one who is sincerely open-minded and not 'strident' in her expression; this will please the Republican base and repel liberals.

She gave a good answer on the question of family versus her job: "I am part of that generation (where equality of opportunity is a part of life)." She says she can handle the combination of family and work just as others have managed (who jut happen in the past to be men). By deflecting the question of whether it is sexist to ask or not, she is more or less saying this - the non-sexist answer is to assume she can handle the situation as well as a man with a family.

Gibson opened up the supposed scandals. On book banning, she debunked that by saying she merely asked the question about policy if a parent requested books banned. On so-called troopergate issue, she was at least able to point out that: First, they raised and issue because the security detail asked if there was a threat on the family, and the trooper in question threatened to kill her father; second, that the commissioner, who was replaced has said that she never asked him to fire the trooper; third, the trooper in question that the Governor supposedly tried to get fired is, um, still on the job. This is non-scandal in so many ways, its amazing it is raised.

In the end, the interview didn't have any real surprises. For Governor Sarah Palin, that's mostly to the good. It did show that Governor Palin could hold her own in an interview setup where the press is throwing leading questions at her. Her positions are an open book, and she showed that she was at least able to parry some tough questions, and in other cases use political dodges to get away from 'gotcha' setup questions. Charlie Gibson is a liberal talking-point parrot who apparently is incapable of recognizing conservative thought or ideas, and thus wanted yes-no answers to falsely premised liberal POV questions. I came away thinking: Now why didn't they ever put Barack Obama through such a tough grilling?

Interview transcript from ABC News.

Malkin has the rundown on the previous nights interview, which was Gibson trying out the gotcha games on Palin: ABC News Blows It.

Mark Penn of the Hillary campaign notes the anti-Palin media bias: "I think that the media is doing the kinds of stories on Palin that they’re not doing on the other candidates. And that’s going to subject them to people concluding that they’re giving her a tougher time."

Update 2: Proof of the Gibson double-standard. He gave a puff interview to Edwards in 2004 (You speak with such equanimity this morning. Didn’t they make you mad last night?), puff interview to Obama a few months back (How does it feel to “win”?). Only Palin gets tough questions from Gibson.