Archive for October, 2008

What’s Obama’s latest dodge? Oh yeah, he didn’t know Ayers did all those things. Oh wait, that was the last one. Now it’s “I thought he was rehabilitated”.

Well watch this [Not Safe for Work – language in one spot]:

You know, I have to wonder what the reaction would be if David Duke had wandered off after his KKK days to become a professor at LSU. And let’s say a young person who would later seek the presidency as a Republican had served on a boards with him. In fact, this person served as a chair of a board that Duke had helped form and written the bylaws for. And they’d also served with Duke on another foundation’s board, made speeches with the Duke, as well as appearing on panels with him. Additionally, this young person wrote a favorable book review for the New Orleans paper about a book Duke wrote. And finally, Duke helps launch this person’s initial congressional run from his living room. Do you suppose the left would treat it as much ado about nothing?

After all, as far as I know, David Duke is unrepentant about his previous activities as well. I know darn well people would be questioning this person’s association, judgment and character all the while calling him a racist. They darn sure wouldn’t let him get away with “oh, he’s a guy who lives in the neighborhood” or “I didn’t know he’d done all of that when I worked with him” (aka the “Reverend Wright” defense).

Now be honest – they wouldn’t would they?

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Who the hell is Barack Obama?

And you aren’t allowed to use the words “hope” or “change”, or any kind of rhetoric. You’re only allowed to use specific examples of specific policies and specific positions he holds.

It’s pretty hard, isn’t it?

Throughout this entire election cycle, Barack Obama has maintained a carefully crafted image. He’s said himself that he “serve[s] as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views”. During the primaries, Obama ran as far to the left as he could to suit the ultra-liberals. Once he got the nomination, he suddenly became a moderate again. He panders, panders, panders. What he says to the elites is not what he says to the bitter clingers in Flyover Country. What he said in the primary debates is not what he says now in debates against John McCain.

So who is he really? Is there any way to tell?

The people someone surrounds himself with speaks volumes. Some people try to ignore that fact, but it’s the truth. You don’t surround yourself with people whose views you have radical differences with. Someone who is ardently pro-abortion would not surround themselves with pro-life protestors; someone who is a vegan lifelong PETA member wouldn’t hang around with Humane Society vets who put the animals to sleep.

That’s not to say no one has friends or loved ones with opposing viewpoints. If you’re pro-life, for example, it doesn’t make you pro-abortion just because you’ve got a friend who is all for abortion. However, when every single friend and relative you have espouse the same rhetoric, the same viewpoints, the same ideals… every single one of them… can you really argue that those people have no effect on the person you are and what you believe?

That’s the case with Barack Obama. He himself tries to stay as blank as possible, which is probably why he tends to vote “present” so many times.

So, again, who is Barack Obama, and what does he stand for? A good way to gauge that might be to look at the people he’s made up his life and career with. The Jawa Report posted a round-up of just who it is Barack Obama associates with.

First, his family. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was a Kenyan bureaucrat and a Marxist economist who pushed for redistribution of wealth in Kenya, and thought there should be no limit to taxation. His mother, Ann Dunham, became interested in far-left radicalism in high school.

Then, there’s his childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, the famous communist poet. And there’s also Jeremiah Wright: his pastor, his friend, and his mentor of twenty years. Rev. Wright has said that we should say “God Damn America” instead of “God Bless America”, called America the “US of ‘KKK’ A”, and in reference to 9-11, said “America’s chickens were coming home to roost”. Rev. Wright baptized Obama’s two daughters, married Obama and his wife Michelle, and served as an advisor to Obama for much of his adult life. Talking about Rev. Wright is, of course, RAAACIIIST!! according to the Obama camp and the mainstream media. But his other spiritual adviser, Father Michael Phleger, is just as radical.

Then there’s his wife Michelle. She’s just so proud of her country. According to Michelle, we’re ignorant. We’re mean. And she’s never in her adult life been proud of her country — until her precious hunnykins got to run for President, and NOW she’s proud! Perhaps that’s why Barack won’t salute the flag or wear a flag pin, or why he feels like America is worthless without him as the President, or why his campaign allowed American flags to be trashed at their convention. Did Michelle put those ideas into his head?

And while we aren’t supposed to talk about William Ayers, I’m going to anyway. The man who launched Obama’s political career is an unrepentant terrorist who bombed the Capitol, bombed the Pentagon (hey, just like bin Laden!), and bombed New York City Police Headquarters. The group he started, Weather Underground, was responsible for even more destruction. Ayers’ girlfriend, Diana Oughton, was killed during the assembly of a bomb including nails for shrapnel. The target was an Army dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Thousands of soldiers and their dates would have been murdered.

And this is Obama’s political mentor. And to this day, Ayers has refused to apologize, only stating that he doesn’t regret it and “didn’t do enough”. Another of Obama’s political mentors, Alice Palmer, is a radical and a communist. And when Obama initially joined politics, he joined the socialist New Party. ACORN, the radical group currently committing voter fraud all across the country, also has close ties to Obama.

So what does this tell us? How can anyone who loves their country, loves democracy and freedom, look at that history and those associations and not be even a little disturbed? Obama’s lack of experience aside, would you really want a President who hangs around with unrepentant terrorists and communist radicals? Would you really want a President who is surrounded by people who have shown nothing but hate towards our country? And while Obama can try to make these alliances and associations irrelevant by accusing anyone who points them out of being a RAAAACIIIIST!!!!, they are relevant. And they bring up very relevant questions.

That’s not the change we need. That kind of change is dangerous.

Thanks to Cassy Fiano for this post.

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If Sarah Palin had made just one of the wildly inaccurate statements smugly uttered by Sen. Joe Biden in last week’s vice presidential debate, there would have been 3-inch headlines in newspapers across America. (I can almost hear Katie Couric asking me, “Which newspapers?”)

These weren’t insignificant errors, such as when Biden said, “Look, all you have to do is go down Union Street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie’s restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time, and you ask anybody in there whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years.”

It turns out that Katie’s restaurant, where Biden gets his feel for the average American, closed 20 years ago. The only evidence that he spends any time in Home Depot is that it appears that a pipe wrench fell on his head one too many times.

Palin would surely have been forced to withdraw from the ticket had she said something like that, but most of Biden’s errors were not trifling mistakes like these. They were lengthy Lyndon LaRouche-like disquisitions that were pure fantasy from beginning to end.

For example, Biden said about Hezbollah: “When we kicked — along with France — we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon.” Hezbollah was never kicked out of Lebanon.

He continued: “I said and Barack said, ‘Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.'” This is madness — Lebanon is not a NATO country, nor had any NATO country been attacked by Lebanon.

Somebody please tell me that Biden wasn’t picked for the Democrat ticket based on his knowledge of foreign policy.

Biden also stoutly denied that Obama ever said he would sit down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Liberals find it hilarious that McCain can’t use a computer keyboard on account of his war injuries, but Biden is apparently unaware of the Internet, because there are clips all over the Internet of Obama saying exactly that during the CNN/YouTube debate last year.

Biden might have remembered that debate since: (1) He was there, and (2) he later attacked Obama’s answer, telling the National Press Club in August 2007: “Would I make a blanket commitment to meet unconditionally with the leaders of each of those countries within the first year I was elected president? Absolutely, positively, no.”

And that’s still not all! Obama’s own Web site says: “Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.”

Somebody please tell me that Biden wasn’t picked for the Democrat ticket based on his ability to remember well-known facts.

Biden also gave a long speech at the debate on vice president Dick Cheney’s “dangerous” belief that “he’s part of the legislative branch.” The great constitutional scholar Biden cited Article I of the Constitution as proof that Cheney “works in the executive branch” and has “no authority relative to the Congress.” Biden huffily added: “He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.”

Palin would have had to deny that Alaska is a state in the union in order to say something comparably stupid.

Article II, not I, describes the executive branch. Someone tell Biden, who is supposed to be a lawyer. Apart from getting the Articles of the Constitution mixed up, what on earth does Biden mean when he says that the vice president “has no authority relative to Congress,” apart from breaking ties?

The Constitution makes him president of the senate every day of the week. I realize that Biden may not be able to count to two, but Article I says the vice president is president of one of the two houses of Congress — the one Biden is in, for crying out loud — which is what you might call “authority relative to Congress.”

Somebody please tell me that Biden wasn’t picked for the Democrat ticket based on his knowledge of the Constitution.

In one especially hallucinatory answer, Biden authoritatively stated: “With Afghanistan, facts matter, Gwen. … We spend more money in three weeks on combat in Iraq than we spent on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in Afghanistan building that country.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, since 9/11, we’ve spent $172 billion in Afghanistan and $653 billion in Iraq. The most money spent in Iraq came in 2008, when we have been spending less than $3 billion a week. So by Biden’s calculations, we’ve spent only about $9 billion “on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in Afghanistan building that country.” There isn’t even a “9” in $172 billion.

Somebody please tell me that Biden wasn’t picked for the Democrat ticket based on his knowledge of math.

In the same answer, Biden went on to claim that “John McCain voted against a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty that every Republican has supported.”

The last nuclear test ban treaty the Senate voted on was the one Clinton signed in the ’90s. As The New York Times editorialized on the Senate vote a few years later: “Last week, Senate Republicans thundered ‘no’ to the nuclear test ban treaty, handing the White House its biggest defeat since health care in 1994.” Forty-nine Republicans voted against the treaty; only four liberal Republicans voted for it. That’s the treaty Biden says “every Republican has supported.”

Somebody please tell me that Biden wasn’t picked for the Democrat ticket based on his ability to function as vice president.

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The latest tribute to Sarah Palin from an adoring fan:

There is more truthiness here. Oh, wait, it’s a spoof, but it MUST be real, because “puckering elitist IQ pimp(s)” say so.

And even more truth. This time, some helpful advice to Obama:

There is more truthiness here. Oh, wait, it’s a spoof, but it MUST be real, because “puckering elitist IQ pimp(s)” say so.

And even more truth. This time, some helpful advice to Obama:

Ah can’t help it. I luv Sarah Palin!

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This will be a quick post because, this weekend, I’m watching the NFL.  Fortunately, I only want to make a quick point, and it’s one that I think needs to be made over and over and over again.

As you may recall from Thursday’s debate, Biden kept saying that our current financial woes arose because of deregulation and that even John McCain now wants more regulation. In other words, bad Republicans let Wall Street go wild, and now they’re cowed and are following the Democratic line.

Palin, who generally did fantastically well, failed a bit when dealing with Biden’s direct and indirect accusations, because didn’t correct the terminology. Let me state, therefore, what should be obvious, and what should be an embarrassment for the Democrats and a source of pride for the Republicans. That the opposite is true is only because the Democrats are controlling the message and the Republicans are hiding:

The problem did not start because of deregulation. It started because of hyper-regulation: Because Democrats did not think it was “fair” that only people who have saved a lot of money and have reliable income sources should get loans, the Democrats forced through policies mandating that banks must give loans to those who normally would be poor risks (those famous subprime loans). What kept banks from squawking about being forced by the government to engage in practices that no sound business would ever engage in was the fact that Fannie and Freddie (staffed at the upper level by Democrats) promised to buy those loans, insure them, and sell them. Well, with an offer like that, the Banks couldn’t refuse, and they went hog wild. It was a no loss for them, and a huge incentive (because of these government regulations, not deregulations) to give out as many bad loans as possible.

What Bush and McCain and other Republicans started calling for a few years ago wasn’t deregulation (although that would have been a good idea considering the disaster that was looming with Democratic interference in the market) but, instead, some oversight. That is, given that the government was bossing the market around, at least it should investigate to see what the result was and make sure everyone was playing honestly (including Fannie and Freddie).

Sensible Republicans are still calling for more policing. They understand that the smart money is on letting the market function normally, which will prevent handing out insane loans that are doomed to failure, and which will ensure that housing prices curve with inflation, rather than soaring above inflation. The government’s involvement should be limited to ensuring that the lenders are acting honestly (no cheating, no discrimination).

So, let’s get things clear here: The problem was too much regulation (not deregulation), with the Democrats forcing the banks to give bad loans. The Republicans certainly wanted less regulation, but what they were calling for in the past (and what the intelligent ones seek now) is government policing or oversight, which is an appropriate role for the government in a national money market.

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The consensus is in from the right side of the blogosphere that Sarah Palin won hands down in the VP debate. Several on the left have even conceded. She regained the momentum and one part of the debate that sticks out are all of the lies Joe Biden said that are easy to expose.

Rove only summarized a portion of the long list of lies from Biden. Lies are politics as usual, not the change promised from the ticket he rides on.

Is she really the new Reagan?

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We have all seen how poor Obama’s judgement is on his friends and associates. From choosing to pal around with William Ayers, an unrepentant American hating terrorist, and his twenty year mentorship with the racist pastor Wright…the list is long. So, why would anyone trust Obama in choosing such an important position as the next Supreme Court Justice?

Whoever Obama would choose for the Supreme Court, I’m sure the ACLU would approve without objection.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin has been freed! She is on the attack and bringing up the Obama/Ayers connection!

Palin Says Obama Pals With Terrorists By JIM KUHNHENN, AP

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (Oct. 4) – Republican vice presidential
candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists” because of an old association with a
former ’60s radical, stepping up an effort to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters. […]
Palin’s reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, during the Vietnam War era. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, served on a charity board with Ayers several years ago and has denounced his radical views and activities.
The Republican campaign, falling behind Obama in polls, plans to make attacks on Obama’s character a centerpiece of candidate John McCain’s message in the final weeks of the presidential race.

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I’ve put this guy’s videos up before. He is awesome! He’s trying to wake folks up. Break the chains and the embrace true change!

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If you didn’t catch the debate Thursday nite, at least take a look at the highlight reel in this video. It doesn’t really give you the full flavor of the debate, but it does help you get an idea of why so many people are praising Sarah’s performance this morning.

Nuff said.

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I‘ve been beating the drum about examining one the root causes of this financial mess and laying it at the proper doorstep. Russell Roberts does a very good job of that in today’s WSJ. First he lays out the conventional wisdom:

Many believe that wild greed and market failure led us into this sorry mess. According to that narrative, investors in search of higher yields bought novel securities that bundled loans made to high-risk borrowers. Banks issued these loans because they could sell them to hungry investors. It was a giant Ponzi scheme that only worked as long as housing prices were on the rise. But housing prices were the result of a speculative mania. Once the bubble burst, too many borrowers had negative equity, and the system collapsed.

He then notes that while in many cases this is what is being sold as the whole truth, it is, in fact, only part of the story. If this sort of a mess is to be avoided, it is critical the rest of the story be told as well:

The fall in housing prices did lead to a sudden increase in defaults that reduced the value of mortgage-backed securities. What’s missing is the role politicians and policy makers played in creating artificially high housing prices, and artificially reducing the danger of extremely risky assets.Beginning in 1992, Congress pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase their purchases of mortgages going to low and moderate income borrowers. For 1996, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave Fannie and Freddie an explicit target — 42% of their mortgage financing had to go to borrowers with income below the median in their area. The target increased to 50% in 2000 and 52% in 2005.

For 1996, HUD required that 12% of all mortgage purchases by Fannie and Freddie be “special affordable” loans, typically to borrowers with income less than 60% of their area’s median income. That number was increased to 20% in 2000 and 22% in 2005. The 2008 goal was to be 28%. Between 2000 and 2005, Fannie and Freddie met those goals every year, funding hundreds of billions of dollars worth of loans, many of them subprime and adjustable-rate loans, and made to borrowers who bought houses with less than 10% down.

Fannie and Freddie also purchased hundreds of billions of subprime securities for their own portfolios to make money and to help satisfy HUD affordable housing goals. Fannie and Freddie were important contributors to the demand for subprime securities.

So there you have hard numbers driven by government policy and a promise to back the loans they pushed on the industry – by percentage of total loans – with the full faith and credit of the US government. It was financial failure by the numbers, for heaven sake.

The root of it all?

Congress designed Fannie and Freddie to serve both their investors and the political class. Demanding that Fannie and Freddie do more to increase home ownership among poor people allowed Congress and the White House to subsidize low-income housing outside of the budget, at least in the short run. It was a political free lunch.

But it wasn’t so free was it?

And on the banking side, another political culprit is found:

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) did the same thing with traditional banks. It encouraged banks to serve two masters — their bottom line and the so-called common good. First passed in 1977, the CRA was “strengthened” in 1995, causing an increase of 80% in the number of bank loans going to low- and moderate-income families.Fannie and Freddie were part of the CRA story, too. In 1997, Bear Stearns did the first securitization of CRA loans, a $384 million offering guaranteed by Freddie Mac. Over the next 10 months, Bear Stearns issued $1.9 billion of CRA mortgages backed by Fannie or Freddie. Between 2000 and 2002 Fannie Mae securitized $394 billion in CRA loans with $20 billion going to securitized mortgages.

By pressuring banks to serve poor borrowers and poor regions of the country, politicians could push for increases in home ownership and urban development without having to commit budgetary dollars. Another political free lunch.

And the final piece of the meltdown can be found at the Fed:

The Fed did its part, too. In 2003, the federal-funds rate hit 40-year lows of 1.25%. That pushed the rates on adjustable loans to historic lows as well, helping to fuel the housing boom.The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and low interest rates — along with the regulatory push for more low-income homeowners — dramatically increased the demand for housing. Between 1997 and 2005, the average price of a house in the U.S. more than doubled. It wasn’t simply a speculative bubble. Much of the rise in housing prices was the result of public policies that increased the demand for housing. Without the surge in housing prices, the subprime market would have never taken off.

Roberts pinpoints the locus of the problem:

Fannie and Freddie played a significant role in the explosion of subprime mortgages and subprime mortgage-backed securities. Without Fannie and Freddie’s implicit guarantee of government support (which turned out to be all too real), would the mortgage-backed securities market and the subprime part of it have expanded the way they did?

Roberts says “perhaps”. I say probably not, or at least not to the extent we see it today. Banks and financial institutions that would give subprime loans wouldn’t have been as prevalent and would have known full well the risk those sorts of instruments carried since there would have been no backing from the government in case a housing bubble burst. But you can also argue it was these subprime instruments which helped fuel the housing bubble and speculation. Without the government quota loans out there it is quite possible that there would have been no housing bubble and housing prices would have grown at a much slower and more stable rate.

Key line in the article:

But before we conclude that markets failed, we need a careful analysis of public policy’s role in creating this mess.

Very careful – and that’s the one thing I am not seeing happen in this fiasco. Right now the politicians are like cats covering you know what and essentially ignoring the role government played in this. The spin is all about the myth of “deregulation” and the exclusive fault of “Wall Street greed”.

Well it isn’t just about those things. Deregulation isn’t the problem, poor government policy is. And while there were certainly many on Wall Street who took advantage of the situation, it was a situation created by government policy and government demands within the industry. Until and unless those policies are exposed, investigated and changed, there is nothing at all to say that we won’t be in a similar situation somewhere down the road – assuming we survive this one.

As Roberts concludes:

Beware of trying to do good with other people’s money. Unfortunately, that strategy remains at the heart of the political process, and of proposed solutions to this crisis.

And beware of expecting any meaningful change when the same institution that got you into this mess is charged with getting you out of it.

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