Just a sad goodbye to THE NEW YORK SUN. I realize that starting a conservative paper in New York City has a few demographic problems, but I admire these people for their courage. In the movie “The Rookie” someone talks about two nuns praying to the Patron Saint of lost causes, these ladies had nothing on the people who started the SUN. Today was the last day of publication. You will be missed.
I am not an economist, but I have run a household for a number of years, and I have a few ideas for Congress on my own personal bailout program.
1. Slash the Capital Gains tax to almost nothing. It will spur economic activity.
2. Drill, Drill. Drill. The exploration and work needed to do this will create jobs and eventually income to American companies to be passed on to Americans. Eventually, the lower gasoline prices at the pump will also help.
3. Set up an insurance-type program to help with the bad mortgage paper now infused into our financial structure. Do not put Congress or any single person in charge of the bailout. Put a group of financial types — Warren Buffet, Steve Forbes, Mitt Romney, Michael Bloomberg — people who know how money works and how to use it in charge of managing whatever needs to be managed.
4. Approve the trade agreement with Columbia. It will provide another market for American products and help stabilize that democracy while Chavez tries to topple it.
5. Send to jail anyone guilty of creative bookkeeping for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Investigate the possibility of quid pro quo in the large amount of campaign donations given to Congress and send the appropriate people to jail. Put a claim on outrageous bonuses paid to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac directors where the bonuses were based on faulty accounting.
6. Hold guilty people accountable so that we don’t have to do this again!!!!!
Mona Charen has an article in the Jewish World Review today explaining the connections between ACORN, the mortgage meltdown, and Barack Obama. They are all closely connected (a connection you are not hearing reported on the network news). ACORN has links to voter fraud in a number of states and in their ‘community activism’ has often acted as thugs rather than people helping the community.
This is reprinted from Little Green Footballs–
From Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, an email from a reader who works in a mainstream media newsroom:
“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.”
This is chilling. The backbone of a democracy is an informed voter. If the voters are not properly informed, how can they be expected to make rational decisions?
The Campaign Spot on National Review published the following information this morning–
CBS Asked McCain Why He Voted For a Bill — That He Didn’t Vote For
CNN’s — “fact check” is way too generous, lets call it a Obama-lie-cheer-leading –assertion about Obama’s latest attack on McCain illustrates how the standards for a “fact check” feature have plummeted further than Wachovia’s stock price over the past year.
At a campaign rally Monday, September 29, in Denver, Colorado, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama once again charged his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, with being a supporter of deregulating financial markets that have since collapsed. “He’s fought against common-sense regulations for decades … and he said in a recent interview that he thought deregulation has actually helped grow our economy. Senator, what economy are you talking about?” Obama said…
During a September 21 interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” McCain was asked if he regretted a 1999 vote for deregulating Wall Street. “No — I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy,” McCain said.
In footage of a speech aired during that interview, though, McCain voices support for government now stepping in. “I’m not saying this isn’t going to be messy and I’m not saying it isn’t going to be expensive,” he said, “but we have to stop the bleeding.”
The Verdict: True — although McCain has supported more government oversight of Wall Street as part of the bailout plan.
This is lazy reporting, on the part of both CNN and CBS’ Scott Pelley.
For starters, there seems to be this persistent belief that “regulation” is this monolithic concept that you’re either for or against. The idea that there are good regulations and bad ones never enters the equation. (Those of us who disdain the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform /First Amendment Limitation will be surprised to hear the claim that McCain doesn’t believe in regulation.)
Second, that 1999 vote was Gramm-Leach-Bliley. You would think CNN would bother to mention the bill, so readers could look at it in more detail.
If so, they would learn that McCain missed the vote on final passage. (McCain did vote for an earlier version that did not become law.) But the premise of the question is wrong; McCain did not actually vote for G-L-B. Pelley would have been in the clear had he asked McCain if he regretted supporting the bill.
You know who did vote for the bill? Joe Biden. And 89 other senators of both parties. In the House, it passed with 210 Republicans and 151 Democrats, and was signed into law by President Clinton. The idea that McCain ought to be singled out for this legislation is rediculous, and CBS and CNN ought to hang their heads in shame at their slipshod reporting and seemingly deliberately evasive wording.
I question the effectiveness of calling my Senators and Representatives about the bailout and what to do now–I live in Massachusetts where many of the people responsible for the problem continue to claim to represent me. However,if anyone reading this lives in a state that has a two-party system, I stongly suggest that you call your Senators and Representatives and voice your opinion (regardless of what it is). This bailout is not actually a partisan matter–if it can be successfully done, I would be glad to see both parties take credit for it. I just know that if it is not successfully done in some form, the American people will pay a large price for a ‘do nothing Congress.’ I believe there is a way out of this mess, but I don’t trust the people who got us into this mess to make good decisions to get us out. I also question the wisdom of continually reelecting them.
What Just Happened?
What the hell was yesterday’s smiling press conference all about? Why were Hoyer, Frank, Pelosi and the rest of the House Democratic Leadership smiling yesterday? Did they have any sense of their own caucus?
Sure, two-thirds of House Republicans voted against it. But they were always against it, complaining about it from the beginning. You heard Boehner, he described the bill as a crap sandwich; nobody should have expected a lot of Republican votes for this. But the House GOP Leadership did get on board, and encouraged their rank-and-file to do the same.
Pelosi said she needed political cover. A third of House Republicans ought to be enough cover.
How the hell does Pelosi’s bill not carry 40 percent of her caucus?
Earlier today, the Dow was down 700 points, which would have been the biggest single-day drop ever. Now it’s down about 500…
UPDATE: A reader asks,
You don’t fault Boehner for his less than ringing endorsement. Yo don’t fault him or his cohorts for voting their conscience (or in their perceived political interests, whatever). Boehner is to be lauded for delivering 1/3 of his caucus for controversial legislation, but Pelosi is to be criticized for doubling that number.
Because it is a you-know-what sandwich of a bill. I happen to think it’s a necessary you-know what sandwich. But the GOP is supposed to be opposed to market interventions in the abstract; what is the Democrats’ excuse?
The House Republicans didn’t want to buy any of these assets, they wanted to set up an insurance system, and they’ve been treated like lepers in the negotiations. The party that controls the chamber is ultimately responsible for getting the bill through that chamber. Pelosi could and should have been able to pass this without a single Republican vote. She got 66 yeas from the GOP, and she still couldn’t do it.
If this is really the right idea, then it’s not republcian or democratic, it’s just right. One side shouldn’t be expected to like this more than another. (Implicit in this crtiicism is that republicans can’t claim “fiscal responsibility” anymore.)
House Republicans were never going to to approve spending $750 billion to rescue banking institutions by a wide margin. But what is the Democrats’ philosophical objections? They don’t oppose the idea in principle; they oppose the details, presumably… Pelosi, Frank, and Hoyer got to write the bill based on Paulson’s template, along with Dodd and Schumer. Judging from this, the House Democratic leadership never had any idea how their caucus felt about the bill, which is a reckless way to negotiate…
likewise, your criticism of the presidential canidates is equally slanted. Obama could get on the phone and get Dems to support the legislation. John McCain could do the same. One could argue that J-Mac has more at stake -because of his campaign suspension (I’m goign to washington to lead) and the fact that more republicans are hold outs. Is this leadership? If he can’t get his party on board, how can he lead the country.
Be objective. Are you a reporter or a blogger?
Both. Throughout the negotiations, everybody knew the House GOP hated this rescue in concept and detail; McCain’s mission of persuading Republicans was exponentially harder. But last week he did go to Washington to get their ideas included. What, precisely, did Obama do to get the House Democrats on board?
UPDATE: I’m told Chris Matthews is railing against McCain and Republicans for tanking the bill, saying Democrats “overwhelmingly” voted for it. Sixty percent is overwhelming?
Pelosi’s Excuses Are Garbage
Pelosi, moments ago: “The Democrats more than lived up to their side of the bargain.”
Horsepuckey. Pelosi has 235 members. She needed 218. She could spare 17 members and still pass the bill.
The GOP spotted her 65 members, for a bill that made most Republicans’ skin crawl in both broad outline and in terms of detail.
That meant Pelosi could afford to lose 82 Democrats.
She lost 95.
Bush and Paulson were never going to pass this bill with House Republican votes. It had to be palatable to the Democrats, and Pelosi and Frank said that it was.
Think about it – the majority party is insisting that the minority party is responsible for the bill not passing with a majority. Do you see the incongruency there? Why is anyone taking that argument seriously?
UPDATE: Hoyer says “we got every gettable Democrat.” If so, that’s stunning.
Chuck Todd on MSNBC right now: “Every member in a tough race voted ‘no’.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: I’m not buying this “Pelosi’s speech turned Republicans against it” argument. Either you think the bill is worthwhile (or that the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action) and you vote for it, or you don’t. Somebody else’s speech is a lousy reason to change a vote on an issue as big as this…
According to the article in The New York Sun the final vote on the bailout was 207 for and 226 against. 141 Democrats voted for it; 94 Democrats voted against it. 66 Republicans voted for it; 112 Republicans voted against it. There are a few things that need to be considered in viewing this vote:
1. The wisdom and foresight of our founding fathers in setting up two branches of Congress still amazes me. The entire House of Representatives is up for election every two years. The Representatives have to be conscious of public opinion, and public opinion was overwhelmingly against this bill. Representatives in solid seats obviously don’t have to worry, but many of the southern Democrats ran as conservatives in the last election and cannot afford to vote yes.
2. Congress will never admit that this downward spiral began with the Community Redevelopment Act in the 1970’s which was enhanced in the 1990’s. Any attempts to curb the foolish lending practices stemming from this act were blocked by Democrats receiving large amounts of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Until we hold Congress responsible for bad legislation, we will never get the budget under control. Incidentally, as I write this, Yahoo Finance is reporting that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are facing a federal grand jury investigation into their accounting practices.
3. Having said the above, I believe there are ethical members of Congress. Hopefully, they will lead the way out of this mess. There were a few alternative plans offered by conservative members of the house. Hopefully, now that this huge transfer of wealth to the government has been rejected, some of these plans will be looked at.
4. I don’t know what the correct answer to this problem is, but I feel strongly that a bigger federal deficit is not the answer.
I have no comment about this article in Power Line Blog except to say that every voter in America should read it and think about what it means to our right to free speech. How come charges were only going to be filed against one side?
The outline of the bailout bill, plus the comparison of the compromise and the original ideas from both Paulson and the team of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank are available at Power Line Blog. If you click on the squares with the fuzzy print, they grow to a size that you can read. The bill is definitely better than what was originally proposed. Now we need to pay attention to see if any changes are made along the route to passage. It’s not an awful bill, but I still wonder if any bailout is a good thing.
This is amazing video posted on YouTube of hearings where the Republicans asked for regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Democrats complained that the hearing was a political lynching of Franklin Raines. The Democrats fought hard to deny the need for regulation and to make sure regulation never happened.
I have not directly commented on the debate last night between Barack Obama and John McCain because I did not watch the whole thing. I will, however, comment on the parts I watched.
In reference to his statement that the current credit mess is the result of the failed policies of George Bush and that John McCain would continue those policies:
1. The current credit mess is not the result of the so-called economic policies of the last eight years. You could fertilize a garden with what that statement is made of. The Community Redevelopment Act is one of the legs of the stool that is this crisis. This act was originally passed in 1977 to increase the amount of affordable housing. It seemed like a good idea, although the majority of bankers opposed it. Then the changes to the law came. The following information is taken directly from Wikipedia:
“In 1995, as a result of interest from President Bill Clinton’s administration, the implementing regulations for the CRA were strengthened by focusing the financial regulators’ attention on institutions’ performance in helping to meet community credit needs.
These revisions with an effective starting date of January 31, 1995 were credited with substantially increasing the number and aggregate amount of loans to small businesses and to low- and moderate-income borrowers for home loans. These changes were very controversial and as a result, the regulators agreed to revisit the rule after it had been fully implemented for seven years. Thus in 2002, the regulators opened up the regulation for review and potential revision.
Other rule changes gave Fannie and Freddie extraordinary leverage, allowing them to hold just 2.5% of capital to back their investments, vs. 10% for banks. By 2007, Fannie and Freddie owned or guaranteed nearly half of the $12 trillion U.S. mortgage market.”
2. Another leg of this stool is the amount of campaign money paid to Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barney Frank and others to prevent honest regulation of the subprime mortgage market. Any reforms were bottled up in the banking committee of the Senate by the Democrats. Also, many of the large bonuses paid to officers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac not only were based on fraudulent accounting practices–they were paid to Democrat party bigwigs. Many of the “Congressional Overseers” also received sweetheart mortgages from Countrywide Mortgage. This whole thing is corrupt, and people should be serving jail time for the things they did!
3. The third leg of this stool is the saga of Alan Greenspan and the interest rates. It was probably totally correct to cut interest rates after September 11, 2001. However, keeping interest rates low for as long as they were kept low helped create the housing bubble. It also weakened the U.S. dollar, driving up the cost of energy. That was probably an honest miscalculation and should be viewed as such.
These three legs of the stool created the perfect storm that we find ourselves in now. We don’t need to turn more money and power over to the people who are responsible for it–we need to provide insurance to help people with current needs and massive capital tax gains cuts to stimulate the market and begin the revitalize it.
My second comment on the debate has to do with body language. Barack Obama smirked and did all the things you would send a child to his room for. Let’s send this child to his room.
My third comment is not related directly to the debate, but about the political atmosphere we find ourselves in. Why is it that all the connections between Barack Obama and the Richard Daley Chicago political machine have been totally ignored by the media? Why are we not considering the arrangement with Tony Rezko that allowed Barack Obama to buy the house he lives in? If the ‘failed economic policies’ of the Bush administration were so bad, how come they allowed Barack Obama and his wife to become millionaires? Where do I go to find a failed business plan like that?
I am still not a huge John McCain fan, but at least he is a grown-up. I believe he will bring some basic maturity and respect to the office of the Presidency. I’m really not so sure about Barack Obama. I’m not sure we can afford him, in more ways than one!
The following is taken directly from the Weekly Standard:
“TWS Exclusive: Kissinger Unhappy About Obama
Henry Kissinger believes Barack Obama misstated his views on diplomacy with US adversaries and is not happy about being mischaracterized. He says: “Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.”
There is an amazing video on the internet concerning our present financial crisis. It is well documented and backed up with facts. It’s long, but stay to the end, it’s worth it: Here is the link– Powerlineblog.com. Enjoy and pass it on!!
The following is taken from the Corner at National Review–
Laugh or Cry at Reid/Dodd? by Victor Davis Hanson
Watching the politicians fight over the “plan” is like watching a lifetime smoker with cancer in his 11th hour questioning the value of his toxic chemotherapy.
Then there is the classical demagoguery–really, one of the most shameful spectacles in recent memory– of this morning’s Reid/Dodd press conference:
After tsk, tsking that presidential politics have not been helpful and should have no role in the loan guarantees, Sen. Reid warms up and immediately in front of the clicking cameras then stoops to, of course, blasting McCain.
Then he rails that neither candidate is a member of the Senate Banking Committee–though in July Obama I think claimed (“my committee”) he was. All this is worthy of a Huey Long.
Then Sen. Dodd takes over, waves a paper as his eyes flash and he rails at the Wall Street greed that brought us this mess. He never offers a word that as the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, he took $165,000 in contributions from the failing Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac octopus as payback for his long-standing opposition to regulating these out of control institutions that triggered the entire mess, or that he took VIP insider discounted loans from the now long gone Countrywide Financial that did its part to get us to where we are. Pretty shameful. Who will police the police?
Michelle Malken has a piece up on NationalReviewOnline with a slightly different slant on the ant and the grasshopper story. It’s worth reading; We need to think about the lessions we are teaching by the way we spent taxpayer money.
John Boehner sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi about the debate on the bailout program. The letter is published at Power Line. Frankly, I think one of the problems in this situation is that many of our ‘representatives’ (and I use the word loosely) are too busy collecting campaign money and sweetheart mortgages to pay attention and do what is right. I heard this morning that the phone calls to Congressmen and Congresswomen about the bailout are running one hundred to one against the program. The alternative program suggested by conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives involves more of an insurance corporation that holders of questionable mortgage paper pay into and are protected until it all gets sorted out. It also suggests a sharp cut in capital gains taxes to stimulate economic activity until everything has a chance to settle out. It’s a bill that is much friendlier to the average American than the original proposal, but the average American is not lobbying and making huge campaign donations, so I am not sure how this is going to go down.
For me, the bailout is a matter or trust. See article below. Why should I believe anything a politician says, when obviously they will sneak things into a bill and hope to get it through under cover of darkness? Part of what caused this was corruption–sweetheart mortgages, excessive money paid to campaigns of the ‘supposed regulators’, and excessive bonuses paid to executives that were cooking the books–most of whom had strong ties to the Democratic party. Every Senator and Representative who was part of this scam should be voted out of office. Until then, why should I trust them with more of my money?
One of the reasons for the economic slowdown was the sudden increase in the cost of energy. Many Americans were living on the edge of paying their mortgages, and had the cost of energy remained constant, they probably could have made ends meet. When the cost of going to work doubled, that changed the equation, and the house of cards began to fall. The delay in going after our own natural energy has been part of the whole economic problem. When the Democrats seemed to be willing to let the ban on offshore drilling expire, there was a ray of hope (watch for the environmental lawsuits–they will slow the process down, but hopefully not derail it).
To me, the following scenario is a violation of the public trust and should be disciplined in some way.
We read at Hot Air that–
This comes as both a stunning and ridiculous development; Americans are still coping with high energy prices and coming to grips with a plan to bailout Wall Street, and Senator Reid is denying access to potentially one of America’s most abundant energy reserves. Just how much energy you ask?
Dr. Daniel Fine of MIT reported that 750 billion barrels worth of oil shale have been discovered in Colorado alone. That amount is enough to potentially power the U.S. economy for many decades. Furthermore, if full-scale production begins within five years, the U.S. could completely end its dependence on OPEC by 2020…
In essence, Senator Reid is stripping the decision rights away from his colleagues in other states.
Here’s a fact sheet from Gingrich’s American Solutions group noting that America’s oil shale deposits are fully three times the size of Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves, and here’s the contact information for all 100 senators. Go rattle some cages. Exit question: How about a hastily arranged presser for the Barracuda to stress her outrageous outrage at this development?
Update: A reader e-mailed Reid’s spokesman for comment and got this reply. I’m not kidding about rattling cages.
There is a possibility the Senate will be asked to vote on reestablishing the moratorium on oil shale extraction. Although Senate Democrats support measures to increase this nation’s energy supply, oil shale extraction has not been proven to be economically viable, will produce more greenhouse gases, and will significantly decrease the West’s water supply.”
This is one of the finalists from the Britain’s Got Talent TV show. She is amazing. Britains Got Talent Video.
As I write this, Congress is debating the $700 billion bailout package for Wall Street. I am opposed to the passage of this law. Why in the world do we want the people who created this mess (a mess that a small amount of common sense would have avoided) to have a huge pile of our money to fix it? It’s interesting to me that the $700 billion that is being asked to clean up this mess is the same amount of money we send abroad annually because we refuse to tap our own energy supplies. If this amount of money were invested in America in homegrown energy programs (private programs–not government programs), it would be a homegrown stimulus package that would turn a lot of this situation around. Also, if we allow each person in the US to acquire $2300 more in tax liability (under this plan), what happens when Social Security fails (probably within the next ten years)? Do we just add more taxes on everyone and reach a point where 75% of our income goes to taxes? We already pay a larger percentage of our earnings to the government in one form or another than the medieval serfs paid to the manor lords of their time. Congress got us into this mess when they refused in 2003 and 2005 to accept changes in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The reforms were blocked in both cases by the Democrats and a few Republicans. I refuse to give a Congress that accepted tons of money from these institutions and then blocked reform of them in return a chance to pick my pocket to do the same thing again.
The following article is from Breitbart.com. Why in the world do we give Mahmoud Ahmadinejad any face time at all in the American media. It is obvious that he means us no good. Also, this man has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, another UN member. Why does the UN put up with that? The UN was formed with wonderful idealism, but it has become so corrupt in recent years that its founders would not recognize it. It’s time for the UN to find a new home and to turn the New York property back to the city of New York. Just the end of the unpaid parking tickets the UN diplomats have collected would be a wonderful thing for the city.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Iran’s president addressed the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday declaring that “the American empire” is nearing collapse and should end its military involvement in other countries.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said terrorism is spreading quickly in Afghanistan and that “the occupiers” are still in Iraq nearly six years after Saddam Hussein was ousted from power in Iraq.
“American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders,” Ahmadinejad said.
He accused the U.S. of starting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to win votes in elections and blamed a “few bullying powers” for trying to undermine Iraq’s nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad’s hardline rhetoric came as no surprise and offered little in the way of compromise at the U.N., where he faces a new round of sanctions if no agreement is reached on limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
While he reiterated that the country’s nuclear program is purely peaceful, the U.S. and others fear it is aimed at producing enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons.
Iran already is under three sets of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. Washington and its Western allies are pushing for quick passage of a fourth set of sanctions to underline the international community’s resolve, but are likely to face opposition from Russia.
“A few bullying powers have sought to put hurdles in the way of the peaceful nuclear activities of the Iranian nation by exerting political and economic pressures against Iran,” he said.
Ahmadinejad also lashed out at Israel on Tuesday, saying “the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse, and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters.”
The Iranian president is feared and reviled in Israel because of his repeated calls to wipe the Jewish state off the map, and his aggressive pursuit of nuclear technology has only fueled Israel’s fears.
Ahmadinejad accused “a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists … (of) dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the U.S.”
In discussing Afghanistan, he suggested that the presence of U.S. and NATO forces has contributed to a sharp rise in terrorism and a huge increase in the production of narcotics.
He predicted that the war would end in the alliance’s defeat.
“Throughout history every force that has entered Afghanistan has left in defeat,” Ahmadinejad said.
There is an entry on a small blog called Dagney’s Rant written by a native Columbian about what is going on in her country. As you may recall, Nancy Pelosi blocked the treaty with Columbia which would have helped them and us ecomonically and would have strengthened their democracy. Anyway, it’s an interesting entry. Just for the record, the name, Dagney’s Rant is based on the character from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
Why should I trust the people who blocked regulation (Chris Dodd and Barney Frank) and took large donations from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (Chris Dodd and Barack Obama) to oversee billions of my tax money and do it well? It just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t want to see people evicted or lose their retirement, but I figure my taxes already support a family of four I have no connection to, and I’m not interested in supporting more people I don’t know. I seems to me that the people who walked away with the multi million dollar bonuses during the time when the books were being cooked ought to pay for some of the bailout. I’m not sure how that could be arranged, but I’m sure it could be. Other than for political gain, we have forgotten how to hold people responsible for the choices they make.