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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Obama says He’s to Blame for Bailout Failure

OK, that’s not exactly what he said, so let’s go to the tape

“Here are the facts: For two weeks I was on the phone everyday with Secretary Paulson and the congressional leaders making sure that the principles that have been ultimately adopted were incorporated in the bill,” Obama said.

Since he was taking credit for shaping the bill — now that it’s failed will he put out a statement saying he’s to blame for not crafting an acceptable solution? Don’t hold your breath.

Willing to take credit, but not accepting responsibility.

Reid, Pelosi and Schumer Fail on Bailout for Economy

Harry the-war-is-lost Reid is trying to shift blame for his failure to move the “bailout” proposal forward. That might work for people who don’t realize it’s the Democrats holding the majority in both the House and Senate; Reid and Pelosi can pass whatever pork bailout bill they want, and the President will surely sign it. They don’t need any Republicans to do so. If a bill isn’t passed, it’s because the Democrats don’t want it passed. Democrats are the majority, they’re responsible for passing the bill and can do so at any time. What Reid meant was he doesn’t want to pass the bill right now, but he’s not the only blame-shifter.

“We need to get the president to get the Republican House in order,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., added while on the Senate floor. “Without Republican cooperation, we cannot pass this bill.”

Totally false, plain and simple. Democrats hold majorities in both houses, they don’t need any Republican support to pass this bill, other than the President (who will support it). The only possibility (and a remote one) is a possible Senate filibuster (Pelosi can pass it whenever she wants), which won’t happen. Even if it does, they’d only need a handful of fiscally irresponsible Republicans to go along (which they’d get).

Why won’t Democrats act? What are they waiting for? Could it be they’re posturing for political reasons? Or do Reid/Pelosi simply don’t know they hold the majority, and don’t realize they can pass anything they want? Is it possible Reid/Pelosi/Schumer know the majority of Americans are against the bailout, and want to spread the blame around come November?

Schumer/Read/Pelosi don’t need Republicans to pass the bill, they need them for cover for the upcoming election (so in a sense, Schumer is right, they can’t pass the bill without the cover of Republicans for their pork — they can pass it without Republicans votes, but they’re hoping the blame game works. Politics as usual).

It’s interesting as Obama tries to paint McCain as agreeing with Bush, it’s Obama and the Democrats who walk in lockstep with the President to give $700 Billion of your money to Wall Street (tax and spend yielding to tax and giveaway). Is that what you want? Do you agree with Obama in giving handouts of $700 billion of your money to failing companies? Is Obama correct in taking your money and giving it to corporations who bungled their management? If you’re paying your mortgage on time, do you agree with Obama those exercising fiscal irresponsibility should be rewarded?

It’s McCain and a minority of Republicans who want something different (along with most of the American people). Will Democrats team up with the President to ram a pork bill through? Or will sanity reign and a reasonable approach (loans instead of bailouts and rewards which leave the taxpayer footing the bill) supported by others have a chance?

We’ll see what happens, but don’t buy the lie Reid and Pelosi need any Republicans to go along. They do not as they’re the majority (even if they fail to act like it). Since Obama aligns with Reid 95% of the time, is this the leadership the country looks forward to in an Obama administration? Do you want politics put first? Or country first?

In Washington, it’s a showdown between the representatives of Wall Street and the representatives of Main Street. But have you noticed that the old partisan alliances are reversed? It’s the Democrats who are now the Wall Street Party. And Republicans — with the conspicuous exception of President Bush — are now the Main Street Party.

Consider: President Bush proposed the $700 billion plan; after days of hiding behind the Secretary of Goldman Sachs, Henry Paulson, Bush finally emerged from the sidelines Wednesday night to tout the plan in prime time. Just this morning, he spoke again in favor of his plan, while again taking no questions from pesky reporters.

But the Congressional Democrats, who mostly despise Bush, are also mostly for the Bush plan. Sure, they made some cosmetic changes in the bailout proposal, but they have never wavered in their basic endorsement.

So who’s against the plan? It’s Congressional Republicans who are getting in the way. They are the heroes of the hour. Although outnumbered, these brave Capitol Hill GOPers have stopped official Washington in its tracks.

Why? Because the Democratic majority, supporting the bailout, doesn’t actually dare to vote for it unless they know that most Republicans will vote for it, too. And that’s because the Democrats fear that this bailout legislation is deeply unpopular with the country. So the only way that Democrats can vote for the bill and be safe this November is if Republicans also put their names on the legislative dotted line. Not a profile in courage for Democrats, of course, but it’s smart practical politics for them to demand some ‘cover.’

Reid/Pelosi know they can pass the bill anytime they want. They’re hoping first nobody realizes that, and second, they can stall long enough to cover their collective #!&$ for a bill the American people don’t want.

Bill Clinton on Fannie and Freddie, and the Debate

CHRIS CUOMO, ABC NEWS: A little surprising for you to hear the Democrats saying, “This came out of nowhere, this is all about the Republicans. We had nothing to do with this.” Nancy Pelosi saying it. She signed the ’99 Gramm Bill. She knew what was going on with the SEC. They’re all sophisticated people. Is that playing politics in this situation?

BILL CLINTON: Well, maybe everybody does that a little bit. I think the responsibility the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And on President Bush’s speech:

The former president thought Bush’s address Wednesday night on the economic crisis had a “positive reaction”.

“I thought it was the clearest statement of why we’re in the fix we’re in, at least what the nature of it is and why some national action is needed,” Clinton said.

And on McCain suspending campaign activities (and perhaps the debate) to focus on the bill in Congress:

“We know he didn’t do it because he’s afraid because Sen. McCain wanted more debates,” Clinton said, adding that he was “encouraged” by the joint statement from McCain and Sen. Barack Obama.

Obama says call me if you need me because I’m busy with my own business of trying to get elected — don’t bother me with the financial meltdown of the country, I’m busy right now. McCain says deal with the crisis — country first, self-interests second.

Which characteristic do you want in a President?

Obama and Earmarks – where’s that $100,000 again?

Oh yeah, it went to the wife of a campaign volunteer, instead of where it was supposed to.

A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Earmarks you can believe in!

The Financial Crisis – Deficit of Decency

Here’s a view of the real financial crisis facing the country, and it can’t be solved by bailouts or regulations.

It’s not AIG, Lehman, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even Enron and MCI. It’s not the national debt, budget deficits or politician’s plans for staggering tax increases which will surely damage the already fragile economy. Make no mistake, all those are bad, but they’re only symptoms of the real disease, the cancer eating away at our society — that cancer is as Zell Miller said “A Deficit of Decency” — more specifically, a lack of ethics.

First off, don’t confuse morality with ethics; morality being just an idea of right and wrong, generally coming from some absolute source (many people mistake the concept of morality for “good” morals — i.e. don’t cheat on your wife, but murderers have morality as well, it’s just bad), while ethics is “my word is my bond”. It’s possible to act ethically, but not morally.

For example, few would disagree a crime syndicate performing shake-downs of an innocent business lacks morality (“Gee, that’s a nice business you have there, it would be a shame if something happened to it”); they’re acting immorally, however, the ethics surpass those of politicians and wall street — you can be sure they’ll do what they say and won’t change, if fact, you can count on it.

Ethics and morality aren’t the same, even though they share similarities.

Perhaps the confusion comes as younger people (30 or below) don’t remember a time when a handshake was enough to seal a deal (or a time when the Interweb thingy didn’t exist either, but we digress). Believe it or not, a time existed when your word was sufficient, and people (gasp) did what they promised. They many not have acted with good morals, but their ethics were unquestionable.

That was the prevailing attitude for many, many years. Most business circles were fairly small; you simply couldn’t get away with breaking your word. Perhaps not because people didn’t want to, but because the community simply didn’t tolerate it. Ethical behavior was demanded if you desired to stay in business.

But today, even if you have a contract, it’s who has the most lawyers and $$$ to fight. It’s not about holding up your promise, it’s about grabbing as much money as possible in the fastest way possible. Ethics is thrown under the bus, even as candidates promise “change”, but don’t want you to look behind the curtain to see it’s just business as usual and the ethics continue to disappear.

That’s the real problem in Washington — a lack of ethics. When double-talking politicians try to dodge real questions with slick-talking nuance instead of solutions, and then act differently when the teleprompter turns off, that’s a lack of ethics. The goal in politics becomes how to fool people with slick oratory, but then after election turn against the flowery rhetoric and act oppositely — in their own interests instead of serving the country.

Sacrificing for a greater good (or your country) has become a concept ridiculed and scorned. Just compare the campaigns — one says to act in your own self-interest (thus, vote for the guy promising the most handouts), while the other says country first. But that’s the political arena — the ethics problem infects all corners of society equally; as the Federal bailouts continue, every one actually increases the likelihood of more bailouts. Here’s why.

If you live in a hurricane area, and the floods ravage your house or destroy it but you don’t have insurance, the government pays you anyway. So why have insurance? Your house gets rebuilt no matter if you paid for insurance or not — each bailout increases incentive for homeowners in bad areas not to get insurance. After all, they’ll get paid anyway.

If you bought a ARM or sub-prime mortgage and got stuck with something you knew you couldn’t afford, once again, a bailout is coming your way. So why should others play by the rules and put 20% down? It doesn’t matter as financial ethics becomes discouraged, and the rewards go the people who deliberately skirted responsibility.

If AIG/Lehman/Fannie/Freddie used poor business practices in pursuit of profits, it doesn’t matter as — you guessed it — another bailout heads their way (and sometimes promotions to political campaigns for those involved). There’s even a phrase floating around — they’re “too big to fail”; what motivation do they thus have to act ethically instead of plundering the company leaving shareholders, employees (and taxpayers) left to clean up the mess while they jet off to their vacation homes?

And in elections, they guy who promises the most from the public trough gets the most support. Elections become not about serving the country (“ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”), but who promises the most $$$ from the public treasury. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine this pattern can’t continue.

Just take a look at who took the most lobbyist money in the recent Fannie/Freddie collapse, who was on the committee charged with oversight of Fannie and Freddie, and then where those executives ended up after plundering the companies, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Should we trust them with advising the president so they can do to the country what they did to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

A democracy can’t exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy … [author unknown, though commonly attributed to Sir Alex Fraser Tytler in 1801]

Of course, who pays for all these bailouts for unethical behavior? The hard-working taxpayer playing by the rules — you know, ethically. They get the privilege of paying for everyone else’s ethical lapses.

The solution is a return to ethical behavior — and that can’t be legislated (in contrast, the only thing which can be legislated is morality — right and wrong. All laws are someones view of what’s right and wrong). But once those laws exist, there’s always people willing to employ legions of lawyers looking for a way to skirt both the spirit and letter of the law and plunder the company while passing the bill to others for their behavior. In other words, unethical.

Each bailout or rescue increases the incentive for unethical behavior — and that’s the real issue facing the country. As money flows from lobbyists to politicians, who then look the other way as companies are destroyed, is it any wonder failures are increasing? No amount of new regulation or financial bailouts will solve the problem. The real issue is where is personal responsibility?

It’s not the billions being spent right now which ultimately will ensure doom, it’s the degradation of ethics which will haunt the country for generations.

The Rest of the Story on Abortion – Gianna Jessen

Obama’s ship is taking on water over the abortion issue — his all-abortion, all-the-time position is considerably out of the mainstream view of Americans. His refusal to give botched aborted babies surviving the procedure medical care (instead of discarding them to die) when it came for a vote — a proposal so non-controversial even Ted Kennedy and Clinton supported it — defies explanation (as Gianna Jessen notes, she herself survived a botched abortion, and Obama’s position would deny her the medical care to save her life); no amount of nuance or spin can change the facts — Obama voted against medical care for children.

The record here is very, very clear. Obama initially said that he opposed the bill in Illinois because it didn’t have the “neutrality clause” included in the federal version of the legislation. As documentation proved, Obama voted against it even with the neutrality clause added. The Obama campaign finally acknowledged that Obama had lied about his position a month ago. Why? Because it would have actually forced doctors to provide care for live infants from abortions — or in other words, it would have worked.

If you’re interested, visit Jill Stanek’s site, a nurse in the Chicago area who witnessed botched aborted babies discarded to die — it’s not an academic discussion, the problem is real, and Obama voted (multiple times) to deny those children medical care — even as the U.S. Senate approved an identical bill 98-0.

No amount of “change” spin can alter the facts — Obama’s votes indicate he’d deny medical care for children after they’re born. The question nobody asks him is simple — if it’s acceptable to kill a baby after it’s born and call it abortion, at what age does the child get bestowed constitutional rights? Can they be “aborted” until 18? Do children count less than other people? When do they get basic human rights? For how long can they be aborted after being born before it becomes a crime? When asked, he provided his (in)famous “above my pay grade” response, which is strange considering he’s running for leader of the country.

It’s not a religious issue, or medical issue, it’s a legal issue he is (supposed) to be qualified to answer. If he can’t answer a legal question, he’s not qualified to run the country. For Obama, the question of when a child gets human rights isn’t answered — it certainly isn’t at birth, but at some mysterious point later — how later he’s not saying.

That’s certainly “change” from mainstream America, unless you believe allowing infants to die in the trash can remotely represents most people’s views. But there’s another view of the issue, and it’s eloquently presented by Paul Harvey in his book “The Rest of the Story” — a good read for lots of reasons if you have time.

When rape results in pregnancy, or when giving birth might cost the mother’s life, few women would fail to consider as an alternative: Abortion.

[…]

Your first expectant mother is Caterina. Caterina is unmarried, obviously in her teens, obviously poor. You ask her age, and she tells you, and at once you realize she has overstated her years by one or two or three.

Caterina is in the first trimester of her pregnancy.

You ask if she has been pregnant before.

Caterina shakes her head.

Studying her, you wonder.

You inquire of her general health; no problems, she says.

And the health of the father?

Caterina shrugs; her eyes fall.

She has lost contact with the father of her unborn child. All she knows is he was twenty-three, a lawyer or a notary or something like that. He lives nearby, she thinks; she is not sure. The affair was over quickly, little more than a one-night stand. No child was expected–nor now is wanted.

What Doctor, is your advice?

Later the same day, you are consulted by a second expectant mother.

Her name is Klara. Klara is twenty-eight, married three years, the wife of a government worker; she has the look of a woman accustomed to anguish.

Concerned for the ultimate health of her unborn, Klara explains that for each year of her marriage she has had a child–and each has died; the first within thirty-one months, the second within sixteen months, the third within several days.

[…]

So what, Doctor, is your advice?

In addition to all immediate considerations–physical, moral, religious–the dilemma of whether to terminate a pregnancy is a philosophical question:

Might this life, if left to live, affect the consciousness or even the destiny of mankind?

Yet if the profundity of this question is diminished by the balance which governs all life, there is evidence in the two true stories you have just heard: the unwed mother with unwanted child; the married mother with the graves of three infants behind her.

For if you, as the hypothetical physician, have opted in both cases for abortion–then you have respectively denied the world the multifaceted genius of Leonardo da Vinci–and spared humanity the terror of Adolf Hitler.

They are THE REST OF THE STORY.

The average person wants to keep abortion legal, but ban partial-birth abortion, and certainly wouldn’t want living babies discarded as trash to die. Yet Obama is so extreme on abortion he voted against bills even Kennedy and Clinton supported.

That’s change nobody believes in.

Politics of Hope – Thrown Under the Bus

Chalk up another position Obama has thrown under the bus (with gun control, FISA, public campaign financing, Israel … you get the idea).

In Elko, Obama tried to anticipate his critics and called on the crowd of about 1,500 to sharpen their elbows, too.

“I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face,” he said.

Hope replaced with argument and confrontation. Sounds like old-school politics, doesn’t it?