Saturday, September 20, 2008

Of Monsters

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Yet as studies have shown, about half of the implicit taxpayer subsidy for Fan and Fred is pocketed by shareholders and management. According to the Federal Reserve, the half that goes to homeowners adds up to a mere seven basis points on mortgages. In return for this, Fannie was able to pay no fewer than 21 of its executives more than $1 million in 2002, and in 2003 Mr. Raines pocketed more than $20 million. Fannie's left-wing defenders are underwriters of crony capitalism, not affordable housing.

The abiding lesson here is what happens when you combine private profit with government power. You create political monsters that are protected both by journalists on the left and pseudo-capitalists on Wall Street, by liberal Democrats and country-club Republicans. Even now, after all of their dishonesty and failure, Fannie and Freddie could emerge from this taxpayer rescue more powerful than ever.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Do The Math

Right now this crisis is being sold to the American public by the left as evidence the failure of the free market and capitalism. Not so. What we're seeing is the inevitable result of political interference in free market economics. Acme bank didn't want to loan money to Joe Homebuyer because Joe had a spotty job history, owed too much money on his credit cards, and wasn't all that good at making payments on time. The politicians told Acme Bank to figure out a way to make that loan, because, after all, Joe is a bona-fide minority-American, or forget about opening that new branch office on the Southside. The loan was made under politicial pressure; the loan, with millions like it, failed - and now we are left to enjoy today's headlines.
So ... why aren't you reading the whole story in the mainstream media?
Remember ... there's an election going on. One candidate is decidedly anti-capitalist. Do the math.

Where Was Dodd?

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Sen. Christopher Dodd, the Democratic chairman of the Senate banking committee, has the gall to say in a Bloomberg Television interview: "I have a lot of questions about where was the administration over the last eight years."

We will save the senator some trouble. Here is what we saw firsthand at the White House from late 2002 through 2007: Starting in 2002, White House and Treasury Department economic policy staffers, with support from then-Chief of Staff Andy Card, began to press for meaningful reforms of Fannie, Freddie and other government-sponsored enterprises, known GSEs.
Sen. Richard Shelby led a small group of legislators favoring reform, including fellow Republican Sens. John Sununu, Chuck Hagel and Elizabeth Dole. Meanwhile, Dodd — who along with Democratic Sens. John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the top four recipients of Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions from 1988 to 2008 — actively opposed such measures and further weakened existing regulation.

And Clinton. And Biden.

The editors of the Washington Post, this morning:

One element of the Obama campaign's brief against Mr. McCain is that he supported repeal of the law separating commercial banks from investment banks. "He's spent decades in Washington supporting financial institutions instead of their customers," Mr. Obama said yesterday. "Phil Gramm, one of the architects of the deregulation in Washington that led directly to this mess on Wall Street, is also the architect of John McCain's economic plan." Would it be churlish to point out that another author of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley law is former congressman Jim Leach, a founder of Republicans for Obama? Or that Obama advisers Lawrence H. Summers and Robert E. Rubin supported the repeal — which was signed by President Bill Clinton?

By the way, the Post actually takes it easy on Obama, since another senator who voted for Gramm-Leach-Bliley was... Joe Biden.


That We're Fighting Al Qaeda

Bin Laden’s lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri explicitly spelled out Al Qaeda’s strategy in Iraq on July 9, 2005. “The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq,” he said. “The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate—over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq.”

The war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq can plausibly be described as a distraction from the war against Al Qaeda. But the war against Al Qaeda in Iraq cannot possibly be accurately described as a distraction from the war against Al Qaeda.

And make no mistake: Al Qaeda’s manpower and resources have been thoroughly degraded from its disastrous fight with Americans and Iraqis, especially in Anbar Province which was briefly established as Al Qaeda’s “capital” of the so-called “Islamic State in Iraq.”

What’s the most important thing Americans need to know about Iraq
“That we’re fighting Al Qaeda,” he said without hesitation.

Remind Me Again Why Charlie Hasn't Been Disabled Into Prison Already?

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 Already under fire for his tax troubles, Manhattan Congressman Charles Rangel really put his foot in his mouth on Friday.

In a CBS 2 HD exclusive interview, Rep. Rangel called Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin "disabled."

The question was simple: Why are the Democrats so afraid of Palin and her popularity?

The answer was astonishing.

"You got to be kind to the disabled," Rangel said.

That's right. The chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee called Palin disabled -- even when CBS 2 HD called him on it.

CBS 2 HD: "You got to be kind to the disabled?"

Rangel: "Yes."
CBS 2 HD: "She's disabled?"

Rangel: "There's no question about it politically. It's a nightmare to think that a person's foreign policy is based on their ability to look at Russia from where they live."
Advocates for the disabled are also upset.
"A disabled president ran this country. He was disabled. His name was Roosevelt."
Oh. I forgot. The Dems control congress. You know. The same one that has Dollar Bill Jefferson as a member in good standing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lock Your Doors

Meanwhile, the Left’s Sarah Palin hatred has been encouraged by the in-your-face comments of Michelle Obama, who derided the Alaska governor’s intellect (“What you learn about Barack from his choice is that he’s not afraid of smart people”) and looks (don’t cast a vote because “she’s cute”) on the campaign trail. And Team Obama’s goons on the Internet — led by Gawker Media and the Huffington Post — are reveling in the hacking of Palin’s private e-mail account, the publication of private, family photos of her children stolen from her account, and the abuse of daughter Bristol’s cell-phone number stolen from the account. For countless friends of Obama, “in your face” is code for “anything goes.”

In words and actions that would have made his mentor Saul Alinsky proud, Barack Obama is rubbing raw the sores of discontent — and summoning his unhinged flock to do the same. All hail the community-agitator-in-chief. And remember: Lock your doors.
 blog it

Choosing Politics

Governor Palin was pleased to accept an invitation to address this rally and
show her resolve on this grave national security issue, regrettably that
invitation has since been withdrawn under pressure from Democratic partisans. We
stand shoulder to shoulder with Republicans, Democrats and independents alike to
oppose Ahmadinejad’s goal of a nuclear armed Iran. Senator Obama’s campaign had
the opportunity to join us. Senator Obama chose politics rather than the
national interest

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pay Attention

Nawaz should be seen as bought and paid for by al-Qaeda, going all the
way back to the billions of rupees given to him by Osama bin Laden for
political campaigns since the 1980's. Even so, his value to
al-Qaeda is limited.  He is a bridge, spanning the gap until al-Qaeda
can put forth Hamid Gul as the public political face of al-Qaeda's takeover of
the nuclear-armed Pakistani state. That's the desired progression, and not much
stands between current success and the end-game. At least not from
inside Pakistan.

As it stands right now, our forces are targeting the same
Taliban/al-Qaeda alliance that targets Pakistan, yet Pakistan's military
now targets us.  There is no longer room for nuance.  Our force
protection and mission against al-Qaeda demand clarity, one way or the
other.  Pakistan is choosing.  The American public would do well to
pay attention.

OSaviour's idea to pour more troops into Afghanistan and attack Pakistan is just crazy. As the saying goes, "military amateurs talk guns, professionals talk logistics."

They would be sitting ducks -- and those we have there are incredibly brave because that's what they are already.

What Really Stinks

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Now a trailing Obama wants to get tougher and go more negative - in part by
raising doubts about McCain's age. Obama's clumsy reference to putting "lipstick
on a pig" raised, rightly or wrongly, charges of sexism, and in the same manner
his reference to a stinky "old fish" was connected with John McCain - who, Obama
earlier scoffed, was "losing his bearings."

Obama ran ads claiming - with careful wording - that McCain "lost track" and
"couldn't remember" how many houses he has and that he's out of touch because he
has never learned to use e-mail and the Internet (forget that injuries as a
prisoner of war make keyboard use difficult for him).

Like it or not, the perception is growing that Team Obama is focusing on
Palin as a clueless hockey mom from way up north and on McCain as an old fogy.
But that emphasis on sex and age doesn't become a moralist, especially given
Obama's own siren warnings that his opponents might resort to racial attacks
against him.

The Rest Of The Story

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I read though the emails… ALL OF THEM… before I posted, and what I concluded was anticlimactic, there was nothing there, nothing incriminating, nothing that would derail her campaign as I had hoped, all I saw was personal stuff, some clerical stuff from when she was governor…. And pictures of her family

I then started a topic on /b/, peeps asked for pics or gtfo and I obliged, then it started to get big

Earlier it was just some prank to me, I really wanted to get something incriminating which I was sure there would be, just like all of you anon out there that you think there was some missed opportunity of glory, well there WAS NOTHING, I read everything, every little blackberry confirmation… all the pictures, and there was nothing

The script kiddie tells his story on hacking Sarah's account.

Aside from some expletives, it's a real education on the internet sub-culture largely dominated by the nutroots. You should read it if you want a real education as well as an education in password management.

And as I could have predicted, that's the biggest hit that Palin will take from this other than that she could have done better with her passwords. Eh tu?

60 To 1

WASHINGTON -- Wall Street as we know it is kaput. It is not just that Merrill Lynch agreed to be purchased by Bank of America or that the legendary investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy or that the insurance giant AIG is floundering. It is not even that these events followed the failure of the investment bank Bear Stearns or the government's takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest mortgage lenders. What's really happened is that Wall Street's business model has collapsed.

While the boom continued, government remained aloof. Congress resisted tougher regulation for Fannie and Freddie and permitted them to run leverage ratios that, by plausible calculations, exceeded 60 to 1.

It wasn't that Wall Street's leaders deceived customers or lenders into taking risks that were known to be hazardous. Instead, they concluded that risks were low or nonexistent.

Democratic Party War Room

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Hoo haw...

Welcome To Nancy's "Clean House"

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And, after two closed-door sitdowns with him in 12 hours, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has no intention of stripping him of his prestigious position - no matter how big an embarrassment he's become.

Some were detailed by the newspaper Roll Call, which reviewed his
congressional disclosure forms:

* Rangel never reported, as required, the sale of a home he owned in the
District of Columbia.

* Nor did he disclose any income from the sale of a Harlem apartment - whose
value allegedly doubled while he owned it.

* He also failed to report income from the sale of a condo in Sunny Isles,
Fla., though property records show a $60,000 profit.

* Moreover, in 2002 his forms listed new investment holdings of $115,000 to
$315,000 - with no disclosure of how he acquired them. The next year, he
reported another five new cash assets, worth at least $268,000 - again, with no
indication of where they came from.

Obviously, life in Congress has been very, very good to Charlie Rangel.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Logan Act? What Logan Act?

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The Obama campaign spent more than five hours on Monday attempting to figure out the best refutation of the explosive New York Post report that quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying that Barack Obama during his July visit to Baghdad demanded that Iraq not negotiate with the Bush Administration on the withdrawal of American troops. Instead, he asked that they delay such negotiations until after the presidential handover at the end of January.

The three problems, according to campaign sources: The report was true, there were at least three other people in the room with Obama and Zebari to confirm the conversation, and there was concern that there were enough aggressive reporters based in Baghdad with the sources to confirm the conversation that to deny the comments would create a bigger problem.

Monday, September 15, 2008

How Come I Would Make The Economy Better

In response to a wild day on Wall Street that saw a fairly major restructuring of the financial services sector, Barack Obama sat himself down and wrote an essay about what it all means.

Since Obama's background in financial writing has recently been exposed as something less auspicious than we were originally led to believe, the Presidential hopeful actually faxed off a draft of his statement to his 6th grade social studies teacher, to solicit her feedback.


Welcome To Unfunded Mandates

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But if you look at the document that Smith links, you quickly get feel for the fact that many of the earmarks are requests for funding that are completely legitimate, and many relate to unfunded mandates imposed upon Alaska by federal legislation like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.   Several examples are set forth after the jump.

Please read this email sent to JeffG from UC-San Diego Professor of economics, Garey Ramey. Here’s the money quote

It is important to note that Palin has worked to overhaul the earmark process, in parallel with Congressional efforts to limit the practice. Alaska’s earmark requests have fallen from 54 last year to 31 this year, with only four new requests. Total requested funding has dropped from $550 million to $200 million. Clearly, Governor Palin has made strong progress in reducing the use of earmarks in Alaska.

The Missing Embrace

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As sex goes up in social estimation, love goes down. The trouble with love is that it narrows your options and endangers your independence. If you loved a man, you might actually want to put up with, or even admire, his ways. You may be sure that I am not the first one to notice that feminist women are unerotic.

If none of what I am saying were true, feminists would be welcoming Sarah Palin with embraces as warm as they are capable of. They should be happy that their cause has spread to conservatives and become bipartisan. In fact, they see the Palin choice as a gross deceit, and their response is close to fury. Doesn't this suggest that feminism is not in behalf of the women's movement--but rather to promote radical adventures above and beyond its concern for women?

Nancy's All For Drilling Dry Holes

Nothing puts Pelosi’s charade in clearer focus, though, than IER’s charts showing how much oil the plan would lock up off the U.S. West coast. By banning new leases out to 50 miles, the Pelosi plan would permanently deny access to 100 percent of the technically recoverable oil off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and Central California, plus 95 percent of the oil off the coast of Southern California.

Pro-drilling lawmakers on the Hill would be well advised to wave these charts in front of the television cameras as often as possible.

Not What The Founders Had In Mind

"There appears to be a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications," said Kelly Chesney, spokeswoman for the Michigan Secretary of State's Office. "And it appears to be widespread."

The U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment on whether it is investigating voter fraud perpetrated by ACORN. What do you think the chances are that voter fraud would be prosecuted by an Obama Justice Department?

Under the current Democratic Congress, the "community organizers" at ACORN are being lavishly funded by federal dollars. Your tax money, going to support voter fraud: not exactly what the Founders had in mind.

You Know The Answer To How He Thinks He Can Get Away With It

While Senator McCain has never requested a single earmark, Senator Obama has requested nearly a billion dollars worth during his short time in office. Though Senator Biden has been in the Senate for 36 years, he has only disclosed his earmarks for one year.

Senator Obama increased his earmark requests during each of his first three years in office. Governor Palin has cut requests for earmarks for Alaska by $150 million since entering office, and she has cut those requests every single year. She has also vetoed a half billion dollars in wasteful spending at the state level.

One might ask, what makes Obama think he can get away with this nonsense, when the facts are the precise opposite of his claims? But you know the answer to that question.

Where Lehman Invested

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In the current Congress, 271 lawmakers have collected nearly $3 million since 1989, with 72 percent going to Democrats. Democratic presidential candidates and senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama top the list of all-time recipients for the company, collecting $410,000 and $395,600 respectively.

The establishment media that sought every opportunity to tie the failure of Enron and its executives to George W. Bush has generally failed to note that Barack Obama is neck deep in money from issuers of subprime loans, even as he crusades against predatory mortgage lenders.  Maybe they will get to it when their investigators return from scouring the frozen tundra in Alaska for gossip about Sarah Palin’s family.  But I would not bet any more money on it than I would invest with Lehman Bros.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

NYeT! The Minority Viewpoint

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I mean, did she have approval numbers as low as those of the Pelosi-Reid Congress?

But, when I chanced upon her actual job approval numbers, they seemed the reverse of the unpopular Congress.  86% approve of her, including 75% of Alaska Democrats.  Let me repeat, 75% of the opposition party in her home state think she’s doing a swell job.  I guess the Times wants us to hear the minority viewpoint.

The OFabulist

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All of Barack’s embellishment serves a larger narrative purpose: to retell the story of the Christ’s temptation.

Like I said, I’m a fan. His famous keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention moved me to tears. The Democrats - not to mention America - need a mixed-race spokesperson who can connect to both urban blacks and rural whites, who has the credibility to challenge the status quo on issues ranging from misogynistic rap to unfair school funding.

And yet I’m disappointed. Barack’s story may be true, but many of the facts are not. His larger narrative purpose requires him to embellish his role. I don’t buy it. Just as I can’t be inspired by Steve Jobs now that I know how dishonest he is, I can’t listen uncritically to Barack Obama now that I know he’s willing to bend the facts to his purpose.

Serious Bribes To The Man OChange

HOW WASHINGTON FAILED TO REIN IN FANNIE & FREDDIE: Basically, it was bought off. "Blessed with the advantages of a government agency and a private company at the same time, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used their windfall profits to co-opt the politicians who were supposed to control them. . . . Fannie Mae, and to a lesser extent Freddie Mac, became enmeshed in the fabric of political Washington. They were places former government officials went to get wealthy -- and to wait for new federal appointments. At Fannie Mae, chief executives had clauses written into their contracts spelling out the severance benefits they would receive if they left for a government post. The companies also donated generously to the campaigns of favored politicians."

Does it mention which politicos took the cash?" That rock won't be turned over until after the election, if they have anything to say about it. But here's a place to start. Also here.
If you follow the links you'll find the top bribe takers from Fannie/Freddie to be 1) Dodd, 2) Kerry, 3) Obama, 4) Clinton.

And that's since 1989. So how corrupt do Obama and Clinton need to be to appear on this list with only a few years in the Senate each?

Pretty much all you need to know right there. Game over.

Journalistic "Objectivity" Update

But my second reason is more generous. I think Ms Mallick expresses openly what many, quite possibly most of her MSM colleagues are actually thinking, and in my experience, actually saying in social gatherings and while working away from the microphones -- though seldom with such ebullience. Ms Mallick is rare in being so refreshingly candid, on the record.

Where such prejudices as hers exist, it is an advantage to everyone to have them expressed openly, discussed openly, demolished openly. Far worse is the poison in people who think like Ms Mallick, but contain themselves within the shallow literary conventions of “journalistic objectivity.”
People on the Right are being prosecuted now; those on the Left could as easily be prosecuted later under the same laws -- as in Germany, when the Nazis used inherited, vaguely-written “hate speech” laws from the Weimar Republic, to prosecute the very sort of people who wrote them.

The (In)competence Of The Political Class

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Capitalism, Ruth reminds him, is a profit and loss system.Corfam—Du Pont's fake leather that made awful shoes in the 1960s—and the Edsel quickly vanished. But, Ruth notes, "the post office and ethanol subsidies and agricultural price supports and mediocre public schools live forever." They are insulated from market forces; they are created, in defiance of those forces, by government, which can disregard prices, which means disregarding the rational allocation of resources. To disrupt markets is to tamper with the unseen source of the harmony that is all around us.

The spontaneous emergence of social cooperation—the emergence of a system vastly more complex, responsive and efficient than any government could organize—is not universally acknowledged or appreciated. It discomforts a certain political sensibility, the one that exaggerates the importance of government and the competence of the political class.

If you've never taken a real economics class you absolutely need to read this.

If you took one from the legion of transformational Marxists that call themselves "economics professors", you need to read it even more.

And I mean the whole thing.

"Hope" Slinging Gutter Balls

It's certainly possible that the Obama campaign did not know this, since McCain makes it sound in interviews as if this is a matter of choice, not discomfort because of his war wounds.

Doesn't say much for their opposition research, though. And this, frankly, seems outright dishonest: "Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer told the Associated Press that the Obama campaign was not trying to invoke McCain's 72 years. "

Riiiight. "If there were ever a sign that the Obama camp is in meltdown mode you only had to watch This Week on ABC where top surrogate Sen. Claire McCaskill dredged up John McCain’s age and cancer. So we have gone from New Politics to the political gutter in a matter of weeks."


Follow The Money

Rangel is not alone in his failure to properly disclose the trips under the new rules. The Post found that other Democratic lawmakers who were wined and dined at the conference last November had yet to disclose the junket on their federal filings for 2007.

The trips usually last about four days, including food and lodging at five-star resorts, and in some cases golf courses and spas, throughout the Caribbean.
It is quite telling that the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee doesn't bother paying attention to the rules, including the tax law (which he helps write in his Committee) and the ethics rules. Of course, it's systemic in that other Democrats don't seem to know the rules either.

Rangel has accumulated the sixth highest amount of PAC money among all members in the House for reelection purposes even though he's never had a credible opponent in the general or primary elections. All that money ends up getting funneled to other Democrats around the country.
They're terrified spitless of Sarah because she's not looking bribe-able.

Welcome To Political Porn

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When The Atlantic called Jill Greenberg, a committed Democrat, to shoot a portrait of John McCain for its October cover, she rubbed her hands with glee.....

What was firing was a strobe positioned below him, which cast the horror movie shadows across his face and on the wall right behind him. “He had no idea he was being lit from below,” Greenberg says. And his handlers didn’t seem to notice it either. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated,” she adds - PDNPulse: How Jill Greenberg Really Feels About John McCain

So what we see here is a candidate for President showing up at a photo-session for a cover shot for a magazine he knows is not going to give him an Obama-pass, but still making time for it. Waiting for him is the contracted representative of that magazine, Jill Greenberg, who has literally set a trap for him and then lures him into it.


One And The Same ... And Stupid As Posts

DON'T TRUST THE MEDIA (CONT'D): "Controversial celebrity photographer Jill Greenberg, a self-professed 'hard-core Dem,' deliberately took a series of unflattering shots of Republican nominee John McCain for the current cover of The Atlantic - and then bragged about it on a blog." The Atlantic has a brand that most magazines envy. But recent behavior is putting it at risk. I guess it's gone from bring your own camera, to bring your own photographer. The Atlantic's editor, James Bennet, -- who I know somewhat and think is an honest guy -- says they don't vet photographers for their politics, and they shouldn't. But this kind of pettiness and unprofessionalism is absolutely beyond the pale. Sadly, it's marked much of the media this election cycle.

As Andrew Breitbart said on PJTV the other night, you can hardly overstate the extent to which Big Media and the Democratic Party are one and the same these days.


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HANOI -- As a U.S. Navy pilot, John McCain flew 23 bombing sorties over Vietnam before he was shot down and incarcerated in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp. The courage he displayed behind bars gave him the aura of a war hero, and it is still powering his electoral appeal.

Yet now, even the jailers who once tortured Sen. McCain are lining up to offer effusive -- if somewhat embarrassing -- endorsements for his presidential candidacy.

"I personally did not beat anyone," he said when asked about Sen. McCain's accounts of frequent thrashings. "But it is very normal that something like this happens in prison, when you question someone and they don't want to answer you." Minutes later, Mr. Khoi returned to toeing the party line. "We saved McCain's life and treated him well," he insisted with a broad smile. "And in return we think McCain will do something good for Vietnam."