American Elephants


Barney Sics Boyfriend on Bielat by American Elephant

Barney Frank, that most dishonest Democrat, may, the good Lord willing, lose his job this November. His district voted for Scott Brown in that special election, and it’s looking increasingly likely that they will give Barney the boot as well.

Barney’s challenger is the supremely qualified, and far more honorable Sean Bielat. Sean is a Major in the US Marine Corps Reserves, a successful businessman, and a Harvard graduate, just to scratch the surface. Because Barney Frank is one of the supreme architects of the financial meltdown, having lead Democrats in blocking Republicans’ attempts to reform Fannie and Freddie, I watched the Bielat/Frank debates with great interest, and my primary observation was that while Sean was calm, cool and collected, striking blow after blow, Barney Frank was a nervous wreck, fidgeting, constantly interrupting, and desperately looking at the moderator as if pleading for mercy from the devastating onslaught of Sean Bielat’s barrage of unbeatable facts.

So now Barney is scared. How scared? This scared:

Upon exiting the most recent debate with Barney Frank, located at WGBH studios in Boston, MA, Republican Congressional candidate, Sean Bielat, gets heckled by a Barney Frank “supporter” while talking to the media. While watching this video, we realized that we recognized this “supporter”. We received confirmation from two eyewitnesses that the mysterious cameraman was none other than Barney Frank’s pot-growing boyfriend, James Ready.

I can’t think of a race that better exemplifies what this election is all about — defeating corrupt, ruling-class socialists and replacing them with principled, honest, good men and women. You can help Bielat defeat one of America’s most loathsome politicians here. Go Sean!

(h/t Doug Powers @ Michelle Malkin)



Andrew Klavan Explains the Financial Crisis, And Gets it Exactly Right! by The Elephant's Child
May 7, 2010, 4:01 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Andrew Klavan tackles the financial crisis, and explains the connections.  He also explains, with brief humor, why the Dodd Financial Reform bill is such a disaster.  Under the guise of “protecting consumers” they encourage risk on Wall Street, offer taxpayer bailouts, and don’t reform any of the things that need reforming.

The Financial Crisis was caused by government, not Wall Street.  It was not caused by deregulation, but by bad regulation.  Fannie and Freddie, the Government Sponsored Enterprises, are in desperately bad shape.

Freddie Mac just posted another staggering quarterly loss — $8 billion in just the first quarter.  That’s after taxpayers have supplied $60 billion in bailouts.  The Republican alternative to the Dodd bill aims to wind down and break up Fannie and Freddie on a 15 year timeline, and to limit taxpayer exposure in the meantime.  The Democrats want to kick that problem down the road, and they are still encouraging home loans to buyers who cannot meet prudent banking standards.

Economist Alan Reynolds points out Obama’s tendency to cram bills through by picking a business to demonize.  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was the victim in the Health Care Bill when they were accused of raising premiums “by anywhere from 35-39 percent” except no one could find anyone who paid 39% more.  For the Dodd Bill, the demon is Goldman Sachs, with a suspiciously timed civil suit as a flimsy excuse.  And of course the bill is favored by Goldman, which tells you how straightforward this is.

So there’s a lot of reading if you want to bone up on the Dodd Bill, but Andrew Klavan has it pretty much exactly right.



Why Hasn’t McCain Been Running Ads Like These? by American Elephant
October 25, 2008, 4:22 am
Filed under: Economy, Election 2008, Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

Two great new ads about the real Barack Obama from NeverFindOut.Org. Pretty devastating if you ask me. Just wish the McCain campaign were running more like them.

Donate here to help them out if you can.



What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats? by The Elephant's Child

I came across a statistic the other day that startled me.  A poll determined that only 13% of Americans could distinguish between the political parties.  That is, they could not tell you what each party stands for correctly.  I listen to talk shows, and many callers claim that there is no difference between the parties, or they credit the wrong party with the wrong policy.  Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but the poll is at least partly right.

Can we agree that Republicans agree that small government is desirable?  Yes, I know, they have many times been responsible for vast enlargement.  Can we agree that Democrats generally feel that things are better handled by the government than by the free market?

Can we agree that Republicans believe in individual responsibility and the freedom to make of yourself what you can?  Can we agree that Democrats believe in a caring government that makes things “fair”, taxing those who are rich to redistribute wealth more equally?

Can we then agree that the subprime crisis was the result of a well-intentioned desire to make the distribution of wealth more equal by helping minorities to own their own homes?

So, is Barack Obama the visionary figure who will bring America together as he claims to be?  Or is he the far-left candidate that his record suggests?

Economists are worried.  100 distinguished economists signed a statement released by the McCain campaign:

Barack Obama argues that his proposals to raise tax rates and halt international trade agreements would benefit the American economy.  They would do nothing of the sort.  Economic analysis and historical experience show that they would do the opposite.  They would reduce economic growth and decrease the number of jobs in America.  Moreover, with the credit crunch, the housing slump, and high energy prices weakening the U.S. economy, his proposals run a high risk of throwing the economy into a deep recession. It was exactly such misguided tax hikes and protectionism, enacted when the U.S. economy was weak in the early 1930s, that greatly increased the severity of the Great Depression.

We are very concerned with Barack Obama’s opposition to trade agreements such as the pending one with Colombia, the new one with Central America, or the established one with Canada and Mexico. Exports from the United States to other countries create jobs for Americans.  Imports make goods available to Americans at lower prices and are a particular benefit to families and individuals with low incomes.  International trade is also a powerful source of strength in a weak economy.  In the second quarter of this year, for example, increased international trade did far more to stimulate the U.S. economy than the federal government’s “stimulus” package.

Ironically, rather than supporting international trade, Barack Obama is now proposing yet another so-called stimulus package, which would do very little to grow the economy.  And his proposal to finance the package with higher taxes on oil would raise oil prices directly and by reducing exploration and production.

We are equally concerned with his proposals to increase tax rates on labor income and investment.  His dividend and capital gains tax increases would reduce investment and cut into the savings of millions of Americans.  His proposals to increase income and payroll tax rates would discourage the formation and expansion of small businesses and reduce employment and take-home pay, as would his mandates on firms to provide expensive health insurance.

After hearing such economic criticism of his proposals, Barack Obama has apparently suggested to some people that he might postpone his tax increases, perhaps to 2010. But it is a mistake to think that postponing such tax increases would prevent their harmful effect on the economy today.  The prospect  of such tax rate increases in 2010 is already a drag on the economy. Businesses considering whether to hire workers today and expand their operations have time horizons longer than a year or two, so the prospect of higher taxes starting in 2009 or 2010 reduces hiring and investment in 2008.

In sum, Barack Obama’s economic proposals are wrong for the American economy.  They defy both economic reason and economic experience.
(For the economists statement on John McCain’s economic program, continue reading:)

A new survey from Chief Executive magazine found that 74% of CEOs fear that an Obama presidency would be disastrous for the country.” The survey found some CEOs worried that if implemented [Obama's] programs would bankrupt the country within three years”

The people who know something about creating jobs or creating problems for the economy have some important things to say.  It’s worthwhile listening to them.



Those Dratted CEO’s Get Way too Much Money! (or Do They?) by The Elephant's Child

Thomas Sowell had a wonderful column last week at National Review on CEO pay.  He began:

Congress is never more ridiculous than when it tries to look like it is serious.

In the midst of a major national financial crisis, what was one of the first things Congress zeroed in on? The pay of Chief Executive Officers of financial institutions.

If all those CEOs agreed to work for nothing, that would not be enough to lower the bailout money by one percent.  Anyone who was really serious would start with the 99 percent and let the one percent come later.

But however insignificant the pay of CEOs is economically, it is big stuff politically.  Whatever the shortcomings of the Democrats, they are consistent in their message and class envy is a great part of that message.

People who say that they cannot understand how CEOs in general get so many millions of dollars seem not to realize what a trivial thing they are saying.  Most people do not understand most things.  But that is no reason to have national policy guided by their ignorance. …

What really sets some people off is the fact that a CEO who has mismanaged some corporation into losing billions of dollars is rewarded with a severance package worth millions.

Think about it.  If the CEO’s decisions are costing the company billions, it is a bargain to get him out the door immediately for millions, rather than having his departure delayed by either internal struggles or battles in the courts….

Politically imposed limits on the pay of CEOs is one of the most penny-wise and pound-foolish things that can be done.  The difference between a top-notch CEO: and a second-rate CEO can be billions of dollars on the bottom line.

That is what drives up the pay of CEOs.  If you want someone who will be top-notch in running organizations as huge and complex as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there is no point offering $5 million a year if similar enterprises elsewhere are paying $20 million for people with the kind of ability required. [emphasis mine]

Do read the whole thing. It’s a great corrective for faulty thinking, and being honest, we all indulge in a lot of that. Clarifies a lot of the conversation about the “bailout” too. Not too many CEOs enjoy a very long tenure at their firms.



House Republicans Get It — McCain Campaign Doesn’t by American Elephant

The dynamics of this election have changed. Democrats get it, Obama and Biden get it, I am relieved to see that House Republicans get it, even Bill O’Reilly gets it — but John McCain and his campaign managers are apparently in serious, campaign-ending denial.

A couple weeks back, the real change Americans were seeking was an end to the poisonous partisanship that has overflowed Washington DC and now affects their personal lives. People across America were (and still are) sick to death, not so much of the war, or Bush policies, but of the venomous, vitriolic politics that have affected their everyday lives and relationships. The bitterness that has defined American politics ever since Democrats saw setbacks in the Iraq war as political opportunity for themselves.

McCain’s message of bi-partisanship served him well in that campaign atmosphere, but because of the financial crisis, things have changed drastically and the McCain campaign still hasn’t caught up.

What McCain doesn’t get, and will cost him the election if he doesn’t wise up, immediately, is that fingers SHOULD be pointed. Names SHOULD be named. Americans are FURIOUS! — reaching for the pitchforks and torches furious — and rightfully so. They know this crisis was avoidable and they want to know who is responsible.  They want to fire those responsible.

Democrats have already circled the wagons, they are already busy telling Americans that its all the fault of Bush, McCain and Republicans. In the absence of the truth that it is Democrat policies and Democrat corruption that caused this crisis, Americans will be left with no alternative but to believe Democrats lies. The shift in the polls towards Obama show that’s exactly what is happening.

I was optimistic yesterday when I saw Ace of Spades had put into words, what I had been cautiously hoping:

…I know what he’s doing.

John McCain is waiting until the bill passes.

And then he will unleash the dogs of war.

And he will say, “I stayed away from making these partisan attacks, even though you lied ridiculously about me and your own attempts at ‘reform.’ I held back, because partisan attacks — even truthful ones — would harm our country and reduce the chances of getting a vital bill passed.

“Well, the bill is now passed. I put country first. You didn’t, and you lied on top of that. And now — only now that this crisis has been dealt with, to the extent we can — I’m going to give you a bit of straight-talk about Fannie, Freddie, my attempts to reform it, and your attempts to block reform on behalf of your big donors and friends in ACORN.”

But US News’ blog Capital Commerce reports today that McCain apparently intends to keep on keeping-on with the same strategy that has resulted in an increasingly large lead for Barack Obama.

Let me put it as plainly as I can: the financial crisis has become THE issue that will decide the election. Americans will decide who is responsible based on the information they are given, and they will punish them by voting them out of office. Right now they are blaming Bush, Republicans and John McCain. If McCain doesn’t work forcefully to change this, he will lose.

I strongly urge everyone to call or email the McCain campaign and tell them they absolutely must fight back hard against Democrat lies, and they absolutely must explain to Americans that it is Democrat policy that foced lenders to make risky loans to people who otherwise wouldn’t qualify, and Democrats running Fannie Mae who encouraged banks to increase the amount of these loans they made while giving themselves millions in bonuses for it and Democrats in congress who blocked President Bush, John McCain and Republicans’ attempts to reform Fannie and Freddie  over a dozen times while using Fannie and Freddie as their personal campaign piggy banks.

Please call and write. The election will be decided on this. The RNCC video is PERFECT. Exactly what McCain needs to be doing every day.



John McCain Starts to Hit Back on Financial Crisis by American Elephant

It’s about TIME!

After weeks of Democrats disingenuously blaming the housing crisis on Republican policy and their supposed deregulation, John McCain is hitting back with a new ad proving that it was Republicans who have been pushing to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and corrupt Democrats who blocked the reforms.

If you’re like me, and you don’t live in a battleground state, chances are you haven’t seen these ads. And considering the media isn’t about to cover this election fairly, ads like these are one of the few places most Americans can get a glimpse of the other side of the story.

It’s a powerful ad — especially since it stars Bill Clinton. It could be even more hard-hitting, but its a good start. It’s a 60 second ad, which makes it more expensive to air. If you agree, email the McCain Campaign, and tell them you want more ads like this. (And if you can, contribute so they can afford it.)

A good ad giving a taste of how a McCain/Palin ticket would address economic problems with solid conservative principles:

And another new ad, directly taking on Obama’s policy proposals and his dishonest portrayal of them:

And lastly, a few ads that have been out for a while that I either didn’t see, or that bear repeating:







Caught on Video: Democrats in Their Own Words Blocking Fannie/Freddie Reforms by American Elephant

Republicans tried many times to regulate Fannie and Freddie. Democrats demonized and demagogued those calling for the regulations. Watch how they attack the Director of Oversight. Democrats said there was no problem. Democrats voted in complete party unison against reforms.

Here they are in their own words. See for yourself.

They were protecting their pet policy that caused this meltdown. They were protecting the Democrats who ran Fannie and Freddy. They were protecting their piggy bank.

They must be voted out of office.

Please share this video. Email it to friends and family. Post it. Send it to your favorite blogs.

(h/t VinceP)



Timeline Shows Bush, McCain, Republicans Warning Democrats of Financial Crisis by American Elephant

Another video explaining Democrats complicity in the financial crisis. Notice the alternative media are the only ones covering this most important story.  The most important story this election season and the “mainstream” media, desperate to drag Obama across the finish line at all costs, won’t cover it. Isn’t that the very definition of a lie of omission?

Please forward these videos and stories to the people you know — especially Democrats and independents — and ask them to forward them as well. Post them on your blog or myspace. Encourage others to circulate them. America seems poised to elect the very people who did this to our financial system so they can do it to our healthcare system and who knows what else.



Forgotten history, dredged up once again. by The Elephant's Child

As we wait to see what the Congress will do in addressing the mortgage crisis, it is worthwhile noting a little history.  The New York Times reported in 2003: ” New Agency Proposed to Oversee Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae”.

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies.  It would exercise authority over any new lines of business.  And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing risks of their ballooning portfolios.

The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt — is broken.  A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

“There is a general recognition that the supervisory system for housing-related government-sponsored enterprises neither has the tools, nor the stature, to deal effectively with the current size, complexity and importance of these enterprises,”Treasury Secretary John W. Snow told the House Financial Services Committee in an appearance with Housing Secretary Mel Martinez, who also backed the plan.

Mr. Snow said that Congress should eliminate the power of the president to appoint directors to the companies, a sign that the administration is less concerned about the perks of patronage than it is about the potential political problems associated with any new difficulties arising at the companies.

Do read the whole article.  This is a real crisis, though it is mostly confined to the housing and financial sectors of the economy. It’s important to do your homework, and understand what it’s about.

The debate is very much up in the air.  Economists are begging for a “clean” bill, free of extraneous language. Democrats are anxious for Government to take over financial organizations, and relieve everyone of any liability for their bad decisions, and Socialize our form of government. 

They want to bail out homeowners whose mortgages are in default, people who owe too much on their credit cards, and promise any other goodies that may help Democrats to get reelected.

Obama’s understanding of this financial crisis is very shallow. He is more interested in protecting those who bought more house than they could afford.  He is unaware that raising taxes on an economy in trouble is not the best idea, for the government may need more money.  But, he says, a new President will take over in 40 days.  Um, January 20, Mr. Obama.

He is anxious to blame everything on President Bush, for much of his campaign appeal has been to attempt to portray the Bush economy as “terrible”, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.  The Bush tax cuts have been wildly successful, enabling the economy to shrug off the damages of 9/11, the War in the Mideast, and Katrina.  And even in the current trouble, the underlying economy remains strong.



Market Meltdown Explained. by The Elephant's Child

It is always wise to consult more than one source. Experts will differ in their conclusions, and will express the problem differently, so listening to several experts will help your understanding.

(h/t: The Daily Bayonet)



Bush and McCain each tried to reform Fannie Mae. Democrats Blocked them both times. by The Elephant's Child

First from the New York Times: Note the date!

September 11, 2003– The Bush Administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry,

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies.  It would exercise authority over any new lines of business.  And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt — is broken.  A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

From the Congressional Record: Again, Note the Date!

FEDERAL HOUSING ENTERPRISE REGULATOR REFORM ACT OF 2005
The United States Senate, May 25, 2006

Sen. John McCain [R-AZ]:  Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives.  In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets.  The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac. …

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

Democrats blocked both attempts to reform Fannie Mae.

Thanks to Sweetness &Light which has printed these two articles in full.

Barack Obama is out trying to blame this all on the Bush Administration, as usual, and scare people as much as he can, — so that he can promise to “rescue” them.  But his solutions are the worst possible, and his speeches are irresponsible.

First Trust economists note that:

The most important thing to remember is that the emphasis belongs on the word financial. These financial market problems are not a result of general market weakness, otherwise known as a recession.  In fact, real GDP has grown 2.2% in the past year and accelerated to a 3.3% annualized growth rate in the second quarter.

The economy is not taking down investment banks; lousy lending standards and the excessive use of leverage are taking down investment banks.

This whole thing had its’ beginnings in a well-intentioned law during the Carter Administration, The Community Redevelopment Act, which was designed to encourage minority homeownership.  President Clinton, influenced by multiculturalism, encouraged it further by dictating where mortgage lenders could lend.  Tough new regulations required that lenders increase their lending in high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make loans that sound business practices had previously rejected.  Clinton cronies Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick became multimillionaires through their supervision of the quasi-governmental agencies that came to manage the real estate market in America.

Low interest rates in the marketplace persuaded Investment banks to purchase packages of sub-prime loans, and risky decisions and a little greed, of course, let them use too much leverage.

This is not the first time that Investment Banks have failed and disappeared. E.F. Hutton, Goodbody & Company, and Kidder Peabody are three of the vanished.  Today’s Investment Banks did not do anything against the law, they just exercised bad business judgment.

Unemployment in the economy is largely confined to the housing crisis with home builders and related trades suffering, as well as the auto industry and related trades and now there will be some investment bankers on the unemployment line.

They are in trouble because they are affected by unfortunate laws made by a Congress that does not always understand what they do. Remember that most congressmen never read the bills that they sign. Congress has long been inclined to well-intentioned regulation to help the poor and save the planet.  They fall in love with the goals, and never consider or learn about the consequences of what they do.

It seems kind to help a poor family get into a house larger than they can really afford, with less of a down payment, but it isn’t really kind.  Kindness would be helping them to learn how to work hard and save their money, and how to move up to better jobs. Government can make it easier for private industry to build smaller, more affordable houses, without telling them what kind of houses to build, where to build them and under what qualifications to sell them.

The great problem with Socialism is their pursuit of “social justice”.  They believe that they can make the poor — not poor — by taking money from the well-to-do and giving it to the poor.  Never works.  Though there is extraordinary mobility in our society, those who are induced into dependency on government are inclined to lose that mobility.

Barack Obama, in all his economic plans, is extraordinarily invested in the pursuit of “social justice”. That should be a serious warning.




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