American Elephants


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)



Who is Responsible for the Fannie/Freddie Mess? by American Elephant

Yes! Democrats are up to their eyeballs in this crisis. Republicans warned about it, Republicans tried numerous times to do something about it, Democrats blocked them every time!

What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.

If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.

But the bill didn’t become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn’t even get the Senate to vote on the matter. We now know that many of the senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years. [read the whole thing]

This is important. Polls show Americans currently favor the very same Democrats who got us into this mess to get us out of it. The very same Democrats who promise more of the same, who promise to do the exact same thing to healthcare.

But polls also show 18% of voters are undecided. Dems are furiously telling them that capitalism, and the same Republicans who tried to reform Fannie and Freddie are the ones responsible for this crisis. Now is the time to make sure they get accurate information.

(h/t Powerline)



Democrats will let the offshore drilling ban expire, or will they? by The Elephant's Child
September 23, 2008, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats will allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week.

Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey is telling reporters that language continuing the moratorium will be omitted this year from a spending bill to keep the government in operating funds after Congress recesses for the election.

Republicans have made lifting the ban a key campaign issue after gasoline prices soared beyond $4 a gallon this summer and public opinion turned in favor of more drilling.  President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling in July.

The Interior Department estimates there are 18 billion barrels of recoverable oil beneath coastal waters now off-limits.

This is good news, but there is still a long rocky road on the way to actually drilling for oil.

The real problem is that environmental groups seem to believe that “alternative energy” can replace fossil fuels if they just shut off access to oil and gas.  Wind and solar may never make a significant contribution to our energy needs.  Biofuels have already significantly raised the price of food, and caused food riots in the developing world.

There are many promising technologies on the horizon, but they are far, far from ready for the market.  The idea seems to be  — and I am just guessing here — that if they just force us to develop alternative energy by bringing us close to freezing and starving, then we will pay attention and do what they want. That’s why they talk about “Marshall Plans” and “Apollo Projects” without any understanding of the difference between those programs and our present situation.

Call it the “Energy Gap”. Environmental organizations see “Global Warming” as their best chance to bring about the Utopian vision that is their goal which has much more to do with “social justice” and who is in control than with clean air and water.

England is now facing the Energy Gap.  Their power structure is supposed to be shut down and replaced within the next 12 years, but the Greens are fighting any attempt to replace it, except with wind and solar.  The climate stopped warming about 10 years ago, and has actually been cooling for the past 7 years.  The sun has gone quiet, without sunspots for over a month.  Many scientists believe that we are in for 20 to 30 years of cooling, at least.

Colder weather means greater energy needs.  Colder weather means poorer agricultural yields. Far more people die from cold weather than from heat.  Prudence says that you do what you can to prepare for the worst.

But true believers are not about to let prudence interfere with the possibility of permanently getting rid of evil, dirty oil and gas.  It’s a strange mindset.

And if the whole basis of their argument is phony?  If CO2 is not responsible for climate change? If all the fuss is for nothing because climate change is a natural process that has been going on for centuries?  What if there is nothing that we can do that will actually affect climate?  What if it was all a lie?  What then?

According to Rasmussen Reports, 69% of voters support offshore oil drilling.  Clearly that means the Democrats have decided that they must be responsive to voters, right?  Well, never mind.

Nancy Pelosi is not going to miss a chance to mess things up some more.  She is trying to attach her “Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act” (a euphemism if there ever was one) to the massive end-of-the-fiscal-year “continuing resolution to sneak it into law.

In spite of the charming name, there is no consumer protection in it.  Instead it actually bans drilling in any places where we know there is oil or gas.  It prohibits drilling within 50 miles of the coast, and prohibits drilling off her own precious California coast.  Under the bill, legislatures would have to approve drilling off the state coast in legislation separate from acts of Congress.  No encouragement for nuclear.  And it will raise oil prices by taxing oil companies to the hilt.  More subsidies, of course, for “alternative energy”.  Sneaky doesn’t even begin to describe it.

If you want to get something done, you’re going to have to elect a different Congress.



Short on manners, long on politics. by The Elephant's Child

President Alvaro Uribe of Columbia came to Washington this week to plead for a free trade pact.  He didn’t come asking for very much — only that Congress keep its word on an agreement that will drop tariffs on American goods sold in Columbia.  Columbia is perhaps the most valuable ally that America has ever had in Latin America. 

President Uribe is looking for  a chance to help his country develop as a democracy and prosper in a difficult region. The main result of the free trade agreement would be an increase in investments in his country, and an opportunity for America to sell more to Columbia.  The more Columbia is allowed to develop and increase legal investment, the more it will help them to defeat terrorist groups and illegal drugs. 

Last July, Columbia put its’ own men in harm’s way in a daring rescue of three Americans held hostage by FARC Marxist terrorists.  For that, somebody should get a medal, let alone a trade agreement. 

Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who killed the free trade deal last April, refused to meet Uribe, and did not even acknowledge a White House invitation to an event in his honor.  Later, her staff complained that Uribe did not call her. 

Pelosi has offered a variety of excuses, but the motive seems to be paying attention to the demands of Big Labor at election time. Harry Reid, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson, supposed Latin experts, seemed unaware of the message that their treatment of Uribe sent to the region.

But Governor Sarah Palin, who is supposed to be a foreign policy lightweight, asked to meet with Uribe on Tuesday in New York.  Way to go, Sarah.  At least someone knows how to behave when an important leader comes to our country. And she puts our country’s interests ahead of politics, as well.



Obama promises wonders that he cannot deliver. by The Elephant's Child

Obama embarrassed himself by claiming in a recent campaign ad that John McCain was behind the times because he didn’t use email.  Technologically inept.  And of course the former bomber pilot and chairman of the Senate Telecommunications subcommittee — who is considered the most technologically informed member of the Senate — wouldn’t know about something like email.  As Obama becomes more desperate, his attack ads are more poorly conceived.

James Taranto calls attention to a new Obama campaign ad in “Best of the Web” in the Wall Street Journal:

A new television ad released Wednesday by Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign highlights the closure of Corning Inc.’s plant in State College, Pa., and accuses Washington with Sen. John McCain’s help of selling out the workers, the Associated Press reports.

So what did Corning make at the plant? The ad does not say,… but the AP story does: “glass tubes for television sets and computer monitors.”

It’s hard to remember now, but in the olden days TV sets and computer monitors used a technology called cathode ray tubes.  A CRT consisted of an electron gun that projects an image onto a fluorescent screen.  In most cases the gun had to be some distance from the screen, with the entire assembly  enclosed in glass, which meant that TVs were bulky and boxy (hence the term “idiot box”).

In modern times, the CRT has given way to superior technologies such as plasma and liquid crystal, which take up less space and provide superior picture quality.  This is an enormous blessing to all Americans who watch TV or use computers.

Now who is behind the times?  As Mr. Taranto says: “It’s hard to imagine a more backward-looking position than mourning the decline of the picture-tube industry.”

It is hard on workers when the advance of technology makes their jobs obsolete. An industrial plant designed to manufacture an obsolete product often has little choice but to close.

There is no question that technological change has speeded up.  The average person will change their job many times in their lifetime, and they must be prepared for it.  Not even the mighty government can prepare each individual for the change that may happen in our world.

Obama has spent a lot of time on the campaign trail claiming that Government should keep plants from closing (obsolete plants?), and prevent industry from outsourcing jobs (that cannot be profitably done in this country?).  He does not explain how he is going to make this populist horse hockey work.  He’s going to have taxpayers underwrite a plant that makes obsolete products? Products that cannot be sold? He’s going to have the government take over the plant? He’s going to order some other manufacturer to take over the plant?  Sounds reminiscent of the Soviet plants that made all left shoes.  And production of goods that cannot be made profitably in the US is going to be forced to be made here by Government?  Are taxpayers going to be forced to underwrite that production or are we going to raise tariffs so high that consumers have no choice but to buy goods that are vastly more expensive than they would be otherwise?  Which is simply a different way for taxpayers to underwrite production.  Of course he doesn’t say.  He offers only “hope”.  “Yes we can.”

Obama is just practicing an old, old socialist trick.  Elect me and I will keep bad things from happening.  Elect me and I will make government (taxpayers) fix things for you.  Empty promises for folks who want to believe. There is neither hope nor change here. He is promising things that he cannot deliver without transforming our economy into a socialist “paradise”, and socialist paradises not only don’t work, but there is one hell of a lot of misery involved.



We may be in for 20 or 30 years of increasingly cold weather. by The Elephant's Child

It is helpful to keep an eye on Britain, for many of the problems that they currently face are problems that we could face in the near future.  An important example is the extent to which Britain has indulged Green  notions in British climate and energy policy.

Britain’s old electricity generating nuclear and coal fired power stations, which generate a third of the country’s energy, are due to close down in the next twelve years. The current political situation makes it difficult to rely on imported gas or oil.  Professor Ian Fells, emeritus professor of Energy Conversion at the University of Newcastle, and a noted expert on nuclear energy, has said that Britain will face regular power cuts lasting long enough to delay operations in hospitals, close down schools and bring cities to a standstill.

Professor Fells says that “Security of energy supply must be seen as taking priority over everything else, even climate change.”  His September 17th report, commissioned by industrialist Andrew Cook, said that renewables will not fill the impending energy gap, so old nuclear and coal plants must be kept going while new ones are built urgently.

Environmentalists were outraged at the recommendations in the report.  Greenpeace chief scientist Doug Parr said “Professor Fells has a long standing love affair with the technologies of the 20th century, but as time goes by his fetish for coal and nuclear power looks increasingly naive.”

That simple exchange, complete with sneers and outrage, succinctly describes the current state of affairs in Britain.  Unfortunately, it is not too far from the current situation in our own congress.

It is hard to tell just what lurks in the mind of a leftist.  Are they convinced that if we do not stop producing carbon dioxide — the colorless, odorless gas that we exhale every time we breathe, one of the essentials of life — the planet will suddenly heat up beyond our capacity to endure?  Are they totally unaware that it stopped warming ten years ago, and has actually been cooling for seven years?

The sun has gone quiet.  No sunspots for over a month.  Scientists have shown that what warming there has been over the past century correlates closely with the activity of the sun.  But environmentalists are not interested in the sun, they are interested in SUVs.

The lack of environmental interest in recent studies in climate change is notable. It suggests that they are not nearly as interested in climate change as they claim to be.

Power can be generated by windmills when the wind blows at the right speed.  When the wind is too strong, or too weak, or doesn’t blow at all, which is frequent, that wind power must be backed up by some other form of energy.  Natural gas is the most desirable, because it can be shut off quickly when the wind starts blowing again. But natural gas is a fossil fuel, and to obtain it, you must drill.

Windmills chew up a fair number of birds and bats, arms break and fly off — there are all kinds of details that just don’t get discussed.  In many places more energy is needed in the summer when air conditioners are running full tilt. The wind blows more in the winter. In America, only a tiny percentage of electricity demand is generated by wind.  But, as they say, hope springs eternal.

The problem is that more people die from cold than from heat.  And England can get very cold.  Oh well. It will all work out, won’t it?



ABC: Obama Lying/Race-Baiting in Two Languages by American Elephant

While Obama runs around the country claiming a McCain ad, that is comletely true, lies about his support for teaching sex-ed to kindergarteners, he is running a Spanish language ad in Colorado and other markets that is truly audacious in it’s dishonesty and race-baiting.

You may have heard about the ad: Obama tries to smear McCain with quotes from Rush Limbaugh. The problem? McCain and Rush had opposing views on immigration to begin with, and Obama was taking Rush completely out of context to begin with. Far from telling Mexicans to get out, Rush was paraphrasing Mexican immigration policy!

ABC’s Jake Tapper puts the lie to Obama’s repugnant ad:

There are some real factual problems with this ad, which is titled “Dos Caras,” or two faces.

First of all, tying Sen. McCain – especially on the issue of immigration reform – to Limbaugh is unfair.

Limbaugh opposed McCain on that issue. Vociferously. And in a larger sense, it’s unfair to link McCain to Limbaugh on a host of issues since Limbaugh, as any even occasional listener of his knows, doesn’t particularly care for McCain.

Second, the quotes of Limbaugh’s are out of context.

Railing against NAFTA in 1993, Limbaugh said, “If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south. Skilled workers, educated people are going to do fine ’cause those are the kinds of jobs NAFTA is going to create. If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people, I’m serious, let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do — let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work.”

Not one of his most eloquent moments, to be sure, but his larger point was that NAFTA would mean that unskilled stupid Mexicans would be doing the jobs of unskilled stupid Americans.

I’m not going to defend how he said it, but to act as if this was just a moment of Limbaugh slurring Mexicans is not accurate. Though again, certainly if people were offended I could understand why.

The second quote is totally unfair. In 2006, Limbaugh was mocking Mexican law, and he wrote:

“How do you say ‘double standard’ in Spanish? How about: ‘No mas!’”

“Everybody’s making immigration proposals these days. Let me add mine to the mix. Call it The Limbaugh Laws:

“First: If you immigrate to our country, you have to speak the native language. You have to be a professional or an investor; no unskilled workers allowed. Also, there will be no special bilingual programs in the schools with the Limbaugh Laws. No special ballots for elections. No government business will be conducted in your language. Foreigners will not have the right to vote or hold political office.

“If you’re in our country, you cannot be a burden to taxpayers. You are not entitled to welfare, food stamps, or other government goodies. You can come if you invest here: an amount equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage. If not, stay home. But if you want to buy land, it’ll be restricted. No waterfront, for instance. As a foreigner, you must relinquish individual rights to the property.

“And another thing: You don’t have the right to protest. You’re allowed no demonstrations, no foreign flag waving, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our President or his policies. You’re a foreigner: shut your mouth or get out! And if you come here illegally, you’re going to jail.

“You think the Limbaugh Laws are harsh? Well, every one of the laws I just mentioned are actual laws of Mexico today! That’ how the Mexican government handles immigrants to their country. Yet Mexicans come here illegally and protest in our streets!

But even if one is uninclined to see Limbaugh’s quotes as having been taken unfairly out of context, linking them to McCain makes as much sense as running a quote from Bill Maher and linking it to Obama. [read more]

Tapper concludes:

…McCain has changed his rhetoric and his emphasis when discussing immigration after almost losing the GOP presidential nomination because of it.

He now says the borders must be secured before anything else happens. And in that, he’s opened himself up to charges of flip-flopping, though the Obama campaign is quoting him selectively and unfairly to make their points.

The greater implication the ad makes, however, is that McCain is no friend to Latinos at all, beyond issues of funding the DREAM act or how NCLB money is distributed. By linking McCain to Limbaugh’s quotes, twisting Limbaugh’s quotes, and tying McCain to more extremist anti-immigration voices, the Obama campaign has crossed a line into misleading the viewers of its new TV ad. In Spanish, the word is erróneo. [read the whole thing]

Of course this is much worse than trying to link Obama to a quote by Bill Maher, there is no evidence that Obama and Maher disagree to any significant extent, whereas Limbaugh is constantly criticizing McCain, and vice versa. And Obama was not linking McCain to what Rush said, he was linking McCain to lies about what Rush said.

But Kudos still go to Tapper for calling Obama on this truly repugnant, race-baiting ad.



DNC Member Who Helped Write Obama’s Party Platform Endorses McCain! by American Elephant

ARLINGTON, VA — Today the McCain-Palin campaign announced the endorsement of Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter and member of the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee.

“In an election as important as this, we must choose the candidate who has a proven record of bipartisanship and reforming government, and that’s John McCain,” Rothschild said. “We can’t afford a president who lacks experience and judgment and has never crossed party lines to work for meaningful reform. Amid tough economic times and foreign policy concerns, we need someone who is ready to lead. Although I am a Democrat, I recognize that it’s more important to put country ahead of party and that’s why I support John McCain.”

Rothschild, an attorney and businesswoman, supported Sen. Clinton during the Democratic primaries. She will campaign for Sen. McCain through Election Day.

I heard Rothschild explain today that while she has been a lifelong Democrat, she cannot believe how far left Obama has taken the party. I believe she called him a socialist and said the MoveOn.org crowd is in charge of the party.

Let’s hope more responsible Democrats and Independents wake up to what he is proposing before it’s too late.



McCain Blasts Obama’s Lies/Corruption by American Elephant

Democrats twice block both McCain and President Bush’s attempts to reform Fannnie Mae, Obama takes unprecedented sums from same, appoints the man responsible for the meltdown as chief advisor, while Democrats are raking in money hand over fist, both in congress and at the helm of Fannie Mae. McCain has come out swinging. I hope we see lots more of this, including lots of commercials, with ALL the damning details:

And as long as he’s on the topic of Babs Streisand, let’s just throw this classic in for some much needed comic relief:

(ht: Vince)



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.



Obama’s Statements Are Raising Some Huge Questions. by The Elephant's Child
September 17, 2008, 7:14 pm
Filed under: Iraq, Military, Terrorism, The Constitution | Tags: , ,

The Obama campaign objected to the article from Amir Taheri that I quote  in the article below. The campaign’s response says that Taheri’s article was “filled with distortions”, but their rebuttal centers on a technical point: the differences between two Iraqi-US accords that are being negotiated — the Status of Forces Agreement which will set rules governing US military personnel in Iraq (SOFA) and the Strategic Framework Agreement, to settle the legal basis for the US military presence in Iraq in the years ahead (SFA).

One agreement cannot be settled without the other, for the two are interlinked. The Obama campaign waffles and misconstrues, but the record ends up confirming just what Taheri suggested in his article:

Obama preferred to have no agreement on US troop withdrawals until a new administration took office in Washington.

Obama has changed position on another key issue.  In [an] NBC report, he pretends that US troops do not have a  “clear mandate.” Now, however, he admits that there is a clear mandate from the UN Security Council and that he’d have no objection to extending it pending a bilateral Iraq-US agreement.

This may seem technical, but it is important to understand.  Obama is merely a candidate for the office of President of the United States.  He has no authority and no right to pretend to any. Senators don’t get to run around the world trying to make policy. Democrats seem to have lost a sense of the constitution, and what rights are given to what branch of the government.  Former presidents have no business going around the world making foreign policy speeches.  Candidates who claim expertise in constitutional law should know better.  It should be an election changing error on Obama’s part.

Obama has demonstrated a great lack of understanding of American foreign policy, of our position in the world, and of our responsibilities and challenges.  His claim that he knows more about foreign policy than his opponents because he lived in Indonesia when he was 6 to 10 and has relatives in Africa is laughable. He sneered at senatorial trips abroad when they met with government officials, as unimportant, yet is with governmental officials that the American government must deal.  In his own meetings with foreign officials, as in the case of Iraqi officials he seems more interested in using them to further his ambitions than in learning from them.

In a long interview with the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, [Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar] Zebari says’ “Obama asked my why, in view of the closeness of a change of administration, we were hurrying the signing of this special agreement, and why we did not wait until the coming of the new administration next year ang agree on some issues and matters.”

Again, note that Zebari mentions a single set of agreements, encompasssing both SFA and SOFA. Zebari continues’ “I told Obama that, as an Iraqi, I believe that even if there is a Democratic administration in the White House it had better continue the present policy instead of wasting a lot of time thinking what to do.”

He now talks of “the prospect of lasting success,” perhaps hoping that his own administration would inherit the kudos…He has even abandoned his earlier claim that toppling Saddam Hussein was “illegal” and admits that the US-led coalition’s presence in Iraq has a legal framework in the shape of the UN mandate.

In other words, Obama was trying to derail current US policy, whild Zebari was urging him not to “waste time.”

…Obama no longer talks of “withdrawal” but of “redeployment” and “drawdown” — which is exactly what is happening now.

While I am encouraed by the senator’s evolution, I must also appeal to him to issue a “cease and desist” plea to the battalions of his sympathizers — who have been threatening me with death and worse in the days since my article appeared.

Obama’s ambitions have run away with him, and his desires exceed his knowledge of the office he seeks.  It is very important to look closely at his claims and his promises , and consider what the facts are and if his promises hold water.  They don’t.




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