Sunday, September 28, 2008

Housing Crash: Karl Rove partly to blame???

Steve Sailer makes his case:

Last week, the mainstream conservative punditry finally picked up an idea I had first put forward in August 2007 (and developed with more detail last June): that an underestimated factor in the financial crisis set off by the mortgage meltdown is our reigning ideology of multiculturalism and diversity.

In other words, this is a minority mortgage meltdown—and it may trigger a Diversity Recession.
There's one man, however, who has so far escaped any blame. Few have realized something that turns out to have been staring us in the face all along: that the mortgage mess was, in sizable measure, an outgrowth of the primary political goal of the Bush Administration.

That man's name is Karl Rove.

And the primary political goal of President George W. Bush's political strategist: to bring Hispanics into the Republican Party.

As you'll recall, Rove's best-known tactic to appeal to Latino voters was repeatedly pushing "comprehensive immigration reform" (i.e., an amnesty for illegal immigrants).

Rove, though, had other arrows in his quiver. One was a plan to turn Hispanics into Republicans by providing them with loose credit so they could become homeowners. (Rove's belief that there's a connection between being able to afford a home and voting Republican is not totally irrational. As I've documented, since 2004 states with higher degrees of "affordable family formation" do vote Republican more than states where people can less afford to buy houses. That's why the Republican "Red States" tend to be inland, where land for housing is abundant and cheap, while Democratic "Blue States" tend to be expensive because oceans or Great Lakes restrict suburban expansion.)

As part of this plan, George W. Bush made several speeches rallying enthusiasm for his October 15, 2002 White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership. For instance, there was his classic Bushian effort on June 18, 2002:

"The goal is, everybody who wants to own a home has got a shot at doing so. The problem is we have what we call a homeownership gap in America. Three-quarters of Anglos own their homes, and yet less than 50 percent of African Americans and Hispanics own homes. … So I've set this goal for the country. We want 5.5 million more homeowners by 2010—million more minority homeowners by 2010. (Applause.) … "

The five and a half million marginal minority homeowners that Bush bunglingly called for is a big number. At a mortgage of, say, $127,000 each, that would add up to, let me check my calculator, oh…

$700 billion—the size of the current bailout. Well, whaddaya know …

Bush rattled on:
"I'm going to do my part by setting the goal, by reminding people of the goal, by heralding the goal, and by calling people into action, both the federal level, state level, local level, and in the private sector. (Applause.) …“And so what are the barriers that we can deal with here in Washington?"

Well, there’s one obvious barrier to minority homeownership: many American minorities don't earn enough money to be able to afford their own home.

You might think, therefore, that the way to help minorities make higher wages would be to alleviate competition for their jobs by cracking down on legal and illegal immigration. Especially because illegal immigration is, well, illegal. And that's what the Chief Executive gets paid to do—enforce laws.

Nevertheless, Bush and Rove apparently hoped that amnestying illegal immigrants would win over Hispanic citizens, so they did almost nothing about illegal immigration (other than trying to legalize it, of course) until an outraged public forced their hands in the last couple of years.

Bush and Rove didn't have a plan for helping minorities earn more. Instead, they had a plan for helping minorities borrow more.

Bush went on in his June 18th speech:

"Well, probably the single barrier to first-time homeownership is high down payments. "


Traditional standards requiring "high down payments" existed for, as we see now, very good reasons. Being able to pony up 20 percent, or even just 10 percent, was cold, hard evidence of borrowers' credit-worthiness. It showed you hadn't spent every penny you ever earned. And a big down payment meant you instantly had substantial skin in the game. That you had paid out tens of thousands of dollars meant you were likely to do whatever it took to avoid losing your house by failing to pay off the loan.

To Bush and Rove, however, old-fashioned down payments were just keeping minorities from their fair share of the American Dream. Bush burbled on:

"People take a look at the down payment, they say that's too high, I'm not buying. They may have the desire to buy, but they don't have the wherewithal to handle the down payment. We can deal with that. And so I've asked Congress to fully fund an American Dream down payment fund which will help a low-income family to qualify to buy, to buy. (Applause.)

We believe when this fund is fully funded and properly administered, which it will be under the Bush administration, that over 40,000 families a year—40,000 families a year—will be able to realize the dream we want them to be able to realize, and that's owning their own home. (Applause.)"

If you do the arithmetic, you'll see that Bush's silly little American Dream slush fund for subsidizing 40,000 families per year would take, not the eight years Bush promised to add 5,500,000 minority households to the ranks of homeowners, but 137.5 years. But, obviously, subsidizing all 5.5 million new minority homeowners out of the taxpayers' money would be so insanely expensive that white voters would rebel.

No, it had to be done on the sly, through the magic of fractional reserve banking, which, as the Federal Reserve notes, "permits the banking system to 'create' money." By taking more risks, by handing out more mortgages to likely deadbeats, the financial system could simply "create" the cost of 5.5 million homes for minorities.
(Thomas Allen wrote a must-read article on Fannie Mae's push for more—and more dubious—lending to immigrants way back in 2004.)

In December 2003, when signing the American Dream Downpayment Act, Bush bragged:

 "Last year I set a goal to add 5.5 million new minority homeowners in America by the end of the decade. That is an attainable goal; that is an essential goal. And we're making progress toward that goal. In the past 18 months, more than 1 million minority families have become homeowners. (Applause.) And there's more that we can do to achieve the goal. The law I sign today will help us build on this progress in a very practical way."

What was truly significant about Bush's 2002 speeches (including the doozy he delivered on October 15, 2002 at his White House conference, which you should read for the schadenfreude alone) was not the legislation he endorsed—but the unsubtle message he was sending to lenders and, most importantly, to his own employees, the federal regulators.

Bush made clear at his October 15, 2002 conference that he opposed not merely discriminating against borrowers who might turn out to be bad credit risks—he wanted more money to go to documented bad credit risks. He brayed:

 "Freddie Mac recently began 25 initiatives around the country to dismantle barriers and create greater opportunities for homeownership. One of the programs is designed to help deserving families who have bad credit histories to qualify for homeownership loans."

Let's put Bush's influence in perspective. I'm not saying that financial institutions would intentionally make hundreds of billions of dollars worth of bad loans just on the President's say-so. But what I am saying is that federal employees, such as financial regulators, do listen closely to what the Chief Executive says about what he wants done regarding those iffy loans.

Let's review: As long as the federal government ends up bailing out lenders, financial regulation is a necessity.

Lenders like to lend. That's what they do. That, typically, is for what they get paid bonuses.

Overly exuberant lending, unfortunately, leads to financial crises. And taxpayers and savers always seem to wind up paying to resolve them, either through formal programs like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or through ad hoc bailouts (of which we've seen so many in 2008).

Thus, since the government is on the hook for excessive lending, the government regulates lending.

The job of these federal regulators is to "take away the punchbowl just as the party gets going," as former Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin said long ago.

In his many speeches on minority housing, however, President Bush was telling his underlings to keep their hands off the punchbowl. Heck, maybe the regulators should add another bottle of Everclear just to be hospitable.

And if private lenders started worrying that giving mortgages to dubious credit risks could backfire on them, Bush's speeches could be read as hinting that his Administration would try to help them out, to the tune of, say, $700 billion.
This orchestrated push for more minority homeownership wasn't some random caprice of the President. It was part of the master plan of his political Svengali, Karl Rove. As Rove told every reporter who would listen in 2000 and 2001, Bush was supposed to be the new William McKinley, whose 1896 campaign manager Mark Hanna had figured out how to build a Republican coalition combining the business interests with (some) new immigrants to make the Republicans dominant until the Great Depression.

In 1999, the Washington Post reported on the McKinley Mania launched by Rove in Republicans Admire Bill … McKinley, That Is:

"Marshall Wittmann of the conservative Heritage Foundation explains: '1896 was the year that McKinley and Hanna tried to redefine the Republican Party. Instead of rehashing Reconstruction and the Civil War, McKinley offered an appealing image to new immigrants, rising entrepreneurs and working folks.

“'The theory of the Bush campaign,' Wittmann continues, 'with the slogan of 'compassionate conservatism,' is to similarly expand the base of the Republican Party, specifically by appealing to minorities and more centrist voters.'"

In 2001, for example, Rove told reporter Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times:

"If you're a Mexican-American … if Mel Martinez comes to town and talks about his life story and this administration's policies to encourage homeownership, and you hear Bush talking a tax cut, education and leaving no child behind, and he's seen with Fox, and the first place he goes when in Europe is Spain—you say, 'Hey, Bush gets it. Our community is important to this guy.'"

Before the 2004 election, Rove boasted:

"[T]here are more people owning homes—particularly in the Hispanic and African-American communities—than ever before. This is a result of wise policies instituted at just the right time."

At the height of the housing bubble, on Mayday 2007, the day of planned pro-amnesty marches, Rove's protégé, Ken Mehlman, the campaign manager (under Rove's guidance) of Bush-Cheney 2004, wrote of how the GOP was wooing Hispanics:

 "There are several steps we can take to ensure that America's fastest-growing and most conservative voter bloc joins the GOP. …Home ownership has always been an important element of the American Dream, and Hispanic-Americans have made enormous progress thanks to the hard work of many families and the innovative policies of the president. Hispanic home ownership is at an all-time high with 50 percent of Hispanics owning their homes."

And these increases in minority homeownership due to government initiatives going back decades were true … temporarily.

But now minority homeownership rates appear to be falling as foreclosures hit Hispanics and blacks harder than whites and Asians. [Foreclosure Activity Increases 12 Percent In August, RealtyTrac.comSept. 12, 2008]

Foreclosures appear to be one of the few things in America not tracked directly by race. But the circumstantial evidence that blacks and Hispanics account for a disproportionate share is agreed upon by all who have looked into the question closely.

This map from RealtyTrac shows that the foreclosure disaster is largely regional. There are high rates of foreclosure in states such as Georgia and New Jersey, but the two main default dumps are the Midwestern Rustbelt and the heavily Hispanic Sunbelt.

The first regional meltdown is centered in Detroit, where the auto industry is perpetually dwindling. It's hitting black neighborhoods particularly hard.
Yet the Rust Belt default catastrophe is dwarfed by what's happened in California, along with its neighbors Arizona and Nevada, and in Florida. And this is much more of a self-inflicted wound, occurring in seemingly prosperous places where immigrants have flooded in.
As of August 2008, California alone, with 12 percent of the national population, accounted for 29 percent of all foreclosures. Add in the two California wannabes, Nevada and Arizona, and states with just 15 percent of the population are responsible for 36 percent of the foreclosures. Add in Florida, and four states with 21 percent of the population are home to half the foreclosures.

This is not to say that Hispanics account for most of the defaults in those four states. Plenty of white speculators bought homes figuring they could rent them out to all the Latino laborers who had flocked across the border to build exurban homes. And other whites wanted to move to the exurbs to get their children out of public school systems overwhelmed by the children of illegal immigrants. (Notice the circularity of the economic logic of this decade—which Dennis Dale aptly calls “The Blunder Years”?)

The foreclosure rate per capita in California is 2.9 times that of the other 49 states. And because houses are so much more expensive in California than elsewhere, the tarnished Golden State by itself probably accounts for something approaching half of the value of all foreclosures in America. The median house price in California is currently about twice the national average. At the peak of the bubble was closer to triple the national average.

In defense of Bush and Rove, as Texans they may have had a misguided sense of the scale of what they were unleashing. Texas Republicans are prone to blame the limited supply of housing in California on Not In My Back Yard eco-politics used by homeowners to raise their home values and keep out undesirables. And some of that is true. But there are topographical reasons for limiting development in mountainous California—such as smog and traffic. They aren't easily understood on the Texas prairie. The result: in California, unlike in Texas, it takes many years for increases in housing supply to catch up to increases in demand. That's why the loose credit policies of the Bush years turned into higher home prices in California than in Texas.

To be precise, a Los Angeles home averaged 2.56 times the price of a Dallas home in 2001 and 4.69 times in 2005. Even in 2005, the median Dallas home only cost 2.8 times the local annual income, while the median Los Angeles home cost 12.7 times what the median Angeleno was making.

Most white pundits can't believe that minorities had an impact on the mortgage meltdown because they don't really grasp the number of minorities now in the country. After all, there aren't a lot of Hispanics at dinner parties in Georgetown and the Upper West Side. (At least, not sitting down.)

The National Association of Realtor's webpage entitled "Diversity Is Good Business" quantifies where we're headed. Minorities are expected to comprise 64 percent of the net new households over the next decade and 54 percent of first-time homeowners by 2010.

 USA Today reported in 2007:

 "Across the nation, black and Hispanic borrowers helped fuel a multiyear housing boom, accounting for 49% of the increase in homeowners from 1995 to 2005, says Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. But Hispanics and African-Americans were far more likely to leverage the American dream with subprime loans — higher-cost products for buyers with impaired credit — that are now going bad at an alarming rate. About 46% of Hispanics and 55% of blacks who took out purchase mortgages in 2005 got higher-cost loans, compared with about 17% of whites and Asians, according to Federal Reserve data."

In retrospect, it might have been less costly to the taxpayers and savers if the Bush Administration had just given every Hispanic voter in America a giant flat screen TV inscribed: "A gift from the Republican Party. Vote for George P. Bush Garnica for President in 2016!"

The only problem was that they just don't let you do that.

They do let you hand out racial preferences, but there are limitations. For example, you have to include African-Americans. Rove is not a stupid man (he's not as smart as he thinks he is, but he's not stupid). So he never thought the GOP had much chance to get black voters. Still, you can't just hand out affirmative action to your targeted immigrant group and exclude the descendents of slaves.

Worst of all, the Bush-Rove assault on credit standards meant that the white majority could qualify for doubtful debt, too.

White people sometimes get up in arms when the quotas get too obvious. Thus, it's often easier for politicians just to toss out all the standards, such as substantial down payments. And that often makes the effect more pervasive than if a straightforward quota had been used.

Attacking down payments and the like is the same as when the National Organization for Women protests as discriminatory against women a fire department making job applicants perform a minimum number of pull-ups to show they can carry unconscious smoke-inhalation victims out of burning buildings. One alternative is to impose upon yourself a simple quota of female firefighters (or, as they are known in the heroic New York Fire Department, "firewatchers"—there is a reason 343 firemen died on 9/11, but zero firewomen). At least with a quota you can keep your upper body strength test in order to still get strong men. Unfortunately, some fire departments respond by eliminating the strength test to stop N.O.W. from whining. That way, the fire department ends up hiring both women and men too weak to save your life.

 Similarly, the Bush jihad against traditional credit standards meant that not only more Hispanics and blacks could get loans they couldn't pay back—but more whites could, too.

Why didn't the financial institutions realize what was going on. Were they greedy?

Of course they were greedy. Greed is an omnipresent constant on Wall Street. Greed and fear, famously, drive the markets.
The relevant question is: Why wasn't greed balanced by fear? Why did the Wall Street financial engineers concoct a mountain of leverage on the back of the pebble of probability that these California mortgages would be paid off?

One reason is obvious: political correctness, enforced by anti-discrimination lawsuits. Expressing "prejudices" about the likelihood of protected minorities paying off loans violates anti-discrimination laws.
It's now legally dangerous to express fear in writing. Imagine that an executive in a financial firm had sent an email to a fellow executive saying:

"I see that the median home price in California is heading toward a half million bucks. Isn't California full of Mexicans? How can a bunch of poor Mexicans afford to pay off half million dollar mortgages once the price of homes stops going up and they can't refinance anymore. Aren't we headed for disaster in California if we don't go back to traditional credit standards?"

An email like that would wind up in the hands of plaintiffs' attorneys during discovery in discrimination lawsuits. The author would be fired. The CEO would have to go apologize to the National Council of La Raza and promise to give a whole bunch more zero down payment loans to people whose names end in Z.

You can only mutter heresies like that over drinks to close confidants.

Anyway, if you'd asked about how Californians could pay off their monster mortgages, you'd probably just hear that the firm's rocket scientists had taken everything into consideration in their immensely complicated calculations. They've got decades of data on California mortgages! What could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, one little thing had changed over the decades that the Wall Street quant jocks didn't include in their numbers: the Californians themselves.

The current average resident of California just doesn't have the same human capital as in the old days. In the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress test, California's 8th graders came in 49th out of the 50 states in reading. A United Way study recently found that 53 percent of the adult residents of Los Angeles are functionally illiterate in English.

If you stopped and thought about it, you might wonder how they would earn enough to pay back those massive mortgages. But stopping and thinking about the shortcomings of minorities is the road to legal ruin in modern corporate America.

In summary: for eight years, I've argued in that the Bush-Rove plan to convert a majority of Hispanics into Republicans would not work politically. (By the way, the latest poll of Hispanics in seven swing states shows Barack Obama with a 63-26 lead over John McAmnesty.)

Latinos, I've argued, will remain mostly conventional tax-and-spend Democrats. On average, they simply aren't going to make enough money to make it rational for them to switch to the party of cutting taxes and spending. The main reason they won't make enough money: they typically lack the human capital to earn enough.

But now, for similar reasons, Latinos have turned out to lack the earning power to pay off enough California-sized mortgages.

Still, never mind that political correctness has ignited this financial apocalypse.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Affirmative Action Housing Bust, Part 2

They like to blame "deregulation" for the subprime mortgage crash. But exactly WHO did the deregulating?

"Once your bank has lent you money to buy a house, it can't lend the money again until you pay it back. But if your bank sells your mortgage, it can make another loan right away. Without the secondary market, most of the funds for home mortgages would dry up.

Fannie and Freddie went broke because they bought billions of dollars worth of subprime mortgages, on which borrowers defaulted when the housing bubble popped. Fannie bought most of its bad mortgages from Countrywide Financial, whose CEO, Angelo Mozilo, gave sweetheart loans to senior executives of Fannie Mae.
President Bush proposed regulatory reforms in 2003, but Congress took no action. In 2005, John McCain and three other GOP senators proposed a strong reform bill. It died when Democrats threatened a filibuster. Democrats opposed reform in part because they feared it would mean fewer loans to poor people.

"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not facing any kind of financial crisis," Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) told the New York Times when the Bush bill was introduced. "The more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."

Democrats and some Republicans opposed reform in part because Fannie and Freddie were very good at greasing palms. Fannie has spent $170 million on lobbying since 1998 and $19.3 million on political contributions since 1990.

The principal recipient of Fannie Mae's largesse was Sen. Chris Dodd (D., Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. No. 2 was Barack Obama.

Mr. Dodd was also the second largest recipient in the Senate of contributions from Countrywide's political action committee and its employees, and the recipient of a home loan from Countrywide at well below market rates. The No. 1 senator on Countrywide's list? Barack Obama.

Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines was forced to resign in December, 2004, because of "accounting irregularities." The Washington Post reported July 16 that the Obama campaign has called Mr. Raines "seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters."

Mr. Obama appointed Mr. Raines' predecessor, James Johnson, as head of his vice presidential search committee until he also was implicated in "accounting irregularities," and it was revealed he'd received cut-rate loans from Countrywide.

Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker, head of Mr. Obama's finance committee, chaired the now-defunct Superior bank when it began to cook the books to conceal losses from subprime mortgages. The holding company her family owned collected $200 million in dividends on phony profits."

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Affirmative Action Housing Bust

It is amusing and infuriating at the same time when cretins like "Banking Queen" Barney Frank try to blame private lenders for the housing bust, when the private lenders were operating under the rules that creeps like Barney set up:

"The self-proclaimed angels in Washington will tell you they've been working tirelessly to expand the American dream of homeownership by making mortgages available to people unable to plunk down 20 percent on a house. Franklin Raines, the Clinton-appointed former head of Fannie Mae from 1998 to 2004, made it his top priority to make mortgages easier to get for people with poor credit, few assets and little money for a down payment.

The fine print to this noble intent was an ill-conceived loosening of standards. For instance, the Clinton administration reinterpreted the Jimmy Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act to politicize lending practices. Under the CRA, the government forced banks to prove they weren't "redlining" — i.e., discriminating against minorities — by approving loans to minorities and various left-wing "community group" shakedown artists whether they were bad risks or not. (A young Barack Obama got his start with exactly these sorts of groups.) Sen. Phil Gramm called it a vast extortion scheme against America's banks. Still, the banks were perfectly happy to pass the risky loans to Raines' Fannie Mae, which was happy to buy them up.

That's because Raines was transforming Fannie Mae from a boring but stable financial institution dedicated to making homes more affordable into a risky venture that abused its special status as a "Government Sponsored Enterprise" (GSE) for Raines' personal profit. Fannie bought the bad loans and bundled them together with good ones. Wall Street was glad to buy up these mortgage securities because Fannie Mae was deemed a government-insured behemoth "too big to fail." And others followed Fannie's lead.

The current financial crisis stems in large part from the fact that people who shouldn't have been buying a home, or who bought more home than they could afford, now can't pay their bills. Their bad mortgages are mixed up with the good mortgages. And thanks in part to new accounting rules set up after Enron, the bad mortgages have contaminated the whole pile, reducing the value of even stable mortgages.
In 2005, Senator John McCain sponsored legislation to thwart what he later called "the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole."

Obama, the Senate's second-greatest recipient of donations from Fannie and Freddie after Dodd, did nothing.

Meanwhile, Raines, the head of a government-supported institution, made $52 million of his $90 million compensation package thanks in part to fraudulent earnings statements.

But, ah yes, the greedy criminals responsible for this mess must be somewhere on Wall Street."

But it gets worse. Chuck (You) Schumer actually worked to collapse a bank for political reasons:

"The collapse of Indymac bank, the second largest bank failure in American history, began with a letter from the office of Senator Charles Schumer on June 27. He questioned the viability of the bank. When a senior senator who is in a number of influential posts regarding oversight of bank regulators directly attacks the confidence of a depository institution, it matters. Not surprisingly, the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision concluded that the collapse of the bank immediately following the Senator’s comments was not a coincidence. Director Reich concluded that Senator Schumer had ‘given the bank a heart attack’.

Why? Why would a federal official with enormous power, destroy an institution on which tens of thousands of depositors (not all of whom are insured) and employees depend? Why would a New York Senator attack a Pasadena bank, acting as some sort of amateur, self-appointed, long-distance bank examiner?

Perhaps this might help answer the question: Indymac has been under attack from the hard left. The Center for Responsible Lending issued an attack on Indymac within a few days of Schumer’s letter. CRL is part of a small army of left of center ‘research’ groups, community organizers, and public interest law firms who make their living accusing home lenders of racial redlining and predatory lending. On June 20th the Center accused Indymac of unfair practices regarding minority borrowers.

A suspicious person might think that a network of lefty attack groups proficient in bank bashing and frequently funded by trial lawyers and short-sellers, coordinated their activities with a law firm on the hunt and a Senator who works closely with the network."

Did some greedy private sector people, who perceived what Leftists like Barney Frank and Chuck Shumer were doing, cash in on the Left's horrible policies? Sure. But SO WHAT? They don't set the laws--the lawmakers do. Steve Sailer suggests this was deliberate:

"it's hard for most people to grasp the interrelatedness of multiculturalism and greed in fostering the housing bubble. "Diversity" gave the big guys an excuse for doing what they had always wanted to do: debauch credit standards and take the money and run, leaving the mess to be cleaned up by taxpayers (through direct bailouts) and savers (through Fed-created inflation eating away their capital).
To find a starting place in understanding how America's interested elites conspired across lines of race, party, and class to defraud savers and taxpayers, let's just pick one name in the news: Richard F. Syron, the CEO of Freddie Mac, a "Government Sponsored Enterprise" that guarantees almost $2 trillion in mortgages.

Freddie Mac and its "rival" Fannie Mae are able to borrow at lower interest rates than other publicly-traded private firms because it has always been hinted that, if they messed up, the U.S. taxpayers would bail them out on the grounds that they were "too big to fail."

The privilege of borrowing at below market interest rates while lending at market interest rates is a license to print money (until the inevitable catastrophe, of course). In return for this license, naturally, politicians ask Freddie and Fannie to pay off their supporters with loans they couldn't get on their merits.

Because Congress controls the Fannie and Freddie, the GSEs in turn have long controlled Congress, easily fending off the handful of politicians prudent enough to point out that they were on the treadmill to destruction. Fannie and Freddie spend a fortune on lobbying, as well as on foundations that hand out grants, typically to charities and pressure groups with ties to the Left.
Freddie Mac is one of those fortunate kind of entities where the taxpayers are "implicitly" on the hook for losses, but the bosses get paid like private moguls rather than like civil servants. (Heads I win, tails you lose.) Mr. Syron, the former president of the Boston Federal Reserve bank, has pocketed $38 million since taking over Freddie Mac a half decade ago."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why the "Feminists" hate Sarah Palin

Because they are statist communists. Drop the "Femi" and add a "Commu". That's what they are really about:
In the Boston Globe on Friday, columnist Ellen Goodman frets that Mrs. Palin is a "supermom" whose supporters "think a woman can have it all as long as she can do it all . . . by herself." In fact, Sarah Palin is doing it with the help of her husband Todd, who is currently on leave from his job as an oil worker. But Ms. Goodman's problem is that "she doesn't need anything from anyone outside the family. She isn't lobbying for, say, maternity leave, equal pay, or universal pre-K."
This also galls Katherine Marsh, writing in the latest issue of The New Republic. Mrs. Palin admits to having "an incredible support system -- a husband with flexible jobs rather than a competing career....and a host of nearby grandparents, aunts, and uncles." Yet, Ms. Marsh charges, she does not endorse government policies to help less-advantaged working mothers -- for instance, by promoting day-care centers.
Of course the idea of a wife depending on a husband makes the Demunist dykes and Commiecrat cunts angry, never mind that in any successful marriage partnership the dependency goes both ways.
The Demunist Commiecrat Leftist "womyn" don't really want to make ordinary women liberated from dependency on men. They want to make ordinary women dependent upon THEM, dependent upon a socialist nanny state that they see themselves running and controlling. This explains their anger at Sarah Palin. They believe
that feminism must demand support for women from the government. In this worldview, advocating more federal subsidies for institutional (SOCIALIST) day care is pro-woman; advocating tax breaks or regulatory reform that would help home-based care providers -- preferred by most working parents -- is not. Trying to legislate away the gender gap in earnings (which no self-respecting economist today blames on discrimination) is feminist. Expanding opportunities for part-time and flexible jobs is "the Republican Party line."
The article author, Cathy Young, concludes:

I disagree with Sarah Palin on a number of issues, including abortion rights. But when the feminist establishment treats not only pro-life feminism but small-government, individualist feminism as heresy, it writes off multitudes of women.

Of course, being a feminist role model is not part of the vice president's job description, and there are legitimate questions about Mrs. Palin's qualifications. And yet, like millions of American women -- and men -- I find her can-do feminism infinitely more liberated than the what-can-the-government-do-for-me brand espoused by the sisterhood.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Al Qaeda STILL in Iraq

The New York Times just can't stop dissembling....The New York Times reports on last week's assassination of Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, a tribal leader who had cooperated with coalition troops:

The extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq, another name for Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the homegrown extremist group that American intelligence agencies say is foreign-led, claimed responsibility on Friday for the bombing that killed him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Election Day: A new hope???

Until the selection of Sarah Palin as Veep, I pretty much thought of the upcoming election like this:

I feared it was 1976 all over again. Obama: Jimmy Carter with ethnicity. McCain: sadly all too much like Gerald Ford. When he talked of "cap and trade" and "comprehensive immigration reform", I was reminded of "WIN buttons" and "Poland is not enslaved".

Perhaps, I rationalized, we really needed 4 years of the Obamunist, just so we can have a congress upchuck in 2010 that will make 1994 look like a mere burp, and can get a real Republican candidate in 2012. The key question for that scenario, of course, was how much damage will Barry, Harry and Nancy be able to do in 2009-2010.

But along came the Wonder Woman from Wasilla. And McCain seems to have wised up a bit too. Photoshop from Slublog:

Bill Whittle explains it better than I can, so I will just link him here.

But let me quote snippets:

Many conservatives were arguing that it would be better to sit this one out, and let the country go to hell, so that we could send the Republican party a message and re-emerge from the ashes in 2012 with “the next Reagan.” I pointed out that there were two problems with this theory:

First, you may not like the fact that Grandma smokes in bed, and you may indeed want to get her attention. But if that message consists of letting her set the bed, the house and the grandchildren on fire, perhaps there was a better way to “send a message.” Second, it pained me to point out that there was no “next Reagan.” Ronald Reagan was on the political scene for almost two decades before he became President. Who was waiting in the wings to magically fill this role? No one.

Newt Gingrich’s fire-breathing army of young reform Republicans who stormed congress in 1994 grew, in about a decade, into the party of Duke Cunningham, Trent Lott, and the Bridge to Nowhere. I watched this unfold — especially after 2004 — and time and time again, the core conservative values of discipline and responsibility were betrayed, mocked, and ignored. Restraint is not an easy sell in a society this affluent — not compared with the view of government as a bottomless bag of candy. That’s why we’re supposed to be the party of adults.

Power corrupts, and I believe there is no power more intoxicating and corrosive than the ability to spend other people’s money at will. If Newt’s Army could go so far astray, you can bet the country was disillusioned, disappointed, and furious — not just ready for change, but eager for it, even change as ethereal and diffuse as what Senator Obama has been peddling. We lost the Senate and the House in 2006 because of this. We were going to lose the presidency in 2008 for it. And we deserved to lose it.
But does one tough MILF lady Veep really matter? Yes, because:

I have personally seen hundreds of crusty, old-school paleocons who despised McCain now saying “He finally listened to us.” By picking Palin — instead of Lieberman, who we all know he wanted — he has told conservatives that he gets it. They’re not holding their noses and voting any more. They want yard signs and bumper stickers — they can’t wait to vote GOP. And the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, folks: they are writing checks.

For the first time, I think the Republicans actually deserve to WIN, more than the Demunist Commiecrats deserve to lose. It's not enough to stand against the Commiecrats; although that is necessary, that is not sufficient. Palin reassures the base and provides the reasons Republicans deserve another stay in the White House.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Obama's American "Red Guards"

Why "Americorps" and other non-military "national service" programs are bad ideas. The potential for political indoctrination is too high. In his acceptance speech Obama equated serving in the military with “serving” the country at home by community organizing and such:

And we will keep our promise to every young American: If you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
Now we know what he has in mind. Nothing less than a boot camp for radicals.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The media as of today

Arnold Ahlert sums it up:

CEDARBURG, Wisc. — Hundreds of angry people in this small town outside Milwaukee taunted reporters and TV crews traveling with Sen. John McCain on Friday, chanting “Be fair!” and pointing fingers at a pack of journalists as they booed loudly.”–Washington Times, Sept 5th.

Isolated incident? Don’t bet on it. Americans are disgusted with the Fourth Estate, maybe more so now than at any other time in modern history. And despite what many people in the field believe, from network executives in corporate suites to reporters in the hinterlands, the anger “we the people” are demonstrating is not merely about politics. The people in Wisconsin weren’t shouting, “stop beating up on John McCain or Sarah Palin.” They shouted two words: “be fair.”

But Wesley Pruden looks further:

There is no media conspiracy, vast or otherwise. The average reporter, correspondent, columnist, pundit or editor couldn't conspire with the entire Harvard Law School faculty to change the oil in his wife's car.

It's worse than a conspiracy. It's a consensus. The newsrooms of the agenda-setting newspapers, the television networks and the newsmagazines have become strongholds of the elites that Barack Obama, he of Harvard Law, insists he is not one of. The young men and women in the newsrooms of flyover country emulate the elites and sometimes dream of one day being one of them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th, Seven Years Later

Everything I needed to know about radical Islam, I learned on 09/11/01. Unfortunately, our kids ARE NOT learning anything...

Or any of these poor souls....

And few will credit the Bush Administration for keeping us safe from another attack like this for seven years. His thanks have been to be insulted and vilified and to have approval numbers which hover around 30%--which still makes them three times higher than those enjoyed Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in Congress.
Does that mean everything Bush has done is wonderful? Of course not. From illegal aliens to entitlements run amok, that is obviously not the case. However, there's a reason his approval ratings are three times higher than Nancy and Harry.
The left is trying to say that electing McCain would lead to a "third term for Bush". On this issue, we can only hope.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Library Smear

The Commiecrats just don't give up, do they? *Nowhere* in any news article does it indicate that *any* book was actually banned. Nor does any banning *ever* appear on the City of Wasilla records. (Thanks to Confederate Yankee).

What the facts *do* indicate is that Mayor Palin, approached with petitions to take something off the library list, turned to the city librarian and asked “What is the procedure for these sort of complaints?” That’s hardly the same as actually taking action to ban anything. Asking for a clarification on “how we deal with complaints” is hardly the same as banning anything. The truth about this story is also between the lines in the Alaska local Wasilla paper, and the Anchorage Daily News, although the headlines are the usual sensational bias.

I can just imagine the flip side of this—what if something horrid like kiddie porn was smuggled into the library and Mayor Palin didn’t inquire about it. Then the media would be claiming “MAYOR PALIN SUPPORTS KIDDIE PORN IN LIBRARIES!” Why do I suspect a set-up?
The Anchorage Daily News asks: “Were any books censored banned? June Pinell-Stephens, chairwoman of the Alaska Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee since 1984, checked her files Wednesday and came up empty-handed.”

Meanwhile, Blogress Jessamyn West, a Vermont librarian, states that “there appears to be no truth to the claim made by the commenter, and no further documentation or support for this has turned up.”

The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons (now Baker), was not fired but instead resigned in August 1999, two months before Palin was voted into her second term.

You don’t like her stance on abortion? Fine. But this story has no substance to it.

The book-banner tale seems to have originated in a widely circulated Aug. 31 email from Anne Kilkenny, who is not a "South Park" character but a Wasilla resident and harsh Palin critic.

On Sept. 2, Time magazine repeated the tale, attributing it to John Stein, Palin's predecessor as mayor, whom she defeated in the 1996 election.

Some asshat named Andrew AuCoin then posted "the list of books Palin tried to have banned"--90 of them in all. But another reader noticed that the list actually seemed to originate at this page--where it appears under the headline "Books Banned at One Time or Another in the United States."

But the phony list was already making its way around the Internet. The myth that Sarah Palin is a "book banner" has taken hold, at least on the left. It shows up, for instance, in two Salon articles (here and here) today.

There is also the issue of -- horrors! -- Praying for our troops! (shudder)

Blogger Jim Lindgren notes another example, a CNN report from yesterday:

[Palin] also talked to church members about "being saved" at the Assembly of God and suggested to them that the war in Iraq is a mission from God. Palin said, "our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we are praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

But this quote turns out to be out of context, which seems to be usual nowadays. Here's what Palin actually said:

"Pray for our military. He's [Palin's son Track] going to be deployed in September to Iraq. Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do also what is right for this country--that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

"I find it hard to believe that Anderson Cooper does not understand the difference between praying for something you hope is true and stating that it is true," Lindgren writes. (The article with the misleading quote actually is written by a correspondent for Cooper's show, not Cooper himself.) It's all too easy, however, to believe that journalists would be sloppy at best when reporting stories that fit their stereotypes about Palin in particular and conservative Christians in general.

On PBS's "Washington Week in Review" Friday, hostess Gwen Ifill reported encountering hostility on the floor of the Republican Convention: "There was a genuine grievance underneath all of that, this idea that she had been a victim and a victim of sexism and a victim of media bias." Jeanne Cummings of Politico disagreed:

"Well, I don't have any sympathy for them. I don't think there is any grievance that matters. John McCain put this woman--and she accepted--in a position to become president of the United States in the next 60 days. We don't have enough time to mess around with this. We need to know a lot more about this woman. And it's our job to find out everything we can about her, so the voters can make an educated decision about whether they want her that close to the presidency."

Even if "this woman" has nothing to complain about, don't readers and viewers have a right to expect that journalists report what they "find out" only if it is true?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The latest Sarah Palin smear

I think I can update this DAILY if I really want to....the Stupid Nonsense Of The Day Is:

What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick

"A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian."

I admit I occassionally find something thoughtful from Slate, rare for a lefty website, but this recycled Xtian boogyman nonsense, dating from the early Reagan years, is tiresome.

Juan Cole's moral equivalency crap is eviscerated by Jeff "Protein Wisdom" Goldstein.

Q: What’s the difference between Dr Juan Cole and a pitbull?
A: You don’t generally point and laugh at a pitbull.
Rhetorically, Cole’s trick is to ascribe to Palin motives that he knows his readership, who’ve been conditioned to believe that Christian boogymen are out to replace the Constitution with the New Testament, will believe uncritically.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sarah Palin Smear Fest

I knew this was coming, the lamestream media was in the tank for the Obamunist, but it is sickening:

You must understand printing lies about Republican candidates is OK. It’s called “vetting.” Printing the truth about liberals - that’s called “swift-boating.” From career MSNBC jock sniffer Keith Olbermann to Barney Frank’s favorite publisher Jann Wenner, the verdict on Palin is unanimous.

Victor Davis Hanson does some comparing and contrasting.

Truly sickening:

[L]ast week's media torpor and this week's journalistic wilding are part of the same phenomenon: the media's uncontainable passion to elect Mr. Obama.

I say this having mentally stacked the questions the media have already asked Mrs. Palin in two days of intrusive and pointless questions against the glaringly obvious questions the media have never asked Mr. Obama in two years. Mr. Schmidt noted that "the media is asking more questions about Palin's pregnant daughter" than about Tony Rezko, the Chicago fixer and Obama patron who was recently convicted on corruption charges. But that's just the first item on a long list of passes the media have given Mr. Obama — passes on vital matters of character, judgment and political belief.

These range from the media's protective hesitation on his long-term relationship with former Weather Underground leader William Ayers, to their near-total absence of interest in his recent campaign choice for Muslim outreach, a young man with affiliations to not one, but four organizations with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood....

But no one, and I mean no one, is taking the bait. And certainly not now. Not when a
conservative Republican woman's amniotic fluid is in the water.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Why didn't Obama choose Hillary as Veep?

In fairness to Barry Obama, he was pinned against the wall by the realities of the situation. He could have won in a landslide with Hillary, but he knew if the Clintons were on board, they would brush him aside and run their own show. (You've got to love the King and Queen of chutzpah, don't you?) And he was arrogant enough to believe that, with the backing of the liberal media, he could skip through the presidential campaign without having to give straight answers to any of the scores of tough questions about his corrupt past.

Having said that, if Barry Obama should win the election, he will be a one termer, as his Carter in mullato form governance causes a congressional revolt in 2010 and a new Republican in 2012.
And Hillary will run then, probably unopposed on the Democrat side.

And should Barry Obama lose the election, the Clinton's will swoop in and put a stranglehold on the Democratic Party for 2012. They were suckered punched once by a small-time "community organizer" with a Marxist message, but you can be sure they won't allow it to happen again. Woe be unto him who tries to run against the Clintons in any future primary.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Commiecrat Smear Machine

Palin-hatred is an artifact of who she is rather than anything she's done. Joe Biden famously rose from the working class to the U.S. Senate. Palin became governor of Alaska, but never left the working class — with her old-fashioned beehive hairdo and librarian eyeglasses, with a husband who is a commercial fisherman and works on a North Shore oil field, and with her hobbies of fishing and hunting.

As such, she's the object of the cultural disdain of a left that loves the working class in theory, but is mystified or offended by its lifestyle and conservative values in reality. If there's ever been an exemplar of the rural America that, in Barack Obama's telling, "bitterly" clings to its guns and religion, it's Sarah Palin.

It's her misfortune to be a pioneer with the wrong ideology. So much bile was directed at Clarence Thomas because he was the "wrong" kind of black man. Pro-life, pro-gun and a down-the-line, if populist, conservative, Palin is a traitor to her gender and thus encounters the sort of fury always directed at apostates.

A popular liberal talk-radio host calls her a "bimbo," a Washington Post columnist compares her to Caligula's horse, and the left-wing blogosphere goes on a demented jag about how her fifth son, Trig, is really the son of her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol. The lunacy forced the Palins to issue a statement that Bristol is pregnant, setting off a feeding frenzy from the same press that went out of its way to protect the privacy of John Edwards.

In a less-poisonous atmosphere, Palin might have diminished the intensity of the "mommy wars." Here were traditionalist conservatives hailing a very busy working mom with five kids, including a handicapped 4-month-old. But the same feminists who ordinarily dismiss stay-at-home moms as benighted betrayers of the sisterhood now question whether Palin can juggle her family and political responsibilities. Washington doyenne Sally Quinn worries about putting "the mother of young children in a job outside the home that will demand so much of her time and energy."

A lot of Palin-hatred is couched in terms of her lack of experience. Fair enough, but there's a tone of contemptuous dismissiveness about the experience that she does have — fueled no doubt by her career in "fly-over country" so remote no one really flies over it. The Obama campaign is loath to admit that she's governor of Alaska, pretending instead she's still mayor of tiny Wasilla, and the outraged commentary in the press makes it sound like the vice presidency is an office of such import that it would be better if the newcomer were at the top of the ticket and the wizened pro at the bottom — just like the Democrats.
And how about that alleged lack of experience? Governor of Alaska carries more clout than a Junior Senator of just a few short years. Consider the following factors:

  • Gov. Palin has spent much of her adult life dealing with matters long central to the Alaskan experience and now of surpassing importance to the nation as a whole - namely, energy security and how we can provide for it. Having managed her state's department responsible for oil and gas exploration and exploitation, having negotiated a long-delayed natural gas pipeline through Canada to the Lower 48 and having been married for nearly two decades to a blue-collar worker in Alaska's North Slope oil fields, she knows more about the subject than all three of the others on the two parties' tickets put together.
    If Gov. Palin can bring to bear her insights into the need for expanded, yet environmentally sensitive drilling, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) - together with an appreciation of the need to introduce fuel-choice in our transportation sector, the object of the bipartisan Open Fuel Standard Act introduced in both the House and Senate shortly before the August recess - she will demonstrate unsurpassed leadership in what is, arguably, the single most important national security challenge of our time.
  • Napoleon is said to have declared that "Geography is destiny." That certainly is true of Gov. Palin. Her state is adjacent to Russia, a nation that has in recent years demonstrated a rising aggressiveness towards its neighbors. The targets are not just the relatively weak and formerly enslaved countries on its littoral like Georgia - the scene of a bloody invasion last month aimed at toppling the elected government there. Moscow has also conducted simulated strategic bombing runs with Soviet-era long-range, nuclear-capable aircraft. These offensive missions are designed to penetrate U.S. northern air defenses in a manner reminiscent of the most provocative of Kremlin behavior during the Cold War.
  • As it happens, the best of those defenses - including a squadron of America's state-of-the-art interceptors, the F-22 Raptor - are stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage. Governor Palin would not only be intimately familiar with that facilities' vital role in protecting U.S. territory. She would also appreciate its importance in the projection of American power in Asia and beyond as much of the nation's long-range transport aircraft supplying our military operations around the world transit through Elmendorf. Every Commander-in-Chief should have such insights.
  • Speaking of geography, Alaskan territory is also along the trajectory of ballistic missiles launched eastward out of Stalinist North Korea. For that reason, among others, Alaska's Fort Greely was selected as the site for the principal U.S. ground-based defense against such missiles. As that state's governor, Sarah Palin would know more by osmosis - if nothing else - about the necessity for U.S. anti-missile systems than either Messrs. Obama or Biden. In fact, the Democrats have reflexively opposed such defenses and promise to starve them of funds if elected. Opinion polls suggest that the support missile defense enjoys among Gov. Palin's Alaskans is shared by strong majorities of their countrymen elsewhere. Her judgment versus Sen. Biden's on the question of whether America should be protected against present and growing missile-delivered threats will be one of the highlights of the vice presidential nominees' debate.
But hey, a Tina Fey impersonation declaring "I can see Russia from my front porch", and all that experience counts for naught. But that is all part of the plan. Governor Palin is an up and coming Republican, so the
lamestream media and the Democrat Party (but I repeat myself) will spare no expense to trip her up. They have made it their mission to destroy and up and coming Republican candidate.