Monday, September 29, 2008

What Caused the Crisis? We Have Answers.

Burning Down the House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis. Keep your cursor on the pause'll need to read some of the screen shots.

Just in case you are tempted to chalk this all up to partisan politics....former President Bill Clinton agrees. He told ABC News about the Democrats blocking reform of Fannie and Freddie when he was in the White House:

Four years ago, Congressional hearings were held. Republicans warned of impending, serious problems at Fannie and Freddie. Democrats defended both companies. Watch them, in their own words:

Remember as you watch these videos that:

* Franklin Raines earned $90 million in his five years as Fannie Mae’s CEO, from 1999 to 2004, while cooking the books. One of his successors, Daniel Mudd, collected $11.6 million. Fannie Mae — a quasi-governmental corporation created by Congress to support FHA-insured or VA-guaranteed secondary mortgages — failed so badly in late 2008 that, to prevent total collapse, the feds bailed it out for $200+ BILLION (along with sister organization Freddie Mac) and took control of it.

* In August 2007, Bank of America bought failed subprime-mortgage peddler Countrywide Financial for $2 BILLION — after CEO Angelo Mozilo sold $121 million in company stock and the feds bailed it out for $51 BILLION.

* In October 2007, the board of Merrill Lynch fired CEO Stanley O’Neal, who collected a cool $160 million bonus payout on his way out the door. His successor, John Thain, earned $17 million for one year — before selling Merrill to Bank of America for $50 BILLION.

* James Cayne, as CEO of Bear Stearns, “earned” $49.31 million in the last two years of his firm’s pitiful existence — before collapsing, receiving a $29 BILLION government bailout, and becoming part of JP Morgan Chase.

* Richard Fuld, CEO and largest shareholder of Lehman Brothers, collected $354 million in total compensation in the past five years — before declaring bankruptcy and melding into Barclays Financial.

* Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke orchestrated an $85 BILLION withdrawal from taxpayer coffers to save insurance giant AIG from bankruptcy.

* Alan Fishman, CEO for just 17 days of Washington Mutual, the nation’s largest S&L, floated out the door on an eye-popping $20 million parachute as it became the largest bank failure in US history, taken over by FDIC, and handed to JP Morgan Chase for the bargain price of $1.9 BILLION.

Now, Congress and the President can't understand why 'we the people' are angry and protesting the ADDITIONAL $750 BILLION dollar bailout of Wall Street. Someone needs to get a clue.....and it isn't us, folks.

Treasury Issues New Dollar Bill

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bailout of Wall Street Called "Socialist", "Communist". Congressman Offers Alternate Plan

Michigan Congressman Thaddeus (Thad) McCotter (R-11) issued the following press release this morning. Good on ya, Thad! [emphasis added ~Ed]
Washington, DC – Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, today released the following statement:

“I was not elected to abet American socialism.

Thus, I am opposing the Bush administration’s taxpayer funded, trillion dollar Wall Street bailout; and, alternatively, proposing a pro-taxpayer, free market, private recapitalization plan for the banking system; ending financial chaos; and preventing the advent of Wall Street Socialism.

Drawn from the free-market ideas of the public and our members, this proposal is premised upon the following principle: Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector.

True, some will still assert the administration’s support of Wall Street’s leveraged bailout at taxpayers’ expense is the only answer to this crisis of confidence. They are dead wrong.

First, we must never punish the innocent to profit the guilty.

Secondly, a taxpayer bailout is never the first or only resort. If it is claimed to be so, the object of the bailout is already too far gone to be saved.

Thirdly, this trillion dollar taxpayer bailout will not prevent a Great Depression. It will promote a Greater Depression.

While there exist a host of other reasons, for the sake of brevity let me reiterate: The Paulson Plan is premised upon a public bailout. A better plan is premised upon private recapitalization. Thus, I oppose the Paulson Plan’s raid on the taxpayers; and I will continue fighting to ensure the Wall Street crowd who made this mess pay to clean it up.”
Congressman McCotter is not content to simply criticize the plan on the table; he has drafted a plan of his own, EARN or the "Expedited American Recapitalization - Now" Act:
Expedited American Recapitalization - Now (EARN) Act Proceedings: A sunset bill that makes available to financial institutions a pre-packaged recapitalization (EARN) proceeding in which debt forgiveness is expedited. (This is similar to expedited bankruptcy proceedings. The strike warrant price will determine values.)

Inducement to EARN Proceedings: To induce financial institutions to undergo EARN proceedings, future government recapitalization (if necessary) may not be offered to a financial institution which does not go through an EARN proceeding.

Incentivize Private Recapitalization: If, within a limited one year window (commencing upon this legislation’s enactment into law), a person invests in (i.e., recapitalizes) a financial institution that has undergone an EARN proceeding, this investment over its lifetime is subject to a ZERO capital gains tax rate. If, within the same one year window, a person purchases a toxic asset, this investment over its lifetime is subject to a ZERO capital gains tax rate.

Government Backstop: If no private capital is forthcoming, the government can take a preferred equity stake in an EARN financial institution. No dividends may be paid to any other investor until the taxpayers’ claim is redeemed with appropriate interest. The government shall also hold voting rights, as determined by the percentage of its equity shares owned, in an EARN financial institution only until such time as the taxpayers’ claim is redeemed with appropriate interest. (This addresses CEO salaries and bonuses without permanently vitiating the private sector’s setting of compensation.)

Distressed Homeowner Relief: 5% of all government recapitalization invested in an EARN financial institution must be dedicated to an across-the-board reduction in the face value of “toxic” mortgages. This will help keep people in their homes; stabilize the foreclosure crisis; and begin to stabilize and raise all homeowners’ values.

Non-EARN Financial Institutions: Financial institutions choosing not to participate in an EARN proceeding, may wall off their toxic assets (as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury) which were purchased between December 2003 and August 2007. For these toxic assets, the current mark-to-market rule will be suspended and replaced with a more accurate three year rolling average mark-to-market; and for a fee, insurance of these toxic assets can then be purchased from the federal government. If, within the above referenced one year window a person purchases a toxic asset, this investment over its lifetime is subject to only HALF the capital gains tax rate applicable at present; if the capital gains tax changes, the toxic asset’s purchaser possesses the option, upon alienating the toxic asset, of being taxed at the capital gains rate applicable at the enactment date of this legislation into law.

Market Transparency and Congressional Oversight: To ensure Market Transparency, the Secretary of the Treasury is empowered to examine any and all appropriate financial records at any time of financial institutions and individuals covered under this act; and Congress at any time may request of the Secretary of the Treasury any and all information required to protect the taxpayers’ investment incurred under this act.

End “Too Big To Fail”: Make an express commitment to a future, pro-active regulatory system in which a market share cap provision is imposed upon financial institutions to prevent future taxpayer bailouts and market meltdowns due to entities deemed “too big to fail.”

American Families’ Prosperity Package: Make an express commitment to further American families’ prosperity in a free market future by enacting pro-growth legislation, including, but not limited to: an “all of the above” American energy security plan; income tax and capital gains relief; the repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley; suspend the mark-to-market rule for all financial institutions for six months and replace it with a more accurate three year rolling average mark-to-market; GSE privatization; and dollar stabilization. (See Gingrich and RSC proposals.)

Ultimate Cost to Taxpayers: ZERO!

Bill Perkins, a private, Houston-based venture capitalist placed a $130,000 dollar, full-page ad in the New York Times which consisted only of the following cartoon. Note the demise of Capitalism and Private Enterprise.

Mr. Perkins explains it to Fox Business. Or at least tries to.

David Littman, the brilliant former Chief Economist for Comerica Bank, now with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, wrote a scathing Op-Ed in today's Detroit News (links added by me). In Reject Bailout Rush to Socialism, Littman says,
"The proposed federal intervention (up to a $1 trillion bailout of distressed assets and bonus-paying firms) is the antithesis of what the competitive markets of capitalism would permit."
Yet, to cover their corrupting decisions and past complaisance, Washington's major mouthpieces -- from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd -- now say that unless we trust them with a new round of our scarce resources, the U.S. economic system will collapse. This rhetoric is meant to panic us into accepting a new federal steward of our hard-earned dollars. But when you dissect the palaver, what you see is a bare-knuckled proposal to further centralize federal control over the marketplace of investments and savings. Such a revolutionary move is socialism. It will not simply be a matter of taxing the rich or those with some ability to pay for the purpose of redistributing shelter to the poor. It will represent an institutionalization of financing immoral behavior.

There may yet be time to stop this debacle, but 'we the people' are going to have to help. Call, fax or e-mail your member of Congress and your Senators. Ditto the White House. Let's demand a free market solution - before it's too late.

Obama Seeks a Fresh Approach to Increase Appeal

Barack Obama must be concerned. Only 6 weeks remain until election day and he is having difficulty closing the sale with white, middle America, "bitter clinger" types. In a move that some say smacks of desperation, his campaign has announced it is taking a fresh approach to appeal to this demographic. Below is a 'before' picture of Senator Obama. Click on the picture to see a photo of him post-makeover.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Abortion Survivor to Speak About Obama's Support for Infanticide

You are invited to attend an emergency conference call this Tuesday evening, September 23, at 9:30 PM Eastern (6:30 PM Pacific) to hear abortion survivor Gianna Jessen and nurse Jill Stanek expose the shocking truth about how Barack Obama voted 4 times as an Illinois State Senator to deny lifesaving medical help to infants who were born alive after a failed abortion.

Jill is the nurse who discovered that these helpless babies were being left to die in the dirty utility room along with the trash, and testified before Barack Obama to tell her story. Gianna is the woman who herself survived an abortion 31 years ago.

Barack Obama now has the audacity to deceptively deny his own voting record and is personally attacking Gianna and trying to smear her credibility!

Please register for this urgent conference call (that will also be simulcast on the web) to hear the truth directly from these two courageous women and to help Gianna defend herself from Obama's cowardly personal attacks.

Spread the word and ask all of your friends to join this vital discussion as well. Gianna needs your help, and people need to know the truth about Barack Obama. This is a call you won't want to miss!

To register please go to :

Please join us Tuesday evening at 9:30 PM Eastern, 8:30 PM Central, 7:30 PM Mountain, 6:30 PM Pacific.

Visit Team Sarah at:

Why the Born Alive Infant Protection Act Was Needed

Ignore the rather metallic narrator voice in this documentary and instead hear the message.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Election 2008

CAUTION: Not for the humor-impaired...this is a bi-partisan funny. It makes fun of ALL of them. Now, watch and laugh! Eh, at the video. Or the candidates. Or, both....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama

I know some of you think it doesn't make any difference who becomes our next President; some of you won't vote at all. That is your right as an American, but please, please listen to this young man who, among so many others, paid for that right on your behalf. It runs just under 2 minutes, and is worth every second of your time to watch. Don't click off early. You will understand why.

God Bless America!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

McCain/Palin in Michigan

Scenes from the McCain-Palin rally in Michigan on September 5, 2008

Packed, standing-room-only turnout!

Governor Palin addresses the crowd...

The HUGE turnout left supporters standing - everywhere!

Freedom Hill Amphitheater, Sterling Heights, Michigan

Jim Warner , former POW with John McCain. To mock Obama's claim that Americans can't say anything except 'merci beaucoup', he gave a brief endorsement of John McCain in German, French and Spanish. Then he quoted a verse from the Torah - in Hebrew. Detroit News Photo

This has to be a good sign...nuns for McCain!
Detroit News photo

Governor Palin receives a Detroit Red Wings jersey from a supporter.
Detroit News photo

Local press coverage estimated the crowd at "more than 10,000". I guessed 12-15,000. As you can see from the pictures, moving wasn't really an option, nor was getting a really good photo. We were not allowed to bring in any cameras with interchangeable lenses (SLRs), just point-and-shoot types. That explains the quality of the pictures I took myself, but I think they give a feel for the size and, uh, closeness, of the throng.

Here's a VERY cool, moving 360° image, complete with audio clips, from photographer Anne Savage.

A Detroit-area Democrat presents Sen. McCain with a POW braclet she bought in the late 1960's or early 70's...with HIS name on it.
Phyllis Tatro-Fleming, 64, of Sterling Heights fulfilled a wish of giving John McCain a prisoner of war bracelet bearing his name that she bought for $1 in the late 1960s or early '70s.

"He was very touched. He was very appreciative. He heard of them and did not have one," the undecided Democrat said. Tatro-Fleming said she didn't know what POW's name she would receive when she ordered the bracelet, which also bears McCain's date of capture -- Oct. 26, 1967. McCain was held captive in North Vietnam for 5 1/2 years.

She said she wore it for many years before eventually putting it away. She was determined for McCain to have it, and she wanted to give it to him personally.

Tatro-Fleming said he hugged her and told her, "God bless you."
Freedom Hill Amphitheater is located in Macomb County, Michigan....we invented the Reagan Democrat here, and there were a fair number of self-identified Democrats in the crowd. This bodes well for the McCain-Palin ticket.

It was very encouraging to see the number of people who managed to attend this event on a Friday evening. Interest in Governor Palin was, I believe, largely responsible for boosting turnout to record levels. If the number of hats, shirts, buttons and stickers flying off vendor tables after the event is any indication, there's a new 'rock star' in town, and her name is Sarah.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Obama's Saudi Sponsors

If you, like many of us, have been wondering how Barack Hussien Obama, a virtual nobody from Hawaii, could end up attending Ivy League schools and running for President on the thinnest resumé in American history, Newsmax may have provided another piece of the puzzle. Barry isn't going to like it...

Newsmax has learned that, as early as age 25, Barack Obama was well-known by and well-connected to a radical African-American Muslim lawyer, black nationalist and Israel hater from Texas named Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour. He has authored a number of books, filled with anti-American rectoric that would make Jeremiah Wright proud. The connection was revealed by Percy Sutton, former borough president of Manhattan, in this interview...

Al-Mansour is also a key adviser to a Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed, and mentored the founding members of the Black Panthers. It is the Saudi connection that is especially troubling. From the Newsmax piece (all emphasis added ~Ed):
But al-Mansour’s sponsorship of Obama as a prospective Harvard law student is important for another reason beyond his Islamic and anti-American rhetoric and early Black Panther ties.

At the time Percy Sutton, a former lawyer for Malcolm X and a former business partner of al-Mansour, says he was raising money for Obama’s graduate school education, al-Mansour was representing top members of the Saudi Royal family seeking to do business and exert influence in the United States.
At the same time, he was also advising Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in his U.S. investments, and sits on the board of his premier investment vehicle, Kingdom Holdings.

Prince Alwaleed, 53, is the nephew of King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. Forbes magazine ranked him this year as the 19th richest person on the planet, with a fortune in excess of $23 billion. He owns large chunks of Citigroup and News Corp., the holding company that controls Fox News.

Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Foundation has given millions of dollars to Islamic charities in the United States, including some whose leaders have been indicted on terrorism charges. He has also donated millions to Harvard and other major U.S. universities for creation of Islamic studies departments and was the generous benefactor who bailed Michael Jackson out financially after child-molestation accusations left him in bankruptcy. He is also invested in a frighteningly large portfolio of companies, including Kodak, Pepsico, Hewlet-Packard, Motorola, e-Bay, Fairmont Hotels, Proctor & Gamble....View the list here - watch the scroll; the links do not work.

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of the Los Angeles-based Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), says these revelations about Obama’s ties to Saudi financiers were a real wake-up call. “I think there’s more to this story and to Barack Obama than we realize,” Peterson said. “As all the truth comes out before the election, I don’t think he has a chance. I can’t see American’s taking that kind of risk.”

I have long suspected that Mr. Obama was not entirely what he seemed - and that his meteoric rise was due to more than his charm, intelligence and ability to read well from teleprompters. These revelations would seem bolster the apprehension that Barack Obama is a "Manchurian Candidate" for a new generation. Someone, or perhaps several someones, is orchestrating this man's life. At least one of them appears to be a member of the Saudi royal family. Some of the 'men behind the curtain' also seem to have control over large segments of the media.

All this begs the question, is Barack Obama a tool of Riyadh? If the prospect doesn't scare you, it should. America had better find out, and soon.

What's So Special About Sarah?

That's the question asked by Daniel Henninger in his Wall Street Journal column Wonder Land, and he nails the answer:
In a less crazed world, the Sarah Palin story -- hunter and snowmobiling mom becomes Alaska governor and routs old-boy political machine in bed for years with energy industry -- would be celebrated. Of course, they have to demolish her.

Sarah's story is the stuff of Erin Brockovich movies and full-page newspaper spreads. Except: She's "pro-life," is a "Christian," and unlike all the white guys who came in second, Sarah looks like she might help get a Republican elected.
He also aptly identifies the manic, over-the-top, vitriol laden media backlash against Governor Palin,
It may be possible to pack more downward spin in what is being written about her, but modern media records are being set. Sarah has to be stopped because Sarah looks like trouble.
Why yes, she does! As Rush Limbaugh said when discussing her speech to the Republican National Convention, "Sarah Palin: babies, guns and Jesus. Hot damn!"

Time will tell if Sarah can deliver for the GOP, but her history of taking on entrenched, corrupt, incumbent politicos and winning should serve her well in the effort. As Daniel Henninger also noted,
Sarah Palin looks like the old model's first real political challenge. They will be gunning for her. Good luck with that.
Then again, Sarah also hunts moose in the wilderness of Alaska. Which skill will prove more useful to her in the coming months? That remains to be seen, but won't watching it be fun? After all, this is no fluff-headed "beauty queen" - and those who dismiss and/or 'misunderestimate' her do so at their own peril. Good luck with that, indeed.