Thursday, 25 September 2008
Bush's Calls for Financial Reform Ignored
Bush's Calls for Financial Reform Ignored
Monday, September 22, 2008 3:06 PM
By: Ronald Kessler
Triggering the financial implosion on Wall Street were the problems at Fannie Mae and Feddie Mac, which fostered lax lending practices and covered up their own financial deficiencies.
Going back to the beginning of his administration, President Bush warned of the problems at these institutions and the consequences if Congress did not bring them under control. Seventeen times, Bush publicly called for reform of both institutions. But Democrats and Republicans in Congress ignored the warnings and denied there were any problems. What follows is an administration chronology of efforts to achieve reform:
April: The Administration's FY02 budget declares that the size of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is "a potential problem," because "financial trouble of a large GSE could cause strong repercussions in financial markets, affecting Federally insured entities and economic activity."
May: The President calls for the disclosure and corporate governance principles contained in his 10-point plan for corporate responsibility to apply to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (OMB Prompt Letter to OFHEO, 5/29/02)
January: Freddie Mac announces it has to restate financial results for the previous three years.
February: The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) releases a report explaining that "although investors perceive an implicit Federal guarantee of [GSE] obligations," "the government has provided no explicit legal backing for them." As a consequence, unexpected problems at a GSE could immediately spread into financial sectors beyond the housing market. ("Systemic Risk: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Role of OFHEO," OFHEO Report, 2/4/03)
September: Fannie Mae discloses SEC investigation and acknowledges OFHEO's review found earnings manipulations.
September: Treasury Secretary John Snow testifies before the House Financial Services Committee to recommend that Congress enact "legislation to create a new Federal agency to regulate and supervise the financial activities of our housing-related government sponsored enterprises" and set prudent and appropriate minimum capital adequacy requirements.
October: Fannie Mae discloses $1.2 billion accounting error.
November: Council of the Economic Advisers (CEA) Chairman Greg Mankiw explains that any "legislation to reform GSE regulation should empower the new regulator with sufficient strength and credibility to reduce systemic risk." To reduce the potential for systemic instability, the regulator would have "broad authority to set both risk-based and minimum capital standards" and "receivership powers necessary to wind down the affairs of a troubled GSE." (N. Gregory Mankiw, Remarks At The Conference Of State Bank Supervisors State Banking Summit And Leadership, 11/6/03)
February: The President's FY05 Budget again highlights the risk posed by the explosive growth of the GSEs and their low levels of required capital, and called for creation of a new, world-class regulator: "The Administration has determined that the safety and soundness regulators of the housing GSEs lack sufficient power and stature to meet their responsibilities, and therefore…should be replaced with a new strengthened regulator." (2005 Budget Analytic Perspectives, pg. 83)
February: CEA Chairman Mankiw cautions Congress to "not take [the financial market's] strength for granted." Again, the call from the Administration was to reduce this risk by "ensuring that the housing GSEs are overseen by an effective regulator." (N. Gregory Mankiw, Op-Ed, "Keeping Fannie And Freddie's House In Order," Financial Times, 2/24/04)
Read more here
Posted on 09/25/2008 7:14 AM by Bobbie Patray
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Platforms: Republican vs. Democrat
The Republicans' Call to Arms
by Phyllis Schlafly, September 5, 2008
We recall the words of the old popular song, "What a Difference a Day Makes; 24 Little Hours." In this political year, it was actually 38 hours, but the poetry is the same.
That's the time-spread between the locking up of the 2008 Republican Platform on Wednesday at 8 p.m. and the selection of conservative Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as John McCain's Veep choice at 10 a.m. on Friday. In just 38 hours, disheartened conservatives were transformed into enthusiastic Republicans, armed and ready to storm the pseudo Greek temple that Barack Obama erected in the mile-high city of Denver.
It's hard to exaggerate the turnaround in the attitude of grassroots Republicans; a CNN reporter expressed herself as "shocked." Sarah Palin is a breath of fresh air to John McCain's campaign.
The Republican Party Platform, hammered out by a grassroots committee with representatives from every state, gives Republicans a basis on which to rebuild their party. It's a "call to arms," a platform of bold colors with no pastel shades, just as Ronald Reagan described the 1976 Platform that Delegates adopted after rejecting the Ford-Kissinger platform.
This year's Platform is a complete break from the ponderous 2004 Platform, which strung together 40,000 tiresome words. The 2008 Platform isn't about personalities; it's about principles.
The 2004 Platform had endorsed the "Free Trade Area of the Americas," a foolish notion to bring about the economic integration of the Western Hemisphere and allow cheap labor to replace American jobs. The 2008 Platform sensibly calls for "a Western Hemisphere of sovereign nations with secure borders," and the committee unanimously rejected the goal of a "North American Union" modeled on the European Union.
This year gave us a clear improvement over the previous Platform in regard to the English language. In 2004, Republicans called English "our nation's common language" and endorsed bilingual education, but the 2008 Platform supports "English as the official language in our nation" because it is "essential as a unifying cultural force" and omits mention of bilingual ed (often called language apartheid).
The 2004 Platform had lined up with the now-defeated amnesty plan of the U.S. Senate. It endorsed a "new temporary worker program" and allowing illegal aliens currently holding jobs in the U.S. "to apply for citizenship in the same manner as those who apply from outside the United States." In a clear break, the 2008 Platform calls for building the border fence, securing our ports, enforcing existing laws against "illegal workers and lawbreaking employers," requiring the use of E-Verify, deporting criminal aliens, denying federal funds to sanctuary cities, and refusing driver's licenses, in-state college tuition rates, and Social Security benefits for illegal aliens.
The 2008 Platform marks a refreshing break from the previous Platform's obsequious kowtowing to the United Nations and other international bureaucrats. The 2004 Platform had said that the United States is "committed to lasting institutions like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization."
The 2008 Platform doesn't mention the WTO and includes several paragraphs of criticism of the United Nations, citing its "scandal-ridden and corrupt management," the "disproportionate" dues we are forced to pay, and its discrimination against Israel and the Vatican.
The 2008 Platform specifically rejects the United Nations Treaty on Women and the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child, and expresses "deep reservations" about the UN Law of the Sea Treaty.
The 2008 Platform recognizes that energy independence is vital to our national security. The Platform calls for drilling in "new oilfields" in Alaska and elsewhere, as well as developing nuclear power and clean coal.
The 2008 Platform demands that "the risk of climate change" be based on "sound science without succumbing to no-growth radicalism." The Platform also cautions against "doomsday climate change scenarios."
The plank affirming that "the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," which has been part of the Republican Platform since 1984 was, of course, included again this year. The 2008 Platform becomes the most pro-life ever by endorsing the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and the ban on partial-birth abortion, both of which identify a sharp division with Barack Obama's legislative record.
Four years ago, many grassroots Republicans were offended by a Platform that called public schools "a foundation of a free, civil society" and bragged about having given us "the largest increase in federal education funding in history."
The 2008 Platform better represents Republicans by standing up for parents' rights to use vouchers, tax credits, private schools, or homeschooling, and to stop public schools from forcing students to answer personal, non-academic questionnaires without prior parental consent.
Sarah Palin and the 2008 Platform have given Republicans a new lease on life and put John McCain on the road to victory.
We Can't Afford the Democrats' Platform
by Phyllis Schlafly, September 12, 2008
The past two presidential elections taught the losing Democrats a couple of political lessons. They learned that attacks on guns and defense of abortion are no longer winning issues for them, and this new awakening is reflected in their 2008 Party Platform adopted in Denver.
The Platform grudgingly states: "we will preserve Americans' Second Amendment right to own and use firearms." The powers-that-be in the Democratic Party have learned to tolerate a few pro-gun candidates.
Feminist pressure won't let the Democrats recede from their "proudly"-stated 2004 Platform position that "Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare." This year's Platform is just as pro-abortion, but uses slightly softer words, stating that the Democrats support "a woman's ability to make her own life choices and obtain reproductive health care, including birth control" (throughout nine months and with taxpayers' money, of course).
Proclaiming that "we will end the Bush Administration's war on science," the Democratic Platform promises to "lift the current Administration's ban on using federal funding for embryonic stem cells." The genuinely pro-life Republican Platform calls for "a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes."
The 2008 Democratic Platform stridently toadies to the feminists on all their issues. The Platform reaffirms support for the Equal Rights Amendment (which was declared dead by the Supreme Court 26 years ago), enforcement of Title IX (which has canceled hundreds of men's college athletic teams, thereby costing us dearly in the recent Olympics), passage of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (which would use a UN treaty to keep abortion legal), and the Violence Against Women Act (which puts a billion taxpayer dollars a year into the coffers of the radical feminists).
The Platform reiterates the phony feminist slogan that "women still earn 76 cents for every dollar that a man earns." That figure includes women who have spent many years out of the workforce and, of those who do have jobs, about a third work only part-time.
The Platform promises to "expand" the Family and Medical Leave Act. "Expanding" means forcing employers to pay wages to employees who are on extended leave at times of their own choosing.
The Democratic Platform goes all-out in recognizing the support of their gay rights constituency. "We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections."
The Platform adds, "We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act." Overwhelmingly passed in 1996 to prevent judges from forcing other states to validate Massachusetts' same-sex marriages, DOMA was one of the most popular laws ever passed and it was even signed by Bill Clinton.
Most of the Democratic Platform consists of promising benefits that will cost already burdened taxpayers aplenty. There's no mention of how these extravagant handouts will be paid for.
For example, the Democratic Platform enthusiastically endorses the incredibly extravagant worldwide handouts in the bill sponsored by Barack Obama called "the U.S. Millennium Development Goals, which aim to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015." The Platform promises to "double our annual investment in meeting these challenges to $50 billion by 2012."
The Democrats' mindset is that "we need stronger international institutions." So, the Platform promises to "create a $2 billion Global Education Fund ... with the goal of supporting a free, quality, basic education for every child in the world."
The Democrats want the government to take care of American kids from birth through college. "We will make quality, affordable early childhood care and education available to every American child from the day he or she is born," and "we will provide all our children a world-class education, from early childhood through college."
The Democratic Platform is full of proposals to raid the pockets of John Q. Taxpayer and reduce the American standard of living. This includes "an economy-wide cap and trade program," a plan to "reduce oil consumption by at least 35 percent, or ten million barrels per day, by 2030," and designing legislation based on the belief that "global climate change is the planet's greatest threat."
These expensive plans will require a giant expansion of government money and government jobs. The Democrats must have had this result in mind when they promised they "will make government a more attractive place to work."
There is much more expensive foolishness in the Democratic Platform, but the plank that takes the cake is: "we oppose laws that require identification in order to vote or register to vote." That sounds like the Democrats are planning on winning the 2008 election by stuffing the ballot box.
Posted on 09/13/2008 7:09 PM by Bobbie Patray
Thursday, 4 September 2008
Gov. Sarah Palin hits it out of the park
COMMENT: Without a doubt, Gov. Palin came out of the blocks running last night. While she is still under attack by the main stream media, it appears that she will be equal to the task. She looked composed, confident and fearless. The strangest thing of all is the feminists suggesting that maybe she should stay home with her children. Wait just a minute -- I thought they wanted women in the workforce! Oh, maybe it's just that they don't want pro-life, conservative, articulate, accomplished, successful women who are elected officials in the workforce.
Have you read Proverbs 31:10-31 lately? Let's continue to pray for Gov. Palin and her family.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
"The difference between hockey moms and pit bulls is lipstick."
"But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people."
Read more here
Palin’s Powerful Debut
Rudy Giuliani is a tough act to follow. He loves campaigning, and when the crowd began to yell, “Drill, baby, drill,” he ate it up. Following him, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin needed to be nearly perfect. And she was.
Palin’s performance was so good, her vice presidential adversary, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) will not be able to bob and weave only in the October 2 debate. He may float like a butterfly, but Palin stings like a bee.
Read more here
Palin's Home Run
Twenty years after Ronald Reagan left office, Republicans who have long missed him may have found a future Margaret Thatcher. If John McCain wins, conservatives may find one of the most enduring accomplishments of his term will have been what he did before it started: helping to fill the Republican Party's future talent bench with such a fresh and compelling figure.
Sarah Palin is a conviction politician, a naturally compelling speaker and someone who can relate to her audience on very human terms. America has just learned why Mrs. Palin enjoys the highest approval ratings of any governor in America.
Read more here
The Best Man Turned Out To Be A Woman
They claimed Palin was chosen only because she's a woman. In fact, Palin was chosen because she's pro-life, pro-gun, pro-drilling and pro-tax cuts. She's fought both Republicans and Democrats on public corruption and does not have hair plugs like some other vice presidential candidate I could mention. In other words, she's a "Republican."
As a right-winger, Palin will appeal to the narrow 59 percent of Americans who voted for another former small-market sportscaster: Ronald Reagan. Our motto: Sarah Palin is only a heartbeat away!
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Who’s Off Limits?
St. Paul, Minn. -- Since the revelation that Bristol Palin, GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, is pregnant, the mainstream media have been covering the story with a zeal not seen since they discovered Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy. But the current media feeding frenzy is actually much worse, as the liberal press savage Sarah Palin in the hopes of damaging her street cred with socially conservative voters.
US Weekly magazine’s cover this week will have a photo of Gov. Palin with her youngest son, Trig, along with this gem of a feature title: “Babies, Lies and Scandal: John McCain’s Vice President.”
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Media on Palin - a sudden case of 'family values'?
A conservative analyst says the media are currently in a feeding frenzy, trying to assert that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is unfit to be vice president because her teenage daughter is pregnant. One pro-family leader says the way liberal media is reporting the story exposes a "rank hypocrisy."
Female news anchors and reporters from various media outlets, including CBS, NBC, and CNN, have suggested 17-year-old Bristol Palin's pregnancy should have disqualified her mother from becoming John McCain's running mate and raises questions about McCain's judgment. Katie Couric of CBS News even chided the McCain campaign for not notifying the press about the pregnancy sooner.
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Savaging Sarah Palin
When MSNBC's Chris Matthews suggested in Denver that Barack Obama earned his present elevation in American politics, unlike "showcase appointments" like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, he reminded the world of the peculiarity of liberalism. John McCain's selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate underlined it. Liberals find no joy when Republicans select women or minorities for top positions. They are all fraudulent traitors to their own apparent group interests. Conservative blacks aren't really black. Conservative Latinos aren't really Latino. Now, conservative women are somehow not really women.
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift spoke for her colleagues on the Palin selection: "If the media reaction is anything, it's been literally laughter in many places ... In very, very many newsrooms."
This principle -- that hell hath no fury like a liberal who's been insulted by a conservative not sticking to white male appointments -- explains why President Bush successfully placed two white men on the Supreme Court. Only picking Harriet Miers was outrageous (although her capacity for the job was clearly an issue). Bush saw how upset the Left became when Clarence Thomas was nominated. John McCain could have played safe. He chose to mix things up and pick a woman who matched his tendency to mix things up.
Read more here
Posted on 09/04/2008 7:36 PM by Bobbie Patray
Monday, 1 September 2008
Profile of Governor Sarah Palin
Profile of Alaska's Sarah Palin:
Governor, Reformer, Mother
By JIM CARLTON
August 29, 2008 2:56 p.m.
[Click on the link at the end of this article, click on this picture for an album on the Governor.]
Current Office: Governor of Alaska
Date of Birth: Feb. 11, 1964
Place of Birth: Sandpoint, Idaho
Home: Wasilla, Alaska
Education: University of Idaho, 1987
Political Experience: Wasilla Mayor, 1996-2002. Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Chairman, 2003-04. Elected governor in 2006.
Misc.: Palin's son Track enlisted in the Army in 2007, and is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq in September.
When a hockey mom named Sarah Palin ran for governor as a Republican outsider in 2006, she took on not only a sitting governor from her own party but also Alaska's Republican establishment -- vowing to clean up a political system that had been rocked by an Federal Bureau of Investigation corruption probe.
After handily winning, her popularity in Alaska soared as she went on to sack political appointees with close ties to industry lobbyists and shelved pork projects. Gov. Palin has shown similar fearlessness in going after Big Oil, whose money has long dominated the state. She appears, for example, to have forced Alaska's dominant oil producers, ConocoPhillips and BP PLC, to finally get serious about a natural-gas pipeline -- without making any tax or royalty concessions.
"People see her as the symbol of purity in an atmosphere of corruption," says Anchorage pollster Marc Hellenthal. "She's more like Saint Sarah."
Republican presidential candidate John McCain drew on that image in choosing Gov. Palin as the first woman to run on a Republican Party presidential ticket.
The 44-year-old Gov. Palin is a mother of five. She served as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, (pop. 8,500) and was winner of the Miss Wasilla pageant. She has been featured in a photo spread in Vogue.
Although Alaska only has about 700,000 people, the state has outsized strategic importance because it contains some of the richest mineral resources in the world, including some of the largest known oil reserves in the U.S.
Before her selection as running mate, Gov. Palin served as an informal energy adviser to Sen. McCain, saying she has spoken with the Arizona senator about the need to drill more in places like Alaska.
Read more here
For More information on Governor Sara Palin, see below:
McCain's Stunner: Gov. Sara Palin
McCain Reaches Far Afield for His Running Mate
Palin Speaks to Newsmax About McCain, Abortion, Cilmate Change
McCain: Palin's 'Tough, Ready to Be President'
A GOP First -- Female VP Nominee
Miss Congeniality Comes to Washington
The Sarah Sensation
Sarah Palin's Feminists for Life Membership Points to Pro-Woman, ProLife View
Posted on 09/01/2008 11:40 AM by Bobbie Patray
Monday, 1 September 2008
Evangelicals, conservatives pleased
COMMENT: It looks like the Wall Street Journal was incorrect when they reported that Gov. Palin was a Lutheran. Everything I have seen since reports that she is an evangelical. (See text in RED below.)
With this email comes a plea for some 'knee mail'. Let us pray for this lady, her husband and children, especially baby Trig, as she embarks on the whirlwind campaign between now and November.
Evangelicals, conservatives pleased
Tennesseans like Palin, her anti-abortion stance
That's how leading conservative Richard Land described himself after learning that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be John McCain's running mate
Like many conservatives, Land feared that McCain would select a pro-choice running mate, with disastrous consequences. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released earlier this week showed that 27 percent of conservatives polled — and 29 percent of white evangelicals — would have been less likely to vote for McCain if he had a pro-choice running mate.
Those fears were put to rest Friday.
"I think 'ecstatic' would be an understatement," said Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's influential Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "She's pro-life, solidly, both in word and in deed."
One of Tennessee's most prominent Republican women, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, called Palin "a very strong pick for McCain."
"He is a maverick who has selected a maverick governor who is known as a reform governor, who has worked to reduce spending, to fight corruption, and she will be a welcome and strong addition to the ticket."
McCain didn't carry Tennessee in the February primaries — Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is widely seen as more conservative than McCain, did. But Blackburn believes Palin will connect well with Tennesseans.
"She is going to be very warmly received," the Brentwood Republican said. "She has impeccable conservative credentials, she is a wife, she is a mother, she is a businesswoman, she is a leader with a proven record of success, and she is pro-life, she is pro-Second Amendment, she is pro-energy."
Likewise, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said Palin's nomination creates "a strong, balanced alternative to the competition offered by the other side" — the Democratic pairing of U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Since the beginning of the primary season, Democrats have tried to shrink the God gap between their party and Republicans. Despite intense outreach, Obama still trails McCain 68 percent to 24 percent among white evangelicals, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and American Life.
Palin, who has been governor of Alaska since December 2006, seems a natural fit for evangelical voters. She grew up among evangelicals, and attended the Wasilla Assembly of God as a teenager and young adult. While in Juneau, Alaska's capital, she sometimes attends Juneau Christian Center, an Assemblies of God congregation.
A strong performance by McCain at a recent Faith Forum run by the Rev. Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church in California, coupled with Palin's selection, has won over some of McCain's harshest evangelical critics.
Dobson changes mind
James Dobson, founder of the influential national group Focus on the Family, had sworn to stay home rather than vote for McCain. On Friday, he called Palin an "outstanding choice" — and even told a radio host that he would vote for McCain.
"Governor Palin's commitment to the sanctity of life is not just a political position," Dobson said in a statement. "She was advised to abort her fifth and youngest child when it was learned he had Down syndrome. She refused. That's bravery and integrity in action."
Read more here
Obama Camp Hits, Then Praises Palin
MONACA, Pa. -- Barack Obama's spokesman fired off a fast criticism of Republican John McCain's new running mate on Friday, but the Democratic candidate himself quickly stepped in to offer her congratulations and praise.
Obama, who is eager to win over female voters who backed his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries, blamed the mixed messages about McCain's choice, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on campaign aides with a "hair trigger."
McCain made his surprise announcement moments before Obama flew from Denver with his running mate, Joe Biden, and their wives. Fresh off his nomination acceptance speech before 84,000 people Thursday night, Obama joined Biden on a three-day bus tour of crucial industrial states that began with a visit to a biodiesel fuel plant in western Pennsylvania.
As the plane was lifting off from Denver, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton issued a statement calling Palin an abortion-rights opponent and "the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience."
Soon thereafter, with the plane over the Midwest, a spokeswoman gave reporters on board a much kinder statement from Biden and Obama
Read more here
Posted on 09/01/2008 11:33 AM by Bobbie Patray