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Can Republicans continue to believe John McCain?

There is no secret that I supported John McCain using the “lesser of two evils” rationale. However, I still claimed that if a liberal democrat and a liberal Republican were running against each other, the result would be that a liberal democrat would be elected to office.

So why should I believe McCain’s pitch to “save” the Republican party from someone who is a liberal, when in fact, John McCain himself, appears to be more of a liberal than a conservative. Especially based on his efforts on immigration reform, global warming and other issues of importance to conservatives?

Why should I continue to assist a party who has followed the lead of their elite, Northeastern, Rockefeller-Republicans who have failed to exert any leadership in controlling the profligate spending which the party traditionally resisted?

Why should I believe the party’s tired old scare tactics when it comes to a filibuster-proof Senate vote? One, it assumes that the Senators will all vote according to party lines – which is not often the case. And two, it assumes that Senators are totally immune from the consequences of their actions or the persuasiveness of an enraged public.

Why should I believe that my money would be used to get out the vote efforts rather than reimbursing campaign loans that have already been used to purchase media time?

Believe it or not, even though both parties demonized each other during the extended election cycle, most elected officials, especially those who realize that there will be a new election in 2010, will not take any action that will annoy or alienate a large measure of the voting public.

I am not sure that Barack Obama and any other legislator will be able to take precipitous action while we are in a financial crisis – especially since such actions are likely to deepen a recession into a depression. Obama, not even having assumed office, appears to be running for his next term in office – in which he can further promote some of his somewhat leftist philosophy. And since the election of 2012 is another stopgap to a radicalized agenda, the people will continue to be protected from their politicians by the wisdom and foresight of our founding fathers.

The Republican Party, and particularly John McCain, turned their back on conservative Republicans and promoted a platform that seemed similar to the democrat’s platform. So I see no reason why we owe them any allegiance since they do not seem to represent us, the conservatives, and our platform. 

My Friend,

I was recently in Georgia campaigning for my good friend and Senate colleague, Saxby Chambliss. Next week, voters in Georgia will go back to the polls in a special runoff election to choose their next U.S. Senator and we must do everything possible to ensure voters re-elect Saxby over his liberal opponent.

I'll get right to my point; there's a lot at stake in this election. Obama campaign staff have moved into Georgia and the Obama campaign is keeping campaign offices in the state open to support Senator Chambliss' opponent.

Today, I'm asking you to go into battle one more time for our Party.

Will you give $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more to Saxby Chambliss' campaign right away? Saxby needs your immediate support to help fund crucial get-out-the-vote activities in the final week of this special runoff election.

The eyes of the country and the world will be on the state of Georgia next Tuesday. If we lose, the Senate Democrats could reach 60 seats in the U.S. Senate. This would give them the power to enact an agenda out of touch with our values and beliefs and the ability to confirm activist judges and liberal Administration appointees with little to no open debate

As Americans we must continue fighting for our shared values. We must fight for our men and women in uniform, we must fight for energy independence, we must fight to create better jobs and a better economy and we must fight to keep our taxes low.

Our Party is joining together to stop the liberals from railroading their misguided tax hikes and military funding cuts through the U.S. Senate.

Will you join me one last time by following this link to give any amount today up to the legal limit to the Chambliss Victory Committee?

Your support is greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,

John McCain

P.S. The final runoff election of 2008 is taking place next week and the Democrats are coming closer to a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the U.S. Senate. I'm asking you to support my friend and colleague Saxby Chambliss today by making an immediate donation to the Chambliss Victory Committee by following this link. Every dollar you give will help fund critical get-out-the-vote activities.

Thank you for your support.

What can YOU do?

If you are in Georgia, by all means support the election of Saxby Chambliss.

If you are a conservative Republican, I suggest you withhold your funds and support until the party and its leadership indicates that it will take a turn to the right and support conservative positions. One indicator of this change will be the selection of Michael Steele as the new Chairman of the Republican National Committee at the Winter RNC meeting in January.

Support only those who support your positions. Since the democrats have apparently taken over, let them rise or fall on their own merits and serve as an object lesson to those who will vote in the upcoming 2010 and 2012 elections.

Consider the possibility that party politics have so thoroughly corrupted our political process that we must avoid supporting the party and only support individual candidates with direct support – so as to rebuild the party in the conservative image of Ronald Reagan.

Do what you need to do to serve yourself and your family first.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “It isn't necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy.” - Groucho Marx

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links: (none)


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Iraq: the truth is that they don't want our money and protection to leave the country ... and feel they can disrespect us with impunity to show their solidarity with their religious brothers

The fight continues …

Our enemies are not blind. On 9/11 they attacked the center of finance in New York. They see that the Wall Street Wizards have damaged the United States, both militarily and economically, and want to keep the United States on the defensive. And what better way to do that is to continue to bleed the American taxpayer by prolonging the outflow of dollars to Iraq and other foreign governments.

And what do the Iraqis propose as a thank you for liberating their miserable country and restoring a portion of their infrastructure … they want to assist their Arab brothers in bleeding the United States for additional energy dollars. Dollars which often finance anti-American activities and the buildup of armament which may, someday, used against the United States and its allies.

U.S. “required” to remain until 2012 …

“Officials said the Iraqi Defense Ministry has concluded that the U.S. military would be required until at least 2012 for both internal and external security and among other things to prevent piracy.”

" ‘The period of the timetabled withdrawal gives us enough time to complete our abilities — training, combat and technical — and secures us great support,’ Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Khader Jassim said.”

“At a news conference on Nov. 23, Jassim warned of a U.S. military withdrawal before 2012, Middle East Newsline reported. He said the absence of a U.S. security umbrella would threaten Iraqi oil exports and encourage neighboring countries to dominate Baghdad.

Iran’s boy weighs in …

What’s better for Iran’s position than to continue bleeding uncountable American dollars, many of which have no doubt found their way to the opposition,  into the region. And there is no better way to get us to stay than to throw a  bogeyman into the mix in order to provide additional talking points for those who want the money gusher to continue.  

“Anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged his country's parliament yesterday to reject a pact that would extend the U.S. presence in Iraq for three years. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of his followers marched through Baghdad's streets to reinforce his words.”

“The large turnout points to trouble ahead for the U.S.-Iraqi security deal as Sunni and Shiite lawmakers weigh the political risks associated with the far-reaching agreement.”

“Waving Iraqi flags and green Shiite banners, protesters chanted slogans condemning the pact. The demonstration in the mostly Shiite eastern part of Baghdad was staged under tight security, with soldiers and police officers manning checkpoints along the route.”

Siding with OPEC …

“Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said on Friday that 80 dollars a barrel is a ‘reasonable’ price for oil and that his country would support any OPEC decision to cut output.”

" ‘A reasonable price for oil is 80 dollars a barrel,’ said Shahristani on arrival in Cairo to attend a consultative meeting by the OPEC cartel to study slumping crude prices.”

"We have to make sure that produced oil is used for consumption and not for storing.”

"' ‘Iraq would support a decision by OPEC to cut output either here or in Algeria,’ the Iraqi minister added.”

Perhaps we should simply surcharge each barrel of oil in partial contribution for our taxpayer dollars which have gone to remove a tyrant and stabilize a country in religious turmoil. Not that any price could compensate us for our lost men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so that the Iraqis can openly disrespect us and corruptly continue to plunder our investment in their miserable regime.

Needed: a cohesive and comprehensive foreign policy …

No matter which way you voted, the United States is still in need of both a cohesive and comprehensive foreign policy. It matters little that this effort will be headed up by a Condoleezza Rice or a Hillary Clinton. What is of the utmost importance is that it represents the people of the United States, standing together in solidarity.

We need the rancorous bickering of the Congress to end NOW. We need to condemn many of those in the far-left who want to damage the United States both militarily and economically.

Needed: reorganization of the Department of Homeland Defense …

We need to deal with the possibility of a growing fifth column that is steadily infiltrating our institutions. And we certainly need to re-organize the Department of Homeland Defense with their almost impossible task of information coordination in an era when their so-called competitively chosen subcontractors are delivering overpriced and unworkable garbage with the knowledge that they will receive a slap on the wrist, minimal fines and be protected by their paid lobbyists and campaign contributions to politicians.

But, most of all, we need patriots: politicians, bureaucrats and citizens who will place the Country’s needs above their own personal prestige, power and profits. People who can clearly see the threat and make the move to build a cohesive defense to protect the American citizens.

What can YOU do?

Do not elect or re-elect corrupt, incompetent or unpatriotic officials to office.

Demand that both parties quit their open warfare for political power and start serving the American public or face being disbanded in the face of new institutions who will promote a pro-American stance in the face of growing world disruption and danger.

Let your politicians know how you feel about their use of your taxpayer dollars.

And if you believe that America is what’s wrong with the world, go live in France.

-- steve


Quote of the Day: “In this world, it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.” --Henry Ward Beecher

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Iraq says 80 dollars a 'reasonable' price for oil|AFP

Iraq Defense Ministry: U.S. pullout before 2012 would be 'unconsidered and sudden'

Cleric's followers march against U.S.-Iraq accord


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


The Fed story: Money for nothing, advice for free (With apologies to Dire Straits) (Updated)

UPDATE: 12-07-08  MONEY RATES REACHING RECORD LOWS ...

According to the AFP ...

"The panic in global financial markets has sparked an unprecedented rush into safe US Treasury securities, driving yields on short-term government notes down to almost zero.
Due to stampeding demand for safe short-term investments, the US Treasury's four-week and three-month bills on Friday yielded an effective rate of 0.01 percent -- down sharply from 1.515 percent and 1.785 percent, respectively, in early September."

"Other Treasuries are also showing record low yields. The 10-year bond yield fell as low as 2.505 percent and the 30-year bond yield slid to 3.005 percent at one point on Friday. The six-month bond yielded a mere 0.20 percent. The low yields reflect a surge in demand for these instruments, seen as the safest in the world during times of turmoil."

Original blog entry ...

Money for nothing …

Capture11-27-2008-4.18.43 PM

Notice the abysmally low yields for Treasury bills. This is the same scenario which spurred the global pool of capital to seek a relatively safe, or so they thought, investment in mortgage-backed securities.

Unfortunately, when all of the creditworthy borrowers had a mortgage, the lending regulations were relaxed, and relaxed and relaxed – with the Wall Street Wizards thinking they were containing the risk using repurchase agreements and schemes involving credit default swaps. What nobody realized, while they were making money hand over fist,  was that the total amount of loan purchases with borrowed money and credit default swaps greatly exceeded the equity of most firms – and just a small downturn in the market or unavailability of counterparty buyers brought the whole game to a standstill.

Which is where we appear to be today. Most financial firms do not know the exact amount of risk or toxic assets on their balance sheets, so they refuse to lend. Especially to counterparties with the same situation: an unbelievable balance sheet. – Requiring governmental action by the Treasury Department and the intervention of the Federal Reserve to straighten out the tangled interlocking balance sheets.

Advice for free …

  • November 19, 2008

    Vice Chairman Donald L. Kohn: “Monetary Policy and Asset Prices Revisited” at the Cato Institute's Twenty-Sixth Annual Monetary Policy Conference, Washington, D.C.

  • November 18, 2008

    Chairman Ben S. Bernanke: “Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Federal Reserve's liquidity facilities” before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives

November 14, 2008

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke: “Policy Coordination Among Central Banks” at the Fifth European Central Bank Central Banking Conference, “The Euro at Ten: Lessons and Challenges,” Frankfurt, Germany

  • November 12, 2008

    Vice Chairman Donald L. Kohn: “Productivity and Innovation in Financial Services” at the Official Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Banque Centrale du Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

  • November 6, 2008

    Governor Kevin Warsh: “The Promise and Peril of the New Financial Architecture” at the Money Marketeers of New York University, New York, New York

(Click on a date to read the wisdom of the Federal Reserve Chairman and his side men.)

In these speeches, everybody seems to be pitching their favorite solution, pointing their fingers at a variety of causal elements and ending with the obligatory promise that “we are doing the best we can.”

Quantitative easing … 

This is apparently the term being used to characterize the massive government intervention in the financial markets. 

“Yield on 10-year Treasury debt below 3%”

“Financial markets notched up another historic milestone on Wednesday as the yield on 10-year US Treasury debt fell below 3 per cent for the first time in 50 years.”

“The decline in yields – to a low of 2.98 per cent – comes in response to unconventional policy measures taken by the US Federal Reserve this week aimed at pushing short-term and long-term interest rates lower.”

What is going on …

“This so-called ‘quantitative easing’ is a strategy central banks use to fight deflation, the dreaded combination of declining growth and falling asset prices.”

“ ‘It is astonishing [that yields are so low],’ said Michael Chang, interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse. ‘The current environment is not like anything we’ve seen before. The Fed’s being very aggressive in quantitative easing, and the fall in yields is the result.’”

Inflation seems to be contained …

Capture11-27-2008-5.58.06 PM

As we can see, inflation seems to be contained as it would take a 1.47%, 1.9% or 2.52% rise in the federal funds target rate to reach a neutral inflationary stance in a 5-year, 7-year or 10-year outlook; respectively. This looks fairly good at this time. Note: it is possible that the Federal Open Market Committee will once again reduce rates in their December 16th meeting. 

Something seems to be working …

“Almost immediately after the Federal Reserve announced plans Tuesday to buy a sizable chunk of mortgage-based securities, interest rates dropped to the mid-5 percent range and stayed there through yesterday. The move is giving borrowers a "taste of the bailout pie," said analyst Mike Larson of Weiss Research. Until now, most government mortgage initiatives have been aimed at lenders or at distressed borrowers. “

“Rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped a quarter of a percentage point from Monday to 5.76 percent yesterday -- the lowest since early February, according to research firm HSH Associates.”

“Lenders said most inquiries came from clients eager to refinance because they were angst-ridden about the economy or their jobs and wanted to get any savings they could find. When interest rates drop, the first borrowers to take advantage tend to be refinancers, because there's little hassle or downside.”

“However, whether those refinancers will actually get this week's rates remains to be seen.” <Source>

But is this pattern of quantitative easing working? It is just too early to tell.

Unfortunately, this news story is reporting anecdotal evidence of a favorable change which may or may not be reflected in the real mortgage refinancing numbers which are typically made available a month or so after the end of the target month.

What can YOU do?

For those who are trying to refinance properties, keep track of the sales of similar homes in your immediate area to insure that an appraiser’s “comps” represent truly equivalent properties. Be ready to argue with appraisers who use bank “short sales” or other seller-contribution tricks which allows buyers to report lower home prices.

Trust but verify!

Keep track of credit card lines and HELOCs. Do not close any card which has a zero balance as the card’s limit boosts the amount of “available credit” and thus your credit scores. If a card issuer has reduced your credit line, make sure that you reduce the balance on that card – especially if the card is one of your higher interest cards. Always ask for a lower rate and/or higher balance. It can’t hurt and they definitely want to keep good customers.

Be careful of mortgage originators who are offering great rates only to renege at the closing table by presenting you with a higher rate on a “take it or leave it basis.” Try for zero cost rate locks whenever possible.

Be prepared to walk away from the deal if the rate has substantially changed or the originator has included “junk fees” which, contrary to public opinion, can be either eliminated or negotiated.

Do not make assumptions about the future market if you are not skilled in market finance. Take a good deal when it is made available. Remember, under the old scheme of things, it took a rate change of at least two points or the passage of a few years to reach a break-even on excessive origination fees.

Do not trust real estate agents who do not sign a form that they are acting in a fiduciary capacity to protect your interests. Most real estate agents are about the deal, collecting commissions – and care little or nothing for your personal welfare as there is evidence that most people do not use the same real estate agent twice.

Do not trust short term media announcements from the government, especially agencies with the motivation to report managed results which will be corrected in later media releases.

Most importantly, realize that both gains and losses are not booked until you complete the transaction. You may be much richer or poorer on paper than you are in actuality.

Be safe and be well. And, in the words of my best friend Al, this too shall pass.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: ”The person who is not hungry says that the coconut has a hard shell.” --African Tribal Saying

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Yield on 10-year Treasury debt below 3%|Financial Times 

As Loan Rates Fall, Borrowers Seek 'Taste of the Bailout Pie:’ Consumers Flock to Cheaper Mortgages After Federal Action|Washington Post


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Happy Thanksgiving

To all my friends and readers … have a happy and joyous thanksgiving. Be safe and well as you remember that the current financial crisis will pass, politicians can be thrown out of office and crooks will eventually receive their just deserts.

Capture11-25-2008-6.15.20 PM

Remember that we live in the best country on the face of this Earth and even the poorest among us lives a life which is often far richer and less filled with strife than most inhabitants of other nations.

You may want to take a moment and say a private prayer of thanks to the men and women of the armed services who have sacrificed so much in order to preserve the liberties and freedoms which we now enjoy.

flag

And above all – do not push the button …

panic-key

On this day, forget politics and finance. Tend to your family and friends.

Be well and be safe,

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Technological Convergence: Pizzas, Programs and Programming ... (Updated)

UPDATE: 12-09-08 TiVo & Domino's Pizza: IT'S NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME ...

Today, I looked forward with great anticipation to ordering my pizza. However, it was not all that cut and dried.

  • One, they will accept orders for cash only -- not credit cards. Probably due to the lack of an SSL 128-bit encrypted link. Note: the limit is $100.00 so party orders are not feasible.

  • Two, it is a pain in the butt to enter your name, address and telephone number using the remote. However, it should only have to be done once.

  • Three, the list of stores associated with my zipcode are designated as "pickup" only.

  • And four, to add insult to injury, the minute I finished entering my personal information, the application errored out: "An error occured while running the application. The application closed during a read (0x50006). It's a humax box running Linux -- how can this be. At least I got a clean exit and a return to the main menu. If this would have been M$ Windoze, it would have been a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). I am not going to try it again until I get more information. BTW TiVo does not use e-mail for support and I am not going to wait on the phone for the answer.

Original blog entry ...

Sometimes you get to experience a true technological convergence which must be shared with the masses …

I have long been a user of TiVo to time-shift the few programs that I watch to convenient times which may be days or weeks after the actual on-air broadcast. The ease of use of my TiVo unit outweighs the high initial cost of the hardware ($300) and the monthly tab for the program information service.

Besides, for the uber-geek, the actual source code for the TiVo program is readily available for examination, modification and experimentation.

But I digress, the coolest feature to-date, is the ability to order a Domino’s Pizza, complete with side dishes and drinks, directly from your TiVo unit – with nothing more than a remote control unit. This is even better than watching movie previews and being able to order tickets online. And how cool is that.

Convergence is great! Or, you should forgive the pun: technology done right!

-- steve

Saving TiVo … there is no secret that many advertisers hate TiVo because of its ability to skip commercials in 30-second increments. It is also not secret that many television outlets are counter-programming digital video recorders (DVRs) by ignoring the traditional boundaries of the broadcast clock and starting or ending programs one or two minutes before of after the traditional time boundaries to prevent changing channels and recording a complete program. Add to that the technology providers and cable companies who offer their own DVR setups – or in some cases – provide a virtual DVR at the head-end of the process. But few of these efforts provide the ease-of-use of an actual TiVo. They come close, but still fall short. So, in spite of TiVo’s current financial problems – I still recommend that you consider purchasing and using TiVos. If money is an issue, used and reconditioned TiVo units are available from TiVo.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


The answer ...

Only a few people were able to name all of the participants in my challenge…

Capture11-23-2008-5.00.20 PM

The top financial players:

Top – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

Left – Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee

Right – Former-Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan

Bottom – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson

While there are a number of other people who were considered for inclusion in the above chart, these are the ones who made the cut.

Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan’s hand-picked choice for Federal Reserve Chairman. A man struggling against market forces to stabilize the economy.

Alan Greenspan, a man who many believe is the arch-villain who set the global pool of capital on a flight to find a relatively safe investment yielding more than the artificially low 1% return available on treasury securities. These are the people who invested in the initial mortgage backed securities; and when the availability of good mortgages ran out, the Wall Street Wizards created more out of dodgy loans using  hedges to mitigate the increased risk.

Barney Frank – complicit in allowing the fiction that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were well-managed, well-capitalized and sound investments.

Henry Paulson, the man with “no-plan” who famously said give me $700 billion with little or no restrictions and I will try to solve the problem. A number he apparently picked out of thin air – less than an ominous $1 trillion and significant enough to get attention.

But the most important player in the financial crisis is the man in the middle: the irrepressible Robin Williams -- who reminds us that financial wounds are not fatal and that, given sufficient humor, we shall weather this crisis.

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Schwarzenegger: Pay attention -- this is why California has got a massive deficit!

UPDATE: 10-26-08 SCHWARZENSTUPID MAY COMPOUND INSULT

I could understand Don Perata naming Kuehl to the Intergrated Waste Management Board... but not to name a hard-working Republican to a similar position on the IWMB is absolutly wrong. But then again, Arnie is a RINO (Republican In Name Only) who appears more sympathetic to Ted Kennedy-style (his father-in-law) liberal democratic causes than he does to conservative Regan-style politics.

According to the Sacramento Bee ...

"There remains one vacancy, but only the GOP governor has the power to fill that vacancy. There is a long tradition of legislative leaders ensuring that termed-out colleagues have a comfortable landing pad when they leave office. Lawmakers do not receive a pension or have continued access to health benefits."

"Sources say Perata indicated to both Migden and Kuehl that they would receive a spot on California's waste board. But the Oakland Democrat has only a single appointment."

"Schwarzenegger is expected to step in - perhaps as a favor to the incoming Senate leader Darrell Steinberg - and appoint Migden. Word is he wasn't excited about naming Kuehl, given the fact that her health committee ended hopes for his health care plan. If Migden is appointed, three-fifths of California's current Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus would then sit on the waste board."

The Governor is asking us to accept trippled car taxes or increased sales taxes and he is flushing money down the drain with political appointments which will serve to continue the hyper-partisan political chaos, confusion and corruption in our State government. Imagine the damage he could do if he were a Senator with access to $700 BILLION of the taxpayer's money.

Original blog entry ...

When Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned for the position of California governor, he famously claimed that he would eliminate all of the superfluous special boards and commissions. He did not do this!

When Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned for the position of California governor, he famously claimed that he was too rich to be bought – yet has engaged in more outrageous fundraising than his predecessor, Gray Davis.  He did not do what he promised as he apparently panders to the special interests as slavishly as our bought-and-paid-for legislators.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned for the position of California governor, he famously claimed he would work with the legislature to trim costs and bring legislative spending in California back to a reasonable level. He did not do this. Spending increased in an obscene manner.

OBJECT LESSON:

Termed-out State Senator and openly gay advocate Sheila Kuehl (aka Zelda on the old Dobie Gillis Television Series) has landed a high-paying job on California's Integrated Waste Management Board at an annual salary of $132,178 per year. She was appointed by her fellow legislator,  the outgoing Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata who is under investigation himself for alleged corruption.

And she is only one of a number of legislators who will continue to prey on the citizens of California and will continue to promote their wacky personal agendas wherever they land.

About the Board …

“The Board promotes a ‘Zero Waste California"’ in partnership with local government, industry, and the public. This means managing the estimated 92 million tons of waste generated each year by reducing waste whenever possible, promoting the management of all materials to their highest and best use, regulating the handling, processing and disposal of solid waste, and protecting public health and safety and the environment.”

This agency requires a professional staff to accomplish its mission, not a bunch of appointed far-left environmental Nazi-like liberals who are mostly anti-business and overly pro-environment.

Perhaps they should first look at the waste that is generated by an out-of-control government that is bloated with over-paid and underperforming people.

Earth to Arnie:

Take a hint from industry – downsize personnel, rework the union pensions and close the budget by reducing spending – not raising taxes.

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Is the left trying to sabotage the current Obama financial team -- led unofficially by Robert Rubin for one that is unofficially led by George Soros?

What to make of a left-leaning publication of record,  who appears to be unabashedly in the tank for Barack Obama based on the coverage of the respective campaigns, when they go negative on one of Obama’s brightest financial team picks? 

“Where was Geithner in turmoil?”

“President-elect Barack Obama unveiled on Monday an economic team with deep experience handling economic crises. But does the man at the center of this star-studded cast, Timothy Geithner, the nominee for Treasury secretary, have the chops to take the nation in a new financial direction?”

“That is what a number of Wall Street chieftains are quietly asking, even after the stock market surged with relief after his nomination.”

“One reason Obama gave for nominating Geithner was his ‘unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis, in all of its depth, complexity and urgency.’ More important, he suggested, ‘Tim will waste no time getting up to speed. He will start his first day on the job with a unique insight into the failures of today's markets and a clear vision of the steps we must take to revive them.’"

Clearly this is hyperbole as Geithner and all of the others at the Federal Reserve, Treasury, FDIC, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision have clearly been part of formulating the current disastrous bailout policy – and it is apparent that it is not working as well as predicted.

White Knight?

“Geithner is clearly a 47-year-old wonder boy.”

“A graduate of Dartmouth, he has a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, did a turn with Henry Kissinger's consulting firm, a stint in the Clinton administration and, for the last five years, has been the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”

We have seen any number of well-credentialed, well-educated and well-connected people in both government and industry who appeared to be geniuses in good times, but abject failures when problems appeared on the horizon or threatened to overtake events. In this case, no amount of Ivy League polish can restore the luster of the brass (not gold) finish on a deeply dented financial system.

Effectively?

“He will effectively lead the team Obama has chosen to mend a crippled economy. That's important because they won't just be debating economic theory they will be making deals Wall Street-style, negotiating billion-dollar bailouts and restructuring entire industries on behalf of their client, the taxpayers.”

You may be a leader, but if the direction is derived by self-interested consensus and is a murky path to an uncertain future – a bold charging leader is as damaging to the economy and an ineffective and weak advocate for the Administration’s policies.

Challenging the record …

As with so much of Obama’s team, media hype often gives way to a very different, and sometimes disturbing, picture of an “operator” skilled in media relations and with a past history of failures that were conveniently overlooked by the media in their rush to anoint “The One.”

“But Geithner's involvement in several ultimately ill-fated efforts to buttress the American financial system is the very reason some Wall Street CEO's — a number of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of piquing the man who regulates them — question whether he's up to the challenge.”

"' ‘We have only two things to say about Tim Geithner, who we do not know: AIG and Lehman Brothers,’ said Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics. ‘Throw in the Bear Stearns/Maiden Lane fiasco for good measure,’ he said, referring to the site of the New York Federal Reserve, where many rescue discussions took place.”

"All of these 'rescues' are a disaster for the taxpayer, for the financial markets and also for the Federal Reserve System as an organization. Geithner, in our view, deserves retirement, not promotion."

“Ouch.”

" ‘He was in the room at every turn of the crisis,’ said another executive who participated in several such confidential meetings with Geithner. ‘You can look at that both ways.’"

“While Henry Paulson Jr., the current Treasury secretary, has taken a drubbing for the changeable nature of the government's efforts to bolster the financial industry some of which clearly contradicted each other — Geithner has managed, for the most part, to remain unscathed. He's been widely praised as a bright, articulate out-of-the box thinker who is a bailout expert, to the extent anyone can truly be an expert at fast-changing emergencies.”

Blaming AIG on Geithner?

“Behind the scenes, Geithner was the point person for weeks of sleep-deprived Bailout Weekends. It was Geithner, not Paulson, for example, who put together the original rescue plan for the American International Group.”

Piling on …

“And, of course, Geithner also oversaw and regulated an entire industry whose decline has delivered a further blow to an already weakened American economy. Under his watch, some of the biggest institutions that were the responsibility of the New York Fed — Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and most recently, Citigroup faltered. While he was one of the first regulators to smartly articulate the potential for an impending disaster, a number of observers question whether he went far enough to stop the calamity.”

Second guessing the Federal Reserve for not imposing sanctions on financial institutions under powers granted to them by the Homeowners Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) when the primary regulators of these financial institutions (OTS, OCC, FDIC, NCUA and the state regulatory agencies) took little or no action is counterproductive. Shoulda, woulda, coulda … ad nauseam.

More blame should accrue to the Securities and Exchange Commission for their lax enforcement of trading rules and their cheerleading for toxic accounting rules which allowed much of the risk of toxic assets to be held in “off balance sheet” accounts which rendered them invisible to the regulators, counterparties, shareholders and others.

“Perhaps what has most people on Wall Street stirring is Geithner's role in the fall of Lehman. At the time of its bankruptcy, he, along with Paulson, appeared to be the most vocal in supporting the government's refusal to bail out the firm, according to people involved in various meetings. With hindsight, many in the financial industry blame a deepening of the global financial crisis on the government's decision to let Lehman crumble.”

Apparently, someone decided to draw a line – and it produced unintended consequences. Or does it just appear that way in hindsight? There is no way to know what the real problems were or are in a secretive Administration or in a private organization (as is both the Federal Reserve and Lehman).

Media games?

Perhaps not surprisingly, there have been moves afoot in recent weeks by some in the New York Fed and Obama team to put distance between Paulson and Geithner, whose salary was $398,200 last year and who will take a pay cut to $191,300 in his new role.”

Does it strike anybody else as ironic that these allegedly talented individuals are working for less money than most commonplace Street Wizards? But then again, think of it as paying dues to attain a position that will pay off big-time when one leaves government service.

More media games: plausible deniability or more backhand spin?

“These include the suggestion that Geithner was not in league with Paulson over Lehman; that Geithner pressed to save the firm from bankruptcy; that he was a lone voice on the subject and was overruled by Paulson and Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, on this issue.”

“The validity of this new claim is hard to verify. The New York Fed declined to comment.”

“Many executives suggest it may be a bit of revisionist history. ‘If that's true, he did a good job of hiding it,’ said one executive who spent the weekend at the New York Federal Reserve the weekend of Lehman's fall.”

Faint praise or subtle condemnation?

“Paulson has only praise for Geithner. ‘I have the highest regard for Tim his judgment and creativity have been critical to designing and implementing the necessary actions we've taken to protect and strengthen our financial system,’ he said.”

“Let's hope he's right.”

This is the type of article which is used to subtly shade the facts and create perceptions. In this Orwellian nightmare where up is down, right is left and they have redefined a tax cut as a reduction in a proposed budget, there is no rational basis for believing what is printed in the New York Times or its international version, the International Herald Tribute – without further analysis. It is a shame that one can no longer believe the nation’s self-described “newspaper of record.”

Not the only one …

From CNSNews …

President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary was an advocate for corporate bailouts, working out loans for Bear Sterns and insurance giant AIG, even before the approval of the $700 billion rescue package that he will be charged with administering if confirmed for the job.

He also supports expanding the authority of the Federal Reserve over the economy.  
Timothy F. Geithner, Obama’s nominee and the current president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was the architect of the $29 billion Bear Stearns bailout, according to Conde Naste Portfolio, a move that drew fire from both Democrats and Republicans.

“ ‘Obama might as well have re-nominated Hank Paulson again,’ said John Berlau, director of the center for entrepreneurship at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a free market think tank. ‘This is not change, but it is going to be more of the same from the second term of the Bush administration.’”

“Berlau was referring to Paulson, who orchestrated the controversial $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), which passed Congress and was signed by President Bush early last month. Opponents of TARP could cast a skeptical eye on Geithner during Senate confirmation.”

Berlau believes both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate who find corporate welfare objectionable should oppose the Geithner nomination, which will be debated before the Senate Finance Committee.”

The fine hand of George Soros?

It is currently unknown why a notorious left-wing news organization and a somewhat right-wing news organization would attack Barack Obama’s main choice for Secretary of the Treasury. Unless there is a coordinated attack by the far-left to squelch Obama’s choices of economic advisors and promote those candidates whose ideological underpinnings compel them to take advantage of the current crisis and promote their far-left ideologies such as wealth distribution, higher taxes and larger government.

It seems, at least to me, to be a time when the people of the United States need to be extremely wary that those who ultimately loathe the United States and would do everything to damage her military and economy are weeded out before they are appointed or elected to office. There appears that there may be a malignant fifth column at work within the United States and I am afraid that Joseph McCarthy’s worst fears may be realized. Yes, I know I mentioned the boogeyman that the far-left has spent decades maligning, but in the final analysis, he was right about the problems with governmental infiltration. Perhaps his methods were a bit crude and some of those associated with his office over-zealous, but there were – and still are – spies and enemies among us. Unfortunately, some of them are well-moneyed and can now buy a veneer of respectability and the complicit assistance of lawyers, lobbyists, politicians and elected officials within the judiciary.


intelligence and law enforcement agencies will be reluctant to act as the matter is political rather than criminal.

What can YOU do?

First, take care of yourself, your family and your house.

Second, have faith in the free markets which will ultimately resolve the problem unless the continual interference of the government prolongs the debacle.

Third, realize that the resolution of the financial crisis takes time and does not lend itself to a quick legislative fix. The best that can be accomplished by government is to soften the financial blow to the average citizen and to learn from their past futile actions.

Although it is unlikely to happen, there are a number of dirty politicians which should be immediately removed from congress if not incarcerated for their special interest meddling in the financial affairs of the nation. Others in the Administration should be immediately removed from office as they were incompetent, malfeasant or simply corrupt. Some should be stripped of their ill-gotten gains and the money placed into a restitution fund. And some should go to jail.

And, above all, remember that those who do not wish the United States well are still hard at work – with the ultimate goal of subverting our military and economy for the benefit of those who want to reduce the United States to a third-world nation, rife with internal bickering and suspicions.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Those who agree with us may not be right, but we admire their astuteness.” -- Cullen Hightower

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Where was Geithner in turmoil?|International Herald Tribune/New York Times

Obama’s Treasury Nominee Has History of Advocating Corporate Bailouts


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Time to stop the blame game and concentrate on real solutions: if we ONLY knew what they are ...

$7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit? 

Bloomberg is reporting …

“U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit”

“The U.S. government is prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt yesterday. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.”

“The unprecedented pledge of funds includes $3.18 trillion already tapped by financial institutions in the biggest response to an economic emergency since the New Deal of the 1930s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The commitment dwarfs the plan approved by lawmakers, the Treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Federal Reserve lending last week was 1,900 times the weekly average for the three years before the crisis.”

When Congress approved the TARP on Oct. 3, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson acknowledged the need for transparency and oversight. Now, as regulators commit far more money while refusing to disclose loan recipients or reveal the collateral they are taking in return, some Congress members are calling for the Fed to be reined in.”

What transparency, what oversight?

There are so many people, so many agencies involved in the bailout and nobody appears to be in charge, least of all Congress which promised oversight and transparency.

‘That’s Counterproductive’

“ ‘Some have asked us to reveal the names of the banks that are borrowing, how much they are borrowing, what collateral they are posting,’ Bernanke said Nov. 18 to the House Financial Services Committee. ‘We think that’s counterproductive.’

“The Fed should account for the collateral it takes in exchange for loans to banks, said Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Chicago-based Northern Trust Corp. and a former research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.”

“ ‘There is a lack of transparency here and, given that the Fed is taking on a huge amount of credit risk now, it would seem to me as a taxpayer there should be more transparency,’ Kasriel said.”

What might they be hiding?

While they claim that disclosing the details of loans and collateral is likely to cause a public panic, I wonder just what it is that these financial idiot savants might be hiding. Some thoughts  …

1.  Certain financial institutions have received a disproportionate amount of bailout funds. Possibly Citigroup.

2.  Transactions which were hidden from the public and the regulators in SEC-sanctioned off-balance-sheet accounts are now being repatriated to the parent’s balance sheets thus magnifying the losses by a leverage factor of 35 times or more.

3.  Attempts to de-leverage balance sheets without artificially valuing assets has failed. Most financial institutions are technically insolvent as the magnitude of their losses greatly exceeds the shareholder’s equity. The government will not allow these institutions to fail.

4.  Power-brokers, lawyers and lobbyists, are now fighting to get more than their fair share. Exposing the transactions would certainly create further dissention in the ranks.

5.  That the people behind the curtain do not really know what they are doing.

There is no proof that credit markets are easing …

Much of the money that has already been provided to financial institutions was used for acquiring other companies, meeting their core capital requirements and strengthening their own balance sheets. All with little or no major effect on consumer or commercial lending.

Who will be running the nation after January 20, 2009?

We have seen the Bush team fumble the ball. But the problem seems to be that many of those who are now managing the crisis will continue to impact the situation under an Obama Administration. Of course, I wonder who will really be running the nation.

Certainly not Barack Obama!

With Hillary Clinton & Company running foreign policy and ex-Clintonista Robert Rubin acting as the puppet-master orchestrating financial moves for Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, it is likely that Barack Obama will do what he does best: be a charismatic orator -- who just might become a figurehead in his own Administration.

Return of the Clintonistas …

It should be remembered that Treasury Secretary-elect, and current New York Federal Reserve President, Timothy Geithner, worked in the Clinton Treasury Department under Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. Lawrence Summers will serve as National Economic Council Director-designate.

Toxic history …

It should also be remembered that Larry Summers was the most passionate advocate for the Financial Services Modernization Act which deregulated most of the financial institutions and allowed the merger of commercial banking, investment banking, insurance and other financial firms. Signed into law by, you guessed it, Bill Clinton.

Notwithstanding those who are urging President Bush and the current Administration to stand aside and turn over their reins of power prior to the official inauguration, much of the current financial leadership will not change after January 20, 2009 as most of  Obama’s financial team has been complicit in helping to create the current financial crisis and instrumental trying to orchestrate the economy’s recovery.

And a toxic team they are. Robert Rubin big-time advocate for Citibank. Summers who worked with Enron and other banking lobbyists to push Senator’s Phil Gramm’s deregulation program which resulted in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which changed the face of commodities trading and incidentally preempted state gambling statutes so that credit default swaps could be used as de facto insurance. The last time I looked, there were approximately $55-TRILLION worth of unregulated Credit Default Swaps imperiling the nation’s balance sheets.

Let us not forget Fed Chairman Bernanke …

Geithner as the head of the New York Federal Reserve has worked closely with Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Paulson to engineer most of the recovery activities to-date. No reason to think something will change here.

Consider Bernanke’s latest revelation …

“I and others were mistaken early on in saying that the subprime crisis would be contained. The causal relationship between the housing problem and the broad financial system was very complex and difficult to predict.”

-- Ben Bernanke in Anatomy of a Meltdown (New Yorker Magazine, December 1, 2008 issue)

The real impact of the subprime mortgage market is nowhere near the sums of money being discussed. What has happened is that the Wall Street Wizards created numerous financial products out of whole cloth and then amplified their effects with uncontrolled and unchecked leverage. We are about to fix the problem of the leverage – as the real problem with property values is being treated as a secondary consideration.

Who may have a solution to the financial crisis?

I have just watched two hours of talking heads pontificate on the current financial crisis: its root causes, those who aided, abetted and aggravated the problem; those who blame the Bush Administration, those who project the potential course of the Obama-elect Administration … and not one person mentioned a plan to stabilize the home prices which underlie almost all of the toxic securities and/or plans to clean up the accounting system which permitted this to happen with little or no notice.

Therefore, I present to you five powerful individuals, each accomplished in their own fields of endeavor. Which one is likely to hold the key to stabilizing the current economy?

Capture11-23-2008-5.00.20 PM

Challenge: Identify the players and provide your own commentary … the best answers, if any, will be published along with my analysis.  Send Mail

What can YOU do?

Realize that a preliminary look at Barack Obama’s promise of change might be terribly disappointing as Obama’s proposed changes are beginning to look like the total outsourcing of the government’s day-to-day operations to the Clintons and their friends. Welcome to Clinton III!

Unless the Obama team is withholding some secret remedy, lest that President Bush and his Administration get even a modicum of credit for starting the recovery, it is likely that the same course of action that is currently being pursued under the Bush Administration will continued to be pursued, with some minor changes, in an Obama Administration.

Don’t forget to e-mail me with your comments on the above challenge.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit|Bloomberg.com

Obama's economic team shows influence of Robert Rubin - with a difference|IHT-New York Times


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


THE DEMOCRAT PLAN TO HUSH RUSH TURNS TO GOLD ... for everybody but the citizens of the United States

By now your e-mail inbox will have been filled with solicitations to preserve the First Amendment rights of broadcasters against the evil machinations of the far-left liberal wing of the democrat party.

As if these First Amendment rights guaranteeing the right of political free speech were not already guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

As if these multi-million dollar broadcasting operations did not have a multitude of lawyers and lobbyists to protect their private interests and profitable advertising streams.

As if these major broadcasters were not paying conservative radio hosts tens, and in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars to attract a large audience which can be sold to advertisers.

And, as if, any one of the major hosts, possibly in a group effort, could not fund their own campaign to protect their own rights.

What is the threat?

Listening to the top conservative radio hosts across the nation, there is a conspiracy between the Obama Administration-elect and Congress to curtail the impudent effects of politically conservative talk radio for the purposes of muzzling dissent in America.  In effect, silencing the loyal opposition who claims to “speak truth to power” and thus fulfill the role of the fourth estate. However, we are not speaking of authentic journalists or news organizations, we are speaking about commentators who speak their mind on various subjects. Thus further extending the free speech issue beyond the realm of provable facts to the absolutely protected realm of political free speech and opinion.

The details?

Since the actual rules and/or legislation has not been presented, a full analysis of the situation is impossible. But it is easy to speculate on the nature of the beast when one considers historical precedent.

First of all, the proposed legislation will not be crafted as a “fairness doctrine.” That term has already been used and carries an extremely negative connotation.

Second, it is unlikely that legislation will be crafted initially, preferring to use the Administration’s rule making ability which would allow an agency to promote rules and regulations to accomplish the same effect as Congressionally-mandated legislation which needs to be signed into law by the President and withstand an eventual  Supreme Court challenge.

Third, the method of breaking up the dominion of the large syndicated conservative radio hosts is simply to change the way broadcasters present programming. Using a theory known as “locality",” each broadcaster would need to satisfy their local audience's requirements for localized programming. Since, by its very nature, syndicated talk radio does not present a “localized,” the prime-time hours of programming could not be used to satisfy the new “locality” requirements and thus put a station’s license at risk during the renewal process.

What’s the game?

For the democrats, it is a matter of silencing an extremely loud audience of both observant individuals and those who are willing to exploit any hint of political corruption, malfeasance, cronyism, incompetence for their own advantage.

For members of Congress, it may be a matter of continuing their legalized extortion of funds from American business by requiring lobbyists bearing campaign funds and other goodies to shower legalized bribes upon political parties and their candidates. Since both sides of the aisle engage in this despicable behavior, the special interests seem to always trump the average citizen.

For the mainstream media, anything which diminishes the impact of talk radio or the Internet, is looked upon as being somewhat beneficial in restoring their lost audience and their relevancy as purveyors of news, style and taste. Of course, we know that there is no way to un-ring the bell and restore immediacy to news reporting – or fit thoughtful, detailed analysis within a fifteen minute segment of a regularly broadcast show.

And for those who are activists, think tanks and/or lobbying organizations, it is a chance to further milk the hardworking taxpayer for money to protect the rights that they currently enjoy.

Bottom line: why should politicians, of any stripe, be allowed to mandate what we hear and see when it comes to political speech.

The role of pornography …

The most used rationale for controlling our airwaves has always been obscenity and pornography. Something which does not seem to carrier over into the profitable cable television venues.

Pornography, while being roundly condemned by all, has been at the forefront of most technical change involving the video recorder/player and, most recently, the Internet. When you add up the dollars spent on supporting infrastructure – and most pornography traffic is carried by the major communications carriers, it becomes an economic vs. social issue – with the economics almost always outweighing the social.

The goal of most politicians is to criminalize so-called “sinful” behavior, not primarily to eradicate it, but to either tax it or drive it underground where it supports the large law enforcement and judicial infrastructure industry. Believe me, the last thing that government wants is a total cessation of crime that would attorneys, law enforcement and the judiciary. Attempt to actually control crime and it will be the trial attorneys who march to kill the legislation.

John Podesta and the devil …

For those who firmly believe that the devil is in the details, let me introduce you to a hyper-partisan Clintonista, John Podesta…

Podesta was the powerful White House Chief of Staff serving President Clinton from 1998 until 2001. When he was not angling for a position in the Obama Administration, he was serving as the President of the Center for American Progress, a self-described liberal Washington think tank which describes its mission as …

“a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all."

What makes Podesta dangerous to conservative talk radio is that he currently serves as one of the coordinators of President-elect Barack Obama's transition planning team which gives him enough influence to assist in the selection of hyper-partisan members of the Federal Communications Commission and who has materially supported a plan for curtailing the influence of conservative talk radio.

One primary research work product of the Center for American Progress was a report titled “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio” which purported to use a scientific analysis in order to substantiate the report’s conclusions that the FCC consider:

  • Restoring local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations.
  • Ensuring greater local accountability over radio licensing.
  • And requiring commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.

All which serve to dilute the power of major broadcasting companies which own radio stations. Notice, not one word about television stations which use the very same airwaves that are allegedly owned by the public, but whose spectrum is being auctioned off for the benefit of those who control the political process.

In addition, it is far easier to mount a license challenge with local partisans than it is to mount such a challenge to a corporation serving multiple municipalities.

And what’s this about funding public radio which can be proven to skew left and liberal? By all rights, the government should withdraw from supporting any broadcasting interests except those used to support national purposes like Radio Free America.

Other suggestions contained within the report include reducing the licensing period to fewer years in order to facilitate politically-motivated license challenges within a the timeframe of a major political campaign. 

All-in-all, this biased think piece is thought to be the center of the new push to curtail the impact of conservative talk radio on the electorate. And by no means is this research crafted in an impartial manner to be of benefit to the citizens of the United States.

It is ironic …

It is extremely ironic that the liberals who want to shut down conservative talk radio will fight for the artistic rights of those who use public funds to display a crucifix in a jar of urine or display a bullwhip protruding from a gay man’s rectum. These are the very same people who claim that burning our national flag is the very essence of protected political free speech and protest … and yet are afraid of the musings of a relatively few people who seem to resonate with the American people; perhaps because they point out the foibles of political charlatans and whose commonsense ideas are universally acceptable.

As a matter of note: had Presidential candidate John McCain adopted the pre-tested agenda proposed by Newt Gingrich and others, instead of trying to align himself with the moderate democrats, we would not be having this discussion about the curtailment of our free speech rights today. Oh well, there is another Congressional battle looming on the horizon in 201o … provided that the democrats do not manage to curtail political free speech in 2009.

What can YOU do?

Never allow your free speech rights to be compromised by limiting any segment of the broadcast spectrum to be controlled for political or commercial purposes. This also applies to the curtailing free speech on the Internet as well as all other media outlets.

Even if you agree with the politicians now in power, soon to assume power – there will always be another regime which you may, or may not, agree with. Allowing any regime to bend media or connectivity rules for their political self-interests is not in YOUR best interests and should be opposed with all appropriate measures and vigor.

Do not contribute to the self-serving money-spinning organizations that are using this cause to feather their own nests with large salaries, unlimited travel and more self-interest media attention. These are often the people who trade access for both power and money. Instead, let your elected officials know that their careers can be terminated by the people if they persist in muzzling any segment of the population with respect to political free speech.

Write to the Federal Communications Commission and tell them to leave political free speech alone ... and if they really want to do something useful continue to monitor the airwaves for interference and frequency deviations. And if they want to please the people with their silly little rules, let them outlaw "overlap" programming where some broadcasters do not adhere to the traditional "broadcast clock" and let their programs slightly overlap time bundaries to foil those, like myself, who like to TiVo their programs for convenience.

Read the United States Constitution and know your rights. We did not allow thousands of Americans to die in order to protect your rights which could be signed away by politicians with the stroke of a pen.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Note: The "Hush Rush" reference refers to the fuzzy blob of common-sense, Rush Limbaugh as well as to the other prominent conservative commentators like Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingram, Larry Elder,  Al Rantel and the ever-funny, ever-sarcastic Ann Coulter.

Reference Links:

John Podesta|Wikipedia 

The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio|Center for American Progress


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS