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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Excels at CPAC

I had a chance to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC today. Rush Limbaugh delivered the final speech of the conference and it brought the house down. I don't think I'm overstating it by saying it was one of the best speeches I've ever heard in my life related to the meaning and defense of conservatism.

I would normally post a few memorable lines but the whole speech was tremendous. It was approximately one hour long but is well worth watching. It will soon be posted on rushlimbaugh.com. Here is the transcript and video link. Again, well worth it - he articulates a summary of the value of conservatism and the dangers of liberalism better than anyone I have ever heard.

Gateway Pundit has a couple of highlights and seems to agree that it was a fantastic speech.

*Update*
Left-wing CNN journalist Bill Schneider said that Rush's speech represented "angry white men" and was full of contempt. Hmm...let's say that a FoxNews journalist called an Obama, Sharpton or Rangel speech a "representation of angry black men" full of contempt and bullying. I wonder what would happen.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama's Stock Market Collapse Continues

If you're keeping track, Obama has now been in office for six weeks. The market has been down the last four and five out of the six. Batting average: .167. It was also the worst February in stock market history.

But on a better note: he's batting .500 on his campaign of "hope and change."

That $13/Week "Tax Credit" is Not a Tax Cut

Beginning April 1, employers are going to be withholding approximately $13/week less for many Americans. This is what Obama and the Dems proclaimed as the great "tax cut."

But here is the fine print - unfortunately, I have not been able to find any articles about it online. According to tax preparers, the tax tables have not changed and thus the $13/week is still due and payable to the U.S. government come tax time in 2010. So assuming this is true and I have no reason to doubt the tax professionals, even this $13/week is simply allowing Americans to hold on to this money a little longer. The dirty little secret is that even this is not a tax cut. There are no tax cuts.

Where Have You Gone, Milton Friedman?

It's times like this that it's nice to hear some common sense once in a while. Thanks to Steve for sending along this video link of Milton Friedman's brief exchange with Phil Donahue in 1979 on the merits of capitalism.

Obama: Bush "Dealt Al Qaeda in Iraq a Serious Blow"

I can't believe my ears. Obama has just said in a speech that Al Qaeda in Iraq "has been dealt a serious blow." First, it's nice to hear that Obama finally has agreed that Al Qaeda was in Iraq and that it was therefore worth fighting them. Second, it's nice to hear that he believes they have been "dealt a serious blow."

While Obama would never give Bush credit for anything whatsoever, it's clear that there's only one President to thank for that...and it ain't Obama.

Bank Analyst Proves Nouriel Roubini Wrong

Bank analyst Tom Brown corrects the mistake of Nouriel Roubini, the media's latest darling for continuing to predict doom for the U.S. banking system, including in particular, Wells Fargo.

To make a long story short, Roubini claimed that Wells Fargo was a "goner" because you can't put together two "zombie banks" and "make it work." Time magazine carried an interview with Roubini who said that Wells had another $117 billion of losses coming. This helped further exacerbate major stock declines in the financial sector in recent days. Unfortunately, Roubini's math was wrong, as he never included the fact that Wells already took a huge writedown prior to closing the Wachovia deal. Now Roubini claims that it was Time's fault because he only deals in "macro" variables without talking about specific banks.

This is generally what the media does and why Rush Limbaugh's "driveby media" phrase is so appropriate. The media make an accusation, whether factual or not, and then move on, never bothering to correct their previous mistakes. And then someone else has to clean up their mess.

Former SEC Chair: This is "Economic Revolution"

Move over, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez - you've got competition. So says Arthur Levitt, former SEC Chairman under Bill Clinton as he comments on the de facto nationalization of Citigroup today.

“This country is going through no less than an economic revolution.”

Talk about the complete diminution of credibility within Obama's administration.

There's a Reason the Budget Sounds So Scary

As the WSJ explains, the Obama budget is very very very scary. As the graph illustrates, federal spending as a percentage of GDP will be higher than any time in history apart from World War II mobilization efforts. Even after the economy recovers with an all-too-rosy expected 3-4% GDP growth for the next several years, spending is still several points higher than the last few decades. And that's also assuming that many of the spending increases (ie. new employee hires, salary increases for federal employees, etc.) are all eliminated after next year. (How many of you think that is likely?)

The budget also assumes that all the families currently making over $200,000 will not change their behavior at all and will gladly just fork over the 60% marginal rates to the government. It assumes that Obama can convince Congress to drastically reduce farm subsidies to farmers. It assumes that the government-run health care program will only cost $634 billion, which even as Obama says, is simply a "down payment." Finally, it already includes a dramatic 2% of GDP reduction in defense spending. (This cut I can believe.) The end result? The WSJ puts it best:

Americans are only beginning to understand the magnitude of Mr. Obama's ambitions, and how much of their own income will be required to fulfill them. Republicans have an obligation to insist on a long and considerable debate on all of this, lest Americans discover in a year or two that they live in a very different country.

The optimist in me says that perhaps Obama is stuffing the budget so far beyond belief that he can remove small parts of it and say that he is "cutting the budget" or some other rhetorical nonsense that he has playing recently. But the realist in me tells me this is Obama.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dilbert On Senate Hearings


Sometimes cartoons can convey a message very well. Dilbert on the recent Congressional hearings. I wish others had the guts to speak their mind so directly.

Cap and Trade is Here!

Finally, the long awaited plan to combat "pretend global warming." And at the cost of only $1-2 trillion.

I'm starting to lose track of Obama's spending proposals - are we at $5 trillion or $6 trillion now?

Obama Promises to Slash Spending.....????

Obama is promising to slash spending by $2 trillion.

Am I missing something???

Next Up: Nationalize Student Loan Industry

Obama is moving fast and furious before anyone has a chance to debate a single bill he is proposing. His newest proposal released today is to eliminate the private student loan market and have the government take care of it all. He claims it will save money, but is there anyone still alive on the planet that believes the government will be more efficient than the private sector? Further, does anyone think their underwriting standards will be any better?

Budget Deficit Already Revised Upward to $1.75 Trillion

Move over, $500 billion budget deficit. We're now up to $1.75 trillion (that's up another $450 billion just this week).

Oh, and that's before the $1 trillion government health care plan. Anyone still wonder why the business community is panicked beyond belief?

Here Come the 60% Marginal Tax Rates...

Move over, Jimmy Carter - the coming tax rates are going to blow you out of the water, with marginal rates at or above 60% on families making just $208K. (According to Obama, that's "roughly in line" with the no-tax-increases on families earning less than $250K pledge.) As the WSJ details, the highest tax rate goes from 35% to 39.6%. Then the once-sacred mortgage interest deduction and charitable donations will be reduced by 7%. Add in 7.6% for FICA/Medicare, 6% for state (obviously Californians and New Yorkers would be still higher) and we're already at a roughly 60% marginal rate. And that's ignoring your employer's 7.6% FICA/Medicare match.

The WSJ also has these two tidbits:
1) Obama has admitted that the $634 billion used as a "down payment" for government-run healthcare will be well short of the roughly $1 trillion needed.
2) Obama will propose a new tax for companies that attempt to move jobs overseas.

But hey, it's not like we're in a recession or anything.

*Update*
This WSJ editorial points out that even a tax rate of 100% on every family making over $200K would not be enough to cover all the new spending. And that's before the new "carbon tax" hike that is coming to "save the planet" from global warming.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama: Next Up, Nationalizing Health Care

Here comes universal health care coverage - for only a modest down payment of $634 billion. Obama's sales pitch? "We can't afford" not to spend it. That's right, spending another massive sum will save the economy. Hooray!

What the heck, Americans can't comprehend numbers this large anyway. Besides, Obama can simply claim that he inherited a $2.1 trillion deficit instead of $450 billion (hey, he's already convinced the media that he inherited $1.5 trillion) and the media will happily go along.

My only question is, what happens when those who actually pay taxes decide to follow the example of Democrat cabinet members and stop paying them?

*Update*
The Washington Post says it will ultimately cost $11 trillion.

More Dodd Problems: Irish Cottagegate

There are a lot of questions now being asked about Chris Dodd's purchase of an Irish vacation home in County Galway, as well as his relationship with Edward Downe Jr., a wealthy stock trader who was indicted in the 90s for insider trading and was later pardoned by Bill Clinton after a personal plea from Dodd. From Kevin Rennie of the Hartford Currant.

Oh yeah, and now the Friend of Angelo is the moral arbiter of how to deal with the banking crisis?

More Sadness on Foreclosures

Grab your tissues for another devastating tear jerking tragedy. Minta Garcia can no longer afford her $800,000 mortgage on her bus driver salary and she might face foreclosure if the government doesn't pay for her house. It's just not fair - she should afford it when she had a 2% teaser rate but now she needs our help. As Obama says, we all have to sacrifice to help.

John Kerry's "Idiotic" Proposal

There are so many over-the-top ridiculous proposals these days coming from the Democrats that it's hard to keep track. John Kerry's latest is a real doozy; it relates to marketing and corporate events at banks that accepted TARP funds (by choice or by force). From the WSJ:

"Kerry's TARP Taxpayer Protection and Corporate Responsibility Act," the Senator's press release announced, "would prevent any recipient of TARP funds from hosting, sponsoring, or paying for conferences, holiday parties and entertainment events." Penalties would include fines and forced reimbursement of TARP funds. A bank could still throw a party for customers, provided it gets a "waiver" from the Treasury Secretary, who has 30 days to issue his golf and chardonnay diktat.

The WSJ also notes, as I've repeatedly asserted, that Northern Trust, forced to accept TARP funds by the government, would gladly pay it back immediately if the terms weren't so onerous to do so. The proposal is so absurd on so many levels. Maybe the government should also outlaw lunch breaks, days off, different pay for tellers versus executives and advertising altogether. Maybe that will get the banks to be more successful sooner.

*Update*
Dems are complaining for Northern Trust to pay a portion of the TARP funds back. With a TCE/Assets ratio of a higher-than-average 8.6%, I am guessing that NT would love to do so.

Obama Not Even On the Same Planet as Ronald Reagan Was

The comparison by overzealous Left-wing media commentators of Obama to Reagan is completely absurd. They forget a couple of key items: policy wise, Reagan was as conservative as those who they despise; Reagan was a pro-business capitalist, an optimist and pro-life. Obama is the opposite of all of these. Second, we have been told repeatedly that the Reagan era is dead, that Reagan was dangerous and that the GOP can't keep clinging to Reagan if they want to win elections. The strained comparison to Obama shows that Reagan's ideas are both popular and relevant and the GOP needs to embrace them.

The only thing that can be said is that Obama sticks to his Marxist, Left-wing principles just like Reagan stuck to his free-market, pro-growth principles.

Ned Johnson: Big Government Not the Answer

Not every successful billionaire investor is in favor of Obamanomics (much higher spending, much higher taxes, much higher deficits). We rarely hear anything from Ned Johnson who prefers to remain quiet and behind the scenes (unlike other more left-wing financial gurus like Soros or Buffett). Johnson is largely responsible for making Fidelity what it is today - the world's largest asset manager.

In his letter to shareholders, Ned says:

We can only hope that the government's cure doesn't further sicken the patient. During the '30s, Congress -- with guidance from the president and the same good intentions -- shifted the country's cash flow away from productive businesses to government make-work projects, which most likely prolonged the Great Recession.

Fidelity Insight writer, Jim Lowell comments that this:

won't get him invited to (President) Obama's next black-tie
dinner.


Is that such a bad thing?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Enough with Beating on Banks: They are not Enemies

It's bad enough that Democrats in Congress are beating up on banks for holding conferences or dining their top customers. Now some conservatives are getting into the act also.

Take Northern Trust, an institution that never wanted any TARP funds but it was forced upon them last quarter. Northern Trust is one of the few institutions that has been relatively unscathed in this market meltdown, part of which is due to their high net worth clients and their profitable trust business. Last week the bank sponsored a golf tournament in California and also wined and dined many of their top clients.

Not only are they getting raked over the coals by members of Congress, but even The American Thinker, a thoughtful and insightful conservative blog, thinks there is something wrong with it. Not only was the event likely a great marketing event and customer retention tool, but it also supported the local economy with its golf sponsorship, its use of hotels, restaurants, caterers, etc.

The populism in this country is getting ridiculous. Pretty soon, no bank employee in the country will be allowed to travel or dine out out of fear of Congressional scrutiny. They will all be forced to telemarket new business. How is this helpful?

*Update*
John Kerry claims that he wants to end "idiotic abuse of taxpayer money" and singles out Northern Trust. Perhaps he forgot about that little thing his party called a "stimulus bill."

Obama Disapproval Numbers Double

Obama's approval numbers have dropped 5 points and his disapproval numbers have doubled since taking office one month ago. Among the middle class that was promised "tax cuts," Obama's approval numbers have plummeted from 69% to 58%. From the LA Times.

Looks like some people are starting to see the light.

No Recession in Govt; Dem Spending Bill Up 8% from Last Year

Who said we are in a recession? The Democrat-sponsored spending bill through the end of the year is up 8% from last year.

Must be Bush's fault.

Filipino Vets Share $198 Million from U.S. "Stimulus" Bill

I'm all for honoring the soldiers of World War II, even those in foreign countries such as the Philippines. But to include $198 million to Filipinos who fought in World War II as part of the "stimulus" bill is stretching any truth that this bill was designed to stimulate the U.S. economy.

Dems to Get an Extra House Seat via DC?

Democrats are trying to get a permanent 1 seat advantage by allowing DC to get a vote in the House and an elector for presidential elections. Never mind that it's unconstitutional. And they are going to attempt to placate a few GOP members by offering Utah an "extra seat" (never mind that Utah is going to get an extra seat in 2010 anyway because of its population growth).

Hopefully the GOP doesn't fall for it.

PS - I saw in one article that DC residents proudly display the license plate "No Taxation without Representation." The truth is that drivers have to pay extra for a plate that doesn't have that tagline.

A State-by-State Look at "Stimulus" Bill

Here is a look at all of the state submitted "shovel ready projects" on a state-by-state basis. My first question is why Puerto Rico lists $22 billion in projects - as much as the very largest states in the U.S? I'm curious if they are actually going to receive this amount.

But no, there's no pork in the bill...

Case Study on Mortgage Foreclosure

Last week I posted a message about Donna Hanks, an ACORN worker who was ultimately evicted from her house after she defaulted on her mortgage. ACORN then broke into the house after it was sold, claiming it was hers.

Michelle Malkin has a couple of interesting points about this story. First, the value of Hanks home increased from $87K when she purchased it in 2001 to $270K when she refinanced it a few years later. No one knows what happened to that money. Second, she first defaulted in 2006 and despite two restructurings/workouts over the next two years, she defaulted again and was ultimately foreclosed. Then after seven months since the house was sold, she and ACORN broke into the house claiming it was hers.

If this isn't a case study in irresponsibility on the part of the borrower and criminality on the part of ACORN, I don't know what is.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama Repeats Lie: "I Inherited $1.3 Trillion Deficit"

Obama and his audacity with the facts. I just heard a radio clip where Obama claims he inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit. Perhaps Obama needs to be reminded that it was he, not his predecessor, who passed that colossal $800 billion pile of waste.

*Update*
People are finally starting to notice that Obama is not the hope he thinks: Dan Riehl:

It's impossible to watch Obama maneuver since taking the WH without characterizing his behavior as divisive and dishonest. Unfortunately, taking it all in, it's clear that one of two things must be true. The Obama administration along with key Democrat players in Congress are either incompetent, or willing to risk a genuine Depression for political gain.

Even Chris Matthews of "leg tingle" fame and Howard Fineman, key cheerleader at Newsweek are starting to be critical.

Harry Reid: Economy Starting to Rebound

Democrat Sen. Harry Reid says that the economy is starting to rebound. Hmmm. I don't think the markets are in complete agreement on that one.

Obama Opens "Fiscal Responsibility" Summit; Market Tanks

Not coincidentally, the day that Obama opens his "fiscal responsibility" summit (a week after the most fiscally irresponsible bill in the history of the country), the market tanks to 1997 lows.

I have to hand it to Obama - he is achieving his goals of wealth equality exactly how he planned. Successful people have been a thorn in the side of this country for too long...

*Update*
Newsweek is also in complete ignorance by claiming that Obama is the person poised to "bring us back from the brink." Get a clue.

Top Conservative Movies of All Time

National Review has compiled a list of the top 25 conservative movies. Below are the top 10:

1) The Lives of Others
2) The Incredibles
3) Metropolitan
4) Forrest Gump
5) 300
6) Groundhog Day
7) The Pursuit of Happyness
8) Juno
9) Blast from the Past
10) Ghostbusters

I haven't seen all of them yet, although I would not have included Juno in the list. Sure, it's a good pro-life movie, but the tone of the rest of the movie is a bit less noble. The list is worth reviewing if you're looking for a good video rental.

The "Stimulus" Bill a Budget Trap for States

The WSJ lays out why several GOP governors are refusing aid allotted them under Obama's spending bill. And it's not just politics.

These Governors -- Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Butch Otter of Idaho, Rick Perry of Texas and Mark Sanford of South Carolina -- all have the same objection: The tens of billions of dollars of aid for health care, welfare and education will disappear in two years and leave states with no way to finance the expanded programs. Mr. Perry sent a letter to President Obama last week warning that Texas may refuse certain stimulus funds. "If this money expands entitlements, we will not accept it. This is exactly how addicts get hooked on drugs," he says.

What the federal government wants is to addict states to federal money - a perfect way to create a permanent large-government mentality. And it's what Democrats love.

News Media Don't Like Unions When it's Their Own Survival

We know that the media loves unions, but as the Star Tribune experience shows, they don't like them in their own business. The Tribune asked a bankruptcy judge to cancel its contract with a printer union because of its high expense and the union's failure to negotiate to help the company survive.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stock Market Setting New Record Highs...

...in Iraq, that is. Hmm...I wonder which U.S. president they have to thank for that. Probably a better bet than the U.S. markets these days given our speedy road to socialism...

AP Claims Obama "Inherited" $1.3 Trillion Deficit

Another very interesting piece of spin, this time from AP writer Liz Sidoti. She claims that Obama "inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit" from Bush. Since the budget year ends in October, we already know that the budget deficit for Bush's last fiscal year was approximately $450 billion (half of which was from the Democrat-proposed and poorly conceived "rebate checks.")

Never before in history have journalists assumed that the president "inherited" the future year's budget until now. Essentially, the media has already absolved Obama of the negative impact of his "stimulus" bill and instead put that spending on Bush's shoulders. I seem to recall that back during the bursting of the stock market bubble that began in March 2000, that was also Bush's fault, despite him not taking office until 2001. That follows the media's Golden Rule: Regardless of the problem, it's always the GOP's fault.

*Update*
I'm having a hard time keeping track of all the budget revisions. We're now up to $1.75 trillion, but that's before the new $1 trillion cap and trade system and $1 trillion government-run health care plan. Let's just call it an even $4 trillion.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Obama's Budget: DISASTER

Obama released his budget plans. He is determined to "get exploding deficits under control" (no, this is not a joke). Obama's solution to turn around the economy is to raise taxes on families making over $250K and on all businesses. Brilliant. He is also pushing ahead with free health care for everyone (in addition to free homes, free cars, free food, tv, utilities,...)

The budget also puts in place the building blocks of what administration officials say will be a broad restructuring of the U.S. health system, an effort aimed at covering some of the 46 million Americans who lack insurance while controlling costs and improving quality. [Read: Health care from the same people who brought us the IRS and U.S. Postal Service.]

The premise of Obama's budget is that tax payments as a percentage of the economy rise by 3 points and federal spending as a percentage of the economy drops by 4 points - both very hard to believe. The second point is a joke given his approval of the largest entitlement increase in the history of the country and the first point unlikely given Geithner's and Daschle's seeming approval with the idea of not paying taxes.

*Update*
Almost as stunning as the budget is the media reporting of it. No "Biggest budget deficit in history" or "big spending offset by big tax increases" as you would have if Obama were a Republican. Very little focus or attention on new entitlements or health care nationalization. Instead, it's "vows to cut deficit by 1/2 over first term" (which although far-fetched would still give us a larger deficit than under any year of Bush's term).

Avoiding Foreclosure Obama Style

Obama's favorite vigilante group, ACORN, attempts to help a delinquent borrower reclaim her home by breaking into the foreclosed house after it had already been sold by the bank. I'm sure we will see more of this in the future as ACORN will be a beneficiary of millions of dollars of "stimulus" bill funding.

Congresswoman Kaptur must be gleaming, since she has been publicly encouraging people to squat illegally.

What a country - breaking and entering is now legal if you share the views of the president.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama to Mayors: I Will "Call You Out" if You Waste Money

Obama's meeting with the nation's large mayors was almost too funny to be true.

"With that comes an unprecedented obligation to do so wisely, free from politics and personal agendas," the president said. "On this I will not compromise or tolerate any shortcut."

...He said Friday that legislation will allow the country "to watch the taxpayers' money with more rigor and transparency than ever."

..."If a federal agency proposes a project that will waste that money, I will not hesitate to call them out on it, and put a stop to it," Obama said.

I guess that means 80% of the budgets of the State, Energy, Interior, Commerce, HUD, Homeland Security, Trasportation, Treasury, Education, Agriculture, Health and Human Services and Labor Departments need to be "called out."

Dodd: "I'm Sort of Stunned..."

Democrat Sen. and friend of Countrywide Chris Dodd sums up his party's cluelessness on the markets and economy in general:

“I’m sort of stunned in a way that some people are reacting the way they are about all of this,” Dodd said. “At a time like this, everyone needs to pull in the same direction.”

Senator, you shouldn't be stunned that the market doesn't want to see the government destroy the business and investor class in this country and have the government run the financial sector.

Happy 1-Month Anniversary, Mr. President

Hopeless. Since Obama was elected on November 4, the stock market is down 25%. Since his inauguration 1 month ago, it is down 10%.

But then again, he never liked the investor class to begin with. He prefers to take your money and give it to those whom he believes are more deserving.

Liz Peek says that the market gives a grade of F to Obama.

Reaction to Rick Santelli

Rick Santelli of CNBC caused a stir yesterday by condemning Obama's bail-out-the-irresponsible mortgage plan on air. Judging by the reaction of CNBC's online poll, he struck a chord that is resonating with the American public. As of now, 93% of over 150,000 respondents agree with Santelli's sentiment. 93%! (I'm assuming the other 7% are members of the Obama administration and those households who are going to get their mortgages paid for.)

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter - 93% of Americans likely disagree with socialism too, but we're still going to get it.

FASB to Adress Mark-to-Market Changes

In a little noticed story earlier this week, FASB Chairman Robert Herz announced that FASB will release new guidance related to mark-to-market accounting later this year, the first of which will be available by the end of the second quarter.

That's good news, but I wonder whether there will be any banks left at that point that aren't under the ownership of the government.

Case Against Ted Stevens to be Dismissed?

Former Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, who lost a very close election in November, might end up having the charges against him dropped due to prosecutorial miscarriage. The judge in the case has already admonished the prosecution for not sharing documents with the defense and redacting certain passages from witness transcripts. But as the WSJ points out, the prosecutor in this case, William Welch, was recently profiled in his hometown newspaper as a Democrat and career justice official vying for the Boston U.S. Attorney position. He was found in contempt the day that story appeared.

One excuse heard at Justice is that prosecutors didn't expect Mr. Stevens to get such a quick trial after his July indictment, and were rushed. That raises the more relevant question -- why was the Senator indicted so close to an election?

It will be interesting to see what happens, but a betting man would take the side of Sen. Stevens. Unfortunately, just like Arthur Andersen, which previous prosecutor Matthew Friedrich helped take down in part of the Enron prosecution, it's already too late for Sen. Stevens to get his job back.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Does Obama Give a Damn About the Investor Class?

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing below 7500 and reaching its lowest point in six years, one has to wonder whether Obama really cares. I think his lack of any investment incentive in the stimulus bill, his lack of response to the bank nationalization rumors and his mortgage cramdown bill that would bailout those least deserving at the expense of banks answers the question pretty clearly.

The market now understands that Obama couldn't care less if the investing class loses its shirt. In his eyes, that would be just punishment for their sins of being successful. Socialism is all about everyone sharing in the same misery.

HUD Secretary to Banks: "Step Up"

The HUD Secretary says that banks must "step up" to make sure Obama's mortgage plan succeeds. Excuse me - what in the world is that supposed to mean? I assume it is precisely why Obama wants to nationalize the banks.

Why must banks implement Obama's socialism? Banks are in business to lend money to those who can pay it back. They are in business to make money for shareholders. They are NOT in business to make sure a president's policies succeed. If it makes economic sense to restructure someone's mortgage, the bank should do it. If it makes economic sense to foreclose and sell the property at a steep discount, the bank should do that.

What is wrong with this administration? The (tax evading) Treasury secretary and the President are scaring businesses into massive layoffs with their talk of armageddon and nationalization. The attorney general says we're all cowards for not talking about race (what are we supposed to talk about, by the way? How it feels to be black or white?) and now the HUD secretary says that private businesses have to change their policies to make the president succeed in his socialism.

Is anyone out there upset about all this stuff?

Allen Sanford - Name That Party!

When Jack Abramoff donated money to Republican Congressmen, every media outlet in the country reported that he was a loyal member of the GOP. How many times have the media mentioned fraudulent investor Allen Sanford and Democrat appeared in the same clip? Never. Despite the fact that he is equivalent to Abramoff in terms of donations (to Democrats of course). He was a clear supporter of, and had his pictures with many prominent Democrats, including Obama, Pelosi, Albright, Howard Dean, Charles Rangel,...

I don't think donating money to politicians makes the politicians crooks, but it is certainly a different view than the media took with Abramoff.

Free Speech Now Means No Anti-Obama Speech

A man in Oklahoma City was pulled over because of a sticker on his car that read: "Abort Obama, Not the Unborn." The Secret Service also intervened.

''The Secret Service called and said they were at my house," Harrison said.

After talking to his attorney, Harrison went home where he met the Secret Service.

''When I was on my way there, the Secret Service called me and said they weren't going to ransack my house or anything ... they just wanted to (walk through the house) and make sure I wasn't a part of any hate groups."

Amazing.

Frasier Explains Truth About Obama Mortgage Plan

Kelsey Grammer criticized Obama's mortgage plan, putting it into plain language for anyone with a first-grade education (so that some Liberals will also understand):

GRAMMER: It may not be a popular position to take but I honestly believe that the bill is fraught with the idea that those who did the most damage to our country -- from the bottom up and the top down -- are the ones that are actually going to get the most reward.

Obama made it clear that there are two types of mortgage borrowers: 1) those that are current but are underwater; and 2) those that are in default, have stopped paying altogether and went in over their heads. Under his plan, the second group gets bailed out by the taxpayers, while he expects the first group to bend over and not complain that they are bailing out their neighbors while still losing money themselves.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Bank CEO Rips TARP

For all of you who think that the government should be able to dictate whatever they want to the banks who accepted TARP money, read this article about US Bancorp CEO Richard Davis. Davis is clearly frustrated by the government's doublespeak and decided to go public. (Wells Fargo's CEO had similar comments recently.)

There is no "A, R or P" in the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, quipped U.S. Bancorp Chief Executive Richard Davis Tuesday morning in front of about 300 business people in Minneapolis. "It's just troubled," the 50-year-old CEO said at the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans' Business Leaders Forum.

"I will say this very bluntly: We were told to take it. Not asked, told. 'You will take it,' " Davis said. "It doesn't matter if you were there on the first night and you were told to sign on the dotted line before you walked out of the office, or whether in the days that followed, you were told to take it."

"We were told to take it so that we could help Darwin synthesize the weaker banks and acquire those and put them under different leadership," he said. "We are not even allowed to mention that. ... We were supposed to say the TARP money was used for lending."

But Davis is talking about it now, he says, because he and others oppose current and future strings attached to the program. Davis didn't detail those strings, but he said he and some peers intend to voice their opinions to Washington, D.C., soon.

"Now they're punishing you for having the capital," he said, adding that he refuses to stand by and let his company become "collateral damage" in an attempt to nationalize the banks.


This is exactly right. And unfortunately, many banks are now stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy in which Obama's jawboning will eventually drive bank stocks to zero, which will then allow the government to take them over and dictate new lending terms and executive pay. If this weren't the case, Obama could issue a very simple statement such as, "some banks will fail, while others are very strong and will succeed. We do not want to take over the banking system." But there is a very good reason he doesn't do so - it's not true.

Another Bailout Already?!?!

Dems want another "stimulus" bill already because they know the one they signed is worse than useless. Uggh.

*Update*
This should have been obvious to me earlier, but the reason for this proposal is clear: Republicans won't allow California to tax them into oblivion and they are not willing to cut expenses deep enough, so Pelosi is going to propose this "stimulus" to bail out California.

Holder: We're a Nation of Cowards

The new Attorney General says that we are a nation of cowards on racial matters.

Maybe people don't want to be indicted on "hate crimes" like Geert Wilders was in Europe. It's way to easy to be fired or worse for a statement that is misinterpreted. Just ask Trent Lott.

CA Republicans Oust Senate Leader for Conservative

California Republicans are showing some spine and don't appear to be willing to raise taxes as the Democrats and Governator would like. In fact, they just ousted their own leader who assisted the Democrats in crafting this package and replaced him with a conservative steadfastly opposed to tax increases.

Conservatives are taking the reins in California and hopefully will show the way for the country. Despite what Congress says, Americans did NOT vote in favor of a larger government and higher taxes.

Russia Warns U.S. Against Socialism

You know it's bad for the U.S. when Putin lectures us about becoming a socialist country. Classic.

How Lee County, FL Court Handles Foreclosure Cases

Obama is coming to the rescue with plans to allow judges to steal bank property and force them to subsidize borrowers. The unfortunate thing is that it's none of the government's business. In Lee County, FL, the court handles these cases slightly differently. From the WSJ:

The foreclosure hearing lasted less than 20 seconds, with Judge John Carlin asking her two questions: Are you current on your mortgage and are you living in the home? She answered no and yes and then offered to show him her paperwork.

"I don't need to see that. That's between you and the bank," he said as he gave Ms. Hill Scott, her husband and three grandchildren 60 days to work out a deal with their lender or vacate their three-bedroom house.

In many cases, it is probably in the bank's interest to renegotiate and keep the loan current rather than sell the home at a steep discount. But it is entirely up to the bank, which works to maximize value. The government sticking its nose into the lending world is what started this mess in the first place.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Burris: I Tried to Raise Funds for Blago

Sen. Burris changed his story again. He now admits that he did try to raise funds for Blago. He should not only be removed; he should be in jail.

'98 Obama: I Did Not Support Welfare Reform

Breitbart TV has this video of Obama from 1998, where he states that he did not agree with the 1996 welfare reform that slashed welfare rolls by 80%. Further, he thought that it was racist because it didn't care about the habitual welfare recipients - inner city blacks.

Well, he finally succeeded today in overturning welfare reform with passage of his non-stimulus bill.

The Heritage Foundation points out that the real cost of the welfare portion of the bill is hidden and that the true cost is actually many times higher.

Mass. to Tax Driving Miles?

Massachusetts isn't happy with just taxing gasoline. Now they plan to tax people for every mile they drive by using a GPS device attached to the car.

Up next: taxing citizens for every breath of air they take.

Obama's Bear Market

Since the election of Obama, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down over 20% - an official bear market. Congratulations - the first president in history to have such an acclaim in such a short span.

This is why we have never previously voted for a socialist president - they don't get along well with businesses.

Obama Returns Churchill Bust to Britain

Obama didn't want the bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office any longer, so he returned it to Britain.

Completely understandable. Perhaps Britain could replace it with one of Neville Chamberlain instead.

PBS to Air Documentary: Inside the Meltdown

PBS plans to air the documentary Inside the Meltdown today on the root causes of this financial mess. Naturally, the two "experts" that PBS interviewed to determine the causes are Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd. How's that for irony?

And people think that privately funded talk radio is unfair?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hillary on North Korea: It Was All Bush's Fault

Hillary is really showing her diplomatic prowess. North Korea has nukes? It's Bush's fault.

Nevermind that the Clinton /Albright formula for Kim Jong Il resulted in his con game where he accepted our gifts while building nukes anyway (while still under Clinton's watch of course). Regardless, is it Secretary Clinton's desire to really blame the U.S. for all that's wrong with the world rather than the dictatorships and communist regimes? I know Obama's view on that one, but I thought the Clintons had at least a little common sense.

Obama Team: Don't Expect Stimulus to Work

What does it mean when the Obama team now tells us not to expect the economy to improve with the passing of this spending bill? It's nearly impossible to spend $800 billion and not have some economic improvement, but the big 0 seems to have found a way.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Democrats, Obama Dismantle Welfare Reform

In one fell swoop, Obama and the Democrats dismantled the bipartisan welfare reform of 1996.

Robert Rector, a prominent welfare researcher who was one of the architects of Clinton's 1996 reform bill, warned last week that Obama’s stimulus plan was a “welfare spendathon” that would amount to the largest one-year increase in government handouts in American history.

Douglas Besharov, author of a big study on welfare reform, said the stimulus bill passed by Congress and the Senate in separate votes on Friday would “unravel” most of the 1996 reforms that led to a 65% reduction in welfare caseloads and prompted the British and several other governments to consider similar measures.

In the American political lexicon, welfare has since become a dirty word – often referred to as the W word – and nothing arouses US tabloid ire more than the hint that taxpayers’ money is being wasted.


Perhaps that's why Obama has a new term for the same old welfare - "tax cuts" - and the media are only too happy to go along with the new terminology even though they're the furthest thing from tax cuts.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obama Replacement, Sen. Burris, Caught in Scandal

Democrat Sen. Roland Burris, Obama's replacement appointed by the indicted corrupt Illinois governor, is now caught up in the scandal. Blagojevich's brother solicited Burris for a $10,000 "cash donation" prior to Blago appointing Burris as Senator. Hilarious. The Democrat corruption continues...from Gateway Pundit.

Meanwhile, Marathon Pundit has a useful suggestion to the Democrat Senator - don't buy a house in Washington - rent instead. But come on, is perjury really that big a deal anymore?

Obama Wants to Address Budget Deficit

This is almost too ridiculous to believe, but Obama is now going to preach to us about the large budget deficit. From the WSJ:

"It's important for us to think in the midterm and long term. And over that midterm and long term, we're going to have to have fiscal discipline. We are not going to be able to perpetually finance the levels of debt that the federal government is currently carrying."


Along those lines, White House budget director Peter R. Orszag has committed to instituting tougher budget-discipline rules -- once the economy turns around. Those include a mandate that any "nonemergency" spending increases be offset by equal spending cuts or tax increases.

The interpretation: the Democrat entitlement programs are now in place. We now will pass a rule that forces us to raise taxes. Lucky us to have such a concerned president...

Does Obama Want Financial Stocks to Go to Zero?

A key element to Obama's magical utopia is to force banks (or allow judges on their behalf, but that is a very sketchy idea even to Obama) to rewrite mortgages so that everyone can continue to have a home. It obviously makes no difference whether or not people can afford it because, according to Washington, home ownership is now a right as important as that of free speech (assuming you're not a leading radio talk show host).

Obama rightfully understands that the easiest way to do this is to either persuade banks or to force them. Since banks are private companies, the government can't exactly force all of them to do so. Instead, it can create conditions associated with government TARP financing, ie. if you received any capital, you are now required to renegotiate defaulted loans. The only way banks are going to voluntarily going to accept TARP money with the new harsh conditions is if the FDIC tells them that they are soon going to be undercapitalized and they must either take the equity or sell itself. The FDIC has already been doing this for the past year.

What seems to be happening in the financial sector is a self fulfilling prophecy. Investors have no confidence in the sector because of the rumblings from Washington and the potential impact of new mortgage foreclosure rules, so financial stock prices are in a freefall. Soon, the stocks trade at prices under $1, at which point depositors, customers and the FDIC get worried that the bank may soon go under. The ultimatum then comes - find equity, take our equity, or sell yourself. The first option is not possible given the lack of investor confidence, nor is the third option because Boards are now risk averse. So the bank takes the government forced equity and the TARP rules are in effect, one of which will soon be that if you accept money, you must restructure foreclosures.

In fact, if they wish to do so, the government could just decree that the equity is worthless (heck, it's already only at $1) and the new TARP money will own 100% of the equity. Regardless, the government now controls the bank and can do as it wishes. This isn't 1959 Cuba yet, where the government boldly takes over private companies, but the strategy currently underway seems to be a back door maneouver to achieve the same result. After all, the companies "chose" to accept the TARP funds.

Let's face it - the success of financial stocks is entirely dependent on market confidence. All that's needed is a continuation of the wishy-washy, incoherent and negative jaw-boning and there soon will be no private ownership left of the financial industry. After enough statements from the president that "we're headed for a catastrophe," the government can now do as it wishes related to foreclosure rules. And it can say that it was the result of the banks' own decisions.

Democrat Spending Bill Passes

Well, people shouldn't be surprised. Obama is fulfilling his government takeover promise, Constitution be damned:

The Warren Court “wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution. . . . [G]enerally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you, it says what the federal government can’t do to you but it doesn’t say what the the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.”

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spending Plan Caps Bonuses

Embedded in the "Stimulus" Bill is a new law that caps employee bonuses at 1/3 of their overall compensation for any company that has received government aid. Either salaries are going to go up or these banks' most profitable employees are going to leave to other banks.

Obama Invites Anti-Gitmo Aunt of 9/11 to White House

Last week Valerie Lucznikowska, the aunt of 9/11 victim Adam Arias, was invited to the White House to talk to Obama about the closing of Gitmo, a move that she agrees with. The problem is that Adam's two brothers vehemently oppose the closing of Gitmo and they were not invited to the White House.

The Arias brothers both sent letters to Obama protesting her presence in the Oval Office because she does not speak for or represent the Arias family.

They complained that Lucznikowska is exploiting their brother's name to promote her own agenda.

"I don't care what they say," she said of her relatives. "I have a right to my opinion. I am representing my own view."


This is typical of liberals. Just like they did with the 9/11 Commission, they found a few sympathetic liberals that blamed Bush and let everyone believe that they spoke for all 9/11 families.

The New Leaky: Senator Feinstein

Move over, Pat Leahy. Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein also seems to want the nickname of "Leaky" after releasing classified information on the takeoff of U.S. drones from Pakistan.

Dem Senate Votes Down to 60?

According to Mickey Kaus, support for the bill in the Senate is down to the bare minimum 60.

No Change Here: Obama Blocks Offshore Drilling

Unsurprisingly, "energy independence" is a nice sounding phrase, but Obama uses it to signify the Far Left's environmental agenda. With gas prices lower due to the recession, Obama blocked any attempt at offshore drilling yesterday.

When the economy ultimately recovers and gas prices return to $5/gallon, then we can begin arguing about the futility of offshore drilling because it takes too long to get the oil to market.

Poachers Aim for Californians

How many successful Californians who contribute significant tax revenue to state coffers will leave the state this year? The WSJ notes that several western states are aggressively wooing California's most prized residents (those that pay taxes and create jobs).

States should take note. If spending and taxes get too high, the best people and businesses are going to leave the state.

It now appears that some government workers will lose their jobs if no budget deal is reached. Not to sound too unsympathetic, but welcome to the real world. Every business in the country must cut costs in a recession; why shouldn't government do the same?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Michelle Obama's Views on Rebate Checks

Now that some Americans are eligible for a tax credit of $13/week, it is instructive to see what Michelle Obama thought of the $600 rebate checks during the presidential campaign.

“You’re getting $600. What can you do with that? Not to be ungrateful or anything. But maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn’t pay down every bill every month..

Barack’s approach is that the short-term quick fix kinda stuff sounds good. And it may even feel good that first month when you get that check. And then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings.”

Judd Gregg Withdraws

How's the post-partisan feeling today? His third cabinet appointee and second commerce appointee withdraws. Apparently, a lot of the White House heard about it from reporters.

Smart move - anyone associated with these catastrophic policies is committing political suicide.

What Investors Think of the "Stimulus" Bill

The quote of the day belongs to Peter Sorrentino, who helps manage $15.5 billion at Huntington Asset Management in Cincinnati.

“The market is deeply cynical of what’s going on and no one in Washington has any more idea than a goat what they’re doing.”

Well said.

Geithner's Big Failure

Tim Geithner failed miserably in his first major public presentation. Financial services analyst Tom Brown puts it best:

There’s so much wrong about Geithner’s presentation yesterday and the “details” of the plan he outlined, it would take days to cover...

Let’s start with the tone of Geithner’s presentation. It was as agitated and panic-stricken as every other recent White House pronouncement on the economy: “As costly as this effort may be,” Geithner said, “we know that the cost of a complete collapse of our financial system would be incalculable for families, for businesses and for our nation.”

A possible “complete collapse of our financial system.”? Helpful! Why is it that the Obama people feel compelled to describe the current economic situation in the absolute darkest possible terms, and predict the direst possible outcomes if their proposals aren’t enacted? The financial system, I shouldn’t have to remind anyone, depends at its core on trust and confidence. These people are supposed to be trying to save the financial system. The last thing they should be doing—the last thing—is running down trust and confidence.

Read the whole piece.

Specter in Re-election Trouble?

Republicans don't learn their lessons. It does not pay to be Democrat-lite. Arlen Specter is not getting high ratings related to his re-election prospects. And we can guarantee that voters won't be any happier with his decision to support the spending bill.

I can already see the opposition ads: "How can anyone claim to be responsible by voting for an $800 billion big government spending bill?" Democrats are virtually guaranteed to attack him from the right (even though every Democrat in the Senate voted for the bill also).

The Jihadis Are Smiling

If I were a Jihadi, I would be smiling today after the Senate and House agreed to a deal (without Republican influence, of course) on the spending bill. If they wanted to damage the U.S. economy as much as possible, this spending bill is probably what they would come up with. I believe that in a couple of years when this bill is reviewed and analyzed, it will have done more economic damage than even 9/11.

The American Thinker has a good post about how quickly the U.S. economy is becoming entirely uncompetitive in the global economy, with high tax rates, the increasing litigation, union/labor costs, etc. I don't think anyone should be surprised that the stock market has been performing as it has. Someday (hopefully soon), Americans will realize just how much damage this President and Congress have done to our country and will opt for actual change rather than higher spending and taxes as usual.

UN General Assembly Prez: Fidel Castro = Saint

Remind me again why the Democrats view the United Nations as having any kind of moral authority when the President of the General Assembly says that Fidel Castro is the closest thing we have to a saint?

Then again, some people still want to make the case the Judas should actually be a saint...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hope-and-change Not Changing Afghanistan

Mr. Hope-and-change is not creating the BFF (best friends forever) relationships with the U.S. that Obama promised. Canada said that it plans to withdraw its troops in 2011.

Paglia: A Plague on All Their Houses

When liberal journalist Camille Paglia at Salon speaks out against the stimulus bill with "A plague on all their houses...," you know that this bill is downright awful. But then again, I think the stock market keeps reminding us of that. This certainly isn't 2003 anticipating Bush's stimulus bill...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Deval Patrick to Hike Gas Tax

Massachusetts residents will be receiving a stimulus package this year. Yep - a gas tax hike of anywhere between 5 and 29 cents/gallon. It is likely that Massachusetts residents will soon be paying the highest tax in the country.

Some may be thinking - this is great! More people should be taking public transportation anyway. Well, if this is the thought, fuggedaboutit. MBTA payroll increased by 14% last year, and losses totalled $160 million. Don't worry, to solve this, prices will have to rise here too.

Laying off workers? Come one - this is the new America, where all government organizations get bail outs. Obama should be proud of his little buddy in Massachusetts.

The Sad President

Why is Obama always so sad? When Blagojevich was indicted for trying to bribe his senate seat, Obama said he was saddened by this. When Daschle resigned as cabinet member because he did not pay his taxes, Obama was sad about this. When A-Rod admitted to using steroids, he said he found this to be depressing.

I guess I can understand that when people break the law, this can be sad, especially when people, like Blagojevich and Daschle are very close to him. But in a couple of these examples, I think more people would be outraged, rather than depressed.

I don't know about others, but I'd rather have a strong, optimistic President, rather than a sad one. Anyone see Obama's first press conference? Optimistic is not a word that describes the man.

Obama's Economy

With the certainty of passing the latest pork-laden stimulus bill, Obama now owns the economy. He and the democratic congress own it together.

I caught a bit of Obama's press conference and he alluded to his inheritance of the bad economy a couple of times. I thought he was also going to allude to his inheritance of Afghanistan, but he stopped just short of blaming Bush for this again. Obama will clearly milk this blame game for all it's worth. But how long will people give him a free pass? I think he would have gotten a full year or more if he proposed a bill that republicans agreed to, and also if he had appointed cabinet members that paid their taxes. But he's gotten off on the wrong foot, and I now think he's lost some credibility and this is now his economy.

Hey, it's not what he inherited, it's how he responds. Bush responded by severely cutting taxes for everyone, and the result was +4% gdp growth for 4.5 years. What will be the result of Obama's $1 trillion package?

Great Idea

HotAir has a great idea. Hollywood thinks that capping executive salaries are a great idea. Let's cap all Hollywood actor salaries at $500K.

Dems Sowing the Seeds of Election Losses?

John Hawkins thinks that the actions taken so far by Democrats will result in large electoral losses down the road.

Part of me says this is true, but I also wonder whether the economy or country at large will even be recognizable at that point. Also, as John Maynard Keynes famously remarked, "we're all dead in the long run."

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Fraudulent President and his Spending Bill

When you read Obama's answers to sell his spending bill, it's clear that everything he says is fraudulent. He actually had the audacity to claim that there is "no pork" in the package and that it will create 3-4 million jobs. How anyone can think he's anything other than a total fraud is beyond me. Even a few (but not many) reporters are starting to see him for what he is.

Dem. Congresswoman Kaptur Urges Breaking Foreclosure Laws

More hope and change from nutcase Democrats. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) suggests to all those about to get foreclosed to screw the law and stay in their homes even if they get evicted. Nice.

And these people are the ones who are supposed to be coming up with an economic stimulus plan? Perhaps she should take it one step further and tell everyone not to pay taxes anymore.

Healthcare "Oversight" Board Created via "Stimulus" Bill

In a very little noticed provision of the proposed "stimulus" bill, the federal government would create the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which is the U.S. version of the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Effectiveness (NICE).

As the Galen Institute explains, this new bureaucracy would literally change health care forever as it gives the government the ability to oversee health care treatments for every American. Worried about privacy? Don't worry - this government body with $1.4B in spending won't let the information leak out. The most worrisome concern, of course, is that if this body don't like a particular drug or the cost of a drug for your treatment, you could be refused by your insurance company.

But don't worry about the details - the government knows you better than you know yourself.

Higher Gov't Spending Does Not Create Jobs

Economist Brian Westbury states that, despite Obama's assurances, government spending does not create jobs. In fact, it creates higher unemployment.

His chart here shows that unemployment is almost perfectly correlated to higher government spending. Regardless of cause and effect, what the chart clearly does not show is that government spending reduces unemployment.

CBO, American Public Don't Like Spending Bill

The CBO has said that the long-term health of the U.S. economy will worsen if the Democrat spending bill is passed. Without the bill, the CBO projects the recession to end in 2009. If the President doubts his own budget office, then why have the CBO at all? Or, if Obama would rather take the pulse of the American public, it appears that 50% of Americans also think that the bill will make things worse.

I also saw Jack Welch on Fox & Friends this morning, where he said that there is only a tiny amount in the bill that would do anything beneficial for the economy. Or listen to esteeemed Stanford economics professor John Taylor: "Massive responses with little explanation will probably make things worse."

I would like to find any businessman (outside of those likely to benefit directly from the pork projects) come forward and say this bill is a good thing. Anyone? Bueller??

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Hartford Courant: We Can't Believe Christopher Dodd

Democrat Sen. Chris Dodd's hometown newspaper, the Hartford Courant, explains that Sen. Dodd lied on July 25, 2008 when he said that he didn't have the Countrywide loan documents. A Chicago PR firm that Dodd hired with campaign funds to defend him released a document on July 22 with those exact documents given to them by Dodd.

Dodd knew at the end of July that not only had he obtained internal Countrywide documents that he now relies on for his murky defense, but he also had to have known that those documents had been given to a financial firm to review and apply to the market conditions that existed in 2003.

Maybe last Monday he forgot what he'd said at the end of July, since it was one more invention in eight months of them. Perhaps Dodd thought no one would compare the dates. Someone in his office or at the law firm he's hired to represent him must have known Dodd risked revealing the grimy truth Monday when he trotted out that report.

Monday's revelation tells us something we are reluctant to conclude about a leader: We cannot believe Christopher Dodd.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Obama: Voting for Spending Bill is Patriotic

Obama called the three wishy-washing RINOs - Specter, Collins and Snowe - to thank them for their "patriotism." Agreeing with the tax-and-spend Democrats is now a form of patriotism. Perhaps Obama now thinks that his campaign pledges of fiscal responsibility and Pay-go/balancing the budget is really unpatriotic. My, I thought they hated to use that term except when someone was dissenting?

Obama: "Unions Only" OK on Federal Construction Projects

The federal budget deficit just got a lot larger. Obama just repealed Executive Order 13202 which prohibited federal agencies and recipients of federal funds from requiring contractors to sign union-only Project Labor Agreements.

So from now on, any agency is free to allow for federally funded construction project to be union-only. Good for unions; bad for taxpayers. That seems to be a common theme these days...

GOP Profile in How to Lose More Senate Seats

GOP Senators Specter and Collins caved on the spending bill.

The big canard from the media is that the GOP lost control of Congress because they were "too conservative." The truth is that Republican voters don't like wasteful spending and higher taxes. But some politicians are gullible enough to believe their Democrat and media opponents, so they try to be Democrat-lite. My guess is that by voting for this abomination, Specter and Collins will soon be voted out of Congress because of their irresponsibility. GOP voters are fed up with these Democrat-lite politicians and if a Democrat campaigns on fiscal responsibility, he will win (even if the claim is laughable).

Geithner Considering Extending $500K to All Companies?

Is Treasury Secretary Geithner really considering extending some of the $500K executive pay provisions to all private companies? I certainly hope not, but given Obama's penchant for socialism, it wouldn't surprise me if they began prohibiting company profits either.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Silver Lining to $780B Spending Bill...

...we're only flushing $780 billion down the drain instead of $800 billion. That's the best I can do for this pile of Democratic crap sandwich.

Sen. Inhofe actually says that it's 93% garbage, 7% stimulus. Hey, that's 7% more than I thought.

Dems: Bipartisanship = Republicans Bending Over

At their luxurious off-campus retreat, Democrats said that "bipartisanship isn't working." In other words, Republicans aren't bending over to take whatever the Democrats give them. To them, that is bipartisanship.

Elena Kagan, Anti-Military Solicitor General?

Obama wants to appoint Elena Kagan of Harvard Law School as his Solicitor General. Keep in mind that Kagan wanted to overturn the Solomon Amendment which limits funding to schools that ban the military from recruiting on campus. And even Justice Scalia and Stevens agreed on that one.

Kagan has also never argued before the Supreme Court (or even an apellate court) in her life. Maybe we should want her as Solicitor General since she'd probably lose a lot...

UN: Hey, Check out the Democracy in Iraq!

Everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon, including UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon.

Interestingly, even Obama recently congratulated the Iraqi people on their achievement. How he can do this with a straight face after criticizing GW Bush for entering Iraq is beyond me though. Could one have happened without the other?

But in the spirit of reconciliation and in the words of Rocky Balboa,

If I can change, and you can change, we all can change!

Congratulations to both the UN and Obama for understanding that democracy is actually worth celebrating, particularly in any middle eastern country. Fortunately, there was one man who already understood this several years ago.

Now we just need Reid and Pelosi to figure it out!

Are Company Offsite Meetings Now Boondoggles?

The discussion of offsite company meetings has been a nice distraction from the fact that Congress is trying to spend close to $1 trillion or 7% of U.S. GDP, on their favorite political causes.

As even the LA Times points out about the cancelled Wells Fargo meeting in Las Vegas, it's not going to be helpful to local economies if companies have to cancel their legitimate business trips. Second, Las Vegas is typically a more cost-effective destination than somewhere like Albany.

This is getting silly. Wells Fargo was supposed to hold a sales conference to help their employees get better and more efficient at underwriting loans and improving credit worthiness. Isn't this something the government should like to see? Second, wouldn't it be a good idea to convince companies to spend productive dollars to help hotels, airlines, restaurants, retailers and the like? Even if the conference were a junket, it would do a heck of a lot more stimulus than Congress' spending plan.

Meanwhile, the Democratic caucus is at a 3-day retreat at the luxurious Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA.

Spending Bill Summary

QandO summarizes in tabular form the currently proposed spending bill. At best, one could argue that $200 billion is "stimulus," but most honest economists would describe even that as wealth transfers/rebate checks rather than tax cuts.

Obama's argument that this needs to be passed for the "sake of the economy" is nonsensical. He also claims that "America spoke" and rejected the tax cut ideas when they voted in November. Hello, Mr. President?? Didn't you campaign on "tax cuts?" We know you never meant it, but those were the words you chose.

Photo of the Day

This is what the Iranians think of Obama. Shocked...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Dems Defeat GOP Plan to Actually Cut Tax Rates

A GOP addendum to the spending bill that would have reduced mortgage rates and cut the tax rates in the lowest two income brackets was deemed too "expensive" to Democrats.

OK. Too expensive to let Americans who actually pay taxes get to participate in this boondoggle. Too expensive even though it's our money. Too expensive even though the Dems want to flush $1 trillion down the drain to their favorite liberal interest groups. The bill that would have been a pile of dung with a cherry on top just had the cherry removed. Now the GOP will have a clean conscience when they vote it down.

Obama Knows Best; Lectures Us on Religious Tolerance

Obama lectures us that religions should not be divisive and hateful. I'm not sure if this means he will stop donating thousands of dollars to Jeremiah Wright's church.

Another Dem Nominee, Another Tax Problem

Linda Solis, nominee for Labor Secretary, has a tax lien problem. In fairness, the tax liens are in her husband's name, so maybe it's just her husband that's crooked.

I will say this: if we nominate enough Democrats to cabinet level positions, we might be able to balance the budget simply from all the back taxes they're going to have to pay.

Obama Pushing His Scare Tactics on Economy

What a confidence builder! Pass the pork spending bill or the economy might never recover...so says Obama.

By the way, wasn't it the Democrats who were all over President Bush for the past 8 years by claiming he used scare tactics in the war against terrorists?

*Update*
Lindsey Graham blasts Obama. Plus, the CBO says that doing nothing is better than passing the bill...by a large margin. From Hot Air.

What Do Americans Really Think of the Spending Bill?

Byron York sums it up pretty well at NRO. The calls going into Capitol Hill are 100-1 against the monstrosity.

NY State Employee: $93K for "Doing Nothing"

When a state employee admits that he puts his feet on his desk and counts cars going by on the NY State Thruway for 8 hours a day, without talking to or seeing another person, it's gone a bit too far. He hasn't done a lick of work the entire decade. And he gets paid nearly $100K. Read it here.

Cramer on Obama's Business Instincts: "We Heard Lenin"

Jim Cramer on CNBC said that when he hears Obama talking business, it is comparable to communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin who said "now is not the time for profits" runs parallel with what Obama is saying today.

“Thank heavens for the Chinese communists, deeply rooted in a profit government,” Cramer said. “Because we have decided that profits have no place in the system.”

Finally - someone in the media is calling out Obama for the extreme radicalism that he is employing in the U.S. And if it doesn't stop soon, the country will spiral out of control fast.

The Lonely Conservative points out that we don't even have to look to the Soviet Union to realize that this doesn't work - we only have to look to FDR.

Obama, Summers Ignoring Volcker Counsel

According to Paul Volcker, Obama and Larry Summers still have not convened a panel of outside economic advisers that is to be overseen by Paul Volcker. You would think that after appointing Volcker on Nov. 26 and being in a death spiral since then, Obama might want to heed the man's advice by now.

I think the reason is fairly simple - Volcker would likely tell them that they are destroying the country with their insane proposals and smack them upside the head.

Moscow Could Teach Congress a Lesson in Economics

I wish that the U.S. Congress were as responsible as....Russia. Yup, Russia announced that it is planning large budget cuts in order to reduce its deficit. It will try to stabilize the banking system but will not go forward with a large-scale, Keynsian style spending program.

Good for them - a lesson for us all.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Dem Caucuses Spent $500K on Luxury Retreats

Democrats love to castigate private companies who spend their own (or shareholder) money on resorts, but Democrat caucuses have no problem spending taxpayer dollars to treat themselves - apparently to the tune of $500K for retreats over the past few years.

US "Puzzled" By Iran's Rejection of Badminton Team

The Obama administration was "puzzled" by Iran's rebuke of overtures to send the U.S. badminton team to Iran as a cultural exchange offering.

"The readiness of the new administration to reach out to Iran was explicitly welcomed by all," German Foreign Ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner said after the session among officials from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. "We hope that this outstretched hand will not be seen as a sign of weakness in Tehran."

Hmm...does anyone really believe it's a show of strength?

How Not to Build Confidence

Obama keeps repeating that if his non-stimulus pork bill isn't passed immediately, it's going to be a "catastrophe." Someone tell the president that if he is trying to damage confidence further, he is saying the right things to do so. (Also Mr. President, perhaps your economic advisors could point to a single piece of the bill that is designed to stimulate the economy because I can't find any.)

Pelosi: "500 Million Americans" To Lose Jobs Without Stimulus Package

I don't think Nancy Pelosi is a "numbers person." According to her, 500 million Americans are going to lose their jobs if we don't pass the Democrat $1 trillion spending bill. Yikes - that's an average of over 8.7 million American jobs lost for each of our 57 states...

Meet the New Radical Energy Secretary

Steven Chu, a global warming alarmist and now our dear Secretary of Energy, said that global warming is going to cause California to become an agricultural wasteland. Just a bit alarmist...

Meanwhile, 90% of the country is going to be freezing today.