Friday, September 26, 2008

Jail Time for Bankers

Y'all can get on your high horses about "don't judge others" but I'm laying down a line of condemnation against the bankers, hedge fund operators, the Wall Street folk and all the players, from corner office to broker in a cubicle, that had a part in the farce of lending that led to this mess.

All of them had to know what the stakes were and how immoral their actions. We'd seen real estate bubbles in the past and knew that was a doozie of one we were on. It wasn't lack of foresight, it was ignoring the known. I mean, c'mon, these are our best and brightest minds at the top, the products of our finest schools and corporate settings. They had to know.

But they went ahead and made loans that required no authentication of income and knowingly inflated value of collateral property with minimal cash down to keep the game going longer. We would call them fools except for the fact that they profited so handsomely along the way. The companies tanked, but the individuals profited hugely.

So they need to be punished by mans' law. Here's the link to the $160 billion S&L crisis of the '80s featuring Charles Keating and others:

The Keating Five scandal was prompted by the activities of one particular savings and loan: Lincoln Savings and Loan Association of Irvine, California. Lincoln's chairman was Charles Keating, who ultimately served five years in prison for his corrupt mismanagement of Lincoln.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bailouts

I'm against 'em. Here's why:

We, the people, aren't being given all the information. Just like the lead up to Iraq we're told the minimum, that it's really bad, but by omission that we can't handle the truth. I would like to know what companies, specifically, are responsible.

People need to go to jail. My wife quit her job working in a mortgage brokers office almost two years ago because she saw the fraud going on there. Brokers putting in whatever numbers were needed, nothing being verified. Simply wrong. Who let this happen? From brokers in cubicles to hedgefund managers in corner offices, people need to be held accountable.

People that took out bad loans need to lose their houses. They were fools, and that's the price of being a fool.

I'll take a hit, too. Already have if I consider the drop in home value. I expect to take greater losses as the market was over-inflated and we all knew it. I never thought my house was worth what they said it got to anyway.

Bailing out the banks, hedgefunds, homeowners, whomever, is a disgrace and a mistake. We need to take the hit now and pay the price of our collective foolishness in this generation. Growing our deficit by another trillion dollars or so will only lead to a greater fall when it comes.

Bailing out any foreign investment company that bought bad bonds should be seen as a crime against the people. Businesses make mistakes and go out of business. Even big businesses.

This being right up against an election and the vacation of Congress makes it all the more important to be brave, say what needs to be said, and act accordingly. I'd love to here Obama say "People, we're in a world of hurt in the economy. We can't bail everyone out and have to take the hit because if we don't, it will only get worse. We CAN, however, take this hit and grow back better than before. We CAN, however, build a new energy infrastructure and grow our economy while lowering our balance of payments at the same time. We CAN overcome this, but borrowing our way out of it isn't the answer."

and when the crowd starts shouting "Yes. We. Can!" I'd want him to quickly quiet them down, ask them to look at each other in the eyes, and speak it softly, accepting the responsibility, saying again, "Yes. We Can."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sarah "Pit Bull" Palin

Well, of course Obama was referring to Sarah "Pit Bull" Palin in his recent "pig with lipstick" reference, he is just smart enough to make it less than completely obvious.

John McCain is not. His blatant hit on Hillary for her healthcare plan is much less ambiguous. Here's the link to one of McCain's many "lipstick" remarks, this one much more pointed at Hillary Clinton.

Obama is smarter than the average guy, heck, I think he's smarter than the average woman. By smart, I mean able to make offhanded remarks in a manner that makes him sound good and the bearer of his brunt to be not so sharp. Obama is almost as smart as an exceptional woman in this particular regard.

I should take an aside here to explain my perception of women and cattiness. I have observed these things. I have daughters. From age zero to college I've watched they and their friends get along. Or do battle as the case may be. Dudes, believe me if you don't know for yourself, you don't want to get into any battle of words and relationships that a vindictive woman might wage against you.

FWIW, I don't like guys that try to pull this crap either. But I can see them coming a mile away. A sharp woman, and yeah that's what we've got in Pit Bull, is much better at disguising her motives as she moves in for the sucker punch. We're all suckers.

Unfortunately, Sarah "Pit Bull" Palin is an exceptional woman. Capable of incredible cattiness, willing to use her looks to her advantage (those that have them, who can blame them), and willing to use her office, it seems, for family issues such as the trooper that her sister married, and maybe not so much on her children because she's too darned busy handling her own issues to handle theirs.

Or is that her husbands problem since it seems he's probably the one to be home more than she? Not there is anything wrong with a house-husband as long as a family has either a house-husband or house-wife. A family needs one or the other or it fails.

Will America ever get back to single earner households or are we bought into consumerism to such a degree that we forsake family?!?

I have a two friends that I would describe as "feisty" women. Love 'em even tho they make me crazy at times. "Pit Bull" is feisty, but to a fault. When feisty takes precedence over the public good, when feisty takes precedence over the truth, when feisty takes precedence over family, I've got issues with that PERSON speaking for me, an American in the world of the 21st century.

Selecting "Pit Bull" Palin as his running mate seemed, st first glance, to be a brilliant move by presidential candidate John McCain. The "maverick" John McCain likes to make calls from the gut. This one's already making me puke.

I wonder when it will strike him in the same manner?

Friday, September 05, 2008

GOP Governors and Gerrymandering

An interesting email today from the Democratic Governor's Association:

Over the last few nights, the national Republicans have laid out their agenda for America, and it's frightening. The Republicans made clear their intent to continue the same misdirected ideas and policies that plagued this country for years.

Their blind obedience to George W. Bush-style leadership, however, is not limited to national politics. We see it echoed in their candidates for Governor across the country, threatening to bring power-hungry, fiscally-irresponsible management to state capitals from Raleigh to Olympia.

Make no mistake, there is a battle going on right now for the heart and soul of our country, and it's being played out in 49 gubernatorial races between now and 2010. The Governors we elect in the next few years will shape our country for years to come. Not only do we need Democratic leadership at the state level, but this group of Governors will be central to the next round of congressional and legislative redistricting. The stakes could not be higher.

What's more, national Republicans are currently predicting a 16-seat pickup between now and 2010, and they plan to use these seats to gerrymander 30 new House districts for Republican candidates. If this sounds familiar, it's because it is. This is exactly the same gambit made famous by Tom Delay in Texas.

To protect our party's infrastructure and be a bulwark against these nefarious efforts, we launched PROJECT 2010 in January 2007. PROJECT 2010 is an unprecedented four-year political plan to maintain our majority throughout the cycle and prepare for the massive workload in 2010. Democrats have never before been able to execute this type of long-term political planning.

PROJECT 2010 is not only a plan to extend the positive change Democratic Governors are making, but it is also the last line of defense against Republican attempts to cheat Americans out of fair representation in government.

http://www.democraticgovernors.org/blog


To be effective, we need your active involvement. Last week, we debuted the PROJECT 2010 blog, where YOU can be our eyes and ears. What is happening on the ground? What is the media -- both traditional and new -- saying about your state? How are people organizing to support Democratic Governors and elect new ones? Please share your thoughts and observations and keep us informed.

The last couple of weeks have made clear that our nation is at a crossroads. We can stay on the same path that the George W. Bush Republicans have led us down for years, or we can pave a new road toward hope and optimism. But the end of the line is not 2008, and national Republicans have already turned the page to 2010. With your help and involvement, we can continue the fight through 2010 and protect our long-term Democratic gubernatorial majority for years to come.

http://www.democraticgovernors.org/blog

Thank you,
Nathan Daschle
Executive Director

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Gov. Palin Addresses the RNC

I only caught the last ten minutes or so, and am admittedly biased to the point that all the lashing out she did made me really not like her. Yeah, I know, that's her job. The good news is that I think we can cross off any Hillary supporters from going to Palin. I'm sure she ticked them off, too.

Joe Biden might have a handful trying to remain the gentleman that he is when these two come to debate. She has an advantage in that Joe, despite his best intentions, will likely move and speak as the proper gent he is. He won't throw the punches needed even though she'll throw some good ones. A man fighting a woman has every instinct to simply restrain, not to harm. It's dangerous ground to be a dog in a catfight and I know Joe's smart, incredibly quick with words that work, but just as Obama needs to make McCain crack on stage, so shall Palin do her best on Joe.

The one point that did stick in my mind from her speech is significant: realizing how well vetted her speech was, written by the best they have and practiced non-stop for days, WHY would she say McCain "is the president we need for the next FOUR years?"

Perhaps they expect one of two things to happen - either his presidency is a disaster and he isn't re-elected, or he's going to die in office. Seriously. Someone very high up chose to use the number, and eight sure makes more sense then four when speaking of a presidents hoped-for term. Perhaps they didn't want us to add 8 to the 72 years John McCain has already lived and come up with ... the realization just how old he really is in the grand scheme of things?

So. Do you want Sarah Palin to be the next next president?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

McCain/Palin '08

Just back from a wonderful family weekend in Yosemite. Missed a fair amount of news, thankfully, and spent the time with two pretty staunch Republicans, my brother- and sister-in-law. As owners of a healthcare brokerage, they are scared to death that their business will suffer under an Obama/Biden win. They will, as many do, vote their pocketbooks and wallets.

But that isn't the news, Governor Palin of Alaska is the news, and I can't see it as good news for any Republican.

I have no issue with Governor Palin's 17 year old daughter being pregnant out of wedlock. No matter their upbringing, some kids make mistakes. This is one of them. I'm glad to hear she will marry the father and that the child will live.

I have no issue with Governor Palin's husband getting arrested for drunk driving some twenty years ago. I think most of us at some point could have been busted for the same thing. He hasn't repeated, or been caught repeating, so I have no issue here.

I do have an issue, a small one until more information is received, about the governor's supposed desire to get a state trooper fired after he divorced the governor's sister. That shows some bad traits on the governor's part.

I do have an issue with the governor's stance on abortion. She rejects abortion even in cases of rape and incest. With two daughters of my own, I find that to be an abomination. Were your daughter raped, would you want her to have to carry the child to term?

I do have an issue with the governor's stance on drilling for oil everywhere. This is a very popular position in Alaska, where every citizen gets a check each year for the royalties on oil pumped out of the ground, but its a selfish one lacking in any care for the environment or finding other solutions to our nation's energy problems.

I do have an issue, a much greater one, with this governor's total lack of experience in world matters. They say because Alaska is so close to Russia we should consider that as part of her international experience. I say hogwash.

The greatest issue I have with the selection of Governor Palin as the vice-presidential candidate is how John McCain went about it. Frankly, he didn't know her, and only barely did he know OF her. They met for the first time in February of this year. They spoke once, by phone, and another time when he offered her the position. Yikes, Johnny McCain makes quick choices that can't be based on enough information!

This is all a first-take quick assessment, and I'll candidly say I was for Obama long before Palin came into the picture, but given that John McCain is going to be the oldest elected president (if elected) and the rigors of his imprisonment may well be seen to shorten his lifespan, do any of us really want a self-confessed hockey mom from one of the least populated and most remote states to be a heartbeat away from that 3am phone call?

I think not.