“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Congressional Democrats Play Politics with Rescue Package & McCain

As the details of last week's maneuvering by various parties in Washington became known, it is apparent that the Democratic Congressional leaders- Frisco Nan, Harry Reid Co.- lied to the public when they claimed that a deal was already virtually done.

They did this, it became clear on Friday morning, because they badly wanted to discredit McCain's conscionable action of leaving the campaign trail to actually do some of the work for which he is paid, i.e., contribute, as one of 100 Senators, to discussions involving what the administration felt is, and described as a very important situation in the financial services sector.

You can debate whether or not McCain was grandstanding. But, regardless, the House Republicans piped up by late Thursday and announced that nobody had been listening to, or even talking to them.

Apparently, Barney Frank (God, will someone fix that idiot's speech impediment? Or does he always sound drunk because he is?) thinks he's a senator now, since he didn't seem to bother conferring with Republicans on his own committee.

In fact, the House Republicans have an excellent idea which is actually far better than Paulsen's plan. They have floated the concept of the Federal government selling a sort of ultimate CDO credit default insurance to banks holding said paper. This way, rather than ladling money out, the Feds will collect insurance premiums on CDOs with questionable mortgages underpinning them.

What a concept!

All that need be done is actuarially price the insurance to account for an expected default level. Then, with the insurance sort of 'stapled to' the CDO, the latter can be sold in the market at its insured value. Problem solved!

In the meantime, maybe the rest of the Congress will actually stop, think, and listen to the House GOP delegation.

The best line I heard all last week was when one Republican Congressman said something to the effect of, in reference to some Democratic Senator's remarks about the House GOP being obstructionist,

'Last time I looked, we didn't have a unicameral legislature in Washington.'

Just so.

Looks like Harry Reid and Frisco Nan are running scared now. Very scared. Too scared to pass the big $700B bill without Republicans on board.

They probably- justifiably- worry that such a fiasco could mean losing both House majorities in one fell swoop in November.

And that would be justice, indeed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Obama's Latest Economic Lies

As the recent financial services sector debacle has become front page news for a week, the rookie Senator from Illinois is fanning public hysteria by comparing the current situation to the Great Depression.

Nevermind that the freshman Senator probably wouldn't know the difference between a depression and a recession. Or that we aren't even in a recession yet, let alone a depression. Or anything like the Great Depression.

It's further evidence of the Democratic party's Presidential candidate's 'gloom and doom' candidacy to be causing panic by alleging that troubles among sophisticated investors with counterparty risk somehow have something to do with the safety of savings of, to use the shopworn phrase so favored by Democrats, 'hardworking men and women.'

At least it's become clear to all that Obama is now reduced to using pure scare tactics amongst the lower-income crowd to attempt to put so much fear into them that they'll vote for him, hoping he is some black knight riding to their rescue.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Obama barely understands the current financial services debacle. That's why he's staying silent about it.

But at least he could refrain from telling outright lies to cause panic among 'hardworking Americans,' couldn't he?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Karl Rove Vs. Alan Colmes Last Week On Fox News

Alan Colmes is the resident liberal on Fox News, co-heading the Hannity & Colmes evening program. As such, he's the token liberal for the network. Too bad they chose such an unintelligent, slow man for that role.

Last week, during one of his many appearances on that program, Karl Rove tangled with Colmes over the question of how McCain's stands on various issues, if not in line with Bush's, means Bush has been 'wrong.'

The format of the H&C program is that liberal guests are interviewed first by conservative anchor Sean Hannity, while conservative guests get tossed inane questions by liberal Colmes. Thus, Rove always talks with Colmes first.

These days, Karl Rove is on Bill O'Reilly's and H&C's programs about three times per week, if not nightly. The episode which caught my attention recently involved Colmes attempting to grill Rove on some topic- foreign policy, financial regulation, economics- take your pick, with which John McCain disagrees with some part of the current administration's past or present actions.

Colmes' disingenuous tactic, which he evidently thinks is deep, clever and effective, is to pose a conundrum to Rove along these lines,

'President Bush said (or did) X during his administration. That didn't work. Does John McCain agree with Bush, which means he also is wrong? Or does he disagree, meaning he's breaking ranks and admits Bush was wrong. Which is it?'

Of course, Colmes knows Rove was a major participant in the Bush administration for years, so these sorts of questions are also directly baiting Rove to argue over issues with which he may have been directly involved.

What is so sad is that Rove easily sidesteps Colmes with the always-correct, and true, reply,

'Alan, it's not that simple. President Bush had to deal with the world as it was at the time solutions were required over the past eight years. John McCain will have to deal with the world as it is today and for the next four years. Thus, he may have different views on how to solve problems today which we approached differently during the Bush administration.'

It's a fair and effective response. Moreover, Rove delivers it with a smile, almost winking to the audience that he isn't going to take advantage of the mental midget who asked the leading, ill-constructed question.

Unfortunately, Colmes does this with every Republican whose path he crosses, hoping vainly to lure somebody into his simplistic world in which, despite shifting sands of time and power, all prior decisions must be either sustained, or attacked, as right or wrong now, by any member of the Republican party.

Hopefully, at some point in the future, Fox will recruit a smarter man than Alan Colmes to fence with Hannity and the program's conservative guests.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Political Fallout From Last Week's Financial Sector Situation

It's been a sad week for American politics. Seems that everybody connected with or commenting on the Presidential race is hysterical over recent developments in the financial services sector, and believes we are facing the likes of the Great Depression.

Peggy Noonan, who seems to have finally become senile, wrote in this weekend's edition of the Wall Street Journal that George Bush should have issued some statement immediately upon Monday morning. His failure to do so, she contends, paints him as a modern-day Herbert Hoover.

This, she says, will lose McCain the election.

McCain, for his part, published a rather overwhelming and misguided array of bromides he would attempt to push through and enforce. As is so typical in Presidential election years, the contenders don't really have a deep knowledge of the problems, and they want to appear to satisfy populist fears, so they trot out some shallow, fierce-sounding measures that won't really fix anything, but sound like they will punish the 'greedy' on Wall Street.

The Illinois rookie Senator, showing his true colors, says nothing, preferring to deliberate.

At least you can say that the financial services mess is forcing both candidates to (further) reveal their true natures. McCain shoots from the hip with some proposals to prevent future recurrences, and address current problems, while his opponent, being inexperienced at almost everything save running for office, says little.

Maybe that's the best we can take away from their responses.

In truth, Presidents may propose, but Congress disposes. And, thus, no matter what a candidate promises, he has to work through a Senate and House of decidedly different demeanor than an action-oriented, newly-elected President.