Sunday, October 19, 2008

It must hurt!

Dear Ed,

how can a self-respecting supporter of our men and women who defend us, and are in harms way not be led by this most respected soldier-statesman of the last 25 years:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Before I Forget

The current financial crisis, 3 weeks on, draws out us experts, assessing blame. There are some blame-assessors who readily identify themselves among those you needn't listen to. What are the criteria to gain this list? First anyone speaking with authority on a Fox affiliate, and more generally those who blame the regulators and in particular, of late, those blaming Barney Frank.

The chorus is like this: the legislators pushed Fannie and Freddie to give loans to those who couldn't afford it, those bad Americans (likely of questionable origin) who never were supposed to have a house and were basically handed it by those bleeding hearts in Washington. This would be fine were it not for a few missing details. Notably the identity of the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people it took to push the bad paper, who were making piles of money for bundling these debts, and calling them assets. Clearly regulation and even legislation permitted, if not promoted this behavior. But let's be a little reasonable here. Do we look at, say, a pregnant teenager or first time drug addict as the culprit. Either of these social ills was brought on with the help of someone else, in the market, as it were, who sold them on their condition.

This problem is not new. I recently read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle", where the obvious problem is the conditions in the meat-packing business. But for the Rudkus family, it's set against their exploitation by the propertied class. A no-small section details how they are sold this wonderful home, close enough to the factory, but which takes everyone's salary, even the pan-handling children, just to stay in. The terms are all in behalf of the mortgage company, who routinely throws people out, and with another coat of whitewash recycles the property for the next in the supply line of victims of the plant.

Back to our current dilemma: I hear little of the blame laid on the group of people who fill the logical void left by heaping blame on those among us who live beyond their means and the legislator/regulator who allows/permits the extravagance. Those who bloviate on Fox, blame Barney Frank, or regulators overlook this group. After all, what has been a not-hidden agenda of the last two or three decades in Washington? The growth of the lobbyist/consultant class. Who is writing the legislation? Not the people's representatives. The representatives of the moneyed class.

And why is Barney Frank on the hit list? Well, for all of two years he's been the chair of the House Banking committee. And surely, that's been enough time for a turn-around in the debacle that's 3 decades in the making. Watching Bill O'Reilly trying to blame Barney Frank for assuring investors that F&F were now stable enough to rely on as investment advice generated both disgust and comic relief. Frank repeatedly pointed out the quote O'Reilly focused on included more caution than not. I was disappointed Frank didn't challenge O'Reilly on that most sacred of capitalist dictums: "let the buyer beware". _and_ remind O'Reilly that nothing any congressman, much less the banking chairman, can be considered investment advice. No, Bill, those who poured money into F&F after the bailout did so with their capitalist eyes wide open.

A friend in my office (on Wall St!) is a little incensed at Obama for not making this point in the recent campaign. I think Barak is holding back on this because he's smart enough to know the people are smart enough to figure this out for themselves. After all, if Barak were to starkly point his finger at those who've actually raided the treasury, it would be out of his character, and, like all pointed weapons, it's difficult to control the collateral damage. Let's hope the wisdom of the electorate is in fact represented in this year's election.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

opinions are indeed different from math calculations, permitting a wry smile :-)

the letter (about 545 people -- it's really 535, but, as they say, "who's counting") is certainly one worth considering in this most ill-led of times.

on "voting all the bums out", one of the remarkable things about this electorate is we all want to get rid of every bum but our own. i'm working for linda stender, here in the NJ 7th. she ran a close race against mike ferguson 2 yrs ago, and he's _not_ running for re-election, which is one reason he can afford to vote _for_ the bailout. so, here in the nj 7th, one way or another, our bum is gone!

i'm very cautious about throwing all the bums out, just the bad ones. what's a bad one? for me, just about any republican, though i do see a few on the natl tube which give me some hope: chris shays (ct) -- the _last_ republican in the NE, who isn't sure he's in any party; richard shelby (ga) -- a no-nonsense guy who can also _listen_, a commodity in short supply inside the beltway, mitch mcconnell (ky) -- who can, and will compromise when the time demands. so, while i'm as partisan as you dare get, and still hope to retain sanity, there are a few on the other side, heck, i forgot dick lugar (in) -- one of the most _considerate_ people you'd ever hope to have working for the public. notice, _these_ republicans were NOT at the gathering of white people in st paul last month. also, from nj, we sent our two best republicans to dc in the last adminstration; the crowd there wasn't too happy with the performance of christy whitman and tom kean, the former being the indistinguished secy of the EPA and the latter, the ever-popular nine-eleven commission. "say what you want, just not in front of a camera".

and not every democrat gets my knee-jerk support (mostly because my knees are so arthritic, one needs replacing), i've found these two truths about the republicans, one personal, the other i believe is general:

i've never met a republican who _needed_ my vote, and ...
never has an increase in public cynicism failed to benefit the republican.


On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 11:39 PM, Dan Callahan <> wrote:

By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.