Bailout anger and frustration

September 30, 2008

There is profound anger on what the main stream media (MSM) is calling Main Street as well there should be about this bailout package.

If we don’t face the current realities, Main Street may end up hurting itself more Main Street can presently imagine.

As I’ve written before, Bush, Paulson and Bernake have done a dreadful job explaining how this bailout plan works. I’ve looked and looked for a cogent explanation of how this works and can find little. Here’s how we got in this mess.

  • Homebuyers who ordinarily would be unable to qualify to buy a home were offered mortgages that were “too good to be true,” e.g., no money down, 100% financing, “stated income” which meant no income verification, pay about half the house payment you ordinarily would for 3 years, etc.  [We can argue until the cows come home about “who’s at fault” but, it’s not going to solve the problem. We’ve hit a wall and we have to deal with it. Let’s just say the mortgage industry found a way to move more homes through creative lending.]
  • This loan situation drove the demand for homes higher and higher, both in terms of demand for homes and market valuations.
  • The homebuyers who bought these loans were told that in 3 years they would be able to refinance the house under the same extraordinary deal they enjoyed as “home values do nothing but go up.”  [This is key.  If home values go down–as they have–the home can’t be refinanced.  People can’t afford the new payment that effectively doubles their monthly payment so they have to walk away leading to foreclosures.]
  • Wall Street began buying and selling these mortgages to each other at a profit.  Selling the paper worked well when there was confidence that the paper valuation equaled or exceeded the actual valuation of the homes behind the paper.
  • What happens when the home value drops below the value of the mortgage?  Not good.
  • What happens when you can’t be sure that the appraised value of the house is even close to the value of the mortgage behind it?  Very bad.
  • What happens when people can’t qualify for loans to buy homes?   Yikes!
  • Now, the mortgage paper that’s been traded is of questionable value and has been moving that way for nearly 3 years.  Yet, Wall Street didn’t pause to reflect on this reality–it was “full stream ahead.”  Today, it’s not hard to find homes worth 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 percent less or even more than the value of the mortgage paper.  That piece of paper is no longer an asset–it can’t be converted to cash.  So, the mortgage is actually a liability–it can’t be used to borrow against or sold (unless you want to sell it at a loss).
  • So, Wall Street now has more of these “crappy” loans than you can shake a stick at and no buyers–well, no buyer that is until the Federal Government comes along and offers to buy the loans that no one wants to create cash where there’s a complete vacuum.   That’s what the bailout is about–buying crappy mortgages no one wants to provide a cash infusion to our economy.

Thus, the mechanism to generate cash that once existed to fuel the economy is severely restricted and is now affecting all areas of the economy.  If people stop buying or severely cut back buying homes, furniture, autos, groceries, etc., all the jobs attached to those industries suffer.   Those industries are supported by workers from Main Street.  The success of these companies impacts our investments, 401K’s, retirements, pensions, etc.

Money is the oxygen of our economy. Right now, our economy is strangling.   Without oxygen, the economy is put into a precarious state.

So, we know why this happened and what the implications are.  There is plenty of blame to pass around.  That’s not helpful.  We have a crisis and we need to come together to address this crisis.

Main Street should be angry. 

But, Main Street has to understand that failure to act by supporting some form of bailout package is going to hurt everyone and everything.  Main Street can’t get even with Wall Street without hurting Main Street.  We are all interconnected.

So, get angry and insist that reforms are put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  Just be sure you don’t cut your nose off despite your face. 

What about all the alternatives?  I’ve given that a lot of thought and determined that, sadly, we need fast action.  Just about everything that we might do takes longer than we can probably tolerate at this point.

What should you do?  Call your Congressional representative and tell them that you’re angry we are in this situation, you want reforms put in place after this crisis passes, but you understand that something needs to be done and be done quickly.  Tell them to negotiate a bailout package and make it happen soon.  That, sadly, is our only choice.  I don’t know how big a package they need, but, something has to be done.

What do you think?  Democrat Dave


Paper endorses first Democrat for President in 72 years

September 29, 2008

The Record, a paper out of Stockton, California, has endorsed Barack Obama.  They’ve not endorsed a Democrat for President in 72 years.  Here’s part of what they wrote:

Barack Obama is our choice for president of the United States.
He has demonstrated time and again he can think on his feet. More importantly, he has demonstrated he will think things through, seek advice and actually listen to it.

Obama is a gifted speaker. But in addition to his smarts and energy, possibly his greatest gift is his ability to inspire.

For eight years, American politics has been marked by smears, fears and greed. For too long, we’ve practiced partisanship in Washington, not politics. The result is a cynicism every bit as deep as that which infected the nation when Richard Nixon was shamed from office and when Bill Clinton brought shame to the office.

This must end, but John McCain can’t do it. He can’t inspire, nor can he really break from a past that is breaking this nation.

Excellent. Most excellent! Obama-Biden in 2008. Democrat Dave


McCain & Kissinger both mistaken–FactCheck.org confirms

September 28, 2008

During the debate Friday evening, Barack Obama correctly made the assertion that Henry Kissinger had called for high-level talks with Iran and other nation states with whom the U.S. has differences without pre-conditions. 

John McCain scoffed at the remark suggesting that Henry Kissinger would never call for such talks without pre-conditions having been met.  This sounds consistent with Republican, Neo-Conservative thinking that, sadly, we’ve come to know all too well. John McCain is incorrect about what Henry Kissinger advocated.   And, Henry Kissinger’s statement via the McCain Campaign after the Friday debate is at odds with his own words. Perhaps both were having a “senior moment.”

John McCain also suggested that it would not be appropriate to start those talks at the Presidential level.  Barack Obama agreed with him on that point during the debate, but, it may have been lost in the storm around McCain’s response.

Here’s what FactCheck.org confirms:

Kissinger did in fact a few days earlier at a forum of former secretaries of state that he favors very high-level talks with Iran – without conditions:

Kissinger:Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level so that we — we know we’re dealing with authentic…

CNN’s Frank Sesno: Put at a very high level right out of the box?

Kissinger: Initially, yes.But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations.

After the McCain-Obama debate, however, Kissinger issued a statement saying he doesn’t favor a presidential meeting:

Kissinger: Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain.

So, there you have it. McCain was mistaken; Kissinger is mistaken. Barack Obama represents the leadership we need.

Enough! Obama-Biden in 2008. Democrat Dave


I’m voting for Barack Obama because–by StrangeAnimals

September 28, 2008

My dad: “I finally feel at ease” with Obama
by StrangeAnimals (www.dailykos.com)
Sat Sep 27, 2008 at 06:51:44 PM PDT

I spoke with my father back in Ohio this afternoon. He is a lifelong Republican, though no fan of George Bush. While he could not bring himself to vote for Senator Kerry in 2004, he refused to vote to re-elect Dubya.

Four years on, he has joined the legion of disillusioned Republicans. He simply cannot abide John McCain, and over the course of the year, as he and I have discussed this election and this time in history, he has slowly come around to the Obama side. It was just last week that he surprised me by confiding that he’d decided to vote for Barack.

Today, he told me something that I think captured the essence of what Obama achieved last night. My father told me “I told you last week that I had decided to vote for your man, Obama, but after watching last night’s debate, I finally feel completely at ease with that decision.”

That’s what Obama accomplished last night. He made independents and likely even untold disillusioned Republicans feel at ease. That, to me, is the game clincher.

I didn’t want to leave you with such a short diary, really more of a long comment, so I’m attaching to the above story a list I sent to my father and to other fence-sitters I know, a list of reasons why I’m working so hard in support of Senator Barack Obama. I hope someone finds a use for it in their efforts to coax more fence-sitters down onto our side.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because on the day Barack Obama is inaugurated, America will think differently of itself, and this is no small thing. Imagine the symbolism of it. Do not short shrift symbols, for they are very powerful. To be able to point to a President Barack Obama and tell a child of any color anywhere in America that they, too, through education and hard work, could someday be anything they want to be…that’s a powerful thing, especially in our melting-pot nation.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because Obama’s narrative is quintessentially American. His is an All-American success story. A biracial kid with an absentee father raised by a single mother on food stamps. A kid with a funny name whose improbable path carried him from Hawaii to Indonesia to Chicago to Washington; a Harvard law grad who turned away from a coveted Supreme Court clerkship to work just out of law school as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side; a United States Senator who, until his presidential campaign, still shopped for groceries with his young children, and who only recently got out from underneath his student loans; a family man with a solid marriage to a bright and dynamic, articulate and self-made woman; a man of faith who walks the walk of his religion. Nothing was handed to this man – everything he has accomplished has come from the sweat of his own grit and determination.

(Correction per noice: “Obama’s work as a community organizer was before he went to Harvard Law.  He did it after he graduated from Columbia University.  After Harvard Law, he went to work as a civil rights attorney instead of going for a Supreme Court clerkship.” Thanks also to kimberlyweldon and SDLinn for correcting my error!)

I’m voting for Barack Obama because Senator Obama inspires people of all ages to action. And while inspiration alone isn’t enough to get the job done, it’s a necessary ingredient to begin the hard work. After sixteen years of Clinton and Bush hyper-partisanship, Obama’s appeal to Americans to have the audacity to hope falls on fertile ground. He is a hope-mongerer facing down a legion of entrenched, Washingtonian hope-mockers. His unwillingness to cross the line into the dark side of politics has touched a fundamental place in the hearts of many who are eager to believe that the political process is not entirely a cynical joke.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because Senator Obama understands that you win elections not by pandering to your base, but by drawing support from independents and from the opposite side, by articulating what unifies people rather than exploiting what divides them. Change comes not just from knowing how to work the levers of power – it takes more than that. It takes creating the popular movements necessary to support and sustain change. No other candidate spurs that kind of enthusiasm.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because most politicians talk about “I”, the crafter of the policy, whereas Obama talks about “we” and “us”, the people who demand it and who jointly carry it out. He talks about this nation as if all of us are in it together. He speaks to the nation rather than preaching to the partisan choir. If he inspires fervor, it speaks only to the deep need of Americans to put behind us decades of the politics of selfishness, pettiness, divisiveness, cynicism, and greed. Americans are sick of it. Most of us are well aware that our nation, indeed the world, faces issues that are intractable, overwhelming, and terrifying, and we know deep inside ourselves that we have to do something different than what we’ve been doing in order to address them.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because Obama’s appeal also rests on an attractive optimism, a chance for America to move beyond the poisonous legacy of the divisions wrought between liberals and conservatives by the 1960s, Vietnam, and the 1990s. He meets a hunger that exists nationwide to turn the page on the tired ideological battles of the past. He captures the electorate’s hunger for meaningful change. With septuagenarian Senator John McCain as the Republican nominee, a man with broad popular appeal but also a man who, if elected, would be the oldest president at inauguration in American history, what better choice between past and future could Americans be offered than between he and Obama?

I’m voting for Barack Obama because Obama has built a powerful political network unlike seen before, based on cross-cultural and multi-generational grassroots movements and community building. He possesses an exceptional and enduring talent for organization and for connecting with voters, and has attracted voters on a level unseen in decades: over two million Americans have contributed to his campaign! He is about participation, and participation wins elections. His appeal is also much broader ideologically and racially than perhaps any politician in American history, and his demographic diversity contrasts sharply and is more representative of America than Senator McCain’s demographic monotony: mostly white, and mostly male.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because his relatively short time in Washington is more asset than handicap. Not long removed from the pool of the people, in Obama ordinary, everyday hard-working Americans of every political stripe will have a friend in the White House.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because he has the judgment and character necessary to lead this nation in these perilous times. He is serious, thoughtful, and decent. He exhibits charisma, coolness under fire, and an impresive understanding of the issues that face us. He gives rational explanations of his positions and brings people into his thought process, rather than talking down to them. He thinks about the questions, the daunting questions we face, and he answers those questions. He articulates and embodies the idea of a nobler America. He is pragmatic, and has exhibited throughout his political career a genuine commitment to the idea of finding pragmatic solutions by reaching across the partisan divide, and forging relationships with those of differing viewpoints.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because his is the face of the future. America in the coming decades will be predominantly a nation of color, and with the election of Barack Obama America will send a message to its own future that it is unafraid of it, that it welcomes it, and embraces it. That a black man in a country that denied black people the vote as recently as 1964, in a country whose past is disfigured by slavery, segregation, and unequal voting rights, is now the nominee of a major political party is itself an extraordinary comment on how far America has come over the past half-century. His election to the presidency would signal that the next half-century will likely bring continued progress toward genuine equality for every race, color, creed and orientation.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because on the day Barack Obama is inaugurated, the world will think differently of America. The election of Obama, a man with a multicultural name and heritage, would overnight begin to improve the image of the United States abroad, and send the global message that a post-Bush and post-Clinton 21st-century American era has arrived. With his election, the value of America’s moral currency abroad would begin to be restored.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because of Obama’s stalwart opposition to the Iraq War since before its beginning, and his stalwart dedication to see the Iraq War to its end. Obama said, in 2002: “I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world and strengthen the recruitment arm of al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.” In 2008, Obama speaks once again for millions: “I don’t want to just end the war, I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place.”

I’m voting for Barack Obama because Obama is a Harvard-educated constitutional law scholar, and civil libertarian. In his campaign speeches, he has frequently referred to his desire to close Guantanamo, stop torture, restore habeas corpus rights to detainees, bring back our lost civil liberties, and return to a presidency that sticks to its vow to follow the U.S. Constitution.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because Obama pushes progressive values into the mainstream. He constantly talks about his core liberal philosophy in a way that’s appealing to non-liberals. He has an ability to use his eloquence not just to persuade, but to mobilize, and to unite. Unlike the method of triangulating, moving Democrats to the middle, Obama moves the middle to our values. He stands for progressive values while appealing to common sense and pragmatism over ideology and demagoguery. And the end effect might be an ascendant, mainstream progressive party that enacts its values into laws.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because Obama has the potential to be a transformative American leader. The best leaders are like magnets beneath a piece of paper, invisibly aligning iron filings into new patterns of their design. Obama could be such a leader. Most of the presidents in American history who have been transformative have been charismatic figures with exceptional oratorical skills who persuaded Americans to share in their larger vision. I am not able to imagine a President John McCain being similarly transformative, or being such a magnet.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because I know that most voters do not vote primarily on the basis of policies, but rather on values, connection, authenticity, trust, and identity. Obama has solid values. He connects with voters as no politician has done since Reagan, or Kennedy. His authenticity is unquestioned. Polls have consistently revealed great differences between Obama and McCain on matters of trust and identity.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because after the bitterness of the Bush years, America badly needs a dose of unity. We face huge issues in the years to come, and to work through them we need not only optimism, creativity, and courage, but also trust in one another, and an end to bitter partisanship. None of that arises out of cynicism and despair. Does anyone foresee an end to – or even an easing of – our bitter divisions with a President McCain?

I’m voting for Barack Obama because this era demands a president who will include all of us in the debate over our future, whether or not we agree on every issue. And while I do not agree with Senator Obama on every issue, it does not matter so much to me, because this election campaign is about so much more than individuals and their pet issues. It is about the reacquisition of an ideal that has been stolen away from us.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because for now, at this time in history, I believe Barack Obama to be the best antidote we’ve got to the darkness and division we’ve endured for too many years. He’s our best hope to re-dignify the office of President of the United States with a stature that symbolizes the awesomeness of America. He’s our best hope not to make change, but to remind us of our ability to make change.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because there is no question Obama is an icon of hope. And despite ridicule to the contrary, hope does matter. When people join movements to realize raised hopes, our nation has a chance of changing for the better. When they damp their hopes, as his opponents throughout this campaign have suggested, the status quo is preserved. Hope and fear, future and past are the determining factors in this election. Not gender, not race. Will grouchy and divided Americans be driven primarily by their fears, or by their hopes? By their nostalgia for some “better” past, or by the courage to face a new future? The possibility of a new president named Barack Hussein Obama hangs on the answer.

Yes, we can! Si se puede!

Update: Yeah! Rec List! First time since March…thanks everyone!!!

Update II: The overwhelmingly positive response to this diary is the biggest honor I’ve received since having met Senator Barack Obama here in Eugene, Oregon back on May 9th. Yes, I met the next President of the United States, and the picture of that meeting sits here still, framed, next to my computer. It inspires me every day, and to think that I’ve helped inspire others brings tears to my eyes. Thanks everyone. What a fantastic place is DailyKos.


Barack Obama background: FactCheck.org sets the record straight

September 27, 2008

There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about Barack Obama.  I’m sorry to say that much of it seems to come from bloggers who lean to the Right.  So, I decided to do some research on FactCheck.org to see what I could find.   I’m sharing summaries below:

Did Obama say we “are no longer a Christian nation”?
August 26, 2008

FactCheck.org:  He said we are no longer “just” a Christian nation, but a nation of many other faiths as well. A chain e-mail drops that key word and thus changes the meaning.

 

Did Obama write that he would “stand with the Muslims” and that he nurses a “pervasive sense of grievance and animosity” toward whites?
June 3, 2008

FactCheck.org: No. A widely circulated e-mail fabricates some quotes from Obama’s books and twists others.

 

Does Barack Obama have Kenyan citizenship?
August 29, 2008

FactCheck.org: No. He held both U.S. and Kenyan citizenship as a child, but lost his Kenyan citizenship automatically on his 21st birthday.

 

Barack Obama Born in the U.S.A.
August 21, 2008

FactCheck.org: In June, the Obama campaign released a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate to quell speculative charges that he might not be a natural-born citizen. But the image prompted more blog-based skepticism about the document’s authenticity. And recently, author Jerome Corsi, whose book attacks Obama, said in a TV interview that the birth certificate the campaign has is “fake.”  We beg to differ. FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the document as “supporting documents” to this article. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.

 

Has Obama’s birth certificate been disclosed?
June 16, 2008

FactCheck.org: Yes. His campaign made a copy public after speculation by conservative bloggers that he might not be a “natural-born citizen.”

 

Sliming Obama
January 10, 2008

FactCheck.org: Dueling chain e-mails claim he’s a radical Muslim or a ‘racist’ Christian. Both can’t be right. We find both are false.

 

This is the extent of the information I could locate on FactCheck.org.  Democrat Dave


McCain voting record at odds with his “support” for veterans

September 27, 2008

Last evening, I saw an interview with a gentleman from VoteVets.org who clarified John McCain’s record on supporting veterans.  I’ve got to tell you, on this issue, John McCain really pisses me off!  

John McCain would have you believe that, being a veteran and former POW, he appreciates the sacrifice that our men and women have made and he’d go out of his way to take care of them.  This is absolute B.S.  

John McCain:  Your rhetoric doesn’t square with your voting record on veterans matters!  What a frickin’ surprise!   What a disgrace you are to our men and women in the military!!  I don’t know how you sleep at night given your voting record.  You aren’t a “maverick” when it comes to veterans issues–you are a pussy in the Bush Administration’s back pocket.

Over 4000 U.S. veterans have been killed in the line of duty in Iraq and another 30,000+ have been seriously injured, many with injuries that will impair them for the remainder of their lives.   And, this is just the Iraq war.  It doesn’t include figures from Afghanistan or other foreign conflicts.

Here’s a blog post in it’s entirety from VoteVets.org.  I hope they won’t mind me sharing it with you in its entirety here. 

Enough!!  Vote Obama-Biden in November.  Democrat Dave

 
 
McCain Overstretches his Support of Veterans and Troops  by Brian McGough Sat Sep 27, 2008 at 5:21 AM EDT

In tonight’s debate John McCain said “I know the veterans, I know them well, and I know that they know that I’ll take care of them, and I have been proud of their support and their recognition of my service to the veterans, and I love them, and I’ll take care of them, and they know that I’ll take care of them.”

Truth be told, this is not the case.  McCain has a lackluster voting record when it comes to veterans’ issues, and America’s veterans know it.  The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have given McCain a grade of “D” when it comes to voting in their interest.  The Disabled American Veterans have given McCain a 20 percent rating when it comes to voting in the interest of disabled veterans.

 
McCain has voted 29 times against veterans’ medical benefits.  In April 2006, McCain joined only 13 other senators in voting against an amendment that would increase funding for the VA to provide outpatient care and treatment.  Earlier that year, McCain voted against increasing funding for military and veterans’ hospitals.  This was money that could have been used to fix the problems at Walter Reed before it became a national disgrace.McCain was a staunch opponent of the bipartisan Webb/Hagel GI Bill.  This bill would have provided better educational opportunities to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  McCain called this bill “too generous” and tried to introduce his own watered down bill.  McCain didn’t even bother to show up to vote for the bill. After it passed the two staunchest opponents of the GI Bill, President Bush and John McCain, tried to take credit for its passage. McCain has an equally bad record when it comes to supporting our active duty soldiers.  McCain opposed the Webb/Hagel Dwell time amendment.  This amendment would have ensured that for every day troops were deployed, they would spend one day at home.  This time would have allowed troops to decompress from combat stress and to focus on maintaining the equipment necessary to fight a war.  Our troops and equipment are now dangerously overstretched.McCain opposed the Bayh amendment that would have provided $360 million for the procurement of up-armored humvees at a time when roadside bombs were killing American troops.McCain voted to kill the Reed Amendment. This amendment would have begun to increase the size of the active army in 2003 and focused on stability operations.

McCain voted against the Dodd amendment that would provide an additional $320 million in protective gear for our troops in harms way.

McCain also voted against a Landrieu amendment that would have given our National Guard and Reserve troops the equipment they needed to survive on the battlefield.

There is a distinct pattern in these votes, and that pattern shows that John McCain is no friend to veterans on Capitol Hill.  He may say all he wants that he is, but that doesn’t change the fact that he votes time and time again against the needs of veterans and active duty soldiers.


Are we safer from another 9/11 attack on U.S. soil?

September 27, 2008

I was disappointed by Barack Obama’s response last evening but felt he answered the only way he could.  He indicated we were safer (but not by how much) and then went on to point out that we still have real vulnerabilities in cargo through ports, airlines, etc., because of inadequate screening.  In Barack’s defense, to have answered otherwise would play into the Republican fear, uncertainty, doubt game that they execute so well.

I would have preferred that Barack say, “No, we’re really not safer and the threat of another terror attack on U.S. soil remains largely unchanged.”  Why?  That’s the truth.  But, after spending billions and billions on this, would the American people stomach the truth?

The Bush Administration created the hugely inefficient Department of Homeland Security which is such a behemoth that it can barely get out of its own way to support hurricane relief. We are only a bit safer as we’ve really only done cosmetic changes.  For example, if you think the TSA is going to make you safer flying, look at the media reports of all the tests successfully putting weapons through airport passenger security check points.  The U.S. provides the illusion of security, not security.

El Al Airlines–the Israeli airline–provides true security.  But, it is a level of security that American travelers would never tolerate.  With El Al, you show up for a flight 4-5 hours before a flight and go through multiple screenings including interviews.  Their planes are not parked at the gate at the airport; they park them out on the tarmac away from the terminal where armed people both on the plane and on the ground secure the planes when they aren’t in use.

We should not conclude that we are safer simply because we’ve not had an attack on U.S. soil like the 9/11 attack.  Those who seek to undermine the U.S. are patient and know that we continue to be complacent about security.  Think of it like computer virus software which needs to be updated daily.  There are constant, new threats to the safety and security of your computer.  Someone is always trying to exploit a new weakness that they’ve uncovered.  Homeland security is no different and much more challenging. 

Has the U.S. demonstrated a level of commitment to potential terror threats?  Or, have we created the illusion that we’re safer?  We have a long journey ahead of us that will require substantial funding and persistence. 

What do you think?  Democrat Dave


First Presidential Debate–Can You Imagine Palin Up There?

September 27, 2008

Last night’s debate certainly covered a lot of highly detailed economic and foreign policy matters.  I couldn’t help but think about throughout the course of the entire debate how Sarah Palin will fare against Joe Biden given the same questions Barack and John McCain had to deal with.  It’s going to be a disaster for her and her party. 

Look for something to happen that precludes her participation in that debate up to and including leaving the ticket.  I read yesterday that her prepatory sessions for the debates is going so poorly, that the team prepping her can’t get through a session without stopping half-way through in utter dismay and frustration.

My hat is off to Barack Obama.  He performed extremely well against a cranky John McCain.  Bravo, Barack!

Since the college vote is so important in this election, I found it startling that John McCain started off the evening talking about President Eisenhower.   Most people in college would only have a memory of Clinton and Bush 43 Administrations.  This reference certainly made John McCain look old.

What do you think?  Democrat Dave


McCain-Palin campaign: R.I.P.

September 26, 2008

John McCain and Sarah Palin: Please stop embarrassing yourselves and our nation.  America deserves better.

Please suspend your campaign immediately and go back to what you were doing before you got yourselves into this mess.   We don’t need to hear from you in the debates.  We know who are you and, frankly, you both scare the cr_p out of us.

It’s time for the McCain-Palin campaign to quietly fade into the sunset.  You and your failed campaign has become too big a distraction in light of all the serious issues facing the nation. 

Conservative pundits as well as the main stream media are rejecting the erratic campaign that you’ve been running while at the same time acknowledging what many of us have known for weeks–Sarah Palin isn’t ready for anything at the level she’s been asked to play–a debate, an interview by the media, a discussion about serious issues, etc.  It’s time to end this. 

If you truly believe in “Country First,” do this for the country.

And, please, whatever you do, don’t replace Palin on the ticket.  It would merely be seen as a “sexist” attack of one of your own.  John McCain–your party made the choice for you and you need to live with it.

John McCain–you aren’t the man I knew back in 2000.   It’s too bad.   Thanks for your service to our country, John.    Sarah Palin–good luck with Alaska and your family.  Sorry you got drug into all this.

Enough!  Vote Obama-Biden in 2008.   Democrat Dave


Sarah Palin is an actress, not a viable VP candidate

September 26, 2008

For those of you who saw the Katie Couric interview last evening, it is all too obvious that Sarah Palin is incapable of being the Vice President.  She’s out of her element. God forbid something happens to John McCain and we have her step up to the Presidential role!

The “Peter principle” suggests that every employee rises to their level of incompetence.  We’re there folks with Sarah Palin–she’s incompetent for this new role.

Sarah Palin is able to deliver a tightly-scripted event very well.  I call that acting.  Sadly, leadership requires far more than executing within a script.

Sarah Palin may be capable of meeting the needs of Alaska quite well.  But, her skills aren’t translating well to the big stage she needs to be able play on.  Sarah Palin isn’t ready.  We can’t afford the risk.  John McCain’s judgement has to be questioned as to why he selected her. 

Enough!  Vote Obama-Biden.  Democrat Dave


GOP Stonewalling Bailout Debate–is this really a crisis?

September 26, 2008

You’d think if we had a “crisis” that was about to bring on the collapse of our economy, that we wouldn’t have posturing but instead we’d have real action.  My sense is that we have a genuine problem and we are going to need some form of bailout to stem further erosion in our credit markets.

The GOP House members are acting irresponsibly and recklessly by refusing to sit across the table to get closure on a solution.  The only way to sell your ideas is to show up and negotiate!

Frankly, Bernake and Paulson continue to do a HORRIBLE job COMMUNICATING how this bailout works as I have raised in previous posts.  While they’ve done an effective job raising the urgency level, they’ve not made the sale to Congress or the American people.  Had they done so, we wouldn’t be where we are.

I’m sure the House Republicans are nervous about the November elections, particularly given the GOP track record of the last 8 years.  Their constituents–by a 2:1 margin–are holding the Republicans accountable for the mess we are in.  So, I’m sure they are looking for a compelling explanation for this bailout.

We need to get closure on this.  This isn’t the time for grandstanding.   It’s a time for thoughtful negotiation to bring closure to this issue.

What do you think?  Democrat Dave


McCain bailout on his own campaign

September 25, 2008

McCain has a number of problems that all center around his inability to tell the truth.  Let’s look at what happened with David Letterman. 

John McCain apparently called David to tell him that he wouldn’t be able to appear on this show yesterday as he had to “immediately return to Washington D.C. to work on the economic crisis.”   Except, he never left New York. 

Instead, he was found to be taping an interview with Katie Couric during the time he would have been on David’s show.  And, this morning, he’s on a panel with Bill Clinton in New York at the Clinton Global Initiative.  So, he won’t be back in Washington until Thursday afternoon.

Why did he lie again?   Why can’t McCain tell the truth?  Is this what we expect of a guy who wants to be President of the United States?

The Republicans in Congress are largely against him showing up.  The Democrats are adamantly against this grandstanding by McCain.  They feel his participation will only take the attention off the real issue at hand–reaching agreement on a bailout plan. 

No one asked McCain to suspend his campaign and come to Washington to help broker a solution–he’s interjecting himself into the process at the 11th hour.  It was only AFTER he suspended is campaign the President Bush summoned McCain and Obama to the White House.  McCain is looking for a sound-bite moment where he can appear to be “Presidential” in pulling together a solution.

Leadership is knowing when it is appropriate to interject yourself into a situation. McCain’s actions are inappropriate and largely unwelcome.  That’s not leadership; it’s grandstanding.

Why did he “suspend” his campaign?  It’s an act of desperation to try to slow Barack Obama’s growing momentum and deflect attention away from McCain’s campaign and all its problems of the past 2 weeks.  It’s also a way to get his campaign problems out of the news for a few hours.  And, it won’t work. 

The American people are tired of being lied to by McCain and Palin.   They are seeing clear indications that this is looking more and more like the Bush-Cheney third term.   Palin is looking more and more like “Dick Cheney with lipstick” judging by her avoidance of the press, refusing to participate in the “Troopergate” investigation just as she commited to doing before she joined the McCain ticket, etc.

Barack Obama is right:  McCain needs to be able to multi-task.  And, McCain needs to show up to the debate tomorrow night.

Enough!  Barack Obama for President.   Democrat Dave


Is the $700 billion bailout another Bush administration sham?

September 24, 2008

Just as I was drifting off to sleep last night I thought to myself:

  • What if this $700 billion bailout demand is Bush’s parting gift to Wall Street merely for their irrational exuberance? 
  • Is this bailout the equivalent of the Bush giving Wall Street a pardon for all the sins of the last 8 years?
  • What if this is like the WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq that didn’t exist and there really is no crisis?

I’m cynical about just about anything the Bush administration portrays as an exigent circumstance. 

I proposed a series of questions yesterday in a post and, while I’ve searched and searched for answers to those questions, I can’t find them anywhere:  Fortune, Wall Street Journal, etc.  Those questions can be found at:

https://democratdave.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/why-so-little-detail-on-700-billion-bailout/

Last night on the news, I see the FBI is investigating fraud at some of the major institutions at the center of this “crisis.”  Duh!  Anyone who knows anything about mortgages in the past 4 years knows that the system was stuffed with loans that would have spelled disaster for the lien holders UNLESS the value of homes continued to rise year over year.  Why? 

The loans needed to be refinanced under the same “below market interest rate” terms as the existing loans for the owner to keep their home.  The “Option ARMS” often required no down payment, had 1% interest rates for the first 3 years (below market interest rate loans) which meant the house payment would have just about doubled at the beginning of the fourth year. 

People struggling to make that current payment would likely be forced into default at the end of year 3 if they couldn’t refinance under the same terms.  Why? How many people could absorb a change in monthly payment terms from let’s say $1700 a month to $3500 a month?  Not many.

The loan underwriting process–instead of confirming that the borrower met the terms and conditions of the loan–became a “look the other way” to fund the loan.  In other words, there was a lot of fraud.  Everyone in the industry knew this was the case!  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the recipients for this toxic waste.

It’s okay to be cynical.  I don’t trust the Bush administration or anything it advances at this point.

I want the questions I asked yesterday in my post answered.  It’s up to Congress to get those questions answered before any bailout legislation is approved.

Democrat Dave


Is Sarah Palin ready?

September 23, 2008

If she’s ready for the Vice Presidency, why is she being shielded from the media?  Isn’t she ready?

What do you think is going on?  Democrat Dave


The difference between Bush and McCain

September 23, 2008

I just stumbled across this a comment on a blog from a woman who identified herself as “sara” from Mesa, Arizona:

yes, there IS a difference between Bush and McCain —
1. McCain is actually dumber than Bush (we’ve gone from a C student to a D- student;
2. McCain hides behind his “honor” whereas Bush never pretended to be honorable;
3. McCain picked Palin as his vp — although Cheney is no prize, he is at least smart and evil.  Palin is dumb and evil which is a lot scarier.

Older white woman with a freakin’ brain voting for Obama/Biden.

I’m not sure everyone will agree with Sara’s assessment.  What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Why so little detail on $700 billion bailout?

September 23, 2008

I am concerned that no one can coherently explain how this $700 billion bailout works.  All I keep hearing is “We need it and need it fast.”  Aren’t you as troubled by this as I am?

Someone (Paulson, Bernake, Greenspan, Dodd, etc.) needs to explain in terms the American people can understand:

**What is the essential problem–“illiquidty” isn’t a sufficient definition of the problem.

**How did we come to a figure of $700 billion?

**How does $700 billion resolve the current “problem?”

**Specifically, what is going to happen to “bring the money into the system?” What happens to the assets the loans are against?

**If this bailout only addresses bad mortgages, what happens to the people in foreclosure or soon to be in foreclosure? How do they benefit or lose from this?

**How does this bailout hurt America. [There has to be downside implications.]

**What would happen if these inliquid companies simply went into bankruptcy? Why is that a less desirable choice than spending $700 billion or more?

**What assurances are there that we won’t be back looking for more money in 6, 12, 24 months?

**What is the oversight plan? [“None” is not a viable answer.]

We need answers, not rhetoric.   Party affiliation doesn’t matter–this affects everyone.

What do you think?   Democrat Dave


Bush 43 to Bush 41: “Dad, I ruined Wall Street and it’s gonna cost $700 billion to fix”

September 22, 2008

This is quite an achievement! 

Imagine what John McCain (who graduated in the bottom 0.5% of his Naval Academy class) can achieve!!  Can’t imagine giving him the keys to the White House.  But, wait–there’s more.

Section 8 of the $700 billion bail-out has the following provision:

Decisions by the Secretary [of the Treasury] pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Are you kidding me? The Treasury Secretary can unilaterly disperse these funds and there is no oversight, no right of review, nada, nothing? How stupid do they think we are?

Enough!! Democrat Dave


McCain’s Campaign Manager: $35,000 a MONTH for 5 years from Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

September 22, 2008

What do you think?  From the New York Times 22SEP08:

Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations, current and former officials say…

Mr. McCain, the Republican candidate for president, has recently begun campaigning as a critic of the two companies and the lobbying army that helped them evade greater regulation as they began buying riskier mortgages with implicit federal backing….

“The value that he brought to the relationship was the closeness to Senator McCain and the possibility that Senator McCain was going to run for president again,” said Robert McCarson, a former spokesman for Fannie Mae, who said that while he worked there from 2000 to 2002, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together paid Mr. Davis’s firm $35,000 a month. Mr. Davis “didn’t really do anything,” Mr. McCarson, a Democrat, said.

I don’t know about you, but, I’d love a job that pays $35,000 frickin’ dollars a MONTH where you don’t have to do anything. Where do I sign up?

John McCain and the Republicans have been against regulation in any form possible. It’s only since early last week that John McCain has had to acknowledge that we are in this economic stranglehold due to lack of regulation. Unbelievable.

Has John McCain vetted his campaign staff?  How did Rick Davis and Phil Gramm make the cut?  This isn’t change–it’s more of the same.  Who does John McCain think he’s kidding.  Not me.

Enough!   Obama-Biden for President in 2008!!

Democrat Dave


Electronic voting machines–can your Sec. of State vouch for the integrity of the system?

September 21, 2008

Americans had doubts over whether or not George Bush won the election in 2000.  Sadly, he was upheld as the winner by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Americans again had doubts in 2004, but, no one had the stomach to push the issue.  No one wanted a long, protracted, divisive electoral process. 

The Chairman of Diebold, one of the companies that manufacturers electronic voting systems, GUARANTEED that Dubya would win the election in 2004 months before the election.  The company disavowed his remarks, but, there are many who believe that he and others know how to alter the machines to skew the results.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do this.

Last week, I saw a video story in the Reno Gazette Journal showing how easy it is to manipulate the voting totals even with the “paper trail.”  Both the machine and the paper trail can be altered to skew election results.

If we can’t be 100% certain of the integrity of the electronic voting systems, then we shouldn’t be using them!  

What can you do?  Contact all your elected state government officials and raise this issue.  If they can’t certify the integrity of the system before the 2008 Presidential Election, then we shouldn’t use the electronic voting machines and they should institute their back-up plan.  

Demand integrity in your election process.  America deserves it!

Enough!  Democrat Dave


Live from New York, it’s “John McCain” on Saturday Night Live

September 21, 2008

A very creative piece written by our next U.S. Senator from the great state of Minnesota–Al Franken!! 

Enjoy.  Democrat Dave

http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/mccain-approves-open/669582/


McCain finding no support from political analysts–watch this

September 21, 2008

John McCain…you know you’re having a bad campaign when discussions about you on Sunday morning sound like this…even conservative George Will is afraid of you…Democrat Dave


Economic meltdown–how it happened

September 21, 2008

Here is an excellent piece describing how we got into this horrific mess.  It’s not a quick read, but, it goes back to the S&L crisis and brings us forward to the present.  To not understand history is to repeat it.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/9/21/9322/74248/245/602838

We’ve got to do better.  We need real leadership.  Enough!   Obama-Biden 2008.

Democrat Dave


Why I left the Republican party

September 20, 2008

In thinking back about my personal move away from the Republican party to the Democratic party, it happened as part of the realization, “How can it all be just about me and just about what I want and need?”   It seemed to me, that the Republican party represented exclusivity rather in inclusivity,  you know, the old, “You’re either with us or against us!” line from Bush43.  I don’t like that.  I don’t believe in that.

I wanted lower taxes, smaller government, control on government expenditures–I know, I sound like Republican party rhetoric.  Today’s Republican party is anything but that in terms of actual practice.  The notion of “fiscal conservatives” is but a figment of our imagination.  I know that frustrates a lot of Republicans as well.

Here’s where I am today:

  • It isn’t just about me and minimizing my tax burden–I have a broader responsibility and interest than just worrying about me.
  • I’m not in favor of the government or a political party supporting and promoting the agenda of narrow interests as I’ve seen the Republican party.
  • I favor a woman’s right to chose because it isn’t up to me or the State to do anything other than protect an individuals rights. [I understand that not everyone agrees with me on this and it’s okay–we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.]
  • I’ve worked my entire career in management and executive management to support pay and worker equality. My best performers have almost always been women!  Barack Obama shares this belief about women.
  • I’m in favor of diplomacy and reject the Bush Doctrine of unilateral, preemptive strikes against another sovereign nation unless it is the only course of action possible.
  • I’m not in favor of bringing Democracy to the entire planet (or at least to those nations that have oil) at taxpayer expense.  Did anyone else sign up for this?
  • When it comes to armed conflict, our Armed Forces should be managed fully by the military, not by politicians.  If we are going to send our men and women into harms way, the rules of engagement should be to win.  We’ve lost over 4,000 men and women due to a nation-building effort, not due to a “war.”
  • I am not in favor of redistributing wealth via our system of taxation but I’m also not in favor of leaving people behind because of “me, me, me.”  Somewhere, there has to be a balance between these extremes.
  • I’m disgusted by the Bush/Cheney Administration and all they’ve done to undermine the U.S. Constitution and our standing in the world.
  • I want balance on the Supreme Court, not a Court of hand-picked individuals in place merely to push the agendas of narrow specical interests. 
  • I appreciate that our nation is built on a separation of church and state;  I want it to stay that way.
  • I am in favor of a government that values fiscal restraint, not printing money like there is no tomorrow as we are seeing now. 

Is the Democratic party perfect?  Far from it!  But, it offers a lot more to the world than the Republican party at this point.  And, it offers a lot more to America at this point.

Democrat Dave


Distorting the Democratic agenda: setting the record straight

September 20, 2008

I’ve been troubled by distortions I’m hearing and reading this past week in people’s thinking about Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. 

There’s a woman whom I hear frequently encouraging others to vote Republican because “all Barack Obama wants to do is raise your taxes.”  And, she bases this on what? Tired, old, outdated perceptions of the Democratic party? What facts about Barack Obama’s plan is she familiar with?  None!  She hasn’t read anything.  Yet, she spews this misinformation like nobody’s business.   If she and her husband made more than $250,000 per year, she’d be right. But, her family income is no where near that.

She’s not open to hearing anything other than her own voice.  To debate the issues, it would be good to be armed with facts.  This person isn’t properly armed and never will be.

I calmly explained to the person next to me about my blog post comparing Barack Obama and John McCain’s taxation plans.  He appreciated seeing a side-by-side comparison and said he was voting for Barack Obama.  “Enough, ” he said. 

I found more distortions this morning when I read Mudflats blog and discovered the following in a post by Doug, a gentleman who decided to go out with a large placard proclaiming “Palin Lies” to get his concerns about Sarah Palin out to others up in Alaska.  He writes:

…I was accosted by a couple of 60-year old women….Suddenly they were quoting Palin’s approval rating and Obama’s record as America’s most liberal senator (reminding me they got their information straight from CNN). They were joined by their husbands and a couple of other tourists. They stood over me and shook their fingers. Did I want to be a socialist? Did I remember Jimmy Carter’s administration? Was I really for health care for “all” people?

Let’s examine these assertions.

So, Obama is America’s “most liberal Senator?” Really?  How has he had time to achieve this?  That would be quite an achievement given his limited time in Washington, D.C.

Barack Obama is in favor of Socialism?  No.  Republicans love to throw out loaded terms like “liberal” and “Socialism” to describe Democrats.  We’re seeing before our very eyes right now Socialism on a scale we’ve never seen in the U.S.  The Bush Administration is embracing Socialism by spending perhaps $1 trillion to recover from the train wreck of deregulation and oversight neglect. 

I’m not in favor of bailing out reckless corporations and executives, but, that’s what we–the American taxpayers–are going to do because, on the GOP watch, the Bush Administration has just about brought about a collapse of our economy (see statements by Bernake and Paulson this past week) unless we toss a life preserver to the companies who’ve caused the problem.  Sweet!  

There’s a price that the U.S. will pay on a longer-term basis in the global credit and capital markets.  $1 trillion will take the pain away, but, if we don’t find systemic solutions, we’ll be right back here again. 

A free market system is about letting things succeed that shoud succeed and letting things fail that should fail.  To see things as “too important to fail” and bailing it out with taxpayer money is to embrace a Socialistic solution.  This is Socialism at its finest.  We’ve not seen this since the Great Depression.

Health care for everyone?  Do these people think it should only be for a privileged few?

As for Jimmy Carter, excuse, me, but did these women forget about the budget surpluses and period of prosperity that we enjoyed as a nation under the last Democratic Administration led by Bill Clinton?  Hellllooooo!!!   Jimmy Carter, a wonderful human being, was not our best President.  George Bush has been much, much worse.  A McCain-Palin administration will do nothing but further erode our country and its standing in the world.  McCain has hardly been able to put together back-to-back sentences this week on this issue without stumbling.  Thank God he’s not in charge now.

There are many issues that this great nation faces. The Republicans favor those who are wealthy, those who aspire to be wealthy, and some special interests that they pander to each election year, e.g. the Christian evangelicals. The Democrats are concerned, rightfully so, about the destruction of the middle class under GOP rule.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would even consider the McCain-Palin ticket at this point.  McCain and Palin are completely non-sensical to me.  Both of them are out of control with power and ego and offer no change.  It’s time for a change.  Enough!

Democrat Dave


McCain wrong about Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac CEO severance

September 19, 2008

Poor John McCain. He’s having a REALLY bad week and not getting a lot right.   From MSNBC’s First Read comes the following:

From NBC’s Mark Murray and NBC/NJ’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy
On the campaign trail in Minnesota today, McCain incorrectly suggested that the executive pay that former Fannie Mae CEOs Frank Raines and Jim Johnson earned came from taxpayers.

“That same executive got $21 million of your money,” McCain said of Johnson. “And the other CEO, another supporter of Senator Obama, Mr. Raines got $25 million of your money. Let’s tell them to give it back. Let’s tell them to give it back.”

Lucian Bebchuk of Harvard Law School, an expert on corporate governance, confirmed to First Read that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were private companies until being recently taken over by the federal government (which came after Raines’ and Johnson’s tenures).

If John McCain was a boxer, his corner would be throwing in the towel at this point. It’s time for the voters to throw in the towel on John McCain. Enough!!

Obama/Biden in 2008

Democrat Dave