10/29/2008

McCain / Obama - Pictures

Sometimes pictures speak louder than any words could portray...
Click images for larger view & to read captions.


If you knew nothing about the candidates except for these pictures...
who would you vote for?


Do the right thing...vote McCain!

Obama: Broken Promise

Can't believe I found this on CNN!



Here's the full article if you can't see the video:

Editor's note: Campbell Brown anchors CNN's "Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull" at 8 p.m. ET Mondays through Fridays. She delivered this commentary during the "Cutting through the Bull" segment of Tuesday night's broadcast.

(CNN) -- You may have heard that Wednesday night Barack Obama will be on five different TV networks speaking directly to the American people.

He bought 30 minutes of airtime from the different networks, a very expensive purchase. But hey, he can afford it. Barack Obama is loaded, way more loaded than John McCain, way more loaded than any presidential candidate has ever been at this stage of the campaign.

Just to throw a number out: He has raised well over $600 million since the start of his campaign, close to what George Bush and John Kerry raised combined in 2004.

Without question, Obama has set the bar at new height with a truly staggering sum of cash. And that is why as we approach this November, it is worth reminding ourselves what Barack Obama said last November.

One year ago, he made a promise. He pledged to accept public financing and to work with the Republican nominee to ensure that they both operated within those limits.

Then it became clear to Sen. Obama and his campaign that he was going to be able to raise on his own far more cash than he would get with public financing. So Obama went back on his word.

He broke his promise and he explained it by arguing that the system is broken and that Republicans know how to work the system to their advantage. He argued he would need all that cash to fight the ruthless attacks of 527s, those independent groups like the Swift Boat Veterans. It's funny though, those attacks never really materialized.

The Washington Post pointed out recently that the bad economy has meant a cash shortage among the 527s and that this election year they have been far less influential.

The courageous among Obama's own supporters concede this decision was really made for one reason, simply because it was to Obama's financial advantage.

On this issue today, former Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, an Obama supporter, writes in The New York Post, "a hypocrite is a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue -- who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. And that, it seems to me, is what we are doing now."

For this last week, Sen. Obama will be rolling in dough. His commercials, his get-out-the-vote effort will, as the pundits have said, dwarf the McCain campaign's final push. But in fairness, you have to admit, he is getting there in part on a broken promise.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/28/campbell.brown.obama/index.html

10/28/2008

Obama & McCains Tax Plan: A Mixed Bag

The Heritage Foundation has conducted several analyses comparing Senator Obama's tax proposals to that of Senator John McCain. The following was publsihed on October 15, 2008 by J.D. Foster, Ph.D - http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/wm2101.cfm

Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL) have released tax plans indicating their priorities when one of them becomes President of the United States. These plans involve significant changes to the federal tax system. While numerous blanks and vagaries remain in both plans, much of their respective plans are now clearly laid out.

As expressions of tax policy design, the two tax plans share the unfortunate attribute of adding to tax complexity. In other respects, the McCain proposal significantly advances good tax policy by emphasizing lower rates while the Obama plan raises tax rates. The Obama plan also suffers in its proliferation and expansion of refundable tax credits, further (and inappropriately) using the income tax system as an income support system.

The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis (CDA) has a detailed overview of the two plans and an assessment of their economic effects.[1] According to CDA, by 2018 the economy would be more than $320 billion larger (after inflation), and average household income would be more than $2,600 greater under the McCain plan than under the Obama plan.

Comparing Proposals

Comparing the McCain and Obama tax proposals reveals important similarities and distinctions. For example, among the similarities:

  • Lower Taxes. Both sets of proposals, on balance, reduce federal taxes, demonstrating a clear and encouraging understanding by both candidates that federal income taxes are too high. McCain proposes $300 million more in tax cuts over 10 years. Unfortunately, Obama proposes additional tax increases but delays their implementation until at least two years after the completion of a hypothetical second term.
  • Mostly Validating Bush Tax Policy. Both sets of proposals recognize the fundamental soundness of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. While the Bush tax cuts have been criticized by liberal Democrats in Congress, Obama would make most of the income tax cuts permanent, whereas McCain would make all the income tax cuts permanent.
  • Support for a Reduced Death Tax. Both sets of proposals recognize the harmful effects and unfairness of the death tax. Unfortunately, both plans retain the death tax but do so at much lower rates and with a larger exemption than existed in 2000.
Key Differences: Growth v. Redistributionism

For all their similarities, the two plans have important distinctions. The most important is that McCain's tax proposals emphasize job creation and raising wages. This is most apparent in his proposal to extend all the 2001 and 2003 tax rate reductions and his proposals to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent--the second highest in the industrialized world--to 25 percent. It is also apparent in his proposal to allow immediate expensing of business investment necessary for job growth and international competitiveness.

The McCain plan includes another positive reform in that it replaces the unlimited exemption for employer-sponsored health insurance with a simple tax credit available to anyone purchasing health insurance. This provision corrects a terrible and unfair distortion in the tax code, would be a major step toward fundamental health care reform, and would significantly reduce the number of uninsured in America.[2]

Obama's tax proposals exemplify his view that redistributing income among citizens is more important than increasing their earnings and creating jobs. This view is apparent in his proposal to raise income taxes dramatically on individuals and small businesses earning more than $250,000 and then to raise payroll taxes on these same taxpayers after 2018.

Obama's preference for punitive redistributionism over economic growth is also apparent in his proposal to raise the capital gains and dividend tax rates. Capital formation is essential for increasing worker productivity and workers' wages. Taxes on capital gains and dividends are direct and certain impediments to business investment.

While raising taxes on higher-earners, Obama also cuts taxes for those who already pay little or no federal income tax. He achieves this by increasing the child and dependent care tax credit and making it refundable. He further engages in redistributionism through a new, refundable make-work-pay tax credit for low-wage workers and by expanding the earned-income tax credit.

These distinctions in the economic effects of the two plans explain why the McCain tax plan would be expected to be more beneficial for economic growth, jobs, and wages as the CDA analysis suggests. Policy is about choices, and choices often reflect trade-offs. A common and fundamental trade-off in economic policy is between economic growth and redistributing the income from growth, between job creation and wage growth on the one hand and economic security on the other. Especially with its focus on lower tax rates, the McCain tax plan is more conducive to economic growth and increasing wages; the Obama plan's higher tax rates and proliferation of refundable credits means the United States would forego a significant amount of possible wage growth in favor of redistributing wages and earnings.

Two Different Directions

Through the lens of sound tax policy, both McCain's and Obama's tax plans would leave the tax code more complicated than it is today. Even so, McCain's plan has important advantages through its focus on keeping tax rates low--and lowering them further in some instances--while improving incentives for investment and correcting an extremely harmful tax distortion at the heart of much of the trouble in America's health care financing system.

In contrast, the Obama plan raises income tax rates, raises payroll taxes on a delayed basis, and actively increases the use of the tax system to redistribute income to those who pay little or no income tax. Each of these aspects move the tax code in a decidedly inappropriate direction.

On balance, the McCain plan would be decidedly better for economic growth, largely because it would lower tax rates while the Obama plan would raise tax rates. Under the McCain tax plan, the economy would be expected to be about $320 billion greater, and average household income about $2,600 higher than would be the case under the Obama tax plan.

J. D. Foster, Ph.D., is Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.


[1] William W. Beach et al., "The Obama and McCain Tax Plans: How Do They Compare?" Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Report No. CDA08-09, October 15, 2008, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/cda08-09.cfm.

[2] Robert Moffit, Nina Owcharenko, "The McCain Health Care Plan: More Power to Families," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2198, October 15, 2008, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/bg2198.cfm.

10/27/2008

"Spread the Wealth" - Obama's Tax Plan

If you have watched any news on television in the past couple of weeks you have probably heard of "Joe the Plumber." During a neighborhood visit, Obama was asked by Joe the plumber about his tax plan and his taxes would increase if he chose to buy his boss' business which would make over $250,000. Obama basically said, "when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." Watch the whole encounter here:



Income distribution is what Obama plans to do if elected president. He's going to tax the rich (businesses and individuals) and redistribute it to everyone else including people who don't even pay federal income taxes! Despite the good intentions of Robin Hood, when the day is over he's still a thief.

10/22/2008

A Liberal Supermajority

The following is taken from: http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB122420205889842989-lMyQjAxMDI4MjI0MTIyMDEyWj.html

Get ready for "change" we haven't seen since 1965, or 1933. If the current polls hold, Barack Obama will win the White House on November 4 and Democrats will consolidate their Congressional majorities, probably with a filibuster-proof Senate or very close to it. Without the ability to filibuster, the Senate would become like the House, able to pass whatever the majority wants.

Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on.

The nearby table shows the major bills that passed the House this year or last before being stopped by the Senate minority. Keep in mind that the most important power of the filibuster is to shape legislation, not merely to block it. The threat of 41 committed Senators can cause the House to modify its desires even before legislation comes to a vote. Without that restraining power, all of the following have very good chances of becoming law in 2009 or 2010.

- Medicare for all. When HillaryCare cratered in 1994, the Democrats concluded they had overreached, so they carved up the old agenda into smaller incremental steps, such as Schip for children. A strongly Democratic Congress is now likely to lay the final flagstones on the path to government-run health insurance from cradle to grave.

Mr. Obama wants to build a public insurance program, modeled after Medicare and open to everyone of any income. According to the Lewin Group, the gold standard of health policy analysis, the Obama plan would shift between 32 million and 52 million from private coverage to the huge new entitlement. Like Medicare or the Canadian system, this would never be repealed.

The commitments would start slow, so as not to cause immediate alarm. But as U.S. health-care spending flowed into the default government options, taxes would have to rise or services would be rationed, or both. Single payer is the inevitable next step, as Mr. Obama has already said is his ultimate ideal.

- The business climate. "We have some harsh decisions to make," Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned recently, speaking about retribution for the financial panic. Look for a replay of the Pecora hearings of the 1930s, with Henry Waxman, John Conyers and Ed Markey sponsoring ritual hangings to further their agenda to control more of the private economy. The financial industry will get an overhaul in any case, but telecom, biotech and drug makers, among many others, can expect to be investigated and face new, more onerous rules. See the "Issues and Legislation" tab on Mr. Waxman's Web site for a not-so-brief target list.

The danger is that Democrats could cause the economic downturn to last longer than it otherwise will by enacting regulatory overkill like Sarbanes-Oxley. Something more punitive is likely as well, for instance a windfall profits tax on oil, and maybe other industries.

- Union supremacy. One program certain to be given right of way is "card check." Unions have been in decline for decades, now claiming only 7.4% of the private-sector work force, so Big Labor wants to trash the secret-ballot elections that have been in place since the 1930s. The "Employee Free Choice Act" would convert workplaces into union shops merely by gathering signatures from a majority of employees, which means organizers could strongarm those who opposed such a petition.

The bill also imposes a compulsory arbitration regime that results in an automatic two-year union "contract" after 130 days of failed negotiation. The point is to force businesses to recognize a union whether the workers support it or not. This would be the biggest pro-union shift in the balance of labor-management power since the Wagner Act of 1935.

- Taxes. Taxes will rise substantially, the only question being how high. Mr. Obama would raise the top income, dividend and capital-gains rates for "the rich," substantially increasing the cost of new investment in the U.S. More radically, he wants to lift or eliminate the cap on income subject to payroll taxes that fund Medicare and Social Security. This would convert what was meant to be a pension insurance program into an overt income redistribution program. It would also impose a probably unrepealable increase in marginal tax rates, and a permanent shift upward in the federal tax share of GDP.

- The green revolution. A tax-and-regulation scheme in the name of climate change is a top left-wing priority. Cap and trade would hand Congress trillions of dollars in new spending from the auction of carbon credits, which it would use to pick winners and losers in the energy business and across the economy. Huge chunks of GDP and millions of jobs would be at the mercy of Congress and a vast new global-warming bureaucracy. Without the GOP votes to help stage a filibuster, Senators from carbon-intensive states would have less ability to temper coastal liberals who answer to the green elites.

- Free speech and voting rights. A liberal supermajority would move quickly to impose procedural advantages that could cement Democratic rule for years to come. One early effort would be national, election-day voter registration. This is a long-time goal of Acorn and others on the "community organizer" left and would make it far easier to stack the voter rolls. The District of Columbia would also get votes in Congress -- Democratic, naturally.

Felons may also get the right to vote nationwide, while the Fairness Doctrine is likely to be reimposed either by Congress or the Obama FCC. A major goal of the supermajority left would be to shut down talk radio and other voices of political opposition.

- Special-interest potpourri. Look for the watering down of No Child Left Behind testing standards, as a favor to the National Education Association. The tort bar's ship would also come in, including limits on arbitration to settle disputes and watering down the 1995 law limiting strike suits. New causes of legal action would be sprinkled throughout most legislation. The anti-antiterror lobby would be rewarded with the end of Guantanamo and military commissions, which probably means trying terrorists in civilian courts. Google and MoveOn.org would get "net neutrality" rules, subjecting the Internet to intrusive regulation for the first time.

It's always possible that events -- such as a recession -- would temper some of these ambitions. Republicans also feared the worst in 1993 when Democrats ran the entire government, but it didn't turn out that way. On the other hand, Bob Dole then had 43 GOP Senators to support a filibuster, and the entire Democratic Party has since moved sharply to the left. Mr. Obama's agenda is far more liberal than Bill Clinton's was in 1992, and the Southern Democrats who killed Al Gore's BTU tax and modified liberal ambitions are long gone.

In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today's left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for "change" should know they may get far more than they ever imagined.

10/21/2008

Barack Obama's Tax Plan

What would a world look like where two-thirds of all small-business income would be taxed at a 50 percent rate? The economic law that "taxing something more and getting less of it" would apply.
  • Fewer Americans would be interested in opening or expanding small businesses.
  • Tax evasion and legal tax avoidance would spike, as tax shelters would once again become a booming industry.
  • Since small businesses create a majority of jobs in America, Main Street closing up shop will have a direct impact on the family budget, as well.
  • Plants and equipment will go unused.
Despite the misguided opinions of static scorers in Washington, federal tax revenues will likely decline as the economy staggers into a full-on recession.

What does this have to do with Barack Obama's tax plan? Read on young grasshopper.

The following is taken from http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/11670.html on July 11, 2008 by Grover G. Norquist:

"The Tax Policy Center and the Barack Obama campaign used some sleight of hand this week in Politico. To quote Eric Tolder of the TPC, “Most small-business people, like most everyone else, are not really high-income.” While this is true, it completely and totally misses the point.

"Let’s start with the definition of a “small business.” Most will tell you that small-business income constitutes income derived from sole proprietorships, partnerships and Subchapter S corporations.

"The conservative argument (and that of the John McCain campaign) is that Obama’s stated plan to raise taxes on households making $250,000 or more in income is a tax increase on small business. The simple answer to this dilemma can be found in the IRS Statistics of Income Bulletin (Table 1.4, for those who are interested).

"So what do the data say?

"In 2006 (the latest year available), $706 billion of such income was reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Of this, about half was reported by households in the top marginal income tax rate. Interestingly, two-thirds of this income was reported by households making $250,000 per year or more — the very same households that Obama wants to increase taxes on.

"The Obama campaign maintains that the number of small-business owners is what’s important. Economists know what matters is the tax rate that’s applied to the bulk of small-business income. Make no mistake about it: Obama’s plan to raise taxes on households making more than $250,000 will raise taxes on most small-business profits in America.

"What type of tax rate are we talking about? Currently, S corporations face a top tax rate of 35 percent, while sole proprietors and general partners face a tax rate of 37.9 percent (since they’re responsible for paying both income tax and the Medicare component of the payroll tax).

"Under Obama’s plan to let the scheduled 2011 tax rate hikes occur, and his plan to raise the self-employment tax on those making more than $250,000, the S corporation rate would rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. The sole proprietor and partner rate would rise from 37.9 percent all the way up to a staggering 50.3 percent. Many Democrats in Congress have proposed making all small businesses (including S corporations) pay this 50-plus percent rate. A small business tax rate that high would be the highest marginal rate faced by them in nearly a quarter-century.

"What’s the alternative? One place to look is the optional alternate tax system originally proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and now endorsed by McCain. It would give households (including those with small business income) a choice between the current tax code and one with a top rate of 25 percent on all income over $100,000. This would have the beneficial effect of lowering the tax rate on most small-business income by 10 percentage points. Small businesses haven’t faced a tax rate that low in quite some time and would be likely to respond with the creation of new businesses and more investment in existing businesses.

"The McCain small business tax plan doesn’t end there. For those businesses that are organized as conventional corporations, the top tax rate would fall from 35 percent to 25 percent, the European average. For all businesses, technology and equipment — which now must be slowly “depreciated” over many years — would be immediately expensed in year one.

"Stepping back, voters and policymakers should ask themselves whether they want two-thirds of small business income taxed at a 50 percent tax rate or if they want nearly all small-business income taxed at a 25 percent tax rate. They should ask themselves whether it’s healthier for small businesses to write off a computer over six calendar years or to simply write it off in year one. To America’s small business sector, the answer is obvious."

Simply, Obama doesn't get it. You can't raise taxes in a staggering slowing down of the economy! Besides, big oil companies and big corporations don't pay taxes! If their taxes increase they pass it along to us, the consumer. This means we'll have to pay more for goods and services. So who will pay the higher taxes? WE WILL!

Obama Side Steps Acorn Relationship

Acorn has been all of the news recently of alleged voting fraud. Obama has had an intimate and long-term association with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn), the largest radical group in America. This association was brought up in the third and last Presidential Debate. Obama said:

“Acorn is a community organization. Apparently what they’ve done is they were paying people to go out and register folks. And apparently some of the people out there didn’t really register people they just filled out a bunch of names. It had nothing to do with us. We were not involved. The only involvement I’ve had with Acorn was I represented them alongside the U.S. Justice Department in making Illinois implement a motor voter law that helped people get registered and DMV’s.

Again, Sen. Obama side steps an association with one of the most radical groups in the nation.

  • FACT! Acorn specifically sought out Obama’s representation in the motor voter case
  • FACT! Obama’s post-law school role organizing “Project VOTE” in 1992...this project was undertaken in direct partnership with Acorn
  • FACT! With Obama having personally helped train a new cadre of Chicago Acorn leaders, by the time of Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, Obama and Acorn were “old friends,”
  • FACT! So along with the reservoir of political support that came to Obama through his close ties with Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, and other Chicago black churches, Chicago Acorn appears to have played a major role in Obama’s political advance.
  • FACT! Obama’s years in the Illinois State Senate indicates strong concern with Acorn’s signature issues, as well as meetings with Acorn and the introduction by Obama of Acorn-friendly legislation on the living wage and banking practices
  • FACT! Obama not only sought and received the endorsement of Acorn’s political arm in his local campaigns, he recently accepted Acorn’s endorsement for the presidency, in pursuit of which he reminded Acorn officials of his long-standing ties to the group
  • FACT! According to ACORN, Obama trained its Chicago members in leadership seminars; in turn, ACORN volunteers worked on his campaigns
  • FACT! U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign paid more than $800,000 to an offshoot of the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform
"Given ACORN's recent efforts to engage in voter fraud and to disrupt our political system, Obama's affiliation with this group raises serious questions about his judgment and ability to lead this nation," the McCain campaign said in a lengthy memo.

"Barack Obama's failure to accurately report his campaign's financial records is an incredibly suspicious situation that appears to be an attempt to hide his campaign's interaction with a left-wing organization previously convicted of voter fraud. For a candidate who claims to be practicing 'new' politics, his FEC reports look an awful lot like the 'old-style' Chicago politics of yesterday." (Source and Source)

I do not believe that Senator Barack Obama is an honest person. I believe that he will say and do anything to become the next President of the United States. His poor lack of judgement with his radical associations (i.e. Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, Acorn to name a few) and unwillingness to fully disclose these relationships with them questions his lack of integrity and honesty...not to mention lack of good judgement. Why hasn't the media investigated this further and do everything they can like they're doing to Joe the Plumber (a whole other blog post in and of itself coming soon)? I'll tell you why. The media has decided for all of us that Barack Obama is to be the next President and they'll discredit anyone that stands in their way. Journalism has failed.

10/17/2008

Obama Side Steps Terrorist Relationship

Last night in the third and final presidential debate the topic of Bill Ayers came up and Barack Obama's relationship with him. McCain asked for Obama to fully disclose his relationship with Bill Ayers.

If you don't know, Bill Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist. In the 1960's he co founded a radical group called the Weatherman Underground who declared war on the United States. In the group, he assisted in bombings of New York City police headquarters, the U.S. capitol building, and the pentagon! In 2001 he was quoted to say that, "I don't regret setting bombs" and "I feel that we didn't do enough." When asked if he would do it all again he said, "I don't want to discount the possibility."

During the debate, Senator Obama said:

"Bill Ayers is a professor of education in Chicago. Forty years ago when I was eight years old he engaged in despicable acts with a radical domestic group. I have roundly condemned those acts. Ten years ago he served and I served on a school board that was funded by Ronald Reagan’s former ambassadors and close friends…Mr. Annenburg. Other members on that board were members of the presidents of the University of Illinois, the president of Northwestern University who happens to be a republican, the president of the Chicago Tribune, a republican leading newspaper. Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign. He has never been involved in this campaign, and he will not advise me in the white house.” – Barack Obama, October 15, 2008, Presidential Debate

By this answer alone it would seem that Senator Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers is just a mere acquaintance. This is not so.

  • FACT! Obama first met Ayers at a 1995 meeting of local liberal activists that took place in Ayers home. The meeting launched Obama's Illinois State Candidacy.
  • FACT! From 1999 to 2002, Obama served with Ayers on the board of directors for the Woods Fund of Chicago.
  • FACT! Both have appeared jointly on two academic panels in 1997 and 2001.
  • FACT! In 1997, Obama reviewed Ayers book, A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of the Juvenile Court
  • FACT! In 2001, Ayers contributed $200 to Obama's State Senate campaign.
  • FACT! Obama and Ayers lived in the same neighborhood and have a "friendly relationship."
Did Obama talk about or explain himself on any of the facts? Uh, no. But he says oh he's a professor of education who when I was eight years old did some bad stuff. Yah I served on a board to two with him, but he's not part of my campaign.

A few questions that need to be asked to Senator Obama: When and how did to you come to know about Bill Ayer's "despicable acts"? When you found out, why did you continue to associate yourself with him? How do you expect to fight terrorism when your political campaign was launched out of an unrepentant terrorists home? Obama hasn't been honest with the American people.

It doesn't matter that you were eight years old when Ayer's was bombing the pentagon...what matters is when you were thirty or forty years old and knowing about his unrepentant terrorists acts and continuing to associate with him!

"By your fruits, ye shall know him."

10/12/2008

Obama's Radical Associations - Part 3 - Acorn

Inside Obama's Acorn
"By your fruits ye shall know them."

By Stanley Kurtz


What if Barack Obama’s most important radical connection has been hiding in plain sight all along? Obama has had an intimate and long-term association with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn), the largest radical group in America. If I told you Obama had close ties with MoveOn.org or Code Pink, you’d know what I was talking about. Acorn is at least as radical as these better-known groups, arguably more so. Yet because Acorn works locally, in carefully selected urban areas, its national profile is lower. Acorn likes it that way. And so, I’d wager, does Barack Obama.

This is a story we’ve largely missed. While Obama’s Acorn connection has not gone entirely unreported, its depth, extent, and significance have been poorly understood. Typically, media background pieces note that, on behalf of Acorn, Obama and a team of Chicago attorneys won a 1995 suit forcing the state of Illinois to implement the federal “motor-voter” bill. In fact, Obama’s Acorn connection is far more extensive. In the few stories where Obama’s role as an Acorn “leadership trainer” is noted, or his seats on the boards of foundations that may have supported Acorn are discussed, there is little follow-up. Even these more extensive reports miss many aspects of Obama’s ties to Acorn.

AN ANTI-CAPITALISM AGENDA
An Anti-Capitalism Agenda
To understand the nature and extent of Acorn’s radicalism, an excellent place to begin is Sol Stern’s 2003 City Journal article, “ACORN’s Nutty Regime for Cities.” (For a shorter but helpful piece, try Steven Malanga’s “Acorn Squash.”)

Sol Stern explains that Acorn is the key modern successor of the radical 1960’s “New Left,” with a “1960’s-bred agenda of anti-capitalism” to match. Acorn, says Stern, grew out of “one of the New Left’s silliest and most destructive groups, the National Welfare Rights Organization.” In the 1960’s, NWRO launched a campaign of sit-ins and disruptions at welfare offices. The goal was to remove eligibility restrictions, and thus effectively flood welfare rolls with so many clients that the system would burst. The theory, explains Stern, was that an impossibly overburdened welfare system would force “a radical reconstruction of America’s unjust capitalist economy.” Instead of a socialist utopia, however, we got the culture of dependency and family breakdown that ate away at America’s inner cities — until welfare reform began to turn the tide.

While Acorn holds to NWRO’s radical economic framework and its confrontational 1960’s-style tactics, the targets and strategy have changed. Acorn prefers to fly under the national radar, organizing locally in liberal urban areas — where, Stern observes, local legislators and reporters are often “slow to grasp how radical Acorn’s positions really are.” Acorn’s new goals are municipal “living wage” laws targeting “big-box” stores like Wal-Mart, rolling back welfare reform, and regulating banks — efforts styled as combating “predatory lending.” Unfortunately, instead of helping workers, Acorn’s living-wage campaigns drive businesses out of the very neighborhoods where jobs are needed most. Acorn’s opposition to welfare reform only threatens to worsen the self-reinforcing cycle of urban poverty and family breakdown. Perhaps most mischievously, says Stern, Acorn uses banking regulations to pressure financial institutions into massive “donations” that it uses to finance supposedly non-partisan voter turn-out drives.

According to Stern, Acorn’s radical agenda sometimes shifts toward “undisguised authoritarian socialism.” Fully aware of its living-wage campaign’s tendency to drive businesses out of cities, Acorn hopes to force companies that want to move to obtain “exit visas.” “How much longer before Acorn calls for exit visas for wealthy or middle-class individuals before they can leave a city?” asks Stern, adding, “This is the road to serfdom indeed.”

IN YOUR FACE
Acorn’s tactics are famously “in your face.” Just think of Code Pink’s well-known operations (threatening to occupy congressional offices, interrupting the testimony of General David Petraeus) and you’ll get the idea. Acorn protesters have disrupted Federal Reserve hearings, but mostly deploy their aggressive tactics locally. Chicago is home to one of its strongest chapters, and Acorn has burst into a closed city council meeting there. Acorn protestors in Baltimore disrupted a bankers’ dinner and sent four busloads of profanity-screaming protestors against the mayor’s home, terrifying his wife and kids. Even a Baltimore city council member who generally supports Acorn said their intimidation tactics had crossed the line.

Acorn, however, defiantly touts its confrontational tactics. While Stern himself notes this, the point is driven home sharper still in an Acorn-friendly reply to Stern entitled “Enraging the Right.” Written by academic/activists John Atlas and Peter Dreier, the reply’s avowed intent is to convince Acorn-friendly politicians, journalists, and funders not to desert the organization in the wake of Stern’s powerful critique. The stunning thing about this supposed rebuttal is that it confirms nearly everything Stern says. Do Atlas and Dreier object to Stern’s characterizations of Acorn’s radical plans — even his slippery-slope warnings about Acorn’s designs on basic freedom of movement? Nope. “Stern accurately outlines Acorn’s agenda,” they say.

Do Atlas and Dreier dismiss Stern’s catalogue of Acorn’s disruptive and intentionally intimidating tactics as a set of regrettable exceptions to Acorn’s rule of civility? Not a chance. Atlas and Dreier are at pains to point out that intimidation works. They proudly reel off the increased memberships that follow in the wake of high-profile disruptions, and clearly imply that the same public officials who object most vociferously to intimidation are the ones most likely to cave as a result. What really upsets Atlas and Dreier is that Stern misses the subtle national hand directing Acorn’s various local campaigns. This is radicalism unashamed.

But don’t let the disruptive tactics fool you. Acorn is a savvy and exceedingly effective political player. Stern says that Acorn’s key post–New Left innovation is its determination to take over the system from within, rather than futilely try to overthrow it from without. Stern calls this strategy a political version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Take Atlas and Dreier at their word: Acorn has an openly aggressive and intimidating side, but a sophisticated inside game, as well. Chicago’s Acorn leader, for example, won a seat on the Board of Aldermen as the candidate of a leftist “New Party.”

OBAMA MEETS ACORN
What has Barack Obama got to do with all this? Plenty. Let’s begin with Obama’s pre-law school days as a community organizer in Chicago. Few people have a clear idea of just what a “community organizer” does. A Los Angeles Times piece on Obama’s early Chicago days opens with the touching story of his efforts to build a partnership with Chicago’s “Friends of the Parks,” so that parents in a blighted neighborhood could have an inviting spot for their kids to play. This is the image of Obama’s organizing we’re supposed to hold. It’s far from the whole story, however. As the L. A. Times puts it, “Obama’s task was to help far South Side residents press for improvement” in their communities. Part of Obama’s work, it would appear, was to organize demonstrations, much in the mold of radical groups like Acorn.

Although the L. A. Times piece is generally positive, it does press Obama’s organizing tales on certain points. Some claim that Obama’s book, Dreams from My Father, exaggerates his accomplishments in spearheading an asbestos cleanup at a low-income housing project. Obama, these critics say, denies due credit to Hazel Johnson, an activist who claims she was the one who actually discovered the asbestos problem and led the efforts to resolve it. Read carefully, the L. A. Times story leans toward confirming this complaint against Obama, yet the story’s emphasis is to affirm Obama’s important role in the battle. Speaking up in defense of Obama on the asbestos issue is Madeleine Talbot, who at the time was a leader at Chicago Acorn. Talbot, we learn, was so impressed by Obama’s organizing skills that she invited him to help train her own staff.

And what exactly was Talbot’s work with Acorn? Talbot turns out to have been a key leader of that attempt by Acorn to storm the Chicago City Council (during a living-wage debate). While Sol Stern mentions this story in passing, the details are worth a look: On July 31, 1997, six people were arrested as 200 Acorn protesters tried to storm the Chicago City Council session. According to the Chicago Daily Herald, Acorn demonstrators pushed over the metal detector and table used to screen visitors, backed police against the doors to the council chamber, and blocked late-arriving aldermen and city staff from entering the session.

Reading the Herald article, you might think Acorn’s demonstrators had simply lost patience after being denied entry to the gallery at a packed meeting. Yet the full story points in a different direction. This was not an overreaction by frustrated followers who couldn’t get into a meeting (there were plenty of protestors already in the gallery), but almost certainly a deliberate bit of what radicals call “direct action,” orchestrated by Acorn’s Madeleine Talbot. As Talbot was led away handcuffed, charged with mob action and disorderly conduct, she explicitly justified her actions in storming the meeting. This was the woman who first drew Obama into his alliance with Acorn, and whose staff Obama helped train.

SURPRISE VISIT
Does that mean Obama himself schooled Acorn volunteers in disruptive “direct action?” Not necessarily. The City Council storming took place in 1997, years after Obama’s early organizing days. And in general, Obama seems to have been part of Acorn’s “inside baseball” strategy. As a national star from his law school days, Obama knew he had a political future, and would surely have been reluctant to violate the law. In his early organizing days, Obama used to tell the residents he organized that they’d be more effective in their protests if they controlled their anger. On the other hand, as he established and deepened his association with Acorn through the years, Obama had to know what the organization was all about. Moreover, in his early days, Obama was not exactly a stranger to the “direct action” side of community organizing.

Consider the second charge against Obama raised by the L.A. Times backgrounder. On the stump today, Obama often says he helped prevent South Side Chicago blacks, Latinos, and whites from turning on each other after losing their jobs, but many of the community organizers interviewed by the L. A. Times say that Obama worked overwhelmingly with blacks.

To rebut this charge, Obama’s organizer friends tell the story of how he helped plan “actions” that included mixed white, black, and Latino groups. For example, following Obama’s plan, one such group paid a “surprise visit” to a meeting between local officials considering a landfill expansion. The protestors surrounded the meeting table while one activist made a statement chiding the officials, after which the protestors filed out. Presto! Obama is immunized from charges of having worked exclusively with blacks — but at the cost of granting us a peek at the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy side of his community organizing. Intimidation tactics are revealed, and Obama’s alliance with radical Acorn activists like Madeleine Talbot begins to make sense.

“NON-PARTISAN”
The extent of Obama’s ties to Acorn has not been recognized. We find some important details in an article in the journal Social Policy entitled, “Case Study: Chicago — The Barack Obama Campaign,” by Toni Foulkes, a Chicago Acorn leader and a member of Acorn’s National Association Board. The odd thing about this article is that Foulkes is forced to protect the technically “non-partisan” status of Acorn’s get-out-the-vote campaigns, even as he does everything in his power to give Acorn credit for helping its favorite son win the critical 2004 primary that secured Obama the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate.

Before giving us a tour of Acorn’s pro-Obama but somehow “non-partisan” election activities, Foulks treats us to a brief history of Obama’s ties to Acorn. While most press accounts imply that Obama just happened to be at the sort of public-interest law firm that would take Acorn’s “motor voter” case, Foulkes claims that Acorn specifically sought out Obama’s representation in the motor voter case, remembering Obama from the days when he worked with Talbot. And while many reports speak of Obama’s post-law school role organizing “Project VOTE” in 1992, Foulkes makes it clear that this project was undertaken in direct partnership with Acorn. Foulkes then stresses Obama’s yearly service as a key figure in Acorn’s leadership-training seminars.

At least a few news reports have briefly mentioned Obama’s role in training Acorn’s leaders, but none that I know of have said what Foulkes reports next: that Obama’s long service with Acorn led many members to serve as the volunteer shock troops of Obama’s early political campaigns — his initial 1996 State Senate campaign, and his failed bid for Congress in 2000 (Foulkes confuses the dates of these two campaigns.) With Obama having personally helped train a new cadre of Chicago Acorn leaders, by the time of Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, Obama and Acorn were “old friends,” says Foulkes.

So along with the reservoir of political support that came to Obama through his close ties with Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, and other Chicago black churches, Chicago Acorn appears to have played a major role in Obama’s political advance. Sure enough, a bit of digging into Obama’s years in the Illinois State Senate indicates strong concern with Acorn’s signature issues, as well as meetings with Acorn and the introduction by Obama of Acorn-friendly legislation on the living wage and banking practices. You begin to wonder whether, in his Springfield days, Obama might have best been characterized as “the Senator from Acorn.”

FOUNDATION MONEY
Although it’s been noted in an important story by John Fund, and in a long Obama background piece in the New York Times, more attention needs to be paid to possible links between Obama and Acorn during the period of Obama’s service on the boards of two charitable foundations, the Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation.

According to the New York Times, Obama’s memberships on those foundation boards, “allowed him to help direct tens of millions of dollars in grants” to various liberal organizations, including Chicago Acorn, “whose endorsement Obama sought and won in his State Senate race.” As best as I can tell (and this needs to be checked out more fully), Acorn maintains both political and “non-partisan” arms. Obama not only sought and received the endorsement of Acorn’s political arm in his local campaigns, he recently accepted Acorn’s endorsement for the presidency, in pursuit of which he reminded Acorn officials of his long-standing ties to the group.

Supposedly, Acorn’s political arm is segregated from its “non-partisan” registration and get-out-the-vote efforts, but after reading Foulkes’ case study, this non-partisanship is exceedingly difficult to discern. As I understand, it would be illegal for Obama to sit on a foundation board and direct money to an organization that openly served as his key get-out-the-vote volunteers on Election Day. I’m not saying Obama crossed a legal line here: Based on Foulkes’ account, Acorn’s get-out-the-vote drive most likely observed the technicalities of “non-partisanship.”

Nevertheless, the possibilities suggested by a combined reading of the New York Times piece and the Foulkes article are disturbing. While keeping within the technicalities of the law, Obama may have been able to direct substantial foundation money to his organized political supporters. I offer no settled conclusion, but the matter certainly warrants further investigation and discussion. Obama is supposed to be the man who transcends partisanship. Has he instead used his post at an allegedly non-partisan foundation to direct money to a supposedly non-partisan group, in pursuit of what are in fact nakedly partisan and personal ends? I have no final answer, but the question needs to be pursued further.

In fact, the broader set of practices by which activist groups pursue intensely partisan ends under the guise of non-partisanship merits further scrutiny. Consider the 2006 report by Jonathan Bechtle, “Voter Turnout or Voter Fraud?” which includes a discussion of the nexus between Project Vote and Acorn, a nexus where Obama himself once resided. According to Bechtle, “It’s clear that groups that claimed to be nonpartisan wanted a partisan outcome,” and reading Foulkes’s case study of Acorn’s role in Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign, one can’t help but agree.

RADICAL OBAMA
Important as these questions of funding and partisanship are, the larger point is that Obama’s ties to Acorn — arguably the most politically radical large-scale activist group in the country — are wide, deep, and longstanding. If Acorn is adept at creating a non-partisan, inside-game veneer for what is in fact an intensely radical, leftist, and politically partisan reality, so is Obama himself. This is hardly a coincidence: Obama helped train Acorn’s leaders in how to play this game. For the most part, Obama seems to have favored the political-insider strategy, yet it’s clear that he knew how to play the in-your-face “direct action” game as well. And surely during his many years of close association with Acorn, Obama had to know what the group was all about.

The shame of it is that when the L. A. Times returned to Obama’s stomping grounds, it found the park he’d helped renovate reclaimed by drug dealers and thugs. The community organizer strategy may generate feel-good moments and best-selling books, but I suspect a Wal-Mart as the seed-bed of a larger shopping complex would have done far more to save the neighborhood where Obama worked to organize in the “progressive” fashion. Unfortunately, Obama’s Acorn cronies have blocked that solution.

In any case, if you’re looking for the piece of the puzzle that confirms and explains Obama’s network of radical ties, gather your Acorns this spring. Or next winter, you may just be left watching the “President from Acorn” at his feast.

10/10/2008

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) On Bailout

DORGAN STATEMENT ON FINANCIAL BAILOUT
Thursday, October 2, 2008

CONTACT: Justin Kitschor Brenden Timpe
PHONE: 202-224-2551

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) today issued the following statement about his vote on the financial rescue plan.

STATEMENT OF U.S. SENATOR BYRON DORGAN“Providing a $700 billion financial rescue plan without requiring reform and regulation of the financial markets is a serious mistake. That is exactly what this legislation does.

“I believe that we are in an economic crisis that does require a response by Congress.

“But it cannot be a response that commits the American taxpayers to a large rescue fund for many of America’s biggest financial institutions while still leaving in place unregulated financial markets that allowed this financial crisis to happen.

“Despite my best efforts there is nothing in this legislation that will require the regulation of the very financial markets that have, in recent years, helped create a casino like atmosphere with large financial institutions exhibiting unprecedented greed in search of short term profits and big bonuses that knew no bounds.

“I will not vote for a plan that I believe fails to address the central cause of this crisis: unregulated financial markets that hide the unbelievable speculation and reckless investments by some major financial institutions whose losses are now being loaded on the backs of the American taxpayers. Those financial markets must be regulated NOW!

“In 1999 when Congress debated a large deregulation bill titled the Financial Modernization Act, I was one of only eight Senators who voted no and I warned then in Senate debate that “this bill will also raise the likelihood of future massive taxpayer bailouts”. I wish I had been wrong!

“Nine years later we are considering a ‘massive taxpayer bailout’ plan that provides no regulation of the hedge funds and derivative trading that has caused much of the financial wreckage in our economy.

“The plan also fails to restore the protections that were removed in the Financial Modernization Act to separate FDIC insured bank operations from the risky speculative investments in real estate and securities.

“Under this plan the creation of exotic securities that are traded in financial darkness by unregulated hedge funds and other institutions can continue. It is estimated that there is a notional value of more than $60 trillion of Credit Default Swaps in our economy. No one knows where they are, whose balance sheets they may threaten, or how much additional risk they pose to financial firms. Yet, I was told this plan could not require regulation and transparency of these financial markets because there was opposition in Congress and the White House. That is not a satisfactory answer for me. And I don’t believe it is satisfactory to the taxpayers.

“The legislation contains some provisions that I strongly support. I believe we should increase the FDIC insurance to $250,000 per account. I also strongly support the tax extenders and the tax incentives for renewable energy.

“But in the end, if this plan is about restoring confidence, the failure to include reform and regulatory measures along with the money is a fatal flaw that I believe will end up hurting our country.

(Attached are the six steps Senator Dorgan worked to include in the financial rescue plan during the past week. While there was some improvement in the plan along the way, it fails to do what Senator Dorgan thinks is necessary to protect both the economy and taxpayers.)

1. Restoring the stability and safety of the banking system by recreating protections of the Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited the merging of banking businesses with riskier investments. That post-Depression Era protection served us well for seven decades before its repeal.

2. Addressing the wildly excessive compensation on Wall Street, which has incentivized reckless behavior. In recent years, Wall Street has doled out more than $100 billion in bonuses to the very people who have steered us into this mess, including more than $33 billion in each of 2007 and 2006.

3. Developing a system of regulation that would require accountability for the speculative investment activities of hedge funds and investment banks that create and sell complex securities.

4. Providing for a period of forbearance on mortgages where homeowners could continue to pay mortgages at a set rate.

5. Creating a Taxpayer Protection Task Force that would investigate and claw back ill-gotten gains. This would be targeted at individuals and firms that profited from creating and selling worthless securities and toxic products. Despite the fact that this practice caused the current economic crisis, many of these individuals and firms now seek to benefit from a government bailout.

6. Making sure that U.S. taxpayers get to share in the increased values – not just the burden of risk – of the firms they are bailing out.

(Thanks Jed for the link!)

10/09/2008

10/07/2008

Frustrated With The Presidential Debate

I'm very frustrated with tonight's Presidential Debate. I don't feel like I learned anything new. Both candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, said the same things they've been saying for the past few weeks and even kept repeating what was said in the first debate! I think one of the reasons why the repetition was the questions that were asked. Questions that were hand-picked by moderator Tom Brokaw, who I think is left-wing pro-Obama supporter. I was hoping more of a debate on character rather than foreign policy and economy even though that's what is on everyone's mind right now.

Character, by far, in my opinion is far more important than any other issue. Character defines who we are, how we act, how we think, and what we'll do.

This was supposed to be a "town hall" debate. In a real town hall meeting questions aren't pre-screened by a moderator. Attendees can ask any question they want about any topic. Again none of the questions sparked any new information that I've already heard. The only question that I did like was the last one, "What don't you know and how will you learn it?"

Barack Obama didn't answer the question outright. He even said, "Here's what I do know..." Uh, Obama? The question was what DON'T you know. He then talked about the opportunities that was given to him that allowed him to be in the position that he is today. Obama then talked about if we are going to pass on that same American Dream to the next generation. Again he's not answering the question.

John McCain did a little better in answering the question. He said, "I think what I don't know is what all of us don't know. And that's what's going to happen both here at home and abroad. The challenges that we face are unprecedented." McCain then talked about those challenges. He continued, "What I don't know is what the unexpected will be." At least McCain answered the first part of the question, but failed to answer how he'll learn it. Obama didn't answer the question in whole.

This all ties in to why I'm frustrated. That last question would have given us a lot of information about the character of McCain vs. Obama. What is so difficult about answering a simple question. The answer to the question may have even not been related to politics or their campaign. "I've don't know how to sculpt pottery," John McCain may have said, "I would like to take a few classes on how to do such a thing, which will help me develop patience and performing tasks carefully and thoroughly because the slightest deviation could make a potential masterpiece to a piece of junk." THAT! to me would have given me more about McCain's character than anything else he's ever said. He then could've tied it into his campaign..."and as President I will have the patience and make each decision with thoroughness and exactness to make sure it's the best decision for this country. I will put this country first above anything else." But no...just the same old same old. Hopefully the last and final debate will be different.

Prophecy of Government Bailout

Published September 30, 1999 in the New York Times, Steven A. Holmes reports that Fannie Mae eases credit to aid mortgage lending, which will turn into an economic crisis and a government rescue plan. Very interesting read... (thanks again Dave D. for the link!)

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending
By STEVEN A. HOLMES
Published: September 30, 1999

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''

Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

Under Fannie Mae's pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 -- a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.

Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites.

Home ownership has, in fact, exploded among minorities during the economic boom of the 1990's. The number of mortgages extended to Hispanic applicants jumped by 87.2 per cent from 1993 to 1998, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period the number of African Americans who got mortgages to buy a home increased by 71.9 per cent and the number of Asian Americans by 46.3 per cent.

In contrast, the number of non-Hispanic whites who received loans for homes increased by 31.2 per cent.

Despite these gains, home ownership rates for minorities continue to lag behind non-Hispanic whites, in part because blacks and Hispanics in particular tend to have on average worse credit ratings.

In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups.

The change in policy also comes at the same time that HUD is investigating allegations of racial discrimination in the automated underwriting systems used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine the credit-worthiness of credit applicants.

Prophecy of Recession - 2006

In 2006 Peter Schiff and Art Laffer debate on future risk of a recession and the future state of the economy if things continue as they do...



Thanks Dave D. for the link!

10/04/2008

Barack Obama's "Sniff" with Cocaine

Why is the media not talking about Obama's cocaine use like they are talking about Palin's personal life? A very good question. In the past year and a half since I've been following the political scene very closely I have never heard of Obama's illegal drug use! What is the main stream doing? Or in this case not doing?

In his book, "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" Barack Obama said, "I had learned not to care. I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack though..."

"Blow" is the street name for cocaine. "Smack" is slang for heroin.

"Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man," Obama wrote. "Except the highs hadn't been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then, anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind, something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory. I had discovered that it didn't make any difference whether you smoked reefer in the white classmate's sparkling new van, or in the dorm room of some brother you'd met down at the gym, or on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids who had dropped out of school and now spent most of their time looking for an excuse to brawl. ... You might just be bored, or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection."

Many people out there thinks that Obama's forthcoming and admitance of using drugs justifies his actions. Does this mean it's okay to try cocain when you're young beacause you are not thinking right? Why don't you don't about the consequences of the cocaine and would you call yourselfan addict of cocaine at that time? If you were, how did you manage to stop cocaine? Where did you get your money to buy cocaine? Who sold or gave it to you? Did you sell it yourself? How do you expect to enforce illegal drug enforcement after using it yourself? Would this make you a hypocrite? Why haven't these questions been asked of Barack Obama? You know they would be asked of any republican candidate especially Governor Sarah Palin.

10/03/2008

Obama's Radical Associations - Part 2 - Jeremiah Wright

Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. is the former Pastor Emeritus of the Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC), a mega church in Chicago with around 10,000 members. In early 2008, Wright retired after 36 years as the Senior Pastor of his congregation and no longer has daily responsibilities at the church. Following retirement, Wright's beliefs and manner of preaching were scrutinized when short segments from his sermons were publicized in connection with presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

Rev. Wright and Obama first met when he joined his church in the 1980's, while he was working as a community organizer in Chicago before attending Harvard Law School. Wright officiated at the wedding ceremony of Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as their children's baptism. The title of Obama's memoir, "The Audacity of Hope", was inspired by one of Wright's sermons.



Wright was scheduled to give the public invocation before Obama's presidential announcement, but Obama withdrew the invitation the night before the event. In 2007 Wright was appointed to Barack Obama's African American Religious Leadership Committee, a group of over 170 national black religious leaders who supported Obama's bid for the Democratic nomination, however, it was announced in March 2008 that Wright was no longer serving as a member of this group.

In March 2008, a controversy broke out concerning Obama's long-term (over 20 years) relationship with Wright, his former pastor. ABC News found several racially and politically charged sermons by Wright. Some of Wrights statements, such as when he said, "God Damn America", were widely interpreted as being unpatriotic and deeply offensive.



In response to political pressure Barack Obama delivered a speech titled "A More Perfect Union" in the course of the contest for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Speaking before an audience at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA on March 18 of that year, Obama was responding to a spike in the attention paid to controversial remarks made by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor and, until shortly before the speech, a participant in his campaign. In this speech Obama said,

"...we've heard my former pastor...use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike. "I have already condemned, in unequivocal term, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy."

Obama stated that like other black churches, Trinity contained the full spectrum of the black community: "the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America." Similarly, he argued that Wright "contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years." Therefore, Obama continued in his speech:

"I can no more disown him [Rev. Wright] than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love."



"If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me," Rev. Right said with a shrug, "I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen." - Rev. Jeremiah Wright, New York Times, April 30, 2007. Sources: YouTube, Wikipedia, ABC News

I've done a lot of research as you can see, and of course haven't put down everything that I found. Just search on google "obama jeremiah wright" and start your own research. Remember that Obama has been part of this church and Rev. Wright's past for almost two decades and just suddenly due to heightened media attention and political controversy he distances himself and ultimately disowning him, when he said he couldn't! If this issue didn't come out in the open I dare to believe and say that Obama would still be a member of Wright's church, he still be on the leadership board, and still seek his counsel. Heck, he probably still seeks his counsel. Why would Obama agree with Wright about having to publicly distancing himself from him if Obama already didn't know about and hear for himself the racial and controversial sermons given?! Why haven't we heard more about this on the news?

Because the mainstream media hasn't done it's job. After Obama denounced Rev. Wright and left the church that was good enough for them...the media. Obama said he wasn't at church when these controversial sermons were given. Why hasn't the media investigated when he was at church and what sermons where given? Why haven't they scrutinized this more fully? After being a member of his church for 20 years don't tell me Barack Obama never heard any controversial sermons. Why would you stay with a church you disagree with?

I am a religious man and my entire life revolves around my religion and faith. I believe in the doctrine taught, and in truth, may not fully understand some of it, but I don't disagree with it. It allows me to ponders, study, and ask the Lord Almightly to help me understand until I receive a testimony for myself that it is in line with what He wants and desires of me to know and believe. If there was anything in my church like what happens in Obama's church I would have left it long before politics forced me to disown Rev. Wright and the church.

Everything that Barack Obama has done is for political gain. He'll say and do anything to advance his political career and the mainstream media is buying it. In the words of Sean Hannity, "in 2008 journalism has failed...it's dead in America."

10/01/2008

McCain vs. Obama - Government Bailout

John McCainBarack Obama
  • When first asked, immediately said that he didn't like the bailout, but understood why it needs to happen.
  • Suspended campaign and willing to postpone debate to return to Washington to help resolve the financial crisis setting politics aside.
  • Three years ago, John McCain supported the "Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005" that called for reform and regualation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. McCain predicted that government intervention (bailout) would happen if there wasn't reform. Democrats blocked reform. If it would have passed, we wouldn't be in the crisis we are today. Read more.

    From the congressional record John McCain said, "I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole. I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE
    reform legislation.”

  • Watch video of what John McCain has to say about the bailout.
  • When first asked, did not take a position and said that he'd need to see the bill/details before making a decision.
  • In multiple public appearances said that this was the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression and said to Washington,"if you
    you need me or think I could be of help just let me know, and I'll be there."

  • It's curious to hear Barack Obama at the first debate claimed that he sounded warnings two years ago. Perhaps he did, but some us of would like to hear more about the warnings and the letter he says he wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury urging a meeting of all “stakeholders.”Read More

  • Obama was the second highest recipient of contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac totaling $126,349 from 1989-2008. McCain...$21,550. Christopher Dodd, Obama's financial advisor and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, was the highest recipient of contributions totaling $165,400. Now remember Obama has only been in the Senate for four years and somehow managed to get the no. 2 spot of political contributions ahead of John Kerry who's been in the Senate for decades.
    View Source and Fox News
  • Watch video of what Barack Obama has to say about the bailout.
LIVE THE DREAM! How would you like to make more money, be your own boss, work your own hours, improve your standard of living, and choose the lifestyle you deserve? Click here to learn more.