This was written in response to a blog from a friend who voted for Obama and is now calling for America to not be a nation of blue or red states, but a nation of purple states.  I have added some extra thoughts at the end of it as well.

I agree that it is just a fact that we have a new president and need to deal with it. It just is easier said than done. I’ve spent most of the day thinking this over, and yes, I do respect the office of President, so yes, I will, to the best of my ability, try to respect the man who holds the office. He is, after all, my president now. He deserves my support (particularly when our country is dealing with any enemies that might want to bring us harm) and my prayers, and this is what he will receive.

But when I disagree with the man, which is sure to be often, I will be loud, and I will be vocal. There is nothing fair about people receiving aid from forced taxation on a particular segment of the population, regardless of how much money they make. In this country, we are promised life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The “pursuit” of happiness. Not guaranteed happiness. We are free to pursue, to chase after, success and well-being and financial peace, but none of that is promised to us. Maybe many people believe it should be, and that is why we are seeing a trend towards socialism and Marxism, but I still believe in a free, capitalistic, democratic republic. That is how our country was founded, and that, I believe, is how our country should remain. Karl Marx said, “Democracy is the road to socialism,” and it makes perfect sense to me that it will go that way, but I will disagree with it until the day I die. And I hope that people will continue to fight against it. Obama’s tax cuts may benefit me and others like me, but I am not poor, and I certainly do not deserve any money from others just because they make more than I do. You don’t either, and neither does anyone else who will be on the receiving end of the redistribution of wealth that is sure to come. I am never going to feel differently about this.

I also will never feel differently about the fact that abortion is murder and that by passing the Freedom of Choice Act (if Obama keeps his promise to Planned Parenthood), Obama will undo one of the very best things President Bush did during his time in office (with the partial-birth abortion ban). It saddens me beyond belief to think that we are just one or two Supreme Court justices away from being able to do something about Roe v. Wade and will maybe have that chance taken away if any conservative justices die or retire during Obama’s term, but it saddens me to a much greater extent to know that we live in a country that will not, as a whole, come together to protect the most helpless and most vulnerable beings among us. Maybe that is because many (or most?) people do not view the unborn as living human beings, but as it is my belief that life begins at conception, I hope you can understand my point of view on this. Each year, many more Americans are killed through abortion than through starvation due to not being able to afford food. People may be in hard times, and I do believe we should help them (Jesus commanded this), but I believe preserving life, as that was one of the things promised to us in the beginning of this country (as it is a gift from our Creator), should take precedence over any other issue or effort.

I hope, to some extent we can again become purple states. I really do. But it is a little hard to hear that right now from someone who wanted Obama to win so badly … particularly since pretty much everyone who wanted Obama to win so badly could not bring themselves to help us be purple states prior to this. The “come together” message, if meant, should have been something people were urging because they feel it is the right thing to do, regardless of who is in office … not because their party has finally taken control of the country.

If unity is to occur, I think, at this point, the initiative is going to have to come from the conservatives of this country. Any calls for unity from those who have done nothing but deride and lambaste our President for the last eight years is going to sound like nails on a chalkboard to conservatives for now. I have not always agreed with the man, and he has not been nearly as conservative as I would have liked him to be (regarding size of government and government staying out of our affairs), but Bush was OUR President too, whether we always agreed with him or not. And, regardless of what the majority believes, he has done a lot of good things for our nation as well.  Please understand that unity may not come quickly or as fully as you would like, but that I, for one, will try to do this. We are all Americans … just like we were all Americans right after September 11th. I wish we could have stayed that way then, but maybe, somehow, we can find that kind of unity again (though that’s not to say we will necessarily ever be accepting of ideas with which we don’t agree). In addition to praying for President-Elect Obama, this is also something for which I will be praying.

And I will also be praying for our nation to turn to God again.  Unity at the expense of righteousness will never succeed.  And please understand that I do not mean that our country has instantly turned away from God BECAUSE we elected Obama.  But I do believe that for many years now—decades, even—our country has been turning further and further from God, even as more and more people claim to be Christians.  And I think, as a nation, we’ve been collectively seeing the effect of God withdrawing His hand from us.  This is the pattern seen all throughtout the Bible.  As the nation of Israel turned away from God, He withdrew His blessings from them and even let them suffer.  When they turned to God, His blessings returned.  That is not to say we can manipulate God’s blessings, but it is to say that He blesses those whom He chooses to bless, and the Bible makes it pretty clear that, in most cases, He blesses those who seek Him and follow His ways.  This is all kind of an aside note because I do not believe God supports Republicans or Democrats or Libertarians or any other party, but I do believe that God cares about our direction as a nation, particularly since we still flippantly refer to ourselves as a “nation under God.”  Under God’s omniscient eye, yes.  But under God’s blessing for our nation, as a whole?  I don’t think we’ve completely lost it, but I think we’re headed that way.

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If Obama’s grandmother is truly ill, then I wish her the very best, but does anyone else think that maybe it isn’t a coincidence that immediately after or during Obama’s trip to visit his ill grandmother, his birth certificate was officially sealed from all access by the governor of Hawaii?

This news comes at the same time that we find out that Obama’s paternal grandmother has actually stated that she witnessed his birth in Kenya and the dismissal of Philip Berg’s lawsuit over Barack Obama’s eligibility for the office of President of United States, despite the fact that he has raised many troubling questions, none of which have been sufficiently answered by the Obama campaign.

He was in Hawaii already.  He could have picked up a copy of the birth certificate while he was there, but, instead, the birth certificate was sealed.  If his natural-born U.S. citizenship is a guaranteed fact, why would he not just produce the document?  And even if he does not want to produce the document, why would he go to such lengths to make sure that nobody else could possibly review it?  The judge dismissed Berg’s case on the grounds that “ordinary citizens can’t sue to ensure that a presidential candidate actually meets the constitutional requirements of the office.”  I, personally, as a U.S. citizen, find that insulting.  So are senators above the law, or is it just because he is a presidential candidate that Obama is apparently above the law?  Do “ordinary citizens” not have a valid interest in the eligibility of those running to be the president?

Still, the article that talks about Obama’s birth certificate being sealed does provide one valuable nugget of information.  It states (emphasis added by me):

Those listed as entitled to obtain a copy of an original birth certificate include the person born, or “registrant” according to the legal description from the governor’s office, the spouse or parent of the registrant, a descendant of the registrant, a person having a common ancestor with the registrant, a legal guardian of the registrant, or a person or agency acting on behalf of the registrant.

Hmm…don’t we know of a couple of people who might share a common ancestor with Obama and, yet, not have any interest in his assumption of the role of President of the United States?

Perhaps, we should ask one or both of these distant relatives to step forward and obtain the document that none of the rest of us have the right to see.

AP article: Bush says anxiety feeding market instability

Of course anxiety is feeding market instability.  But what is feeding the anxiety?  That is the million dollar question.  If someone was on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and needed to phone a friend for the answer to this question, I would recommend that they just pick a taxpaying American citizen (virtually any taxpaying citizen) to be their lifeline.  Anxiety is feeding market instability.  Government is feeding the anxiety.

People are experiencing high levels of anxiety because their representatives, the people sent to Washington to actually REPRESENT them, in large part voted for this $850 billion bailout despite receiving an overwhelming barrage of letters and phone calls from their constituents urging them to do just the opposite.  Now, people are freaking out about the market, and they are freaking out because they are afraid government is out of control (which it is).

In the article referenced at the beginning of this blog post, Terrence Hunt writes, “President Bush said Friday that the government’s financial rescue plan was aggressive enough and big enough to work, but would take time to fully kick in.”

President Bush is wrong here.  Things may get sorted out eventually, but the reason everything seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket right now is directly because of how aggressive and big this financial “rescue” plan is.  Congress, the one branch put in place to give the people a true voice in government, shirked its most important duty and did exactly the opposite of what people wanted.

So, yeah, anxiety is now feeding the market instability.  Remember when the House voted down the first bailout proposal?  The market saw a dramatic drop, and people freaked out.  But what happened the next day?  It stabilized, and I think it may have actually gone up a little.  At the very least, it didn’t keep plummeting.  What has happened since both the Senate and the House passed the bailout proposal?  The market has continued to drop day after day after day, and now it has actually crashed for the first time since 1987.

Think this anxiety is going away anytime soon?  Think again.

There’s plenty of blame to go around.  I think the current plan for a $700 billion bailout is a bad idea … a VERY bad idea.  Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are insisting this is the only way.  What this essentially means is that the all of the mortgages that didn’t get paid are going to be paid, and all of the bad debt that the banks and lending institutions currently have is just going to go away.

But nothing ever actually just goes away.  The government is buying the debt.  But wait!  Where is the government going to get the money to do such a thing?  Our government is massively in debt.  They can’t afford to buy all (or any) of that debt.

This is where the American taxpayer enters the picture.  This is a burden that will be placed squarely upon the shoulders of the American public.  We are going to be the ones bailing out these borrowers and lenders.  All of those people who got mortgages that they couldn’t afford and all of those institutions who loaned them the money (knowing full well that they couldn’t afford it)—we will now be paying for those loans.  How aggravating is that?  For deciding to bailout these companies instead of allowing the market to correct itself, I blame the Bush administration.  President Bush appointed Paulsen and Bernanke, and he is completely in their corner on this bailout.  In a letter from Ron Paul on his Campaign For Liberty website, Dr. Paul writes regarding the bailout proposal:

•    The Treasury Secretary is authorized to purchase up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets at any one time.  That means $700 billion is only the very beginning of what will hit us.

•    Financial institutions are “designated as financial agents of the Government.”  This is the New Deal to end all New Deals.

•    Then there’s this: “Decisions by the Secretary 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.“  Translation: the Secretary can buy up whatever junk debt he wants to, burden the American people with it, and be subject to no one in the process.

That is all very scary stuff.  That is not stuff which a free representative republic based on capitalism should ever accept as ok.  This is corporate welfare, and it is socialism at its most vile.  The government is out of control, and our Congress, while hesitant, is likely about to buy into all of it.  These are the people representing YOU and ME.  Only, by doing this, they aren’t representing you and me.  The majority of Americans are not comfortable with the bailout.  Write your representatives in the House and Senate and let them know that if this happens, you will not be voting for them when they are next up for election.

That is the current problem.  But who started this?

Well, many people on both sides of the aisle are to blame, but this started long ago.  To President Bush’s credit, he has been trying to rein in these financial institutions since his first year in office.  He saw from the get-go that we were in for a world of hurt if something wasn’t done about this.   Now, Barack Obama is putting the blame for all of this squarely on the economic policies of George Bush and John McCain, saying that we can’t allow the people that got us into this mess to be the ones who are going to get us out, but  solutions Obama is calling for are exactly what Bush has been calling for all along.  In an article titledCrony’ Capitalism is Root Cause of Fannie and Freddie Troubles in Investors Business Daily, Terry Jones says that George Soros has called this current crisis “a crisis of capitalism” and “a failure to regulate our markets sufficiently,” but regulation is exactly what Bush has been calling for.  Unfortunately, no matter how many times he has pleaded with Congress, his calls have fallen on deaf ears.  Jones continues:

Barack Obama has repeatedly blasted “Bush-McCain” economic policies as the cause, as if the two were joined at the hip.

Funny, because over the past 8 years, those who tried to fix Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) — the trigger for today’s widespread global financial meltdown — were stymied repeatedly by congressional Democrats.

This wasn’t an accident. Though some key Republicans deserve blame as well, it was a concerted Democratic effort that made reform of Fannie and Freddie impossible.

The reason for this is simple: Fannie and Freddie became massive providers both of reliable votes among grateful low-income homeowners, and of massive giving to the Democratic Party by grateful investment bankers, both at the two government-sponsored enterprises and on Wall Street.

How did all of this start though?  We need to take a trip back to 1977 and the 95th Congress.

Back in 1977, the 95th Congress passed a federal law known as the Community Reinvestment Act (or C.R.A.).  This was a measure to ensure that affordable housing was being provided for everyone—not just the wealthy.  This law was never meant to be a free-for-all, allowing anybody and everybody access to as much money as they needed for a home loan.  Specific measures and tests were put in place to make sure that people applying for loans were actually credit-worthy and good for the money.  For the most part, this worked.

Then, in 1995, the Clinton administration changed the C.R.A. to make housing even more available to low and moderate income families.  In doing so, he removed many of the measures put in place to verify that people were actually credit-worthy before they were given loans.  Jones writes:

Fannie and Freddie, the main vehicle for Clinton’s multicultural housing policy, drove the explosion of the subprime housing market by buying up literally hundreds of billions of dollars in substandard loans — funding loans that ordinarily wouldn’t have been made based on such time-honored notions as putting money down, having sufficient income, and maintaining a payment record indicating creditworthiness.

With all the old rules out the window, Fannie and Freddie gobbled up the market. Using extraordinary leverage, they eventually controlled 90% of the secondary market mortgages. Their total portfolio of loans topped $5.4 trillion — half of all U.S. mortgage lending. They borrowed $1.5 trillion from U.S. capital markets with — wink, wink — an “implicit” government guarantee of the debts.

This created the problem we are having today.

In a 2004 USA Today article titled Subprime loan market grows despite troubles, Sue Kirchhoff and Sandra Block write:

Subprime mortgage activity grew an average 25% a year from 1994 to 2003, outpacing the rate of growth for prime mortgages. The industry accounted for about $330 billion, or 9%, of U.S. mortgages in 2003, up from $35 billion a decade earlier.

We knew back then that things were getting out of hand.  Still, nothing was done.

In a 2008 New York Post article titled The Real Scandal: How Feds Invited the Mortgage Mess, Stan Liebowitz writes:

Ironically, an enthusiastic Fannie Mae Foundation report singled out one paragon of nondiscriminatory lending, which worked with community activists and followed “the most flexible underwriting criteria permitted.” That lender’s $1 billion commitment to low-income loans in 1992 had grown to $80 billion by 1999 and $600 billion by early 2003.

Who was that virtuous lender? Why – Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, recently in the headlines as it hurtled toward bankruptcy.

In an earlier newspaper story extolling the virtues of relaxed underwriting standards, Countrywide’s chief executive bragged that, to approve minority applications that would otherwise be rejected “lenders have had to stretch the rules a bit.”

In ‘Crony’ Capitalism, Jones also lets us know how insidious some of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac practices have been over the years.  He writes:

Over the span of his career, Obama ranks No. 2 in campaign donations from Fannie and Freddie, taking over $125,000. Dodd, head of the Senate Banking panel, is tops at $165,000. Clinton, ranked 12th, has collected $75,000.

Meanwhile, Freddie and Fannie opened what were euphemistically called “Partnership Offices” in the districts of key members of Congress to channel millions of dollars in funding and patronage to their supporters.

Many Democrats were receiving money from these financial giants and, as such, were unwilling to help put them in their place and point out the underhanded business practices which they were employing.  Democrats helped out the subprime mortgage lenders, and then the subprime mortgage lenders returned the favor.

Going back to how George Bush tried to do something about this, Jones writes:

President Bush, reviled and criticized by Democrats, tried no fewer than 17 times, by White House count, to raise the issue of Fannie-Freddie reform. A bill cleared the Senate Banking panel in 2005, but stalled due to implacable opposition from Democrats and a critical core of GOP abettors. Rep. Barney Frank, who now runs the powerful House Financial Services Committee, helped spearhead that fight.

Now, with the taxpayer tab approaching $1 trillion or more, we’re learning the costs of crony capitalism.

So that’s how we’ve gotten where we are now.  The rules have been stretched to the breaking point.  Subprime loans were given out to people who never should have gotten them.  It is a shame.  Many of these borrowers were naive and saw the path towards home ownership put before them by these predatory lenders.  Some people weren’t so naive and just thought they could beat the system for a quick house-flipping project that they believed would lead to quick profit.  But those borrowers all played with fire, and they got burned.  The government is to blame, the corporations are to blame, and to some extent the borrowers are to blame (for borrowing money they couldn’t afford to borrow).  Now, we are being told that we should bail them out.  Democrats and Republicans are both to blame.

I’m sorry, but I did not borrow this money.  I am well aware of the fact that I cannot afford a home mortage right now, so I did not get one.  I did not go and try to live beyond my means.  And that is why the majority of Americans are disgusted by this bailout plan.  The people at the top are playing the role of Henny Penny, telling us that if something isn’t done very quickly, the sky will fall.

Well, I don’t doubt that there will be some hard times if the situation is left alone and no one is bailed out, but that’s the way it goes.  Our country has gone through hard times before, and we’ve made it out of them too.  We can’t revert to socialism just because some of the people are having financial trouble.  People, ultimately, need to be responsible for their own actions.  Compassion can and should be doled out by individuals as they see fit, but that should not be the job of the federal government.  The market needs to be allowed to work, and if that means some corporations go under, so be it.  The sky will not fall.  The country will not fall.  If anything, once things level out, our economy would be stronger than before, without the artificial housing industry inflation that we have seen over the last decade or so.

Now is not the time to panic.  Now is the time to grit our teeth and set our feet against financial missteps.  Now is the time for frugal living and learning to live within our means.  Our grandparents didn’t buy things they couldn’t afford, and we shouldn’t do so either.  It’s time to get back to a simpler way of life.  That’s not to say luxuries have to be discarded.  But stick to the luxuries you can actually afford, and if you don’t have the money for something, save up for it.  That is the way to financial freedom.

Those who hold power in government only hold that power because of us.  They are our employees.  We need to always remember that.  Bill Cosby, in one of his most famous comedy routines, recalled how he once told his misbehaving children, “You know, I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!”   We need to relay that same message to our representatives in Congress while they are considering whether or not to forge our signatures on this $700 billion check.

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