Since just last night, I have been in a number of conversations regarding the election with people, but, more specifically, these conversations have centered around whether or not a Christian should feel obligated to vote for a candidate who is pro-life.  I, personally, believe that a Christian should feel this obligation because, as I’ve mentioned in other blog entries, we are talking about the sanctity of life.  And the government was set up to protect people from domestic violence, including murder.  And if you believe that life begins at conception, that is what this is.

Many Christians have voted for Obama because they believe he will help the poor and the downtrodden.  They believe in social justice.  Well, I also believe that is what we, as Christians, are called to do.  We ARE told to help the poor and the hungry.  But we are never told to do this through the government.

Here’s the difference, as I see it.  Christians, without any government involvement, can go out and help poor and hungry and homeless people.  And they SHOULD be doing so.  Christians cannot, however, do anything to prevent abortions from taking place if the government says they are legal.  We have our limitations.  And this is one limitation that has disastrous results.

How many Americans die of starvation each year?  Is that number greater than the more than two million babies that are murdered each year through abortion?  I’m not saying to not care for the poor.  I’m saying that when you’re talking about voting, vote for the candidate who wants to preserve life.

The poor will always be among us.  Jesus said so.  And we are to help the poor.  Jesus said this, as well.  But what about the babies who never had a chance to be among us?  Should we just not care about them?  If you believe that life begins at conception or at any point that a baby is in the womb, how can you even consider voting for a man who with his first act upon taking office will get an act passed that will lift any and all restrictions on abortions, including partial-birth abortions?

What will he do to actually help the poor?  What has government ever done except enable poor people by not requiring them to do anything for themselves?  Regardless of what Obama does, the poor will always be among us.  But, because of Obama, if he gets elected today, many more human beings will never get a chance to experience life outside of the womb.  And our tax money will be used to help pay for those murders through Planned Parenthood and other organizations like them.

That’s just sick and wrong.

This is NOT an either/or issue for Christians.  It’s not “Should we help save babies from being aborted, or should we help the poor.”  We need to do BOTH.  Christians who vote for pro-life candidates don’t hate the poor.  And I don’t think that Christians who vote for pro-choice candidates hate babies, but I do think they are misguided by not giving the sanctity of life issue precedence over all other issues.  Like I already said, we can help the poor without the government, but we can’t do anything to prevent government-sanctioned murders (except fight to get a Sanctity of Life Amendment put into our Constitution—like Ron Paul tried to do in Congress—or vote for those who would nominate pro-life judges to the Supreme Court or keep, at the very least, partial-birth abortions illegal).

Please vote for life.

I just want to share an excerpt from Neal Boortz’s treatise, To the Undecided Voter:

There’s a quote that’s been floating around since I began my talk radio career. This quote is most often attributed to someone named Alexander Tyler writing in 1787 about the fall of the Athenian Republic. Others have said the guy’s name was Tytler. Let’s not argue spelling right now … let’s just get to the quote, because the quote goes to the heart of this presidential election:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

Think about this, my friends. Isn’t this exactly what we’re seeing right now? In fact, hasn’t this pretty much been the theme of Democrat Party election politics for nearly as long as you can remember? Here we have Barack Obama promising that he’s only going to raise taxes on the evil rich who make over $250,000 a year while 95% of Americans will get tax cuts. Think of this in terms of votes; higher taxes for 5% of the voters, lower taxes for the other 95%. It really doesn’t take all that much brainpower to figure out how this is going to work at in an election does it? You take money away from the people whose votes you don’t need, and give it to the people whose votes you do need. So very simple. The result is that people have, in fact, discovered that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. Who is promising those wonderful goodies? That would be Barack Obama. Just what percentage of voters out there do you think are going to vote for Obama simply because he is promising them someone else’s money? My guess is that the number would be high enough to constitute the margin of victory for The Great Redistributionist.

Somehow I had this idea when I was growing up that if you wanted something bad enough, you would work hard until you got it. That was then. This is now. Now you vote for it. That’s change you can believe in.

Can’t you see that the end is in sight and that there is no light at the end of this tunnel? A vote for Barack Obama is a vote to end the democratic republic as we’ve always known it and, perhaps, to end it completely.

I know that I’ve said for awhile that I could not decide how I was going to cast my vote.  I’ve known for awhile that I could not cast my vote for Barack Obama because he and I disagree on almost everything regarding how this country should be run, but I could not decide between casting my vote for John McCain or a third-party candidate.  Well, I’ve decided now that despite the fact that McCain won’t necessarily turn our country around but, at the very least, won’t make it worse, I must vote for him instead of for the Libertarian or Constitution Party candidates.  I do not feel I am just being a fear-monger or an alarmist when I say I believe that the prospect of an Obama presidency presents our country with, perhaps, the greatest danger it has ever faced.  If we can hold him off, we may have a chance in four years to put someone in office who can truly change the direction of this nation to more closely match the vision of our Founding Fathers, but if we cannot hold him off, then I fear we may never again have this chance.

So I urge you now, please read these articles and commentaries.  Most of them are really short.  The one by Neal Boortz is really long, but it is DEFINITELY worth reading.  And, now, without further ado, the articles and commentaries:

To begin their article titled Powell endorses Obama on Politico.com, Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin write, “Retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, one of the country’s most respected Republicans, stunned both parties Sunday by strongly endorsing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ and laying out a blistering, detailed critique of the modern GOP.”

I’m not sure why they think so many people were stunned by this endorsement.  He has been praising Obama since at least early summer, so this, to me, just seemed like the voicing of the inevitable.  I think most people who pay attention to political news saw this coming from a mile away.  I could be wrong, but I’m not exaggerating when I say I haven’t heard anybody besides the writers of this article talk about this as if it was a big surprise.

What surprised me a little bit was his reasoning for endorsing Obama.  I have always respected Powell and thought that he was really a stand-up guy who really believed in conservatism and the ideals of the Republican Party (not to be confused with where the Republican Party is today), so I was shocked when I saw that the reasons he gave for endorsing Obama contained almost no substance whatsoever.  According to the article, he said the election of Obama would “electrify the world” and that Obama “is a transformational figure” and “a new generation coming … onto the world stage and on the American stage.”  He then said that this is why he was endorsing Obama.  He also said:

And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities — and you have to take that into account — as well as his substance — he has both style and substance, he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.

I’m not sure what substance he is talking about, but Obama definitely has rhetorical abilities.  He can talk and talk and talk.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t ever seem to tell us how he’s going to accomplish anything.  That Powell was drawn in by this rhetoric really disappoints me.

He also said that he thinks John McCain made the wrong decision in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate and that he doesn’t feel she is ready to become the president.  He doesn’t feel she is experienced enough; yet, he is fine with Obama being president.  Something is just not right with that picture.  Powell has said that his endorsement has nothing to do with race, but I think Rush Limbaugh might have been on to something when he said:

Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race.  OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

The fact of the matter is that Obama, in many ways, has even less experience than Palin.  He does not know what it is like to be the Commander-In-Chief of anything; she, on the other hand, has been the governor of a state, which is an executive branch position.  Each of them has different types of experience, but to discredit Palin while endorsing Obama reeks of hypocrisy.  I seriously doubt anybody who becomes a president for the first time is fully prepared for the job upon assuming the office.  If the issue is Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience, then I guess we should have dismissed Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, as well.

Finally, in what is perhaps the most disappointing statement made by Powell on Meet the Press, he said, “I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain administration.”  Seriously?  Was he ever a conservative?  I really wonder why he wanted to be a member of the Republican Party in the first place.  I’ve heard some people say that his endorsement of Obama is a way for him to protect his legacy after the association he had with the Bush administration.  Powell was the one who delivered, in detail, the information on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  He made the case for why we needed to go in there, and now he feels like he was used as scapegoat to get us into the war, since we did not end up finding the weapons that he said were there.  I think he feels betrayed by the Bush administration, and he feels like his reputation was greatly harmed in the process.  So by endorsing Obama, who is largely believed to be unstoppable in his quest to make history as the nation’s first black president, I believe Powell sees an opportunity for a kind of redemption.  If Obama wins, he will forever be associated with his endorsement for Obama, and a large number of people will once again look upon him favorably.  But the fact that he has so abandoned the Republican Party, to the point of not wanting more Republicans on the Supreme Court (which is something that pretty much EVERY Republican wants), is really a shame.  I just don’t know what has happened to him.

Maybe I was duped.  I’ve heard people say he wasn’t ever very conservative, and if that is the case, I was, in fact, mistaken about him all along.  I, along with many other people, really wanted him to run for president in 2000, but he claimed he wasn’t interested.  All things considered, if he really isn’t conservative, I guess that was for the best after all.

So now he can put on his blue coat and ride in upon the donkey as his decision to endorse Obama is celebrated by Democrats far and  wide.  If Obama wins, I think he probably will be looked upon favorably by a large number of people in this country, so, to that end, maybe he will be happy.  But when our country turns to socialism, the economy starts to falter, and our Constitution is largely ignored or interpreted as a “living document,” I hope he at least takes the time to reflect upon what this movement he has now joined is really all about.

I’ve wanted to write some more over the last few days, but I haven’t really been able to bring myself to do it because I have, more or less, been a bit down due to the way the election seems to be shaping up.  I’m still not a McCain fan, but my abhorrence for the liberal and socialist views of the Obama campaign has continued to grow.  I would rather McCain be president than Obama.  But I’m also irritated by McCain’s apparent unwillingness to stick it to Obama on the things that really matter.  Instead, during a town hall meeting in which many of his supporters were angry with him for not strongly going after Obama, he just told them that Obama was a good man and that they didn’t have anything to be afraid of with him as president.  That sounds like the words of a man who has all but given up.  I haven’t yet had a chance to watch the debate tonight (it’s on DVR), but I hope he proves me wrong.

So, all of that said, there are things I’ve wanted to write about, but I just haven’t had it in me to do so.  So, for now, these few things I’d like to share with you will have to suffice:

  • Just in case anyone is still in doubt regarding whether Obama really is a socialist, read this: Obama’s Socialist Agenda—Is Anyone Listening?
  • Just in case anyone still thinks Joe Biden actually  does know what he is talking about, see here how he doesn’t even know the responsibilities of the vice-president (and read all of the other factual mistakes he has made): Did Biden Get It Wrong?  You Betcha
  • Socialism explained so that just about anybody can understand it (substitute “conservative” for “Republican” in the story since Republicans don’t have the best track record anymore either): Father and daughter talk politics
  • The income tax system explained so that just about anybody can understand it (and an explanation that shows why we need a fairer tax system): Income Tax Explained
  • These are the people canceling out your votes:
  • Just in case you were wondering who the Messiah is, Louis Farrakhan can fill you in:
  • Brainwashing much?  (the beginning to this video is a little silly, but the part with the militant kids dedicated to Obama is a little scary and sad):

Tuesday night, I went and stood outside of the Curb Event Center at Belmont University to see if I could catch a glimpse of John McCain, Barack Obama, or anyone else with some degree of fame who might be attending the debate.  Upon my arrival on the scene, I was dismayed by the overwhelming number of Obama supporters marching around with their T-shirts, signs, stickers,  and baked goods (being sold with profits going toward Obama’s campaign).  There were also at least three different booths set up in very close proximity to one another, and while I expected at least one of them to be selling McCain T-shirts and other paraphernalia, that wasn’t the case.  They were all for Obama as well.  And that’s OK, albeit a bit disappointing.  I mean, the enthusiasm for Obama seemed a little maniacal at times (it kind of reminded me of the scene from the movie Independence Day where all of the new age zealots gather in the desert to await the arrival of the aliens like it is some kind of second coming—Obamessiah, anyone?), but I guess some of that is to be expected at times.  For the most part, though excited and sometimes boisterous, the people were respectful and did not do anything that might mar Obama’s image.

Excepting myself and my significant other, I saw maybe about ten to twelve people who seemed to be for McCain.  The McCain supporters were rather subdued and probably just felt a little overwhelmed in that sea of Obama supporters.

Then came those in favor of third parties the crazies.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m in favor of people considering third parties.  I, myself, am very interested in the campaign for Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party (though I still haven’t made up my mind how I will vote on November 4th), but being for a third party candidate does not mean you have to act like a lunatic.  Now, it is anyone’s right to act like a lunatic and say whatever he / she wants to say, but I just don’t think doing so accomplishes very much in the way of winning people to a certain cause.  If anything, I think it turns people off.

The Green Party people came along dressed in green hardhats and various other kinds of green attire.  Many wore green T-shirts, but at least one or two guys were shirtless and with only a green cape flowing behind them.  They also had various accessories with them, such as pots and pans, but I do not really know the purpose for these items as I didn’t really see them getting used very much.  The greenies marched around back and forth behind us, chanting and yelling out various slogans, sometimes all of them in unison in a militant kind of way.  Looked a little crazy, but they were relatively tame.  Still, appearing crazy usually isn’t a great way to win people to one’s cause.

A little while after the Green Party entered the scene, a group, seemingly formed in support of all third-party candidates, came marching onto the scene.  They weren’t wearing any kind of a uniform like the Green Party people, but they were much louder, more rambunctious, and on the scene in much larger numbers.  The ringleader pulled out a megaphone and for the next hour and a half or so, he proceeded to very loudly denounce the two-party system and to rail against both of the candidates involved in it.  In a different setting, with people willing to listen to his points, such a thing might not be so bad as there is no harm in trying to change people’s minds.  But the sheer mania and obnoxious tone behind his ranting could not have been anything but a major annoyance to everyone who could hear him.  I am in favor of considering third-party candidates, but I could not not help but wish that the police (who were on the scene en masse at times) would either come and haul him off or at least shoot a little tear gas into the crowd (yes, I would have been hit too, but for the sake of shutting that loudmouth on the megaphone down, I think I would have been willing to take one for the team).

To make matters worse, this group wasn’t just promoting third-party candidates.  In addition to ineffectively promoting the third-party candidates and denouncing the two-party system, a number of the people in this group were also yelling about how our government was directly responsible for causing the 9/11 attacks.  It was at this point that I lost any respect I may have had left for what these people were trying to accomplish.  People are free to believe what they want to believe, but conspiracy theorism usually just makes them look crazy to the general public.  I’ve seen the videos telling about how 9/11 was an inside job, and while they are put together to weave a convincing tale that would make Michael Moore proud, I just don’t buy it.  I don’t believe most Americans buy it.  The people that do believe this almost always are the one who think President Bush is an imbecile, and yet they also believe that he was the mastermind behind the worst attack on the U.S. mainland in our nation’s history.  And of all of the many people who would have to be involved in such a conspiracy, I don’t believe it could be kept a secret for very long.

Then, from this same group, there were the chants of, “ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR—WE DON’T NEED YOUR F%#%ING WAR!”  It continued on to a “FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT” section, but I can’t remember how that one went.  They repeated it over and over again, and when a couple of people asked them to tone it down because they had their kids with them, the group just decided to yell even louder—to the point that you could hear the rasping strain in some of their voices as they were actually yelling as loudly as they could.

Maybe this approach actually works on some people, but I really do not believe it works on the vast majority of people.  At this particular gathering, it really just seemed like virtually all of the people in the crowd to whom they were preaching were completely annoyed by them.  One young Obama supporter couldn’t help but yell back at them about the greatness of Obama every time they would make some kind of a claim about how the two-party system is running our country into the ground, but for the most part the group was not directly confronted.

The third-party movement is a good thing, but radicalism is not the way to move it forward.  While he was still contending for the Republican nomination during the primary process, Ron Paul pleaded with his supporters to be respectful and not do anything that would make him or the cause which he represents to look bad.  Unfortunately, I’m guessing the same people that disregarded his call for respectful representation of the Ron Paul Revolution are the ones now drawing attention to their radical displays of anger toward and rebellion against the two-party system.

It is OK to be angry.  It is OK to stand up against the establishment.  But acting out in a radical fashion in the middle of a public gathering likely isn’t going to do anything but get a crowd riled up, unless those in that crowd are of the same belief as you.  And even then, the radicalism itself could be a turn off (as it was for me).

As Susan Powter used to always say, “STOP THE INSANITY!”

Talk to people.  Don’t yell at them and act crazy.

All in all, as ridiculous and nettlesome as all of it was at times, it was definitely an experience, and one in which I’m glad I was able to participate.  It’s not every day that a presidential debate takes place in one’s city of residence (well, at least, not in mine), so to witness much of what goes along with such an event was definitely interesting.

Oh, and I never did see McCain or Obama.  They must have gone in another entrance (can’t imagine why, what with the crowd’s behavior—I’m still surprised we didn’t get teargassed).  We did catch a glimpse of Nashville’s mayor Karl Dean, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill rolling up for the event, however.

What a wretched excuse for a debate last night.  Neither candidate really said anything worthwhile in what could possibly be the most boring presidential debate I’ve ever seen.

All things considered, I think McCain probably lost this debate.  While neither candidate really gave us anything to make us feel good about how they can make America better, it was McCain who had the more urgent need to really stand out.  He is down in the polls and needed to make up some ground.  Based on his performance last night, I doubt that will happen.  He was too laid back, and he didn’t go after Obama when he needed to.  By not clearly winning this debate, I think he lost.

In addition to all of that, McCain also proposed a $300 billion plan to force the federal government to buy all of the bad mortgages in this country and allow financially troubled homeowners to keep their homes.  So instead of admitting he made a mistake by voting for the $700 billion bailout plan, he wants to spend MORE taxpayer money to pay for people’s bad choices.  Unbelievable.  I wish he would stop calling himself a maverick and actually BE a maverick.  The Republicans are on par with the Democrats in the wasteful spending category now.  The maverick thing to do would be to return to conservative ideals by getting the government out of our lives and wallets.

McCain’s handlers better get a grip and tell him he needs to actively go after Obama if he wants to win this election.  If he is as passive during the third and final debate as he was in the one last night, it’s over.  He also needs to care more about what matters to his conservative base.

I’m still conflicted.  I’m less enthusiastic about McCain now than I was before the debate.  That new $300 billion plan really made me angry.  But I still see him as the best chance for keeping Obama out of office so that we can at least avoid all-out socialism.  And I still like Palin and wish I could vote for her instead of McCain.

I just wish she could consistently pronounce the word “nuclear.”

(UPDATE: According to Michelle Malkin’s blog, the $300 billion proposal is part of the $700 billion proposal.  Not that that soothes my soul any.  It’s still, as she calls it, a “crap sandwich.”  I recommend you read the whole blog, as it is good information.

Also, as promised in one of my comments on this blog, I have the information showing how McCain’s proposal isn’t exactly original except for the fact that he put an actual price tag on it.  He said that it is not Obama’s or Bush’s idea—it is his idea.  If you read to the end of this AP article, however, it says:

In fact, at a news conference on Sept. 24, Obama said, “we should consider giving the government the authority to purchase mortgages directly instead of simply purchasing mortgage-backed securities.”

Days later, in a news release, he said he would “encourage Treasury to study the option of buying individual mortgages like we did successfully in the 1930s.”

“Senator Obama has been consistently calling for policies that would buy up mortgages and restructure them so that families can stay in their houses,” Obama economic adviser Jason Furman said. “He continues to support that and believes Treasury should use its authority in whatever way it can to bring about that goal, including buying mortgages directly.”

Welcome to the Republicrat / Democlican party.)

Don’t forget to tune in tonight for the presidential debate in Nashville, TN at my Alma Mater, Belmont University!  Be an informed voter!

And while you’re trying to be an informed voter, don’t forget to also consider the ideas of third party candidates!

So now it looks like the Senate is going to pass a revised bailout proposal, still costing hundreds of billions of dollars.  What has changed?  Oh, they have added lots of “sweeteners” to the deal, to make it more appealing to Senators who might have voted against it.  John McCain, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden are all likely going to vote for the bill … as are my two Senators from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

As it is, I know for a fact I will not vote for Alexander or Corker next election cycle if this passes.  I’m not saying I’ll vote for their liberal opponents, but, at the very least, I will vote third party or not vote at all in those races if no third party candidates are available.

I’m more concerned with the presidential race.  I really feel like I cannot vote for people who are not representing my interests, and the fact that McCain is voting for this is making me sick to my stomach right now.  I was actually coming around and looking forward to voting for him in November, but now I’m thinking I might have to go back to my original plan of voting for Ron Paul as a write-in candidate.  I don’t know.  The only comfort I have is that I won’t actually be voting for McCain to represent me.  He is running to be the president, and, as such, he is not running to be a representative for me in government.  He is running to lead the government.  But I still have to take issue with voting for a leader who could make such a serious error in judgment.

These “sweeteners” are added in to make it sound good to the senators and their constituents, but what they are really doing is adding even MORE money to this whole proposal.  Yes, they are talking about some tax breaks, but what good are tax breaks unless their are cuts in spending thrown in as well?  But instead of spending cuts, more money is being spent!

All I can hope is that when this goes back to the House, the same people who shot it down the first time do so again.

This bailout has to be stopped.  We are the U.S.A. — not the U.S.S.A.  Well, at least for now.

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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