FINANCIAL MELTDOWN FOR DUMMIES

Practically every day someone on twitter tries to convince me that evil “Big Business”, “Wall Street”, “capitalism” or “bankers” caused the financial meltdown Obama “inherited”. I’m told that if I support any of these things, I, myself, must be evil, selfish, stupid, and some other things I can’t put into print. I try to school them in the facts of what caused the current situation, but it’s hard to do Economics 101 in 140 characters. For those who want a detailed explanation of what caused the financial meltdown, I recommend you read, “Reckless Endangerment” by New York Times financial analyst Gretchen Morgenson. For those who don’t have the time or patience, I’ll try to give you the layman’s version.

What caused the financial meltdown was government interference (as is so often the case) in the free market. It’s true, the meltdown was caused by the housing bubble and the derivatives market, but the banks and Wall Street were only reacting to government interference.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Community Reinvestment Act http://www.occ.gov/topics/compliance-bsa/cra/index-cra.html. Isn’t that a nice title? Most leftist policies have nice titles. This particular bill opened the housing market to people who didn’t have the credit-worthiness to buy a home. How compassionate, right? Giving access to the American Dream of owning your own home to people who couldn’t afford it. When Clinton came into office, he doubled down on how many sub-prime loans the banks had to make. As with everything, there is a cause and effect. The cause was the Community Reinvestment Act. What was the effect?

Over time, the Community Reinvestment Act increased the number of people buying houses, which, in turn, increased the prices of houses. As you know, if there are more sellers than buyers, prices go down, but if there are more buyers than sellers, prices go up. Because of these new buyers, prices for houses increased way beyond their actual value, which caused a housing bubble.

Traditionally, banks made a practice of loaning money to people who have demonstrated the ability to pay it back. The Community Reinvestment Act told banks that if they wanted their home loans to still be insured by Fannie and Freddie (which insure 80% of all mortgages), a certain percentage of their loans had to be sub-prime. People who know they would never pass a credit check normally don’t flock into banks to apply for a mortgage. Banks had to recruit low-income families for these sub-prime loans (which is how these people came to blame the banks for their woes). Enter ACORN. ACORN opened storefront offices to show low-income families how to get these sub-prime loans.

As the number of sub-prime loans grew, banks did what responsible businesses, who have shareholders they have to answer to, do. They found a way to minimize their possible losses. They bundled some of these sub-prime loans with good loans and sold the bundles on the derivatives market. This is the factor that allows anti-capitalists to blame Wall Street. Those evil, greedy investment bankers, hiding bad loans among good ones, and selling the whole kit and caboodle under a triple A rating! But, wait, it was the SEC, whose job it is to rate such things, that rated them triple A. Why? The SEC knew, as well as the banks, that the sub-prime loans were buried in the bundles. They knew that sub-prime loans were causing the housing bubble. And they know that all bubbles eventually burst. So, why did they give the loan bundles a triple A rating? The SEC is a government agency. Good luck getting an answer!

The Community Reinvestment Act wasn’t the banks’ idea, it was government’s idea. And, as the disastrous effects of the CRA multiplied, many Republicans became concerned. They held congressional hearings. Leftist congressmen fought back, hard. They insisted there was nothing to be concerned about. They condemned the Republicans for wanting to deny low-income families the ability to own their own home. Barney Frank told everyone the sub-prime market was solid….. Nothing to see here, move along.

Of course, the very people whom the Community Reinvestment Act was supposed to help were the ones hurt the most when the housing bubble finally burst. They were the first to lose their homes. The sub-prime loans allowed for interest-only payments (which made the payments deceptively small) for a certain number of years. Then the homeowners either had to pay a big balloon payment, have their payments increased, or refinance their mortgage. They believed (because that’s what they had been told) that their homes would increase in value, so that in five years they could refinance and get the same level of payment. When their homes lost value, they owed more than their homes were worth, and couldn’t refinance. As usual, a leftist policy meant to help people hurt the very people it was supposed to help (just like minimum wage!)

At the same time, those bundles of mortgages being sold as triple-A crashed the banking industry. They were now holding worthless bundles. Just finding out who owned whose mortgage became a nearly impossible task. This is what caused Rick Santelli to have his famous rant and call for a Tea Party.

People need to understand it isn’t capitalism, big business, or Wall Street that are the problem, it’s big government and its incessant meddling.

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AGE OF AQUARIS TOWNHALL

If you are a Republican in California you might as well sit down and shut up. You have no voice. A few of us “evil Conservatives” attended a Karen Bass townhall on Saturday, March 15th, at the Crenshaw Christian Center. The subject of the townhall was “Re-Entry Services” (translation: services to help inmates re-enter society). The Crenshaw Christian Center is in District 2, which has the highest number of parolees in California.

At one point, someone asked for a show of hands of those who had been in prison themselves, or had a loved one who was now, or had been, in prison. Nearly every hand in the audience went up. I estimate that audience to have been more than three hundred people.

Congresswoman Bass nodded and smiled at us. A staff member (the same one who told us at another townhall that the ACA train had left the station, and we better get used to it) pointed us out to several of their group. I think it’s important that these “representatives” face people who hold them accountable. I think they need to know not everyone is a sycophant.

There was a four-person panel at the beginning of the event. Each panelist represented an organization that was involved in helping inmates find jobs, housing, and social services. While I think some of them probably provide a valuable service, they all want more taxpayer money. It occurs to me that there is no end of “valuable services” one could come up with to “help” some group or another….. And each “valuable service” would require a facility and staff paid for by taxpayers.

Along with Congresswoman Bass, the other elected officials there were Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer, and State Senator Holly Mitchell. Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer was the first to speak. He was very happy. He said this was the Age of Aquarius, and the stars had aligned. He almost broke into song. We have a liberal Mayor, a liberal Attorney General, a liberal Assembly and Senate, and a liberal Governor. The Assemblyman said now was the time to get things done (code for spend more money). He said there was $40 million in the budget for “re-entry services”, but he wished it was $400 million.

Senator Holly Mitchell spoke next. She talked about 39% of inmates being black, but blacks being only 13% of the population. Liberals rarely, if ever, address the real reasons blacks and Latinos commit more crimes than other demographic groups ~ fatherless homes, gangs, no jobs, etc. ~ but they love to infer that whites and other races aren’t arrested as often, or punished as severely. Apparently, they think that once the black population of prisons reaches 13%, we should stop arresting blacks. They said it costs $50,000 a year per inmate (by the way, Texas only spends $14,000!) and wouldn’t it be good to spend that elsewhere? It never occurs to them that securing the border would reduce the 56% of the prison population that is Latino. Or that, if we saved money on prison population, that money should stay in the taxpayers pocket.

Senator Mitchell ended her talk with an Affordable Care Act push. She told the audience not to believe Fox, that the stories aren’t true, that the program is going extremely well, especially in California, and for anyone who hasn’t signed up, there were people available right then and there who could help them.

Congresswoman Bass was the last to speak, she was literally giddy about California having money to spend. Forty million dollars for “re-entry” programs manifested out of thin air. She thought this was wonderful. She was so very excited. Of course, for liberals, if there is more tax revenue, they MUST spend it immediately. Forget saving it. If there isn’t a program that needs money, they’ll make one up. Every time anyone spoke of more money, the audience cheered. Of course, they aren’t paying the bill.

When they opened the floor to Q&A, people lined the walls to the back of the room….. But first they asked some of their friends (all representing some organization or another) to speak of their good works …… And state all the reasons THEY should get a piece of that $40 million. Nearly everyone who spoke represented some program: incarcerated kids, incarcerated illegal aliens (who they said needed a pathway to citizenship…… Why, exactly?), incarcerated women, alcohol and drug addiction, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum. All of them talked about their “victim” group needing jobs and money. I find that interesting, since it’s the liberal policies that are killing jobs, but these people don’t get the connection. The Keystone Pipeline could put lots of those people to work.

One man said he had served 45 years in prison and was so grateful for the re-entry programs (he got applause for this), another woman said she spent 32 years in prison (for what, you might wonder) and was jumping up and down with praise for the programs. Prison sentences that long indicate SERIOUS crimes, but these people were applauded as if they had just graduated from college. The man who served 45 years said as soon as he could vote, he’d vote for more money for these programs. I wonder how many of us know that in California felons can vote as soon as they finish their parole? Even murderers.

A stylishly-dressed woman said she had been a City Councilwoman and had been sent to prison (I assume for some malfeasance), and, since getting out, she started a program for women, but was denied funding because she was a felon. The staff member holding the mic kept trying to pull it out of her hands, but she was having none of that. She yanked it right back, and kept talking. She thought the law should be changed to allow felons to get public funding for these good works. She’s just going from one publicly-funded job to another.

I agree with our panel of Representatives that our prisons shouldn’t be filled with drug offenders. But the panel spoke as if all those being released were drug offenders. That is simply not the case. My friend, Keith, asked if any of these programs taught civics, ethics, or morals.

After they adjourned the meeting, people surrounded the elected officials. Our friend Mark went up to State Senator Mitchell and told her she shouldn’t lie to people about the ACA. She replied that they simply had a difference of opinion. He responded that it wasn’t opinion, it was fact that ACA wasn’t working, and she shouldn’t lie about it.

One man I spoke to after the meeting said the room was filled with “poor pimps”. I had never heard that term before, but it did ring true. I had no idea there were so many programs for drug addicts, alcoholics, released prisoners, at risk youths, etc. There is no end of people who have made careers out of starting programs that use public funding. They pay themselves handsome salaries as the head of the program, and get patted on the back for their good works. The results of their programs aren’t as important as their intentions….. And what are their intentions? A cushy job and title, or actually helping people?

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HONORING JAMIEL SHAW

Many of you will remember the murder of a young black football player, Jamiel Shaw. He was shot and killed by an illegal alien who had just been released from jail instead of being deported. Jamiel was a good kid from a strong, intact, Christian family. They lived in a nice, well-kept black neighborhood, not the sort of neighborhood where you would expect to see gang activity. Jamiel’s family had raised him well. He got good grades in school, played sports, and stayed out of trouble. But, on the evening of March 2nd, 2008, shortly after calling his father to tell him he was almost home, Jamiel was shot to death three houses away from his house. His father actually heard the shots that killed his son. He ran from the house, fearing what he’d find, and his worst fears were confirmed. His son lay dead in the street.

The Shaw family contacted me after they read a column I wrote about the breakfast I attended, where Archbishop Gomez spoke in favor of amnesty. I had asked the Archbishop how he could support amnesty when unemployment, especially in the black community, was so high. I said I thought we owed the blacks jobs before the people who had already shown a disrespect for our laws, our culture, our language, and our flag. The Shaw family has a podcast, and they wanted me to appear on it, and talk about the breakfast with the Archbishop. They also invited me to a candlelight vigil on March 2nd, to commemorate Jamiel’s death. It was my honor to participate in both.

Since Jamiel’s death, the Shaw family has worked tirelessly to pass “Jamiel’s Law”. It seems like a no-brainer. It requires illegal alien gang members to be deported. Why would anyone disagree with that? However, at Rep. Karen Bass’ pro-amnesty townhall a few months ago, Althea Shaw (Jamiel’s aunt) asked why Rep. Bass wasn’t in support of Jamiel’s Law. Bass said it was too broad. She did not note that our current immigration laws require ALL illegal aliens to be deported. What could, possibly, be a valid objection to deporting illegal alien gang members?

On March 2nd, a rainy Sunday evening, I drove to the Shaw’s home. As I turned down their street, I passed a tree with a sign on it. It had a picture of Jamiel and a brass plaque below. A few doors down was the Shaws’ house, where a group of people had gathered on the front porch. I introduced myself, and was warmly welcomed. Soon, we all walked down the street, to where the brass plaque was located. This was the spot where Jamiel’s father found his son dead, and held him for the last time. I wondered if I could bear living so close to the spot where my child died. We all held up panels of a national quilt made from pictures of people murdered by illegal aliens. It stretched all the way down the street. Relatives of some of the victims came out to be with us on that night. Everyone held candles as the relatives of the murdered innocents told their stories.

Jamiel’s father spoke of the day his son was gunned down. The senselessness, the loss of such a promising young life. How he has all of Jamiel’s awards and trophies, which span the boy’s life, but abruptly stop at 3/2/08. He spoke of the effect Jamiel’s death has had on many different lives. When Jamiel was killed, his mother was serving our country in Iraq. Even as she was fighting to protect her country, that country failed to protect her son.

The aunt of a 13-year-old victim explained how concerned they had been with their boy’s safety. He had just turned 13. He wanted to go out and play video games with some friends. His family told him to call when he was done, and they would pick him up. Since it was still light out, he decided to walk the short distance home. A carload of gang members asked him whose colors he was under. He replied that he didn’t play those games. They shot him in the head.

A father told of hearing about Jamiel’s death, and thinking how unimaginable the death of a child would be. He found out not long after, when his own son was also murdered. After he told his story, he was so overwhelmed with emotion, he had to walk away to compose himself.

A letter from the family of another victim was read aloud. This young man was deliberately run down by an illegal alien, and run over three times, before someone stood in front of the van to prevent him from being run over for the fourth time. If I recall correctly, the murderer spent a mere 43 days in jail.

These stories don’t receive any national attention. But the “plight of the undocumented worker” receives wall-to-wall coverage. These families get no support from their elected officials, while La Raza, Mecha, and every other illegal alien group, gets unlimited access. Who do our elected representatives represent? Why are they so determined to reward criminals?? Illegal aliens aren’t just people who “want a better life for their families”; some are members of the most violent gangs in the world, some are terrorists, and others carry diseases not seen in this county for hundreds of years, if ever! Jamiel Shaw, and others murdered by illegal aliens, aren’t the only victims of illegal immigration. We are all victims, when they take our jobs, and lower our wages. We are victimized yet again when they overwhelm our social services, schools, and hospitals.

The primary job of our government is to protect its citizens. It is time we demand it does so.

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WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED

WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED.

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WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED

Last night I met Bettina Viviana. She spoke at Hollywood Congress of Republicans. She is a Producer and Literary Agent. She served as Vice President of Production at Amblin Entertainment.

Bettina was apolitical. Before 2008, she had never voted or paid any attention to politics. She was fascinated with her work and, since nothing prevented her from doing what she was doing (yet), she was simply oblivious to anything outside of Hollywood.

Everything changed for her in 2008. The old saying “you can’t un-ring a bell” came true for Bettina. The bell rang. One of her clients, a documentary filmmaker, called her and told her she had been contacted by someone from the Clinton team. They told her there was rampant voter fraud happening against Hillary, and they wanted her to make a documentary to expose it. She asked Bettina if she would produce it with her. RING, RING!

What they learned was that the caucuses were being used by the Obama team to commit fraud. Members of caucuses must be present to vote. They each have a ballot that is carefully kept track of. One ballot, one vote. But, in this case, the ballots were flying around, people were bringing more than one, and many ballots were from people not present. Votes were changed on ballots and ballots were mysteriously “lost”. In one case, people waiting to sign in were told they could go home because the vote had already been taken. In another case, there were chairs set up on either side of the entrance. Young men sat in the chairs and asked members who they were voting for. If it wasn’t Obama, they would get in the members’ faces and threaten them. People had their houses and cars vandalized. People feared for their lives. Bettina didn’t know things like that happened in America. RING! RING!

As most of us know, the Hillary supporters were nearly religious in their belief that Hillary would be, and should be, the first woman president of the United States. (Sort of like the fevered devotion of the Ron Paul supporters.) They believed she had the nomination in the bag. They were staunchly devoted to her election and not willing to change their vote. But they had never faced anything like the Obama machine. Hillary supporters were left weeping on the floor in the fetal position.

Apparently, George Soros met with both Hillary and Obama. While Hillary is a Saul Alinsky Marxist, devoted to turning the U.S. into a socialist county, she doesn’t want to destroy the country. She thinks socialism will help not destroy it. She does, still, care about America. Obama, on the other hand, has no such loyalty. He believes America needs to be brought in line with Third World countries, by any means necessary. He thinks we need to know what it’s like to do without. He thinks we’re “too rich and powerful”…… Not to mention “arrogant”. That was all Soros needed to hear. He threw his support behind Obama, and Hillary was out.

I saw some of these tactics when I went to DC to lobby against obamacare. We all know pressure is often put on members of Congress to change their votes. We know bribes are made, jobs promised, better Committee positions, better offices, more campaign contributions, lucrative private sector jobs, etc., etc., etc. But this went well beyond anything I ever imagined. Member’s children and spouses were threatened. “Your son wants to go to West Point? Don’t think so”. “We will charge your wife’s charity with wrongdoing, and they’ll have to prove a negative”. “Your daughter is on her way to college? I hope she makes it, it’s dangerous out there”. “Not only won’t you get funding for your next election, we will take you down”. Death threats were not off limits. I never imagined the “arm twisting” went this far.

The documentary was never completed, although DVD’s of important footage were sent to Fox News, O’Reilly, Hannity, and other Conservative spokesmen……… Crickets. Apparently, there are issues Fox won’t touch. Bettina wanted to finish the film, but her client didn’t. She tried to buy it from her client, but she wouldn’t sell, because she doesn’t trust the Conservatives. The filmmaker is a leftist Hillary supporter. Part of the film is on Bettina’s website, and I strongly urge everyone to go there and watch it, and forward it to as many people as possible. People need to know the danger of the caucus system. It is a system highly vulnerable to voter fraud.

http://wewillnotbesilenced2008.com

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IT’S OUR FIRST AMENDMENT, DUMMY

IT'S OUR FIRST AMENDMENT, DUMMY.

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IT’S OUR FIRST AMENDMENT, DUMMY

The minute this country stops believing our unalienable rights come from God not man, man WILL take them from us.

Pilgrims left their homeland, sailed across the ocean, and faced extreme hardships for religious freedom. They pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to protect their religious freedom. Our founders, even those who were not men of faith, recognized that we needed to maintain our religious morality in order to keep the government they designed for us. The fact that our FIRST amendment protected speech, press and religion indicates it’s place in their priorities.

We are not “free” when we are forced to do things that go against our religious beliefs. This country has always respected religious objections. Although progressives have been eroding our religious freedoms for some time, under the guise of separation of church and state, the election of Obama has ramped up the assault to fever pitch. After Obama was elected, he met with Catholic Cardinals to get their support of Obamacare. When they asked for a promise of religious exemption for areas that went against their beliefs, Obama acted offended that they would even have to ask. Then, as soon as Obamacare passed, the Cardinals were told their religious exemption was “off the table”.

What happened in Arizona this week should concern us all. Governor Brewer didn’t veto their religious liberty bill because the bill discriminated (it didn’t), she vetoed it because she was bullied into it. Not only by Arizona’s Senators and the media, but by people outside Arizona. The NFL threatened to pull the Super Bowl out of Arizona, Delta Airlines threatened not to land their planes at their airports, and who knows what other threats she received. The media labeled the bill “Arizona’s Anti-Gay Bill”. They said it was like “Jim Crow laws” for homosexuals. If the media had been objective, as we used to expect, they would have explained the bill was an amendment to an existing law. It simply clarified that “person” in the existing law included groups of persons; churches, associations and businesses. It was to protect Arizona citizens from the kind of actions brought against businesses in other states. There was nothing about discrimination or homosexuality in it. Except for race, businesses have always been able to deny service to whom ever they found objectionable. Liberals better be careful what they bully people into doing. Should a Black caterer be forced to cater a KKK event? Are Muslim businesses going to have to cover Jewish weddings?

I have to ask, why would anyone want to force someone to provide a service to them that the other person didn’t want to provide? How good would that service be? People resent being forced to do things they don’t want to do.

The Arizona bill has no relationship to “Jim Crow laws”. Jim Crow laws denied ALL Blacks access to ALL white schools, restaurants, businesses, bathrooms, water fountains, etc. This bill denied gays access to nothing. Not all businesses are owned by people of faith and not all people of faith object to gay marriages. If one business declines to support their weddings, there are plenty of others who will be happy to. This bill protected the rights of people of faith, nothing else.

Governor Brewer said they couldn’t find a single example of businesses being force to provide services. She neglected to mention neither have there been any examples of gays being discriminated against by businesses in Arizona. If gays haven’t been discriminated against before, why would anyone expect they would be now? Even in the famous cases, “Sweet Cakes, by Melissa” and florist, Barronelle Stutzman, they had gay customers. Sweet Cakes sold cookies, cupcakes, etc. to everyone and anyone who came into their shop. Barronelle Stutzman sold flowers to anyone who wanted them. They simply didn’t want to be part of a gay wedding. These businesses don’t just sell products to customers, they create an atmosphere for a wedding. They are part of a wedding. In a “free country” they should have the right to decline to be part of a ceremony they have a religious objection to. Tolerance works both ways. As much as gays are insisting we be tolerant of their life styles, they are not being tolerant of people of faith.

As a country we have to stop this sort of knee jerk reaction to things we perceive as being “unfair”. These situations should be discussed objectively and rationally. While Liberals and gays are celebrating a victory, Christians are worried about what comes next. Liberals seize on these emotional situations and don’t let a crisis go to waste. While supposedly protecting the rights of one group they deny the rights of another. The hypocrisy is often stunning. A gay bar in West Hollywood, The Abbey Food & Bar, is posting pictures of every legislator who voted against gay marriage on their walls and saying they will deny service to all of them. Now there is an example of discrimination. Where is the outrage? Media? LA Times? MSNBC? CNN? ABC? CBS? NBC?……….Crickets!

We hear people say the culture is changing. They say people are becoming more accepting of gay marriage. Really? As little as three or four years ago every state that had voted on gay marriage had voted against it. The Soviet Socialist Republic of California voted against it twice. So, we are to believe in that short a time people just changed their minds? In most cases courts overturned the will of the people. With Liberal media on nearly every series, opinion and news show labeling anyone who supports traditional marriage as “haters”, “bigots” and “homophobes”, people are simply giving up. They don’t want the constant confrontation. We all have lives to lead, jobs to work at, children to raise. We are losing ground economically, we are losing jobs, we are losing our health insurance, our children are being indoctrinated instead of taught. People are simply weary of fighting every assault. The Progressive tactic of nudging us into submission has become SHOVE.

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