Jason Hayes

Libertarian thought, policy, religion, the environment, tech, coffee, and Tabasco – the stuff of life
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Jon Kyl sets the record straight

Thank heavens for Congressional representatives like Jon Kyl.

On Thursday, Kyl’s remarks in the Senate set the record straight on where voters should be placing blame for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failures and for the government’s plan to put the taxpayer on the hook for the mismanagement and laissez-faire attitude toward oversight and regulation of those government behemoths.

Pelosi and her friends in the House have recently tried to take credit for addressing the situation and are struggling to lay the blame for these massive financial failures on Bush.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when asked Tuesday whether Democrats bear some of the responsibility regarding the current crisis on Wall Street, had a one-word answer: “No.”

Pelosi (D-Calif.) ripped President Bush’s “mismanagement” of the economy and a lack of regulation that led to the current situation.

Amazingly, Pelosi actually expects that American voters will believe her claims that Democrats bear no — none, nada, zilch, zero — responsibility for this issue. However, a quick look at the facts show that Bush, Kyl, Shelby, and a few other Republicans tried to deal with the lack of oversight at Freddie and Fannie five years ago. Unfortunately, their efforts at reforming and improving oversight over these government lenders were stymied by high ranking Democrats like Rep. Barney Frank and Senator Sarbanes, as well as many Democrats in the Congress and a few weak-kneed Republicans. It appears that those Democrats were more concerned that their CEO pals in these institutions were comfortable and free from oversight. With their friend’s salaries and short-term profits safely guarded, many in Congress ensured themselves a comfortable stream of campaign donations. Donations that our tax dollars are now having to repay.

OpenSecrets.org provides the breakdown of the over 4.8 million in contributions from individuals and PACs tied to the failing mortgage giants from 1989 – 2008. Democrats are reported to have accepted 57% of the total contributions and make up the top three recipients (Interesting that the two most recent Democratic Presidential nominees are at positions 2 and 3. What does that say about a party-wide ‘culture of corruption’?).

Of course if Dems took 57%, that means Republicans took the other 43% and, not surprisingly, they took the next three positions on the list. (Thanks to The Other McCain for the link.)

Name Office State Party Grand Total Total from
PACs
Total from

Individuals

Dodd, Christopher J S CT D $165,400 $48,500 $116,900
Obama, Barack S IL D $126,349 $6,000 $120,349
Kerry, John S MA D $111,000 $2,000 $109,000
Bennett, Robert F S UT R $107,999 $71,499 $36,500
Bachus, Spencer H AL R $103,300 $70,500 $32,800
Blunt, Roy H MO R $96,950 $78,500 $18,450

That the Congress did not react to this issue when it was raised over five years ago is at the very least a sign of gross incompetence and negligence on their part. The active attempts by some members of Congress to distract from the issue and to stop others from addressing it appear to prove out the notion that there were very friendly and lucrative relationships between elected officials, powerful special interest groups, and the failing lenders. This 9-11-2003 New York Times articles describes how powerful Democrats tried to gloss over the building economic problems.

Significant details must still be worked out before Congress can approve a bill. Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

”I don’t see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,” Mr. Watt said.

Unfortunately the peanut that is being flipped around under the shells is billions of our tax dollars and despite Mr. Watt’s high-sounding rhetoric, it’s the middle class that are getting shafted now.

——————
Update: I also forgot to add the obvious point that Obama has clear ties to the Freddie and Fannie debacle. He hired ex-Fannie CEO (91-98) , Jim Johnson, to vet his Vice President pick. Johnson was the fellow who was forced to resign as CEO when it was found out that he received “special” loans from Countrywide. Then there’s Johnson’s replacement at Fannie, Franklin Rianes (Vice Chair of Fannie from 91-96 and CEO from 99 – 04). Raines was forced to resign as CEO because of charges and investigations of scandals that erupted under his leadership.

Johnson is a trusted Obama insider, political and economic advisor, financial supporter, and rainmaker. There is some discussion over the exact involvement Raines has in the Obama campaign. However, it is clear (from the WaPo Business section) that Raines has been contacted by the Obama campaign for information on the housing market. The McCain campaign is trying to play up that link and the Obama campaign is trying to dismiss it.
——————

One further proof that the Democrats are the primary force at the base of this scandal is the fact that they are refusing to bring the CEOs and upper-level management of the mortgage industry in for Congressional hearings. If the Democrats in Congress (Barney Frank and Chris Dodd) could — convincingly — tie any of this to leading Republicans, they would have called for hearings IMMEDIATELY and they would have been enlisting the MSM for widespread coverage of the hunt for people to investigate. The fact that they are using the MSM to distract from any need to hold people accountable for the corruption and criminal activities that went on in these companies, and to limit the discussion to limits on executive salaries, demonstrates clearly that they have something to hide.

——————

This is a long quote from Kyl’s speech, but it is has a lot of very revealing information — and my tax dollars paid for it — so I am reprinting it for your education and edification. (It’s worth reading the whole thing.)

“Our friends on the other side of the aisle claim the current financial crisis stems for a lack of regulatory oversight, but they don’t mean a lack of regulatory oversight of Fannie and Freddie. They don’t mean regulations that would have actually headed off this crisis.

“I am perhaps one of the most free-market members of the Senate. I am not usually one to call for more regulations, but in the case of Fannie and Freddie I was. As Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee in 2003 and 2004, I provided two detailed analyses of the potential for catastrophic failure of the GSEs unless they were precluded from taking on more and more questionable debt. I noted that while their executives and shareholders were making a lot of money in the short run, the taxpayers would be on the hook in the long run. That is exactly what occurred.

“The first paper the RPC released under my watch suggested that the implicit government guarantee of both Fannie and Freddie allowed the companies to borrow significantly more than they would have without the guarantee, and that they used those resources to invest and trade in risky mortgage securities. In September 2003 – five years ago – I recommended that Congress ‘improve disclosure requirements and transparency; increase risk-based regulatory oversight; and begin to consider how to create a greater separation between the taxpayers and the business operations of these firms without causing financial dislocation or upsetting the mortgage markets.’ I also warned that without reforms, either or both companies could fail, and the ‘potential cost to U.S. taxpayers could range into the hundreds of billions of dollars.’ I am sorry to report that I was correct; the bailout will cost $200 billion.

“The second RPC paper I release, in April 2004, reported that then-chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, had endorsed fundament reforms for Fannie and Freddie. Greenspan threw cold water on the most often-repeated rationale for allowing Fannie and Freddie to continue growing, indeed, for their very existence: that they increase homeownership and reduce mortgage rates. My report ‘challenge[d] the Senate to act quickly to reduce the risks to the taxpayer, either by fundamentally altering their relationship with the government, or by establishing a new regulatory regime.’ But the Senate failed to act in 2004, when it could have headed off this crisis.

“I also want to highlight the efforts made by Senator Shelby, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, to reform Fannie and Freddie. In 2004 and 2005, Senator Shelby tried to enact comprehensive GSE reforms, only to be stonewalled by then-Senator Sarbanes. First, in 2004, Senator Sarbanes refused to consider Senator Shelby’s legislation; he said the problem was the receivership provisions. At that time, Fannie and Freddie could only be taken into conservatorship if they failed, but not receivership. Fannie and Freddie and their supporters used their objections to this provision to label Shelby as ‘anti-homeownership.’

“When Shelby tried again, Senator Sarbanes told him the reforms couldn’t move forward because he objected to the portfolio limits that Shelby’s legislation would have imposed on Fannie and Freddie. Remember, their portfolios are highly leveraged. Again, Shelby and those who supported him were castigated as anti-homeownership. Each time Shelby pressed for reforms, Senator Sarbanes and Fannie and Freddie’s other supporters came up with some reason to oppose them.

“When Congress passed the Fannie and Freddie bail-out legislation this summer we were finally able to secure fundamental reforms, even though the damage had already been done to our financial markets. The legislation came too late to avoid the collapse; instead, it had to manage the collapse.

“And even at this late date, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee would only agree to the GSE reforms after Republicans gave in to their demands for billions of dollars for ACORN – a far-left advocacy group that has engaged in vote fraud.

“Finally, in a last-ditch attempt to save Fannie and Freddie from greater scrutiny, the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee even tried to delay appointment of the new, more powerful regulator set up in the legislation until next year. Fortunately Senator Shelby prevailed. When the two entities were taken into conservatorship this month, the new regulator shut down all political activities of Fannie and Freddie and fired their executives and barred them from getting lavish compensation packages.

“One final point about the political entanglement of Fannie and Freddie in Washington. When Senator Obama began searching for his vice presidential running mate, he tapped former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson to help conduct the search. That wasn’t surprising; Johnson had the same role in Senator Kerry’s 2004 campaign. Senator Obama had to end his relationship with Jim Johnson after it came to light that Johnson had received at least three sweetheart loans from Countrywide. Remember, Countrywide was accused of pushing many people into home mortgages they could not afford. It ultimately failed and had to be acquired by a bank. I should also note that Johnson is credited by many as having built Fannie Mae into the financial giant it became; he built the failed business model that will cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. When he was CEO he aggressively hired an army of lobbyists to protect Fannie Mae from any meaningful oversight.

Fannie Mae – Freddie Mac: Enron x19

This Business and Media Institute article tags the troubles with Fannie Mae – Freddie Mac as “Enron x19″. The authors note that if the socialist government bailout of these firms goes through, it could leave every taxpayer in the U.S. on the hook for a $2,000 share of the billion (+) pay day.

The article also details the close ties that the upper management in these firms have with many in government, especially the Democratic party, including high ranking members of the Clinton administration and members of both the Kerry and Obama presidential campaigns.

There were also political ties between Fannie Mae and the Clinton administration. Former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines and former Vice Chairman Jamie Gorelick were instrumental in the Clinton administration. Gorelick is also “rumored to be a possible attorney general in an Obama administration,” according to Politico.

According to the Dec. 23, 2004, Washington Post, Raines “was a director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration, and his name was mentioned as a possible Treasury Secretary had Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) been elected president.”

As Reuters explained on July 11, 2008, “Fannie Mae in particular has strong connections to Democratic politics.” In addition to Raines and Gorelick, “former Fannie Mae CEO James Johnson headed John Kerry’s vice presidential search team, and was doing the same job for Obama but left the post after reports he received favorable mortgage interest rates as a result of his ties to the chief executive of the troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial.”

Not wanting to be left out, high-ranking Republicans are also described as supporting the bailout, despite their knowledge of inappropriate goings on in the federally-backed mortgage companies.

The NBC “Today” show hinted at problems with the two government-sponsored companies on July 14 when Andrea Mitchell reported Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) reaction to a bailout:

“John McCain also says the survival of the mortgage giants is essential, despite some of their past practices,” said Mitchell. Viewers were left to wonder what those “past practices” could have been. Here are a few hints: billions of dollars in accounting scandals, stock prices that have plummeted, connections to prominent politicians and a high-risk portfolio.

As you read further through the article, you see that both parties (surprise!!!) are closely connected to the corruption.

“Political influence” was also cited by The Wall Street Journal in 2002. “During the 1999-2000 election cycle, Fan spread around $1.6 million and Fred $2.4 million, giving to both parties about equally. The total of $4 million is almost double what Enron spent.”

In 2004, Fannie’s CEO and vice chairman were former Clinton administration officials. A new article in the July 15 Journal said Fannie and Freddie’s lobbyists “are said to have strongly influenced the 1992 legislation” that “created the companies’ regulator.”

The New York Times listed Fannie Mae’s Washington connections positively on April 20, 1997. That story, “The Velvet Fist of Fannie Mae,” focused on James A. Johnson, who was at the time chairman and chief executive of Fannie Mae.

That’s the same “consummate Washington player” Obama “tapped” to lead his vice presidential search, according to the June 11 ABC “World News with Charles Gibson.” After taking heat related to Countrywide loans, Johnson resigned from Obama’s campaign.

“Washington insiders respect him as the most skilled political operator in corporate America, protecting Fannie Mae’s franchise with an influential network that extends from the highest reaches of the Clinton Administration to the ranks of conservative Republicans on Capital Hill,” said the Times.

The July 16 Washington Post also linked ousted Fannie CEO Franklin Raines to Obama’s campaign. It said Raines has recently “taken calls from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.”

Unfortunately, it seems that the news media has also been complicit in allowing this scandal to develop. While the big 3 networks could speak and think about nothing but Enron during the highly publicized breakup of that company, they have all but ignored the growing corruption at Fannie Mae. Only the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have bothered to criticize the back room deals, influence peddling, shady lending practices, and careless money handling that was going on there.

Unlike the three networks, which were praising Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier in the year, The Wall Street Journal has been sounding an alarm bell about the corruption and financial danger of the lenders’ practices for more than six years. The Journal has run at least 29 editorials or op-eds exposing the two businesses for political connections, preferential regulation, and Enron-like “cooking” of the books.

“The Washington political class has nurtured and subsidized these financial beasts for decades in return for their campaign cash and lobbying support,” said one Journal editorial on July 12. That editorial also pointed out the lack of reporting on the issue saying, “Maybe the press corps will even start reporting how this vast confidence game could happen.”

The Journal wasn’t alone. The Washington Post said on July 14, “Though the implosion of investor confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last week was sudden, the worries driving it have been the subject of countless warnings over many years.”

So it seems that both major parties have been involved in helping foist this socialist behemoth on the taxpayers of the country. Now that their loose accounting rules and corrupt policies have brought about the same results as all socialist “businesses” eventually achieve (i.e.: bankruptcy), they and their willing accomplices in the media are largely refusing to get the information on the depth of the scandal out to those of us who will be forced to foot the bill.

Once again we see that Democrat-Republican … Republican-Democrat … there’s really not all that great a difference. More and more it is becoming a matter of Washington insiders and Washington elites (regardless of party affiliation) that the rest of America needs to watch out for.

Judicial Watch launches ethics complaint against Obama

Judicial Watch has filed a formal ethics complaint against Senator Obama. They are claiming that the well below market interest rate he received on a $1.32 million “super super jumbo” mortgage from Northern Trust — with no associated origination fees or discount points — amounts to improper special treatment and an illicit gift to an elected official that will see Obama saving approximately $125,000 in interest payments over the life of the loan.

They further demonstrate that Northern Trust employees have also donated over $71,000 to subsequent Obama campaigns and the Northern Trust Political Action Committee gave Obama $1,250 for his 2004 Senate race.

You can see the full text of the Judicial Watch complaint here.

Add to this the whole Tony Rezko scandal and I wonder why the Democrats and the mainstream media aren’t jumping all over this, screaming about “culture of corruption”.

We’ll see just how far this complaints gets in the Barbara Boxer-controlled Senate Select Committee on Ethics.

Wasn’t it the Democrats that were going to clean out the corruption in the Congress? And wasn’t it Obama who claimed to have spearheaded the drive in the Senate to push the ethics reform package through?

I guess when you’re the Messiah, you can overlook your own little $125,000 ethical slips.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA): Dems lied to voters about the war

He calls it “stretching the facts.” Any other reasonable person calls it a lie and Rep. Paul Kanjorski openly states that “any good student of government” (read anyone but those dimwit voters) should have seen that Democrats were brazenly lying about their intent to get the country out of the war in Iraq during the last election. Furthermore, he openly states that lying to the voters was a key aspect of their strategy to retake the Congress.

Listen to him yourself – you’ll hear Rep. Kanjorski tell the people in the room,

“I’ll tell you my impression. We really in this last election, when I say we…the Democrats, I think pushed it as far as we can to the end of the fleet, didn’t say it, but we implied it. That we … if we won the Congressional elections, we could stop the war. Now anybody who was a good student of Government would know that wasn’t true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts…and people ate it up.”

It never was about the war for the Democrats and Rep. Kanjorski’s words prove that. They wanted power, nothing more. And if they had to play at supporting the troops and stopping the war to get that power, oh well. You voters should have known better. If you were “good students of government,” you would have known they were lying. But you weren’t — you were too busy “eating up” every one of the Dem’s lines. So, it seems that the joke’s on you.

To those who voted Democrat in the last election and who believed that your vote was going to do something to stop the war in Iraq, you need to give Congressman Kanjorski a call and let him know that you don’t appreciate his poking fun at your intelligence, or his gaming of the electoral system.

They used you as a dupe and Kanjorski is bragging about just how dense you people really are.

Just when you think you have reached the bottom

Do you think it will be possible for Congress and President Bush to take the approval ratings any lower?

Deepening unhappiness with President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress soured the mood of Americans and sent Bush’s approval rating to another record low this month, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday. …

Bush’s job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month’s record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month’s record low.

“There is a real question among Americans now about how relevant this government is to them,” pollster John Zogby said. “They tell us they want action on health care, education, the war and immigration, but they don’t believe they are going to get it.”

My bets are on “yes,” they can (and probably will) make it worse. Perhaps if they stopped focusing on themselves, their legacies, and their personal power and wealth and paid some attention to cutting taxes, cutting spending, cutting the size and influence of government, and getting out of our lives and pockets, they might be able to bring things back up a few points.

As an amusing side note, there is actually a comment under the article that claims the 11% approval for Congress is Bush’s fault, because the Congress — which is completely controlled by Democrats — “is powerless” to overcome the President’s policies.” It doesn’t matter that both Reid and Pelosi have proven to be complete failures at their jobs. It doesn’t matter that they are unable to lead a unified left to accomplish anything other than getting the minimum wage raised and renaming a few federal buildings. None of that matters. All of the problems that the Congress is facing and the fact that almost no one in the country thinks they are doing the job they were elected to do are Bush’s fault.

I seriously wonder what those suffering from BDS will do when Bush leaves the Oval Office and they find out that there are still challenges that need to be faced that cannot be blamed on Bush.

Nevadans like Harry Reid less than they like Bush

This article was too funny to not make a note of it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s appeal among Nevadans has plunged dramatically in a new Review-Journal poll, which finds him viewed unfavorably by most likely voters in his home state. …

The poll asked 625 likely voters from around the state whether they recognized a politician’s name, and if so, if they had a favorable, unfavorable or neutral opinion of that person. The survey carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Reid’s favorable rating was 32 percent, compared with 51 percent unfavorable and 15 percent neutral. (Nevada Gov. Jim) Gibbons was viewed favorably by 30 percent, Bush by 34 percent.

Not surprisingly, Reid’s incompetence is proving to be a long-term issue, whith his favorable numbers bouncing back and forth between the high teens and low thirties for several months now. The near complete lack of faith that American voters have in Reid could hardly be described as surprising as he and Nancy Pelosi have managed to be effective at only one thing since they were elected in 06 — destroying the American people’s confidence in the Congress. Other than that, they have failed to achieve any of their key goals and objectives, such as passing the immigration amnesty bill and losing the war in Iraq.

So next time you hear the Dems in Congress trumpeting Bush’s poll numbers, just remind them that as much as people dislike Bush’s performance, they dislike Reid’s even more.

That’s not meant as a defense of Bush’s failures (like the immigration amnesty issue and social security reform), he has made enough of his own mistakes. However, I can’t stomach hearing the Dems trying to gain headlines by talking about Bush’s low approval ratings, when their approval ratings are even lower.

Conservatives surge in Canadian polls

The renewed interest in the Conservative Party makes for an interesting comparison with U.S. politics.

Canada’s Conservatives, ruling as a minority government, have surged in popularity to the point where they could win a parliamentary majority in the next election, according to a poll published on Friday.

The Ipsos-Reid poll for the CanWest News Service and Global National television network put the Conservatives at 40 percent of popular support, opening a 12-point lead over the opposition Liberals.

“These are the best numbers the Tories have had in years,” Darrell Bricker, president of the polling firm, told CanWest.

The Conservatives were up 4 points from the previous Ipsos-Reid poll in August and were right on the “magic number” generally needed to form a majority government, he added.

“The potential is that if an election was held tomorrow, he (Prime Minister Stephen Harper) could form a majority,” Bricker told CanWest.

Even more interesting is the fact that the Conservatives are actually approaching the same level of popularity as the BQ in Quebec.

The Bloc Quebecois, a separatist party that fields candidates only in Quebec, was at 33 percent support in the French-speaking province of 7.5 million. The Conservatives were at 27 percent in Quebec and the Liberals trailed at 18 percent.

For the Conservatives to be almost on par with the BQ, in Quebec, means that Harper has to be doing well and the Liberals have to be performing abysmally.

In comparison, the ’06 election in the U.S. saw the Democrats regain control of the Congress, while the upcoming presidential election has Hillary (a dyed-in-the-wool socialist) and Giuliani (an anti-gun, pro-abortion, Republican “moderate”) currently in the lead. It is interesting, therefore, to see how the Canadian conservatives are winning hearts and minds while the American political scene appears to be either 1) taking a definitive turn to the left, or 2) so thoroughly lacking in conservative leadership and momentum that the left can’t help but move ahead.

Harper therefore, must be making some solid policy choices because he isn’t the flashy, pretty boy leader that can have a fireside chat with the nation and make them want to follow him. For example, one would have trouble comparing Stephen Harper to Reagan or Bill Clinton — both of whom could, with a few words, make people like them and want to believe them.* Harper just doesn’t have the persona or the ability to lead that those two presidents did. Harper always was more of a back room guy; more of a planner and strategist than a leader. Despite that lack of gravitas, he appears to be moving things forward quite well in the Canadian government.

One hopes that the American conservatives can match Harper’s successes and come up with something more appealing than Giuliani because four to eight years of Hillary would mean two or three young and energized Ruth Bader Ginsburgs being added to the Supreme Court and decades of regressive, anti-Constitutional case precedent being set.

Maybe its time to send some American conservatives up to the Great White North on a fact finding mission (make sure to get your immunizations though, they hunt seals and eat cod’s tongue up there). It certainly couldn’t hurt to take a few minutes and pick Harper’s brain. He might have a few good ideas that could be used down here.

* There’s an important difference that needs to be noted here.

Reagan had an untouchable sense of enthusiasm for the country and for the American people. He also had a well-defined set of goals that he was attempting to achieve during his presidency. Reagan, through his enthusiasm and upbeat nature, just brought people along. His love for the country and his belief in the fact that there were better days ahead for the U.S. was quite simply infectious; you couldn’t help but want to join in and help the team come in for the big win.

Bill Clinton, however, was (is) just a likable guy who really didn’t look much beyond the now. His moods and direction changed as the wind blew and his focus never moved off of being popular and staying in power. With his near total lack of motivating beliefs, he could look you in the eye and tell you something 180 degrees different from what he had told you the day before and, by the shear power of his personality, could get you to forget that he was lying to you. His plans for the country never appeared to go any further than building up his own legacy. He was a liar and a cheat and you KNEW IT! But like the best used car salesman out there, he could spin a phrase, crack a smile, make a joke and you still wanted to like the guy.

So both men could lead people, but there was a decided difference in the way that they led. One led with the power of his beliefs, the other led with the power of his personality.

UPDATE – Note that I said a “few” good ideas. With stuff like this and this going on in Canada, you need to be VERY careful about which ideas you import.

You voted for it … you pay for it

Thanks to everyone out there that voted for the Democrat congress in the November election last year. With your vote, you ensured that profligate government spending would be radically increased. You may have also ensured that the tax bill for the average American family will go up by just under a few thousand dollars each year.

So much for ‘sticking it to the rich.’ Thanks to you, your Democrat Congress is actively positioning itself to stick it to anyone who earns much of anything over a basic poverty level.

The new Democratic majority today begins dancing the next phase of the tax-and-spend minuet in the House of Representatives. Following the example of their Senate brethren last Friday, House Democrats will adopt a budget resolution containing the largest tax increase in U.S. history amid massive national inattention.

Nobody’s tax payment will increase immediately, but the budget resolutions set a pattern for years ahead. The House version increases non-defense, non-emergency spending by $22.5 billion for the next fiscal year, with such spending rising 2.4 percent in each of the next three years. To pay for these increases, the resolution raises taxes close to $400 billion over five years — about $100 billion more than what the Senate passed.

It had been assumed the newly majoritarian Democrats would end President Bush’s relief in taxation of capital gains, dividends and estates. What came as a surprise was the simultaneous rollback in Bush-sponsored income tax cuts. This represents Democrats’ belief they can politically survive this long-term commitment to bigger government. Here is an audacious effort to raise the banner of fiscal responsibility while increasing spending and taxes. …

The breakdown of the bill on the House floor today (resembling the Senate version) raises taxes an average of $1,795 on 115 million taxpayers in 2011. Twenty-six million small-business owners would average $3,960 more in taxes. The decreased number of Americans actually subject to income taxes will be paying more, and 5 million low-income Americans will be returned to the rolls.

All the Democrat’s talk about fiscal responsibility is proving to be just that, talk. They’ll say anything to get elected and then they will abandon their promises in favor of paying off special interests and attempting to make the U.S. a socialist nation. With this budget, they have indicated that they are fully committed to the tax and spend mentality and that they will outdo even the most ambitious Democrat tax and spend plans from the late 70′s / early 80′s, or the Clinton administration.

More Democratic bipartisanship

One more example of the Democratic concept of “bipartisan” is coming to the fore.

To those not familiar with their redefinition of this once well understood term, it now means ‘you do exactly what we want, when we want, and how we want, and we’ll agree to call you bipartisan. If, however, you suggest anything remotely distasteful to us, we’ll use whatever power we might have to crush you, all the while screeching that you are unilateral.’

John Bolton’s troubled nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is “going nowhere,” a key Democratic senator said on Wednesday after Democrats scored big in mid-term elections.

Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, who is expected to chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee if Democratic control of the U.S. Senate is formally confirmed, told reporters:

“I never saw a real enthusiasm (for Bolton’s nomination) on the Republican side to begin with. There’s none on our side. And I think John Bolton’s going nowhere.”

The honeymoon – if there ever really was one – is over two days after the election. Watch for the Democrat’s strong arm tactics to get even worse.

Sadly, after listening to Bush’s recent press conferences, it seems that he is going to give the Dems pretty much anything they want. I hope he proves me wrong.

Time to govern

Backseat driving and criticizing every move made by the people in charge is a relatively simple endeavor. Taking charge and governing is quite another. Since we have heard little to nothing about the Democrat’s plan for governing – other than they kept claiming to have one – it’s time for them to come clean with the details of where they want to take the country. It is also time for them to figure out which side of their party they will listen to; the far-left Soros-inspired (and funded) MoveOn.org wing, or the conservative, “blue-dog” portion that actually won the election for them two days ago.

The WSJ Opinion Journal expands on this thought.

Democrats were able to exploit (Conservative) frustration even without offering much of their own agenda. While this worked in the campaign, it leaves in doubt how Democrats will use their new power. In the minority, they could assail “George Bush’s war” and threaten impeachment to mobilize their base without fear of being held responsible. Now they will have to govern. For Ms. Pelosi, this will mean deciding how much deference to give to the Great Society liberals who will soon run most House committees. Henry Waxman, David Obey, Pete Stark, Ed Markey, John Conyers, Barney Frank: These are sons of the Sixties who helped drive the Carter and Clinton Presidencies off a cliff.

They represent the soul of the Democratic House but not the desires of most voters in the 15 seats or so that provided their margin of victory on Tuesday. To sustain their majority in 2008 and beyond, Democrats will have to hold such seats as those won in eastern Pennsylvania by pro-military veterans Admiral Joe Sestak and Chris Carney, or in North Carolina by pro-life, anti-gun control Heath Shuler.

We doubt voters in those seats chose Democrats with a goal of “censuring” Mr. Bush, much less impeaching him, or because they want a tax increase or an unseemly retreat from Iraq. Flooding the Beltway with subpoenas and partisan hearings may be cathartic for the Bush-hating left, but it won’t send a signal that Democrats are different from the DeLay Republicans. If Ms. Pelosi sides with the antiwar Jack Murtha against Maryland’s moderate Steny Hoyer in the race for House Majority Leader, Republicans will be overjoyed at this signal that the old liberals are back in charge.

In the Senate, probable Majority Leader Harry Reid faces a comparable choice. His predecessor, Tom Daschle, lost the majority and later his own seat in large part because he played the role of obstructionist, especially on judges. Democrats might note that they gained Senate seats this year after having confirmed two Supreme Court Justices and taking judges off the table as a dominant election issue. At the very least, immigration and education are two areas where Democrats should be able to find common ground with Mr. Bush.

Sniping from the back row is one thing, governing is quite another. Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, you have spent the last six years showing us that you know how do the former. Now you have two years to demonstrate you are capable of the later.

Dems start off on a bipartisan note

In the wake of their claims that they would “work together in a bipartisan way for all Americans,” one top Democrat made it a whole day and a half before he started into his own special brand of civility, bridge building, and “bipartisanship.”

Rep. Charles Rangel, the incoming chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, revealed yesterday that he’s got his eye on Capitol Hill office space now held by the man he recently called a “son of a bitch” – Vice President Dick Cheney.

“Mr. Cheney enjoys an office on the second floor of the House of Representatives that historically has been designated for the Ways and Means Committee chairman,” explained Rangel, who vaulted to the top slot of the tax-writing panel – one of the most powerful in Congress – when Democrats rolled over the GOP to take control of the House.

“I talked to [future House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi about it this morning,” a giddy Rangel crowed during a news conference at his Harlem office.

“I’m trying to find some way to be gentle as I restore the dignity of that office,” chuckled Rangel. “You gotta go, you gotta go.”

Nothing like serving an eviction notice less than 48 hours after you’re voted in to instill a spirit of co-operation and collegiality.

Where have all the lawyers gone?

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democratic Party may be happy right now, but I think the biggest victory of the election had to be celebrated in the head offices of Diebold, Sequoia Systems, and ESS

What happened to all the angst and turmoil that was being expressed by the left prior to the election? Clearly, there was some serious concerns over voting machines, voting irregularities, and voter disenfranchisement before the election. However, those who were most vocal about these issues are almost entirely silent after winning the election. Where did the thousands of lawyers that the Dems had assembled go?

With the moonbats almost all saying – before the elections – that the U.S. elections were being pre-determined by Rove and the developers of voting software, or that the right had disenfranchised a significant portion of the Democratic vote, are they now going to admit that either they were dead wrong, or that Diebold fixed the election for the Dems?

Either way, this election appears to have wholly undermined the arguments of the Soros/Moore conspiracy-spouting wing of the Democratic Party.
I wonder if they will be honest enough to admit their error, or that they are now benefiting from what they have referred to as “taking their Democracy from behind?

Just wondering.

As an aside, it would probably be a good idea to buy some Diebold stock if you have some free cash.

UPDATE: Along the same theme, Rush Limbaugh just made a good point. I have not heard of a single Republican case of Post Election Stress Trauma (PEST). I wonder why the Democrats suffer from this malady in such disproportionately high numbers? Couldn’t be that it is just made up and an attempt to get special treatment, could it? Naaah!

Strange that we have not also heard of Republicans flocking en masse to the Canadian government’s immigration web site. With Harper having been elected as Prime Minister and the CPC in control of things in Canada, one would think that Republicans would be looking to flee to a more conservative country – unless of course you would need to be just short of legally insane to pull a foolish stunt like that.

Hayworth – Mitchell election may not be decided yet

UPDATE – Nov 16, 2006: Hayworth has now conceded this race. Harry Mitchell has won.

—————————-

It seems that the news of JD Hayworth’s electoral demise may be a bit premature.

JD was just on KFYI’s Barry Young show and noted that while some 140,000 ballots had been counted in Arizona’s District #5 race, there may still be as many as 100,000 more to go. The County Recorder’s office does not yet even know the exact number of absentee, mail-in, and provisional ballots that remain to be counted and the election may not be decided for another 5 days to a week.

Neither of the participants in that race, Mitchell or Hayworth, have claimed victory or conceded the race.

This means that if you are in Arizona’s 5th District and you cast a provisional ballot, you have something like 5 days to get in and get your identification confirmed. Otherwise your ballot – which is likely sitting in a box waiting to be counted – will be chucked.

CNN is hoping for a Dem Senate

Check out this screen capture from CNN.com’s election coverage and try to tell me that they aren’t hoping & praying for a Democratic Senate.
CNN's coverage of the Senate race
“C’mon people … we only need 51 … just 51 seats are needed for a majority.”

They are so thoroughly wedded to the notion of a Democratic majority that they feel a need to explain that it would take 51 Dem seats to have “a majority.” What other kind of majority could there be, than a Democratic majority?

Sen. Joe Lieberman is still Senator Lieberman

FoxNews.com is calling the Connecticut election for incumbent Joe Lieberman.

While I don’t support about 90% of the things that Lieberman is prone to voting for, I have to admit that I am happy to see him returned to the Senate. He is one of the few people out there that has been able to set aside his personal political goals for the good of the country. He has the statesmanlike attitude that many people in the Senate should be aspiring to.

It’s gotta suck being Ned Lamont right now.

Voting irregularities

For all the noise they’re making about voting irregularities, one would think that the Dems would be highly attuned to rooting it out in their own ranks. However, that does not seem to be the case. It appears that any voting irregularities that aid them in regaining power are quite alright.

Check out Red State to see a growing list of odd and questionable behavior by Democrat supporters at various voting venues.

Here’s a few good examples:

Watch for this list to grow rapidly.

Get out and vote!

No more explanations needed. Regardless of the side(s) you choose to support, if you abdicate your right to vote, you nullify your ability to complain later.

If you don’t use this opportunity to speak to those who would be your “leaders,” you should just keep your mouth shut when they do something foolish at a later date.

And to those who think that your vote won’t make any difference, remember Florida 2000. 537 votes made the difference between a Bush presidency and a Gore presidency. 537 votes!! Don’t tell me your vote can’t make a difference, it does and it could be the difference between Hastert and Pelosi sitting as the Speaker of the House.

GO VOTE!!!

Bad news for Dems

No doubt many in the Democratic Party are losing some sleep over this latest polling information from the folks at Pew.

The last Pew Research poll was taken in early October. In a month, the Democrats have lost non-minorities altogether. The gap among all whites went from +5 Democrats to +5 GOP, a ten-point swing. White females had supported Democrats by a 15-point margin and a majority (55-40), but now give the GOP a 2-point lead. The Democrats have also lost the middle class, a big problem in this election.

Households earning between $50K-$75K and $30K-$50K have both slipped to the GOP. The former switched from a 14-point margin for the Democrats to an eight-point Republican lead, while the latter has had an even more dramatic shift. Those earners had favored Democrats by 22 points, but now go Republican by 3. The Democrats even lost the tie they had with earners above $75K, and now trail there by seven. They did extend their margin for earners below $30K from 25 points to 30.

In the religious demographics, where the Democrats have tried mightily to find some traction, they also have problems. They held a thin lead (5 points) among all Protestants, but now trail by 9. Their ten-point lead among white mainline Protestants has dissipated into a tie. They lead among all Catholic, having lost three points off of an eight-point lead, but non-Hispanic Catholics now favor the GOP by 5 points, a ten-point shift.

Nod to Ed @ Captain’s Quarters.

Something for Republicans to consider

David Boaz (of the Cato Insitute) makes a good argument that the Republican Party is in danger of losing its share of the Libertarian vote. As the Republicans continue to move away from the Reagan conservative model by increasing spending, pushing hard on social issues, ignoring the immigration issue, and generally supporting “compassionate” (read big government) solutions to pretty much any and every challenge that we face, they will also lose a huge chunk of the so-called independent and libertarian vote.

Republican candidates are pulling out all the stops to bring disgruntled conservative voters home on Election Day. Dozens of conservative talk show hosts were invited to the White House to interview Vice President Cheney, political adviser Karl Rove and other top officials.

President Bush and his colleagues are telling voters that no matter how unhappy they are with Republicans, they’ll like Democrats even less.

But evidence from around the country suggests that even if the conservatives come home to the Republican Party, the GOP could still lose Congress by losing libertarian voters.

Take a look at independent voters. There are more of them than before, especially in the West. More than 25 percent of Arizona voters now register as independent or third-party voters. And according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, they’ve shifted sharply toward the Democrats in this fall’s elections.

But independents haven’t fallen in love with the Democrats. They seem to be motivated more by dissatisfaction with Republicans than enthusiasm for Democrats. A New York Times-CBS News poll found that 58 percent of independents would prefer that candidates run without party labels at all. In that regard they reflect the views of the entire electorate. A recent Gallup Poll found that by 48 to 45 percent, Americans would like to see a new major party, up from 56 to 40 against a new party in 2003.

I personally cannot understand how anyone who claims to hold libertarian views could ever seriously consider casting a vote for the Democrat’s “plans” to,

  • turf the Bush tax cuts (and increase your personal income taxes by several thousand per year),
  • ‘stay the course’ on the hemorrhaging Social Security program,
  • cut & run in the War on Terror – so the radical islamist fascists can redirect their efforts to the United States,
  • reducing spending on the miltary – so we won’t be able to deal with the islamists when they start attacking here at home,
  • replace the barriers to interagency communication in the intelligence agencies – so the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI can only guess at what the other guys are doing
  • pushing for big-government fixes to health care coverage issues
  • piling on environmental regulations to stop any form of development or energy exploration,
  • increasing the already outrageous spending levels we see with the Bush administration,
  • welcoming tens of millions more illegal aliens (with driver’s licenses, subsidized housing, welfare, social programs, “free” health care, “free” education, and the “right” to vote)
  • hack away at the Second Amendment
  • move the government toward a San Fransisco-style socialism

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. If you hold up the Republican willingness to dally in the social issues as a reason to not vote for Republicans, that’s fair enough (if you’re willing to chuck your vote in the trash over a single issue) I suppose. However, the litany of anti-libertarian/pro-big government sentiment that is accepted as “mainstream” in the contemporary Democratic Party should have any serious libertarian tearing their hair out in frustration. I would think that this reality would encourage people to push toward the Libertarians, rather than the Democrats though.

For example, in the Arizona 6th District, I was personally tired of Jeff Flake (who had promised that after his last win, he would not seek re-election and who has openly supported the “comprehensive” amnesty for illegals that Bush has pushed so hard) and went with the Libertarian challenger, Jason Blair. I wanted to vote for Ernest Hancock as Secretary of State, but a quick look at his web site gave me a sick feeling in my stomach (the guy is actually pushing the “Diebold is stealing elections” and “9-11 was an inside job” theories on his election web site and I can’t support that type of conspiracy theory fringe lunacy), so I was forced to support Jan Brewer. I had seriously considered voting for Hess, but the slight (slight, slight) chance that Munsil could unseat Janet – lets give driver’s licenses to illegals- Napolitano forced me to support him.

I understand the frustration with the Republicans because they are certainly not living up to the Reagan legacy. However, the possibility that my vote could institute diehard socialists like Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers, Alcee Hastings, and Charlie Rangel into positions of power in the House makes my skin crawl. Cutting off your nose, to spite your face can hardly be considered an intelligent policy strategy.

Stuk in Irak

Classic rebuttal from the uneducated boobs who were so silly as to get “stuck in Iraq.” (right Mr. Kerry)
the trups r stuk in Irak
Via Drudge