Daily Archives: January 28, 2010

What I said

Obama’s lie about wanting to reward the hard working and responsible is best exposed by this poor bastard’s complaint from Oregon, which just pushed up taxes on its own hard working citizens:

Public Sector v. Private Sector   [Stephen Spruiell]

An Oregonian responds to my piece on the recent tax increases there:

“As a lifetime resident of Oregon, small business owner and one of the earners this new tax increase will affect I read your article and thought something is missing.What is missing is that Oregon is one of the states that is at the forefront of turning the Public sector against the Private sector.

As the private sector has continued to shrink here, the public sector has continued to grow. What we are left with is a continual monopoly of liberal democrats in power at the state and local level and a populace that is dependent on the income of the few to pay for the expenses of the many.

Every year or two a new tax is proposed, sometimes they pass, sometimes they don’t, but mostly they pass. It is so frustrating as a person that works 60-70 hours per week to see this. I see this latest vote as the final proof that the public sector now has control of this state.”

That’s the trend, and not just in Oregon. As our editorial on the SOTU noted, “The proposal to forgive student-loan debt on special terms for people who go into ‘public service’ typifies this administration’s attitude toward the economy: Producing wealth is less noble than rearranging it.”



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Racial Progress

J.P. Morgan names Black vice – chairman.

Chris Matthews feels the tingle up his leg: “Listening to him, I forgot he was Black!”

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Feingold unhappy with Alito

“He was supposed to sit there and take it”, the Senator  wails. On a brighter note, Wisconsin is unhappy with Feingold: latest poll shows Tommy Thompson leading him 47-43%. Bye bye, Russ.

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Ann Coulter on Wall Street bailouts

A reader sent me this link. I’ll admit to never having read the woman’s work before but I see that I was missing out on some smart writing. Read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

Can’t we at least get a toaster?

In the wake of the Massachusetts Miracle last week (“The other Boston Massacre”), President Obama adopted a populist mantle, claiming he was going to “fight” Wall Street. It was either that or win another Nobel Peace Prize.

Now the only question is which Goldman Sachs crony he’ll put in charge of this task.

If Obama plans to hold Wall Street accountable for its own bad decisions, it will be a first for the Democrats.

For the past two decades, Democrats have specialized in insulating financial giants from the consequences of their own high-risk bets. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs alone have been rescued from their risky bets by unwitting taxpayers four times in the last 15 years.

Bankers get all the profits, glory and bonuses when their flimflam bets pay off, but the taxpayers foot the bill when Wall Street firms’ bets go bad on — to name just three examples — Mexican bonds (1995), Thai, Indonesian and South Korean bonds (1997), and Russian bonds (1998).

As Peter Schweizer writes in his magnificent book Architects of Ruin"": “Wall Street is a very far cry from the arena of freewheeling capitalism most people recall from their history books.” With their reverse-Midas touch, the execrable baby boom generation turned Wall Street into what Schweizer dubs “risk-free Clintonian state capitalism.”

Apropos of the Clintonian No-Responsibility Era, Goldman Sachs and Citibank became heavily invested in Mexican bonds after a two-day bender in Tijuana in the early ’90s. Any half-wit could see that “investing” in the dog track would be safer than investing in a corrupt Third World government controlled by drug lords.

But precisely because the bonds were so risky, bankers made money hand-over-fist on the scheme — at least until Mexico defaulted.

With Mexico unable to pay the $25 billion it owed the big financial houses, Clinton’s White House decided the banks shouldn’t be on the hook for their own bad bets.

Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, former chairman of Goldman, demanded that the U.S. bail out Mexico to save his friends at Goldman. He said a failure to bail out Mexico would affect “everyone,” by which I take it he meant “everyone in my building.”

Larry Summers, currently Obama’s National Economic Council director, warned that a failure to rescue Mexico would lead to another Great Depression. (Ironically, Summers’ current position in the Obama administration is “Great Depression czar.”)

Republicans in Congress said “no” to Clinton’s Welfare-for-Wall-Street plan.

It’s not as if this hadn’t happened before: In 1981, Reagan allowed Mexico to default on tens of billions of dollars in debt — Mexico claimed the money was “in my other pair of pants” — leaving Wall Street to deal with its own bad bets.

As Larry Summers expected, this led like night into day to the Great Depression we experienced during the Reagan years … Wait, that never happened.

At congressional hearings on Clinton’s proposed Mexico bailout a decade later, Republicans Larry Kudlow, Bill Seidman and Steve Forbes all denounced the plan to save Goldman Sachs via a Mexican bailout.

So the Clinton administration did an end run around the Republicans in Congress and rescued improvident Wall Street bankers by giving Mexico a $20 billion line of credit directly from the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund.

Relieved of any responsibility for their losing bets, Wall Street firms leapt into buying other shaky foreign bonds. Soon the U.S. taxpayer, through the International Monetary Fund, was propping up bonds out of South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, then Russia — all to save Goldman Sachs.

The IMF could have saved itself a lot of paperwork by just sending taxpayer money directly to Goldman, but I think they’re saving that for Obama’s second term.

Throughout every bailout, congressional Republicans were screaming from the rooftops that this wasn’t capitalism. It was “Government Sachs.” As Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) put it, the same rules that apply to welfare mothers “ought to apply to rich Greenwich, Conn., investors who are multimillionaires.”

But Wall Street raised a lot of money for the Democrats, so Clinton bailed them out, over and over again.

Before you knew it, once-respectable Wall Street institutions were buying investment products even more ludicrous than Mexican bonds: They were buying the mortgages of Mexican strawberry-pickers.

Why shouldn’t Wall Street trust in suicidal loans no sane person would ever imagine could be paid back? Time after time, when their bets paid off, they pocketed huge fees; when their bets failed, they sent the bill to the taxpayers.

With nothing to fear, the big financial houses bought, repackaged and resold investment products that included loans like the one issued by Washington Mutual to non-English-speaking strawberry pickers earning a combined $14,000 a year to purchase a $720,000 house.

But the financial wizards on Wall Street were trading these preposterous loans as if they were bars of gold. They may as well have bet the entire U.S. economy on a dice game in an alley off 44th Street.

Every mortgage-backed security bundle was infected with suicidal, politically correct loans that had been demanded by community organizers such as Barack Obama — as is thoroughly documented in Schweizer’s book.

On the off chance that mammoth mortgages to people who could barely afford food somehow went bad, Wall Street firms could be confident that their Democrat friends would bail them out.

Even the Republicans would have to bail them out this time: They had strapped the dynamite of toxic loans onto the entire economy and were threatening to pull the clip. Wall Street had infected every financial institution in the country, including completely innocent banks.

But now Obama says he’s going to “fight” Wall Street, which is as plausible as claiming he’ll “fight” the trial lawyers.

As Schweizer demonstrates, whenever the Democrats “regulate” Wall Street, the innocent pay through the nose, while Wall Street swine lower than drug dealers and pornographers end up with multimillion-dollar bonuses so they can run for governor of New Jersey and fund lavish Democratic fundraisers in the Hamptons.

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Who believes this s**t?

Obama, down in Florida, giving away my money: “We’re not going to quit until hard work and responsibility are rewarded”. To the contrary, it’s laziness and irresponsibility that is rewarded under the current governmental scheme and I’m pretty sure everyone knows that, so why does he say the opposite?

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232 Riverside Avenue sells

A not-bad re-do, several years old, listed at $2.7, is now under contract.

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Ole’s Creek

17 Hendrie Drive was first listed for $7.1 million, a silly price, even though, as creek neighbor, I cheered it on. It sold yesterday for $4.250, a huge premium over its assessed value of $2.7 million, and an inspiration for all of us with creek-front property. Brian Tunney of Cleveland, Duble & Arnold had the listing.

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Wall Street Democrats

Buying protection.

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Advocate for the poor

So who needs a blanket?

Obama doubles duties on Chinese electric blankets.

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Lower Lake Avenue

69 Lake Avenue

This 1795 house, just to the east of the Lake Avenue rotary, was originally listed at $2.650 million back in 2007. It’s now been rented, at $7,00 0 a month, through January, 2012, and you can buy it for $1.925. Your call.

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Rip off, orchestrated and approved by our town manager, Tesei

The list is out on the best-paid public employees and atop the pile is:

Lt. Mark Kordick earned $207,672 for the year, including $101,382 in overtime.”It was money well spent,” said police Chief David Ridberg, who was 15th on the list at $161,903. “It was one of the biggest things we’ve ever been involved in.”

Ridberg said Kordick put in 16-hour days, seven days a week from October through New Year’s overseeing the transition, which he described as seamless.

Nothing against Mr. Kordick, who clearly spent many long hours and produced a good result, but a reader points out that real construction managers earn maybe $100,000 a year -n0 overtime, and no pension based on a $207,000 salary. We are such chumps.

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We all weep for Haiti, but what about our own?

The WSJ reports on the miserable conditions of the Lakota Sioux in South Dakota.

A tiny tribe of Lakota Sioux has been battling wind, rain and subzero temperatures this week as ice storms lash one of the U.S.’s poorest communities and leave thousands without electricity, heat or drinking water.

“There’s been winters this bad before, but not with rain so bad it freezes the power lines and snaps the poles,” said Joseph Brings Plenty, the 38-year old chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, whose reservation lies about 200 miles northeast of Rapid City, S.D. The tribal chairman said 500 power lines were brought down in a blizzard in November, and that between 2,000 and 3,000 more have been lost since Friday from ice storms.The Cheyenne River tribe is made up of four of the seven bands of Lakota Sioux Indians in the Dakotas, whose reservations also include the Pine Ridge, Standing Rock and Rosebud bands. Power-line damage across all reservations may exceed 5,000 downed poles, which tribal authorities said may take weeks or months for utility companies to repair.”

With just 10,000 residents spread across 2.8 million acres, many Cheyenne River families depend on electricity transmitted across hundreds of empty miles to run pumps for drinking water, or to power the ignition modules on natural-gas and propane heaters.


The Cheyenne River tribe has for years asked Congress for funds to restore its ancient water system, which Mr. Brings Plenty said was decades overdue for an upgrade. The total cost would be about $65 million, which may be hard to raise in Washington in the current budget-cutting atmosphere. Some tribal members lamented the chaos, and how hard the current generation of Sioux was finding life on their native ground.”A long time ago there were tough Lakota people who knew how to survive. Their teepees were pretty warm, too,” said Mr. Brings Plenty. “Times have changed, and the people have changed, too.”

I’m no fan of government spending but if we’re going to spend money at all, it would be nice if we remembered the people we displaced when we made the United States.

UPDATE: Who are the Lakotas? Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud – my heros when I was a small boy. Red Cloud’s best line: “They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it”

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Yesterday’s two biggest disappointments

Apple’s Maxi-Pad and Obummer’s State of the Union speech. Of the two, there’s hope for the pad – it might grow into something cool. Not so our President’s stump speech, which demonstrates that he still thinks he’s running for office against Bush and hasn’t realized that he is now, in fact, in charge. He never will.

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Chris Shays would like to run for Governor

He’s considering it, and we could do worse. What other politician do you know who could spend thirty years in Washington and still have to admit that the biggest obstacle to running is the financial blow he’d take if he and his wife had to quit their jobs to campaign? The man was far more liberal than I’d prefer but I’ll settle for honest – it would be such a nice change.

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Peas in a pod

Chavez orders arrest, imprisonment for judge whose ruling offended him.

Obama denounces Supreme Court in State of the Union speech, demands Congressional action.

Separated at birth? Nah, just two thugs, each taking control of a country.

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