Archive for September 18th, 2008

September 18, 2008

Video: McCain Ad on Franklin Raines

More on Raines’ role in the mortgage crisis.

September 18, 2008

Lohan vote still in play?

As noted here Monday, washed-up former child star and current rehab refugee Lindsay Lohan announced her pro-Obama politics on her MySpace page by denouncing Sarah Palin as a “a narrow minded, media obsessed homophobe.”

It turns out, however, that narrow-minded homophobia is bipartisan. Team Obama doesn’t want support from a nude-photo-posing ex-Disney moppet with mental health issues and a butch DJ girlfriend:

Lindsay Lohan wanted to stump for Barack Obama, but was turned down with a polite ”thanks, but no thanks,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The trouble-prone actress offered to host a series of events aimed at younger voters, but the Democratic presidential candidate’s camp wasn’t interested, the paper says.
Lohan ”is not exactly the kind of high-profile star who would be a positive for us,” a top source on the Obama team told the paper.

Now Lindsay’s creepy estranged father is angry:

“For Barack Obama to condemn my daughter for past indiscretions when he admitted to the exact same himself is indicative of what kind of president he would be,” Michael Lohan told Pop Tarts via e-mail on Wednesday night.
“His visions of a positive future for this country should be representative of a positive future for people as well. It is looking beyond the difficult times and letting go of the past,” Michael said. “Obviously, Obama can do this for himself and not others, when in fact a good president should have hope for all.”

This creates a major opportunity for the McCain campaign to gain support in the crucial substance-abusing breast-baring has-been starlet demographic. (Just think of all the former Nickolodeon viewers in the 18-24 voter segment.) What the GOP needs is a Starlet Outreach Coordinator who can help them increase their profile in the over-the-hill tween idol community.

But who has the right combination of political savvy and unctuous shmoozyness to fill such an important role?

Who, indeed? Once I’ve persuaded Lindsay about the advantages of eliminating the capital gains tax and bombing Iran, then I’ll get to work convincing Natalie Portman . . . then the Olsen Twins . . . . then Britney . . . I think $500 a day plus expenses should cover it. Just say the word.

September 18, 2008

Bait (sex) and switch (politics)

She’s “breaking her silence” about her husband’s adultery to get more publicity for her liberal agenda:

Elizabeth Edwards appeared Thursday morning on Capitol Hill where she discussed the need for heathcare reform in front of the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on Health. Edwards veered from her prepared remarks to attack Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain on his healthcare policy.
“Neither one of us would be insured under his healthcare plan,” she told the committee, an attack she has used frequently against the Arizona Senator, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2000.
“I do think that Sen. McCain’s policy does focus excessively on providing a lower cost policy without at the same time guaranteeing a basic level of coverage in that policy or addressing the scope of inclusion for all Americans,” Edwards elaborated.

She is, if nothing else, amazingly consistent. All she has ever cared about is politics.

September 18, 2008

Palin hacker ID’d?

UPDATED & BUMPED: Eric Dondero has much more background, and also notes that he and I have been honored by inclusion in “the bottom layer of the right-wing noise machine,” by none other than Glenn Greenwald. Tears of joy are running down my face, like a starlet receiving her first Oscar.

UPDATE: Rusty Shackleford, who knows a thing or two about Internet sleuthing, says “the plot is getting thicker.”

PREVIOUSLY: In a thread at Free Republic and at various conservative blogs, a 20-year-old chess enthusiast with the online identity “rubico10” is being identified as a suspect in the hacking of Sarah Palin’s e-mail account.

I have no means of verifying those accusations, which might be entirely false, and thus am not naming the person. However, I will note that the person identified by these bloggers is the son of a Democratic state legislator. Should this turn out to be the case, it would rather seriously undermine the early assertion that Palin’s hacker was a non-ideological prankster.

As pointed out by Dan Riehl, information at the Register and Michelle Malkin indicates that the FBI and Secret Service should have little trouble finding the perpetrator. And since this is a high-profile federal felony investigation, I don’t think it will be long before we have full details.

September 18, 2008

How Clinton caused the current crisis

Investors Business Daily:

As soon as Clinton crony Franklin Delano Raines took the helm in 1999 at Fannie Mae, for example, he used it as his personal piggy bank, looting it for a total of almost $100 million in compensation by the time he left in early 2005 under an ethical cloud.
Other Clinton cronies, including Janet Reno aide Jamie Gorelick, padded their pockets to the tune of another $75 million.
Raines was accused of overstating earnings and shifting losses so he and other senior executives could earn big bonuses.
In the end, Fannie had to pay a record $400 million civil fine for SEC and other violations, while also agreeing as part of a settlement to make changes in its accounting procedures and ways of managing risk.
But it was too little, too late. Raines had reportedly steered Fannie Mae business to subprime giant Countrywide Financial, which was saved from bankruptcy by Bank of America.

Raines is an advisor to Barack Obama. The IBD article notes that the Clinton administration injected “steroids” into the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, a Jimmy Carter-era program to promote homeownership by the poor. Eight years ago, City Journal warned about the effects of the Clinton policy:

The Clinton administration has turned the Community Reinvestment Act . . . into one of the most powerful mandates shaping American cities — and, as Senate Banking Committee chairman Phil Gramm memorably put it, a vast extortion scheme against the nation’s banks. Under its provisions, U.S. banks have committed nearly $1 trillion for inner-city and low-income mortgages and real estate development projects, most of it funneled through a nationwide network of left-wing community groups, intent, in some cases, on teaching their low-income clients that the financial system is their enemy and, implicitly, that government. (Emphasis added.)

Hmmm. Why would the Clinton administration want to funnel a trillion bucks through “left-wing community groups”? Ah, but never mind the loaded questions. Let’s talk about the risky mortgages that are bankrupting America’s financial services sector.

The original rationale of the CRA was to counteract the old practice of “redlining,” which made it difficult for black people in poor neighborhoods to get credit. But, as City Journal explains, redlining was no longer the problem in the 1990s; the problem was people with bad credit histories:

A September 1999 study by Freddie Mac, for instance, confirmed what previous Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation studies had found: that African-Americans have disproportionate levels of credit problems, which explains why they have a harder time qualifying for mortgage money. As Freddie Mac found, blacks with incomes of $65,000 to $75,000 a year have on average worse credit records than whites making under $25,000.

Yet, under the “steroid” boost of the Clinton administration’s approach to CRA, banks were pressured to make more loans to black people, period — and credit problems be damned. OK, now we can return our attention to those “left-wing community groups.” City Journal:

By intervening — even just threatening to intervene — in the CRA review process, left-wing nonprofit groups have been able to gain control over eye-popping pools of bank capital, which they in turn parcel out to individual low-income mortgage seekers. A radical group called ACORN Housing has a $760 million commitment from the Bank of New York; the Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America has a $3-billion agreement with the Bank of America; a coalition of groups headed by New Jersey Citizen Action has a five-year, $13-billion agreement with First Union Corporation. Similar deals operate in almost every major U.S. city. Observes Tom Callahan, executive director of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, which has $220 million in bank mortgage money to parcel out, “CRA is the backbone of everything we do.”

In other words, the Clinton administration turned these activist groups into de facto mortage brokers, armed with punitive power over lending institutions, and effectively controlling vast amounts of other people’s money.

There were many factors in the mortgage-market meltdown, but the policy instituted by the Clinton administration — which put financial decision-making under the control of political activists who were unaccountable for the consequences of their decisions — is the underlying cause of it all.

Don’t expect to see this on ABC, NBC or CBS, however. The sad truth is far too politically incorrect for the MSM, which instead is engaged in its usual liberal propaganda of blaming greedy Republican capitalists for the problem.

September 18, 2008

Obama: Sic ’em!

Sending out the attack dogs:

I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.

Is it really smart strategy to tell angry liberals to start pestering their friends and neighbors? Liberals annoy me enough already without having them get in my face about what a great guy Obama is.

Be on the lookout for headlines about obnoxious Obama supporters getting punched out by their friends and neighbors.
September 18, 2008

New McCain ad

(Via Hot Air.) Accusing Obama of favoring “massive government” — so massive it might put taxpayers on the hook for an $85 billion bailout of a bankrupt insurance company. Hey, wait a minute . . .

September 18, 2008

On Obama’s tactics

Having often denounced Michael Gerson and all his earthly works, I take notice that he’s actually written something worthwhile today:

Obama’s first major decision was his running mate. He could have reinforced a message of change and moderation with a Democratic governor who wins in a Republican state, or reached for history by selecting Hillary Clinton. But his choice came soon after Russia invaded Georgia, and the conventional wisdom demanded an old hand who knew his way around Tbilisi. When the Georgia crisis faded, Obama was left with a partisan, undisciplined, congressional liberal at his side.

Gerson is talking about the irrational, improvised weathervane quality of Obama’s message operation. It’s amazing to think Obama has gotten as far as he has, and he could never have done it if the political press corps weren’t functioning as his de facto propaganda ministry.

If Obama flops in the Sept. 26 debate, though, his liberal media friends will turn on him. They’ve built him up, and if he fails to meet their expectations, they’ll tear him down. But watch how they do it — they’ll accuse him of failing to fight hard enough or trying to be too moderate. They will refuse to admit that Obama’s liberal has anything to do with his downfall.

This is an easy prediction, since it’s exactly what the liberal media did to explain away the defeats of Gore and Kerry. Liberals are always sure Democrats would triumph if only they’d nominate a really angry left-winger — a cross between Howard Dean, Huey Long, Ralph Nader and Maxine Waters.

September 18, 2008

‘Shouting down blasphemers’

Jim Treacher on Obama’s “Action Wire”:

This is a powerful politician arrogantly abusing that power to try to silence his critics . . . because he knows he can get away with it.”

Moe Lane also has thoughts on Hope and Change and Blasphemy.

September 18, 2008

Thoughts of a lazy blogger

A blog called the Trunk Report has posted a list of “The Best Conservative Blogs,” and though I’m stung by omission, I won’t seek vengeance. Yet.

I guess I could compile a list of my own favorite blogs, but the result would be nothing more than a confession of my own fathomless sloth. Basically, here’s my modus operandi:

  1. Check Memeorandum regularly — Almost anything blogworthy will show up on Memeorandum sooner or later. Usually sooner. Memeorandum links both original news articles and the most popular political blog postings. There are other blog aggregators (e.g., John Hawkins’ Conservative Grapevine), but so far, no one has built a better moustrap than the continually updated auto-aggregation of Memeorandum.
  2. Check Hot Air, Michelle Malkin and Ace of Spades — Hot Air has been the blog I read the most ever since the day it was launched. It’s very current, includes lots of links to news sources, and frequently features video clips. Malkin blogs about a lot of the issues that interest me most (immigration, media bias, culture wars) and when she gets on a big breaking story, she updates and links exhaustively, so she’s a good source for the newest material. Both Hot Air and Malkin have a very cool trackback format, as well. Ace is, on the one hand, a guilty pleasure because of his ribald humor (yes, I am a Moron); on the other hand, he is also a good legitimate source on any story he takes a strong interest in. And he has guest bloggers, so the blog tends to be updated frequently and stay up-to-date.
  3. Check to see who’s linking me — I’m pretty obsessive about checking SiteMeter, and if I notice traffic from a new link, I almost always go check whoever’s doing the linking, see what they’re saying, and add a link-back update. Often, I’ll browse around their site to see if they’ve got anything new and interesting and link that. I’m less diligent about this process than I used to be, however. Becoming lazier, mainly.
  4. Check Instapundit — OK, this is a really horrible thing for any blogger to confess, but the main reason I check Instapundit is when I send him what I think is a very good post and he doesn’t link it (i.e., about 99% of the posts I send), I go over to check what he has linked. It’s like, “OK, what’s better or more important than my stuff?” Also, something I’ve noticed recently: The way the Memeorandum algorithm works, almost any news story or political post Insty links will automatically become a Memeorandum thread. So sometimes my Memeorandum habit will lead me back to Insty.
  5. Check AmSpecBlog — I’m a contributor there, and it’s a group blog, so it’s kind of a habit and there’s often links to news items there that I can turn into posts on my own blog.
  6. Check my e-mail — I’m subscribed to zillions of e-mail loops (including the Obama campaign) and prominently post my e-mail address on the blog because I’d rather wade through a lot of junk e-mails than to risk missing a potentially important tip.

And that’s probably at least 90% of how I get my online information. I get stuff through Facebook, too, but most of that shows up as alerts in my e-mail inbox. I know a lot of bloggers read other blogs via feedreaders, but I’m just not that systematic. Also, most big bloggers are all about IMs, but AOL annoys me and IM is so memory-intensive. My e-mail and Web browsing methods may be slow and awkward compared to the IM/RSS way of doing things, but it’s just comfortable. And maybe vaguely technophobic.

Now, maybe you’re saying: “Hey, I don’t see [favorite blogger X] on your list.” But that doesn’t mean I don’t read those blogs, it just means that I usually read them via a link at one of the sources I’ve named. A hot thread at (inter alia) LGF, Red State or NRO Corner will eventually show up in one of the channels I’ve named. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of stuff by Marc Ambinder and Jennifer Rubin, for example, but mainly through links at Memeorandum.

Anyway, that’s why I can’t give you a list of my “Top 20 favorite blogs,” because that just doesn’t fit my lazy, Primitive Caveman Blogger way of doing things. Please don’t hate me for it.