December 2008


President elect Barack Obama’s first second third next scandal revolves around Illinois politics and the communications between Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and the Blagojevich administration captured on court-approved wiretaps.

While this story is still developing there are some left-wingnuts that are already calling this an old story, ready for a new non-Obama scandal,  tired of the allegations and who just want to gloss over it an move on.
blagobama
The idea being advanced is that Obama is somehow immune to bad judgment; his or from those he chose for his cabinet.  The other idea advanced is that somehow the press is now pro-Republican.  These are the same nuts who are erroneously calling president-elect Obama “President Obama” apparently not aware he has yet to be sworn into the office he has yet to occupy.

The bottom line is that the story has legs, Obama is not immune to scandal, Obama has yet to be implicated, the Republicans have nothing to do with it and the press is doing their job.  Well, sort of.   If they were, Blogo-Gate would have been uncovered long, long ago.  But then, what else can we expect from a media biased to the left?

Editorial rants from the left seem to want to blame Republicans for this with the idea Republicans want to taint Barack as just another jaded politician with graft-laced blood running through his veins. It’s laughable and paints them as being a bit intellectually lazy.

The truth is that if this scandal were to be centered around Republicans instead the left-wing out-cry would be deafening.

The story deserves to be treated with all the seriousness it rightly deserves from both sides because it cheapens and debases the political process. Any hint of graft should be vigorously investigated until a conclusion can be reached. Whether the politician is red or blue, Democrat or Republican, we do not need crooks in our public offices and they need to be removed if found to be guilty.

(AP – Tuesday, December 09, 2008)

WASHINGTON–Top executives at mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ignored warnings that they were taking on too many risky loans long before the housing market plunged, according to documents released Tuesday by a House committee.

E-mails and other internal documents released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee show that former Fannie CEO Daniel Mudd and former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron disregarded recommendations that they stay away from riskier types of loans.

“Their own risk managers raised warning after warning about the dangers of investing heavily in the subprime and alternative mortgage market. But these warnings were ignored” by the two chief executives, said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the committee’s chairman. “Their irresponsible decisions are now costing the taxpayers billions of dollars.”

The two companies were seized by government regulators in September. A month later, Freddie Mac asked for an injection of $13.8 billion in government aid after posting a massive quarterly loss. Fannie Mae has yet to request any government aid but has warned it may need to do so soon.

Lawmakers questioned Mudd about an internal Fannie Mae presentation from June 2005 that showed the company at a “strategic crossroads,” at which it could either delve into riskier loans or focus on more secure ones.

Questioned about the presentation, Mudd defended his company’s effort to compete against Wall Street banks that were pouring money into subprime and other exotic loans.

“We couldn’t afford to make the bet that the changes were not going to be permanent,” Mudd said.

Mudd and three other former executives of the two companies defended their stewardship in a hearing held by the House committee.

“It’s important to remember that Freddie and its sister institution, Fannie Mae, did not create the subprime market,” said Richard Syron, Freddie Mac’s former CEO.

But Rep. Darrell Issa, R. Calif., blasted Syron and Mudd, along with former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines, and former Freddie Mac CEO Leland Brendsel.

“All four of you seem to be in complete denial that Freddie and Fannie are in any way responsible for this. Your whole excuse for going to risky and unreasonable loans that are defaulting at an incredibly high rate is that everyone is doing it. If we don’t do it, we’ll be left out.”

Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee around half the $11.5 trillion in U.S. outstanding home loan debt. The two companies are the engines behind a complex process of buying, bundling and selling mortgages as investments.

They traditionally backed the safest loans, 30-year fixed rate mortgages that required a down payment of at least 20 percent. But in recent years, they lowered their standards, matching a decline fueled by Wall Street banks that backed the now-defunct subprime lending industry.

Republicans blame Fannie and Freddie, and homeownership policies of the Clinton administration for sowing the seeds of the financial meltdown. Democrats defend the companies’ role in encouraging homeownership and stress that Wall Street banks — not Fannie and Freddie — led the dramatic decline in lending standards.

For years the two companies flexed their lobbying muscle in Washington to thwart efforts to impose tighter regulation.

Internal Freddie Mac budget records obtained by The Associated Press show $11.7 million was paid to 52 outside lobbyists and consultants in 2006. Power brokers such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato of New York were recruited with six-figure contracts.

The more difficult questions, however, will come next year, when lawmakers weigh what role, if any, the two companies play should play in the mortgage market.

Options include taking the companies private, morphing them into a public utility or a federal agency, or leaving them as government-sponsored entities that have private shareholders and profits, with tougher regulations.

Clinton signs banking overhaul measure

November 12, 1999

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The biggest change in the nation’s banking system since the Great Depression became law Friday, when President Bill Clinton signed a measure overhauling federal rules governing the way financial institutions operate.

“This legislation is truly historic and it indicates what can happen when Republicans and Democrats work together in a spirit of genuine cooperation,” Clinton said at a White House signing ceremony. The event brought together the president and several Republican members of Congress who have been among Clinton’s sternest critics — a sign of the bipartisan support that eventually developed for the package.

Congress passed the bipartisan measure November 5, opening the way for a blossoming of financial “supermarkets” selling loans, investments and insurance. Proponents had pushed the legislation in Congress for two decades, and Wall Street and the banking and insurance industries had poured millions of dollars into lobbying for it in the past few years.

“The world changes, and Congress and the laws have to change with it,” said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm (R-Texas), who has fought for years for the overhaul. Gramm said the bill would improve banking competition and stability.

“This is a bill that is bipartisan, bicameral and tri-institutional,” said Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), chairman of the House Banking and Financial Services Committee. He noted that the House, Senate and White House had worked together on the compromise that became law.

Clinton said the measure will “save consumers billions of dollars a year through enhanced competition.” He said it also would protect consumers’ rights and require banks to expand the availability of funds for community development.

At stake is an estimated $350 billion that Americans spend annually on fees and commissions for banking, brokerage and insurance services. Proponents say the legislation will save consumers some $15 billion each year, offering them greater choice and convenience and spurring competition. Consumer groups and other opponents maintain it will bring higher prices and jeopardize consumers’ financial privacy.

The overhaul measure is one of the few major pieces of bipartisan legislation to emerge from the Republican-controlled Congress this year.

Clinton’s support for the legislation comes despite warnings from Democratic critics and consumer activists that it could lead to price-gouging of consumers and the erosion of their privacy by newly formed financial conglomerates that are too big and powerful.

“The bill is anti-consumer and anti-community,” advocate Ralph Nader declared. “It will mean higher prices and fewer choices for low-, moderate- and middle-income families across the nation.”

In addition, he said, “Personal privacy will be virtually eliminated” under provisions allowing affiliated businesses of the newly merged companies to share customers’ personal financial data as they offer one-stop shopping.

And up until a few weeks ago, the Clinton Administration itself had threatened a veto of the legislation as it took various forms that raised a series of White House objections. In recent months, the administration objected most sharply to the issue of rules requiring that banks make loans in minority and low-income communities where they operate.

Gramm, an outspoken conservative who opposes the rules, last year managed to kill a similar bill that would have overhauled the community lending laws. The White House insisted that banks be required to have a strong track record in local loan-making as a condition for being allowed to expand into other financial activities.

The big breakthrough came in the wee hours of October 22 when administration officials — including Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers — and key Republican lawmakers reached a compromise after negotiating for days behind closed doors. The White House then lifted its longstanding veto threat.

“It was sweaty, it was tense, but it had momentum,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) said of the final bargaining session. He and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) whose states are home to Wall Street and the banking industry (New York) and the insurance industry (Connecticut), helped broker the agreement.

Sen. Chris Dodd called on the CEO of General Motors to be replaced if the auto company is to receive any bailout money from the federal government.

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd called on a top auto executive to resign in exchange for bailout money from the federal government.

Dodd said General Motors’ chief executive officer Rick Wagoner — who has been with GM since 1977 — should be replaced if the faltering auto company is to receive any money from the government.

“I think he has to move on,” the Democratic senator said of Wagoner during an interview Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“If you are really going to restructure this, you’ve got to bring in a new team to do this,” he said.

Dodd also said he is hopeful Congress will pass a short-term $15 billion aid package for the automakers in the next several days. But the Connecticut Democrat says the companies should have to restructure if they want a more significant bailout from Congress next year.

He added that the companies need quick cash to avoid collapse in the next several weeks. But over the long-term, Dodd said Chrysler probably ought to merge with another company.

Dodd said Ford is the healthiest of the Big Three U.S. automakers.

—-

ED:

If Dodd’s reasoning for calling upon a top auto executive to resign his position as head of a faltering company rests on claims of mismanagement, incompetency, dereliction of duty, lack of vision, failing to accurately gauge and correct failed policies, then for the same reasons Dodd should likewise resign his position as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Dodd’s leadership and failed policies for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac served to usher in the credit debacle tax-payers are to pay for.

In my opinion, both Dodd and Barney Frank are at the top of the pyramid and both should be the first in the long line of many Democrats (please give me a name of a Republican – an no, Bush does not count) to be removed from office.

If Dodd wants accountability from auto company leadership we should all be screaming from the mountain tops for Dodd’s and Frank’s heads.

We should show no mercy two years from now.

It appears many ignorant people helped.

Congressman Bobby L. Rush, Representing Illinois’ 1st Distict, called on Gov. Rod Blagojevich to name a black man or woman to the seat.

The Illinois governor has said he plans to name the replacement by the end of the year. That person would serve out the remaining two years of Obama’s term.Bobby Rush Surgery

“We don’t want (Blagojevich) to short-circuit the will and the wisdom of the state of Illinois,” Rush told FOXNews.com, after holding a press conference in Chicago announcing his petition drive for the governor to name a black candidate. As we speak, there are no African Americans in the Senate. (Blagojevich) has the power to put one there.”

ED:

Who in hell is Mr. Rush to decide this should be / is a race issue.

Let a white guy say this and not only is his career over but Jessie Jackson et. al. will be crying loud and long about how this country has not made any progress on racial issues.

The hypocrisy is enough to make me want to puke.

One other thing. Now that America has voted a black man into the office, can we finally say that racism has finally taken a back seat on this bus?  After all, without the white vote he never would have made it.

Apparently Mr Rush is himself a racist.

Of all groups, the black community should be the group to be setting the bar. All I can hear now is “clang-a-lang-lang”.

Awesome.