Last Day to Register!

October 6,2008-PA

Today is the last day to register to vote in PA for this election.  Unlike Ohio,  where you can show up unannounced and look like a citizen of Ohio, in PA we have laws about citizenship and residency.  So register today and be counted! 

www.johnmccain.com– print the form, take it to your post office and postmark it today!

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Biden’s Kitchen Table Looks Good in Palin’s House

Joe Biden’s America revolves around the kitchen table.  It is a metaphor I can relate to having a large family.  Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, brothers, nephews, nieces and in-laws are all part of my life.  When we get together the discussions are always centered at the kitchen table.  They might be serious or benign but they happen while indulging in a variety of comfort foods and drinks.  It is something I think of as unique despite it’s relative commonness. After tonight’s debate, however, I think Joe needs a new metaphor.

In tonight’s VP debate, Sarah Palin took over the issue of the “kitchen table”.   In a classic move that few will herald,  Palin looked through the camera to Americans everywhere and told them why she should be Vice President.  She became, once again and without editing, the candidate we all can relate to in our homes.  When she talked about not having health insurance or being a member of the proverbial middle class or even when she talked about her own family, Palin was talking about the last decade, slightly more.  Palin was able to connect over that kitchen table with America.  She was able to show through her own experience that as VP she would understand, in  a way Joe Biden never could, what Americans are going through. 

Joe Biden filled our ears with memories of a time in Scranton, a place he needs a GPS to find yet claims kinship with.  He told the yarn about his dad’s lack of work in Scranton.  He touched us all briefly with the story about his wife’s death but that is as close as he got to getting to the kitchen table.  His experience with the proverbial middle class is experience he internalized when he observed his dad losing his job or  encounters with blue collar Americans while on the campaign trail.  Biden, and Obama, filled their kitchen table with promises for America but lack the personal insight to fulfill these promises in a meaningful way. 

I know that I will be seeing my family soon enough and I will once again gather with them at the kitchen table when that time comes.  I don’t know when Biden and Palin will once again have time to sit around their kitchen tables and discuss family matters.  But I do know that when Biden hits the campaign trail again tomorrow, his bus will be a little bit lighter.  Palin’s performance tonight gave her a clear victory and I can’t help but wonder if she put his kitchen table next to the lipstick she stole from Obama.

“Don’t Worry Joe, I’m Here” Says Eiffel

Tonight’s Vice Presidential debate has the potential to continue the bias the media has towards Barack Obama.  With GwennEiffel as the moderator tonight, the media has another shot at taking down Sarah Palin despite her clear monetary stake in this election, I believe Eiffel should be retained as moderator. 

You can’t argue that Eiffel’s book, entitled “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama”, is not laudatory manuscript towards Obama.  The title is dripping with bias.  In addition her coverage of Palin has been anything but objective.  During the RNC, Eiffel reported on Palin’s speech from the floor of the convention by saying that it belittled Obama and his work in Chicago.  These two items alone would be grounds enough for a lawyer, judge or jury member to recuse themselves from any trial proceedings, yet Eiffel is still in place.   

As moderator,  look for Eiffel to ask the readiness question of both Biden and Palin.  If it is directed or redirected at Palin look for Eiffel to say something about her relative inexperience in the world compared to Biden’s 36 years of experience in the Senate.  Look for underhanded comments about Russia’s relevance to Alaska and praise for Biden’s trips abroad on the taxpayer’s dime.  And look for questions of family as Eiffel tries to show that Joe Biden put his family first when he was a new Senator while pointing out (slyly) that Palin will not be around much for her kids as VP. 

Keep Eiffel in as moderator, despite her clear bias.  Joe Biden knows he has home court advantage tonight, a situation Palin can clearly take advantage of to come from behind  and win.

Pointing Fingers-An Old Game Repackaged

Why did this bailout bill fail?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Senator Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Chris Dodd’s complete lack of leadership.  The Democrats control both houses of Congress yet they can not muster enough votes to pass what they see as an extremely important piece of legislation.  Senator McCain brought in over 60 Republicans on this issue when he was in Congress over the weekend.  Senator Obama called in his support but made little effort to support this legislation, instead relying on his Monday morning quarterbacking skills to praise or denounce the bailout vote, whichever was needed politically.  Chris Dodd, Speaker Pelosi and Barney Fife, I mean Frank, could not even get their members to agree on this bill, choosing instead to blame others for its failure.
  2. Politics. I don’t mean Presidential here either.  The Democrats wanted to be able to blame the Republicans for passing this bill.  13 of 19 Democrats who are in tight races across the country voted against this bill AFTER they saw the Republicans voting against it.  If it passed with Republicans putting it over the top, the Democrats would run stories and ads about how they didn’t really want the bill.
  3. Wall Street.  When the bill’s passage seemed certain stocks looked good.  However oil prices shot through the roof on speculation that consumers would have a lifeline to borrow from this winter to pay for oil.  As the bill failed stocks fell.  And now faced with the possibility that consumers could not afford to pay for oil this winter, oil prices fell to under $100 a barrel.  Wall street traders and speculators were once again left to find their own solutions and face the fact that they may lose money this year.
  4. The American People.  Finally enough of us woke up and said ENOUGH!, let Wall Street fail, we’ll cut back, we don’t need all this credit.  Unfortunately, there is little we can do to prevent eventual passage and we will have to swallow a $700 billion dollar pill in order to save a couple bucks, and I do mead about $2, in our 401K accounts.
  5. World Markets.  They need this just as much as our market.  They hold many of these bad debts and don’t want to lose money on them either.  Yes, Asian and European markets will get some of this $700 billion.  But as they begged for us to pass a bailout to save their economies, the people of these countries continued to rally against America and it’s trade policies.  Perhaps some of our Representatives finally realized that not all of $700 billion will go to Americans.
  6. Stupid Partisan Speeches.  Only one party to blame here and it is the Democrats.  When Speaker Pelosi stood up and said that Bush and his “right wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation” was to blame for this bailout, she effectively killed the legislation and allowed Republicans to not only make a stand but also push for more insurance on deposits and other provisions they wanted in the bill.
  7. Lastly, the Media.  America is at the beginning of a recession.  However so far it is the mildest recession in our nation’s history.  Today my newspaper reported a jobless rate of 6.1%.  When I moved back here 10 years ago the jobless rate was hovering between 8-10%.  Wages have gone up steadily until recently and it was only after the minimum wage bill passed in PA (now 7.25/hr)  and the Congress that unemployment stated to rise because small employers could not afford the increase.  By the way out of their laundry list of promises they made when they were regaining control of Congress, the minimum wage adjustment is the only one that has passed.  All of the others (think Iraq) have failed or not even been discussed out of committee.  Yet the media continues to prey on the fears of all of us and attaches stories about the Great Depression to discussions on the bailout.  Perhaps they played their monster in the closet card one too many times this week. 

In the end the result of the bill was the same- Republicans are to blame for the economy, according to Democrats.  If it passed it would have been a Republican President and Congressional Republicans who forced it on every one of us.  The news article in my issue of the Time Leader would have read ” Rather than repudiating their President for this mess, Republicans chose to support their President’s failed economic policies.”.  When it failed it was the Republicans who killed it because they did not support their President.  As the Times Leader paraphrased Barney Fife, oops again, Frank today  “Rather than a repudiation of Democrats…Republican’s refusal of the bailout was a rejection of their President.”  

I still hold to the fact that all Americans are to blame for this situation and not any one party.  Certainly rules were relaxed and it started when Clinton was in office and continued through Bush, but Americans did not have to accept money we could not pay back.  Case in point.  When I bought my house I was approved for a mortgage up to $150,000.  After laughing my ass off because I knew that the mortgage company had been drinking while doing these numbers, I chose to go with a mortgage I knew I could afford.  There are many others who took the full amount, thinking they could or would be able to afford it and are facing foreclosure because of that decision.  That’s not the fault of your leaders.

Cancer Survivors Need Not Apply!

In case you missed it, Brave New Films released a new ad against John McCain.  This ad questions John McCain’s health as a survivor of cancer.  Showing the scarred face of McCain, the ad actually questions if he is able to lead the nation because he had several bouts with melanoma.  What’s more is that this ad has some loose ties to Howard Dean, the chairman of the DNC.  

And they say McCain’s tactics are politics as usual!  As usual the media fails to talk about the underhanded tactics being used against McCain. 

http://news.aol.com/political-machine/2008/09/29/does-mccain-med-records-ad-go-too-far/?icid=200100397x1210712718x1200650301

Obama Plants ACORN Seed, Leaves Town and Forgets to Tell Pelosi To Water It!

The ACORN provision in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Bill of 2008 looks to be dead along with several other provisions that would have clouded the bill.  As it stands now, the bill may have a chance of passing both houses of Congress relatively clean.  If no amendments are sought this bill could pass by Tuesday or Wednesday.  If either house seeks more, it could delay a vote until later in the week. 

As I mentioned earlier, the bill does have a provision that John McCain sought in his economic plan for America.  The HOPE for homeowners provision found in Section 110 of the bill (page 26 of 110), and Section 124 ( pg 69) provides for the opportunity to refinance principal or interest rates on mortgages, thus slowing the rate of foreclosures and giving homeowners time, if they want, to find an alternative to foreclosure.  Provisions were made for more oversight which Senator McCain has been calling for since 2006 (see comments of May 25,2006 in previous post).  Additionally,  executive compensation was also curtailed in the bill, a provision both candidates sought. 

Absent from the bill is a mandate Senator Obama wanted that would have given trial judges the right to adjust mortgages during hearings.  This provison would have allowed trial lawyers to bulk up their briefcases with new cases to protect the ‘innocent’ from the big corporations.  Also absent is the provision that unions would have had access to corporate board meetings, a dangerous and unsettling proposition that would have given unions even more influence in politics and business.  Also to the dismay of Senator Obama, the bill lacks even one mention of the words ‘middle class’.  Perhaps Senator Obama could have fought for these provisoons harder had he been in Washington this weekend instead of “calling in” his support. 

Pelosi,Reid, Dodd and Frank all stood up to take credit for this bill and divert blame to Bush even before the ink was dry on this bill.  Obama didn’t even wait for ink to be on the bill before he took credit (see previous post).  But it House Republicans who stood up and killed many of the provisions that would have delayed the bill.  Provisions like the one that funded ACORN and other groups would have made this bill worthless. 

No matter who claims ultimate victory on this bill, I still say the real loser is personal responsibility.  Because for those of us who struggle,  yet continue,  to pay a mortgage and bills on time and who seek personal solutions to economic challenges, this bill will do little.  But for those who failed to act or were unwilling to act when they saw trouble ahead, this bill will probably buy them more time to consider their mistakes before either acting responsibly or repeating them.  If the former is true for these people than the bill will have been a good risk.  If the latter turns out to be true however, I hope our leaders will have the sense to say ENOUGH! and allow them to fall as far and as hard as they must. 

http://financialservices.house.gov/essa/ayo08c04_xml.pdf

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/28/bailout-deal-reached/

Everbody’s Working For the Weekend (Well, Almost)

“Throughout the entire debate, he didn’t say the words “middle class.” Not once.”——Barack Obama talking about John McCain while praising himself for Friday night. 

I can’t say it enough.  Unfortunately for Senator Obama, actions speak louder than words.  John McCain was in Washington, not as part of a campaign stop but as a member of the 110th Congress, since last Friday working on what has become known as the “Emergeny Economic Stabilization Act of 2008”.   Senators Obama and Biden chose to disregard their duties as members of this Congress and continue their campaign stops. 

It is ironic that McCain can be/will be labeled ‘out of touch’ even though he is the only member of Congress currently running for President who could speak to the provisions BEFORE it hit the Internet.  It is also ironic that if Pres. Bush signs and Senator McCain votes for this bill, Senator McCain’s support  will be portrayed as ‘voting with Bush’ by the Obama campaign despite the presumed need for the bill by both parties. 

It’s 3am. America is facing an economic crisis.  The phone rings. Who do you want on the other end?  John McCain who is already working on a solution?  Or Barack Obama who gave specific instructions to his advisors to call only if he was needed?  On November 4, you decide!

It’s a Matching Test

Let me get this straight.  John McCain is a Washington insider who can’t get things done or reform Washington as President because he is controlled by lobbysists and special interest groups.  But Joe Biden, the Congressman from Delaware for 36 years, has a vast knowledge of foreign policy experience that will help lead the country in a new direction around the world. 

Barack Obama is a Washington outsider who represents the change that we need because he has not been influenced by the lobbyists etc… and will lead the reform of Washington as he did in Chicago as a community organizer then in Illinois as a Senator.  But Sarah Palin is too inexperienced to be in Washington and does not have enough experience to effectively reform Washington because she has never worked in the halls of government there.  Her reforms in Alaska were meaningless because she was mayor of a small town and is only a first term Governor who has not been tested. 

Sen John Kerry and many other Democrats have lost me in this reasoning.  Is it the Biden/Obama ticket against the McCain/Palin ticket?  Please, I need a liberal to help me understand this convoluted reasoning.

While John McCain was in Washington trying to pull a bailout bill together, Senator Obama tried to take credit for the bill by saying, from the campaign trail, that he was involved and pushing hard for provisions that protected taxpayers that were not in the original bill. What are these provisions exactly?  As usual Senator Obama did not give specifics. 

One of these provisions might be the requirement that the government try to renogotiate bad mortgages and lower monthly payements for homeowners that are in trouble so that they can keep their homes.  This sounds a lot like McCain’s HOME plan that is defined specifally in his JOBS FOR AMERICA plan on his website. 

Under the HOME plan 200,000-400,000 people would be able to keep their homes by writing down and retiring the existing loan the borrower has and replace it with an FHA backed HOME loan from a lender.  The plan also covers homeowners who are facing a reset or can prove that they will not be able to continue paying current rates in the future.   By doing this the government ensures repayment of the loans and can recoup billions of dollars currently being loaned to agencies like Fannie and Freddie.  In addition, McCain’s plan calls for more transparency and accountability for lenders, another provision of the bailout bill. 

Senator Obama, on the other hand, in his PLAN FOR AMERICA,  only provides a 10%  mortgage credit to homeowners who DO NOT itemize.  As long as you make less than $50,000 you will get back about $500 on your tax return.  In his plan Obama also highlights his introduction of the STOP FRAUD Act in 2007, an act that never passed committee in a Democratic controlled Congress.  In addition to these proposed reforms, Senator Obama wants to create a HOME score, create a fund to help “innocent” homeowners and restructure bankruptcy laws.  In the instance of the HOME score, lenders would have to develop a score that borrowers would use to compare mortgages.  Keep in mind no system currently exists and would have to be created in order for borrowers to be protected.  In the case of the fund Obama wants to create,  it would be PARTIALLY paid for by increased penalties on lenders who act irresponsibly.  The penalties are defined in his STOP FRAUD Act, the one lying dead in committee.  And do I really have to say how long it might take for Congress and Wall Street to restructure bankruptcy law? 

Taking credit or taking action?  You decide which is more imprtant.

http://news.aol.com/article/deal-reached-for-wall-street-bailout/188230?icid=200100397x1210456864x1200628120

Personal Responsibility 1776-2008 R.I.P.

As much as America may need the bailout,  if the bill comes out laden with earmarks and other spending that has nothing to do with the current situation, John McCain should vote against it. 

Personal responsibility is the only loser in this bailout.  Despite warnings from Alan Greenspan, John McCain, and even Presidents Bush, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and others in the Democratic party did nothing to prevent the current situation.  Even Bill Clinton used his power of 20/20 hindsight recently to say that he pushed too far on relaxing housing regulations in the 90’s and encouraged Democratic support of these measures too much.  The American taxpayers will be protected in this bill but only from further inaction by Congress.  The fact will remain that they will not be protected from themselves. 

Even as Washington mutual was failing last week, I was receiving multiple credit offers from them in the mail.  This is a company I have never had any dealings with, nor ever sought any dealings from.  Yet I was faced with the prospect of another credit line in these offers.  Over the past decade Americans have fallen for these offers (I am no exception) hook, line and sinker.  Promises of low rates and long terms are attractive when times are good.  But as the housing market slowed and economic growth slowed (it has never stopped), Americans started to blame everyone but themselves for the credit crisis.  Whereas a year ago they could afford an adjustable rate mortgage and 2 of each brand name credit cards, all with pictures of their favorite teams or animals,  a year later they are faced with bankrupcy and are looking to the government for help all because they made bad decisions. 

America and Americans have made some bad decisions in the past decade.  This is not a crisis that started with Bush and will end with the saving power of Barack Obama.  The only way this crisis will be resolved is for America’s leaders to put together a bill that is clean and Americans themselves to look at their own situation and resolve never to go back.  John McCain is a believer in personal responsibility, just like President Bush,  but his back is against Wall Street on this bill.  But voting against a bill laden with earmarks or extra spending is the right thing to do in this situation, even if it costs him the election.