Archive for the ‘Republican Convention’ Category
I was driving to work the other day and it suddenly dawned on me – my investment accounts are all (and I mean all) in danger! By investment, I refer to retirement accounts and college funds. Oddly enough, I knew it was bad, but didn’t realize how bad it was until the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The more recent troubles of AIG, Bear Stearns, and others, has only served to underscore this to me.
Sadly, I understand little about the financial markets, investment banking, and mortgage bundling. I suspect, however, that most Americans have little or no understanding about this either. So, I dug a little in order to understand the issues a little better.
1. What is Mortgage Bundling?
According to an Ezine article by Shannon Luscher, VP Elite Mortgage Solutions, Inc:
If you are a homeowner and have ever had your mortgage sold from ABC Bank to XZY Bank you are on your way to understanding the bigger picture.
Mortgage loans, like the one you took ABC Bank are purchased and then packaged into bundles (most commonly on residential property) by governmental, quasi-governmental, or private entities. That group then issues bonds that represent claims on the principal and interest payments made by borrowers on the loans in the bundle, a process called securitization. The sale of these bonds gives liquidity to a relatively illiquid asset (your loan by itself) and that capital can be used to finance other things. In simple terms, the sale of these bonds creates cash and cash makes the world go round!
2. What is the problem?
Mortgages, bundled as part of the “securitization” process allowed banks, insurance companies, and others to invest in these mortgage-backed securities. Unfortunately, once homeowners started to default on their mortgages, many investors lost their shirts. Hence, companies like Lehman Brothers, AIG, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and a host of others, found themselves suddenly cash starved and shares in their companies dropped – sometimes plummeted – causing some to fold, some to receive taxpayer bailouts, and still others to seek acquisition by larger, more stable firms.
This entire process has had a devastating effect on the economy and the financial well-being of our country overall. The root problem in this long process was lack of regulation of these investment banks. If, for example, investment banks had the same regulation as commercial banks, they would not have been allowed to bundle mortgages so recklessly.
Make no mistake about it – no matter what the politicians say about this crisis, it is the progressive dismantling of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s tight regulation of the markets that led to this crisis. The irony today is that FDR had specifically enacted many of these regulations to prevent another market collapse and great depression. Back then, it was utter corporate greed, reckless market play, and lack of government regulation that led to black friday and the eventual great depression in our country.
Perhaps it is best to remember that – especially now.
Tonight on Countdown, Rachel Madow put it best: They lie. Who “they” you ask? Republicans present at the Republican Convention, of course!
Barack Obama, according to Palin, never wrote a law, wants to raise your taxes, and has less experience than her. Obama, of course, has written laws, has promised to cut taxes on the middle class and raise them on the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the country, and has more practical experience than Palin.
Palin, according to pundits and even herself, fought corporate lobbyists, sold an airplane on Ebay, and said “no thanks” to the infamous bridge to nowhere.
Romney, in his speech, told Al Gore he needed to start saving the environment by grounding his private jet. One problem, Gore doesn’t own and has never owned a private jet. Ooops.
McCain, who decided that arguing against change is a bad idea has attempted to co-opt Senator Obama’s message of change. McCain, with little fervor, proclaimed he was the candidate of change and that he and Governor Palin represent the true chance at change in Washington since they are both Mavericks.
Lies, lies, lies.
It never ceases to amaze me that the attendees at the Republican convention can lie so easily. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – they’ve had a lot of practice over the years.
Republicans at the convention should be ashamed of themselves. The 9/11 video they showed tonight – alleged to be a tribute – was nothing more than a political advertisement that cheapens the memory of the many people that sacrificed so much on that terrible day.
It was a horribly sad and disturbing day. What possible purpose can it serve to show those terrible scenes again? The burning towers, fleeing people, and emergency personnel working feverishly.
The McCain campaign should apologize to everyone for this obvious and transparent tactic.
Governor Huckabee’s message of unity and change is touching. He thanks the liberal media for uniting the republican party, refers to reporting as tacky and talks about housing crisis, gas prices, and the need to change. “You want something to change,” was his mantra. But like most convention-going, fear spreading Republican participants, Huckabee plays the fear card by mentioning his list of “things that you don’t want to change”:
- the opportunity to prosper
Translation: Democrats won’t defend you, protect your rights, or favor trickle-down economics. Huckabee went further by calling Barack Obama’s overseas trip his “excellent adventure in europe”. Obama, as Huckabee would have you believe, brought back europeon ideas that could destroy our way of life or even our government!
Can you believe this? It’s just more of the same. Republicans don’t discuss the serious issues or their plans to improve the economy or handle the war in Afghanistan. Instead, they simply attack democrats as elite and out of touch. What a farce.
Maybe all the showers Huckabee took with lava soap affected his brain. That would explain why, once attending college, he realized that showers should not hurt.
For all those media analysts who think Joe Biden or Barack Obama should be ‘careful’ when discussing or debating Sarah Palin, I think that is clearly behind us now. Tonight, Sarah Palin put the gloves on and came out swinging. Her criticism of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the Democratic party was harsh and absolute. I think it interesting that Palin – after attacking the Democratic ticket – extended the olive branch in seemingly unlikely fashion:
No one expects us to agree on everything.
But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and … a servant’s heart.
I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States.
These statements, given at the end of her speech seemed almost to reach across the aisle. However, after her prolonged attack on Obama, the Democratic ticket, and Democrats as a whole, it seems insincere at best.
Palin, it seems, is really good at following the party line and Republican-scripted attack used throughout the convention. For instance, Palin made sure to mention McCain’s POW experience and sacrafice prominently:
A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio, recalls looking through a pin-hole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway, by the guards, day after day.
As the story is told, “When McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn toward Moe’s door and flash a grin and thumbs up” – as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this.” My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through these next four years.
Once again this transparent and obvious attempt to divert attention from the great issues of our time – which the Republican Party is great at – is revolting in the extreme. In particular, the convention focus on John McCain’s POW experience is – again – manipulative and sickening.
But Palin was not through beating us over the head with this issue. In case there was any doubt that she was sincere instead of politically shrewd and manipulative, Palin added:
There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you … in places where winning means survival and defeat means death … and that man is John McCain. In our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world in which this man, and others equally brave, served and suffered for their country.
It’s a long way from the fear and pain and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office.
I guess we have our answer: Politically shrewd and manipulative. Sadly, it is blatantly obvious that the single minded focus of the Republican Party in this election is to win by any means – even if that means manipulating McCain’s military service, distorting the facts, or frightening the voting public with talk of war and terrorism.
In fact, Palin and all the speakers tonight make it very clear that the politics of fear and division is their preferred method of campaigning, relating to the American people, and defeating their opponents. Palin and her colleagues attempt to instill this fear and division by mentioning 9/11 again and again, referencing McCain’s POW status and torture over and over again, and talking about the continued dangerous threat by terrorists – that could attack on our soil again.
But, in her attempts to convey this message to the American public, Palin faultered.
Palin is – to put it bluntly – factually challenged. But she was not alone. Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, and President Bush all seem to manufacture the truth – a Republican truth – not, of course, the actual truth.
But don’t take my word for it. The bipartisan group – FactCheck.org holds both parties accountable for their misstatements. Last night, they worked overtime to keep up with the misrepresentations and distortions of the Republican speakers.
My prediction is that Sarah Palin will keep FactCheck.org very very busy, indeed.
Republicans treat the current Bush Administration and Supreme court as a seething pile of liberal hackers! “We need change from a liberal Washington,” Romney stated, “to a conservative Washington”. Who does Governor Romney think fills the ranks of the Supreme Court? Who does Governor Romney thinks sits in the Oval Office? Bill Clinton?
Romney, Thompson, and his ilk play the smear politics that have powered the Republican Party for years. But this kind of power is an illusion. Sooner or later the Americans that they refer to see right through the politics of division and fear. Romney talked of Jihad, axis of evil, and war. He painted a picture to spread fear. But the American people are wise to this tactic. There is no color-coded chart listing a threat level that will save the Republicans this election – no matter how many times they mention Ronald Reagan, and the alleged Mavericks – McCain and Palin.
But, you have to give Romney points for trying! After all, he mentioned Ronald Reagan, McCain, and Palin in the same sentence.
Bravo Governor, bravo.
I can understand a Bush 41 tribute, but a Reagan tribute? When was he President again? It seems like the Republicans are grasping at straws here. Honestly, how many times can you invoke the memory of President Reagan? Regardless, Republicans are back to their old tricks: mention Reagan as much as possible, link McCain to Reagan in a personal way (Fred Thompson’s speech), and don’t forget to mention 9/11!
Now, the tribute to Bush 41 was fitting for the 41st President. However, with the dark cloud that hangs over the White House today, is it wise to honor the father of the 43rd President? No doubt, the 84-year old elder Bush has performed admirably since becoming a private citizen. His record of charity work both with President Clinton and on his own is impressive. However, one has to question the timing here.
Again, it seems that the Republican party is not exercising the best judgement.
It just doesn’t work. When Lieberman (and a whole boatload of other republicans) praise Palin’s experience while criticizing Obama’s experience, it rings hollow. What is especially interesting is that many of the arguments against Obama could also be used against McCain. McCain, for instance, while having many years of experience, has no executive branch experience – like a Governor does. But this does not stop Republicans from pointing this out about Obama vs. Palin.
To be successful, the Republican party normally focuses on the issues they can easily manipulate – that is what helped them in 2000 and 2004. When they stumble like this, and criticize one candidate for experience while their own VP candidate has little experience, it shows just how disorganized and confused this party is now.
On top of all this, they have Lieberman, a Democrat, attend the Republican convention. Lieberman, in the end, may well be remembered as poster boy for GOP confusion and disorganization.
Anyone who has served or has a loved one that has served can appreciate with great respect John McCain’s service to our country. But, when the McCain camp and practically every speaker at the Republican National Convention mentioned McCain’s POW status over and over again, it raises the ugly spectre that the entire Republican Party is cashing in on his heroic service to their own benefit. This kind of propaganda is the worst kind of fodder. As the evening wore on during day 2 of this convention, it became more and more painful to watch.
Perhaps the worst was Fred Thompson. His prolonged discussion of every nuance of McCain’s torture and stay as a POW in Vietnam, was purely manipulative and disgusting in the obvious sense.
I was particularly disturbed by the obvious use of manipulative propaganda by Thompson when he stated that McCain can’t raise his arms to salute the flag any more.
I have nothing but respect for a Veteran who has served – especially one who sacrificed so much. But when that candidate and his party uses his own heroic service as a crutch to defend, prop up, or bolster his own personal ambitions, I think it is the duty of any veteran or american to reject that person. Political manipulation of any service to our country – whether you were a POW or not – should be rejected by all Americans as self-serving propaganda that cheapens the heroic service of others.
In the end, day 2 of this convention talked about every facet of McCain’s service, premiered tributes to Bush 41 and Reagan, and talked about that new “maverick” on the scene – Sarah Palin.
But they left one small detail out on day 2 – the issues. Where are the issues? Where is the discussion of how we plan to move forward? Where is discussion of the economy? How are we going to deal with the energy crisis?
No mention – at all.
SIDEBAR: There are several articles on McCain’s use of his POW status for his own benefit. Two excellent articles on this are posted on the Huffinton Post Blog and Talking Points Memo. I encourage you to check them out.
The Republican Party has seemingly decided to kick some of the more decisive issues into high gear – specifically abortion – in an effort to return to the divisive policies of the 2000 and 2004 elections. Much like those election years, Republicans are trying to duck and cover when important issues are raised. In this election cycle the issues Republicans are trying to bury include: energy, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the economy.
The question is, will Americans fall for the same divisive policies all over again?
Obama and the Democrats will have to fight hard to stop the Karl Rove tactics. But unlike the 2000 and 2004 elections, Americans are very angry with the Republican party and Bush/Cheney specifically. This will help Democrats greatly in the end.
My advice to Obama? Fight hard to dispel Republican propaganda, both about the issues and about the candidates themselves. There are too many important issues that hang in the balance: the fiscal well being of our country, health care, and energy independence are just a few.
In discussing the future, President John F. Kennedy once said:
We have come too far, we have gained too much, to disdain the future now.
In this election year, one could easily say we have fallen behind, we have lost too much, to vote for John McCain. Another 4 years of Bush policies with a McCain/Palin team, is just too costly for our country and the world.