And my Tea Party was hateful?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Short Story

My High School Literature teacher constantly assigned readings from dead guys who had no impact on the life I lived (or I mistakenly thought at 16). I considered the class a waste of time until one assignment came across my desk. I was to write a report on a short story, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut. The piece is only a few short pages, but those pages changed how I viewed the world from thence forth. Vonnegut envisioned a future where equality was mandated and enforced by the government. No person was more intelligent or beautiful than the other. We were all the same. No fine artists, musicians or great scientists could exist. We were all to be as average as the next man. While the piece is a stretch of the imagination, it illustrates the point the equity cannot be enforced by law without grave consequences to the society as a whole.

Our Founding Fathers were quick to note that “all men were created equal”, but never guaranteed that all men would remain equal. How will the Handicapper General insure all Americans have adequate housing, health care and retirement without destroying the ability of the people to dream of a better life? Are we as a nation willing to sacrifice our own desires in the name of equity? Does freedom even imply equity or merely the chance to create our own way? The Framers struggled with these issues and we still struggle with the same issues today.

The desire for no person to suffer can often cloud the vision of our leaders. No one wants a Grandmother to retire late or a child to live in a bad neighborhood. Everyone wants life to be fair, but it is simply not possible. The government can not and should not serve as the Handicapper General, because we are plenty capable of handicapping ourselves. As Vonnegut dreamed of the physical limitations on those of superior strength, Congress and the Obama campaign seek to place handicaps on those of above average success. Will we allow the government to saddle our businesses with bags of bird shot? Or will we admit to our handicaps and try to overcome them?

But no one listens to me

-Patriotic Progeny

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Matter of Principle

Every few years the American electorate converges on their local polling precinct to pull the now metaphorical lever for the candidate of his or her choice. Obama has a lead over McCain; however, the degree of the lead subject to debate. Prior elections focused on single issues including abortion, guns rights, gay marriage, and national security (among others). The 2008 Presidential election has become a battle of ideology and the voting population has to choose to select one candidate or the another.

The Obama campaign threatens the core of what I have come to love about my country and that for which it stands. The positive-rights philosophy Obama supports is contrary to the intentions of the founding fathers. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech”. Most Americans interpret the First Amendment as, simply, "the freedom of speech".

In reality, the founding fathers labored to prevent the government from restricting what you can say. They did this because they knew that insuring the speech of all Americans to be equally free would be impossible. Politicians and media personalities are able to broadcast their message to millions. I type feverously in a home office for a hand-full of delightful readers. My message will not travel the distance that Senator Obama’s World Series infomercial will. Does this mean that my speech less free? Is the federal government required to balance the inequities between our statements?

No, the Founding Fathers were aware that life is not fair. Regardless of the rules imposed upon us by the government, some individuals will have more. In a free society, as outlined by the authors of the Constitution, each individual has the right to “pursue happiness” with the aid of their talents and work ethic. The responsibility of government was not to intrude on this pursuit. The concept of positive rights, which Obama ascribes (see Obama and Redistribution video below), would require the government to ensure our rights through some sort of action. When governments determine how a right is to be executed, the individual is no longer the guarantor of that right. A right guaranteed by the government is not a right because a right is “inalienable’. What the government gives; it can take away. Thus, that right is not “inalienable”.

Extending the concept of positive rights to the issues of housing, health care, employment and education compounds the issue of fairness and undermines the principles of our Constitution. Obama and his constituency believe the government needs to ensure more of our necessities. Government cannot and should not try to level the playing field.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans are uninsured, homeless or poorly educated. Millions of other Americans have been these uninsured, homeless or poorly educated and decided to change. If the government were to insure all of these desires, would the desire be filled in a manner to adequate to your satisfaction? Who is the government to decide what type of housing is adequate? What type of job is appropriate? What medicines and procedures are to be covered by insurance?

As the government takes hold of these “positive-rights”, these decisions are no longer ours to make. Some will decide how resources will be allocated to meet the needs of the whole. Since the government creates no wealth or product, the resources to promote the aforementioned programs must come from somewhere else. When I imagine a free society, a few people determining my destiny does not come to mind. I do not believe the Founding Fathers did either.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sacrificing Liberty for Security

When the FISA bill and domestic wire tapping were hot button issues, the left wing of our country was quick to remind everyone of a quote from our founding father, “Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.”. The same axiom must be held to all aspects of government and domestic policy. The markets are dicey and people have lost a large amount of their retirement savings. Allowing the government to take a greater part in one’s retirement ventures in the name of security will only deny the American people the freedom to invest their retirement money as they see fit. Government run healthcare may promise a secure way to have health coverage, but in the end we will loose our choice of coverage. I will always take the side of freedom, despite the uncertainty the future may hold. As a free person, I know I am the master of my destiny and can change the course of my history through hard work and perseverance. I will create my own security with the powers granted to me by my freedom.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Joe the Plumber

Joe the Plumber has become the latest election cultural icon. Dozens of stories have been written about his background and conversation with Barack Obama. Obama's response ran chills down my spine. Obama informed Joe the Plumber that he wanted "to spread the wealth". I am a tried and true capitalist in a middle class family in a rural Parish in South Louisiana. I live in a neighborhood full of Joe the Plumbers, Joe the Plant Worker, Joe the Cane Farmer, Joe the Mill Worker, Joe the Carpenter and Joe the General Laborer. We are not wealthy, but we are not starving either. Intellectual elites are confused as to why the Joe the Plumbers of the country would not support Obama's tax plan. Why would a middle class American not support taxing the wealthy? Some Americans want to earn their income. Imagine you and your spouse go out to eat with another couple. One couple tries to pick up the check and the bickering begins over who will pay the bill. That simple pride is something the Joe the Plumbers hold dear. The satisfaction that comes from knowing you worked for everything you have. It is yours and no one can take it away.

Unfortunately, Joe the Plumber's questions was not on the list of approved questions provided by the Obama campaign and he has been dissected in the media for simply asking. Joe's tax records were made public. The media claims that he is a fraud and not a plumber as Joe claims. If you can unclog my toilet, you are a plumber in my book. They even questioned his name. If you are address by your middle name, you are obviously guilty of identity theft. Stories ran all over the media about how Obama's tax plan would be good for Joe the Plumber. Worse, Government computers were used to find dirt on Joe. The Joe the Plumbers of the world only want to take home what they rightfully earn, not what the government gives them. We may not have a mansion on hill, but what little we have is a sense of pride.

No examination was made of Obama's "spread the wealth" comment. The concept of taking from those based on their means and distributing it to other based on their needs is a line from the socialist agenda. Describing the Obama tax plan as socialist has been described as racist. What?! Discussing the similarities of Obama's plan to European Socialism is not racism. It is called journalism. A term I suggest the media look up in Webster's dictionary. An interview by WFTV asked Joe Biden some tough questions about ACORN and about Obama's Marxist agenda. When the interview turned to questions that the Obama campaign did not want to answer, they cancelled all interviews with WFTV.

Reviewing the lessons of Joe the Plumber, never ask a candidate a question unless you are the perfect model citizen. In addition, do not expect the media to provide any news unless it has been compared to the new regimes' talking points first. Finally, if you are a member of the media and you wish to ask question that is unbecoming of a candidate, be prepared to never get another interview. The people can not ask questions. The media can not ask questions and the Obama campaign is not even in power yet. If we do not have the right to ask questions of our elected officials without fear of prosecution, what type of country have we become? If the news is controlled by the state, what have we done to our constitution? I may be old fashioned and not onboard with the change train, but I am still an American. Last time I checked, my opinions are still valid and so are yours.

But no one listens to me

-Patriotic Progeny

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hands off my 401k

The House Democrats can not seam to keep their grubby hands out of my wallet. The latest and greatest scheme requires that an additional 5% of my income go to the failing social security system and the removal of all tax breaks on 401k investment. The best way encourage investment is to tax it more (eyes rolling). My meager retirement savings have lost value over the past year, but it is still a better investment then social security. I did some math. Brace yourself.

I did the math on this one. I pay $100 per check in social security. My employer matches that and I get 26 paychecks a year. I will work until the age of 68, when I am eligible to collect my social security. I will have spent 45 years in the work force. My life expectancy is 82 (with my blood pressure, diet and habits that is really optimistic, but lets use it anyway).

$100 My money
+$100 My boss’s money
$200
X 26 Number of Paychecks per year
$5,200
X 45 Number of Years in work force
$234,000 Total contributions to Social Security

$648 Monthly anticipated Social Security Payout
X 12 Number of Months in a year
$7,776 Annual Social Security Payout
X 14 Years in retirement (82-68=14)
$108,864 Total Social Security Payout

$234,000 Total contributions to Social Security
-$108,864 Total Social Security Payout
$125,136 Lost money

That is a 53% loss. Despite the market chaos, my 401k only lost 12%. Which is a better investment. The House Democrats are using this opportunity to cease more of my hard earned money. Where did the $125,136 go? Now they want 5% more of my income! This is the change we deserve? Argghh!

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Multiculturalism?

The leftist elites constantly preach the notion of multiculturalism and urge their Ivy League buddies to have a deeper understanding of people from around the world, their faith and their culture. Accepting cultures different from one’s own is an important part of our expanding global community. My home town has a very simple culture which revolves around football season, hunting season and the local churches. Our culture is Mardi Gras, tailgating, crawfish boils, turkey fries and Jazz. Our colloquialisms have a gentle southern drawl and phrases like “happier than a pig in slop”. My culture is similar to most of America or at least those stretches of rural quiet between our major cities.

My culture is often ridiculed by liberals and mocked on television. Obama referred to people like myself as bitter and “clinging to their guns and religion” because our leaders had failed us. The elitists will not try to understand or respect the predominantly Christian Faith in my community, but will spend enormous effort trying to understand the Muslim Faith of those who wish our nation harm. President Bush and Sarah Palin are mocked for their accent, but it would be politically incorrect to mock the diction of an Indian or Asian American. Southerners often do not respect the faith and culture of others as perhaps we should. No one is in a big hurry to understand and respect our culture. The challenge for the elitists in this nation is treat the members of rural America with the same multicultural understanding that is extended to other nations. I am proud to be a Louisiana girl.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Today's Great Idea

Recently, Barack Obama has proposed "spreading of the wealth" to all Americans for a chance at success. I am proposing campaign finance reform in the Obama spirit. In order to give all candidates a chance at victory, all fundraising for a particular race should be placed in one account. That money will then be distributed to each candidate based on need. I have a strange feeling, the Obama camp will not support my proposed legislation.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Friday, October 10, 2008

I support John McCain

American culture and government are woefully deficient in honor and commitment. Liberals in congress protect government sponsored enterprises from regulation, while the CEO’s fudge the earnings statements to increase bonus payments. The cronyism stretching from Wall Street to Washington is nauseating and getting worse. Graduates from prestigious universities dominate our political and business class, leaving the general population unrepresented. Honorable men and women would put the priorities of the American people above personal monetary gain. A committed citizenry would have never allowed the corruption to become so prevalent. Honor and commitment are two principles every American strives to have in their house and the White House.

John McCain is honor personified. He has served and sacrificed for our nation in both peace time and in war. Military service is still an attribute in my book. My ideology differs from John McCain’s platform on some issues, but I know honorable men will make honorable decisions. In the Senate, John McCain stood firmly for what he believed and worked with members of both parties to achieve his goals. The maverick also listened to the people who disagreed with his immigration policies and revised his policy on the people’s recommendations.

The American dream can be summarized as Sarah Palin. Her commitment to her children and her community has promoted Palin to a national stage. She joined the PTA in her hometown and was running the organization in no time. She was elected mayor of that same sleepy little town in Stewards ice box. She was Chairmen of Alaska’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and protested the corrupt good old boy’s network. Her crusade to fight cronyism landed her in the Governor’s mansion and then on the Republican Presidential ticket. Sarah Palin is the type of women I want to be when I grow up.

I do not have a PHD in macroeconomics or understand the complex negotiations of the State Department. I do however know honor and commitment when I see it. America is not perfect but I am still proud to be an America. It may be corny or old fashion, but it is who I am. If your are interested in learning more about what is right with or country, visit John McCain’s website.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Who caused the Financial Crisis?

Over the past few weeks I have been asked one question time and time again, “How did home mortgages crash the economy and why is the Federal Government bailing out Wall Street?”. Honestly, I did not know. With little background in economics, I did not understand how this pyramid scheme could have existed under federal financial regulations. Every news story discussed the greed of Wall Street and blamed the free market for the stress on Main Street. I continued my research and became more acutely aware that the problem was federally mandated and protected by members of congress who were receiving contributions from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. How could I see the pattern of government interference when the media could not? Finally I found my answer.

Barack Obama has a long history as a community organizer and worked closely with groups like ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, http://www.acorn.org/) and received contributions from both Fannie and Freddie. If this story hits the mainstream, Obama’s bid for Presidency would be over. When I began looking into the history of Fannie and Freddie, I did not expect to find a direct connection to Barrack Obama. I did expect that the Democrat Congressional Caucus was deeply involved. How was the greatest economy in the world decimated by the home mortgage? Why is the Federal government throwing more good money after bad?

In the late 1970’s America was attempting to purge racism from every aspect of American life. Segregation was becoming a distant memory, but lending practices and income levels still favored Caucasian Americans. Home ownership was believed to be the key to establishing individual wealth. If minorities were able to receive home loans, these families would be on their way to financial stability required to achieve the American dream.

Under the Carter Administration, congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA). In summary, the CRA required lending institutions to meet “the credit needs of its entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods”. The CRA provided a rating system to gauge how well lending agencies met the newly established guidelines. Institutions that did not have high CRA ratings were prevented from executing merges or other financial transactions. The individuals targeted by the CRA were not traditionally credit-worthy and the banks had to become creative when extending loans to low income families (who could not afford traditional mortgages).

Enter the “toxic” sub prime loan (hum scary music here). Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) with very low “teaser” interest rates facilitated “affordable housing” for low-income individuals. Over the decades, one home loan at a time, the CRA has slowly undermined the U.S. economy. The CRA empowered community groups that were designed to confront large banks who failed to issue a sufficient number of loans to minorities in impoverished neighborhoods.
Then, in the wake of the savings and loan crisis, Congress under George H.W. Bush passed the Federal Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) of 1989. The primary cause of the savings and loan crisis was unwise real estate investment (sound familiar). FIRREA made CRA ratings public knowledge which allowed the community organizations that promoted affordable housing to use the CRA rating as a weapon.

Enter ACORN (hum scary music again). FIRREA gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac more responsibility for promoting loans to low income families. Fannie and Freddie began to securitize billions of dollars in mortgage backed securities with lending institutions that needed to increase their CRA rating. Armed with public CRA ratings, community organizations such as ACORN hired young, ambitious attorneys like Barrack Obama to levy lawsuits against the banks. In 1995, Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance (see Plaintiff’s attorneys) was brought before a Chicago court by a relatively unknown attorney, Barack Obama. This lawsuit forced Citibank to make high risk loans in the intercity of Chicago to individuals who were less-than-credit worthy. Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank served as the legal precedent which required that the lending institutions had to issue bad loans under duress. This lawsuit represents one of several cases where Barack Obama fought on the behalf of the “middle class” while working on the Developing Communities Project (DCP). DCP provided a small paycheck for the up-and-coming politician and provided him with exposure within the community. During this time, Obama taught community leadership programs for ACORN.
To avoid litigation which could prevent the banks from engaging in major financial transactions, the lending institutions began making large donations to groups such as ACORN.

Groups like ACORN, armed with large contributions from both the lending institutions and Federal tax dollars, began their own low-income housing programs. Fannie Mae, Fannie Mac et al began making campaign contributions (pay careful attention to the Congressmen listed in the prior hyperlink) to various Congressional members in order to ensure that federal dollars continued to flow into the program. Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are engaging in an Enron-style book-cooking scandal to overstate earnings (note the name of the CEOs) and trigger bonus payments for the CEO’s. Congress passed Sarbanes-Oxley to combat future Enron-style accounting.

Bundled securities were sold from one bank to another with little outcry from the market place. Americans enjoyed easy access to credit. Home prices continued to rise. Profits on Wall Street rose. Joe Q. Public saw increases in his 401k. Congressmen received sweetheart deals from lenders. Fannie, Freddie and other GSE’s were not bound by Sarbanes-Oxley and continued to operate in an under-regulated manner. A decrease in housing prices was the final ingredient required to initiate a major financial crisis. These are listed below.

1. Community Organizations such as ACORN pressure Congress to require that banks issue bad loans and provide federal funding for community groups.
2. Fannie and Freddie cook-the-books while paying Congressmen to look the other way.
3. Fannie and Freddie sell mortgage backed securities to large financial institutions so that they can achieve the federally mandated CRA rating and avoid the ire of community organizations such as ACORN.

This cycle continued until the music stopped. Then, a few of the lending institutions were caught holding the hot-toxic-mortgage potato.

How will this affect your vote this November? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regard Barack Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus as family. Obama personally brought to trial, one of the earliest legal precedents that forced the lending institutions to issue bad loans. Jim Johnson, former CEO of Fannie Mae, served on Obama’s Vice-Presidential Selection Committee while Franklin Raines, former CEO of Fannie Mae (who forcibly resigned due to the accounting scandal) served as an advisor on the housing industry (Why is the wolf guarding the hen house?). ACORN, who has been represented in court by Obama, is under federal investigation, in numerous states, for allegations of voter fraud. George W. Bush tried to reform Fannie and Freddie in 2004, but was stopped by the Democrats in Congress (I know it is amazing that W had a good idea). McCain attempted reform as well. When I began trying to understand the financial crisis, I did not believe it would have any direct connection to the Presidential election. Why are the FBI investigations of Fannie and Freddie on page 7d of your local news paper and not on the cover above the fold? Why haven’t the major new agencies reported Obama’s connection to ACORN and Fannie Mae? Why hasn’t anyone reported on his connection to high risk mortgages? Why do polls think Obama is the man to solve this crisis, when he helped cause it?

Providing low-income households with debt they can not afford will not allow these individuals to achieve the American dream. It will create undue stress on borrower. Without reforming the CRA, our credit markets are vulnerable to repeat this crisis. Wall Street needs to make lending decisions based on financial data, not quotas. If we want to help minorities achieve home ownership, we need to improve the schools in inter-cities and promote economic activities in these areas. Congressional oversight of the housing industry has provided us with bankrupt financial institutions and large campaign contributions. People who can not afford their mortgage unfortunately must be foreclosed upon. Until people who can afford the mortgage are placed into those homes, the markets will not improve. It does not matter if the Federal Government or a private bank owns the debt, if the home owners can not pay the obligation.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

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