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Again, lifted from Der Spiegal

The current favorite? He’s a political dinosaur, dishonored and discredited. Or so we thought. Yet just because he studied history and speaks in more complex sentences than his rivals, the US media now reflexively hails him as a “Man of Ideas” (The Washington Post) — even though most of these ideas are lousy if not downright offensive, such as firing unionized school janitors, so poor children could do their jobs.

Pompous and blustering, Gingrich gets away with this humdinger as well as with selling himself as a Washington outsider — despite having made millions of dollars as a lobbyist in Washington. At least the man’s got chutzpah.

The hypocrisy doesn’t end here. Gingrich claims moral authority on issues such as the “sanctity of marriage,” yet he’s been divorced twice. He sprang the divorce on his first wife while she was sick with cancer. (His supporters’ excuse: It’s been 31 years, and she’s still alive.) He cheated on his second wife just as he was pressing ahead with Bill Clinton’s impeachment during the Monica Lewinsky affair, unaware of the irony. The woman he cheated with, by the way, was one of his House aides and 23 years his junior — and is now his perpetually smiling third wife.

Americans have a short memory. They forget, too, that Gingrich was driven out of Congress in disgrace, the first speaker of the house to be disciplined for ethical wrongdoing. Or that he consistently flirts with racism when he speaks of Barack Obama. Or that he enjoyed a $500,000 credit line at Tiffany’s just as his campaign was financially in the toilet and he ranted about the national debt. Chutzpah, indeed.

Yet the US media rewards him with a daily kowtow. And the Republicans reward him too, by having put him on top in the latest polls. Mr. Hypocrisy, the bearer of his party’s hope.

“I think he’s doing well just because he’s thinking,” former President Clinton told the conservative online magazine NewsMax. “People are hungry for ideas that make some sense.” Sense? Apparently it’s not just the Republicans who have lost their minds here.

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Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

Heaven In The Form of Food  Tony Lukes Cheesesteak

Courtesy of PhillyPhotos.

Anyone who has ever been to Tony’s for a cheesesteak, knows that until one is fed, one simply doesn’t think correctly.. Therefore for a Temple student to question our next president on whether or not we should go into Pakistan to flush out terrorists, before she has even had one bite, is unconscionable.  (lol).

No one should be asked such an important foreign policy question before they have taken a bite out of a delicious Philly styled cheesestake on a roll with carmalized fried onions….  It should be against Federal Law.

But its not, and someone did..

And Sarah in trying to get the obnoxious, ugly, pus-ridden, (see video) gag-reflex inhibitor, annoying character out of her pretty face, answered his question unprepped, speaking strictly from the heart…

It was of course the wrong answer, according to John McCain, and the right answer according to Obama….

McCain in his way of telling her, “don’t bother your pretty little head with issues, us men will handle them”….responded for her…  He spoke for her and said that she had misspoke

Of course she misspoke… she was waiting for a cheesesteak at Tony’s for heaven’s sake…  At least give her the dignity to speak for herself, instead of having “the campaign” do it for her…..

A short list of what women everywhere should be asking?

Can McCain speak for women when they don’t agree with him?

Under this cloud of Women’s issues, should McCain just “let her go” to “do her thing”?

Not being apologetic and not being defensive, would that endear McCain to more women voters?

Try as he might, can McCain ever show himself to allow women the right to think for themselves?

Kilroy Nails it Good   This is exactly what it is all about….

So How Do We Step It Up for the Third Bush Term?

Because that……. is what we do.

Kevin Giannini wonderful interpretation of Delaware's beaches
Kevin Giannini copyright 2001-2007

Like the White House is prone to do, I wanted to slip this post in where it would go unnoticed for as long as possible. Sunday morning is a bloggers day to sleep in or go to church. I will probably (although I am not sure as of yet) put a bland title that most readers will pass over.

Why, because what I want to talk about is something I would personally feel more comfortable if no one knew.

What brought these debates within my soul, was the posting in Delaware Liberal that Castle broke with Bush on an important piece of legislation, and the sad news that Carper, did the opposite.

Many people think that politicians control their own destines. That is a very rare case. A better metaphor would be (I love this one) that they wheel, deal, or beg for any ride that looks to take them where they want to go, and then, once inside the car, they have to deal with what ever choice they’ve made……..sort of like groupies chasing after a string of Greatful Dead concerts scattered across the Great Midwest……….

When young and idealistic, most politicians make a choice and then spend the rest of their lives proving to others that they chose wisely…….That is why when an independent notion strikes a politician so hard that he chooses to switch parties, it is news indeed.

Some, perhaps even myself on rare occasions, have castigated Mike Castle for his support of a leader who is leading this country in the wrong direction. Since Mike Castle was enabling that same leader to continue down that same path fraught with danger, and was not speaking up,… I was holding him accountable for the failed results of that very policy…..

So now I am faced with a dilemma. Do I continue to lambaste someone who is “coming to Jesus” and punish him for his past sins?

My gut feeling says no. I should not. Of course those who have read me for a while know that I am heavily influenced by that story of the “adulteress who was condemned for stoning.”

“Who has condemned you?’

‘No one is left, Sire.”

“‘Nor do I condemn you. Arise and go home.”

Perhaps my writings too will just be scribbles in the sand, whose record will be forever lost to history. But then again, the effect of those words, may just influence one of you to rise to a higher plain of eloquence than I am capable, and in turn, fan the flames a smidgen higher. A historical change may be on the verge of occurring…….

So here is a man, similar to each of us, who has seen up close the effect of pursuing the Bush Policy. Like the pharisee Saul, who witnessed the stoning of Stephan, he is overdue for a change of heart.

So what do we do? Do we support him, and welcome him in as a blinded Saul, feed and nourish him and treat him as a brother? Hoping as we do so, that others will see our noble nature and realize that it really is safe to defect from the will of Bush over to the other side? Or do we humiliate, spit and crucify him and by doing so intimidate those very others who are debating whether or not to jump ship,… from doing so?

There are many shades and colors to this question. Is this defection real or is it just a feint? Is this move designed to flush out and focus the Cheney Eye of Mordor firmly upon those in Delaware who must be surreptitiously removed whenever Cheney is eventually crowned king?……..Perhaps this olive branch is a ruse, a Trojan horse, or a decoy to buy time and lull us into sleep, while the secret orc army is cultivated deep in the bowels or earth?

It could be. I don’t know, ……….and implications lie too far beyond my meager influence, to care.

For in the end of this argument, I am just one person, but as one person who made a choice, I hope my warnings will have at least caused some free thought to have occurred within each of you. With each new reader, as ever increasing free thought and independent thinking is generated, it is through such disclosures, comments, and discussions,…..that more and more information becomes placed upon the open table, and the more informed our leaders, lawmakers, and electorate will ultimately be……..

And when it comes down to how I feel, or partisanship, …part of me like many of you, has those strong feelings that want justice. But in my case at least, those feelings are overwhelmed by a strong love for this nation and the ideals this nation represents. If someone, especially after a deep cleansing soul search, reaches in and does that unthinkable thing for a politician, and emphatically surprises everyone and says to the driver: “STOP THIS VEHICLE NOW……I’M GETTING OFF HERE…………..

he will have my support. For it takes only a small breath, or a butterfly’s wing effect, to tumble a house of cards….. If Mike Castle wants to be that link in the chain of events that makes this happen, I will do what I can to help…………

As I said……..this is hard for me to write……..I hope it generates much controversy. Truly that is what is needed……in these dire times.

And if my endorsement of a former Saul, who may soon turn on a Castle quarter and regenerate into the apostle Paul……..stops this insane war of profit just a smidgen sooner, to save even one life that would have died had events continued differently; it will be worth the pain and embarrassment that is sure to come my way by many of my closest friends and colleagues.

I have made my choice. I have personally decided that this nation’s place in history, far outweighs my own.

May God continue to bless this great nation, the United States of America…….

We are there already?

The night before Father’s Day was a beautiful one. Not too hot, not too cold, just a small breeze to rustle the hair. The moon was a sliver, and the planets bright. I took a little too long exiting the car with the family and stopped for a few moments to be alone with the sky…….

Inside the family was stirring. The buzz of voices was blurry, and if I tried, I could have picked out what they were saying if I wanted to, but I had lagged to be alone. Instead I became preoccupied with what I was experiencing at that time.

I sat down on a waterproof seat cushion, and looked up. A couple of friends I had known since college stared back. Arcturus, the mighty giant was overhead, and slightly southwest lay the sparkling beautiful Spica. But tonight this summer sky was dominated by Saturn hovering over the southeast. And as I relaxed, ….. I let my mind pull up, high above the accretion disc of planets, and attempted to visualize where I sat in the context of this solar system. That yellow orb of Saturn was over 7 times the distance of the sun from earth. And right now, a metallic object, built by several members of our species, was orbiting that orb surrounded by 59 moons, and was at this moment sending digital photo’s back to earth. Not to mention that we had been able to put a probe onto one of its moons, which looked eerily like parts of earth, even though any water had been locked up as ice for billions of years……

And then out of nowhere the thought came, from where I don’t know, that asked me the question of just how such a species, capable of manipulating the laws of physics so precisely as to send an object into that planetary system from ours, the equivalent of aiming an electron the length of a football field and have it land on a softball over a hundred yards away,………how could such a species, capable of cooperating so precisely, be at odds over something like Iraq?

And where do I, one tiny electron, fit into this vast expanse of empty space?

Occasionally the “philosophical” muse finds me, like a little boy who looks for bugs under a rock. Suddenly it is there, scaring me. This night was one of those increasingly infrequent times. As I stared at Saturn, which to my eyes was nothing but a yellow dot, ( but knowing full well the power of its 900 mph winds and its immense beauty,) I switched topics and asked myself this question: how do I define myself……….who or what am I?

To most of you who will read this, you know me as a blogger. I write down ideas. I try to express them as interestingly as I can. I have been doing it for only a short time. And as I peruse my archives today, most of what I once wrote, now matters little. However, my perusing through the archives of other local bloggers, turned out to be rather fascinating. Looking at those blogger’s early days were reminiscent of looking through their high school yearbooks; one could see the seeds of what they would one day become, mixed in with the joyful exuberance over their own discovery of just what their abilities would allow them to do…………

But if our electronic memories like this, fade in such a short time, how does one stack up in a long term analysis. Fame is fleeting. We may remember a name for awhile, and maybe a couple of trivial facts, but then we move on. Take Ronald Reagan for instance. Just less than 20 years ago he was the driving force of our society, all over our newspapers and TV’s. Today he is still somewhat the driving force behind one of our nation’s political parties. But ask a fifteen year old who has finished American History, and you get this answer: “uh…….was he one of America’s Presidents?” “Yes?…………………………………………..” and that is enough of an answer for him. He feels vindicated. He got it right. Today it takes two or three college courses in Reaganomics to reach that level of knowledge that everyone who was alive in the eighties, now takes for granted. So if Ronnie Reagan’s influence has faded this fast, what on earth does it take to make a concrete, lasting impression?

Ask about Lincoln, and you get “He freed the slaves”. So that’s the magnitude of an act necessary to be remembered just 142 years. So what do we know of a hundred years before that,… five hundred before that,….. a thousand,….. two thousand, …..four thousand?…………………….Surprisingly we actually know a little from those vast expansive time frames. We know of Abraham’s journey, from what today is Basra, up to Damascus, and down through what today is Israel and over to Egypt. We know of the attempted sacrifice of his son Isaac, the destruction of Sodom and Gamorrah. We know these things because religion…..one religion in particular, made a point of writing it down. Why? Why did they not follow the trend of all other local religions who emphasized power, the accumulation of wealth, and exalted position?

We don’t know why. But for some reason they just thought it was more important to tell their stories, which emphasized the common elements of our existence, and by preserving such stories of life and love, that relate to all men and women, their stories were told from generation to generation, and therefore got passed down to where we know of them today…………. ……One should note, we know much less about the pharaohs who left the longest-lasting monuments ever built by man. And we know even less about all other civilizations who studiously logged each accomplishment of every king throughout their civilization. Those names never survived the conquering armies and now are lost forever………………………..but we know of a lady named Ruth.

The window suddenly opened behind me and a voice full of love and life said, “Daddy, oh, there you are………………….” and that is when it hit……………………I am a dad…………….and that…………. is how I define myself…….. ….Whether planned or unplanned, those four indiscretions of my youth, have in their turn, now defined me. No matter how else I choose to define myself, it will be that special code of proteins, which got passed down to this small, select group of the next generation, enhanced with those of my wife, that will carry what I am, long and far beyond after anyone will have any clue of who Bush I, Bush II, or Clinton I, Clinton II were. It is this gift of life, given to me by my father and mother, stretching back to the beginning of our species, a chain of which I am most grateful to have been a part of, that now, has been passed on…………………………

Someday……….. a small living part of me may grow up in a floating colony plotting its own orbit around the giant orb of Saturn. … Wouldn’t surprise me….. I am almost sure I carry that gene.

But my greatest responsibility as a man on this planet, is to prepare my own kids for the success of their own lives. Those of you who read these blogs know first-hand the personal cost exacted by the inordinate amount of time it takes to research and track down elusive leads. You know the choices neglected to make it happen. But your contribution to the blogosphere, no matter how spectacular, matters little if you neglect that progeny that wants to spend some of that fleeting time with you, before they are grown and literally, gone……………………….

So if our life is this important, with the continuation and passing down of traits from one generation to another, when is it morally and proper to kill someone, and thereby break that link and chain forever? When are we morally entitled to stop that genetic line in its tracks and prevent it from continuing through time up to our species extinction?

For instance, is it theoretically ok to kill another family’s son, who is at that moment is in the process of trying to kill me? ……………………..Yeah, we all have the right to survival. Ok,…..So let’s try this one: is it ok… to kill another family’s son who is preventing me from taking something of his that I want, like oil? Do I, because of the special configuration of my own amino acids, have that moral right to take his life?

On this point……….I find it hard to justify permanently erasing something that has taken over million years to evolve, like someone’s unique genetic code. I cannot sanction the removal of a unique human history, spawned from the mixing of memory and desire, just so I can drive my SUV.

So as a “dad” ……….on this Father’s Day or anytime, …..do I have the moral right to remain silent, as other sons and daughters are getting slaughtered for a reason,… …one that borders on lunacy whenever, and if ever, it is rationally probed?

Well, let’s think about it……I definitely have that option……I can certainly choose to say nothing,………but do I have the right to say nothing?……….. And this is what I struggle with…….

The Constitution gives me the right to remain silent whenever I am wrongfully prosecuted. But for the Constitution to remain relevant, it demands that all of us stand up and speak up, whenever we feel that the Constitution is misused to wrongfully persecute others. So as an American citizen, by default, I am required by my Constitution to make my views known……………in any public forum to which I have access. If my views are relevant, they get picked up and rise to the top. If they are not quite all there…….they get passed over, forgotten, and sink to the bottom……..But as a citizen of this great country, I , as well as you, continue to have the obligation, or duty, to make our views known.

So as a “dad”, here I am on this Father’s Day: Just doin’ my part, man. Just doin’ my part…………………..