Hate laws, speech codes, blasphemy laws and the like are just plain wrong. They are as wrong as banning scarves or religious books as some in Europe wish to do. One of the best features of our constitution is the clear, concise codification of unalienable individual rights. There is a right to hate in america and there is a right to criticize the ones that hate; and I would have it no other way. Stifling individual rights is the quickest way to emulate Euro-style serfdom in the US.
The recent move by the Organization of Islamic states and the UN to codify anti-blasphemy laws specifically for Islam into charters binding on all member nations is discussed in this video from CNN.
A couple of notes on this: Lou Dobbs does get something wrong here, Pakistan’s government right now is a duly elected Parliamentary government, one of the few in the Islamic world. It is a weak parliamentary government and under extreme stress right now due to the Nawaz wing protests and the breakaway ungoverned tribal provinces.
Chris Hitchens was also in a dust up recently, and I side with him on it even though he was attacking someone else’s extreme speech through the action of defacing a Nazi sign in Lebanon. Michael Totten gives the best summary of the event.
The notoriously liberal McClatchey papers are trying to cover up some of the guilt of Fannie Mae and by the secondary effect, some of their legislative supporters in Washington like Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd.
They print a few facts about the industry, but gloss over the real problems created by the loosy-goosey Government Sponsored Enterprises. Specifically these bullets from the article are somewhat factual, but leave out things:
_ More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions. [ true, but they wouldn’t do it if they didnt’ think a market was there – without Fannie and Freddie Securitizing these no sane lending instition would have dumpster dived the bad credit market the way they have the past decade.]
_ Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year. [Of course they did, see comment above]
_ Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that’s being lambasted by conservative critics. [ no, companies like Greentree, Canseco, Countrywide and others who created the chain of processing, sales, and servicing firms tried to comply with those federal guidelines because if they didn’t they couldn’t expand or compete with the big-box banks in products in some states and it was all about volume as well as secondary goals like selling contractor homes.]
Basically Fannie was worse than Freddy, Freddy had higher standards, and higher fees. By leading the way to the bottom in standards and raising their caps the highest Fannie led directly to this mess. If you had some toxic waste on the books you had to carry because no loan servicer would buy it who cared? Fannie or Freddy were securitizing it right?
This atmosphere of churn and burn and increasing volume led to a cuthroat business in refinancing and sales where overnight mortgage giants were racing each other to see who could dive the deepest in the credit barrel the fastest to cut into the big box bank’s turf.
Loan officers didn’t care, they got commission good or bad. Underwriters across the country were browbeaten until they learned to hold their nose and look the other way. In the meantime to keep up banks were sending out people with cameras to take pictures of huge sums of money laid out bill by bill on kitchen floors because there were “cultural differences” and some cultures didn’t trust banks (meanwhile on the counter there were labratory quality scales and packaging material…) Processing was outsourced to third parties with even lower standards because the onboard staff couldn’t keep up with the glut, and automated online processing raised their profit margins.The processing outfits got paid by number of loans processed, so it was rare to reject. Non-Traditional lenders were knife-fighting to gain major contractor’s business, and in some offices on the same computer that held the loan forms you would find the home office software to print up fake W-2’s. If you needed more money than your home was really worth on a refi package, there were specialty appraisers who would inflate the value to meet the needs.
Fly by nights came and went, and their loans got sold, repackaged, sold again. Massive fraud started occurring in some rescue agencies, some sponsored by ACORN. Straw buyer schemes, fractional deeds, and rescue angels who turned demonic all flourished. It all floated downstream to Fannie in the end because they blazed the path to lower standards and larger subprime loans. You only have to think about it a minute: Have you ever seen the government do anything where there wasn’t massive fraud and bilking? The GSE’s have been the loss leaders in today’s financial crisis, and it was truly congress and the GSE’s who led down that path into vallies of vultures by opening markets that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.
Do you think Obama isn’t neck deep with the community organizations who led to the lowering of standards and the raising of caps? Do you think Urban Democrats didn’t use these groups to increase their vote blocks?
First you must read Robert Bidinotto’s synopsis here:
While Barack Obama was getting campaign contributions from Fannie Mae’s Franklin Raines, John McCain was sounding the alarm about the crisis to come and trying to do something about it. On May 25, 2006, McCain spoke on the floor of the Senate on behalf of his proposed Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005:
Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.
The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.
For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.
I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.
I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation
Robert’s done the best collection of pertinent links, after poking through those please read Lee Cary’s piece on the Obama/Daley housing debacle in Chicago at the American Thinker.