The Berlin Wall: A Retrospective on Escape Attempts and Construction Phases

The Berlin Wall: A Retrospective on Escape Attempts and Construction Phases

This forty five minute episode of Megastructures covers the Berlin wall and the history of some of the amazing escapes from the totalitarian tyranny of East Berlin.

My Advice to Republicans: Don’t Vote on the Bill Until we Have a New Speaker

The title of the post says it all.

The American people know who has held the US economy hostage for housing the past few years, it’s time for a new speaker. If the Dems want a vote on this, they can put forward a speaker who is less incendiary.  IHT 11/08/2006:

Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who will soon become the head of the House Financial Services Committee, said he and other Democrats who have been advising Pelosi, the party’s leader in the House, were planning to propose a “grand bargain” with business interests.

If the Republicans support the Democrats’ efforts to increase minimum wage, extend student loans and expand affordable housing programs, Frank said, then the Democrats would support efforts to reduce trade barriers and burdensome regulation.

Representative John Dingell, who will head the Energy and Commerce Committee, said that he intended to focus on an energy bill that would make America more independent of foreign oil and another one outlining a bill of rights for patients. He also plans to hold hearings on unfair trade practices that have hurt American industries and workers.

Dingell, who is the chamber’s senior member, said he intended to work with Republicans in crafting legislation because “it’s best to legislate from the middle.” But he also said that “it won’t be the easiest task because the far right has controlled the House and I’m not sure how we can emancipate the Republican party and work with them.”

For some large companies, the Democratic victory is a major one. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage finance giants, which have been recovering from accounting scandals, had faced the possibility of tight new oversight laws pushed largely by Republicans. But some powerful Democrats had resisted, preferring to promote the companies’ housing mission over tighter capital standards and portfolio limits.

Here’s a prime example of Pelosi’s dangerous leadership and demagoguery:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest U.S. mortgage-finance companies, would be allowed to expand their $1.5 trillion mortgage portfolio to buy subprime loans under a Democratic plan to help struggling borrowers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats also called on President George W. Bush to increase funding for foreclosure prevention and appoint a coordinator to oversee the administration’s response to the mortgage-market turmoil in the plan they unveiled today in Washington.

“Our country faces a challenge that threatens the economic security and the dream of homeownership of many of America’s working families,” Pelosi, of California, said at a news conference.

Just a year ago she was begging to shove more crap loans down the american taxpayer’s throats.

Here’s her friends Chuckie Schumer and Barney Frank trying to lower lending standards on homes costing nearly half a million dollars — yes we should give half million dollar homes to people not worthy of credit Chuck & Barney, I mean the taxpayers are always willing to take it up the bum from Dems in congress right?:

Schumer and other Democrats have called on the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight to relax government restraints barring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from buying home loans exceeding $417,000 and from expanding their assets.

The senator introduced legislation last month to let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac temporarily increase their mortgage portfolios by 10 percent. The bill would also allow the companies to buy loans in “high-cost areas” where values are 50 percent higher than the current $417,000 cap.

U.S. Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Congress would pursue “sensible regulation” to restore investor confidence in the mortgage markets. Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he wants to meet with mortgage lenders to urge them to help borrowers refinance.

We need the people who hold the paper to be more flexible,” Frank said.

Am I angry? No, I am enraged at Pelosi’s speech. It seems intended to politicize this and ensure that there is no fix. The Dems are not happy unless we are all poor victims with a tanking economy because they are party-power first people.

UPDATE: John McCain’s Comments:

“From the minute John McCain suspended his campaign and arrived in Washington to address this crisis, he was attacked by the Democratic leadership: Senators Obama and Reid, Speaker Pelosi and others. Their partisan attacks were an effort to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis. By doing so, they put at risk the homes, livelihoods and savings of millions of American families.

“Barack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain, and refused to even say if he supported the final bill.

“Just before the vote, when the outcome was still in doubt, Speaker Pelosi gave a strongly worded partisan speech and poisoned the outcome.

“This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.” — McCain-Palin senior policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin

More History from 2006 — When the Bankers and the Dems shot the fix for this down in flames.
Here’s the timeline:

Along the same vein, I want to know who in the WUSSANIMOUS Republican leadership decided not to put John McCain’s bill up for a vote in 2006. What are the names?

More at Robert Bidinotto’s Blog

UPDATE: I’m taking a bit of heat over this post, so let me clarify, I am in favor of doing this save for the credit markets, and unlike most I always have been. What I don’t think we need to do is rush into it and be hammerlocked by expediency into bad choices. Like Steve Forbes I do think it absolutely necessary to prevent a deep recession. However I also have a lot of faith and confidence in both the breadth and depth of our economy, and do not think it would lead to depression.

What we don’t need with it is political posturing of the sort Pelosi pulled that is transparently false and riddled with Bush derangement syndrome. The Dems in the house have fought off any reform or any change to FNMA GMAC and CRA since 2001, to point at Republicans as the cause is very heinous demagoguery and a flat out big lie. She needs to be replaced by the Dems, or she needs to resign, or she needs censure. Holding this bill hostage a day or two until she at least does a mea culpa isn’t going to absolutely kill the economy, and it will give people a couple more days to digest why it’s necessary, and to improve it.

Update: More at Hot Air

Mum

McCain has spoken about the financial crisis at length, in a couple of places I do disagree with him. Much of the fault here does lie with Congress, and John seems unwilling to assign their portion of blame. Perhaps he’s saving that for the debates however, you’ve seen plenty of material here. One thing I do know: Capitalism works best with less regulations. This whole mess is because of a crazy quilt of financial regs including CRA that work at counter purposes and which result in two socialist government backed housing lending agencies both ripe for corruption and abuse.

John McCain on the AIG Bailout

ARLINGTON, VA — Today, U.S. Senator John McCain issued the following statement on the situation in the financial markets and AIG:

“Today, the government was forced to commit $85 billion to stop the collapse of AIG, another in a growing series of events that includes Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These actions stem from failed regulation, reckless management, and a casino culture on Wall Street that has crippled one of the most important companies in America. The focus of any such action should be to protect the millions of Americans who hold insurance policies, retirement plans and other accounts with AIG. We must not bailout the management and speculators who created this mess. They had months of warnings following the Bear Stearns debacle, and they failed to act.

“We should never again allow the United States to be in this position. We need strong and effective regulation, a return to job-creating growth and a restoration of ethics and the social contract between businesses and America. Important questions remain to be answered by Wall Street. Did executives mislead investors and regulators about the severity of the problem? We must investigate whether or not there was misrepresentation on part of the company executives. If there was, there must be penalties. We need to change the way Washington and Wall Street does business, and as President I will.”

Crisis, and how to Overcome it

While the markets tumble Barack Obama is hob-knobbing with Celebrities and High Rollers in Hollywood.:

The polls are one thing, but it sounds like Barack Obama might make progress in other ways during two ultra-rich Beverly Hills fund-raisers Tuesday. According to Politico, the events could raise more than $9 million, which, if it happens, would be a one-day record.

More also at Jammie Wearing Fool.

It is also noteworthy that Obama made a remark about the crisis:

“Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections; have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

If things got “shredded” then the Democrat-controlled senate Anti-trust Competition and Consumer Rights Sub Committee helped, and Barack’s running mate, Senator Joe Biden, was a member of that committee.

A Travel Agent Challenge for Barack Obama

Words are powerful, and they do have meaning and purpose when they are spoken at the right moment of history and at the right place:

There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass’sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin. — President John F. Kennedy, 1963

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! — President Ronald Reagan, at the Brandenburg Gates 1987

Even powerful speeches and words lose all meaning and effect when they are not backed with clear resolve and firm action. Kennedy’s words were backed up by a large increase in our strategic nuclear forces; Reagan’s words were backed by nuclear missiles stationed in Europe and a missile defense initiative. Because Reagan’s and Kennedy’s words had power, purpose and meaning, and because they backed those words with firm resolve and clear policy the history of our world was changed and freedom expanded.

So here lies the challenge Senator Barack Obama: if you go to the Brandenburg gates and speak it would be without purpose or meaning because those gates are now open and the people past the gates are already free.

 Instead why not become a true leader — one who promotes the cause of freedom in this world?

With that in mind I’ve outlined a potential itinerary below: Continue reading “A Travel Agent Challenge for Barack Obama”