January 4, 2010

Awwww…Rob Portman Hearts Jon Husted

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 10:09 am

TheHugGreat…Secretary of State Samsonite spreads the dysfunction (via an emailer):

In what must be a part of some quid pro quo deal (help me in Clermont, I’ll help you wherever), Rob Portman wrote a shining letter of support to the Clermont County Republican Chairman on behalf of Jon Husted, who then sent copies to the Committee with his “endorse me even though I’ve never been to your county” request.

Why? Because the Clermont County Republican Committee endorses in a few weeks, and if anyone on the committee actually knows Jon Husted, they are skeptical at best.

  • He is running for Secretary of State, the office charged with enforcing the very election laws whose spririt he broke.
  • Until they started shielding him as State Senator, he voted for every budget & tax increase passed (including the CAT).
  • He did not attend Clermont’s Lincoln Day last year because he was not given the microphone.

So what’s our motivation here?

Sigh…clearly Rob hasn’t been paying attention.

For the record, I don’t personally dislike Jon Husted, and to his credit, he rocks on school choice. Kevin DeWine will be shocked to know, however, that I am not a one-issue voter (eyeroll). I do think it’s crucial to point out glaring concerns that people have so that everyone knows what they’re in for…so that we don’t have to revisit 2006′s purging process again…you know, that whole “over promise, under deliver” problem plaguing establishment republicans.

I’ve seen Husted speak.  You’d think he’s the most conservative guy in the room, lol, which relates to the emailer’s second point. Husted has insufferably blasted Senate republicans who voted for the recent 4.2% retroactive tax increase in an attempt to look like he’s not an establishment republican. What we now know, however, is that the whole thing was a ruse orchestrated by establishment republicans; and the senators who voted for the monstrocity, were picked as “cowardly lions” based on term limits and who does/does not want to run for statewide office. More betrayal and political posturing at its best.

So why use Portman to coerce Clermont?

Background: Clermont County is a pain in Columbus’ keester. Not only does it have a large number of “coveted” independents (who swing right when republicans are governing conservatively), but the Columbus establishment needs the Clermont GOTV machine to win elections. Unlike Hamilton, Warren & Butler, however, Clermont doesn’t have a lot of “big money” to thow Columbus’ way. As such, the ORP harbors a visceral love/hate resentment toward Clermont. No money, no respect…which is why Clermont doesn’t take the ORP’s crap.  End background.

So how does the ORP help their [unknown] “favorite son” cross that impasse with Clermont in 2010? Well, rather than telling him to get off his duff and earn it by reaching out to actives inside the county, they enable his laziness by strong-arming Clermont’s “favorite son,” Rob Portman, to get the job done. The bigger headline in my opinion, is that Rob so eargerly threw his peeps under the bus with the BLATANT inferences that they are either too stupid to evaluate candidates themselves and/or they’re to forego any conclusions at which they arrive and blindly support someone because he said so.  I’d be offended, too, especially when any other candidate wishing to use Rob’s name and/or picture must dot “i’s,” cross “t’s,” jump on one leg four times while spinning clockwise and – well, you get the picture. Now his campaign blindly cranks out a letter without any discretion whatsoever, which is exactly what got this nation into this mess.

At any rate, I wish the ORP (and any subscribing candidate) luck with their “strategy” of getting entangled in some primaries while ignoring the ones that won’t work out to your heart’s desire.

Lol…the ORP is as transparent as we want the federal government to be…

“Husted Hugs Strickland” pic obtained from Weapons of Mass Discussion.

Flight 253: AP Ignores Wire’s Christmas Dispatch to Pretend That Obama’s Jan. 2 AQ Involvement Cite Is Important

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:06 am

AssociatedPressAbsolutePropaganda

In a report time-stamped January 2, the Associated Press’s Philip Elliott relayed what was supposedly important news:

Obama cites apparent al-Qaida link in bomb plot

An al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen apparently ordered the Christmas Day plot against a U.S. airliner, training and arming the 23-year-old Nigerian man accused in the failed bombing, President Barack Obama said Saturday.

You don’t say?

The story was on the front page of Sunday’s Cincinnati Enquirer, and likely many other papers across the nation.

Elliott was also co-auther of a piece I cited last week (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) as “deliberately gullible”:

Obama wants answers after botched terror attack

That particular Elliott item acts as if Obama received “new information” about “Al Qaeda’s plans” that finally, four days after the attack, made the idea that AQ was involved plausible. Anne Kornblut of the Washington Post also played along with the charade (“Administration sees ‘some linkage’ between Detroit suspect, al-Qaeda”).

As shown in my Friday afternoon BizzyBlog post on the topic, Al Qaeda involvement was sufficiently known within hours of the attempted takedown of Flight 253, i.e., on December 25, eight days before Barack Obama’s amazing January 2 discovery, as illustrated in two headlines cited there, including this one from AP time-stamped 7:28 p.m. on Christmas Day (story saved at web host for fair use and discussion purposes):

AP sources: Al-Qaida link in failed plane attack

The Christmas Day story was written by Larry Margasak and Lara Jakes. They had some help, as noted at the item’s end, including …. guess who:

Jakes reported from Baghdad, Iraq. Randi Berris and Jim Irwin in West Bloomfield, Mich., and Devlin Barrett, Shelley Adler and Joan Lowy in Washington, and Philip Elliott in Oahu, Hawaii, contributed to this report.

The connection to Yemen was also established by Christmas evening.

Elliott, despite his involvement in what was originally written on Christmas (it was largely sanitized in future revisions, which is why the report cited is at my web host, again for fair use and discussion purposes), acts as if the president told the American people something new and important on Saturday. Horse manure.

This is going to be harsh, but I don’t know how else to say it: Elliott’s January 2 item disgracefully doubles down on disgusting and likely deliberate deception. The Soviet Union’s old Pravda couldn’t have done it any “better.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (010410, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

R. Emmett Tyrell at the American Spectator (HT Hot Air Headlines):

The president’s healthcare monstrosity is an even more unwieldy government effort than Homeland Security. Its goals are more various and vaguer. Its protocols are already in chaos.

The lesson that the President should have learned from last week’s “systemic failure” (with Flight 253) is that government is a very imperfect instrument. A government that takes over 16% of our economy promising to bring us good health at a reasonable cost is an instrument doomed to failure and at a catastrophic cost.

Yeah Bob, but they don’t care if it works as you and I define “working.” They only care about controlling it.

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The latest in mug shot apparel. I’m trying to find legitimate examples from the Bush 43 or any other presidential era, and for “some reason,” I can’t find any, let alone 15 — no, make that 30.

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Rephrasing the Doobie Brothers:

Oh Blackwater, charges dismissed, Justice Department has a lot of egg on its face.
Oh Blackwater, charges dismissed, looks like bringing charges in the first place was the real disgrace.

Update: In a related editorial at the Wall Street Journal

Something is rotten in the culture of Justice, leading ambitious government crusaders to think they can get away with flouting due process when the political winds are blowing hot. Congress and the press corps may be too politically implicated to police this prosecutorial malpractice, so it may be up to the judiciary to apply more stringent sanctions.

The Blackwater case to the contrary, if we have to rely on the judiciary to stop prosecutorial malpractice because no one else will call it out or stop it before it happens, we’re in a heap of trouble.
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Glad someone else noticed, because I lost this in the shuffle (HT Instapundit):

The Democrats have officially killed a successful private school voucher program banishing more than 3,300 low-income children back to the DC schools they so desperately wanted to escape.

That they did it in an omnibus spending bill that had $3.9 billion in pork — 390 times more than the program’s $10 million annual cost ($50 million over five years) — makes it all the more sickening.

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Great Moments in Finishing Off the Scam Known As Globaloney — “No Rise of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Fraction in Past 160 Years, New Research Finds.” So why would anyone, including the Environmental Protection Police Agency, consider cutting carbon emissions to be of any importance? (Someone is going to have to prove that the oceans somehow can’t keep absorbing what they must to keep things in balance. Good luck with that.)

If someone set up a court where you could collect for time spent that never should have had to have been spent debunking now-disproven garbage like human-caused global warming — garbage that the leading lights, i.e., the scam artists, have known is garbage for quite a while — there would be a lot of climate change skeptic millionaires and a bunch of flat broke globalarmists.

I know it would never happen, but considering how many trillions the skeptics may have saved the world, it surely wouldn’t be an unfair enterprise.

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Great Moments in Making an Undeserving Nobel Laureate in Economics Look Foolish – Paul Krugman, in July 2008:

Fannie and Freddie probably will need a government rescue. But since it’s already clear that that rescue will take place, their problems won’t take down the economy.

Furthermore, while Fannie and Freddie are problematic institutions, they aren’t responsible for the mess we’re in.

…. Fannie and Freddie had nothing to do with the explosion of high-risk lending a few years ago, an explosion that dwarfed the S&L fiasco.

Lord have mercy.

Sorry, Paul, but to bring up a point also made on Thursday (last item at link), yes they are, and yes they did:

New research by Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer for Fannie Mae and a housing expert, has found that from the time Fannie and Freddie began buying risky loans as early as 1993, they routinely misrepresented the mortgages they were acquiring, reporting them as prime when they had characteristics that made them clearly subprime or Alt-A (situations “in which the quality of the mortgage or the underwriting was deficient”).

That’s 15 years of deceptive packaging, aka ripping off investors and now the taxpayers, Paul. Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that the books at BOTH of these companies “somehow” became an incorrigibly unauditable mess for several years in the late 1990s and beyond as their problems mushroomed?

And if the losses at Fan and Fred are closer to $1 trillion than the current “more than $400 billion,” they could still take down the economy by seriously weakening what’s left of the Fed, the Treasury, and our ability to borrow from the rest of the world. And they still “have continued to buy dicey mortgages in order to stabilize housing prices”!

Oh, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is heading for the same cliff.

Positivity: Walnut Creek WWII vet gets France’s highest honor

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Walnut Creek, California:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The government of France awarded the Legion of Honor on Tuesday to a Bay Area man who was shot down over occupied France during World War II and then joined up with a secret French underground to fight the Germans.

William Kalan, 91, a retired advertising executive who lives in the Rossmoor retirement community in Walnut Creek, received France’s highest decoration from Pierre-Francois Mourier, the French consul general in San Francisco, during a ceremony at Rossmoor.

Mourier called Kalan “an exemplary human being.”

“You left your country, your family and friends to fight at the risk of your life,” he said.

He pinned Kalan with the Legion of Honor – a five-pointed Maltese cross with a red ribbon – then embraced the old hero. “Your sacrifice and that of your comrades has not been in vain,” Mourier said.

Kalan got a standing ovation from about 100 family members and friends.

Receiving the Legion of Honor was a surprise, Kalan said. “What can I say except thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Kalan had seldom discussed his wartime adventures after he returned home, but Tuesday he told his war story slowly and softly: how he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps when he was 24 and learned to be a pilot, though he had never before flown a plane of any description. A year later, he was the pilot of a B-24 Liberator bomber on a mission over occupied France.

On June 22, 1944, German anti-aircraft fire knocked out one of his plane’s four engines. Kalan took the crippled plane out of formation, hoping to get away. But then German fighters hit his bomber and knocked out two more engines. With only one engine left, Kalan ordered his nine crew members to bail out and then jumped, too.

Just before he hit the ground, he saw his plane swerve and miss a huge white building, which turned out to be the Chateau de Chambord, one of France’s Renaissance treasures. Inside, the French had hidden priceless objects from the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa.

Later, when he learned what was in the chateau, he was amazed.

“I almost killed the ‘Mona Lisa,’ ” he said.

At the time, though, he had to hide from German patrols, saving his own life. He climbed a tree and hid there for two days.

“I was lucky,” he said. “The Germans looked but they didn’t look up.”

Later, a French couple, Yvonne and Andre Roussay, took him in. The Roussays lived with their family in the village of Huisseau-sur-Cosson, in the Loire Valley, and, as it turned out, Andre Roussay was the head of an underground resistance group.

The family risked their lives to save Kalan. Death was the usual German punishment for harboring Allied airmen.

Kalan then risked his own life by working in disguise with the underground. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.

AP Publishes Columnist’s Rip At Govt.’s Permanent Break for Home Relief Income-Fudgers — On Christmas Day

MakingHomeAffordableLogoThe Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (known as “HAMP” to lenders and services, and MHA, or “Making Home Affordable” to the general public) is “failing.”

I only learned this because I looked at the Associated Press’s feeds on Christmas evening and saw this headline — “No consequences for lying borrowers.”

In an item time-stamped December 25, AP national business columnist Rachel Beck (note: not a reporter) used language that would ordinarily cause many in the press to characterize such a person as a hard-hearted meanie to describe the results of this core Obama initiative this far:

No consequences for lying borrowers

The government shouldn’t reward liars. But that’s the effect of changes to the Obama administration’s failing program to help homeowners modify their mortgages.

Until recently the rules were clear: if you grossly understated your income to qualify for the program, you had to restart the loan modification process.

…. The program isn’t working like it’s supposed to.

…. How’s the government responding? By letting homeowners who fudge their income numbers off the hook with little more than a wink and a nod.

The directive was actually issued on December 16 (PDF). Its first few paragraphs read as follows:

Critical Home Affordable Modification Program Waiver Granted to Participating Servicers

Effective today, a new critical Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) Waiver is granted to participating servicers, as detailed below.

Permanent HAMP Waiver for Elimination of the 25% Trial Period Restart Rule #20091203

Supplemental Directive 09-01 (issued April 6, 2009) required borrowers to be reevaluated for a HAMP trial period if their verified income (as evidenced by the borrower’s documentation) exceeded the initial income information used by the servicer to place the borrower in the trial period by more than 25%. The borrower would be reevaluated based on the program eligibility and underwriting requirements and, if eligible, would have to restart the trial period.

With the issuance of this waiver, borrowers are no longer required to restart the trial period. The trial period payments would not be adjusted, but the permanent modification terms would be based on the borrower’s higher verified income.

Note the word “permanent.” It would appear that for the duration of the program there will be no consequences to loan modification applicants who seriously understate their income in an attempt to get approved for lower payments. If caught, they just have to revise what they previously submitted. Unless the dark side of human nature has magically changed during the past Christmas season, this will of course encourage unethical applicants, a number of whom surely fudged on their existing mortgage apps, to see how much fibbing they can get away with.

Here is other choice text from Beck’s blast (some of what follows was between sections already excerpted above):

…. The federally funded Home Affordable Modification Program was aimed at getting banks to rework mortgages for homeowners in order to slow the pace of foreclosures. The government set a goal of modifying up to 4 million mortgages over the next three years.

…. Since March, just 31,000 homeowners have won permanent relief (out of 728,000 modifications under way, according to a December 10 program press release — Ed.). One big reason why is that lenders are doing what they should have been doing all along – requiring things like proof of income.

…. Under the $75 billion program, lenders are paid by the government to alter mortgages in hopes that cheaper loans will lead to fewer defaults.

…. Borrowers say lenders are permitting trial modifications, but few are being made permanent. Lenders say borrowers aren’t providing all the necessary paperwork to get loans permanently altered.

…. The government needs this program to work – and fast. That’s the only way to explain the Treasury Department’s waiver of a requirement punishing borrowers who understate their income by 25 percent or more when trying to get a modification.

That means a borrower who had told a lender he made $75,000 but was found to make $100,000 doesn’t have to restart the modification process. Under the waiver announced Dec. 16, that person now gets to continue the trial period instead of being rejected immediately.

…. Dishonesty fed the housing bust. Let’s not let it ruin the chances for its repair.

AP beat reporters and the rest of the press had roughly six business days before Christmas to find this news and report on it. Based on the results of a Google News search from December 16-23 on “loan modification trial” (not entered in quotes, sorted by date with duplicates included) would seem to indicate that almost no one did.

Of the 143 results returned, a large plurality were of Alan Zibel’s December 21 AP report on the program’s status. Zibel revealed nothing about the permanent HAMP waiver. The only listings that I saw that even hinted at the existence of the permanent waiver of the income-fudging start-over in its headline were two (here and here) at eCreditDaily.com and one MortgageNewsDaily.com. Even those titles (“New Rules Poised to Speed Up Foreclosure Rescues,” “‘Critical’ Waiver Should Speed Up Mortgage Redos,” and “HAMP Waiver Eliminates Trial Period Restart Rule”) were vague — especially compared to Beck’s. Distressingly, quite a few of the remaining results seem to blame the mortgage lenders and servicers for program’s problems, with very little fire directed towards the bureaucracy or at borrowers who are fibbing or not following through.

A Google News search (previous 30 days) on the first sentence of Beck’s column (in quotes) came back with 83 results. Those results indicate that Beck’s column was carried on these days Christmas Eve – 1 (in Oakland); Christmas Day – 67; December 26 – 9; December 27 – 3; December 28 – 1; December 29 – 2.

Thus, a truly revolting development in a costly program that is distorting the housing market, creating mountains of paperwork, and straining private-sector resources has gone virtually unnoticed. It will more than likely stay virtually unknown, unless readers here change that.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.