Thursday, October 9, 2008

Here's what I've learned...

In my last post, I asked Obama supporters to tell me why they support him because I wasn't seeing the reasons for myself. I heard that they favored Obama's stance on the economy, health care, drilling for oil and abortion rights. I also heard that he would at least be different than the last 8 years. (I may have to cover that particular view in another post entirely)
But okay...so let's break this down.
1) The Economy: The biggest reason why our economy is in the toilet? Sub-prime mortgages. Companies like Countrywide Financial made loans to people using predatory practices. The following is from Wikipedia regarding Countrywide Financial.

Countrywide subprime documents show a policy of lending to families with as little as $1000 of disposal income, often compromising their ability to pay living expenses. This guideline was not established by Countrywide, but rather the investors to whom they sold their loans. However Countrywide had no qualms in following through despite it knowing those families would likely fail to make monthly payments: these loans would be sold to investors shortly after anyway. Employees were given scripts as a sales aid when talking to customers about taking out loans. But get this; Economist Stan Liebowitz writes that the Fannie Mae Foundation singled out Countrywide Financial as a "paragon" of a nondiscriminatory lender who works with community activists, following "the most flexible underwriting criteria permitted." The chief executive of Countrywide is said to have "bragged" that in order to approve minority applications, "lenders have had to stretch the rules a bit." Countrywide's commitment to low-income loans had grown to $600 billion by early 2003. Furthermore, in June 2008 Conde Nast Portfolio reported that numerous Washington, DC politicians over recent years had received mortgage financing at noncompetitive rates because the corporation considered the officeholders "FOA's"--"Friends of Angelo". The politicians extended such favorable financing included the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Democrat Christopher Dodd, and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Democrat Kent Conrad. The article also noted Countrywide's political action committee had made large donations to Dodd's campaign. Democrat Senator Dodd proposed that the federal government buy up to $400 Billion in defaulted mortgages. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington(CREW) has called for House and Senate to investigate Senators Conrad and Dodd. It was reported that James Johnson, former CEO of Fannie Mae and an adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, had received loans under the "Friends of Angelo". Johnson announced he would step down from the vice presidential vetting position on June 11, 2008 in order to avoid being a distraction to Obama's campaign. In June 2008 The Wall Street Journal reported that Franklin Raines, a former CEO of Fannie Mae, received below market rates loans at Countrywide Financial because the corporation considered the officeholders "FOA's"--"Friends of Angelo" (Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo). He received loans for over $3 million while CEO of Fannie Mae.

By the way, Obama's buddy, James Johnson of Fannie Mae fame? An Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) report from September 2004 found that, during Johnson's tenure as CEO, Fannie Mae had improperly deferred $200 million in expenses. This enabled top executives, including Johnson and his successor, Franklin Raines, to receive substantial bonuses in 1998. A 2006 OFHEO report found that Fannie Mae had substantially under-reported Johnson's compensation. Originally reported as $6-7 million, Johnson actually received approximately $21 million.
What does this have to do with your choice of either Obama or McCain? Well I'll tell you. All of you Obama supporters, Independents, McCain detractors, and/or hard line Democrat voters, when you start talking about wanting a "change" or wanting to have "hope" or trying to get away from the last 8 years of "The Bush Presidency", I would ask that you look towards members of the Democratic leadership in Congress for some clues as to how this economic nightmare came to fruition. And no, I don't hold the Republican party harmless in all this, if for no other reason than they should have been screaming louder about the dangers of letting the sub-prime crisis reach such epic proportions - long before it actually happened. By several accounts, the warnings were there. That president, the one you all love to hate, was trying to sound the warning bell way back in 2001 and again in 2003. Nobody wanted to listen. The Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, tried to warn Washington in 2005. Again, no one wanted to listen. In 2006, John McCain co-sponsored legislation pushing for the regulation and reform of entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That bill made it out of the Senate Banking Committee with a party line vote; all democrats voted against it. Fearing that they, the Republicans, didn't have the votes to pass it, this bill wasn't even brought up on the senate floor. Yeah, I think the Republicans should have fought this much harder than they did. This effort looked more like partisan politics as usual than it did an honest attempt at preventing an economic disaster for America. Nevertheless, despite not actually getting anything done, the Republicans would at least get a "C" for putting out some effort, while the Democrats would get a flat out "F" for displaying such a willful intent to ignore what was, even then, a major issue. These inept political leaders who so blatantly ignored all the warning signs are the very same ones that Barack Obama aligns himself with and who align themselves with him. Think that over, would you? I mean, how will "change" occur when the person you are selecting for that "change" is a supporter of and is supported by many of the very people who allowed this catastrophe to happen?
Now on to Health Care: I'm afraid I haven't been able to find enough information to give an even slightly informed opinion on whose plan would work best. That's not to say I've given up, though. I will continue searching. I'm looking for non-partisan examinations of both candidate's plans. I want a comprehensive breakdown of what each will do, how much it will cost, who will pay for it and the overall benefits to America as a whole. I'll get back to you if and when I manage to get a grasp on this.
Another issue was Drilling: some of you don't want to see much drilling going on which makes absolutely no sense to me. You'd rather be dependent on foreign oil? I know there are ecological and environmental concerns. I get that. But for those of you who are opposing McCain and supporting Obama because Obama is against drilling, think again. Here's what he said during the last debate:

"I believe in the need for increased oil production. We're going to have to explore new ways to get more oil, and that includes offshore drilling. It includes telling the oil companies, that currently have 68 million acres that they're not using, that either you use them or you lose them."

Basing your vote on who will drill and who won't has become a nonstarter. Both candidates intend to drill. Granted, if Sarah Palin gets her way, there'll actually be drilling taking place in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), too. If the drilling can be done with minimal effects on the environment (and multiple studies indicate that to be the case), then why not do it? What are we saving all that oil for? A time when we'll have developed alternative fuel and won't need oil anymore? It probably won't do us much good then, now will it? I agree that resources should most certainly be allocated for alternative energy research and development, but in the meantime...we need to do everything in our power to get away from this dangerous dependence on foreign oil. Everything.
Finally, people seem to be concerned with Abortion Rights: As I've stated before, I believe a woman should have the right to choose. But I think that choice should be whether or not to have sex, not whether or not to abort a baby for personal convenience. I think touting abortion as a "right" is ridiculous and an indication of the ultimate "pandering" to women voters. It's marketed as "I believe a woman should have control over her own body and should be able to exercise her own views over whether or not she wants to have a child". Well, thank-you-very-much, Mr. and Ms. Left-Wing, Kumbaya, "I'll empower you with the right to treat a growing entity in your womb as so much tissue to be discarded" Abortion Activist. Really appreciate your condescending and completely misleading method of trying to convince me that I Am Empowered. Personally, I think that kind of attitude short-changes women and presupposes that only by allowing us to negate a consequence of our actions (actions we partook in of our own freewill) will we be able to "control our own lives". You know I, too, believe a woman should have control over her own body, only I think that control should begin long before any man's sperm makes contact with her egg. I think that control should be granted at the onset of any and all sexual encounters, not merely afterwards. I believe a woman has a responsibility to understand the repercussions of sex, as well as the pleasures. I believe men have that responsibility, too, but seeing as how the woman ends up carrying one of those "repercussions" in her belly for approximately 9 months, I'm going to have to say the majority of the responsibility belongs to her. I think abortion as a matter of convenience is the ultimate in irresponsibility and I will never understand how any woman could stand for that as if advocating for it were some "badge of honor". We are women. We should take more pride in our ability to grasp the concept of responsibility, rather than advocate for a way out of responsibility. I swear, I really don't know when giving up the biggest and best thing that separates us from men became necessary for us to feel equal to men. We lessen ourselves when we abdicate our responsibility and I for one, won't do it. And I don't get the almost militant attitude of those who will. Edited to add: I got so carried away with my abortion stance that I forgot to tie this issue into the whole McCain/Obama choice that we've all been talking about. (Who says I can't be totally self-centered on my own blog, eh? lol) Anywho, I believe the issue of abortion is another nonstarter because I don't see Roe v Wade being overturned now or in the future, regardless of who is elected. The country has heard far too many stories of women going to back-alley butchers in the past. I don't think anyone wants to see that again, nor do I believe it will happen. There are many of us who take a stand against abortion itself, but as for me, I believe that making it legal or illegal is not the issue. Making women understand responsibility for their own bodies, and their futures, is. If we ever manage to accomplish that, then the subject of abortion could very well become moot. But again, I don't see it as a reason to vote for one candidate or another at this point in time because, despite the rhetoric, it's simply not on either party's "front burner".

9 comments:

  1. Great post, Kari - as usual. You've certainly done your homework. Thanks for putting this information out there for all of us. I especially agree with your abortion views.

    I decided a long time ago how I was going to vote. And I voted last week. I'm hoping that McCain will be able to pull this out, as the thought of 4 (or 8) years of Obama scares the hell out of me.

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  2. It all boggles my mind and frustrates me beyond belief!
    On to better things ~ way to go girl on your weight loss! What an inspiration you are!!! I'm still pluggin' away at about 15 lbs lost now.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Blessings,
    Sandy
    PS I'm having a giveaway so if you have a chance come on over and check it out!

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  3. Hi Kari,

    Really good post! You sure have done your homework on all the issues and you have done a better job laying them out the the politicians do. Love your political posts. I haven't voted yet, thought about doing it early but will wait.

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  4. So Kari have you given up on participating in the photo challenges till after the election? Miss seeing your pictures.

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  5. Thanks for another good post, Kari.

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  6. And Amen Sister Kari...you're preaching to the congregation and singing to the choir...
    hugs
    Aunt Sandi

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  7. I couldn't have said it better!
    You go girl!

    Hugs!
    Kat

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  8. Countrywide was purchased by Bank of America this week. I aske don my post today who determines who gets bailed out?/The most frineds in Washington becasue the little homeowner isn't getting the help. I just wish as people go to vote they would think of a man who served his country for 30 years in military and government, who cares about America not just grooming himself!!I am so saddened by the way America thinks these days sort of one cult following to another and that Hollywood group has lost my favor let me tell you..At any rate, keep the good meaty articles coming. you care about all the right things . it's refreshing and inspiring.

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  9. I don't think we'll see real change in Washington until we overhaul the whole process. As it stands, you can't put a different face in office but they all play the same game in the end. I think that is sad an I know it sounds cynical, but I believe it to be true!

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