Monday, September 29, 2008
"I'm not willing to put that bullet in the revolver and spin it. I will take the political risk," said Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.
"We're all worried about losing our jobs," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., before the vote. "Most of us say, 'I want this thing to pass, but I want you to vote for it -- not me.'
"We're in this moment, and if we fail to do the right thing, Heaven help us," he said.
These people in Congress are more worried about their jobs and who is to blame that doing the right thing. While they continue to dither in Washington, the retirement accounts, savings accounts and investments of many Americans suffer. It is the Americans on Main Street that are paying the price for all the dithering in Washington. If our Congressional members are more concerned about losing their jobs, then maybe we should accommodate. Those elected to Congress are there to do the right thing, not the politically expedient thing. I was further amazed, although I shouldn't be, with the harping over the weekend over who deserves the credit, or the blame. Or, have some have proffered, some Democrats and Republicans didn't vote for the Rescue plan because they were offended by Speaker Pelosi's speech (rant). Enough with the Pride in Congress, enough with the partisanship!
Unfortunately, our current state is a sad commentary on those who have been elected to office. Enough is enough! Even so, my points raised in earlier posts stand. We have a strong foundation, compromised currently by constraints on liquidity and lack of confidence. Time and corrections will take their toll, although the price could be minimized with some intelligent thought in Washington. Congress could have helped, and still can, by voting in favor of a measure that instills confidence in the markets. To delay will only require a more robust and higher valued solution later. Anyone who puts their interest above the interests of America should not be serving in Congress.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The Nebraska-based billionaire, whose fortune is estimated at $62bn, threw his weight wholeheartedly behind Henry Paulson's rescue package for Wall Street, arguing that US industry will "grind to a halt" without action.
"Last week, we were at the brink of something that would have made anything that's happened in financial history pale," Buffett told CNBC television. "I'm not saying the Paulson plan will eliminate the problems but it's absolutely necessary, in my view, to avoid going off the precipice."
Buffett, whose opinions are hugely influential among millions of private investors in the US, said that if the Treasury acts shrewdly by buying banks' distressed assets at a competitive price, taxpayers will end up as financial winners.
"I bet they'll make a profit," said Buffett, who pointed out that hedge funds specialising in junk assets were already picking up mortgage-related securities with a view to making profits of 15% to 20%. He said a positive return was feasible if the government ignores the book value of instruments or the original cost to banks and instead pays the prevailing market rates for the bombed out assets.
"They'll pay back the $700bn and make a considerable amount of money if they approach it like that," said Buffett. "I would love to have $700bn at Treasury rates to buy fixed-income securities - there's a lot of money to be made."
Buffett's $5bn investment in Goldman Sachs' preferred stock was matched by a further $5bn capital raising yesterday as the bank took the opportunity to bolster its balance sheet. Goldman's shares, which fell as low as $86 last week, rose by 2% to $127.88 during early trading in New York.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The Save Marriage advocacy that supports a "no" vote, does so by deception, guile and oblique lies (maybe not so oblique) and innuendo. How can they save something that eludes them, when in fact their actions are contrary to marriage as it is known today? How can they save something that they have redefined and fail to understand?
Marriage in California and in our nation has been recognized as that between one man and one woman. It is grounded in religion and tradition through the ages. It is the basis and foundation of our society and many throughout the world, given tenderly of our loving Heavenly Father for the procreation, joy and happiness of man. It has not been defined by the State, but recognized in its original form by the State as a "status." It is not within the State's authority to redefine, but in the people's charge. The same gender attraction community would have us believe otherwise, arguing their disenfranchisement, hence their judicial appeals. The same gender attraction community has gone to the extreme to promote their cause as "saving marriage" when in fact, they seek to redefine and destroy it as it is known today. A vote "no" or against Proposition 8 sets in motion the very dilution and destruction of marriage as we know it in our society, hence the lie perpetrated in their slogan. The subtleties in our society have become the destructive forces that when we look back have wreaked havoc beyond measure.
Our hope is to truly "Protect Marriage" with a Yes vote on Proposition 8, and in doing so, preserve the very familial foundation of our society; to preserve the fundamental religious freedom and liberty upon which our nation was founded. It is interesting to note that in the founding of our nation, born in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that followed, we are a nation established under the purview of our Creator and governed by moral and natural law (of which traditional marriage is fundamental). The unalienable rights established in the Declaration of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are within the bounds of our Creator, even God. The disruptive thought of our nation's founding was in turning our nation from a secular state where the State was the supreme authority served by the people (as in Great Britain under King George), to a moral and natural law state under the fundamental principles of God where the People were the supreme authority served by the State. When we undertake to undermine the freedoms and liberties established at the founding of our nation, wherein we defer to the State (or Judiciary) to legislate and deny the very freedoms and liberties granted, i.e., religious freedom, we become a secular nation where the State becomes the master and the people the servant. The issues rest with the People for determination and not the State, for the State is a protector of the People not a determinant.
Yes, Proposition 8 is an inflection point, even a defining moment in our nation. We must preserve the very principles of freedom at our nation's founding, respecting the rights, privileges and liberties of all, without compromise the fundamental and basic unit of our nation, the family and traditional marriage as it is known between one man and one woman. If we fail to pass Proposition 8 with a "YES" vote, we subordinate religious freedom and the people to the State; we deny certain children the blessing and right of a father and mother; we destroy the principles of moral and natural law upon which our nation was founded; and, we become a secular state subject to judicial interpretation and subjection where the people are subordinate.
I had an interesting conversation with someone the other day who indicated in his conversation with the opponents to Proposition 8 that if Proposition 8 failed to pass, polygamy would become legal in California. To which the individual objected saying that polygamy is morally reprehensible. Well? It is true, without a specific definition as noted above, we will be faced with the legality of same sex marriage, polygamous marriage and whatever else man can devise. For the opponents of Proposition 8 to find polygamy immoral, well? Even so, it is all about families and children.
A good friend noted today in our conversation, "Reserve marriage for procreative relationships and let civil unions take care of themselves, vote YES on Proposition 8."
Saturday, September 20, 2008
In spite of these corrections, our markets and economies are fundamentally strong. Foundationally, they are built on correct free market and economic principles, proven and tested over time. Notwithstanding, the US Treasury can meet its measure by needed intercession to restore market confidence if the corrections are perceived as potentially irreparable. In its bailout of AIG, the Treasury acted appropriately. The shareholders and management of AIG will bear the consequence of their folly, but given the security and equity interests taken, liquidity restored and markets stabilized the Treasury (US taxpayers) will benefit handsomely when AIG is repatriated in the free market.
I can recall in the mid 70's when mortgage rates were at 15%, overnight bank rates exceeded 20%, the 20 year Treasury Note hit 9%, the DJIA was around 600, the government stepped in an bailed out Chrysler with $1.2 billion in loan guaranties, and many thought we were doomed. Many thought the Chrysler bailout was a failed policy in spite of the nearly $500 million in profit to the Treasury in later years. The policy wasn't a failed policy as it restored confidence in the markets. The failed policy was the auto industry's unwillingness to change its much needed business strategy, thinking it could continue business as usual. Again in the 1980's we faced the S&L crisis which cost the nation dearly. The government bail out the S&L industry, again, was critical in restoring market confidence. Even so, what did we learn? Very little. The unfortunate consequence of past corrections is always reflected in future events. Corrections reset the bar but have done little to change the underpinning nature of the players. Hopefully, this correction will cause us to learn from our errant behaviors, although unlikely. An interesting article in the NY Times.
Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke, and their staffs at the Treasury and Fed, have served us well in this correction and confidence is on course to restoration. Unlike the protestations of Senator Obama this correction doesn't rest at the feet of George Bush. It rests at the doorstep of our investment banks, insurers and commercial banks. Further, John McCain's inappropriate call for the head of Christopher Cox reflects our societies wont for a scapegoat. Without doubt, the management of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Bear Stearns and Lehman have been caught in their own trap, and we have had to endure the ride. In spite of it all, the system works. If any regulation is sought, is should be principle based and set the bar of consequence upon those who are responsible before we get beyond the breach. Let us be measured and not throw the baby out with the bath water. We needn't over regulate, but establish capital adequacy ratios and define assets and liabilities in a manner so as to assure our financial institutions (investment banks, insurers and commercial banks) are secure and competitive in the global market.
Having spent the past 30 years in the capital markets, and knowing the intracies and complexities of the markets that reach into every global sphere, whether through the derivative, debt or equity markets; of one thing I am certain, politicians are the last of any breed to try and regulate or oversee the fundamental economies of the world. Senators Obama and McCain, and their respective running mates, are not sufficiently resourced to respond, nor are most who lead our nation, whether in Congress or the White House. It is in their advisors, Secretaries of the Cabinet, Fed Chairman and other informed experts who are charged with a public trust that we can turn to for guidance in these matters, drawing further from the capital market industry. Let us hope for reason and capacity, and not political profferings as we weather these economic storms.
Surely, we will see future corrections, and most likely more often. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all Americans to be measured, reasoned and conservative in their financial houses - not reaching beyond our capacities and setting our storehouses in order to better enable our enduring of the storms ahead. We must limit our personal debts, set aside capital reserves, improve the depth of our food stores and live with prudence and within our means.
If only the American people could have seen and accepted the much needed capacity of Mitt Romney. Of any who have sought the office of POTUS, he understands the economic markets we face, and if we have any issue in this election, it is the economy, stupid!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
President Bush isn't without criticism on certain points, especially given his failure to hold Congress (Republican or Democratic) accountable, and thus squandering an opportunity to limit the size of government. Even so, the responsibility must rest with Congress, for Congress has failed our nation, not the President. He could and should have done more, but it doesn't excuse the failings of our Legislative branch.
That being said, the positive things done under the leadership of George Bush are significant, and America should be grateful for his leadership in America's Midnight Moments. Under President Bush, we have had no further destructive terrorist attacks on our land; when our economy was under serious threat, because of 9/11, President Bush led our nation in an economic recovery unlike any before, with tax cuts, and economic policies that favored all Americans. Under President Bush, America has flourished and grown, both domestically and internationally, with the strongest economy in the world, in spite of recent travails. Yes, he has led us in war, which could have been managed with greater acuity - even so, America has stood on principles of democracy and taken nothing unto itself, even giving the last measure of what has made America great, the lives of its soldiers in the defense of righteousness. Under President Bush, America has dedicated in excess of $30 billion to aid and attend the suffering of many in Africa, something President Clinton and those who have preceded him have not done.
Appreciating that the media has done all in its power and influence to undermine and diminish President Bush, even to providing foundation for Obama's strategy of Blaming Bush - I am perplexed!
Why is it that George Bush is responsible for:
-Irresponsible spending, even to ballooning the national debt by $3 trillion, when it is Congress that approves and legislates such?
-The current economic crisis, when it is Congress that has legislated and enabled lax lending and credit standards, even giving expanded capacity to the markets? It is not President Bush that has instilled the reckless actions of Wall Street and the underpinning greed thereof, it resides with the barons of Wall Street and their pursuit of return without consideration of the inherent risks. It is the American people who share responsibilty for living beyond their means, not the President of the United States. We are a people who have chosen not to take responsiblity, but to place the blame at the feet of George Bush and his "failed policies." Let us all stand accountable, recognizing that our choices, be we the barons of Wall Street, or sub prime borrowers, come with consequence. It is easy to blame others, but haven't we become caught up with excess?
-The corruption of politicians, both Republican and Democrat, when it remains with the individuals who have acted in violation of the law?
-The rampant expansion of lobbyists and undue influence in Congress, when it is Congress that is accountable for self governance and ethics?
-The failed auto industry and challenges in the economy's of Michigan, Ohio and the rust belt, when it is the Governors and state legislators that are responsible for their self determination and state economic models?
Barack Obama is so bent on painting such a bleak picture for the future of America, putting all responsibility on George Bush and the Republicans, that it has become ridiculous. Before long, it will be George Bush's fault that the NY Yankess failed to make the playoffs. It could become a new mantra in society when anything has gone wrong that somehow it is George Bush's fault. If you lose your job, fail to lose weight, trip and fall, or struggle with computer skills - it must be George Bush's fault.
Some attest to Barack's intelligence and it is his intelligence that is going to save us. Wake up America, Barack Obama is incapable of saving us! Observe and listen to what Barack is saying - all things rest at the feet of George Bush, and none of it is good. What happened to hope for our future - does it all rest at the feet of Barack Obama? Is he going to take credit for fixing every ill or every problem we face, individually or in society? Look who is supporting him? Do we really feel that Hollywood represents what is good in our nation? Are the uneducated actors in Hollywood really that astute to know how to save our dying America? Really?
Barack Obama epitomizes the failings of our current entitled society - he believes in "choice" without responsibility and accountability, he believes in "tolerance" as acceptance even if in violation of core values and not respect, which is what tolerance is, he believes in equality without consideration of the price that is paid for such. Barack Obama's economic policies, if employed, will severely damage our economy, but like unto Jimmy Carter's destructive economic policies, we can overcome such in a few short years - we are a resilient nation. Even so, we will not so easily overcome Barack's social and cultural agenda. It will take us 40-50 years, if even then, to overcome his appointments to the judiciary of advocates that undermine our freedoms like unto the California Supreme Court in their decision to redefine marriage to the subordination of religious freedom to the lifestyle of those with same gender attraction.
John McCain may not be all that we want in a leader, but of all things, he understands the principles and foundations of Freedom and will stand as a defender of what is right.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
In my heart of hearts, I hope for a McCain/Palin Presidency as the alternative is frightening beyond measure. If, at the end of the day, we are relegated to an Obama/Biden Presidency, with a strong Democratic majority in the houses of Congress, with certainty we will suffer economically; windfall profits taxes on oil companies, increased capital gains tax, eliminating the upper limit on social security withholdings (a significant tax increase), increased personal taxes on anyone making over $150,000, a ballooned national debt to cover social initiatives, and on and on. Even so, an economic consequence of Obama can be overcome within a reasonsed period of time, believing that Obama will be like unto Carter and serve only one disasterous term. The greater concern lies within the cultural and social shifts we will suffer on the slippery slope of society's situational standards. The judicial appointments, both Federal and Supreme, will take nearly 40-50 years to recover from, if then.
Hence, my concern for McCain's recent choices, with a hoped for validation of his selection in Sarah Palin. I hold Charles Krauthammer in great regard, as he eloquently elucidates on critical points of worth in this election cycle. There are few who can compete with his intellect and understanding. He makes a great point in this recent Washington Post Opinion. It looks as if we have a short wait, as long as it may seem, before we truly know if McCain's gamble paid off. Here's to hope for a wise electorate that can see the lack of substance and serious failing in an Obama administration. If not, heaven help us all!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
1. Children in public schools will be taught that both traditional marriage and same-sex marriage are okay.
The California Education Code already requires that health education classes instruct children about marriage. (§51890)
Therefore, if the definition of marriage is changed, children will be taught that marriage is a relation between any two adults. There will be serious clashes between the secular school system and the right of parents to teach their children their own values and beliefs.
2. Churches will be sued if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings that are open to the public. Ask whether your pastor, priest, minister, bishop, or rabbi is ready to perform such marriages in your chapels and sanctuaries.
3. Religious adoption agencies will be challenged by government agencies to give up their long-held right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. Catholic Charities in Boston has already closed its doors because of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
4. Religions that sponsor private schools and which provide housing for married students will be required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if it runs counter to church doctrine, or lose tax exemptions and benefits.
5. Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages will be sued for hate speech and could be fined by the government. It has already happened in Canada, one of six countries that have legalized gay marriage.
6. It will cost you money. A change in the definition of marriage will bring a cascade of lawsuits. Even if courts eventually find in favor of a defender of traditional marriage (highly improbable given today’s activist judges), think of the money – your money, your church contributions – that will have to be spent on legal fees.
And think of all the unintended consequences that we cannot even foresee at this time. Where will it end?
It’s your children, your grandchildren, your money, and your liberties.
Lets work together to protect them.
Join with us in walking precincts and phoning voters to vote Yes on Prop 8.
To a dear friend, GL, thanks for the enlightening consequences above.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Consider the point of our courts who have trampled upon our religious freedoms, allowing for the "disenfranchised" to subordinate religious freedom to their individual wants and desires. Consider the New Mexico couple who photograph weddings being compelled by the courts to pay damages to the Same-Gender-Attraction couple because they chose not to photograph their "union," or the private Christian fertility clinic in San Diego that was compelled, against their religious principles, to artificially inseminate a Same-Gender-Attraction woman, even though they willingly referred her elsewhere. We have stepped on that slippery slope and the consequences are devastating to what truly matters in society.
We face a defining moment in choosing the next POTUS. Our very freedoms and liberties are at stake. Many in society may be sufficiently cynical and opt out of the process, dismissing their vote altogether, and some may even diminish, privately or publicly, those who would exercise their right to vote. Some may say, "what's the use in even voting at all," it doesn't matter. On the contrary, IT MATTERS! Whether victorious in our hopes and desires for our candidate to become the next POTUS, it matters that we exercise our right and our God-given duty to stand in defense of freedom!
Consider what we face. As noted in the illustrations above, we have sufficiently strayed from the founding principles of our free society, in the name of "tolerance, choice and equality." We have one candidate running for POTUS who epitomizes the "entitled generation" and adopts the current attitudes of "tolerance, choice and equality," at the expense of our religious liberty. It is not to say he is a bad person, just misguided and sufficiently persuaded contrary to the founding principles of our nation. We have in another, an individual whose freedoms were denied earlier in his life - he understands and stands in defense of those founding principles. May we be wise and thoughtful and exercise our dutiful right and privilege! It Matters!