Category Archives: Republicans Can Be Leftists Too

Jack Lew Grilled Over Perfectly Legal Investment

Jack Lew

Jack Lew has been nominated to run the Treasury Department.  Last week he went before his congressional committee for intense questioning.  Among other things, Mr. Lew was forced to answer questions regarding a $56,000 investment:

 President Obama’s nominee to lead the Treasury Department defended his $56,000 investment in a Cayman Islands fund at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, saying he was unaware it was based in a nation famous for having offshore tax havens.

“I always reported all income, I always paid all taxes,” he said. “I was aware that it was an international fund investing in emerging markets … I actually didn’t know [its location] at the time.”

Seriously.  Lew was forced to endure question regarding a 56k investment in a legal fund established in the Caymans.  This isn’t a case where the funds should have been taxed and Lew cheated to avoid paying money that he owed.  No.  This is the case of a man making intelligent decisions balancing risk with reward and diversifying his portfolio.

This is what people who have money, often why people HAVE money to begin with, do to make sure they will continue to have more money later.

Now, to be sure, the only reason -I’ll give ’em the benefit of the doubt- that the republicans went after Lew is because Obama demonized Mitt Romney during the campaign for the exact same reason; his off-shore Cayman investments.

And if THAT wasn’t enough, the republicans kept at it:

Lew also addressed a bonus of nearly $1 million he received as Citigroup was receiving billions in government support amid the financial crisis. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) questioned whether it was “morally acceptable” for Lew to accept a bonus at Citi briefly before the bank tapped the government for billions of dollars in bailout relief. Lew said his compensation was not out of the norm at the time, and that he disclosed everything as he should.

“I was compensated for my work,” he said, adding that he was aware that Citi was about to receive a large federal guarantee when he received the bonus.

“I do believe it was comparable for people in positions like mine in the industry,” he added. “I don’t think there’s anything that hasn’t been fully transparent both in what I did and what I earned.”

Surely I’m aware of the beautiful bitter irony, but just because a democrat NOW is speaking truth doesn’t mean that he’s wrong to say it.  Listen to what he’s saying, “I have a job maybe not 1,000 people in America could do as well as I do it.  And for that, I get compensated.  Of COURSE I feel justified in cashing that check.”

I don’t know, maybe politics demands that the questions be asked and answered.  While Lew played stupid on the Cayman island thing, and we can’t use stupid to defeat democrats, he did provide ammunition in the class-war that the left is waging.

Maybe it’s worth it, but I wish we governed in a way and manner in which we didn’t need that.

Why I Don’t Trust Politicians – Bustin’ Republican’s Chops

One of the reasons I have so much scorn for democrats is that they embrace the big government statism power that I despise.  Republicans at least SAY* they’re against it but then eventually break my heart by giving in to the temptation that is “power.”

To be sure, the devastation that is “Sandy” is, in some areas, complete.  Any human with a drip of a spirit and decency would weep at the scene.  But the reason we elect people is that we expect leadership.

And courage.

And with one stroke of a pen, Christie failed BIG time:

Trenton, NJ – Taking action to save homeowners money following Hurricane Sandy, Governor Chris Christie signed Executive Order 107, prohibiting insurance companies from imposing costly hurricane deductibles on New Jersey homeowners. An important part of the recovery of New Jersey will be the influx of funds that occurs when insurers settle claims by New Jersey homeowners. This action will increase the total size of the payments made by the insurance industry, helping residents rebuild their homes and speed New Jersey’s path to recovery.

“We need to ensure that homeowners are not forced to pay higher out of pocket costs than required as they begin the rebuilding and repair process,” said Governor Christie. “While Hurricane Sandy was a devastating storm, it did not meet the regulatory threshold to trigger the application of hurricane deductibles by insurance companies in New Jersey. This executive order makes it clear that consumers do not have to pay these unusually large and often unexpected amounts.”

Now, did the storm meet the threshold to trigger deductible?  Maybe, maybe not.  But THAT isn’t up to the governor of a state.  That’s to be determined by the normal and regular and well understood relationship between the private entities that entered into a legally binding contract.

Governor Christie would be wise to remember that if he legislates away the right to collect deductibles, if indeed they are entitles, he may very well find out that the polices issued to his residents are dramatically more expensive if offered at all.

* Except, of course, things like gay marriage and extreme abortion views.  THOSE state powers they are just fine with.


I often and vigorously bash unions for the coercive techniques they use to gain membership and then take money.  All in the name of political power for democrats.

While it’s true that I dislike unions for this, among other, reasons, I also don’t like the practice when used by a corporation:

The Pepper Pike company that owns the Century Mine told workers that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid, a top company official said Monday morning in a West Virginia radio interview.

A group of employees who feared they’d be fired if they didn’t attend the campaign rally in Beallsville, Ohio, complained about it to WWVA radio station talk show host David Blomquist. Blomquist discussed their beefs on the air Monday with Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore.

Moore told Blomquist that managers “communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.” He said the company did not penalize no-shows.



Immigration: Of Things Illegal And Legal

Let’s be honest here; America is a nation OF immigrants.  Not only that, but the greatness of our nation is in large part the product of the greatness of those immigrants.  This isn’t, or shouldn’t be, surprising.  After all, it is the precise individual who is willing to risk everything to come to an unknown land in order to build a better life for himself that creates the very greatness we’re discussing.

With that said I’ve been baffled by the resistance republicans have to immigrants and immigration reform.  Baffled for two reasons:

  1. It is the leftist that is the statist.  It’s not the lovers of Liberty that want to empower the state to dictate the whos, the whys and the whens of an otherwise free people to decide where they wanna live and work.  Building a state that controls such thing is normally the domain of the left, of the democrat; of the statist.  It distresses me that the republicans have abandoned a principle based in Liberty like this.
  2. The Latino population is not one that naturally is liberal.  The Latino is very conservative.  They are very religious, value a strong family and embrace personal responsibility in the form of a massive work ethic that not only supports the immediate family but often the extended family.  Even if that family is in another country.  By alienating the Latino, the republicans are walking away from a natural base.  And a base that is only going to grow.

All of which makes what Obama did today distressing:

(Reuters) – About 800,000 young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children could be spared deportation under new immigration rules announced by President Barack Obama on Friday …

I’m not distressed that Obama made bad policy here, he didn’t.  Allowing immigrants who wanna live and work here the legal opportunity is absolutely the right thing.  And for this, I am in rare but enthusiastic support of the President.  Rather I’m distressed because the republicans have so utterly failed in the whole immigration debate.

This decision will garner support from the Latino vote.  And to be sure, those folks won’t suddenly turn into died in the wool leftists.  But, BUT, we know that politics is a team sport and soon, not very long to be sure, as people begin to affiliate with a “tribe” they will become a member of that tribe and we’ll find it hard to convert them back to their natural support.

Congratulations to President Obama.  Here I think he did the right thing.  And the right lost a massive opportunity to do the right thing as well.

Gay Marriage In NC: Amendment One


Sadly I am afraid that Amendment 1 will pass in North Carolina.  This is the amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage between one man and one woman to be the only recognized union in the state.  I’m distressed by this outcome.  I’m distressed that a segment of the population of my state would look to restrict the liberty of another segment.

I get the arguments.  I understand that Christians may feel that homosexuality is a sin.  I get that people think the point of marriage is to generate children.  I get all that.  But even if it’s true, even if being gay is a sin, that isn’t the litmus we use to pass legislation.

I am VERY clear that taking the Lord’s name in vain is a sin.  Yet none of us would think to legislate that into law.  Again, I am sure that failing to keep the sabbath holy is a sin, yet again, we wouldn’t dream of codifying it.

The fact that a thing is, or MAY be a sin, simply isn’t reason enough to erect state laws.

With that said, in my disappointment in my state, I find the process fascinating.  There are things that a state can do that the federal government can’t.  And regulating marriage is one of those things.  A state may decide that the age of consent is 16, or 17 or 18.  That state may allow exceptions with parental consent.

Some states require blood tests.  Test to determine if the betrothed carry infectious disease.  Or are related.  States get to regulate marriage.  And though I don’t agree with that regulation, it would seem that the proponents of the amendment followed the process.  They petitioned the government.  That government listened and struck an amendment that made its way to the ballot.  And, if the polling is right, will pass.

States have the right to regulate things in a way and manner that the federal government does not.

And here is where I’m conflicted.  I certainly hope that the courts take this up and rule that the amendment isn’t valid.  We simply can’t stipulate advantage for one group of people over another.  On the other hand, the people of the State of North Carolina have spoken.  Perhaps we are obligated to live with the unfortunate consequences.

If only we had done the right thing and voted this thing down.

North Carolina And Gay Marriage

Here in North Carolina, sadly, we have a fight brewing.  On the upcoming ballot is a constitutional amendment that would make gay marriage and all forms of civil unions unconstitutional.

I happen to be a big “states rights” kinda guy so I don’t have as much a problem with this initiative being on the ballot as I do that there are that many people who want it on the ballot.  Marriage, from the perspective of the state, is nothing more than a legally binding contract between two consenting and unrelated adults.  Nothing more and nothing less.

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Bill O’Reilly: Wrong On Gas Prices


Bill O’Reilly has launched a pretty big offensive regarding the price of gasoline.  He’s been on air several times extolling the administration to get ahead of the situation and take a leadership role.  Personally, I’m not sure that Obama has  had much influence on the price of gasoline today.  Prices are high today not because of supply and demand, policies where Obama is clearly wrong, but because of the tension in the Middle East.  Specifically with Iran.

Given the nature of the world market there is no wonder that gasoline prices are going up.  And fast.

But O’Reilly loses me on his solutions.

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S. 1867: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

I’ve spent some time considering the implications of the National Defense Authorization Act.  We know we have to fund the military, we know we’re gonna fund the military and because no one wants to look like they don’t support the military we get all kinds of nonsense added into these bills.

This time though, that nonsense isn’t really nonsense.  It’s really bad news.

The bill also contains several detainee provisions that civil liberties groups and human rights advocates have strongly opposed, arguing that they would allow the military greater authority to detain and interrogate U.S. citizens and non-citizens and deny them legal rights protected by the Constitution.

In short, the bill now law allows the military to detain American citizens indefinitely in the simple suspicion they may be terrorists.

I don’t care WHAT they are suspected of, the unlimited detention by our government for any reason is beyond the pale.  And is, quite simply, the most radical change to our foundation that we may have ever seen.

I haven’t taken the opportunity to wrote about this.  I’m torn.  On the one hand I am massively biased against the Democrats in the Senate and the President in the White House.  I want to make sure, NEED to make sure, that I was disagreeing for the right reasons on this one.

And I couldn’t be sure.

Until I remember one of my most earliest blog writings on a blog now defunct in 2008:

I think that too much has been made of the facts that the folks down in Guantanamo are being granted rights that are guaranteed under The Constitution.  That somehow giving these guys the rights to question their detention is something that is unique to America.  With very little work, it can be seen that these rights began to be articulated long long ago, in fact, according to Wiki, we begin to see them form in 1305.

As such, the fact that our Supreme Court has extended the rights as such should not be so controversial.  In fact, the idea that they should NOT be afforded the rights would be much more newsworthy.  The problem many of us have, however, is the official designation of the detainees.

I have always felt that participants in the War OF Terror (read: The Terrorists) are NOT soldiers.  They are not members of a regular and lawful Military Organization.  They do not meet the wherefores and the how to bes of the Geneva Convention.  That is, they are NOT Prisoners of War.  Rather, they are simply foreign nationals found to be conducting illegal activities.  Activities against the USA or, perhaps, against civilization.  Because they are not soldiers, that is protected under the Geneva Convention, they can not be held until the end of the conflict, or in this case, the war.  Similarly, we are under no obligation to treat them in accordance or in the spirit of the Convention either.

But, because they are not Prisoners of War, they are criminals.  Or, more specifically, potential criminals.  That is, detainees who will at some point be read their charges and tried in come form of court of law.  That seems straight forward.  If they are bad guys, and we know this to be true, then charge, try and if applicable, jail them.  If we have no evidence, then we should release them.  Period.

In all of this, however, I find no compulsion to afford them the rights of American criminals in our American judicial system.  It would, in my mind, be just fine to charge, try and if guilty, punish these guys in a military tribunal.  Or something.  Or, like, anything.

But, in the end, we can not just hold these guys forever.

I disagreed with this concept back when Republicans were in office.  I disagree with it now and am finally able, guilt free, to say

“Shame on ALL persons who voted for or signed this bill to make it law.”

At least now I can say that even Democrats are tribal too.

Veto Override Meeting: Racial Justice Act

In 2009 North Carolina passed the Racial Justice Act.  The law allows death-row inmates the ability to appeal their sentence arguing that racial discrimination was a factor in that sentence.  I’ve long argued that the death penalty is not a viable tool in our criminal justice system for just that reason.  The sentence is not applied uniformly and it disproportionately impacts minorities and the poor.

Because of this I oppose the Death Penalty and I applauded the passing of the law.

Now, however, state Republicans are meeting to discuss how they plan to proceed in overriding a governor’s veto that would have repealed much of this very important law:

 RALEIGH, N.C. — When the Republican-led Legislature considers Wednesday whether to cancel Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto and scrap the Racial Justice Act, the outcome of the override session will depend again on whether a handful of the governor’s fellow Democrats side with the GOP.

The Republicans have it wrong.  They were wrong to oppose the bill in 2009, wrong to send it to the Governor’s desk in 2011 and are wrong now.

The idea that the government would discriminate, especially in this matter, is an assault on the senses.  Hopefully the Democrats in the House stand firm and do not change their vote to assist the veto override.

Government’s Role In The Housing Bubble And Bust

It’s the classic tribal warfare.  The Republicans wanna blame the Democrats for the boom then bust of the housing bubble.  Specifically they wanna blame Carter for the CRA, then Clinton for accelerating it and finally Barney Frank for enabling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

For their part, the Democrats wanna blame the Republicans for easing regulations and over site of the financial markets.  Most especially with regards to leveraging, allowing banks to act as investment firms and the existence of the derivative market.

I have long been a believer that it was Fannie and Freddie that drove us up to and then over the cliff.  And for a long time have held the Democrats responsible.  I am learning and need to amend my position.

It was government policy that drove us up to and then over the cliff.  Policy that began with the noble intention of  providing affordable housing to more and more people.

However, when government subsidizes, we often always get poor results:

It was perhaps a worthwhile goal, but it caused the financial crisis when it was done by lowering mortgage underwriting standards. In the end, it was a colossal policy error by Congress and two presidential administrations.

Data from the article demonstrates the government’s involvement:

The affordable housing law required Fannie and Freddie to meet government quotas when they bought loans from banks and other mortgage originators.

At first, this quota was 30%; that is, of all the loans they bought, 30% had to be made to people at or below the median income in their communities. HUD, however, was given authority to administer these quotas, and between 1992 and 2007, the quotas were raised from 30% to 50% under Clinton in 2000 and to 55% under Bush in 2007.

It is certainly possible to find prime mortgages among borrowers below the median income, but when half or more of the mortgages the GSEs bought had to be made to people below that income level, it was inevitable that underwriting standards had to decline. And they did. By 2000, Fannie was offering no-downpayment loans. By 2002, Fannie and Freddie had bought well over $1 trillion of subprime and other low quality loans. Fannie and Freddie were by far the largest part of this effort, but the FHA, Federal Home Loan Banks, Veterans Administration and other agencies–all under congressional and HUD pressure–followed suit. This continued through the 1990s and 2000s until the housing bubble–created by all this government-backed spending–collapsed in 2007. As a result, in 2008, before the mortgage meltdown that triggered the crisis, there were 27 million subprime and other low quality mortgages in the US financial system. That was half of all mortgages.

In short, the government created the criteria, or the supply, and then the government created the agencies, or the demand.

Of these, over 70% (19.2 million) were on the books of government agencies like Fannie and Freddie, so there is no doubt that the government created the demand for these weak loans; less than 30% (7.8 million) were held or distributed by the banks, which profited from the opportunity created by the government.

So yes, it was the government POLICY that created this bubble.  But, back to Fan and Fred, did they have a role?

Of the 19.2 million subprime and low quality loans that were on the books of government agencies in 2008, 12 million (about 62%) were held or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie.

Yes.  And a big one.

However, I’m forced to amend my position.  It was not the SOLE fault of Fan and Fred for the crisis, but they are certainly a major player.

To his credit, and to complete the Liberal tragedy, even Frank himself acknowledges his errors:

I hope by next year we’ll have abolished Fannie and Freddie … it was a great mistake to push lower-income people into housing they couldn’t afford and couldn’t really handle once they had it.