Pensacola Tea Party – April 15, 2009

I attended one of the two Pensacola, FL tax day “tea parties” on April 15th.  Considering that there were only 6 people confirmed to attend this on Facebook, I was pleasantly surprised when I drove up to 500+ people attending this.  Granted, this crowd was nothing compared to the 15,000+ in Atlanta, but I thought this crowd was pretty good for Pensacola.  The rally was in front of University Mall on N. Davis Highway and stretched a good 1/3 mile from one end of the party to the other.

Patriotic music was playing and there was an overall good spirit during this rally.  The entire time I was there, cars were driving by honking their horns in support.   I saw plenty of FairTax signs and plenty of people handing out literature regarding various causes.

The unfortunate thing about the nationwide mainstream media and their coverage of this event which happened in over 700 cities across this country was their focus on who attended these rallies rather than why they occurred.   The reporting of this was more about supposed “extremist right wing groups” coordinating these rather than the fact that people are genuinely opposed to the Democratic congress and Obama’s outrageous spending in the past 10 weeks or so.  People at these rallies aren’t against all forms of taxation, but just the type that punishes success and thus leads to less overall growth.

Make no mistake about it, liberals are genuinely afraid of what is going on here.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t have spent so much time denouncing these on TV and referring to them as an obscure homosexual practice (tea-bagging).  In fact, no one actually participating in these rallies called them tea-bagging parties.  I’m amazed at how many anchors on CNN and MSNBC show surprising familiarity with the term, which is one that I’ve never heard before a few days ago.

The total estimated attendance of all tax day tea parties is now at 618,000 according to PJTV.  Not bad considering getting conservatives to rally for a cause is next to impossible.

Below are some pictures that I took with my iPhone of the rally to give various perspectives.  I look forward to the next time one of these occurs.  I feel confident these will occur on a regular basis until 2012 or whenever Obama is out of office.

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The Democrat Housing Crisis

Here is an area that John McCain can put his money where his mouth is.  He was one of a number of Republican Senators who called for reform of Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, back in May of 2006.  Notice that the letter is calling for reform and regulatory oversight of these agencies.

The failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is a Democrat scandal. Here is a brief time line of the developments over the years:

1977:  Pres. Jimmy Carter signs the Community Reinvestment Act into Law.  The law pressured financial institutions to extend home loans to those who would otherwise not qualify.   The Premise:  Home ownership would improve poor and crime-ridden communities and neighborhoods in terms of crime, investment, jobs, etc.   Despite this act, statistics show that it did not help.

1992:  Republican representative Jim Leach (IO) warned of the danger that Fannie and Freddie were changing from being agencies of the public at large to money machines for the principals and the stockholding few.

1993:  Clinton extensively rewrote Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s rules turning the quasi-private mortgage-funding firms into semi-nationalized monopolies dispensing cash and loans to large Democratic voting blocks and handing favors, jobs and contributions to political allies.  This potent mix led inevitably to corruption and now the collapse of Freddie and Fannie.

1994:  Despite warnings, Clinton unveiled his National Home-Ownership Strategy which broadened the CRA in ways congress never intended.

1995:  Congress, about to change from a Democrat majority to Republican, Clinton orders Robert Rubin’s Treasury Dept to rewrite the rules.  Robt. Rubin’s Treasury reworked rules, forcing banks to satisfy quotas for sub-prime and minority loans to get a satisfactory CRA rating.  The rating was key to expansion or mergers for banks.  Loans began to be made on the basis of race and little else.

1997 – 1999:  Clinton, bypassing Republicans, enlisted Andrew Cuomo, then Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, allowing Freddie and Fannie to get into the sub-prime market in a big way.  Led by Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, congress doubled down on the risk by easing capital limits and allowing them to hold just 2.5% of capital to back their investments vs. 10% for banks.  Since they could borrow at lower rates than banks their enterprises boomed.

With incentives in place, banks poured billions in loans into poor communities requiring no money down and no verification of income.   Worse still was the cronyism:  Fannie and Freddie became home to out-of work-politicians, mostly Clinton Democrats.  384 politicians got big campaign donations from Fannie and Freddie.  Over $200 million had been spent on lobbying and political activities.  During the 1990’s Fannie and Freddie enjoyed a subsidy of as much as $182 Billion, most of it going to principals and shareholders, not poor borrowers as claimed.

Did it work?  Minorities made up 49% of the 12.5 million new homeowners but many of those loans have gone bad and the minority home ownership rates are shrinking fast.

1999: New Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, became alarmed at Fannie and Freddie’s excesses.  Congress held hearings the ensuing year but nothing was done because Fannie and Freddie had donated millions to key congressmen and radical groups, ensuring no meaningful changes would take place.  “We manage our political risk with the same intensity that we manage our credit and interest rate risks,” Fannie CEO Franklin Raines, a former Clinton official and current Barack Obama adviser (according to the Washington Post), bragged to investors in 1999.

2000:   Secretary Summers sent Undersecretary Gary Gensler to Congress seeking an end to the “special status”.  Democrats raised a ruckus as did Fannie and Freddie, headed by politically connected CEO’s who knew how to reward and punish.  “We think that the statements evidence a contempt for the nation’s housing and mortgage markets” Freddie spokesperson Sharon McHale said.  It was the last chance during the Clinton era for reform.

2001:   Republicans try repeatedly to bring fiscal sanity to Fannie and Freddie but Democrats blocked any attempt at reform; especially Rep. Barney Frank and Sen.Chris Dodd who now run key banking committees and were huge beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the mortgage giants.

2003:  Bush proposes what the NY Times called “the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago”.  Even after discovering a scheme by Fannie and Freddie to overstate earnings by $10.6 billion to boost their bonuses, the Democrats killed reform.

2005:  Then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan warns Congress:  “We are placing the total financial system at substantial risk”.  Sen. McCain, with two others, sponsored a Fannie/Freddie reform bill and said, “If congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole”.  Sen. Harry Reid accused the GOP of trying to “cripple the ability of Fannie and Freddie to carry out their mission of expanding home ownership”  The bill went nowhere.

2006: Republican Senators, including John McCain, call for Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac reform yet again in the above letter from May 2006.

2007:  By now Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee over HALF of the $12 trillion US mortgage market.  The mortgage giants, whose executive suites were top-heavy with former Democratic officials, had been working with Wall St. to repackage the bad loans and sell them to investors.  As the housing market fell in ’07, subprime mortgage portfolios suffered major losses.  The crisis was on,  though it was 15 years in the making.

2008:  McCain has repeatedly called for reforming the behemoths, Bush urged reform 17 times.  Still the media have repeated Democrats’ talking points about this being a “Republican” disaster.  A few Republicans are complicit but Fannie and Freddie were created by Democrats, regulated by Democrats, largely run by Democrats and protected by Democrats.

A video from the hearings.

Another fairly well done video summarizing the crisis from beginning to end.

The fact that the Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media are attempting to hang this stinking albatross around the necks of Republicans is just dishonest.  Could 2008 be the year known as the “death of the objective media?”

Dear Mr. Obama

The liberal media have attacked this as made by the McCain campaign.  It wasn’t.  This was made by one individual and it expresses the sentiments of the majority of military personnel.

John McCain Picks Sarah Palin for VP

This is a simple ad, but the best part of this has Governor Palin shooting an assault rifle with the military.    Very cool.  I’m looking forward to her debate with Joe Biden.  Biden is likely to come off like the true blow-hard that he is.

RINO Warner Proposes 55-mph Speed Limit

As a recent Virginia resident, I spent a year and a half thoroughly unimpressed with my elected Senators to the U.S. Senate. I became a Virginia resident just in time to vote for George Allen, who promptly lost to Jim Webb in the fall of 2006. One of my main disappointments with Senators Webb and Warner was that both were on board with the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill (aka Amnesty Bill).

However, my disappointment with the overall government and commonwealth of Virginia didn’t stop there. We had high state taxes and ridiculous speeding fines. While I was a resident, Virginia instituted a minimum $1500 fine (as much as $3500) for speeding 15 mph over the state instituted speed limit. You were only smacked with this fine if you were a Virginia resident. Out of state commuters speeding in Virginia didn’t face this same penalty.

Warner

Going along with the theme of an overreaching government, Senator John Warner is proposing a nationalized 55 mph speed limit for the nation’s interstates, the same speed limit that was in place from 1974 through 1995. Apparently Senator Warner thinks that the American people are too dumb to drive and pay for gas themselves.

This from the Associated Press:

An influential Republican senator suggested Thursday that Congress might want to consider reimposing a national speed limit to save gasoline and possibly ease fuel prices.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., asked Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to look into what speed limit would provide optimum gasoline efficiency given current technology. He said he wants to know if the administration might support efforts in Congress to require a lower speed limit.

Warner cited studies that showed the 55 mph speed limit saved 167,000 barrels of oil a day, or 2 percent of the country’s highway fuel consumption, while avoiding up to 4,000 traffic deaths a year

“Given the significant increase in the number of vehicles on America’s highway system from 1974 to 2008, one could assume that the amount of fuel that could be conserved today is far greater,” Warner wrote Bodman.

Gas prices in this country are a made-to-order issue for the Republican party. If the Republicans, including John McCain, ran a campaign based on a platform of domestic drilling and exploration, they might stop a looming Democratic onslaught. All the polls show that a dramatic majority of American voters support more domestic drilling and exploration, including in areas such as ANWR and the outer-continental shelf.

The energy department responded to Senator Warner with the following:

Energy Department spokeswoman Angela Hill said the department will review Warner’s letter but added, “If Congress is serious about addressing gasoline prices, they must take action on expanding domestic oil and natural gas production.”

BINGO! Forcibly decreasing usage of oil and gasoline will not cause the price of oil to drop. This same thing happened in the 1970’s and the price of gasoline went up. There were fuel shortages during the Arab oil embargo.

Democrats want to attempt to drop prices by curving demand. The only you curve demand is by ultimately stopping growth. If you stop growth in this country, you stagnate the economy. If we have a slowed economy, we have higher unemployment, more poverty, and more people depending on government for their welfare. Perhaps that is what the far left in this country wants.

We hear the phrase, “We can’t drill our way out of this.” Well, I’d like to throw out my own phrase: “We can’t conserve our way out of this.” Solar panels, mandated fluorescent light bulbs, and wind turbines aren’t going to drop the drop the price of a barrel of oil one penny. Only the principles of supply and demand will. Demand is already falling with $4 per gallon gas. The only way you get the price lower is increasing supply.

The most effective way to lower the price of oil is by flooding the market with more oil. This may take several years, but at least we’ll be on track to become less dependent on foreign oil. As of right now, we don’t have ANY tenable solution to this crisis from either Republicans or Democrats in congress. But as long as the Republicans have a guy like John Warner leading the charge for more government regulation as a solution to our problems, you can count on the Democrats having a strong majority in congress. Republicans don’t win by embracing liberal policies.

McCain Finally Makes Some Sense

I am utterly disappointed with John McCain and the way he is running his campaign. My displeasure with Senator McCain has been going on for about twelve years now, so I can’t say that I am all that surprised by the fact that I don’t agree with him on most things now. Republicans that voted for McCain solely for his “electability” may not even get what they ask for if he keeps up this class warfare and global warming nonsense. If he doesn’t change his tune and take a conservative stance on the majority of issues, he risks completely isolating the conservative base of the Republican party. And no matter what anyone tells you, there isn’t a politician in the history of America that ever won the Presidency while isolating the base of his own party.

With all that said, McCain finally made a little sense today as he called for the suspension of the federal gasoline tax. Thank God! All we ever hear about is how GREEDY the big bad oil companies are and how they are soaking all of us. Very few people realize that the government makes more on a gallon of gas than the oil companies do. The oil companies search, drill, refine, ship, research more types of energy and better ways to maximize the use of oil and gas and make about 9-12% profit. On the other hand, the government sits around and talks about how big and bad and evil these companies are, and the government taxes an average of $.47 per gallon of tax nationally (state and federal combined), or between 12-15%. The federal tax is 18.4 cents per gallon on gas and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel. So government bureaucrats don’t do anything for the process other than criticize the oil companies and pass laws making it harder to do their job, but the government actually soaks the American people more than the oil companies do.

Eliminating the gas tax would have a tremendous effect on the economy, much more than any nonsense stimulus package that gives each of us between a few hundred to a little over a thousand dollars this spring. Eliminating the gas tax would not only help us out a little at the pump, but it would stimulate the economy by decreasing transportation costs (planes, trains, automobiles). Decreased transportation costs would ultimately help drop the price of good in the stores (because they don’t cost as much to ship to the store). Now, just eliminating the gas tax wouldn’t turn a failing economy around, but it would at least help ours and I think much more than anything else the government is offering right now.

McCain’s problem is that he doesn’t go far enough. He should call for a permanent repeal of the federal gas tax and not just a summer vacation from it. He should call on states to repeal their gasoline taxes as well. He should adopt some new ideas like the FairTax plan to overhaul the federal tax system. If McCain ran on a true platform of tax reform and decreased government spending, he might just have a real shot at winning this thing. The problem is, I don’t think McCain really believes in real tax reform. It’s pretty hard to believe that he’s sincere when he spends half his time spouting Democratic talking points about class warfare.

Operation Chaos Working Flawlessly

Operation Chaos

If you have tuned into Rush Limbaugh recently, you may have heard what he refers to as “Operation Chaos”. If you’re unfamiliar with Operation Chaos or with Rush Limbaugh, this is a basic rundown of it:

Republicans are crossing over to vote in Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton, not because she can get the delegate lead, but because an Obama-Clinton deadlocked race going all the way to the Democratic National Convention would benefit the Republicans. The primary objective of Operation Chaos is simply to create chaos in the Democratic party–nothing more. It isn’t to get Hillary or Obama selected as the opponent in November. The nominee will be left up to the Superdelegates in the Democratic Party to pick. There are even some calling for an early Superdelegate vote to avert such a disaster.

So, this is how this “operation” is working. The battle in the Democratic party is embittering many of the supporters of Obama and Clinton and is drawing attention away from McCain for a while, allowing him to establish his positions without any major scandals that usually accompany any presidential campaign. Also, the Democratic National Convention is only 8-9 weeks before the general election, so if the race is still undecided by convention time, the Democrats will be forced with cramming an entire general campaign in that two month time period. Not an easy task considering that candidates from each party historically move towards the center after wrapping up their party’s nomination. The Obama-Clinton battle is forcing each of them to move further and further left. It will be virtually impossible for either to move back to the political/ideological center in an eight week time period.

The new poll today released by Rasmussen shows that 44% of Democratic voters want either Obama or Hillary to drop out of the race now. 22% believe that Obama should drop out and 22% believe that Hillary should drop out. An even more interesting number is 6% believe that both Hillary and Obama should drop out of the race. What if both were to drop out? You guessed it…Al Gore would be the presumptive nominee. This race may be headed that way eventually. There are already inside talks going on inside the DNC that could lead to Al Gore getting the nomination with either Hillary or Barack as the Vice Presidential pick. This, of course, is a long shot but the possibility remains. A similar thing happened in 1968 with presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey was nominated as the Democratic Presidential nominee but never won a single primary before the convention.

Various news agencies have reported that Operation Chaos is working and others are reporting that it isn’t. Tough to say in the end whether it is really having a major impact, but it certainly appears to be and it’s even got Democrats in Ohio attempting to indict Rush Limbaugh and voters who switched over for voter fraud. One thing is clear though–there is more chaos in this election than there was a few months ago. The longer this goes on, the better the Republican chances are in November.