Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How Democrats Played to Lose in the House Financial Bailout Vote

Another example of Democrats who put politics first!

Yesterday, I speculated that Nancy Pelosi delivered a sharp partisan attack on the House floor moments before the bailout bill was defeated because she really did not want the bill to pass.

Despite the fact that many Democrats tried to claim credit for negotiating the agreement to bring the bill to the floor of the House we now have more confirmation that indeed Democrats did not make any effort to seek the bill's passage which might have alleviated the sense of crisis surrounding this issue:

Democrat Leaders Played to Lose
By The Prowler
The American Spectator

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered her Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn, to essentially not do his job in the runup to the vote on Monday for the negotiated Wall Street bailout plan, according to House Democrat leadership aides.

"Clyburn was not whipping the votes you would have expected him to, in part because he was uncomfortable doing it, in part because we didn't want the push for votes to be successful," says one leadership aide. "All we needed was enough to potentially get us over the finish line, but we wanted the Republicans to be the ones to do it. This was not going to be a Democrat-passed bill if the Speaker had anything to say about it."
Further, according to House Oversight Committee staff, Emanuel has received assurances from Pelosi that she will not allow what he termed a "witch hunt" to take place during the next Congressional session over the role Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played in the economic crisis.

Emanuel apparently is concerned the roles former Clinton Administration members may have played in the mortgage industry collapse could be politically -- or worse, if the Department of Justice had its way, legally -- treacherous for many.
What About Obama?

Readers may recall that when the crisis originally struck, Barack Obama was keeping hands off. He went so far as to suggest something along the lines of "if you need me, call me" (video).

Later, as I described on Sunday, Obama basically ran the Democrat side of the White House meeting last week where the first "deal" fell apart. Democrats would have been only too happy to join hands on the White House lawn and declare Obama's leadership as the decisive factor if they had succeeded in forcing House Republican leaders to accept the even worse bill (loaded with ACORN and other goodies)that was being promoted prior to the White House meeting.

But the White House meeting broke up in part because of what Washington Post Reporter Jonathon Weisman called Obama's "hectoring performance" that did more to create an atmosphere which made a deal more difficult if not impossible. In Obama's first real test of leadership he failed to bring people together. He actually made things worse.

And what was Obama doing in the hours leading up to the bill's defeat? Was he doing his best to encourage wavering Democrats in the House to support the bill?

Monday's NY Times: Aides to Mr. Obama said he had not directly reached out to try to sway any House Democrats who opposed the measure. But where Mr. McCain had accused Mr. Obama of taking a hands-off approach to the financial crisis, Democratic advisers said they believed that Mr. McCain now had a role in the legislation’s failure.
By contrast, John McCain is reported to have made "dozens of calls" to get support for the better version of the bill which emerged after the White House meeting. But that didn't stop Obama's surrogates from blaming McCain for the bill's failure.

Obama didn't lift a finger to get the bill past. He could have called members of the Black Caucus, who mostly voted against it but did not. He could have phoned Representatives from his home state of Illinois with whom he has a close relationship but did not. He left McCain out there to twist in the wind.

Meanwhile, Obama was doing what he does best, giving another speech in which he implored Congress to "get this done." But on the biggest issue to confront members of Congress this year, Obama's behavior is the equivalent of voting "present."

In yet another speech, Obama is now calling on Americans to support the bailout plan. He is also reported to be calling individual House members urging them to support a renewed bailout bill. He will also be in the Senate Wednesday to vote for the Senate version of the bill.

The bill is likely to pass the Senate and no doubt Senate Democrats will say it was due to Obama's leadership.

But the bottom line is that Democrats know that as long as this situation continues, the worse it is for John McCain's campaign. And they are perfectly willing to make all the right noises in front of the camera while doing everything they can to draw out this process.

That's why I say: Democrats put politics before Country!

New McCain Ad Lays Blame for Financial Crisis Where it Belongs!

The same Democrats who now blame Bush blocked reforms for YEARS!

The ACORN Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

Dems put politics first in financial emergency!

ACORN, Obama, and the Mortgage Mess
By Mona Charen
Real Clear Politics
September 30, 2008

The financial markets were teetering on the edge of an abyss last week. The secretary of the Treasury was literally on his knees begging the speaker of the House not to sabotage the bailout bill. The crash of falling banks made the earth tremble. The Republican presidential candidate suspended his campaign to deal with the crisis. And amid all this, the Democrats in Congress managed to find time to slip language into the bailout legislation that would provide a dandy little slush fund for ACORN.

ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a busy hive of left-wing agitation and "direct action" that claims chapters in 50 cities and 100,000 dues-paying members. ACORN is where Sixties leftovers who couldn't get tenure at universities wound up. That the bill-writing Democrats remembered their pet clients during such an emergency speaks volumes. This attempted gift to ACORN (stripped out of the bill after outraged howls from Republicans) demonstrates how little Democrats understand about what caused the mess we're in.
In 2006, for example, ACORN registered 1,800 new voters in Washington. The only trouble was, with the exception of six, all of the names submitted were fake. The secretary of state called it the "worst case of election fraud in our state's history." As Fox News reported:

"The ACORN workers told state investigators that they went to the Seattle public library, sat at a table and filled out the voter registration forms. They made up names, addresses, and Social Security numbers and in some cases plucked names from the phone book. One worker said it was a lot of hard work making up all those names and another said he would sit at home, smoke marijuana and fill out the forms."

ACORN explained that this was an "isolated" incident, yet similar stories have been reported in Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, and Colorado -- all swing states, by the way. ACORN members have been prosecuted for voter fraud in a number of states. (See www.rottenacorn.com.) Their philosophy seems to be that everyone deserves the right to vote, whether legal or illegal, living or dead.
ACORN attracted Barack Obama in his youthful community organizing days. Madeline Talbott hired him to train her staff -- the very people who would later descend on Chicago's banks as CRA shakedown artists. The Democratic nominee later funneled money to the group through the Woods Fund, on whose board he sat, and through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, ditto. Obama was not just sympathetic -- he was an ACORN fellow traveler.

Keep an eye on ACORN activities in your are. These people are NUTS!

Did Nancy Pelosi Bomb the Bailout Bill on Purpose?

Or is she just the stupidest woman in Congress?

If you can stand it, listen to her speech delivered on the House floor moments before the bailout bill was defeated. Pointing fingers at everyone but Democrats...

And now that the bill has failed, Dems are out blaming Republicans for the loss.

That shouldn't surprise anyone. They never take any responsibility for their own actions and are always putting politics before country.

Shameful and disgusting doesn't even begin to describe Pelosi's conduct!

Monday, September 29, 2008

House Democrats Reject Bailout by Same Margin as GOP

Democratic votes for: 140 against:95
Republican votes for: 65 against: 133

TOTALS For: 205 Against:228

Roll Call vote here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How John McCain Saved the Bail Out Bill and Rescued Taxpayers

And how Democrats are trying to rewrite history!

As of Sunday evening, the proposed legislation enabling the most massive federal intervention into the financial markets in history has been agreed to by negotiators representing the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate and the Executive Branch.

The proposed legislation is available online here and will no doubt be studied feverishly in the next few hours as the House of Representatives is likely to vote on the measure Monday.

There is some reason for optimism. As Curt noted the new measure appears to be much less offensive to conservatives than previous proposals. House GOP whip Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO)prepared this chart showing what progress was made in eliminating many of the offensive Christmas tree ornaments Democrats attempted to hang on this bill prior to the big White House meeting on Thursday.

How we got to this point is rather instructive to all those wish to evaluate the performance of the two presidential candidates in a time of crisis. Once again, conservatives were assured that John McCain is on their side.

Let's retrace our steps:

Early on Thursday morning it was reported that key members of the House and Senate had reached a deal in advance of the big White House Pow-Wow scheduled for that afternoon. However, House Republicans, whom Democrats counted on to join in a bipartisan effort, were not part of any deal and as they learned of the details in the Frank-Dodd-Paulson plan concern mounted that the agreement in it's current form was a disaster.

Phone calls protesting the deal had been flooding the House at an unprecedented rate, subjecting even Democrats to a barrage of protest from their constituents.

Writing in Saturday's Washington Post Jonathon Weisman reports that John McCain made a courtesy call to House Minority Leader John Boehner's office on Thursday prior to a luncheon with the Senate GOP members. When he arrived he was informed by GOP members who were present of their very strong opposition to the current bill.

McCain went to the Senate luncheon and dropped a bombshell. He informed his colleagues that "I'm not going to sign on to a deal just to sign the deal..."Just like Iraq, I'm not afraid to go it alone if I need to." According to Senator Lindsey Graham, a McCain confidante, "you could hear a pin drop" then pandemonium broke out as it became obvious that any idea of a deal was shattered.

Attention then shifted to the White House:

Obama bombs at White House meeting

Jonathon Karl, writing at ABC, has the inside story on what happened at the White House meeting Thursday afternoon:

President Bush opens the meeting at 4 p.m., quickly turning it over to Paulson who gives a status report on the markets and says, "We need to get this done quickly." Paulson turns it over to Pelosi, who defers to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who defers to Sen. Barack Obama. Obama starts things off for the Democrats by reiterating his principles on what the plan should include. Obama agrees with Paulson on the need to act quickly but says some on the Hill "don't understand the need for the rush." Some of the Republicans took this as an attack on them.
When it was McCain's turn to speak, he deferred instead to House Minority Leader Boehner who listed House GOP objections to the bill and later suggested alternatives such as federal insurance for mortgage securities instead of buying them outright.

At that point Obama chimed in again appealing to Treasury Secretary Paulson, a friend to Democrats, in an effort to undercut House GOP concerns.

McCain spoke again saying that House GOP concerns are: "legitimate concerns that need to be listened to."

Shortly after that the fireworks began as Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) (who must have thought he pulled one over on his House GOP colleagues with the earlier drafting of the bill) began shouting and accused Republicans of sandbagging" him.

ABC's Jonathon Karl describes what happened as the meeting broke up:

Democrats go back into the Roosevelt Room to discuss whether to go out to the cameras waiting on the White House driveway. Paulson comes in and literally begs them not to go out and criticize the meeting. For dramatic effect, Paulson gets down on one knee and says, "Please, I beg you, don't blow this up."

Barney Frank, shouting, "Don't give me that bulls**t."
Instead of rushing to the driveway to spew their venom, Democrats first coordinated their talking points, all aimed at blaming McCain. Later, Obama was up first:

In interviews after the meeting, Obama pointed a finger at his rival for the faltering talks, saying on CNN that "when you start injecting presidential politics into delicate negotiations, you can actually inject more problems, rather than less."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) used the similar phraseology in his attack:

"The insertion of presidential politics has not been helpful...It's been harmful. A few days ago, I called on Sen. McCain to take a stand, to let us know where he stands on the issue, on this bailout. But all he has done is stand in front of the cameras."
Interesting that Reid accused McCain of grandstanding "in front of the cameras" when that is exactly what he, Obama and other Dems were doing despite Secretary Paulson's plea.

Dick Durbin (D-IL) the #2 Democrat in the Senate added:

McCain's decision to return would would bring the "charged political atmosphere" of presidential politics to Washington. "I'm not sure that will help create a positive, bipartisan or nonpartisan atmosphere to solve the problem," said Durbin, who added, "I think we need to do this in a thoughtful, quiet and sensible way."
Pelosi: House GOP "Unpatriotic"

And speaking of that "bipartisan or nonpartisan atmosphere" necessary to solve the problem in a "thoughtful, quiet and sensible way" House Speaker Pelosi accused Republicans of being "unpatriotic" for skipping a meeting on the bailout that they were not even invited to.

McCain is the Man who Got Action

Weisman's article sums up the objectives of both McCain and Obama:

"McCain has been trying to help the House guys, trying to get their ideas into the broader bill," said a senior Republican Senate aide. "If McCain can do that, he can bring 50 to 100 House Republicans to the bill. That would be a big damn deal."
One Republican in the room said it was clear that the Democrats came into the meeting with a "game plan" aimed at forcing McCain to choose between the administration and House Republicans.
If Democrats did succeed in forcing McCain to choose between House Republicans and President Bush McCain choose wisely. President Bush is effectively a lame duck and without the support of House Republicans John McCain cannot be elected President.

But more to the point, without McCain's action to stop the runaway freight train that the Obama-Dodd-Frank-Paulson bill had become, the bill might very well have failed to gain passage in the House causing further panic in world financial markets.

In an orchestrated attempt to showcase Obama's leadership ability,it's clear that instead, Obama only served to foster division by stoking the unease House GOP leaders felt over being pressured to sign off on what they knew was a bad bill. Weisman described Obama's participation at the White House meeting as a "hectoring performance" certainly not one designed to win over converts to the Democrat plan.

McCain's performance was much more presidential. Instead of doing all the talking, he LISTENED to what House GOP leaders were saying instead of trying to browbeat them into a bad agreement.

And in the end, McCain is motivated by lifelong principles dedicated to protecting the taxpayer from big government boondoggles which is exactly what the Democrat plan pushed at the White House had become.

If the current compromise passes, as many insist it must to avoid financial disaster, there will be only one man to thank: John McCain!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Comparing McCain and Obama Wordles

PhotobucketNot Obama's best night!

Obama often looked angry or taken off balance. Not exactly the kind of behavior you want in a Commander in Chief.

With no teleprompter to spoon feed words into his head his answers often seem disjointed as he stuttered "uuh, I, I..." throughout.

Obama has been accustomed to adoring crowds who lap up every word without question. And that's just the reporters who follow him around. Having McCain questioning the pap he's mastered during the last year standing next to him seems to have rattled him.

Word Count:

McCain: 6878 words
Obama: 7553 and that's not counting the "uhhhh's"

Graphic Word Analysis

Wordles,an interesting text tool which ranks the top 100 words by size (the most used, the larger).

Obama's Debate Wordle:


McCain's Debate Wordle:


More Photos:

Senator Obama leaving the stage with his wife Michelle. Do they look happy?

2004 Democrat nominee John Kerry after the debate with his head in his hands. Hmmmm...

McCain Post Debate Ad: Obama Agrees McCain is Better Leader

Let's not forget Obama said in 2006 that: "There Is One Person Who's Been Consistent On Reform Issues, And That's Been John McCain." --Barack Obama 2006 (video)

Obama's right about one thing: McCain makes a better leader!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Live Chat Tonight During Pres. Debate

Chat is now closed! Thanks for stopping by.

UFO's Carve Sarah Palin Crop Circle in Ohio!!!

Not really, but I got your attention didn't I?


If you have ever wandered around in a cornfield, you know it can be fun, but it can also be disorienting as the stalks are too tall to see over. But here's an idea, visit the Corn Maze (shouldn't that be "maize") in White House Ohio (not too far from where Mike's America grew up).

Among their other attractions, this year they carved Sarah Palin's likeness in a 16 acre cornfield and invite people to come out and walk around in it (after you buy a ticket).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bill Clinton on Financial Crisis and Delaying Pres. Debate

Former President Clinton: "I think the responsibility the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in Congress or by me as President to put some standards and tighten up on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."

That was followed by a convenient edit leaving us to wonder what else he said.

As for McCain's call to delay the debate Clinton said: "We know he didn't do it because he's afraid because Sen. McCain wanted more debates...I remember he asked for more debates and go all around the country."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John McCain Suspends Campaign Asks that Debates Be Delayed

He is returning to Washington to work on the financial crisis:

McCain's Statement on Postponing the Debate
John McCain

America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.

Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.

It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration's proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night's debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.

Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McCain's Latest Ad: Obama "Mum" on Financial Crisis

White House Releases Bush Record of Reform on Financial Issue

And he was blocked at every turn by Democrats taking cash from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac!

Just the Facts: The Administration's Unheeded Warnings About the Systemic Risk Posed by the GSEs

White House News

For many years the President and his Administration have not only warned of the systemic consequences of financial turmoil at a housing government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) but also put forward thoughtful plans to reduce the risk that either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac would encounter such difficulties. President Bush publicly called for GSE reform 17 times in 2008 alone before Congress acted. Unfortunately, these warnings went unheeded, as the President's repeated attempts to reform the supervision of these entities were thwarted by the legislative maneuvering of those who emphatically denied there were problems.


April: The Administration's FY02 budget declares that the size of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is "a potential problem," because "financial trouble of a large GSE could cause strong repercussions in financial markets, affecting Federally insured entities and economic activity."


May: The President calls for the disclosure and corporate governance principles contained in his 10-point plan for corporate responsibility to apply to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (OMB Prompt Letter to OFHEO, 5/29/02)


January: Freddie Mac announces it has to restate financial results for the previous three years.

February: The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) releases a report explaining that "although investors perceive an implicit Federal guarantee of [GSE] obligations," "the government has provided no explicit legal backing for them." As a consequence, unexpected problems at a GSE could immediately spread into financial sectors beyond the housing market. ("Systemic Risk: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Role of OFHEO," OFHEO Report, 2/4/03)

September: Fannie Mae discloses SEC investigation and acknowledges OFHEO's review found earnings manipulations.

September: Treasury Secretary John Snow testifies before the House Financial Services Committee to recommend that Congress enact "legislation to create a new Federal agency to regulate and supervise the financial activities of our housing-related government sponsored enterprises" and set prudent and appropriate minimum capital adequacy requirements.

October: Fannie Mae discloses $1.2 billion accounting error.

November: Council of the Economic Advisers (CEA) Chairman Greg Mankiw explains that any "legislation to reform GSE regulation should empower the new regulator with sufficient strength and credibility to reduce systemic risk." To reduce the potential for systemic instability, the regulator would have "broad authority to set both risk-based and minimum capital standards" and "receivership powers necessary to wind down the affairs of a troubled GSE." (N. Gregory Mankiw, Remarks At The Conference Of State Bank Supervisors State Banking Summit And Leadership, 11/6/03)


February: The President's FY05 Budget again highlights the risk posed by the explosive growth of the GSEs and their low levels of required capital, and called for creation of a new, world-class regulator: "The Administration has determined that the safety and soundness regulators of the housing GSEs lack sufficient power and stature to meet their responsibilities, and therefore…should be replaced with a new strengthened regulator." (2005 Budget Analytic Perspectives, pg. 83)

February: CEA Chairman Mankiw cautions Congress to "not take [the financial market's] strength for granted." Again, the call from the Administration was to reduce this risk by "ensuring that the housing GSEs are overseen by an effective regulator." (N. Gregory Mankiw, Op-Ed, "Keeping Fannie And Freddie's House In Order," Financial Times, 2/24/04)

June: Deputy Secretary of Treasury Samuel Bodman spotlights the risk posed by the GSEs and called for reform, saying "We do not have a world-class system of supervision of the housing government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), even though the importance of the housing financial system that the GSEs serve demands the best in supervision to ensure the long-term vitality of that system. Therefore, the Administration has called for a new, first class, regulatory supervisor for the three housing GSEs: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banking System." (Samuel Bodman, House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Testimony, 6/16/04)


April: Treasury Secretary John Snow repeats his call for GSE reform, saying "Events that have transpired since I testified before this Committee in 2003 reinforce concerns over the systemic risks posed by the GSEs and further highlight the need for real GSE reform to ensure that our housing finance system remains a strong and vibrant source of funding for expanding homeownership opportunities in America… Half-measures will only exacerbate the risks to our financial system." (Secretary John W. Snow, "Testimony Before The U.S. House Financial Services Committee," 4/13/05)


July: Two Bear Stearns hedge funds invested in mortgage securities collapse.

August: President Bush emphatically calls on Congress to pass a reform package for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying "first things first when it comes to those two institutions. Congress needs to get them reformed, get them streamlined, get them focused, and then I will consider other options." (President George W. Bush, Press Conference, The White House, 8/9/07)

September: RealtyTrac announces foreclosure filings up 243,000 in August – up 115 percent from the year before.

September: Single-family existing home sales decreases 7.5 percent from the previous month – the lowest level in nine years. Median sale price of existing homes fell six percent from the year before.

December: President Bush again warns Congress of the need to pass legislation reforming GSEs, saying "These institutions provide liquidity in the mortgage market that benefits millions of homeowners, and it is vital they operate safely and operate soundly. So I've called on Congress to pass legislation that strengthens independent regulation of the GSEs – and ensures they focus on their important housing mission. The GSE reform bill passed by the House earlier this year is a good start. But the Senate has not acted. And the United States Senate needs to pass this legislation soon." (President George W. Bush, Discusses Housing, The White House, 12/6/07)


January: Bank of America announces it will buy Countrywide.

January: Citigroup announces mortgage portfolio lost $18.1 billion in value.

February: Assistant Secretary David Nason reiterates the urgency of reforms, says "A new regulatory structure for the housing GSEs is essential if these entities are to continue to perform their public mission successfully." (David Nason, Testimony On Reforming GSE Regulation, Senate Committee On Banking, Housing And Urban Affairs, 2/7/08)

March: Bear Stearns announces it will sell itself to JPMorgan Chase.

March: President Bush calls on Congress to take action and "move forward with reforms on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They need to continue to modernize the FHA, as well as allow State housing agencies to issue tax-free bonds to homeowners to refinance their mortgages." (President George W. Bush, Remarks To The Economic Club Of New York, New York, NY, 3/14/08)

April: President Bush urges Congress to pass the much needed legislation and "modernize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [There are] constructive things Congress can do that will encourage the housing market to correct quickly by … helping people stay in their homes." (President George W. Bush, Meeting With Cabinet, the White House, 4/14/08)

May: President Bush issues several pleas to Congress to pass legislation reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the situation deteriorates further.

•"Americans are concerned about making their mortgage payments and keeping their homes. Yet Congress has failed to pass legislation I have repeatedly requested to modernize the Federal Housing Administration that will help more families stay in their homes, reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure they focus on their housing mission, and allow State housing agencies to issue tax-free bonds to refinance sub-prime loans." (President George W. Bush, Radio Address, 5/3/08)

•"[T]he government ought to be helping creditworthy people stay in their homes. And one way we can do that – and Congress is making progress on this – is the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That reform will come with a strong, independent regulator." (President George W. Bush, Meeting With The Secretary Of The Treasury, the White House, 5/19/08)

•"Congress needs to pass legislation to modernize the Federal Housing Administration, reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure they focus on their housing mission, and allow State housing agencies to issue tax-free bonds to refinance subprime loans." (President George W. Bush, Radio Address, 5/31/08)

June: As foreclosure rates continued to rise in the first quarter, the President once again asks Congress to take the necessary measures to address this challenge, saying "we need to pass legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac." (President George W. Bush, Remarks At Swearing In Ceremony For Secretary Of Housing And Urban Development, Washington, D.C., 6/6/08)

July: Congress heeds the President's call for action and passes reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as it becomes clear that the institutions are failing.

And during this time Republicans in Congress were also proposing reforms which Democrats blocked.

John McCain warned us this would happen when he cosponsored a Senate bill in 2005 that might have averted the current crisis:

"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." --John McCain, May 26, 2005

And where was Obama during this time? He was at the bank cashing checks from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Shearson Lehman brothers. All of whom went bust due to bad management and poor oversight leaving the taxpayers stuck with the bill.

Shouldn't Obama be called upon to return those millions in campaign contributions to the stockholders of these companies?

U.S. Treasury to Bail Out Bank's Bad Credit Card, Car Loan and Student Loan Debt?

This is NUTS!

Student, car debt quietly added to bailout plan
By Patrice Hill
Washington Times
September 23, 2008

In the dark of night over the weekend when most people were snoozing, the Treasury dramatically expanded its bailout plan to include buying student loans, car loans, credit card debt and any other "troubled" assets held by banks.

The changes, which were included in draft language that also opened the bailout program to foreign banks with extensive loan operations in the United States, potentially added tens of billions of dollars to the cost of the program.

Although it was a major addition to what was already the nation's largest-ever bailout, it did not become part of the debate between Democrats and the Treasury over details of the program. A Monday counterproposal by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd included such consumer loans as well as mortgages, just as the Treasury's draft did Saturday night.

"The costs of the bailout will be significantly higher than originally considered or acknowledged," said Joshua Rosner, managing director of Graham Fisher & Co., who charged that the Treasury and Federal Reserve have not been "forthright" about the ultimate cost to the public. The plan gives Treasury the discretion to buy the non-mortgage loans and securities in consultation with the Fed.

Conservatives cited the move as a sign that the massive plan to take over bad mortgage debt already is opening the door to further government bailouts.

"Such a large takeover by the government will surely be accompanied by adverse, unintended consequences," said Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group. "Already, other companies and industries are lining up at government's door asking for their own bailout."

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. stressed that the additions were needed to ensure that student loans and credit cards - which have become indispensable to the spending habits and career plans of many Americans - do not become victims of the widening credit crunch.

Student loans, which Wall Street firms packaged and sold to investors just like mortgages, already were hit hard in the widening credit crisis earlier this year, with much of the private loan market disappearing. That forced the government to step in and beef up its direct loan programs for college students.

Many financial analysts feared that the credit card market would be the next domino to fall. Credit card debt also is packaged and sold to investors in complicated "derivative" securities that have become difficult or impossible to sell in recent months.

Investors are spurning the complex securities because they are worried about rising defaults in nearly every category of consumer loans, which reduce the value of individual loans and have made it hard to determine the value of pools of loans that back the securities.

Many of the unsellable loans have been sitting on the balance sheets of banks, forcing them to take losses and preventing them from making further loans.

Richard Berner, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, one of the investment banks that stands to benefit from the loan buyback plan, said the program will help ease frozen loan markets and ensure consumers continue to have access to credit.

"The Treasury proposal is crucial to the credit and risk-taking repair process," he said, predicting that plan will have "dramatic consequences" in helping to "renormalize" loan markets.

But some financial analysts were not sure whether the massive bailout plan will accomplish its goal of calming markets.

"The credit squeeze gripping the financial market won't disappear soon as a result of this program. Financial institutions will continue to hoard cash, raise credit standards and increase risk premiums" on loans, said Sung Won Sohn, economics professor at California State University.

Sen. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican who announced his opposition to the bailout Monday, said he simply doesn't believe Mr. Paulson when he says it will solve the market problems.

"His predictions have been consistently wrong in the last year," he said. "It's a sad fact, but Americans can no longer trust the economic information they are getting from this administration. ... There are much better ways of dealing with this problem than forcing American taxpayers to pay for every asset some investor doesn't want anymore."
Banks charge fees and rates for credit that are based on the cost of loaning money. Bad loans have always been a part of that calculation. While Banking profits declined by 86% last quarter, the banking industry still made $5 billion in profit.

Many of us have real concerns about a banking bailout bill that may approach ONE TRILLION dollars in cost. The pressure for Congress to load the bill with pork and socialist nitwittery will be intense.

Who is the REAL Reformer: Obama or McCain?

"There Is One Person Who's Been Consistent On Reform Issues, And That's Been John McCain." --Barack Obama 2006

That was Then, This is Now:

At the same venue where Obama failed to fill the hall that McCain and Palin packed four days earlier Obama said the following:

Uncharacteristically low turnout for Barack Obama rally in Green Bay, Wisc. BY ABDON M. PALLASCH
Chicago Sun Times
September 22, 2008

...“When it comes to regulatory reform, Sen. McCain has fought time and time again against the common-sense rules of the road that could’ve prevented this crisis,” Obama said.
I'm reminded of this quote from John McCain who delivered a speech on the Senate floor in 2005 in support of Senate bill S190 that would have reformed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

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.
-- John McCain, May 25, 2006
Writing at Bloomberg news, Kevin Hassett describes what happened next:

For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.

Different World

If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.

But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter.

That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then. Wallison wrote at the time: ``It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so if their constituents understood what they were doing.''
I've traced GOP efforts at reform in greater detail here. It's important to note that In 2005 while McCain was promoting reform; Obama was at the bank cashing the checks from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama took over $125,000 in less than four years. Nearly as much as Senator Chris Dodd, the current banking Committee Chairman took in twenty years.

McCain is the REAL reformer!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Empty Seats at Obama Rally in Wisconsin

McCain and Palin packed the same arena to the rafters four days earlier!

Sitting Room Only for Obama in Green Bay Photobucket
Jake Tapper's Political Punch
September 22, 2008 2:53 PM

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin packed the house last week in Green Bay, Wis., at the Resch Center.

Not so today in the same arena with Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as ABC News' Sunlen Miller captured in th[is] photo[].



MEDIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 22: Republican presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ) addresses the audience as vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska , Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CONN) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) stand behind him during a rally outside the Delaware County Courthouse September 22, 2008 in Media, Pennsylvania. Thousands attended the late afternoon rally in support of the candidates.

More on McCain-Palin's mega crowds here.

Sarah Palin Draws MONSTER CROWD in Florida

Up to 60,000 attend Palin rally in The Villages!

Biden's last rally drew 1,000!


Palin draws crowd of 60,000 in The Villages
By Bill Cotterell
Florida News Press
September 21, 2008

The Villages, a vast, upscale planned community north of Orlando, has about 70,000 mostly adult residents -- many of them military retirees -- who vote reliably Republican in statewide races. Tens of thousands inched along roads into the picturesque town square of the complex, where they stood in sweltering heat for about four hours as local GOP officials and a country band revved up the crowd.

"Sa-Rah! Sa-Rah!" they chanted at every mention of her name, applauding loudly and waiving tiny American flags that were distributed -- along with free water bottles -- by local volunteers. The fire chief estimated the crowd at 60,000.

Admiring throngs mobbed the Palin family's arrival and departure, snapping souvenir pictures. Autograph seekers thrust campaign signs, caps with the McCain-Palin logo and copies of magazines with her face on their covers, and the Palins responded warmly.
A massive crowd of senior citizens waiting four hours in the hot sun is a good reminder that SENIORS VOTE! And Obama's ageist attacks on John McCain, not to mention the wholesome appeal of Sarah Palin are a double whammy that gives McCain the edge among seniors in many polls.

But it's not just seniors turning out for McCain and Palin. Massive crowds are the rule, not the exception.




Friday, September 19, 2008

A new Mike's America Production

For a special treat, click on the "more" button after this one minute twenty second video!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain Ad Hits Obama on Financial Crisis

And let's not forget McCain warned us all years ago it could happen:

“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.” –John McCain, May 26, 2005

And who does Obama go to for economic advice?

You Want Change?

Great new ad:

McCain Lays the Blame for Financial Mess Where it Belongs: OBAMA and Dems!

Recalling McCain's statement in support of a Senate reform bill in 2005:

"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." --John McCain, May 26, 2005
Where was Obama?

Today, in a speech in Cedar Rapids Iowa, John McCain asks:

The dominos that we have seen fall this week began with the corruption and manipulation of our home loan system. The reason this crisis started was the abuses that took place within our home loan agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and within our home loan system.

Two years ago I warned this Administration and Congress that regulations for our home loan agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, needed to be fixed…

But nothing was done.

Senator Obama talks a tough game on the financial markets but the facts tell a different story. He took more money from Fannie and Freddie than any Senator but the Democratic chairman of the committee that regulates them. He put Fannie Mae’s CEO who helped create this disaster in charge of finding his Vice President. Fannie’s former General Counsel is a senior advisor to his campaign. Whose side do you think he is on? When I pushed legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Senator Obama was silent. He didn’t lift a hand to avert this crisis. While the leaders of Fannie and Freddie were lining the pockets of his campaign, they were sowing the seeds of the financial crisis we see today and enriching themselves with millions of dollars in payments. That’s not change, that’s what’s broken in Washington.
Want the details on Obama and Congressional Democrat links to the dirty financial and political practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Here you go....

Covering His Fannie
Thursday, September 18, 2008

Obama Ranks Second Among Donations From Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Among All Members Of Congress Since 1989:

In Just Four Years, Obama Has Received More Money From Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Than Any Other Member Of Congress In The Past Two Decades (Since 1989) Except Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, "Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers," Center For Responsive Politics' "Capital Eye" Blog, www.opensecrets.org, 9/11/08)

Dodd Has Served In Federal Office Since 1975. (The Washington Post Website, www.washingtonpost.com, Accessed 9/15/08)

•Obama Has Served In Federal Office Since 2005. (The Washington Post Website, www.washingtonpost.com, Accessed 9/15/08)
Obama Ranks Second Among Donations From Lehman Brothers Among All Members Of Congress Since 1989:

In Just Four Years, Obama Has Received More Money From Lehman Brothers Than Any Other Member Of Congress In The Past Two Decades (Since 1989) Except Sen. Hillary Clinton. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, "Brothers Grim: Is Lehman Next?" Center For Responsive Politics' "Capital Eye" Blog, www.opensecrets.org, 9/12/08)

Top Executives At Lehman Brothers Are Obama Bundlers:

Ted Janulis, Head Of Mortgage Capital At Lehman Brothers Until His Retirement In September 2008, Is A Bundler For Obama's Presidential Campaign Committed To Raising $50,000 To $100,000. (Obama For America Website, www.barackobama.com, Accessed 5/19/08)

John Rhea, A Managing Director And Co-Head Of Global Consumer And Retail Investment Banking For Lehman Brothers, Is A Bundler For Obama's Presidential Campaign Committed To Raising $50,000 To $100,000. (Obama For America Website, www.barackobama.com, Accessed 5/15/08)

"[N]adja Fidelia, Who Is Also A Managing Director At Lehman Brothers, Has Raised At Least $50,000 For Mr. Obama..." (Timothy Williams, "Obama Takes His Campaign to Harlem," New York Times, 11/30/07)

Former CEO Of Fannie Mae And Former Obama Advisor Jim Johnson Resigned Under Criticism:

Jim Johnson Is The Former CEO Of Fannie Mae. (David A. Vise, "Fannie Mae Lobbies Hard To Protect Its Tax Break," The Washington Post, 1/16/95)

"Jim Johnson, The Former Chairman Of Fannie Mae Who Was One Of Three Advisors Tapped By Democrat Barack Obama To Vet Vice Presidential Candidates, Resigned Today After Questions Were Raised About Favoritism He May Have Received From Countrywide Financial Corp." (Johanna Neuman, "Barack Obama Advisor Jim Johnson Quits Under Fire," Los Angeles Times, 6/12/08)

Johnson Remains A Bundler For Obama's Presidential Campaign And Has Committed To Raising $100,000 To $200,000. (Obama For America Website, www.barackobama.com, Accessed 5/19/08)

Johnson Earned Large Bonuses At Fannie Mae Due To An Accounting Manipulation:

In 1998, Fannie Mae's Earnings Were Manipulated, Which Resulted In "Maximum Payouts" To Executives Including CEO Jim Johnson. "As CEO of Fannie Mae, Johnson, a former chief of staff to Vice President Walter F. Mondale and chairman of the board of the Kennedy Center, was the beneficiary of accounting in which Fannie Mae's earnings were manipulated so that executives could earn larger bonuses. The accounting manipulation for 1998 resulted in the maximum payouts to Fannie Mae's senior executives -- $1.9 million in Johnson's case -- when the company's performance that year would have otherwise resulted in no bonuses at all, according to reports in 2004 and 2006 by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight." (Jonathan Weisman and David S. Hilzenrath, "Obama 's Choice Of Insider Draws Fire," The Washington Post, 6/11/08)

•The Manipulation Resulted In Johnson Receiving A Bonus Of Over $1.9 Million When He Otherwise Would Not Have Earned A Bonus. "An Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight report in September accused the company of improperly deferring $200 million of estimated expenses in 1998, which allowed management to receive full annual bonuses. Had the expenses been recorded that year, no bonuses would have been paid, the report said. Fannie Mae reported paying bonuses in 1998 to Johnson, who received $1.932 million; Raines, who then was chairman-designate, $1.11 million; Chief Operating Officer Lawrence M. Small, $1.108 million; Vice Chairman Jamie S. Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general, $779,625; Chief Financial Officer J. Timothy Howard, $493,750; and Robert J. Levin, who was executive vice president for housing and community development, $493,750." (Albert B. Crenshaw, "High Pay At Fannie Mae For The Well-Connected," The Washington Post, 12/23/04)
Johnson Also Received Fees And Compensation From Fannie Mae Worth $3.3 Million Between 2001 And 2006. "Johnson left the company before it was swept up in an accounting scandal that tarred its reputation, but even during the years of scandal, Johnson was reaping hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees and other compensation, $3.3 million in all between 2001 and 2006." (Jonathan Weisman and David S. Hilzenrath, "Obama's Choice Of Insider Draws Fire," The Washington Post, 6/11/08)

Fannie Mae Incorrectly Reported Losses That Allowed Johnson To Receive A Large Bonus For The Year:

In 1998, Fannie Mae Improperly Deferred $200 Million Dollars In Expenses, Which Allowed Johnson To Receive Nearly $2 Million In Bonuses; Johnson Would Not Have Received A Bonus If The Money Had Been Properly Expensed. "An Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight report in September accused the company of improperly deferring $200 million of estimated expenses in 1998, which allowed management to receive full annual bonuses. Had the expenses been recorded that year, no bonuses would have been paid, the report said. Fannie Mae reported paying bonuses in 1998 to Johnson, who received $1.932 million; Raines, who then was chairman-designate, $1.11 million; Chief Operating Officer Lawrence M. Small, $1.108 million; Vice Chairman Jamie S. Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general, $779,625; Chief Financial Officer J. Timothy Howard, $493,750; and Robert J. Levin, who was executive vice president for housing an d community development, $493,750." (Albert B. Crenshaw, "High Pay At Fannie Mae For The Well-Connected," The Washington Post, 12/23/04)

Johnson Engineered An Effort To Lobby Politicians So That Fannie Mae Would Not Have To Pay Local Taxes To Washington, D.C.:

While Johnson Was CEO, Fannie Mae Did Not Have To Pay Washington D.C. Taxes Which Cost The City Hundreds Of Millions Per Year. "While Wall Street benefits from Fannie Mae's prosperity, the District government does not. Fannie Mae, the biggest, most profitable company in Washington, is exempt from local income taxes. That exemption costs the cash-strapped D.C. government hundreds of millions of dollars a year." (David A. Vise, "The Financial Giant That's In Our Midst," The Washington Post, 1/15/95)

•"If Fannie Mae Were Required To Pay Taxes, It Would Wipe Out The District's Budget Deficit." (David A. Vise, "The Financial Giant That's In Our Midst," The Washington Post, 1/15/95)
•Johnson Said That Fannie Mae Was "The Most Powerful Financial Firm In America" And He Urged Employees To Oppose Any New Taxes On The Company. "There is no reason they shouldn't be subject to the tax," said former House District Committee chairman Pete Stark. "It is not fair. They make huge profits," the California Democrat said. The tax break is one of numerous congressionally conferred advantages that Fannie Mae officials preserve through a polished political operation directed by Jim Johnson, the company's chairman and chief executive. In a talk with employees, Johnson described Fannie Mae as 'the most powerful financial firm in America.' He wants Fannie Mae employees to oppose forcefully any ne w effort to tax the company." (David A. Vise, "The Financial Giant That's In Our Midst," The Washington Post, 1/15/95)
Johnson Devised A Strategy To Lobby D.C. Politicians So That Fannie Mae Would Not Have To Pay Local Taxes. "Last summer, D.C. Councilman Bill Lightfoot discovered a simple solution to the District's financial crisis: eliminate a $ 300-million-a-year tax break for the city's most profitable company, Fannie Mae. 'I believe Fannie Mae ought to pay local taxes,' Lightfoot said. 'It practically solves the city's financial crisis in one year. There is no public policy reason to exempt them. It is not fair.' Inside Fannie Mae's sprawling Wisconsin Avenue headquarters, Lightfoot's proposal set off alarms. A team of executives led by chief executive Jim Johnson and Vice Chairman Frank Raines gathered around the firm's 34-foot-long boardroom table to dec ide how to respond. They devised a bold strategy: Use the company's considerable resources and political clout to prevent Lightfoot's proposal from being voted on or publicly debated by council members, whom they feared would support the tax if it got on the agenda. 'The task was to keep it from ever seeing the light of day,' said Frederick D. Cooke Jr., one of the highly regarded lobbyists Fannie Mae hired to quash the proposal. 'What we didn't want to do was have a big public debate about this.'" (David A. Vise, "Fannie Mae Lobbies Hard To Protect Its Tax Break," The Washington Post, 1/16/95)

•"In Addition To Enlisting The Lobbying Help Of The Local Charitable Groups It Supported, Fannie Mae Hired A Team Of Top Lobbyists To Persuade D.C. Politicians To Drop The Tax Proposal Without A Vote." (David A. Vise, "Fannie Mae Lobbies Hard To Protect Its Tax Break," The Washington Post, 1/16/95)
In 1998, Johnson Opened A Lobbying Office For Fannie Mae In Oklahoma:

In 1998, Johnson, Then-CEO Of Fannie Mae, Hosted The Opening Ceremony Of A Lobbying Office In Oklahoma. "The concern is whether such efforts were made to bolster Fannie's business more than to advance philanthropic goals. Critics say the foundation helped to reinforce ties with various congressional groups forged by Fannie's in-house lobbyists. At times the two seemed indistinguishable: They often sponsored events in tandem. Both were big donors to the CBCF's annual awards gala in 2003 and a similar black-tie event for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in 2002. In 1998, then-CEO Jim Johnson hosted the opening ceremony of a lobbying and public relations office in Oklahoma, an event attended by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating and then-Senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.). But wearing his other hat as the foundation's chairman, Johnson al so took the opportunity to announce $125,000 worth of grants to local charities." (Dawn Kopecki, "Philanthropy, Fannie Mae Style," Business Week, 4/2/07)

Johnson Recruited Current Obama Economic Policy Advisor Former Commerce Secretary William Daley As A Lobbyist For Fannie Mae:

Former Commerce Secretary William Daley Serves As An Obama Advisor For Economic Policy. "At his stop in New Mexico, Obama sought to keep the focus almost exclusively on the economy, appearing with a panel of experts that included William Daley, brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and a former U.S. commerce secretary." (John McCormick and Jill Zuckman, "Rivals Spend Day As Frequent Fliers," Chicago Tribune, 2/2/08)

Former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson Recruited Former Sec. Daley As A Lobbyist For Fannie Mae. "Fannie's government relations operations dramatically expanded in the mid-1990s, when then-CEO Johnson recruited Washington A-listers Robert Zoellick, who served in the Reagan and Bush administrations; Lawrence M. Small, former secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; and William M. Daley, commerce secretary in the Clinton administration." (Lisa Lerer, "Fannie, Freddie Spent $200M To Buy Influence," The Politico, 7/16/08)

From 2002 Through 2005, Daley Was A Registered Lobbyist For Fannie Mae. (U.S. Senate Office Of Public Records Website, soprweb.senate.gov, Accessed 7/27/08)

Before Heading Fannie Mae, Johnson Was A Registered Foreign Agent For Lehman Brothers:

In The 1980s, Johnson Worked For Shearson Lehman Brothers. "In the early 1980s Johnson had already started his own Washington consulting company, Public Strategies, with his Carter administration colleague Richard Holbrooke. And now he followed Holbrooke to Wall Street as an investment banker at Shearson Lehman Brothers." (Lloyd Grove, "The Big Chair," The Washington Post, 3/27/98)


Obama Has Solicited Advice From Former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines Who Was "Under The Shadow Of A $6.3 Billion Accounting Scandal":

The Obama Campaign Has Solicited Franklin Raines, Who "Stepped Down As Fannie Mae's Chief Executive Under The Shadow Of A $6.3 Billion Accounting Scandal," For Advice On Mortgage And Housing Policy. "In the four years since he stepped down as Fannie Mae's chief executive under the shadow of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal, Franklin D. Raines has been quietly constructing a new life for himself. He has shaved eight points off his golf handicap, taken a corner office in Steve Case's D.C. conglomeration of finance, entertainment and health-care companies and more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters." (Anita Huslin, "On The Outside Now, Watching Fannie Falter," The Washington Post, 7/16/08)

Like Jim Johnson, Raines Received Low-Rate Home Loans From Countrywide, A Major Seller To Fannie Mae. "Fannie Mae's former CEO, Jim Johnson, resigned Wednesday as the leader of likely Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's search for a running mate after The Wall Street Journal reported that he and another former CEO, Franklin Raines, received low-rate home loans from troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. a major seller of home loans to Fannie Mae." (Alan Zibel, "Fannie Mae CEO Says Ethics Policy Bans Discounts," The Associated Press, 6/12/08)

Former Fannie Mae Chairman Frank Raines Was Accused Of Manipulating The Company's Earnings. "Former Fannie Mae chairman and chief executive Franklin D. Raines, accused of manipulating the housing finance company's earnings, is challenging regulators to make their case against him beginning Feb. 16 instead of waiting until the end of the year." (David S. Hilzenrath, "Fannie Mae's Former Chief Wants Earlier Hearing Date," The Washington Post, 2/6/07)

Raines Was Forced Out As Fannie Mae's CEO In December 2004. "Former chief executive Franklin D. Raines and chief financial officer J. Timothy Howard were forced out Tuesday night after accounting mistakes that could cost Fannie $9 billion in reported profit." (David S. Hilzenrath, "Fannie Mae Exit Packages Face Review," The Washington Post, 12/23/04)

Under Raines' Leadership, Fannie Mae Committed "Extensive Financial Fraud" And Was Forced To Pay A $400 Million Civil Penalty. "In a May report, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight found that Fannie Mae under Raines perpetrated 'extensive financial fraud' so that executives could collect big bonuses. There have been no criminal charges, but the conduct of Raines and other senior Fannie executives 'was inconsistent with the values of responsibility, accountability, and integrity,' the agencies said. Fannie paid a $400 million civil penalty this year to the SEC and OFHEO." (Jay Hancock, Op-Ed, "Raines Claiming Accountability Isn't Enough," The [Baltimore] Sun, 12/10/06)


Sen. John McCain Urged Action Years Ago To Reform Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac:

John McCain Urged Action More Than 2 Years Ago, Co-Sponsoring Legislation To Reform Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Warning: "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." McCain: "I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. 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." (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, "McCain Statement On Co-Sponsorship Of The Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act Of 2005," Press Release, 5/26/06)

For Years, Obama Supporters In Congressional Oversight Committees Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) And Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) And Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Blocked Efforts To Reform Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac:

"The Powerhouse Democratic Overseers Of The Banking Committees -- Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Christopher Dodd And Sen. Chuck Schumer -- Protected Fannie And Freddie." (Robert Novak, Op-Ed, "Crony Image Dogs Paulson's Rescue Effort," Chicago Sun-Times, 7/17/08)

Frank Blocked Multiple Attempts At Reform Spanning Back To 1992:

"[Frank's] Record Is Close To Perfect As A Stalwart Opponent Of Reforming The Two Companies, Going Back More Than A Decade. The First Concerted Push To Rein In Fan And Fred In Congress Came As Far Back As 1992, And Mr. Frank Was Right There, Standing Athwart. But Things Really Picked Up This Decade, And Barney Was There At Every Turn." (Editorial, "Fannie Mae's Patron Saint," The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

"In 2000, Then-Rep. Richard Baker Proposed A Bill To Reform Fannie And Freddie's Oversight. Mr. Frank Dismissed The Idea, Saying Concerns About The Two Were 'Overblown' And That There Was 'No Federal Liability There Whatsoever.'" (Editorial, "Fannie Mae's Patron Saint," The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

"Two Years Later, Mr. Frank Was At It Again. 'I Do Not Regard Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac As Problems,' He Said In Response To Another Reform Push. And Then: 'I Regard Them As Great Assets.'" (Editorial, "Fannie Mae's Patron Saint," The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

"Again In June 2003, The Favorite Of The Beltway Press Corps Assured The Public That 'There Is No Federal Guarantee' Of Fan And Fred Obligations." (Editorial, "Fannie Mae's Patron Saint," The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

"A Month Later, Freddie Mac's Multibillion-Dollar Accounting Scandal Broke Into The Open. But Mr. Frank Was Sanguine. 'I Do Not Think We Are Facing Any Kind Of A Crisis,' He Said At The Time." (Editorial, "Fannie Mae's Patron Saint," The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

"Three Months Later He Repeated The Claim That Fannie And Freddie Posed No 'Threat To The Treasury.' Even Suggesting That Heresy, He Added, Could Become 'A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.'" (Editorial, "Fannie Mae's Patron Saint," The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

"In April 2004, Fannie Announced A Multibillion-Dollar Financial 'Misstatement' Of Its Own. Mr. Frank Was Back For The Defense. Fannie And Freddie Posed No Risk To Taxpayers, He Said, Adding That 'I Think Wall Street Will Get Over It' If The Two Collapsed." (Editorial, "Fannie Mae's Patron Saint," The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

Dodd Led Efforts To Block Reform Of Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac:

Obama Joined Sen. Dodd, Sen. Kerry, And Sen. Clinton - All Top Recipients Of Fannie And Freddie Contributions In Actively Opposing Reform Measures And Weakening Existing Regulations. "During this period, Sen. Richard Shelby led a small group of legislators favoring reform, including fellow Republican Sens. John Sununu, Chuck Hagel and Elizabeth Dole. Meanwhile, Dodd -- who along with Democratic Sens. John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the top four recipients of Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions from 1988 to 2008 -- actively opposed such measures and further weakened existing regulation." (Al Hubbard and Noam Neusner, Op-Ed, "Where Was Sen. Dodd?" The Washington Post, 9/12/08)

Sen. Dodd Called The President's Suggestions For Regulations "Inane" And Recommended The President "Immediately Reconsider His Ill-Advised" Proposals. "As recently as last summer, when housing prices had clearly peaked and the mortgage market had started to seize up, Dodd called on Bush to 'immediately reconsider his ill-advised' reform proposals. Frank, now chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said that the president's suggestion for a strong, independent regulator of Fannie and Freddie was 'inane.'" (Al Hubbard and Noam Neusner, Op-Ed, "Where Was Sen. Dodd?" The Washington Post, 9/12/08)

Dodd Called On The Regulator For Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac To Lift Portfolio Caps. "Both Schumer and Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, have called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's regulator to lift the portfolio caps. They argue that allowing the two firms to buy more mortgages, at least temporarily, would inject much needed liquidity into the market and calm the financial markets." (Michael R. Crittenden, "Schumer Will Seek To Lift Cap On Mortgage Portfolios Of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac," Congressional Quarterly Today, 8/16/07)

NOTE: Dodd Was The Top Recipient Of Contributions From Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac:

Since 1989, Dodd Has Received At Least $165,400 From Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac: $48,500 From PACs And $116,900 From Individuals, Receiving More Than Any Other Politician. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, "Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers," Center For Responsive Politics' "Capital Eye" Blog, www.opensecrets.org, 9/11/08)

Schumer Led Efforts To Block Reform Of Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac:

Schumer Called On The Regulator For Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac To Lift Portfolio Caps. "Both Schumer and Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, have called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's regulator to lift the portfolio caps. They argue that allowing the two firms to buy more mortgages, at least temporarily, would inject much needed liquidity into the market and calm the financial markets." (Michael R. Crittenden, "Schumer Will Seek To Lift Cap On Mortgage Portfolios Of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac," Congressional Quarterly Today, 8/16/07)

Rep. Frank And Sens. Schumer And Dodd Protected Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac. "The powerhouse Democratic overseers of the banking committees -- Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Christopher Dodd and Sen. Chuck Schumer -- protected Fannie and Freddie." (Robert Novak, Op-Ed, "Crony Image Dogs Paulson's Rescue Effort," Chicago Sun-Times, 7/17/08)

After The Subprime Housing Crisis Began, Schumer Advocated Raising The Cap On What Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Could Lend. "Even last September, as the subprime housing crisis began to metastasize and the market was expressing concerns about the pair, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the powerful chair of the Senate banking subcommittee on housing, had the very bad (and ultimately rejected) idea of raising the cap on what Fannie and Freddie could lend by 10 percent. Since then the companies have reported losses of $11 billion, and there's uncertainty about just how much more damage there will be from future defaults." (Editorial, "We Can't Say No, But We Can Regulate Them," [New York] Newsday, 7/20/08)

Despite Reports Of Fraudulent Accounting, Schumer Opposed Creating A Strong Regulator For Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac In 2004. "Even after Freddie Mac was shown to have manipulated earnings, Congress remained deadlocked over legislation to create a stronger regulator. Opposing one such bill in 2004, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) argued that a hostile regulator could use the proposed powers to choke the companies." (David S. Hilzenrath, "Fannie, Freddie Deflected Risk Warnings," The Washington Post, 7/14/08)

Obama Tells Supporters to Get In Your Face

With anger, lies and arrogance!

At a rally in Nevada where Obama spent more time attacking John McCain than he did explaining what he as an untried, untested, inexperienced candidate would do. He added this:

"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face," he said. "And if they tell you that, 'Well, we're not sure where he stands on guns.' I want you to say, 'He believes in the Second Amendment.' If they tell you, 'Well, he's going to raise your taxes,' you say, 'No, he's not, he's going lower them.'
Oh how lovely! That's what we need! More angry Democrats screaming in our faces. That's just about all we've seen for the past eight years.

And when it comes to where Obama stands on the issues, how can an Obama support explain it? After all, the candidate of "change" changes his mind so often that no one knows what he really believes.

Sure, he says he supports the 2nd Amendment guaranteeing the right to bear arms. But in Obama's world, he'll make sure you are not allowed to buy ammunition. Either that or the only "gun" you'll be allowed to buy is a squirt gun.

And taxes? Please! How can he lower income taxes for the people who don't pay any? Anyone who currently pays income taxes knows that Obama will only ask for more, more, more.

Combat Angry Obamatons with Humor

It's difficult to argue with people who don't have any facts or a foundation of well grounded information to fall back on. And the maturity level of most Obamatons is more childlike than the average GOP voter, so if find one getting in your face, remember you have to keep the discussion on a level they can understand.

I recommend you share with them "The Amazing Obama Flip Flop Machine" which is part of a series of books prepared to explain difficult concepts like TRUTH to angry reality challenged Obamatons:

The Amazing Obama Flip Flop Machine
By Mike's America

When I ran in Ohio I said I'd can NAFTA. Now that I won, I really don't hafta.

Gun control was the rule when I ran in DC. Now I think guns are totally cool.

I pledged to support campaign finance restrictions. But that went like some of my other great fictions.

I could not disown Rev. Wright at first. But later I learned there were more votes in the reverse.

A FISA filibuster was high on my list. Now, I think I'd rather desist.

I said I would debate anytime, anywhere. But my advisers think I'd better not dare.

I count on my minions, the Obama supporters, they get so confused yet still give their quarters.

Not a flinch. Not a flicker. Not a hint of shame. It's all part of playing the Obama game.

If there's an issue you can bet I will try it: on both sides at once and voters will buy it.

You've watched me spin and now you are dizzy. But I don't really care if you're in a tizzy.

So many lies and all my jive. McCain can't stop me, he's like a hundred and five.

McCain's still trying to get some traction. But when he points to my lies, I just call it a "distraction."

I laugh and I smile and charm the voters relentless. And in November, I hope they're defenseless.

If I con enough voters before they catch on, I'll have a big party on the White House lawn.
And when that angry Obamaton starts sputtering, go in for the kill and ask him why Obama refused to pledge he would get all U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2013?

Once their anger turns to despair throw them a bone and point them to the nearest office for the Nader-Gonzales campaign.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dirty Trick Squad Releases Sarah Palin's Email and Photos

It seems those who constantly cry about the infringement of rights are the first to violate them!

By now you have already heard the news that the private Yahoo email account Alaska Governor Sarah Palin used to keep in contact with family and friends was hacked. Her personal information, including photos, the email addresses of friends and family members as well as the cell phone number for her 17 year old daughter were all posted on trash Internet sites for the amusement of the bottom feeders who lurk there. One went so far as to call Palin's daughter Bristol on her cell phone.

It's another example of the moral corruption that occurs when one individual, group or political party puts it's rights above those of those whom they oppose.

We've seen the examples before of lefties shouting down those with whom they disagree. Now this.

Funny how the left seems to care more about the rights of terrorists who have killed Americans than they do about the right of a fellow U.S. citizen!

It's a violation of Federal and Alaska law. Let's hope the perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Dems Cheering Up with Bad Economic News

McCain puts "Country First" Dems put Power First!

I'm a regular visitor to the polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight. It's run by a Democrat but his bias is very subtle and his analysis is honest.

His honest analysis is one reason Democrats have been so down in the dumps lately as they witness the electoral ground shift under their feet since Senator McCain selected Governor Palin as his running mate.

But today he posts a ray of hope:

Morning Musings
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So I've spent the past couple of days at meetings of various kinds in New York, and there was certainly a sense of impeding doom among many Democrats here. The cute analogy that I've come up with are that Democrats are like Cubs fans -- they assume that something will go wrong until proven otherwise.

With that said, people have become decidedly more optimistic in the past 24-48 hours as the economy has returned to the center of the national debate. Obama's never going to be a Clintonesque natural out there on the stump in responding to the economy -- he might have to repeat a message three times where with Clinton it would have sunken in the first one.
Only Democrats would look on the financial crisis that THEY created as good news.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is giving interviews suggesting Democrats are not to blame.

After years and years of Democrats voting in lockstep against nearly every effort at reforms sponsored by Senator McCain and others in the GOP Pelosi's statement rings hollow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Democrats Blocked Financial Reforms that McCain and GOP Proposed in 2005!

And the current financial meltdown is the result.

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.
-- John McCain, May 25, 2006

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together hold or own up to FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS in mortgage debt. That's more than half the total of the current U.S. national debt.

Their failure is what has sparked the world financial crisis and the blame lies solely with the Democrats in Congress who shielded them from reform for years while Democrat party hacks running the companies enriched themselves. (it's a Democrat scandal as I described here).

Looking back to the root of the problem Wayne Barret describes how the snowball started:

Andrew Cuomo and Fannie and Freddie
How the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history gave birth to the mortgage crisis
By Wayne Barrett
The Village Voice
Tuesday, August 5th

...Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that—in combination with many other factors—helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded "kickbacks" to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.

Republican Reforms Blocked by Democrats

In the year 2000 Congressman Richard Baker (R-La.) then the chairman of the House subcommittee that had jurisdiction over Fannie and Freddie introduced legislation to more tightly regulate the mortgage giants. The bill never saw the light of day. Congresspersons from both parties receive contributions from Fan & Fred (the list) and collectively they spent $174 million lobbying Congress the last ten years.

The result of Rep. Baker's legislation would not have been a surprise to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) who had proposed tighter regulation in the 1990's only to find a highly paid Fannie Mae lobbyist stalking him at events in his district and who played hardball by directing calls to every mortgage holder in the Congressman's district falsely implying that Ryan meant to raise their rates.

Republicans Try Again

In 2004 another attempt was launched. The Senate took up a measure put forwarded by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) only to have it blocked again by Fan & Fred using Democrats as a partisan attack machine:

Fannie and Freddie chose to fight legislation in the Senate Banking Committee that embodied the administration's minimum requirements, particularly the receivership provision, in the late spring of 2004. The companies called in their chits and managed to obtain solid Democratic opposition to the bill crafted by the committee's chairman, Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). The committee also watered down the receivership provision. The partisan nature of the vote to send the bill to the floor virtually assured that it would not be taken up in the Senate unless Fannie and Freddie relented in their opposition ... but Fannie and Freddie would not budge. It may be that the [Fan&Fred] were banking on the defeat of President George W. Bush and on the assumption that a Democratic president would abandon the effort to pass tougher regulation. If that was their thinking, it was an exceedingly costly error.
In the last year of the Republican Congress House GOP leaders were determined to try again. They put forward H.R. 1461 [109th]: Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2005. The bill would have stripped control of Fan & Fred from the Housing and Urban Development Department where Cuomo had turned it into a regulatory farce.

The bill would also introduce "anti advocacy provisions" barring money from Fan & Fred being used as a slush fund for liberal lobbying organizations.

Despite Democrat opposition to that measure the bill passed the House, but could not get a vote in the Senate even after the anti-lobbying provision was removed.

John McCain was one of three Republicans in the U.S. Senate to sponsor the bill. Rising to propose the legislation Senator McCain's words now sound prophetic:

Senator McCain Speaks in Support of

The United States Senate
May 25, 2006

Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae's regulator reported that the company's quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were "illusions deliberately and systematically created" by the company's senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae's former chief executive officer, OFHEO's report shows that over half of Mr. Raines' compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator's examination of the company's accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs--and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO's report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO's report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. 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.
McCain took action in 2005 that might have helped us avoid the severity of this current financial crisis. Democrats also took action in 2005 and stopped McCain's reforms.

Financial Crisis a Democrat Scandal

Democrats have spent more time investigating Sarah Palin than they have the crooks in their own party who are responsible for the financial crisis!

The current financial crisis was sparked by the failure of the huge government backed mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac whose fraudulent accounting practices and willingness to encourage banks to make bad loans to people who could not afford them have undermined faith in the financial sector of the U.S. economy.

Caught in this mess are millions of Americans who have either had their homes foreclosed or whose investments or employment with the affected banks, mortgage companies and investment houses has come crashing down.

All Americans are affected by the downturn in the economy caused by this crisis and leaving taxpayers left to clean up the mess estimated to cost $150 billion or more.

It's a financial crisis that was avoidable and that's where the scandal comes in. And the responsibility should be placed squarely on the Democrats who milked this financial cow for their own enrichment while ignoring the growing dangers.

Worse than ENRON

The fraudulent accounting that allowed Enron executives to enrich themselves and led the company to bankruptcy and the loss of $68 billion in employee and investor assets is dwarfed by that at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac whose loses to investors will top $103 billion. Fannie Mae's accounting fraud was $11 billion, 19 times larger than Enron's $567 million accounting restatement.

Enron 's CEO Jeff Skilling went to jail and Chairman Ken Lay died, probably as a result of the stress from prosecution. Both Franklin Raines and James Johnson , CEO's of Fannie Mae, who played key roles in previous Democrat administrations were fired, but later went to work for the Obama campaign. Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick also was a highly paid executive at Fannie Mae but left to join the 9/11 Commission (she was chiefly responsible for the wall that prevented law enforcement and intelligence agencies from sharing information). Gorelick is considered as a possible Attorney General in an Obama Administration.

News organizations which ran daily stories linking the Bush Administration to Enron executives have been nearly silent on the direct, long term political connections between the Fannie Mae disaster and Democrats.

Buying Obama

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used $174 million, to pay for lobbyists to insulate them from the tightened regulation and oversight that might have avoided this crisis. And it won't surprise many readers to learn that Obama received over $126,000 in campaign contributions since first running for the Senate in 2004. Obama ranked #2 on the list which includes mostly Democrats. By comparison, McCain received $21,550. Other top Democrats on Fannie Mae's money list include Senator Chris Dodd, who received a favorable loan from a related mortgage company, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

David Frum summed it all up in three sentences:

Here is potentially the largest financial disaster in American history. The American taxpayer stands to lose billions; Democratic insiders have extracted tens of millions. If Enron was a party scandal ... what is this?
When will the hearings start? When will a special prosecutor be appointed? Don't hold your breath. Remember: this is a Democrat scandal!
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