Obama Urges Spending Curbs for Somebody, But Not Him

Associated Press headline, “Obama urges spending curbs, hands out $15 billion.”

After not quite a month in office, I’ve begun to change my opinion on the President. I thought at first he was a useful idiot, a tool of the powerful Democrat Spending Machine.

I no longer think he’s useful, and “idiot” may be too high a compliment.

“If we confront this crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it we risk sinking into another crisis down the road,” the president warned. “We cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the next administration or the next generation.”

It’s barely a week since Obama disregarded calls to trim the so-called Stimulus Package, the Porkulus Bill. Billions of dollars of non-stimulus spending items went into that bill, then Obama followed up with another $250 billion or so for the mortgage industry.

Obama has spent more money in 30 days than any President in history. I would not be surprised to find he spent more than all previous Presidents combined.

And he has the gall to say we have to get spending under control? Does he even have a clue what he’s doing? First he says we must spend for the good of our economy, then he says we need to stop spending for the good of the economy.

What the heck is he doing? He’s not just saying an doing two different things – he’s actually saying to different things at the same time.

I see today he’s also pledged $900 million to rebuild Gaza. Didn’t we also sell Israel the weaponry to destroy Gaza to halt terrorist attacks? When the Palestinians re-attack Israel, will we also help rebuild Jewish settlements? Where did Obama suddenly get this $900 million?

Next up, nationalized banks, nationalized healthcare, a few more trillion dollars in spending, followed by another call for fiscal responsibility?

What got us into this mess was government intervention pressuring banks into lending to people who couldn’t pay their loans back and individual and corporate greed and a attitude of immediate gratification and a complete disregard for the debt our grandchildren will inherit. And somehow, the fix for this mess is to pressure banks into lending to people who can’t pay their loans back and individual and corporate greed and a attitude of immediate gratification and a complete disregard for the debt our grandchildren will inherit. Are these people nuts?

No wonder there’s a movement afoot for a Chicago Tea Party. We’re taking money away from the grandchildren in red states and giving it to inept governments in blue states. And now Obama says those same grandchildren better get their spending under control. It’s worse than Orweillian. It’s obtuse and deranged. It’s destructive.

Please stop helping, Mr. President, before we become a third world country.

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Tea Party

And so the veil of deceit lifts. The news media, so eager to proclaim Obama as the messiah during the election cycle, now turns on him and begins to devour him. What changed?

In one sense, nothing. Obama’s promises of socialist changes are progressing. Universal health care, nationalization of manufacturers and banking, imposition of union rules, reestablishment of federal funding of abortion, and massive taxing and spending are being implemented at a frightening speed, with no conservative obstacles in sufficient numbers to slow them down.

In another sense, everything. Obama promised to be open and honest, anti-pork, hope and change instead of fear, yet many of the policies were buried inside a pork-laden monstrosity without debate, without the 5-day evaluation, and signed under dire warnings of catastrophe, and sometimes outright lies, such as the re-hiring of manufafacturing jobs and “all economists agree” pitches.

The revolt of hard working American, long overdue, has begun. Trillions of dollars printing are now showing up as inflation. CNBC says “traders revolt” and openly question why diligent homeowners must pay for the mortgages of dlinquent homeowners. Even high school children, governed by emotion instead of experience, said after his appearance this morning that they don’t believe eveything Obama says and understand the Stimulus bill is bad for the economy and is merely a thinly-disguised pork-laden liberal agenda.

One teenager even wore an Obama t-shirt that said, “Hitler gave good speeches, too.”

But the “angry left” is having it’s day, and I see few obstacles in their way for the next two years. It’s amazing the damage they’ve caused already in just 3 weeks of office. What can we do except batten down the hatches and weather this liberal storm?

I’m praying, and I’m buying gold.

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Mortgage Meltdown

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I had been thinking this, but hadn’t seen anybody writing about it.

Sub-prime mortgages have led to a financial crisis. The blame for sub-prime mortgages generally get laid on the greed of the mortgage bankers, but is that all there is to it?

Twenty years ago I remember the push to get banks and lending into low-income minority neighborhoods. There was a push at the time to make mortgages easier for those who could least afford them because it was good for the neighborhood.

Stan Liebowitz’s book, Housing America: Building out of a Crisis, puts the blame back on the federal government. I agree – without the government pushing banks to lend to risky people, there would have been less risk. Simple, no?

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Update from A Mortgage Fable

– The Community Reinvestment Act. This 1977 law compels banks to make loans to poor borrowers who often cannot repay them. Banks that failed to make enough of these loans were often held hostage by activists when they next sought some regulatory approval.

Robert Litan, an economist at the Brookings Institution, told the Washington Post this year that banks “had to show they were making a conscious effort to make loans to subprime borrowers.” The much-maligned Phil Gramm fought to limit these CRA requirements in the 1990s, albeit to little effect and much political jeering.

Akismet Spam Catcher

I gave Askismet two weeks. Verdict: I love it.

Let me give you a little background: There are hundreds of pieces of spam that spammers think ought to be displayed prominently on Chasing the Wind. From weight loss drugs to pornography to cheap mortgages, the spammers have setup software “robots” to spam thousands of blogs.

The previous method I used to stop the spammers was blacklisting them, and it was manually intensive. Let’s say it was some site like http://www.something.com . (Don’t worry, that site is safe.) I have all first time comments from people moderated and I’d see this spam, then I’d add their website to a blacklist that would delete any post that contained “something.com.” Effective but time consuming. And man, you should see the list of horrible, perverted things they want to post.

I first heard about Akismet from Doug at Coffeeswirls, and when it was released I gave it a shot. After a week, I took a deep breath, and deleted that blacklist. And after another week, still no spam has gotten through. Akismet catches it all. The Akismet home page says that as of this morning, they’ve caught 260,522 spam attempts (6382 so far today), and that 81% of all comments are spam.

Now if they’d only come out with an email product, too…

Houston Election Recap

I didn’t get all jazzed over this election; except for Proposition 2, there weren’t any real hotbuttons. My general impression of the results are that social conservatives and fiscal liberals won; Proposition 2 won handily, but those incumbents against appraisal caps held their job. Pfft.

  • Proposition 1 passed that authorized various grants. I think the government has way too much of my money already so I voted against it.
  • Proposition 2 passed, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, despite the best efforts of the opposition to lie about it. At one point I got a phone call from a recording saying this proposition would ban *all* marriages and we should all vote against it, and signed off by “Reverend” somebody to make it sound like it was a correct, religious thing to do. Their website is full of misleading quotes, denounced by the very people they’re quoting. If you have to lie to get people to vote your way then you’ve already convinced me your position is morally bankrupt.
  • Proposition 3 said “certain economic development programs do not constitute a debt.” That sounded like permission to lie to your checkbook so I voted against it. The proposition failed.
  • Proposition 4 denied bail to bad guys. Sounded good to me, and it passed with 83% of the vote.
  • Proposition 5 allowed the legislature to define rates of interest. It sounded like permission for the legislature to hold up the banking lobby to gain special favors, so I voted against it. Texas agreed and this didn’t pass.
  • Proposition 6 added additional people to review Judicial conduct. I voted for it and it passed.
  • Proposition 7 allowed line of credit advances for reverse mortgages. I voted no because I think banks are just trying to get old people’s assets, but it passed. Not a bad thing, and it retrospect I could support this.
  • Proposition 8, “clear titles for certain land” I voted for. I have no idea what these “certain lands” are, but somebody’s going to make some money off of it.
  • Proposition 9 provided for a 6 year term for a board member of the regional mobility authority. I dislike everything Metro stands for; a separate taxing entity that I’d prefer to vote out of existence. They’re getting ready to build a shopping mall while ending bus routes, go figure. I’ll vote against anything Metro wants. Texas agreed and this didn’t pass.

I voted for Michael Berry and Shelly Sekula-Gibbs and skipped the others since I really don’t know anything about them. And Mayor Bill White has so irritated me this year I voted against him, even though I knew he was going to win handily. Bill White is for socialized towing, giving away a free year of housing to Katrina refugees (estimated cost $220 million), against property appraisal caps, and for gay marriage. In short, he won his first election by pretending to be a moderate, but he is as liberal as a skunk is stinky. I voted for Gladys somebody because it sounded like she could use the votes.

You know who I’m most disappointed in? Clout. I would have loved to get their recommendations before election day, but they gave a half-hearted analysis the morning of the election, way too late to be useful. If they want to be a political force, well then, they ought to be political.

Bad Behavior

Spammers are annoying.

I know I’ve mentioned this before – behind the scenes here at Chasing the Wind I delete a lot of spam. If you’re a first-time visitor, your comments are automatically moderated, meaning I have to approve it. Once I’ve approved one, the rest are automatically approved unless you use a naughty word.

That doesn’t stop spammers from trying, though. Earlier this week some spammer posted 300 advertisements for ordering shoes online. Mostly I get gambling sites, porn sites, and low mortgage rates. Exceedingly annoying to delete these daily, a real pain when they post 300 at a time.

So I’ve installed a WordPress plugin called Bad Behavior that’s supposed to stop 99% of these guys by analyzing their methods. It’s not supposed to affect real people, but there is always a chance. If you receive an error message, you should get an email telling you how to contact me, but my fervent hope is that that doesn’t happen.

Appraisal Cap inTexas House

Closer and closer… step by step… HB 784 / HJR 35 is approaching the Texas House floor for a vote, possibly on Wednesday, according to Dwayne Bohac of Appraisalcap.com. If the vote fails, then taxes will continue going up 10% a year; my taxes already exceed my mortgage payment, in a dozen years or so, my taxes will exceed my salary, too. It’s time for this gravy train to come to a halt.

Sign the petition.
Contact your representative.
Tell your friends.