Reader Mail

Opportunity Knocks

If only McCain knew. Democrat readers cry foul. Will common sense ever come back? Mother Nature lives cute in Quito. Keeping up with Diane. Plus more.

10.2.08

Send to Kindle

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
Re: Peter Ferrara's A New Opportunity for McCain:

I have read the article mentioned above and wonder if you have also highlighted this to the McCain party? I hope so, because I would love to see McCain win. He is a true American Hero and IF I were a citizen of America, I would proudly look up to him as my Commander-in-Chief. So, please rush your mentioned article to him if you have not done so. Don't let the wrong President take charge of your country!

Cheers,
-- Patricia Wong
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Mr. Ferrara's article is excellent, but let me expand on something and offer another idea that might help. First, mark-to-market accounting was approved by FASB in the early 1990s but gained widespread acceptance in the mid-to-late 1990s when Enron and others used it to fabricate earnings. This accounting theory has played a central role in the two most significant financial debacles of the last 50 years -- it's time to bury it.

Secondly, John McCain was correct: Chris Cox should leave the SEC. Not only has he sat by while mark-to-market has decimated the industry he's sworn to oversee, but his decision to eliminate the uptick rule on short sales hastened the downfall of Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill, etc. as short sellers drove their stock into a death spiral with nothing to stand in their way. Short selling is an important tool in market discipline, but the elimination of the uptick rule turned it into a tool to manipulate markets.
-- Stuart J. Wagner

I have never laughed as much reading this article. We had a Republican Congress and Senate for six of the last eight years and Peter wants to blame this on the Democrats.

His suggestions are also laughable. There is a snowball's chance in Hell that McCain would listen to any of these. I was a bit surprised that Peter would risk the entire U.S. economy for a political stunt.
-- Patrick Lee
Kansas City, Missouri

This in an excellent article!

It is so very sad to watch the Democrats point their fingers at the Republicans when I have known all along that most of this mess started with the Democrats. Even though this is truly a fact, at this point in time, it doesn't matter because there is serious work needed by both parties to fix it. I agree with you that Obama does not have the expertise or knowledge to bring us through this.

I plan to email this article to everyone on my mailing list in the hopes that I can sway a few people toward the McCain ticket. Thank you for writing such a great, informative article!
-- Sue Reynolds
Perrysburg, Ohio

This seems like an interesting article. I wish I had the patience to continue past the 2nd paragraph and actually finish it. I was so turned off by the one-sided nature of the story that I started to laugh at certain points. Also, because I am viewing it online, I had to see caricatures of Obama and Karl Marx. That's a turn off. I read as many articles as I can through so many online papers, magazines, etc., yet none of them feature McCain jokes or Bush-Hitler references.

So when I stopped reading, I thought about who the writer is trying to reach. Clearly, the tone is not set for independent voters. You're just going after conservatives, who already have their minds made up. This is not going to help you convince anyone of anything. The article just takes up space in the magazine or on the server. Whatever...

I do not find this style of writing informative or though provoking. Some of it is disturbing.
-- Joshua Posner

In the interest of transparency, may one mention that Peter Ferrara was exposed for taking money from a certain lobbyist to write op-ed articles in favor of particular pet projects of that lobbyist? We know that Mr. Ferrara is justly proud of that practice, so the omission is notable in the brag blurb following his article. If he really likes regulation so much, how about I trade him a dozen regulations tightening up lending under the new Fannie/Freddie entity for a dozen regulations limiting executive compensation at the expense of share-holders or regulating the creation of the junk that seems to be weighing down the financial, credit, equity markets. I'll take a pass on Reaganomics re-dux.

Thanks, but no thanks.
-- Andrea Hitt
Winchester Center, Connecticut

What an embarrassment John McCain is proving to be to Conservatives. He is losing the support of independent women because Sarah Palin has alienated them, and his campaign managers have basically ruined Palin's reputation by this sequestration strategy of theirs. Also, McCain is now appearing to be quite grumpy and sarcastic in front of the media, because he is apparently unhappy about the poll numbers. And his campaign seems to be in a state of chaos, not knowing which way to turn strategically. So, where is this leading?

Do the Conservatives really feel that John McCain is going to 1) win this election, and 2) represent Conservatism adequately? I am beginning to feel that the answers are No to both questions.
-- Tim Gau
Chester, New Jersey

I've heard several people, and now Peter Ferrara, discuss the importance of mark-to-market in this crisis: "The first component of a new rescue plan is to suspend the recently adopted mark-to-market accounting rules..."

It is my understanding that Treasury Secretary (and former Goldman Sachs chairman) Henry Paulson adamantly opposes any changes to mark-to-market accounting.

Peter Ferrara continues: "The revenue loss would be far less than the $700 billion Paulson is asking us to hand him to bail out his friends on Wall Street."

Considering Paulson's insistence on mark-to-market, Ferrara must be mistaken in thinking that Paulson's benevolent intent is to "bail out his friends on Wall Street." Goldman Sachs is not selling into this crisis -- they're buying.

Assets that everyone expects to perform long-term are selling for cents on the dollar. Great fortunes will be amassed in this crisis. Am I crazy for suggesting that Henry Paulson is conspiring with his Goldman Sachs cronies for the purpose of looting their Wall Street enemies?
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mr. Ferrara's analysis of the financial breakdown doesn't pass a journalistic standard of truth. There were a host of deregulations enacted during the last eight years (and further still during the Clinton administration), most notably a deregulation of capital requirements on leveraging. Bear Stearns was leveraged 290 to 1, which would be like me (on my paltry $44,000 salary) taking out a one-year loan for $12 million. This is what Pelosi was referring to when she talked about "anything goes." It is irresponsible, yet allowed. No one expected (!) the price of homes to drop.

Ferrara sarcastically paints a picture of regulators looking over the shoulders of loan officers, saying "take this one, not that one." This is a misleading representation, and he knows it. Perhaps a reasonable legal limitation on leveraging? Perhaps limitations on CEO incentives to take absurd risks? (There are theories rife right now that this was most guilty of all, as there were no incentives for CEO's to play by the rules of reason.)

And further, it was not Freddie and Fannie's size that led to their demise. It was their practices. And they were practices that were allowed to occur throughout the entire financial system. Both parties are indeed to blame.

These are times that demand an objective look at events that are happening. This article is partisan, misleading, and counterproductive.
-- Louis Gruber

Mr. Ferrara offers some excellent legislative solutions to the existing economic and political crisis that has the elected political class in a state of paralysis. All well and good, however, it is Sen. McCain who now stands at the edge of the river Rubicon. His next move will determine if he can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The election is now his to lose, despite the infusion of Gov. Palin.

So far, his kitschy "maverick" image sloganeering has failed to ignite Americans. It's really more of the same old from McCain. Obama is still seen as scary to too many Americans, but this could change and the election could break big time in his direction.

It's time for McCain to seize the moment. His cryptic blame on "Washington" is empty pandering that plays it safe and preserves the political class at all cost. It smacks of the nonsense that regular Americans take strong offense to. The people are fed up! Yes, we are part of the problem, as Victor Davis Hanson has so eloquently written, because we keep electing these same politicians, but the system is rigged and needs to be overhauled.

What the people know is that the problem in Washington is systemic. Raw partisan politics and incumbency protection are part of every calculation. Fannie & Freddie are classic insider political creations that not only serve a political agenda, they launder tax dollars back to politicians as well as support groups like La Raza and ACORN. A perfect political circle that serves the interests of incumbents and their Washington support apparatus, rather than doing the people's business. This is a target rich environment for a real maverick to send shockwaves through the political establishment and get Americans believing again in government. The only question is, is McCain a real maverick or just a pretender for the status quo? His election depends upon his choice.
-- A. DiPentima

Can somebody please tell me what Sarah Palin's expertise on energy policy is? Is it because she lives close to a lot of oil? From what I can see, she is an expert on nothing. I cannot wait to hear how much she knows about so many things tomorrow.

I traded bonds for 27 years. The last 5 was the debt of Fannie and Freddie. They could and should have been better supervised, but if the story you want to tell is that they were the source of the problem then you are demagogues as much as these presidential politicians are. Get to the whole story, not just your side of it. WAMU, Wachovia, Bear, Lehman, AIG....none of that would have happened if Fannie and Freddie had been
regulated more effectively. Who are you kidding?

Rick Davis wanted them to be more stringently regulated, huh!
-- Alan Abramson

"Ferrara formerly served in President Reagan's White Office of Policy Development, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush."

Interesting that Ferrara offered failed to offer insight to the multi-billion-dollar banking collapses that occurred during those years. You may recall Neil Bush and Silverado Bank. McCain one of the Keating 5 and Lincoln Savings.

This year McCain's son's bank Silver State Bank failed.

He also failed the mention the accounting fraud charges against Freddie Mac executives.

He also failed to mention that Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, received 2 million lobbying for Freddie Mac against regulations, before joining becoming McCain's campaign manager.

His firm referred an additional $15,000 a month until the Feds took over Freddie Mac in August.

Ferrara also failed to mention Daniel Mudd who became head of Fannie Mae in 2005 and greatly increased Fannie Mae's involvement in subprime loans.

Barack Obama's 2006 Stop Fraud Act may have prevented sub prime lending crisis.

The lesson in this one single bill is that in the housing sector, Senator Obama is seems more aware of the issues that affect home owners in this cycle of the market. He was looking to tighten the regulations, while Senator Clinton was seeking to loosen the regulations.

There is plenty of blame to go around, but what's needed to stop Bush's $700 billion bailout is bipartisan opposition, from the voting public.
-- Charles Bee

I still have not figured out what happened to allow the credit rating agencies to continue to rate Freddie and Fannie at AAA even though there were problems well known to the Congress. I also can not figure out how anything can be considered to be fixed without changing the rules to qualify for loans. I have heard that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still have rules that are not greatly changed. If I don't get some kind of signal that the problems are fixed, then instead of being a bail out, this is just a continuing resolution that will happen again in the future.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

I am endlessly amused by conservatives who keep wishing that McLame were conservative. How long is it going to take (forever?) for you folks to come to grips with the fact that McLame is not now a conservative, he never has been a conservative and he is never going to be a conservative.

Mr. Ferrara's ideas for the McLame campaign were exactly on point. That is precisely why they will never be heeded or adopted. They make too much sense to a conservative, which McLame is not.

McLame is going to go down to defeat at the hands of the least qualified and most socialist candidate in the history of the Republic -- and a man who has proven himself to be one of the most inept campaigners in history, to boot. All because McLame would rather have the title of "Bi-partisan" and "Maverick" than win the election.

He had two issues handed to him on a silver platter, either of which would have given him the election in a landslide if properly handled -- the energy crisis and the sub prime mortgage fiasco. McLame managed to not only not take the initiative on either of those issues, he fumbled both of them on his own two yard line.

What an absolute idiot. It's a shame to tie a classy person like Sarah Palin to this jack-ass.
-- Keith Kunzler

Do you believe in polls? If you do, you would realize that a majority of Americans do not agree with pretty much every single point you raise in your article.
-- Aimable Mugara

My colleagues and I have been getting increasingly frustrated over the Obama Media's aggressive attempts to protect their candidate. I hope this article gets into Rick Davis's hands ASAP before it gets hijacked.
-- Rowene M. Fabian, MA, RN
Los Angeles, California

Ms. Pelosi finishes her sentences.

Yours is the kind of partisanship that tears this country apart for the sake of ideological games.
-- Anatoly Soshilov

This is the begining of the end of the age of the conservative. The world will be better off, trust me.
-- DH

MAY COMMON SENSE PREVAIL
Re: George Neumayr's Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be:

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to write "Neither a Borrower Nor Lender Be." I love reading articles that articulate what I've been thinking, but couldn't get past the emotion to explain rationally. Love the line..."Liberalism, as an experiment against common sense, undermines every institution it touches..."

Hope you have a great day and that common sense prevails!
-- Jane

In almost every article I read online about the financial problems I read lines similar to this one from George Neumayr's "Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be" that says, "...it is the deregulation of liberal legislators telling cautious bankers to forget their musty old rules and give bad loans to low-income, poor-credit Americans."

We are told that banks were pressured by government to extend these loans to unqualified people. If banks to a greater or lesser degree listened to the government when it pressured them to extend bad loans, then why can't the government pressure good banks to continue to lend money to good borrowers now? Why is there so much talk of frozen credit markets now when there are still a majority of banks and borrowers with good finances and credit? It does not make any sense.

I can understand why bad banks have no money to lend. But how about the good banks? They still have money to lend. That the government now says it's hands are tied regarding the economy without a costly bailout when in the past it had plenty of ability to pressure banks into lending prior to the crisis seems to smack of at least a partially-contrived crisis.
-- Steve Cade
Portland, Oregon

George Neumayr, as usual, has written an excellent essay. The paragraph that captures the essence of his thought:

"This crisis exposes not the opposition between big business and big government but its collusion. Derelict bankers just resemble the liberal politicians who oversee them. Earmarking pols treat money cavalierly, then encourage bankers to behave the same, mandating that banks give out loans to people who don't deserve them in the same way Congress doles out pork projects."

The difference between conservatives (or conservative-libertarians) and all the rest is an instinctive mistrust not of Big Government, but of human nature. It is passe these days to raise the now ancient Federalist arguments concerning limited government. The Founders were on to something when they crafted our constitution. They had a more accurate understanding of human nature than later day socialists and do-gooders. Graft and corruption at the local or state level can usually be confined to those locales. But corruption written on the national canvas can be catastrophic -- as we are now witnessing. What is truly frightening is the complicity of the "average" Americans in all of this. We've been seduced with no-cash low interest homes; $10,000 lines of credit despite the fact we earn make $50,000 a year, and bankruptcy laws that allow us to "write-off" our proliferate consumption; it is better for "them" to absorb the losses (i.e. those who actually defer gratification and their appetites). Lincoln once spoke of the "better angels of our nature. The Federal Government nationalized the worst instincts of our fallen nature. Somehow, in a period of just one or two generations, we've allowed our government to spread the avarice of K Street to Main St. George Neumayr raises the serious point that what has occurred over time is anything but conservative.

The cost of this form of Public/Private partnership in greed may come very soon. One can imagine the horror and panic that could befall millions some Monday morning when they stop to fill up their automobiles or pay for their Starbucks and their credit cards are rejected. In a blink of an eye, millions will soon learn a lesson that their great grand parents knew: Cash is King.
-- JP
Indiana

Mr. Neumayr, pardon my dramatic response, but the United States of America, if not the world, has lost its mind. We are undone. Who or what can save us from this insanity? It's complete madness. Nothing from history can inform us, not Hitler, not Stalin. Those who are inciting this path to destruction think they are insulated by their wealth, and therein lies the folly. Liberalism's intrinsic need to control the lives of others has reached the pinnacle of its corrupt inspiration. God is dead, it must be true, our professors said so. Those who would believe otherwise must be impugned, destroyed, and eradicated like cockroaches. This is where we are, what we've become, and our destiny is certain. Poor Sarah Palin.

When I was still a youngster, during the Vietnam War, my father and I were eating one day in a local restaurant. When we got in line to pay our check, an old gentleman struck up a conversation with me. Something he said gave me pause, and as a young man, a lot to think about. He said, "We'd be destroyed, if it weren't for the Christians holding us together." I don't know if he was a follower of Christ, or not, but he understood the truth. So, to paraphrase a saying, "Those whom God wishes to destroy He first makes mad." Perhaps, we are at that precipice.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Mr. Neumayr once again illuminates the folly of liberalism and the willful ignorance of its proponents, not to mention the same willful ignorance of the victims. Yes, I said victims. Once again we see the same people that liberals putatively are trying to help suffering from the unintended consequences of their policies. I have not yet heard discussion about the consequences to the families who had the American dream of home ownership writ large by the Community Reinvestment Act. I am reminded of Charlie Brown running up to kick the football, all trust and faith, ending up flat on his back when Lucy pulled the ball away at the last second. Set up for failure and yet he lines up again and again and again only to have the ball pulled away at the last second.

I live in the suburbs of Detroit; I do business in the City of Detroit. For all of the examples of the failure of liberalism and its policies, Detroit takes the proverbial cake. Since the advent of the Great Society the City of Detroit has spiraled into what could charitably called a third world country. Decimated neighborhoods, criminally ineffectual schools, rampant crime, welfare queens, crumbling infrastructure, white flight, middle class black flight, corrupt pols feeding at the trough, and on and on and on.

And oh the irony(idiocy?), after all of this 90+% of the those still left in this dying city blindly support Mr. Change and his socialist fantasies.

This from the city that put America and the world on wheels.

It boggles the mind.
-- Stuart Reed
Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan

Mr. Neumayr is surprised that "the country grows more receptive to liberalism in an economic crisis." Keep in mind that during great stress junkies and alcoholics find their greatest comforts in the poisons that got them there in the first place. They are not too different than the average citizen.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

THROW HER IN JAIL
Re: Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz'sNature as a Privileged Minority:

Bestowing "Mother Nature" with the equivalent of "human rights" sounds great to the irrational, ignorant, and agenda-driven individuals who champion them...but only in cases where those rights work in one direction -- to the benefit of Mother Nature.

There is an opposite cause and effect to this kind of nonsensical edict that will (at some point) reveal its wrath; What happens when "Mother Nature" harms or destroys an individual, group of individuals, or a community as a result of Her actions?

In jurisdictions where these kinds of laws exist, what happens when a tornado hits my house? I've been harmed! Who do I sue? What if lightning strikes a child? Wrongful Death! Sue Mother Nature for damages! I get poison ivy while walking in a park. That damn plant...it assaulted me! Mother Nature needs to pay for my medical bills!

If people have a right to represent Mother Nature in court, then certainly Mother Nature has a right to be blamed, sued, found guilty, and punished for her crimes and acts against humans.

Where exactly does Mother Nature store Her cash?
-- Dave Schallert
Parker, Colorado

Interesting piece. I think Mother Nature is welcome to be treated as a legal person, with rights and protections of citizens, just as soon as we can hold her responsible as citizens are for breaking the laws of the land. Hurricane, earthquake, destruction of life and property? Get ready to do a spell in the chokey, Ma.

We are part of nature but not of it, and the continual erasing of the distinction is our ruin. In seeing ourselves as the equivalent of beasts, beasts we shall become.

As for the rest of the new Ecuadorian constitution, well, it reminds me of what put the republic in "banana republic." Waiting for the military coup in 3...2...1...
-- Mark Amundsen

The opinion expressed by Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz, a freelance writer of Minnesota, seems very logical and praise-worthy deed which could contribute a lot to in the right direction of democratize the nation. I further would like to add few more words on the issue raised through that article.

In the current world, specifically in the developing nations, gradually the ruling parties and leaders are going to be a kind of dictator giving the name of democratization the nation and getting the absolute majority in the legislative. It has been found that the interpretation of the rule of law and human rights standards have been intentionally defined as per the will, privilege and needs of the ruler which, indeed, endangering the protection of people's basic rights specifically the liberty of people. That is why it's a duty of all to raise strong voices against all these kinds of anti-democratic movements and practices wherever they are seen and found.
Pant Dibakar
St. Paul, Minnesota

MSM MACHINATIONS
Re: Matthew Vadum's Financial Affirmative Action:

Mr. Vadum overlooks two important factors in being able to place the blame on these absurd leftist organizations.

1. The MSM will write most of the articles that appear in publications, reports that are seen on TV or heard on radio. Their ability to distort, manipulate, twist and corrupt these articles and reports will convince many of the un/under-educated on the true facts will enable them to place the blame NOT where it belongs, but upon President Bush, his Administration and Republicans/Conservatives in general.

2. The demagogues that they are protected from the truth by the MSM and can thus use the same techniques as the MSM and also place the blame, dishonestly, upon President Bush and his administration and on Republicans and Conservatives in general.

3. Articles, such as this one (Financial Affirmative Action) are seen and read primarily by those who know the truth and know how the DNC and the MSM corrupt the process in creating the financial crisis and then placing the blame upon those who fought to bring order to a chaotic system. As the MSM controls the majority of publications and other news outlets, such articles as these are either refused a forum outside the Conservative market or are relegated to the back pages of publications, a few moments of air time and attacked from every front with bogus, misleading and irresponsible challenges.

4. Schools of journalism will provide the DNC and MSM with yet another layer of protection. When brought to the attention of other students by the few Conservatives who manage to gain entrance to these institutions of higher learning (but corrupt from top to bottom), both the article and the student will face untold amounts of ridicule and harassment. Daring to question the leftist agenda with "right wing propaganda" (as the truth is called) can lead to a student losing his/her scholarship, failing classes (even those with no relationship to "journalism"), etc.

5. Those of the left will stop at nothing to ensure their agenda and their view of reality need not be challenged, only accepted as gospel? We can see this today where "agents" of The Anointed One are threatening TV stations with having their broadcast license revoked for running anti-Obama ads and demanding DOJ investigations of groups who sponsor such ads. If The Anointed One will dare to make such threats before he is elected, what on earth will he do if he were to occupy the Oval Office? Can you imagine the MSM outrage if such were to come out of the McCain campaign?
-- Kenneth C. Harrell
Clinton, North Carolina

OUT OF THE WAY, SONNY
Re: Readers' letters under "Walk the Walk" in Reader Mail's Not So Fast and Russ Ferguson's Accelerate Yourself:

Well, if no one else agrees with Russ Ferguson, I suppose the opinion of an 81 year old crone will be cold comfort. Snails stop to smell the roses. And they leave a trail of slime.

I have been a fast walker all my life and can attest to the benefits of it. The greatest one being that I can still walk fast. It certainly helps when you are sprinting against a fast walk light across six lanes of traffic. I have to admit I carry it a bit far, with my brisk pace in a grocery store behind a loaded cart. I don't want to smell the garlic or the fish case. My fervent prayer is that I won't meet a friend in aisle 3 who wants to discuss the merits of green tea over darjeeling.

I hope this does not lead to a torrent of letters from folks who have hip replacements, congestive heart failure, COPD and emphysema. Obviously, I don't mean them. I refer to the terminally slow strollers of all ages who impede my progress and seem to have some kind of radar that guides them to shamble to the right when I am attempting to get around them on the right. They can't all be halt and lame. What we need is a Slow Lane for pedestrians.

My brother is 79, physically fit and a determined slow talker and slow walker. OK by me. I'll meet him at the corner. But I am not dragging my feet to accommodate his leisurely gait. Sometimes I shame him into shifting out of second gear. I ask him to pick it up a little. He asks me what's my hurry.

My day begins, 5 days a week, by walking three blocks uphill from my parking place to take my first grader grandson to school. With an enthusiastic 6 year old setting the pace, it starts the heart!
-- Diane Smith

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Re: The Prowler's Couric Diminishes Gov. Palin:

I read your article about Katie Couric not wanting to use Governor Palin's title of Governor. I notice the same thing in the media referring to President Bush. I constantly hear the media refer to him as Mr. Bush or George Bush while you hear them calling Bill Clinton, "President Clinton" instead of "Former President Clinton" or just Bill Clinton. Every time I hear them say "President Clinton" I scream at my TV, "He hasn't been president for eight years!" It's no wonder their ratings are so low.

Keep up the good work!
-- Jeanene Brake
Overland Park, Kansas

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article