September 2008


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Heads_Up the lying liberal leftist Huffington Post

 Via the pro-Obama Denver Post:

"Hey, Miss N. Sorry I’m not in class today," bellowed a student from the bleachers at Mountain Range High School.

"No problem," answered government teacher Sunni Nucci. "I’m not in class, either."

Normally, Nucci is a die-hard on attendance, requiring students to stand in the back of her classroom for being tardy.

But on Monday, the day Barack Obama came to speak, the sight of so many kids skipping school buoyed her as an educator.

"We don’t tend to teach enough about heroes. Finally they have a manifestation of that right before their eyes. And it’s not a rap concert. It’s something so much more. They get that. They feel it. They know this election matters," she said.

"The Nuccinator," as students call her, likes Obama. She likes his affinity with the middle class, his stance on investing in education and his call to end a war that has traumatized and even killed her students.

But because she is a pro, she conceals her views in the classroom. This month, she feigned the same enthusiasm during the Republican National Convention as she felt the week the Democrats came to Denver.

"It’s been a tough year to present both sides without showing a bias," admitted the 37-year-old Democrat.

Nucci and fellow government teacher Mandy Byrd were hounded Monday by students figuring they had extra tickets to Obama.

They didn’t. Mountain Range’s faculty — even its civic teachers — had to stand in line like everyone else Sunday for passes to the next day’s rally. About 10 percent of teachers took off personal days, and dozens of students followed suit.

"It took lots of pleading with my mom," said senior Patrick Kenney, who spends Saturdays volunteering for Obama. "This is the man who will keep me from moving to Canada."

Students in Nucci’s and Byrd’s classes are taught to stand up for whatever they believe. Both require students to queue up in human political spectrums on issues such as guns, war and the economy. The majority, they say, are moderate Democrats, as are voting-age residents of suburban Adams County.

Both teachers say they have watched kids lose respect for the presidency over the past seven years. Both describe students’ growing angst about gas prices, college loans and even a possible draft.

And, more than ever, they say, students are hankering to be part of the political process, even if they can’t vote.

"It pretty much sucks," senior Adam Hunt said of the fact that he turns 18 two days before Election Day yet will miss the Oct. 6 registration deadline. "It sucks because we’ve got the most at stake. We’re the ones sent to war. We’re the ones who need to pay for school and find jobs and support ourselves.

"People think young people don’t understand about policy and don’t care. But we’re here today. So tell them we do."

The crowd of 2,000 waited an extra hour and a half Monday while Obama worked phones to Washington getting briefed on the House of Representative’s rejection of the bailout plan and urging congressional leaders to "get it done."

He finally emerged in the gym noticeably distracted and uncharacteristically fumbling for words.

"Now is not the time for fear. Now is not the time for panic," Obama told his supporters. "It is time we had some adult supervision in the White House."

And there were the Mountain Range teachers, on their feet, whistling and stomping on the bleachers as they played hooky with their students.

As the Nuccinator tells it, these are not times for holding one’s tongue.

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What was that again about the "Nuccinator" not showing bias?

This isn’t an unbiased education, it’s indoctrination.

 Via Delaware OnLine

 By HIRAN RATNAYAKE • The News Journal

Donna Reyes created one of her most valuable medical tools.

A registered nurse who works with expectant mothers, Reyes filled eight pages of a spiral notebook with handwritten questions in rudimentary Spanish so she could communicate with Spanish-speaking patients who had immigrated to Delaware.

¿Tiene dolor por las contracciones? Do you have pain due to contractions?

¿Tiene dolor? Do you have pain?

¿Dónde le duele? Where does it hurt?

"I would take it right in the room with me when I was talking to the patients," Reyes said of the notebook, which sits on her desk at Westside Family Healthcare. "I still have it here."

She rarely needs it now. Having worked with so many Hispanic patients in her four years at Westside, Reyes has mastered just enough Spanish to do her job.

Increasingly, patients at Delaware’s federally-qualified health centers, which serve as safety nets for the indigent, hail from Central America, South America and the Caribbean. They labor as landscapers in Wilmington, poultry workers in Georgetown and mushroom farmers across the border in Kennett Square, Pa.

Delaware faces a general nursing shortage over the next decade, but it also faces a specific shortage: nurses who can communicate with the growing number of Spanish-speaking immigrants. The fear is, that with few Spanish-speaking health care workers, those who speak Spanish only, or little English, will be less likely to seek medical treatment.

"There is a specific shortage of bilingual, bicultural nurses," said Maria Matos, executive director of the Latin American Community Center. "Those who do not speak English well are less likely to see health care for a chronic disease."

Matos is on the Governor’s Consortium on Hispanic Affairs, which commissioned a recent survey that found that 22.3 percent of Hispanics won’t seek out a doctor or nurse for a checkup because they are not proficient in English. More than one in four Hispanic adults in the United States lacks a usual health care provider, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

"Part of the reason is that they don’t understand what’s going on and they don’t understand the health care profession," Matos said. "You’re less likely to go back to a place where people don’t understand you and where you came from."

Delaware saw the country’s 19th highest rate of growth in its Hispanic population from 2000 to 2007, rising 51 percent to about 56,000, according to Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of U.S. Census data.

A report by the Delaware Health Care Commission on the First State’s nursing shortage found that fewer than 1 percent of nurses were Hispanic.

Delaware should respond by training more nurses to be culturally competent, said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, a psychologist who heads the National Alliance for Hispanic Health.

"You also need to train the people that you already have there. It’s like if you lived in a community and went from serving teenagers to serving an older population," she said. "You would have to change what you do."

Strangers to health system

The language barrier is just one of many problems. Challenges occur because many immigrants — legal or not — don’t understand how the U.S. health care system works.

Many don’t understand the concept of prescriptions. When their medicine runs out, some fail to return for refills. Since many are uninsured, they skip appointments if they can’t pay.

Some wait until their illness becomes debilitating before seeking help. Some pregnant women, having given birth before without the guidance of a medical professional, wait until the third trimester before going for prenatal care. Some fear they’ll be ridiculed for their home remedies and don’t divulge them, running the risk of violent interactions with prescribed drugs.

Crucial to improving these patients’ health and increasing their knowledge of health care is a favorable first visit.

"Nurses have that very unique role where they are closer to their patient than the doctors and other health professionals," said Delgado. "They are much more attuned to what the patients are dealing with."

When Reyes was a nursing student at the University of Delaware, she took a class on providing culturally competent care. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in nursing four years ago, she joined Westside Family Healthcare, the largest federally-qualified health center in Delaware, with three clinics in New Castle County. Fifty-one percent of the patients who go to Westside are uninsured and 39 percent are on Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor.

She started at the center’s West Fourth Street location in Wilmington and now works at the Newark office, where about half the patient base is Hispanics who speak only Spanish.

Translations a problem

The proportion of Hispanic patients at Westside Family Healthcare is 64 percent. At La Red Health Center in Georgetown, it’s just slightly lower — about 60 percent — and most of them speak Spanish only. The other two local organizations that run federally-qualified health centers — Henrietta Johnson Medical Center and Delmarva Rural Ministries’ Kent Community Health Center — also treat immigrant patients, though not as many. Because questions about immigration status are not directly related to health, patients do not have to reveal whether they have illegally entered the United States.

When a translator isn’t available at the centers, sometimes a patient’s bilingual child is asked to translate. Misunderstandings can arise out of this situation, leading to medical errors, according to the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University.

La Red has four translators and several bilingual employees, said Barbara Richards, a registered nurse who helps expectant mothers. But it would be preferable if nurses could communicate with patients directly, she said.

"We need to decide whether they need to come in and see a doctor or go to the hospital or take a Tylenol," said Richards, who does not speak Spanish. "In order to do that you really need to be able to communicate with them rather than having someone else translate the entire visit."

Richards has memorized questions she needs to ask her patients in Spanish.

"I can get through most of my translation without assistance, but if there’s anything new that they have to say, or if I have my doubts about what they’re saying, I’ll have to run and grab a translator," she said.

With many of those patients, she has to spend several minutes trying to gain their trust.

"No matter what country they’re from, they tend to not want to give away all their private information when they first meet you," she said. "You have to take some time to warm up with them, and explain to them that whatever they tell us is confidential and will not be going outside the doors."

Six months pregnant

Many pregnant patients at La Red do not seek care until they are in their sixth month, too late for some tests on the fetus’ health.

Often, the visits are complicated because patients do not want to admit they don’t understand what is being said.

"You have to explain the importance of what they need to do and explain it multiple times," Reyes said. "I’ll do a lot more pointing and use a lot more motions."

That means some visits that should last 30 minutes go on for an hour and a half.

Over the years, the Hispanic community near La Red has become more trusting of the center. But many are still reluctant to seek help because they fear that they won’t be able to afford the cost or will risk exposure of their immigration status.

"I can’t give you an exact percentage, but probably half the patients I see have something that should’ve been taken care of a long time ago," Richards said. "They are showing up at the door really sick."

Immigration issues can severely complicate care. A recent Hispanic patient of Reyes’ was a mother who had diabetes and a sexually transmitted disease. Her boyfriend was arrested for physically abusing her and deported. The boyfriend had been paying for her medicine. She couldn’t afford the medicine on her own and had to stop taking it.

"When you have to choose between food and other things that you need, you might have to make the decision where you won’t go see the doctor," Richards said. "They’ll ask if there’s something they can do over the phone rather than having to come in and be seen."

Many will visit botanicas, which sell herbal remedies and provide access to curanderos, or folk healers. Richards asks Hispanic patients to list medicines and herbs they are using because of potential interactions.

Reflecting the change in the patient population, nursing students at Wilmington University can obtain a Hispanic Cultural Certificate. The program consists of 18 undergraduate credits, including three Spanish-language classes, and students are required to practice in community health settings that treat Hispanic patients.

"We believe it’s important, because in order to treat someone appropriately, it is important that some of the health beliefs and values that other cultures may have are understood," said Sheila M. Sharbaugh, coordinator of the bachelor of science in nursing program. "Different cultures have different beliefs with health and with illness."

Jane Boyd, an instructor at Wilmington University’s Georgetown campus, teaches "Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness." The course’s lessons range from immigrants’ cultural heritage to their sleep patterns to the type of work they do. Many patients who work in the poultry industry come to the emergency room with trauma-related injuries. Many of their children play soccer, making them susceptible to physical injury or heat exhaustion.

"How you seek care and how you respond to a provider is also based on your background," Boyd said. "Some of the things we do are just like what they do. … But to be culturally competent, you need to understand your world views and the views of the patient."

Prenatal visit

On a recent day, Reyes met with 27-year-old Griselda, a Mexican immigrant who has had two children and one miscarriage. She came because she was pregnant again.

Griselda works in construction eight hours a day and speaks little English.

Reyes asked one question after another in Spanish. Each question was slow, and she hesitated several times, making sure that she was as clear as possible.

Reyes ran her hand across Griselda’s midsection and asked about her condition.

Reyes spoke to Griselda about nutritious diets and the dangers to a fetus from periodontal disease. Care in the United States is much different than in Mexico, Griselda said.

"If you have money you get seen more often there," she said through a translator. "But here they treat you and it’s affordable. I’ve learned what [healthy foods] to eat while I’m pregnant. I tell my friends about Westside."

At the end of the appointment, Reyes ran a monitor across the her abdomen so she could hear her baby’s heartbeat. It was 150 beats per minute, ideal for a fetus of 25 weeks.

"Muy bien," Reyes said.

By Steve Sailer

Whose fault is it?

Last week, the mainstream conservative punditry finally picked up an idea I had first put forward in August 2007 (and developed with more detail last June): that an underestimated factor in the financial crisis set off by the mortgage meltdown is our reigning ideology of multiculturalism and diversity.

In other words, this is a minority mortgage meltdown—and it may trigger a Diversity Recession.

Unfortunately, not having studied the question as long as I had, some of the conservative talking heads tended to put forward naïve, self-serving, or unpersuasive versions of this theory—such as that the banking crash wasn’t the fault of greed in the financial industry, it was the result of the Democrats in Congress passing the anti-redlining Community Reinvestment Act in 1977.

The reality is that blame is very widely shared: among Democrats and Republicans, businesspeople and politicians, Congress and the Executive Branch, borrowers and lenders, and whites, blacks and Hispanics.

There’s one man, however, who has so far escaped any blame. Few have realized something that turns out to have been staring us in the face all along: that the mortgage mess was, in sizable measure, an outgrowth of the primary political goal of the Bush Administration.

That man’s name is Karl Rove.

And the primary political goal of President George W. Bush’s political strategist: to bring Hispanics into the Republican Party.

As you’ll recall, Rove’s best-known tactic to appeal to Latino voters was repeatedly pushing "comprehensive immigration reform" (i.e., an amnesty for illegal immigrants).

Rove, though, had other arrows in his quiver. One was a plan to turn Hispanics into Republicans by providing them with loose credit so they could become homeowners.

(Rove’s belief that there’s a connection between being able to afford a home and voting Republican is not totally irrational. As I’ve documented, since 2004 states with higher degrees of "affordable family formation" do vote Republican more than states where people can less afford to buy houses. That’s why the Republican "Red States" tend to be inland, where land for housing is abundant and cheap, while Democratic "Blue States" tend to be expensive because oceans or Great Lakes restrict suburban expansion.)

As part of this plan, George W. Bush made several speeches rallying enthusiasm for his October 15, 2002 White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership. For instance, there was his classic Bushian effort on June 18, 2002:

"The goal is, everybody who wants to own a home has got a shot at doing so. The problem is we have what we call a homeownership gap in America. Three-quarters of Anglos own their homes, and yet less than 50 percent of African Americans and Hispanics own homes. … So I’ve set this goal for the country. We want 5.5 million more homeowners by 2010—million more minority homeowners by 2010. (Applause.) … "

The five and a half million marginal minority homeowners that Bush bunglingly called for is a big number. At a mortgage of, say, $127,000 each, that would add up to, let me check my calculator, oh…

$700 billion—the size of the current bailout. Well, whaddaya know …

Bush rattled on:

"I’m going to do my part by setting the goal, by reminding people of the goal, by heralding the goal, and by calling people into action, both the federal level, state level, local level, and in the private sector. (Applause.) …

“And so what are the barriers that we can deal with here in Washington?"

Well, there’s one obvious barrier to minority homeownership: many American minorities don’t earn enough money to be able to afford their own home.

You might think, therefore, that the way to help minorities make higher wages would be to alleviate competition for their jobs by cracking down on legal and illegal immigration. Especially because illegal immigration is, well, illegal. And that’s what the Chief Executive gets paid to do—enforce laws.

Nevertheless, Bush and Rove apparently hoped that amnestying illegal immigrants would win over Hispanic citizens, so they did almost nothing about illegal immigration (other than trying to legalize it, of course) until an outraged public forced their hands in the last couple of years.

Bush and Rove didn’t have a plan for helping minorities earn more. Instead, they had a plan for helping minorities borrow more.

Bush went on in his June 18th speech:

"Well, probably the single barrier to first-time homeownership is high down payments. "

Uh-oh.

Traditional standards requiring "high down payments" existed for, as we see now, very good reasons. Being able to pony up 20 percent, or even just 10 percent, was cold, hard evidence of borrowers’ credit-worthiness. It showed you hadn’t spent every penny you ever earned. And a big down payment meant you instantly had substantial skin in the game. That you had paid out tens of thousands of dollars meant you were likely to do whatever it took to avoid losing your house by failing to pay off the loan.

To Bush and Rove, however, old-fashioned down payments were just keeping minorities from their fair share of the American Dream. Bush burbled on:

"People take a look at the down payment, they say that’s too high, I’m not buying. They may have the desire to buy, but they don’t have the wherewithal to handle the down payment. We can deal with that. And so I’ve asked Congress to fully fund an American Dream down payment fund which will help a low-income family to qualify to buy, to buy. (Applause.)

We believe when this fund is fully funded and properly administered, which it will be under the Bush administration, that over 40,000 families a year—40,000 families a year—will be able to realize the dream we want them to be able to realize, and that’s owning their own home. (Applause.)"

If you do the arithmetic, you’ll see that Bush’s silly little American Dream slush fund for subsidizing 40,000 families per year would take, not the eight years Bush promised to add 5,500,000 minority households to the ranks of homeowners, but 137.5 years. But, obviously, subsidizing all 5.5 million new minority homeowners out of the taxpayers’ money would be so insanely expensive that white voters would rebel.

No, it had to be done on the sly, through the magic of fractional reserve banking, which, as the Federal Reserve notes, "permits the banking system to ‘create’ money." By taking more risks, by handing out more mortgages to likely deadbeats, the financial system could simply "create" the cost of 5.5 million homes for minorities.

CNN reported after Bush’s June 17 speech at the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta:

"Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the federal Home Loan Banks—the government-sponsored corporations that handle home mortgages—will increase their commitment to minority markets by more than $440 billion, Bush said."

(Thomas Allen wrote a must-read article on Fannie Mae’s push for more—and more dubious—lending to immigrants way back in 2004.)

In December 2003, when signing the American Dream Downpayment Act, Bush bragged:

"Last year I set a goal to add 5.5 million new minority homeowners in America by the end of the decade. That is an attainable goal; that is an essential goal. And we’re making progress toward that goal. In the past 18 months, more than 1 million minority families have become homeowners. (Applause.) And there’s more that we can do to achieve the goal. The law I sign today will help us build on this progress in a very practical way."

What was truly significant about Bush’s 2002 speeches (including the doozy he delivered on October 15, 2002 at his White House conference, which you should read for the schadenfreude alone) was not the legislation he endorsed—but the unsubtle message he was sending to lenders and, most importantly, to his own employees, the federal regulators.

Bush made clear at his October 15, 2002 conference that he opposed not merely discriminating against borrowers who might turn out to be bad credit risks—he wanted more money to go to documented bad credit risks. He brayed:

"Freddie Mac recently began 25 initiatives around the country to dismantle barriers and create greater opportunities for homeownership. One of the programs is designed to help deserving families who have bad credit histories to qualify for homeownership loans."

Let’s put Bush’s influence in perspective. I’m not saying that financial institutions would intentionally make hundreds of billions of dollars worth of bad loans just on the President’s say-so. But what I am saying is that federal employees, such as financial regulators, do listen closely to what the Chief Executive says about what he wants done regarding those iffy loans.

Let’s review: As long as the federal government ends up bailing out lenders, financial regulation is a necessity.

Lenders like to lend. That’s what they do. That, typically, is for what they get paid bonuses.

Overly exuberant lending, unfortunately, leads to financial crises. And taxpayers and savers always seem to wind up paying to resolve them, either through formal programs like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or through ad hoc bailouts (of which we’ve seen so many in 2008).

Thus, since the government is on the hook for excessive lending, the government regulates lending.

The job of these federal regulators is to "take away the punchbowl just as the party gets going," as former Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin said long ago.

In his many speeches on minority housing, however, President Bush was telling his underlings to keep their hands off the punchbowl. Heck, maybe the regulators should add another bottle of Everclear just to be hospitable.

And if private lenders started worrying that giving mortgages to dubious credit risks could backfire on them, Bush’s speeches could be read as hinting that his Administration would try to help them out, to the tune of, say, $700 billion.

Bush summed up:

"And part of the cornerstone of America is the ability for somebody, regardless of where they’re from, regardless of where they were born, to say, this is my home; I own this home, it is my piece of property, it is my part of the American experience. "

My emphases. In other words, under the Bush Administration, the American Dream isn’t just for Americans. For instance, at his White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership, Bush orated:

"I appreciate so very much the home owners who are with us today, the Arias family, newly arrived from Peru. They live in Baltimore. Thanks to the Association of Real Estate Brokers, the help of some good folks in Baltimore, they figured out how to purchase their own home. Imagine to be coming to our country without a home, with a simple dream. And now they’re on stage here at this conference being one of the new home owners in the greatest land on the face of the Earth. I appreciate the Arias family coming. (Applause.) "

This orchestrated push for more minority homeownership wasn’t some random caprice of the President. It was part of the master plan of his political Svengali, Karl Rove. As Rove told every reporter who would listen in 2000 and 2001, Bush was supposed to be the new William McKinley, whose 1896 campaign manager Mark Hanna had figured out how to build a Republican coalition combining the business interests with (some) new immigrants to make the Republicans dominant until the Great Depression.

In 1999, the Washington Post reported on the McKinley Mania launched by Rove in Republicans Admire Bill … McKinley, That Is:

"Marshall Wittmann of the conservative Heritage Foundation explains: ‘1896 was the year that McKinley and Hanna tried to redefine the Republican Party. Instead of rehashing Reconstruction and the Civil War, McKinley offered an appealing image to new immigrants, rising entrepreneurs and working folks.

“’The theory of the Bush campaign,’ Wittmann continues, ‘with the slogan of ‘compassionate conservatism,’ is to similarly expand the base of the Republican Party, specifically by appealing to minorities and more centrist voters.’"

In 2001, for example, Rove told reporter Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times:

"If you’re a Mexican-American … if Mel Martinez comes to town and talks about his life story and this administration’s policies to encourage homeownership, and you hear Bush talking a tax cut, education and leaving no child behind, and he’s seen with Fox, and the first place he goes when in Europe is Spain—you say, ‘Hey, Bush gets it. Our community is important to this guy.’"

Before the 2004 election, Rove boasted:

"[T]here are more people owning homes—particularly in the Hispanic and African-American communities—than ever before. This is a result of wise policies instituted at just the right time."

At the height of the housing bubble, on Mayday 2007, the day of planned pro-amnesty marches, Rove’s protégé, Ken Mehlman, the campaign manager (under Rove’s guidance) of Bush-Cheney 2004, wrote of how the GOP was wooing Hispanics:

"There are several steps we can take to ensure that America’s fastest-growing and most conservative voter bloc joins the GOP. …Home ownership has always been an important element of the American Dream, and Hispanic-Americans have made enormous progress thanks to the hard work of many families and the innovative policies of the president. Hispanic home ownership is at an all-time high with 50 percent of Hispanics owning their homes."

And these increases in minority homeownership due to government initiatives going back decades were true … temporarily.

But now minority homeownership rates appear to be falling as foreclosures hit Hispanics and blacks harder than whites and Asians. [Foreclosure Activity Increases 12 Percent In August, RealtyTrac.comSept. 12, 2008]

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Foreclosures appear to be one of the few things in America not tracked directly by race. But the circumstantial evidence that blacks and Hispanics account for a disproportionate share is agreed upon by all who have looked into the question closely.

This map from RealtyTrac shows that the foreclosure disaster is largely regional. There are high rates of foreclosure in states such as Georgia and New Jersey, but the two main default dumps are the Midwestern Rustbelt and the heavily Hispanic Sunbelt.

The first regional meltdown is centered in Detroit, where the auto industry is perpetually dwindling. It’s hitting black neighborhoods particularly hard.

There’s a certain sense of tragic inevitability to this. In 2006, the New York Times did a sad story on the foreclosure on a single mother of four who had bought a house in the slums of Cleveland paying only three percent down:

"Over the years, Ms. Roberts’s monthly expenses rose because of repairs to a dilapidated porch and the birth of two grandchildren, but the $880 a month she takes home after taxes from her job as a home health aide did not. Ms. Roberts, 35, also receives $1,100 in Social Security benefits because two of her younger children have learning disabilities. " [For Minorities, Signs of Trouble in Foreclosures, By Vikas Bajaj And Ron Nixon, February 22, 2006.]

I guess that America losing money on 35-year-old grandmothers who earn $880 per month is what you might call the Slavery Tax, and we’re just going to have to keep paying it.

Yet the Rust Belt default catastrophe is dwarfed by what’s happened in California, along with its neighbors Arizona and Nevada, and in Florida. And this is much more of a self-inflicted wound, occurring in seemingly prosperous places where immigrants have flooded in.

The highest foreclosure rate is in Nevada. (“Talk about ‘moral hazard!’" I can imagine Nevada residents scoffing, “You want your money? Then come get it from me Las Vegas Style. If you’re not man enough, Mr. Banker, to dangle me by my ankles off a hotel balcony, then tough luck.")

As of August 2008, California alone, with 12 percent of the national population, accounted for 29 percent of all foreclosures. Add in the two California wannabes, Nevada and Arizona, and states with just 15 percent of the population are responsible for 36 percent of the foreclosures. Add in Florida, and four states with 21 percent of the population are home to half the foreclosures.

This is not to say that Hispanics account for most of the defaults in those four states. Plenty of white speculators bought homes figuring they could rent them out to all the Latino laborers who had flocked across the border to build exurban homes. And other whites wanted to move to the exurbs to get their children out of public school systems overwhelmed by the children of illegal immigrants. (Notice the circularity of the economic logic of this decade—which Dennis Dale aptly calls “The Blunder Years”?)

The foreclosure rate per capita in California is 2.9 times that of the other 49 states. And because houses are so much more expensive in California than elsewhere, the tarnished Golden State by itself probably accounts for something approaching half of the value of all foreclosures in America. The median house price in California is currently about twice the national average. At the peak of the bubble was closer to triple the national average.

In defense of Bush and Rove, as Texans they may have had a misguided sense of the scale of what they were unleashing. Texas Republicans are prone to blame the limited supply of housing in California on Not In My Back Yard politics used by homeowners to raise their home values and keep out undesirables. And some of that is true. But there are topographical reasons for limiting development in mountainous California—such as smog and traffic. They aren’t easily understood on the Texas prairie.

The result: in California, unlike in Texas, it takes many years for increases in housing supply to catch up to increases in demand. That’s why the loose credit policies of the Bush years turned into higher home prices in California than in Texas.

To be precise, a Los Angeles home averaged 2.56 times the price of a Dallas home in 2001 and 4.69 times in 2005. Even in 2005, the median Dallas home only cost 2.8 times the local annual income, while the median Los Angeles home cost 12.7 times what the median Angeleno was making.

Most white pundits can’t believe that minorities had an impact on the mortgage meltdown because they don’t really grasp the number of minorities now in the country. After all, there aren’t a lot of Hispanics at dinner parties in Georgetown and the Upper West Side. (At least, not sitting down.)

The National Association of Realtor’s webpage entitled "Diversity Is Good Business" quantifies where we’re headed. Minorities are expected to comprise 64 percent of the net new households over the next decade and 54 percent of first-time homeowners by 2010.

USA Today reported in 2007:

"Across the nation, black and Hispanic borrowers helped fuel a multiyear housing boom, accounting for 49% of the increase in homeowners from 1995 to 2005, says Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. But Hispanics and African-Americans were far more likely to leverage the American dream with subprime loans — higher-cost products for buyers with impaired credit — that are now going bad at an alarming rate. About 46% of Hispanics and 55% of blacks who took out purchase mortgages in 2005 got higher-cost loans, compared with about 17% of whites and Asians, according to Federal Reserve data."

Not surprisingly, for the fifty states, I’ve found a fairly high (r = 0.54) correlation between the foreclosure rate per capita and the Hispanic share of the population.

In retrospect, it might have been less costly to the taxpayers and savers if the Bush Administration had just given every Hispanic voter in America a giant flat screen TV inscribed: "A gift from the Republican Party. Vote for George P. Bush Garnica for President in 2016!"

The only problem was that they just don’t let you do that.

They do let you hand out racial preferences, but there are limitations. For example, you have to include African-Americans. Rove is not a stupid man (he’s not as smart as he thinks he is, but he’s not stupid). So he never thought the GOP had much chance to get black voters. Still, you can’t just hand out affirmative action to your targeted immigrant group and exclude the descendents of slaves.

Worst of all, the Bush-Rove assault on credit standards meant that the white majority could qualify for doubtful debt, too.

White people sometimes get up in arms when the quotas get too obvious. Thus, it’s often easier for politicians just to toss out all the standards, such as substantial down payments. And that often makes the effect more pervasive than if a straightforward quota had been used.

Attacking down payments and the like is the same as when the National Organization for Women protests as discriminatory against women a fire department making job applicants perform a minimum number of pull-ups to show they can carry unconscious smoke-inhalation victims out of burning buildings. One alternative is to impose upon yourself a simple quota of female firefighters (or, as they are known in the heroic New York Fire Department, "firewatchers"—there is a reason 343 firemen died on 9/11, but zero firewomen). At least with a quota you can keep your upper body strength test in order to still get strong men. Unfortunately, some fire departments respond by eliminating the strength test to stop N.O.W. from whining. That way, the fire department ends up hiring both women and men too weak to save your life.

Similarly, the Bush jihad against traditional credit standards meant that not only more Hispanics and blacks could get loans they couldn’t pay back—but more whites could, too.

Why didn’t the financial institutions realize what was going on. Were they greedy?

Of course they were greedy. Greed is an omnipresent constant on Wall Street. Greed and fear, famously, drive the markets.

When I was getting an MBA back before the 1980s boom started, the word on the student grapevine even then was that the only answer to the standard job interview question "Why do you want to work for us?" that would make the investment bank recruiters sit up and take interest in you was, "To make an obscene amount of money."

The relevant question is: Why wasn’t greed balanced by fear? Why did the Wall Street financial engineers concoct a mountain of leverage on the back of the pebble of probability that these California mortgages would be paid off?

One reason is obvious: political correctness, enforced by anti-discrimination lawsuits. Expressing "prejudices" about the likelihood of protected minorities paying off loans violates anti-discrimination laws.

It’s now legally dangerous to express fear in writing. Imagine that an executive in a financial firm had sent an email to a fellow executive saying:

"I see that the median home price in California is heading toward a half million bucks. Isn’t California full of Mexicans? How can a bunch of Mexicans afford to pay off half million dollar mortgages once the price of homes stops going up and they can’t refinance anymore. Aren’t we headed for disaster in California if we don’t go back to traditional credit standards?"

An email like that would wind up in the hands of plaintiffs’ attorneys during discovery in discrimination lawsuits. The author would be fired. The CEO would have to go apologize to the National Council of La Raza and promise to give a whole bunch more zero down payment loans to people whose names end in Z.

You can only mutter heresies like that over drinks to close confidants.

Anyway, if you’d asked about how Californians could pay off their monster mortgages, you’d probably just hear that the firm’s rocket scientists had taken everything into consideration in their immensely complicated calculations. They’ve got decades of data on California mortgages! What could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, one little thing had changed over the decades that the Wall Street quant jocks didn’t include in their numbers: the Californians themselves.

The current average resident of California just doesn’t have the same human capital as in the old days. In the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress test, California’s 8th graders came in 49th out of the 50 states in reading.

A United Way

study recently found that 53 percent of the adult residents of Los Angeles are functionally illiterate in English.

If you stopped and thought about it, you might wonder how they would earn enough to pay back those massive mortgages. But stopping and thinking about the shortcomings of minorities is the road to legal ruin in modern corporate America.

In summary: for eight years, I’ve argued in VDARE.com that the Bush-Rove plan to convert a majority of Hispanics into Republicans would not work politically. (By the way, the latest poll of Hispanics in seven swing states shows Barack Obama with a 63-26 lead over John McAmnesty.)

Latinos, I’ve argued, will remain mostly conventional tax-and-spend Democrats. On average, they simply aren’t going to make enough money to make it rational for them to switch to the party of cutting taxes and spending. The main reason they won’t make enough money: they typically lack the human capital to earn enough.

But now, for similar reasons, Latinos have turned out to lack the earning power to pay off enough California-sized mortgages.

Still, never mind that political correctness has ignited this financial apocalypse.

Having doubts about whether minorities could pay back their mortgage obligations are, as Bush and Rove would say, just “the soft bigotry of low expectations”.

small_marxistmanure11.jpg 

By Warner Todd Huston  

The candidate of change, the shining proponent of a “new way” in national politics, says that you aren’t allowed to bring a sign to his rally. So much for the right of free political speech. 

To add insult to injury, this rally was held at the publicly funded University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. So, now the government is lending the weight of its authority to squelch free speech. So, where is the hew and cry about this unAmerican activity? Did the media even note this heavy-handed policy?

But, it is all true nonetheless. The rally was held and weak-spined school officials bent over and meekly accepted the rules derived from the fascistic penchant of the Obama campaign with its anti-first amendment proclivities. Some few small voices questioned this oppression of American rights, but for the most part no one seems to have noticed that Virginians had their Constitutional rights quashed that day. Shockingly, some even thought it was a good idea.

The Obama campaign, falling back on the oldest dodge in the book, claimed that campaign signs were not allowed because of “security concerns.” Who can doubt, though, that it was instead because of “camera concerns”? The Obama campaign was far more interested in photo ops clear of McCain signs or other unwanted reminders that there are other opinions out there among the unwashed masses than that of sycophancy for The One.

On one hand, I see the logic in a campaign making sure that it controls the atmosphere of a campaign stop. It’s only good sense. And if this control were to be exerted on private property with the full acceptance and participation of the property owners, well who can deny that? But it wasn’t. This rally happened on public land.

Now, let us harken back to the “reason” that Sarah Palin was refused the podium at the anti-Iran rally last week, shall we? She was denied because of the so-called “equal time” rule, remember? This is a shadowy “rule” that seems to state that no politician may speak in public unless his opponent also appears to speak.

So, one wonders: did the University of Mary Washington invite the McCain campaign to the rally with Obama? And if not, why not? After all, this is a publicly funded institution. Are we to accept that such a place would violate that sacrosanct “equal time” rule? Are we to believe that a place funded by our money not only didn’t invite the opposing candidate, but used its publicly derived authority to squelch free speech by disallowing signs?

I suppose we’ll have to believe such a thing, after all.

Of course, the media doesn’t mind. Who can deny that such heavy-handed campaign policies smoothes the waters for their messiah. I can only chuckle at this. I mean, Obama is the first messiah that needs average men to smooth the waters for him instead of being all powerful enough to smooth them himself. How shallow must be the water he walks upon?

No wonder Obama’s campaign posters remind one of Stalinist propaganda.

By Jayme Evans  

Can’t we just all go out there and say everything’s OK?” – President Bush during contentious negotiations over his 700 billion dollar corporate welfare program

I make a comfortable living exposing defects in the work products of others. It matters not whether it be a system of integrated software components, a supply chain, transportation system or electrical grid; the search for defects in processes or their physical implementation that result in the failure of major systems must always start at the failure itself and work backwards until the root cause(s) can be found.

Most major disasters cannot be traced to a single point of failure. Rather they are the result of a combination of factors. Generally speaking, if any one of those factors is removed from the equation, the disaster becomes a near-miss. But the fact remains, every disaster is dependent upon one or more root causes that often involve human intervention. And many disasters turn out to be completely avoidable. 

The root cause of our current economic woes can be summed in one, single word:

Greed

We all know how we got here, the big question is how we move forward. But don’t look to your leadership for those answers. When it came to providing the information that so many Americans sought this weekend concerning precisely what action the government was ready to take or what the actual consequences were to taxpayers for either acting or not acting, we were not well-served. The dishonesty, spin and finger-pointing emanating from Washington was palpable, shameful and entirely un-American.

• We were told that if we don’t act; and act now; our entire economy will meltdown.
• We were told that credit will freeze and our nation will grind to a halt.
• We were told that the only way to fix this mess is to enact yet another welfare package for failed financial institutions. A 700 billion dollar behemoth that the taxpayers will chain themselves to, inheriting the very  poisoned debt that caused this mess, making us all culpable for the misdeeds of others.

On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lambasted the injection of politics into the process and then immediately injected politics into the process, slamming John McCain. One of those candidates will inherit the mess, so they should both be heavily invested in the solution. But the candidates offered little more. During the Friday night Presidential debate, host Jim Lehrer took multiple opportunities to ask both John McCain and Barack Obama whether they supported the plan as discussed. Neither would directly address the question. It was only by examining their answers to other questions that we learned they both support it.

Then on Saturday came an urgent announcement:
First there was a deal.
Then there was no deal.
Then there was a bill, followed by no bill.
Then there was an agreement in principle, followed by no agreement but a pledge to cooperate through tough negotiations.

Recessing Saturday after midnight, Democrats called a photo-op to pat themselves on the back and remind us that they were still there.

Finally, on Sunday came the announcement that agreement had been reached. Over the vehement objections of the vast majority of Americans and just in time for the opening of the Asian stock markets. 

Let’s be clear: Democrats have the majorities in both Houses of Congress. They had the votes necessary on Friday to pass any bill they chose. What they wanted was political cover. We’re less than two months away from an election and the last thing they want is to be politically exposed. With no guarantees their unprecedented scheme will even work, if they go down in flames, they want Republicans to share in their demise.

This legislation centralizes far too much power. It very broadly defines “troubled asset” to mean essentially any financial institution or mortgage instrument the government (hence Treasury Secretary) deems in trouble. It either insures those institutions against their losses or allows the Secretary to buy them outright at his own discretion. With YOUR money. It opens up the possibility of aid to ALL financial institutions, regardless of size, geography or assets. This includes securities brokers and insurance companies. It effectively forgives lenders and borrowers who are equally culpable for the mess.

If we choose to do nothing, opinions range from complete financial meltdown to tighter credit and recession. The truth is nobody really knows. Yet our government is expecting us to simply fall in line like timid little sheep and allow them to saddle us with this mountain of bad debt.

After cutting through all the weekend spin, the doom and gloom predictions are simply nonsense. What will happen if we don’t intervene, is that those institutions who gambled will fail, those homeowners and house-flippers who gambled will foreclose. The real estate market will surely suffer the consequences, but it is only one segment of the entire U.S. economy.

Roughly 20 percent of America will find it harder to obtain credit. That is roughly the percentage of Americans who gambled and incidentally, the same number of Americans who support this garbage. We’ll all pay more as a result and we could very well slip into recession, but the dire warnings of complete collapse are utter nonsense.

I’d like to know how many Congressional pensions are tied up in this worthless paper? That would indeed tell us how many in Congress are under financial pressure to act. Either way we’ll suffer, but it will be far less painful for those who had no hand in this mess if we do nothing.

In the wake of the Enron scandal, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the purpose of which was to address those deficiencies in corporate financial controls and reporting that allowed Enron to happen. Yet all it succeeded in doing is stifling productivity. It has done absolutely nothing in terms of preventing another Enron as we have now seen.

The overwhelming majority or Americans are self-sufficient. They live within their means, pay their bills on time, maintain good credit, pay their taxes and want the government to stay the hell out of our affairs, much less confiscate our wealth or socialize our economy. It is not our responsibility to bail out crooks on Wall Street, or those who gambled on the housing bubble and lost.

Eighty percent of America is absolutely, unwaveringly opposed to this action by our government. All across the political spectrum. In some districts, calls to Congressmen were going 100-1 in opposition to the plan. Has any of this had any impact on Congress whatsoever? Just before they began debate on this monstrosity, they sent President Bush a spending bill with 2,332 earmarks and pet projects totaling $4.9 billion dollars.

The airlines, hurricane victims, the auto industry, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. And now they gather for yet another bailout. Where the hell does this end?

This Administration, this Congress and the greed that their policies have fostered in Corporate America have gotten us into this mess. It was a bipartisan effort and a collective failure. Corporate lobbyists and Congressional earmarks will ensure it remains that way. More legislation and more money thrown at this problem is not going to fix it. The only way for us to end this as Americans is to let the chips fall where they may. And then we must completely clean House. Enact taxpayer-led term limits by voting out all incumbents in Congress.

This taxpayer-funded corporate welfare program will bankrupt this nation while those who directly contributed to it retire in comfort. In this particular case, we must have the intestinal fortitude not to reward that most loathsome of human vices, greed. We must have the courage to do absolutely nothing. Let Congress eliminate the death tax, cut their quarter million dollar salaries or forego their COLA increases for five years. Jail for C.E.O.s who turned a blind eye sounds attractive too. There ARE other alternatives. To hell with you. I’m not paying for your mistakes.

Aside from the fact the Democrats in Congress are trying to fool Americans into believing they are “lifting” the ban on off-shore exploration and drilling for oil, the opposition to our domestic oil companies by both Democrats and radical environmental groups lies at the heart of why America is so dependent on foreign oil.
 
At last report, Democrats decided to allow the quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire. That’s not the same as lifting the ban. Moreover, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) is on record saying that, if the Democrats retain control of Congress, restoring the ban “will be a top priority for discussion next year.”
 
So much for so-called “energy independence.”  When Democrats say that, they are talking about wind and solar power, and biofuels, not oil, natural gas, and coal.
 
I cringe every time I hear the Democrats attack “Big Oil” because, as Michael J. Economides, co-editor of Energy Tribune, points out in the current issue, other than some small companies,  there are just three large U.S. oil companies left; Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. There are three other Western oil companies headquartered outside the U.S.; BP, Shell, and Total. Other than these six, all the others are national or state-controlled.
 
As Economides points out, “The truth is that even with record profits (but by no means record returns on investment) Big Oil is in a heap of trouble. And as Big Oil goes, so goes America.”
 
Data from the office of Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) reveals how Big Green is trying to throttle any hope of Americans benefiting from our own vast oil reserves. In this case, it is 487 leases in the Chukchi Sea Sale 193 in February 2008. Every single one of the leases has been challenged.
 
Here are the names of those environmental organizations that don’t want you to pay less at the pump: The Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club. There are others, but these are the leaders in the effort to keep oil reserves off northern Alaska from ever being tapped. These are the groups that challenged the entire 2007-2023 five-year national outer continental shelf leasing program!
 
When the Bureau of Land Management issued leases in New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, the Western Environmental Law Center and the Wild Earth Guardians, preemptively, on July 1, 2008, challenged all 78 leases.
 
It is instructive that, when President Bush began to talk about lifting the ban on offshore drilling, the global price of oil dropped precipitously. As of this writing, it has not begun to rise and, if U.S. oil companies are permitted to explore and drill, the purpose of those leases, it will not only remain at current levels, but it will drop even more.
 
It is the Democrat Party and radical environmental organizations that stand between the discovery and provision of new oil and natural gas. It is the Democrat Party that is trying to push through a bogus “energy” bill that would put billions in the hands of those involved in “clean energy” projects that would barely provide the electricity America needs now, nor future needs.
 
The Chukchi Sea is offshore of northern Alaska, one of several seas that border the Arctic Ocean. The potential of oil in the Arctic is such that Russia is making noise about extending its claims in the Chukchi Sea.
 
If Congress should ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, the United States would lose its claim to the vast reserves that potentially exist in the Arctic and you don’t need three guesses to figure out which political party supports ratification. That would be high on the agenda if it remains in Democrat control and if Sen. Obama were to be elected.
 
As outrageous as the effort is to stop exploration and extraction of oil offshore of Alaska is, the fact remains that environmental groups devote themselves to stopping Americans from having access to any kind of energy source.
 
Even with the expiration of the offshore ban, you can be sure environmental groups will challenge every single effort to access our national reserves of oil and natural gas, offshore or on. The now classic example is their opposition to drilling for oil in Alaska’s ANWR despite the potential for billions more barrels of oil.
 
An offshore, floating terminal that would be 20 miles east of Manasquan, New Jersey, has been proposed by Exxon Mobil. Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tankers would use the terminal to link to the shore with an undersea pipeline. A Calgary-based conglomerate, Excalibur, wants to build an anchorage 15 miles off Asbury Park for a comparable pipeline.
 
The two projects will be officially proposed to the U.S. Maritime Administration and Coast Guard next year. An environmental group calling itself Clean Ocean Action has mobilized to insure that neither project comes to fruition.
 
The United States currently has only two offshore LNG facilities, one off Boston, and the other is116 miles off the coast of Louisiana. During hurricane season, the latter is subject to being shut down.
 
Instead, environmentalists in New Jersey, while opposing LNG terminals, love the idea of putting hundreds of wind turbines offshore despite the fact that this “clean energy” source is unreliable, would require back-up from onshore traditional plants generating electricity, and could only be built because they would be heavily subsidized with taxpayer and energy consumer dollars.
 
In the comic strip “Pogo,” the main character uttered the now-famous line, “We have met the enemy and they are us.” We have met the enemy and they are the environmental groups that are determined to keep the citizens of the United States from having access to affordable energy, no matter what or who produces it.

 

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denialator at 06:52 PM – September 29, 2008

I wonder if any of these environmentalists have considered the fact this energy crisis we are experiencing now has anything to do with the banking and mortgage crises which they are expecting the American taxpayers to bail them out of?
We need to expose the fact and confirm that family budget shortfalls are forcing average working class families to shut down and many losing their ability to pay bills because their energy costs and prices on essentials have tripled in a year with no way to subsitute any other means of getting to and from work or obtain these items from normal supplies at grocery stores and supermarkets without transportation, the price of which is now prohibitive. This is a bigger problem than anyone has been willing to admit.
Sending $700 billion to Wall Street bankers and other big spenders is not the answer to this problem, whether it was caused by a Democrat led Congress or a Republican Presidential Administration. The answer is to drill HERE! for oil.

By Mark Finkelstein

On the November 27, 2006 edition of Today, as noted here, Matt Lauer portentously declared: 

After careful consideration, NBC News has decided the change in terminology is warranted and what is going on in Iraq can now be characterized as civil war.

On that evening’s Countdown, Keith Olbermann chimed in, suggesting that NBC’s pronouncement was comparable to Walter Cronkite’s 1968 declaration that the Vietnam War was lost.

Although NBC, without fanfare, stopped using the "civil war" term sometime beginning in September, 2007, it has never–despite the success of the surge and the marked decrease in sectarian violence–declared the civil war over. Could today be the day?  NBC’s parent company, General Electric, has signed a deal with Iraq worth billions of dollars to it and Siemens for the provision of electric generation equipment.

So, what is it? Is GE venturing into a civil-war zone, or has the time, finally, come for NBC to admit the civil war is over?

The US Senate Saturday approved 25 billion dollars in loan guarantees for the financially strapped US auto industry, intended to spark a wave of automotive innovation.

The loan guarantees were included in a continuing resolution that included funding for the US government and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

President George W. Bush has indicated that he intends to sign the bill.

"We’re very pleased Congress has chosen to act at this critical time," said Greg Martin, director of communications for General Motors Corp’s Washington office.

GM had been subject of much speculation that it could be forced into bankruptcy.

The bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, are the first loan guarantees for US carmakers since Congress approved a similar 675 million dollar measure for Chrysler Corp. in 1980.

Chrysler Chairman Robert Nardelli, however, said this week the loan guarantees should not be considered a rescue package for struggling carmakers. "This is not a bailout," he said.

Under provisions of the new legislation, not only US carmakers are eligible for the guarantees but also suppliers and foreign automakers with plants in the United States that are more than 20 years old — Nissan and Honda’s US operations qualify.

Martin said automakers could use the money for projects such as a new engine plant GM has announced it intends to build in Flint, Michigan.

GM Chairman Rick Wagoner spoke of plans to invest 370 million dollars in a new plant, which will be the exclusive site for production of the gasoline engine or "range extender" for the electric Chevrolet Volt, due out in November 2010.

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