Charlie Rangel Faces His Scott Brown

Charlie Rangel Faces His Scott Brown

By Mark J. Fitzgibbons

What better message to send to Washington than to defeat an old bull like Charlie Rangel?

Rangel is one of the principal symbols of the tolerance Washington has for corrupt insider politics. He is Chairman-in-school-detention of the House Ways and Means Committee pending efforts of Democrats to avoid the most devastating mid-term election defeat in history.
Because he usually doesn’t have a serious challenger, Rangel is able to funnel in the neighborhood of a half million dollars every election cycle to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Such political largesse protects corruption. Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats dole out committee chairs to, and overlook offenses of, big-money lieutenants like Rangel.
Last week at the Susan B. Anthony List dinner, I sat with Reverend Michel Faulkner, the career non-politician who announced as the Republican challenger to Charlie Rangel. That made a special night all-the-more special.
You see, a little over a week before, Bart Stupak was scheduled to receive a pro-life award at the Susan B. Anthony List dinner. Instead, he was ceremoniously dumped by the group’s president Marjorie Dannenfelser for showing his commitment to his party and its corrupt, socialist ways was stronger than his commitment to the life issue.
Meeting him for the first time just that evening, my first impression of Rev. Faulkner is that he conveys his message in conversation rather than slogans, which struck me as refreshing. There was no, “I plan to introduce this bill,” and certainly no rehearsed lines. The closest he came was, “The people in my district want jobs, not programs,” but he said even that with the conversational sincerity of a friend or neighbor, not a candidate meeting someone for the first time.
He told me about himself. He’s a pastor, and founded a nonprofit called the Institute for Leadership. He works with the poor and the homeless. He fosters leadership within his community. He is — dare I say it? — a community organizer, but one who believes in and practices the free market and the Gospel.
Later in the conversation, he said something that made me a sure supporter of his run. Politicians — Republicans, nonetheless — who recognized his outstanding work in the community, offered him government money for his nonprofit. Rev. Faulkner declined taking taxpayer money. He has wisdom, for he knows he who pays the fiddler calls the tune.
I asked him why he decided to run. He answered exactly as I had hoped. Things stink. The country’s going in the wrong direction. We need new leaders, ones with principles who are willing to acknowledge their roles as responsive to the people, not the reverse. He spoke about freedom and the principles on which America was founded, and how far off course our leaders — not our people — have gone.
He said the people in his district are hard working, and they deserve someone representing them in Washington who doesn’t have four rent-controlled apartments.
I then gave him the test I’ve recently learned about how to measure a candidate. I asked him, “Are you a boat rocker?” A welcoming grin came across his face saying, “Oh yeah. That, and more.” He told me he doesn’t want to go to Washington just to slow down the corruption and bankruptcy level spending of government.
So, Charlie Rangel has a problem. Michel Faulkner combines the best leadership qualities of being both brave and humble, a man who walks with the poor and the powerful, and most of all, someone who seems to be entering politics for the right reasons.
Will Charlie Rangel show the courage of the Korean War vet he is and debate Rev. Faulkner, or will the Washington-insider, tax-evading Rangel duck a debate?
Speaking of where we were from, I told him I lived far across the Potomac River in Virginia. He said he grew up in the Washington area. I asked him how he ended up in New York. Football. He played a year with the New York Jets. Not a massive man sitting down, he must have been a quarterback or defensive back, I thought to myself. At the end of the dinner when he stood up, I changed my mind. Definitely a lineman. That ended any notion I had of telling him I’m a New England Patriots fan.
You can check out Rev. Faulkner’s campaign website for yourself.

Dems Can’t Dump Rangel’s Tainted Cash Fast Enough

Dems Can’t Dump Rangel’s Tainted Cash Fast Enough

March 3rd, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.


National Journal:

Charities around the country stand to gain thousands of dollars as House Dems begin to unload tainted donations from embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), according to a Hotline OnCall survey.

So far, Dems who received contributions from Rangel have pledged to donate $320K to charity, according to spokespeople and news reports. Members will give back at least another $86K.

The ethically challenged Rangel, who was admonished last week by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, has donated millions over the years to Dem candidates and causes. But now that he has surrendered his Ways and Means gavel, at least temporarily, the GOP is showing no signs of letting up their attacks on Dems who accepted his campaign cash.

And there is no shortage of members who will take heat: In office since ‘71, Rangel has never won re-election with less than 89% of the vote. That means he uses the millions he raises every year goes to his colleagues facing far more difficult election campaigns.

Incumbent members of Congress seeking another term have accepted nearly $1.58M from Rangel, according to filings made with the FEC. That doesn’t include the millions Rangel has contributed to the DCCC throughout the years; as chairman of a major committee, Rangel’s dues are set at $500K this cycle, though he has given just $150K.

Though an increasing number of Dems have given contributions back to Rangel, or donated the money to charity, some members have only handed over a portion of the money they’ve received from the Ways and Means chairman. Reps. Larry Kissell (D-NC), Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Dina Titus (D-NV) each made a show of giving back some of the money, but they have not returned all of it.

Titus, for example, has received $15K from Rangel since she began running for the House in early ‘08. Titus returned just $1K of that money — equal to the amount given this year. Aides to several members said the rest of the money had already been spent in previous elections.

Hotline OnCall is keeping track of members who have benefitted from Rangel’s generosity, either through direct donations, money from Rangel’s PAC or joint fundraising committees and who GOPers are pressuring to return the money.

Check out our full chart after the jump.
We contacted offices of each member of Congress who took money from Rangel. Those who members who remained silent did not respond to phone or email messages. We’ll continue to update this list as we hear from more members.

Altmire (D-PA) $21K
Arcuri (D-NY) $14K Charity
Barrow (D-GA) $33K
Bean (D-IL) $28K
S. Bishop (D-GA) $6K
T. Bishop (D-NY) $15K Money has been spent
Boccieri (D-OH) $59K No decision yet
Boswell (D-IA) $53K
Boyd (D-FL) $9K
Braley (D-IA) $7K
Bright (D-AL) $14K
Cardoza (D-CA) $7K
Carney (D-PA) $21K
Chandler (D-KY) $10K
Connolly (D-VA) $7K
Costa (D-CA) $2K
Courtney (D-CT) $26K
Cuellar (D-TX) $8K Charity
Dahlkemper (D-PA) $14K No comment
L. Davis (D-TN) $15K
Donnelly (D-IN) $21K
Driehaus (D-OH) $12K
Edwards (D-TX) $42K
Foster (D-IL) $14K Charity
Giffords (D-AZ) $21K Charity
Hall (D-NY) $21K
Halvorson (D-IL) $60K Charity
Heinrich (D-NM) $12K
Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) $17K
Higgins (D-NY) $11K
Hill (D-IN) $26K
Himes (D-CT) $16K Charity
Holden (D-PA) $19K
Israel (D-NY) $9K
Kagen (D-WI) $21K
Kanjorski (D-PA) $21K
Kilroy (D-OH) $22K Returning
Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) $14K Charity
Kissell (D-NC) $23K Partly returning
Klein (D-FL) $9K Charity
Kosmas (D-FL) $14K Charity
Larsen (D-WA) $24K
Maffei (D-NY) $82K No^
B. Markey (D-CO) $7K
Marshall (D-GA) $29K
Massa (D-NY) $74K
Matheson (D-UT) $45K
McMahon (D-NY) $70K
McNerney (D-CA) $21K Partly charity
Michaud (D-ME) $12K
Minnick (D-ID) $55K Charity
Mitchell (D-AZ) $28K Returning
C. Murphy (D-CT) $21K Returning
P. Murphy (D-PA) $19K
Nye (D-VA) $14K
Perriello (D-VA) $7K Charity
Peters (D-MI) $16K Charity
Pomeroy (D-ND) $30K
Rodriguez (D-TX) $21K
Ross (D-AR) $19K
Schauer (D-MI) $14K Charity
Schrader (D-OR) $7K
Shea-Porter (D-NH) $14K Returning
Shuler (D-NC) $14K
Space (D-OH) $21K Charity
Spratt (D-SC) $18K
Sutton (D-OH) $7K Charity
Stupak (D-MI) $7K
Teague (D-NM) $4k
Titus (D-NV) $15K Partly returning
Tsongas (D-MA) $7K Charity
Walz (D-MN) $21K
C. Wilson (D-OH) $12K Charity
Wu (D-OR) $5K
Yarmuth (D-KY) $12K Charity

Notes: A spokesperson for Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY), a former aide to Rangel, says the campaign has no plans to return the money “at this time.”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) returned $1K Rangel gave her campaign this year. A spokesman told a Stephens Media reporter the $14K Titus received for her ‘08 campaign is spent and gone.

Update: Rep. Zack Space (D-OH) has donated the $21K he received from Rangel to charity. Rep. Debbie Halvorson’s (D-IL) campaign will donate $16K to charity; that’s the amount she received in direct contributions. Halvorson will keep money raised at a joint fundraiser with Rangel.

Culture of Corruption Watch: Breaking – Rangel reportedly giving up House chairmanship; Update: Bitterly clinging to his gavel; Update: Taking “leave of absence”

Lead Story

Culture of Corruption Watch: Breaking – Rangel reportedly giving up House chairmanship; Update: Bitterly clinging to his gavel; Update: Taking “leave of absence”

By Michelle Malkin  •  March 2, 2010 07:49 PM

Scroll for updates…


Reports breaking via NBC that corruptocrat Charlie Rangel is “on the verge” of stepping down from his powerful House Ways and Means Committee chairmanship. Stand by for more…

Here’s the NBC News/NY report:

Harlem Democrat Charles Rangel now says he will step down as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, NBC News has learned.

He may make the move as early as tonight and Michigan Democratic Rep Sander Levin will temporarily take over the committee.

Some details still need to be ironed out, but sources said Rangel has been pushed to step down before the House voted on a bill to forcefully strip him of the coveted chairmanship.

Rangel is bitterly clinging to the gavel. Pelosi is, um, tight-lipped.

The move would preempt GOP plans to try and strip him of the chairmanship tomorrow:

FOX Has learned that Rep. John Carter (R-TX) will introduce a special resolution Wednesday that could potentially relieve Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) of his chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Late last week, the House Ethics Committee “admonished” Rangel for taking two trips to the Caribbean that were paid for by corporate sponsors. The ethics panel approved the trips but still disciplined Rangel, saying his staff tried to brief him on who was footing the bill. The Ethics Committee is still reviewing a host of other allegations against Rangel, ranging from his failure to pay taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic to his use of Congressional stationary to raise donations for his school of public service at City College of New York.

As has been the case when similar measures have come to the House floor, most Republicans are expected to vote for the resolution, with most voting Democrats against it. But things are different this time around for the Harlem Democrat. A handful of Democrats have publicly called for Rangel to give up his gavel on the Ways and Means panel.

“If this was only them (the Republicans), he would be fine,” said a senior Democratic aide who asked not to be identified. “This is the other shoe.”

The GOP effort to oust Rangel is called a “privileged” resolution, meaning it goes to the front of the legislative line. It must be considered immediately or within 48 hours.

Politico: “The dam broke today.”

Examiner: Representatives ditching Rangel’s hot dirty money

Well, gee, why are they doing that? Like Nancy says, it’s not like he’s endangering national security or anything…


The Culture of Corruption chickens are coming home to roost.


Update: 3/3 9:05am…Rangel announces he’s taking a “leave of absence”…

Related: NLPC’s Peter Flaherty – Photo Casts More Doubt on Rangel Claims

It’s not over for Rangel by any means. Probes into his many disclosure lapses are still ongoing.

Election ’08 Backgrounder


Financial Crisis | Iraq | Defense | Background & Character | Judges & Courts | Energy



Quick Facts:

  • Democrats created the mortgage crisis by forcing banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.
  • In 2006, McCain sponsored a bill to fix the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Barney Frank and other Democrats successfully opposed it.
  • Obama was one of the highest recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac donations in Congress.

Related Editorials



Quick Facts:

  • When the U.S. was on the verge of losing in Iraq, McCain chose to stand and fight.  Obama chose retreat.
  • Even after the surge succeeded, Obama told ABC’s Terry Moran he would still oppose it if he had the chance to do it all over again.

Related Editorials



Quick Facts:

  • Obama has promised to significantly cut defense spending, including saying “I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
  • John McCain has vowed: “We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies.”

Related Editorials

Obama Video: Watch Now




Quick Facts:

  • Obama voted “present” 135 times as a state senator, and according to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, “gained a reputation for skipping tough votes.”
  • McCain has taken stances unpopular with his own party and/or the public on controversial issues, including immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominations, the Iraq War and more.

Related Editorials




Quick Facts:

  • In a 2001 interview, Obama said he regretted that the Supreme Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
  • In the same interview, Obama criticized the Supreme Court because it “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”
  • Obama has focused on empathy, rather than legal reasoning and restraint, as his basis for appointing judges, saying, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy…to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
  • McCain opposes judicial activism, saying, “my nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power.”

Related Editorials

Obama 2001 Interview: Listen Now



Quick Facts:

  • McCain has proposed building 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and is in favor of drilling in sectors of the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Obama has refused to take a stand, saying only “we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix” and he will “look at” drilling offshore.

Related Editorials

McCain: The Energy Candidate

» McCain On Nukes: Yes We Can
» Breaking The Back Of High Oil


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The Rise of the United Socialist States of America



If you really want to undestand the global financial crisis, watch these videos

If you really want to undestand the global financial crisis, watch
Humor close to the truth
Democrat that gets it

Opposing view: The sky is not falling

Opposing view: The sky is not falling

By John Shadegg


Every Republican who voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act on Monday believes that Congress must address this crisis. They take it seriously and stand ready to vote for reasonable legislation. They were unwilling to give Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson a blank check.

The sky is not falling. The market will return. Secretary Paulson is getting a lesson in civics. The world he has entered is different than the wheeling-and-dealing Goldman Sachs world where he made his fortune.

Members of Congress have a duty to protect the interests of the American people. That is precisely what they did. The vote against the measure was solidly bipartisan.

Paulson’s $700 billion dollar plan was fundamentally flawed. The bill asked for a blank check. It did not specify which assets could be purchased or the procedure by which they would be purchased.

Regrettably, Congressional Democrats inserted extraneous provisions and chose to put groups such as ACORN (a liberal housing advocacy group) and trial lawyers before the American people. After Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., courageously halted the stampede, most negotiation time was spent removing harmful Democrat language, rather than improving Paulson’s proposal.

House Republicans want to protect the American people and our nation’s financial institutions, enabling them to make the loans needed to run America’s economy. It is also critical to calm public anxiety.

To begin, “mark to market,” the accounting rule that requires mortgage-backed securities to be valued at fire-sale prices, must be suspended. For reasons that are incomprehensible, Paulson and congressional Democrats refused to include such a provision. It’s a systemic reform Congress must insist upon to reduce taxpayer exposure and prevent this crisis from reoccurring. Further, an update to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., increasing its $100,000 limit, would relieve the concern of millions of Americans for their life savings. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would oppose such a change.

Many House conservatives do not like the structure of Paulson’s proposal to have the government purchase troubled assets. But there is nothing inherent in this plan that’s inconsistent with the two reforms outlined above.

Americans need to understand that the Senate was not scheduled to vote on this bill until Wednesday evening, as a result of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah today. We have ample time to reach an acceptable compromise if all parties act in good faith. The Democratic House majority can move to reconsider its bill if Speaker Nancy Pelosi will allow an amendment to improve it by making changes, including those I have outlined.

This problem can be solved in the very near future, and the market will come back.

Rep. John Shadegg, R-Arizona, first elected in 1994, has held a number of Republican leadership positions in the House.

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

By William D. Zeranski

While the Democrats continue in their mad dash to obscure the history of and the responsibility for the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation still tiptoes on the edge of an energy disaster.  

The avaricious desire of Democrats to quickly grab control of a huge chunk of taxpayers’ money has pushed energy concerns to the back burner.  So, it seems that the growing energy crisis is another Democrat disaster waiting in the wings as people like Nancy Pelosi and the rest of her dysfunctional cadre showboat on a Titanic of their own making. 


Oh, and winter’s coming and it gets pretty cold in some places.


We, as a nation, can’t forget the incompetence with which the Democrat Congress has handled and mishandled the energy needs of the nation.  High-gas prices continue to plague the economy and endanger the security of the country. 


Well, about a month ago, I expressed my concerns about gas prices and national security to my representative . . . , my Democrat representative.  (Do I hear laughter?)  Oh, I didn’t send an email either, but a paper, an envelope and a stamp.  I was tempted to breakout the manual typewriter, a nice metaphor, but my spelling is horrendous.  So, I word processed instead.  The letter was two pages long so I’ve decided to provide excerpts only:


The Office of Democrat Representative Dunsel* 
Big Government Street
Land of the Political Aristocracy, DC
Dear Representative Dunsel:
Just before you went on vacation, I heard a radio commercial promoting you which was paid for by the Sierra Club.  You’re for alterative fuels such as ethanol?  You’re part of the crowd which instigated a world food crisis?  Some might consider that irresponsible? 
As I write this, you are a member of a Democrat Congress with the worst approval rating in American history.  It’s worse than George Bush’s.  The only way you can possibly win this November is by supporting the people, not by promoting a losing strategy, i.e. no drilling, which will ultimately harm this country.  Your opponent only has to point out this single fact.  […]
Democrats run both houses and no rational voter will accept finger pointing in the direction of the Republicans.  The Made in America Act won’t cut it.  The Democrat Party isn’t known for business tax breaks.  Again, Bush’s approval rates are higher than yours as you are a member of the Congress.  Now, you’re on vacation again, while other Pennsylvanians are at work.
What do you know about Big Oils’ profits?  The government is still getting its tax dollars — the government being you.  Big Oil produces the fuel which makes this nation and its citizens successful.  Like many Americans, I have a retirement plan which has stock in ‘Big Oil.’  I make money for my twilight years from ‘Big Oil.’ 
Until you show me what you really know something about ‘Big Oil’ I don’t want another ignorant commercial showing up on the airwaves.  […]
You have my e-mail and my phone number, do contact me.


What expectations do we have when writing to elected officials?  Deep down, we know the response is like a stock character in a B movie like Copper Chicks Come in Zombie Town or Hell Comes to Frog Town.  We expect a letter stating a position, what the official supported or didn’t support, and how the opposition is very bad.  In short, Republican bad.  Democrat good.  Even if the Democrat is flat-out wrong. 


Many of us know and understand that the response, which may or may to be timely, can be underwhelming.  You know, those three to four pages responses which are almost too tedious to even considering reading.  Still, like the priest in the Exorcist facing down a diabolical force, I was compelled to read the response anyway.  And would you take a look at this:


Drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will not lower the price of gas.
According to the nonpartisan and independent Energy Information Administration, there is only a 50% chance of finding a sufficient amount of oil to lower the price by $0.75 per barrel in 2025 – a decrease of less than two cents per gallon.  Even if the production of oil achieved its maximum estimate of 16 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil (a probability of only five percent) the decrease in price per barrel would only be $1.44.  This would lower the price per gallon by approximately 3.5 cents.  In addition, oil found in the Arctic region would not enter the supply market until 2018, based on the EIA’s 8 – 12 year timeline.  The EIA has prepared a conservative timeline, plotting out the process of leasing the drilling exploratory wells, developing a production plan and constructing feeder pipelines. 


Looks pretty bad, don’t you think?  But if you read the actual EIA report, there’s a interesting paragraph in the summary:


Additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR improves the U.S. balance of trade. Cumulative expenditures on foreign crude oil and liquid fuels between 2018 and 2030 are reduced by $202 billion dollars (2006 dollars) in the mean oil resource case and reduced by $135 and $327 billion dollars in the low and high oil resource cases, respectively.


And that quote is from the May 2008 report.  Looks pretty good.  Go figure.  Oh, and the real-kicker is here, from page 9: 


The opening of ANWR to oil and gas development includes the following impacts:
    • reducing world oil prices,
    • reducing the U.S. dependence on imported foreign oil,
    • improving the U.S. balance of trade,
    • extending the life of TAPS for oil, and
    • increasing U.S. jobs.


Sometimes you have to seek and find what your representative and his staff don’t know, won’t tell, or will blatantly mislead you about.   I won’t say lie . . .


To Representative Dunsel:


[…], your letter is simply wrong.
Please, have your staff do some fact checking.  Here, go to this site, at this link: or right to the EIA as I wrote above.
Not only can ANWAR provide petroleum, the location can also provide Natural Gas.  By the way, petroleum and natural gas are both fossil fuels.  I note this because Nancy Pelosi apparently doesn’t, and I want to make sure you, as my representative, is as knowledgeable as I am. 


I sent my response off to Dunsel a week or so after I received his.  I haven’t received a response yet.  I’m not sure I will.  Presently, as an elected official, there’s a chance he won’t be around next year.  But then again, he might, and the coming energy catastrophe facing this nation is only one of a growing number of crises our Democrat Congress has decided to over look, wait on, and go on vacation during. 


The Democrat Congress already dictates where oil is drilled for.  When the energy crisis hits its peak, will the Democrats then dictate that oil production needs to be nationalized as well?  I won’t lay any bets, but I will say, “Let’s remember who got us into this mess.”


*”Dunsel … is a term used by midshipmen at Starfleet Academy. It refers to a part which serves no useful purpose.” (Mr Spock, in Star Trek, Episode 53: “The Ultimate Computer”)

When Watchdogs Snore: How ABC, CBS & NBC Ignored Fannie & Freddie


When Watchdogs Snore: How ABC, CBS &
NBC Ignored Fannie & Freddie

     The two mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae — seized by the government September 7 before they went completely bankrupt, at a potential cost to taxpayers of more than $25 billion — have been in obvious trouble for much of the past five years — with criminal investigations, accounting scandals, firings, resignations, huge losses and warnings from the Federal Reserve that their huge portfolio of mortgage securities posed a risk to the overall financial system.

     But prior to this year, the watchdogs at ABC, CBS and NBC found time for only 10 stories on the financial health and management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A review of the three networks’ morning and evening news programs from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2007 found nine anchor-read items or brief references to the companies troubles, plus one in-depth report by CBS’s Anthony Mason on the May 23, 2006 Evening News, after Fannie Mae was fined $400 million for accounting fraud.

     [This item, by the MRC’s Rich Noyes, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC’s blog, ]

     It’s not that the networks eschew business news. A 2005 report from the MRC’s Business and Media Institute found heavy coverage of the scandal surrounding Enron, but no interest in the growing scandal surrounding Fannie Mae: “A LexisNexis search of ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN on the term ‘Enron’ from the nine months around when the story first broke — Oct. 1, 2001, to July 1, 2002, produced 3,017 hits….A similar LexisNexis search was performed for the term ‘Fannie Mae’ for those same media, from June 1, 2004, to March 1, 2005, again during the time the story was breaking. This search discovered a paltry 37 matches.” See:

     But the networks should (presumably) be more interested in monitoring these mortgage behemoths, since they’re not normal private companies but rather Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) chartered by Congress to promote the specific cause of promoting home ownership. This special status, along with the presumption that taxpayers would bail out the firms if they got into trouble, amounts to an implicit federal subsidy that the Federal Reserve in 2003 calculated was worth between $119 and $164 billion a year.

     Writing in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Charles Calomiris and Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute explained how these two GSEs — plus members of Congress who refused to hold them accountable — are “largely to blame for our current mess.” An excerpt:

Many monumental errors and misjudgments contributed to the acute financial turmoil in which we now find ourselves. Nevertheless, the vast accumulation of toxic mortgage debt that poisoned the global financial system was driven by the aggressive buying of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The poor choices of these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) — and their sponsors in Washington — are largely to blame for our current mess.

How did we get here? Let’s review: In order to curry congressional support after their accounting scandals in 2003 and 2004, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac committed to increased financing of “affordable housing.” They became the largest buyers of subprime and Alt-A mortgages between 2004 and 2007, with total GSE exposure eventually exceeding $1 trillion. In doing so, they stimulated the growth of the subpar mortgage market and substantially magnified the costs of its collapse….

In 2005, the Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted a strong reform bill, introduced by Republican Sens. Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu and Chuck Hagel, and supported by then chairman Richard Shelby. The bill prohibited the GSEs from holding portfolios, and gave their regulator prudential authority (such as setting capital requirements) roughly equivalent to a bank regulator. In light of the current financial crisis, this bill was probably the most important piece of financial regulation before Congress in 2005 and 2006. All the Republicans on the Committee supported the bill, and all the Democrats voted against it. Mr. McCain endorsed the legislation in a speech on the Senate floor. Mr. Obama, like all other Democrats, remained silent.

Now the Democrats are blaming the financial crisis on “deregulation.” This is a canard. There has indeed been deregulation in our economy — in long-distance telephone rates, airline fares, securities brokerage and trucking, to name just a few — and this has produced much innovation and lower consumer prices….

If the Democrats had let the 2005 legislation come to a vote, the huge growth in the subprime and Alt-A loan portfolios of Fannie and Freddie could not have occurred, and the scale of the financial meltdown would have been substantially less. The same politicians who today decry the lack of intervention to stop excess risk taking in 2005-2006 were the ones who blocked the only legislative effort that could have stopped it.


Charlie Rangel Doesn’t Get Real Men

Charlie Rangel Doesn’t Get Real Men
By Julia Gorin | January 11, 2007

When Charlie Rangel closed out the year by seconding John Kerry’s sentiment that men end up in the military by default rather than choice, he exposed something that many have long suspected not only about Rangel and Kerry, but about the Democratic Party itself: they don’t understand the nature of men.

To review Rangel’s precise words:

If there’s anyone who believes these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No bright young individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment…If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

The first faulty premise is that someone goes into the military based on a “gimme” attitude—that is, they see the military as Democrats do: a social program providing scholarships, career training, jobs and benefits. This means that Rangel is unfamiliar with the battle envy that many a man who has never served feels when in the presence of men who have. Manly men who have not served, such as my husband, often feel humbled, soft and inadequate before men who have seen battle or at least are trained for it and have worn the nation’s uniform. (To compensate, he’s lately been talking about setting up a scholarship fund for children who have lost parents in
Iraq, called the “Wish I Had Served” Foundation.) If the military were just for those who lack opportunity or are looking for “a bonus,” that gnawing, empty spot in the pit of a man’s stomach wouldn’t be there.

But such feelings are for men of character. And Rangel revealed the extent of his own character with what he said next: “Everyone will see what we already know, and that is that those who have the least opportunities in this age find themselves in the military, as I did when I was 18 years old.”


Here Rangel isn’t shy to tell us that the only reason he served is that he had no choice. Nice to know, Chuck. Thanks for sharing.

Again, Rangel’s understanding of the military is symptomatic of his party’s as a whole: They think that others are like them, that the men in the armed forces have as little character as they do and have to be dragged kicking and screaming into fighting for anything that this country stands for. In short, the fighting man is an alien creature with whom they can’t identify, which is why they bring us “men” like John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Charles Rangel, Michael Dukakis, Jesse Jackson and so on. Meanwhile, all the party’s testosterone seems to be locked up by their manly women: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. That’s why this matriarchal political party is known as “the Mommy Party.” (Significantly, a much talked-about children’s book last year was titled Why Mommy is a Democrat.)

This mindset illuminates the mainstream-Left’s popular slogan “Support the Troops: Bring Them Home.” That is to say, “We support the troops—when they’re not fighting.” To a party that stands for nothing of substance, men who do stand for something just don’t compute. It’s little wonder that the same party is obsessed with stem cell research. They need all the stem cells they can get to rebuild their spines.

On the heels of Rangel’s very helpful revelation about his and his party’s character, he offered a further revelation when he responded to The New York Observer’s question, “So now that the Democrats have won control of Congress, what should they do about the war in
Iraq?”: “I never understand that question. You have a President that’s in deep sh–. He got us into the war…and then they ask, ‘What is the Democrats’ solution?'”


As James Taranto wrote in the Wall St. Journal’s Opinion Journal, “[T]he country will be dealing with [the war’s] consequences, for both good and ill, long after the president has retired. Rangel makes no pretense of even thinking about the interests of the country,” and “disclaims all responsibility for addressing the problem.”

Rangel’s second faulty premise is that people who join the military are otherwise unsuccessful. Let’s not mince words even that much. Rangel—like Kerry before him–is calling enlistees ‘losers’, whether because of their own incapacities or because of their circumstances.

And yet, in reading letters from a number of military personnel and families of military personnel, published by Opinion Journal over the holiday week, readers learned that some had earned PhDs prior to joining the armed forces, and others left thriving doctors’ practices. One letter writer mentioned cramming years of engineering study into six months of military training.

Democrats tell me that I am intelligent. It usually goes like this: “You’re Republican?! But you seem intelligent.” So let’s presume they are right and I am intelligent. However, I can’t read a map, much less understand math, science or computers. In short, I am not remotely smart enough to serve in our military. In fact, I’m probably saving American lives just by not serving. And so I have focused my energies into being a good writer—a talent that I’ve alternately tried to parlay into broadcasting, stand-up comedy, commentary, blogging or becoming some kind of reality-show or other on-air personality.

But even in such renaissance ambitions, guess who I find I’m getting competition from these days: military folks. There they are, stringing for networks and newspapers, getting their own radio shows, reality shows, gigs as Fox News or MSNBC contributors and analysts, blogging to a wider audience than I have, and giving me a run for my money on the stand-up stage. Two of my colleagues are Marines. Marines! That means that, during off-time from saving the free world, they’ve gotten as far as I have in stand-up comedy and in fact are better networkers than I am.

Add PhDs and MDs—pursuits I never even considered in my singular focus on becoming a prominent figure of some sort, something they’re effortlessly becoming as an afterthought. And when I couldn’t make ends meet even in my well-defined intellectual pursuits, I got married.

Today, with my parents’ help, my husband and I have moved into a somewhat swanky neighborhood—only to find that the Marines in the two houses across the street have bigger yards, as well as balconies and pools.

No, these people aren’t losers, Chuck; they make us look like losers. Especially those of us who go into that social program for formally educated private-sector-skipping folks: politics–where they chatter mindlessly, too dumb to realize what their own words reveal.