Monday, August 09, 2010
Five Myths About the GOP That Just Won’t Die
Many Americans today are unhappy with the Democratic Party. Yet according to a Gallup poll conducted in July 2010, Democrats were still ahead of Republicans, 49% to 43%, in voters’ generic ballot preferences for the 2010 congressional elections.
Why? A big part of the reason is voter dissatisfaction with the Republican Party. And a major reason for that dissatisfaction is that over the years voters have been fed numerous lies by Democrats and the mainstream media to discredit the GOP. Here are five of those lies:
1. The Bush administration lied about the intelligence leading up to the Iraq War.
Two bipartisan investigations demanded by Democrats refute this myth. In 2004, the Robb-Silberman Report, along with a separate Senate Intelligence Committee report, both concluded that there was no evidence that administration officials manipulated intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq.
2. Republicans caused the mortgage crisis.
In reality it was the Democrats who caused the mortgage crisis and stifled Republican efforts to prevent it.
First, Bill Clinton broadened the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), bypassing the Republican-led Congress and ordering the Treasury Department to rewrite the CRA rules to force banks to fulfill loan “quotas” in low income neighborhoods.
Eventually, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were required by HUD to show that 55% of their mortgage purchases were to low and moderate income borrowers, and lending standards were lowered to meet those goals.
Intense competition caused by Fannie and Freddie’s increasing appetite for loans caused investment and commercial banks to compete for borrowers, and the looser lending standards eventually spread to higher-income and prime borrowers as well.
Then came Clinton’s most disastrous decision: he legalized the securitization of subprime mortgages that allowed the market to soar from $35 billion in risky loans in 1994 to $1 trillion by 2008, thus poisoning the entire mortgage industry.
Republicans tried to rein in Fannie and Freddie’s purchases of subprime mortgages. In both 2003 and 2005, they introduced legislation that would have required Fannie and Freddie to eliminate their investments in them. Both times their attempts were opposed by the Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee, so the bills never made it to Senate floor.
3. Eight years of Republican deregulation caused the financial crisis.
Some myths die harder than others. This is certainly one of them. Financial services were not deregulated during the Bush administration.
The repeal of the Depression-era Glass–Steagall Act in 1999, allowing banks and securities firms to be affiliated under the same roof, was supported by the Clinton administration and signed into law by the president.
Moreover, that was not the cause of the financial crisis. The crisis was caused by banks and investment firms purchasing vast numbers of bad mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.
What contributed to such a high volume of purchases? In 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Democrat Annette Nazareth, who ran the market regulation division at the time, unanimously adopted a rule change known as Basel II. Adopted by all of the world’s central bankers, Basel II was an attempt to provide greater regulation of investment firms by more accurately evaluating the types of assets they held.
Unfortunately, AAA-rated mortgages were incorrectly considered to be some of the safest assets an institution could own. As a result, Basel II allowed investment banks to leverage their assets of mortgage-backed securities at a ratio as high as 30 to 1. Thus, although Basel II wasn’t the cause of the financial crisis, it certainly contributed to the size of it.
4. Republicans are the “party of Wall Street, big business and special interest groups.”
In the 2008 national election cycle, more campaign donations from the largest banks and Wall Street firms went to Democrats, not Republicans.
Ninety of the top one hundred corporate donors leaned Democratic, and nearly 75 percent of all hedge fund donations in that same period went to presidential candidate Obama.
Furthermore it is the Democratic Party which has deep-rooted unholy alliances with special-interest groups—labor unions, teachers unions, trial lawyers, environmental groups, community organizations such as ACORN and welfare beneficiaries—that often places the interests of those groups ahead of what’s best for the country. Their alliance with trial lawyers, for example, is why tort reform, an effective way to lower health care costs, was not included in the health care bill.
5. Democrats have always stood up for black Americans—and Republicans are either uncaring at best, or overt racists at worst.
Many Americans would be surprised to know that Martin Luther King, Jr. embraced conservative ideals. Yet King’s choice of political affinity made perfect sense: it was Republicans, not Democrats, who consistently fought for freedom and civil rights for blacks since their founding in 1854—as the anti-slavery party.
In fact, the Democrats tried to filibuster and stop the 1964 Civil Rights Act from passing.
Republicans also established the NAACP and founded and financed all the earliest black schools and colleges.
The fact that most Americans still believe these five myths is a stark reminder that voters can be manipulated by a mainstream media and a Democratic Party who believe “a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.”
Obama's zealous civil rights enforcer gets busy
"I love this job," said Thomas Perez, the hard-charging head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, in a speech last December to the liberal legal group American Constitution Society. "We have a very broad, a very ambitious vision. It's a very exciting vision, and I wake up every morning with a hop in my step."
There's no doubt Tom Perez is hopping a lot these days. Of all the transformations that have taken place in the Obama administration, perhaps none is so radical as that within the Civil Rights Division. Under Perez, it is bigger, richer and more aggressive than ever, with a far more expansive view of its authority than at any time in recent history.
Perez is playing a leading role in the Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona's new immigration law. He is promising a huge increase in prosecution of alleged hate crimes. He vows to use "disparate impact theory" to pursue discrimination cases where there is no intent to discriminate but a difference in results, such as in test scores or mortgage lending, that Perez wants to change. He is even considering a crackdown on Web sites on the theory that the Internet is a "public accommodation" as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
To do all this, Perez has come up with some novel ideas. For example, in a recent lending discrimination case, he forced the defendant -- who settled the case without admitting any wrongdoing -- to pay not only the alleged victims but to funnel $1 million to unrelated "qualified organizations" to conduct social programs.
Perez is pushing just as hard on smaller issues. In a little-noticed move last year, he threatened several universities because they took part in an experimental program to allow students to use the Amazon Kindle for textbooks. At the time, the Kindle was not fully accessible to blind students, and under pressure from Perez the schools agreed not to offer the e-reader to any students until it was fully accessible to all.
Perez is pursuing his goals with a lot of muscle, powered by a major appropriations increase in President Obama's 2010 budget. "I am going to be calling each and every one of you to recruit you, because we've got 102 new positions in our budget," Perez told the liberal lawyers last year. "One hundred and two people, when added to a base of 715 people. ... that's a real opportunity to make a difference."
Heading the Civil Rights Division is the opportunity of a lifetime for Perez. A former aide to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, he was an activist and later a councilman in Montgomery County, Md., where he made a name for himself pushing in-state tuition and drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants. Now, he's on a much bigger stage.
But his across-the-board activism troubles some who have a more restrained view of the role of federal prosecutors. Perez and his team "view civil rights enforcement from a perspective that they are doing 'justice' in a broad sense unrelated to the laws on the books," says Bob Driscoll, who served in a top position in the Bush Civil Rights Division. "They are advancing the cause of historical victims of discrimination, as well as new classes of people who are disfavored by some in society."
As if to prove Driscoll's point, Perez sometimes speaks emotionally about the vast scope of his responsibility. The job of the Civil Rights Division, he says, is to bring light to Americans "living in the shadows." There are "our Muslim-American brothers and sisters subject to post-9/11 backlash" and "communities of color disproportionately affected by the subprime meltdown," and "LGBT brothers and sisters ... forced to confront discrimination" and "all too many children lacking quality education." And many, many more.
That's a very big portfolio, especially when not all the problems in the world can be solved by a federal lawsuit. To Driscoll, the new Civil Rights Division is acting "more like a government-funded version of an advocacy group such as the ACLU or the NAACP Legal Defense Fund than like government lawyers who apply the facts to the law." At some point in the future, Perez's critics believe, Congress and the courts will rein in the division for overreaching and bringing unwarranted cases, as happened during the Clinton years.
But that will come later, especially if Republicans win the House or Senate and can subject Perez and the Justice Department to serious oversight. For now, Thomas Perez is just getting started.
Obama's America has lost its optimism: "The country I was born into was a country that had existed steadily, for almost two centuries, as a nation in which everyone thought—wherever they were from, whatever their circumstances—that their children would have better lives than they did. That was what kept people pulling their boots on in the morning after the first weary pause: My kids will have it better. They'll be richer or more educated, they'll have a better job or a better house, they'll take a step up in terms of rank, class or status. Parents now fear something has stopped. They think they lived through the great abundance, a time of historic growth in wealth and material enjoyment. But they look around, follow the political stories and debates, and deep down they think their children will live in a more limited country"
Quenching America's Can-Do Spirit: "The recent disappointing gross domestic product numbers showing an abnormally sluggish recovery cause me to ask: Where is the "can do" America in which I grew up and where we got back on our feet quickly after downturns? Is it being drenched by nanny-state rules that dictate just about everything we can do or buy these days? When did America the Free, which won two world wars, sent a man to the moon and conquered so many serious diseases, become America the You-Just-Don't-Know-What's-Good-for-You?" I also know and can see every day that the ever-growing size of the nanny state is breaking our confidence and spirit to the point of institutionalizing painfully slow growth and high unemployment."
Mexico: Fox calls for legalizing drugs: "Former President Vicente Fox is joining with those urging his successor to legalize drugs in Mexico, saying that could break the economic power of the country’s brutal drug cartels. Fox’s comments, posted Sunday on his blog, came less than a week after President Felipe Calderon agreed to open the door to discussions about the legalization of drugs, even though he stressed that he remained opposed to the idea.”
Another airline horror story: "Delta Airlines Flight 2355 passenger Cynthia Angel thought she was doing the right thing when she discreetly mentioned to a flight attendant that she thought she smelled alcohol on her soon-to-be pilot’s breath. Little did she know her reward for speaking up would be a one-way ticket off the flight.”
Congress ignores middle-class service sector: "Although Congress seems to be in denial, America is a middle-class service economy. More than 80 percent of Americans earn their living in the service sector, including a broad swath of the middle class gainfully employed in education, health care, finance, and business and professional occupations. It is one of the big lies of the trade debate that manufacturing jobs are being replaced by low-paying service jobs. Since the early 1990s, two-thirds of the net new jobs created have been in service sectors where the average pay is higher than in manufacturing. Members of Congress who belittle the service sector are ignoring the interests of a large majority of their constituents.”
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 10:42 PM