LESSONS LEARNED #49: “The ‘tolerant’ are intolerant.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 20th, 2011

Agitate and Instigate – Getting the People to Help the Well-to-Do

There are tolerant people out there.  Independents.  Moderates.  Lots of Democrats.  And, yes, even conservatives.  Even though there are those who demonize conservatives.  And say that they aren’t.  By people who claim to be.  Who are, in fact, not.  Liberals.  That 20% sliver of the population.  Those who benefit greatly from a liberal agenda.  And agenda that greatly burdens the other 80%.  Through higher taxes.  And greater regulation.  Which adds costs to business.  Which results in higher prices.  Fewer jobs.  A poorer population that can’t buy as much stuff.  And a depressed economy.

This 20% lives a privileged life.  College professors, public sector employees, union public school teachers, the mainstream media, liberal politicians (both Republican and Democrat), etc.  People who make a lot of money.  But don’t work a real job.  Like the other 80% of the population.

To live a privileged life requires the other 80% to voluntarily pay for it.  And that’s not easy.  These people can make as much as three times what those in the private sector make.  So they can’t expect much pity.  Because people just don’t pity you if you’re struggling to make two house payments and a boat payment.  Especially when they’re staring foreclosure in the face on their one and only home.  So they need to get our support some other way.  So they agitate.  Instigate.  They like to stir up trouble.  Demonize their opponents.  So no one focuses on just how well they live and how little they work.

Feigning Tolerance to Attract the Single Issue Voters

So they agitate and instigate to get some of that 80% to support them.  They look at single issues that are dear to some people.  Abortion.  Immigration.  Drugs.  Cigarettes.  Birth control.  Fast food.  Sugary beverages.  Health care.  Secularism.  Etc.  Anything they can politicize.  Anything they can use as a wedge to move people from supporting the 80% and to supporting the 20%.

Scare tactics.  Demonization of individuals.  Political correctness.  These are some of their tools.  Things that can help stir up trouble.  Agitate people.  And make them do something that they normally wouldn’t do.  Support their far left agenda.  Because they attach these single issues to their agenda.  These single-issue people may not agree with the far left liberal agenda, but their single issue trumps all.  Much like Congress does when attaching pork to a bill.  They’ll attach bazillions of dollars of outrageous earmarks to a bill entitled ‘it’s time to stop abusing children’.  It’s effective.  Vote for the bill (and the irresponsible spending attached to it).  Or be on the public record for being in favor of abusing children.  Not much of a choice, really.  Especially if you ever plan to run for reelection.

Tolerance.  That’s an especially useful tool.  For painting themselves as enlightened and opened minded.  While painting their opponents as mean, cold, unfeeling and close minded.  And it’s rather ironic.  For their opponents are often far more tolerant than the tolerant, liberal left.

The Dangers of Smoke is Relative.  The Cigarette kind is Bad.  But the Marijuana kind, Surprisingly, Isn’t

Pity the poor cigarette smoker.  He or she can’t get a break anywhere.  They’ve made it criminal to smoke pretty much anywhere but in your own home.  And they’re looking at that, too.  Especially if you have kids.  Pity, too.  Some of my fondest memories are as a child when my aunts and uncles came over to visit.  They smoked and played gin rummy.  While we played.  My cousins.  My brother.  And me.  I’m not a smoker.  But to this day when I get a whiff of cigarette smoke I get this warm feeling of nostalgia wash over me.  But those days are gone.  First they’ll band smoking in your home.  Then gin rummy.  And then probably having aunts and uncles over that could unfavorably influence your kids. 

Cigarette smoke is bad for you.  Second hand smoke is bad for those around you. So they are very intolerant of anyone smoking those foul, detestable cigarettes.  But if you want to spark up a fatty, they’re okay with that.  In fact, they want to decriminalize marijuana.  They’ve already started with ‘medical’ marijuana.  Now there is a thriving market for illegal medical prescriptions for medical marijuana.  And, you know what?  That’s silly.  They’re going to smoke it anyway.  So let’s just decriminalize it completely.  And open cannabis coffee shops like they have in the Netherlands.  Because there ain’t nothing wrong with a little unfiltered marijuana smoke.  Unlike that nasty, foul, vile cigarette smoke.  And if you have a problem with marijuana, why, you’re just intolerant.

What’s a worse Lifestyle Choice than Heroin Addiction?  Eating a McDonald’s Happy Meal

San Francisco is a big gay city.  And by that I mean gay-friendly.  They have a lot of gays and lesbians living there.  And a lot of intravenous drug users.  Therefore, they have a big AIDS problem.  To try and prevent the spread of AIDS they’ve been providing clean syringes to help heroin addicts support their heroin addictions.  They brand anyone opposing this policy as intolerant of the gay community.  The addict community.  Or of drug users and sexually active people in general.

Meanwhile, the city of San Francisco has banned McDonald’s from including toys in their Happy Meals.  Because it encourages children to live an unhealthy lifestyle.  So they’re intolerant of parents letting their kids enjoy an occasional Happy Meal.  While they are tolerant of subsidizing an addict’s addiction.  Even though everyone eating a Happy Meal has not gone on to be obese and suffer from poor health.  While most heroin addicts eventually kill themselves from the drugs they abuse.

Gay Marriage is Beautiful.  While Traditional Marriage is Legalized Rape

And speaking of gays in San Francisco, let’s talk about marriage.  The Left says that we should allow gays to marry each other.  That we are denying them the highest form of happiness known to a loving couple.  Wedded bliss.  And anyone opposing this is just intolerant of the gay community.

 Meanwhile, who was it all these years saying that marriage was nothing more than slavery?  An archaic ceremony that made strong, independent women mere chattel.  Slaves in the kitchen.  Whores in the bedroom.  And legalized rape.  Who was this?  Why, the Left.  The feminists.  They hated the institution of marriage.  Because it relegated women into second class citizenry.  Anyone fighting for such an archaic institution was just intolerant of strong women.  Because marriage is bad.  Unless the people getting married are gay.

You can’t tell a Woman what she can do with her Womb.  But you can Police her Eating and Smoking Habits.

The abortion argument is about empowering women.  Liberals say that without the right to choose women are condemned to second class citizenry as housewives and mothers.  Because they would have no choice.  If they enjoy a little slap and tickle and get pregnant, a woman can’t go on in her life afterward like a man can.  And that ain’t fair.  And anyone who is intolerant of abortion on demand is just being intolerant of feminism.  And wants to confine women to being a slave in the kitchen.  And a whore in the bedroom.  Taking care of a bunch of rotten, screaming kids.  While that bastard of a father goes out and builds a glorious career.

Liberals say a woman is responsible for her womb.  That we should all stay out of it.  It’s her decision.  Her personal property.  Her rules.  No one should have any say whatsoever with what she does with that part of her body.  But every other part of her body is apparently open to regulation.  Telling her that she shouldn’t smoke, eat fast food or drink a sugary drink, why, that’s okay.  They have every right, nay, responsibility, to police her body in those respects.  But not her womb.  There, she has choice. 

Temporary Nativity Scenes on Public Property are Intolerable.  But Permanent Religious Displays on ‘Conquered’ Territory are Okay.

The secular left is very intolerant of any nativity displays on public property for a few weeks around Christmas.  They scream about the separation of church and state.  They argue that if we allow these nativity displays we’re just a step away from antidisestablishmentarianism.

These same people though called anyone who opposed the Muslim community center near Ground Zero intolerant.  Now even though all Muslims aren’t terrorists, the terrorists who crashed into the Twin Towers were Muslim.  And, interestingly, throughout history Muslims have built mosques on conquered territory.  So the terrorists (who happened to be Muslim) would have seen that community center (that included a mosque) near Ground Zero as a symbol of the territory that they, the bad guys, not Muslims in general, conquered.  And this was just the height of insensitivity to those who lost loved ones on 9/11.  But as far as the liberal left is concerned, these people are just being intolerant.  Because that community center that will be there all year long for years and years to come is no big deal.  But the appearance of nativity scenes for a scant few weeks around Christmas, well, that’s just plain offensive.  In intolerable.

We Should Tolerate Attacks on Christianity.  But not Attacks on Islam.

And speaking of religion, remember all that hoopla about those cartoons in the Danish press?  Of the Islamic prophet?  Well, this ignited a firestorm.  That reached all the way to South Park.  In Cartoon Wars Part II the show featured an appearance of the prophet.  But when the episode aired, Comedy Central blacked out the image.  Because they said it would be offensive to Muslims.  The Left applauded this.  For anyone who dared to do such an insensitive thing were obviously Christians showing their intolerance of Islam.

Meanwhile, placing a crucifix in a jar of piss is art.  Making a movie about Christ having a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene is art.  Openly deriding Christians derogatively as ‘God-clingers’ is just free speech.  And perfectly acceptable.  No matter how many Christians are offended.  To the offended the Left simply says, “Get over it.  You intolerant God-clingers.”

Never Let a Crisis go to Waste.  Or an Opportunity.

You get the picture.  America is basically a center-right country.  A nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian values.  And these values still guide many people today.  This is the 80%.  So the 20% attacks these values.  To agitate.  To instigate.  To foment.  They attack Christianity and tell gays that conservatives want to get rid of them.  Meanwhile the religion they say we must be tolerant of openly persecutes gays.  They don’t preach to them that they are morally wrong.  But literally persecute them.  Kill them.  The Left supports this religion and their mosque near Ground Zero.  In New York City.  Where there is a large gay population.  And yet no one sees this disconnect.

Because everything for this 20% is an opportunity.  And when you’re opportunistic (never let a crisis go to waste), you don’t let a thing like philosophical consistency weigh you down.  Look at every issue they stand on and you will probably find a paradox.  Cigarette smoke is bad for you but marijuana smoke is fine.  We shouldn’t eat fast food or drink sugary drinks because they are unhealthy.  But let’s give clean syringes to help our heroin addicts feed their addictions.  Marriage is bad and oppresses.  But gay marriage is a beautiful thing.  Women can choose to have an abortion.  But they can’t choose to have a Big Mac Combo meal and a cigarette.  Christianity can be mocked because it’s ‘not nice’ to gays and women.  But we must respect Islam that persecutes gays and treats women as chattel. 

Here a paradox.  There a paradox.  Everywhere a paradox.  Why, you can say liberalism itself is a paradox.  Because it is both tolerant and intolerant.  Often on the same issue.  It all depends on which way the political wind is blowing at the time.  You see, that’s what happens when you trade philosophy for political expediency.  When you don’t govern but exploit opportunity.  When you see an opportunity to extort money (sue Big Tobacco).  Or just to screw with Big Business (like McDonalds) to show those corporate sons of bitches who really has power.  Or to just stir up the pot, getting people riled up against their Judeo-Christian tradition (gay marriage, abortion, feminism, etc.).  Not to advance a particular philosophy.  But an agenda.  That has but one goal.  To perpetuate their privileged class.

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The Anatomy of a Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 17th, 2010

Old Time Politics – Buying Votes

There’s a lot of lying going on about the subprime mortgage crisis.  How it happened.  Who was responsible for it.  Was it the banks and their predatory lending?  That’s who Barney Frank blames.  Well, them and Republicans.  Or was it some more of that irrational exuberance that led to a real estate bubble?  It created a dot-com bubble in the 1990s.  Which in turn caused a recession.  Was it just a little history repeating itself?  Perhaps they both played a part.  But if they did, they were minor supporting roles.  They weren’t the star of the crisis.  For neither could have done anything had it not been for their enabler.

The Boston Globe’s Donovan Slack writes about one of the enablers backpedaling on his previous rosy statements about the two companies at ground zero of the crisis (see Stance on Fannie and Freddie dogs Frank on boston.com).  Fannie Mae.  And Freddie Mac.  Frank is running for reelection.  And his words are coming back to haunt him.

America is a center-right nation.  To counter that, the Left courts a coalition of special interests and single-issue voters.  Federal workers, teachers, unions, gays & lesbians, pro-choice feminists, environmentalists, socialists, minorities, etc.  Each taken by themselves is a very small percentage of the voting population.  But taken together it’s a sizeable percentage.  Then add in one more very important Democrat constituency.  The poor.  Now with all of these firmly in the Democrat’s camp, it’s just a matter of getting enough of the moderate and independent vote to win an election.  Of course, this is a moot point if they DON’T lock in the Democrat base.  And they do this by giving away as much free stuff and favorable legislation as possible. 

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning for a House They Can’t Afford

The key to locking in the base is, of course, the poor.  There are a lot of them.  So the Left courts them.  Engages in class warfare.  They paint the Republicans as rich fat-cats who want to take their welfare, social security, food stamps, etc., away from them.  That they want to keep them in slums or throw them onto the street.  In contrast, they, the Democrats, want to provide for them.  To help them.  And they give them a lot of things.  To earn their gratitude.  And their votes at the election booth.  And the grandest of all the things given to them?  Affordable housing.

Poor people don’t have a lot of money.  That’s pretty straight forward but it needs to be said.  Because people who don’t have a lot of money can’t afford to buy a house.  Again, that’s pretty straight forward.  But it needs to be said.  Now, when these people apply for a mortgage and get denied, why do you think they got denied?  Here’s a hint.  Re-read this paragraph.  They get denied because they don’t have a lot of money.  You see, if you don’t have a lot of money, you can’t buy expensive things.  Again, straight forward.  But it needs to be said.  Again.  And often.

Now, what do you think a politician thinks the reason was for these poor people getting their mortgage applications denied?  Red-lining.  Racism.  Classism.  Unfairism.  (Yeah, that isn’t a word.  But it works.)  A large percentage of those denied mortgages are from the inner city poor.  And because of previous white-flight, that inner-city poor also happens to be primarily minority.  Hence the charges of racism.  And that’s just gold to a political party who needs poor minorities to vote for them.

The Siren Song of Affordable Housing

Now Barney Frank is running for reelection.  His Republican challenger is using Frank’s own words in his campaign.   And they’re causing some damage.  For Frank sat on the House’s Financial Services Committee (the oversight committee for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) throughout the time the crisis built.  And now he’s answering some very uncomfortable questions (this and all quotes are from Stance on Fannie and Freddie dogs Frank).

Frank, in his most detailed explanation to date about his actions, said in an interview he missed the warning signs because he was wearing ideological blinders. He said he had worried that Republican lawmakers and the Bush administration were going after Fannie and Freddie for their own ideological reasons and would curtail the lenders’ mission of providing affordable housing.

Ideology trumped responsibility.  The Left cries foul when the Right doesn’t reach across the aisle, but the Left never reaches out when they have power.  It’s us against them.  Pure partisanship.  Even when there’s great danger brewing.  It’s their interests first.  Then the country’s.  So he protected Freddie and Fannie.  And enabled them to cause greater harm.

Freddie and Fannie are in the secondary mortgage market.  They don’t write mortgages.  They guarantee them (so banks are more willing to take risks with less credit-worthy people).  And they buy these risky mortgages from the banks.  This further reduces a bank’s risk in approving very risky loans to people who are not credit-worthy.  Which is what the Democrats want.  More affordable housing for people who can’t afford to buy houses.  Frank’s committee sets the rules Freddie and Fannie must follow to keep them from approving mortgages that are crazy-stupid.  But that’s exactly what they encouraged.  Subprime loans.  Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs).  Interest only mortgages.  No documentation approvals.  Any bank that didn’t have enough of these mortgages on their books (i.e., risky loans to poor people who couldn’t afford to buy houses) was in trouble.  The federal government would investigate them for red-lining, racism, classism, etc.

The more mortgages Freddie and Fannie bought, the more cash banks had to make more risky loans.  They then dumped these risky loans onto Wall Street.  You see, before the day of subprime loans, ARMs, interest only mortgages and no documentation approvals, mortgages were very safe loans.  But these subprime loans weren’t.  But they looked safe when Wall Street sold them.  I mean, buyers didn’t see the mortgage applications.  They had no idea what a credit risk these people were.  They just knew mortgages were traditionally safe investments.  So they just bought them.  And Freddie and Fannie made it all possible.

Known as government-sponsored enterprises, they didn’t provide mortgages themselves, but rather bought loans from banks and mortgage brokers, freeing up cash so the lenders could make more loans. Fannie and Freddie held or bundled the loans and sold them to investors as mortgage-backed securities.

Investors bought these very ‘profitable’ securities.  This demand just fueled the crisis in waiting.  Because Freddie and Fannie could dump these on Wall Street, they wrote more and more risky loans.  This made everyone happy.  Everyone was making money.  And more people who couldn’t afford to buy houses were buying houses.  And this was, after all, Freddie and Fannie’s mission.  Affordable housing.

In an effort to increase homeownership, the Clinton administration in the late 1990s and the Bush administration in the 2000s pushed Fannie and Freddie to meet growing quotas for buying affordable home loans. Those pushes, combined with a drive for more profits at the enterprises, drove Fannie and Freddie to take on more risk and more debt. They backed subprime and other risky loans, including mortgages for borrowers without proof of steady income.

Even the Republicans got on the band wagon.  New homes sales drive the economy (because of the stuff people have to buy to put into those houses that they can’t afford).  And you make points with the poor and the minorities.  There was just no down side in affordable housing.  Or was there?

But the director of the federal office responsible for overseeing Fannie and Freddie, Armando Falcon, began noticing their expanding portfolios and increasing reliance on risky investments. In early 2003, Falcon warned Congress in a 118-page report of the companies’ potential for a catastrophic failure that could jeopardize the economy.

Okay.  Five years before the crash someone was taking notice.  And he warned Congress.  Thank god someone was looking out for America’s best interests.

But Frank and other Democrats still opposed tighter regulation, Frank most notably in his public statements saying there was nothing wrong with Fannie and Freddie. He and other House Democrats also sent a letter to President George W. Bush in June 2004, saying the proposed crackdown could “weaken affordable housing performance . . . by emphasizing only safety and soundness.’’

Frank and the Democrats were saying that it was more important to put people who couldn’t afford houses into houses than it was to provide oversight.

So he initially supported a Republican measure in 2005 that would have imposed stricter standards on the lenders. But he voted against it in the full chamber because it did not include funding for affordable housing, he said. The bill passed the House.

Frank came around.  He supported a Republican measure to provide stricter oversight.  But he changed his mind.  Once again, affordable housing was more important than the oversight he was supposed to provide.  Then, in the summer of 2008, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warned Frank again.  Now Frank chaired the House’s Financial Services Committee.  Now, more than ever, it was his responsibility to reign in Freddie and Fannie.  To provide the oversight that was his committee’s responsibility.  But he still didn’t.  Like Nero, he fiddled as the crisis burned out of control.

In July 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson called Frank and told him the government would need to spend “billions of taxpayer dollars to backstop the institutions from catastrophic failure,’’ according to Paulson’s recent book. Frank, despite that conversation, appeared on national television two days later and said the companies were “fundamentally sound, not in danger of going under.’’

A few months later, Freddie and Fannie would cause the worst recession since the Great Depression.  On Frank’s watch.  And he kept denying that there was any problem until the very end.

Lots of Blame to Go Around – On the Left Side of the Aisle

Barney Frank is not the sole cause of the subprime mortgage crisis.  He was just one of the leading players.  Ultimately, it was an ideology.  Affordable housing.  Putting people into houses who couldn’t afford to buy houses.  This is what caused the worst recession since the Great Depression.  And, yes, the Bush administration did partake in the affordable housing mania.  But if you want to assign real responsibility, ask yourself this question.  Which party do you think of when it comes to affordable housing for the poor and minorities?

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