Monday, March 30, 2009

Snarlin' Arlen --Not the Worst but Damn Close

Senator Arlen Specter is in his 5th 6-year term and, at age 79 he is planning to seek another six years at the federal trough. With the generous retirement plan that congress has taken for itself, he doesn’t need the money –he obviously enjoys the power and perks of the job. He may even think that he is indispensable to the Republic. But as our poster boy for term limits we look at a record that testifies to the opposite conclusion: for the good of the Republic he should have been retired from congress over 20 years ago.

As with most of our poster children, he has never held a real job in the private sector. He did spend two years in the Air Force and a couple of terms as district attorney in Philadelphia. Even the worst of the poster children have voted along constitutional lines on some issues. Notably, Specter has been pro-Second Amendment most of the time. The National Rifle Association was instrumental in Specter’s 1% victory over Pat Toomey in 2004 even though Toomey was an active member of the Second Amendment Caucus when he was in the House for six years (he term-limited himself) “to ensure that lawful gun owners were defended in congress.” The NRA tends to back incumbents because of their overwhelming advantages over challengers. The same reason, we suppose, that President Bush and Sen. Rick Santorum also backed Specter. Thanks to them we had Specter in position to make it possible for passage of the so-called Stimulus Bill in 2009.

The Wall Street Journal dubbed them, “Obama’s Enablers in Chief,” –Arlen Specter, Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, the only Republican Senators who voted with the Democrats for the lavishly earmarked $835 billion pork bill. It would have failed without their votes. These three are the three most liberal-voting Republicans in the Senate according to the American Conservative Union; the National Taxpayers Union ranks all three as “poor” among both Repubs and Dems in the latest ratings for fiscal responsibility. Nobody knows how far their votes set back prospects for ever achieving fiscal sanity in the US again.

In the long history of Specter in the Senate, this Stimulus bill vote was the low point in that our grandchildren will be paying for and we’ll suffer under the burden of high interest costs, cheapened dollars and an economy like Old Europe’s. There a few other acts of our poster child that should be mentioned but these are only scratching the surface of a way too long career.

An ardent pro-abortion advocate, he voted against the partial birth abortion ban and for embryonic stem cell research funded by FedGov. He voted to give voting rights to D.C. residents in defiance of the Constitution. He voted for gay marriage. He supported numerous bills that reduce individual freedom and give more power to the FedGov: For the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act on behalf of the lawyers lobby; For an expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program further discouraging people to insure themselves and giving FedGov more control over insurance and health care; Against the Central American Free Trade Agreement to protect certain lobbies at the expense of our economy and of the other nations concerned. Just a few of the key votes in recent years.

Teddy Kennedy, the ACLU, pro-abortion groups and Arlen Specter vehemently “borked*” Robert Bork, President Reagan’s highly qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. We got Anthony Kennedy as a result. *To bork" is in the dictionary now –there just wasn’t a word to adequately describe such savage disparagement of a nominee as Specter and Kennedy subjected this good man to.

In 1998-99 Specter thought that Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial wasn’t fair and that he should have received a verdict of “not proven” according to “Scots law.” (I did not make that up.)

Way back, Specter as the ambitious junior counsel to the Warren Commission investigating the Kennedy assassination, was the chief architect of the “single bullet theory.” Implausible, as the bullet would have had to make several changes of direction to be able to hit both Kennedy and John Connally, as Specter posited. But it helped close the file without finding a conspiracy.
We’ll end on his latest flip-flop: Here’s Rick Santorum writing in an op-ed March 26 2009: “Last year, Specter was the lone Republican who voted to end the filibuster of the pro-union legislation. But even with all 51 Democrats, supporters fell short of the 60 votes they needed. Now, with 58 Democrats in the Senate and Al Franken still ahead in the Minnesota recount, Specter's vote would have been the decisive one.

“Few issues unite Republicans more than card check. We all see it for what it is: taking away the working man's secret ballot in order to help one arm of the Democratic Party gain money and power. Team Specter had come under withering attack from conservatives since his card-check vote last fall. His own supporters warned of dire consequences should he be the vote to pass this game-changing partisan power play.

“Message received; Specter announced this week that he would not support the legislation…” But he does insist on a compromise –what that is remains to be seen. So, like all self-serving career politicians, he caves in and when he does the right thing it is often for the wrong reason. He wants to save his chances for reelection. And that is all that matters to our Poster Children for Term Limits. It’s all about themselves. What oath of office? The US Constitution? What has THAT got to do with getting reelected?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dodd, by a Countrywide Mile!

Our Founders envisioned that men of successful experience in their vocations would, at some point, offer themselves for a few years for public service in government. And, until sometime in the 1900s they did that. Historian Paul Johnson writing in Modern Times calls the professional politician the scourge of the 20th century. Senator Christopher Dodd has never had a real job. He has been in congress since 1975 after college and a stint in the Peace Corps. He is currently in his fifth 6-year term in the Senate after serving (?) 6 years in the House. His father was a US Senator. What has he done for the country compared to what has he done for himself? No contest --Dodd wins out over the country by a Countrywide mile! (Just a little reference to his sweetheart mortgage deal from his being “a friend of Angelo” at Countrywide Financial.) The Hartford Courant reported that during the past 20 years, "PACs and employees of finance-related firms have paid more than $13 million to Dodd's election efforts, including nearly $6 million in the past two years." Beats working.

Citizens Against Government Waste named Dodd its June 2008 “Porker of the Month - For accepting special financial discounts from a mortgage company (Countrywide Financial) whose actions contributed directly to the current housing mess and then drafting a monstrous mortgage bailout bill that will dump billions of dollars worth of risky mortgages onto the backs of taxpayers while lending a helping hand to his corporate benefactor.” Our first Poster Child, Barney Frank got this award as well: “For his ample and under-appreciated contributions to the nation’s current economic meltdown and his near-genius ability to engage in the two-faced blame game, CAGW names House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank March Porker of the Month.” Frank and Dodd share much of the blame for the current financial breakdown.

In his role as chairman of the Banking Committee, Sen. Dodd took campaign contributions from banks and insurance companies that he regulated –big bucks. One example, $70,000 from Bank of America (only Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama received more money from BofA). In June 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that staffers from Bank of America had drafted Dodd's housing bailout bill (FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008) in March 2008, before it was introduced in the Senate.

The Center for Public Integrity has criticized Dodd for "being the leading advocate in the Senate on behalf of the accounting industry." Dick Morris wrote that Dodd had received more contributions from accounting firm Arthur Anderson than any other Democrat and bore responsibility for trying to shield accounting firms from investor fraud liability in cases like Enron. AIG paid Dodd for sticking TARP compensation limits in the stimulus bill. His last-minute measure explicitly exempted from compensation limits bonuses agreed to prior to the passage of the stimulus bill --which he adamantly denied doing. He had to admit it when cornered with the truth a few days later.

Not that all this “pay to play” contributions and favors for friendly laws and regulations is unique to Sen. Dodd –no, this is a way of life for career politicians. When politics is your career, you do what is necessary to advance your career. You shove into the background that annoying little Oath of Office thing if it is in the way of your next election. Professional pols know that their constituents don’t follow these matters very closely and won’t hear much from opponents who cannot begin to compete with the enormous advantages of an entrenched incumbent. The mainstream media is no help.

Then there’s the matter of the cottage in Ireland. In 1994, Dodd and a William Kessinger bought a 10 acre estate on Galway Bay in a deal witnessed by a long time friend of Dodd’s, Edward Downe, a convicted felon. Dodd lobbied (paid?) President Clinton to pardon Downe, which he did. Shortly thereafter, Kessinger sold his 2/3rds share of the “cottage” to Dodd for $122,000 well under the nearly $1 million that it was worth at the time. The Wall Street Journal after detailing the above transactions commented, “Mr. Dodd is busy these days blaming everyone else for the real-estate bubble and financial meltdown. But he owes his constituents and the Senate an honest accounting of his Galway property over the past 15 years. If its value grew with the rest of the area, he needs to explain why Mr. Kessinger handed it over for a song, why that isn't an unreported gift under Senate rules, and what role Mr. Downe might have played as a middleman.” Where’s the Senate Ethics Committee? Oh, excuse me; Dodd is an entrenched Democrat with 34 years seniority.

We just hit a few lowlights of this man’s career at the public trough. Suffice to say that had he spent no more than six years in the House and six in the Senate, the Republic would be the better for it.

On another telling aspect of the man, it should be noted that Dodd is a friend, apologist, supporter, of Castro, Ortega and Chavez at one time or another. Dodd strongly opposed pro-American anti-dictator John Bolton’s appointment as Ambassador to the UN, according to Bob Novak, because of Dodd’s support for the dictator(s). Aside: In January, Chavez, aspiring dictator of Venezuela had term limits on his office repealed in a fraudulent vote and Daniel Ortega, just elected president of Nicaragua with Chavez money, is moving to eliminate term limits on himself, as well. Career pols and dictators don’t like term limits.

As our friend Nelson Lee Walker says, tenure corrupts. Certainly not Dodd, but as you will see in the parade of Poster Children for Term Limits, some do start out with good intentions. After six years, on average, they decide it is really all about them and public service turns to self service. It was Ronald Reagan who said about them that they go up to Washington to “drain the swamp” and after a while they find it is really a hot tub. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are just two of the worst of a bad lot who are wrecking our Republic and need to be stopped. Term limits on them would have saved our country a lot of grief –let’s learn from the past and enact term limits on congress. Go to and sign the petition to term limit congress. Better late than never.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Barney Frank -Easy First Choice

Even with about 400 highly qualified congressional participants in the destruction of our Constitutional Republic to choose from in March 2009, Barney Frank was an easy choice. The Wall Street Journal has dubbed him “Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint” for his protection of those government sponsored enterprises and his demonstrated lack of understanding and/or gross incompetence in his oversight and defense of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. According the Washington Post, Frank was a recipient of more than $40,000 in campaign donations from Fannie and was shacking up with a Fannie Mae executive, Herb Moses. The column revealed the two had split up at the time but also said Frank was referring to Moses as his “spouse.” Jeff Poor of the Business & Media Institute gives more of the sordid details of their liaison that has contributed to so much carnage in the mortgage markets. Here’s an excerpt: …“Frank had aggressively thwarted reform efforts by the Bush administration. He told the New York Times in September 2003, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s problems were “exaggerated,” a gross miscalculation some five years later with costs estimated to be in the hundreds of billions…” Full story:
Also see:

From Wikipedia: “In September 2003, Frank, then the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, opposed a Bush administration proposal for transferring oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to a new agency that would be created within the Treasury Department. The proposal reflected the administration's belief that Congress "neither has the tools, nor the stature" for adequate oversight. Frank stated, "These two entities...are not facing any kind of financial crisis.... The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing”

A clever parody by Paul Shanklin which can be heard on Rush Limbaugh’s show has Barney singing, “I am the banking queen.”

Investors Business Daily says, "Our government is largely to blame for our current problems. That's bad enough. But many of the same people who caused these problems — Rep. Barney Frank and Senators Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer stand way out — are now making new laws to 'fix' them."
It shows that experience in congress –our poster child Barney is in his 14th term!—is not the kind of experience needed for a chairman of the Financial Services Committee. He has never had a job outside of government. Nothing in his 28 years in congress could possibly prepare him for such responsibility. Probably no other individual carries more blame for our current economic crisis than this fool. Not that he is alone --besides Dodd and Schumer, many others in FedGov share responsibility for this financial debacle and its continuance with such devastating effect on our country.

Bill O’Reilly interviewed Barney Frank, and tried to get him to accept his responsibility in the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Frank was overseeing. He called Barney a “coward” for evading his responsibility. O’Reilly confronted him as the lawmaker most responsible for the meltdown of our financial markets. He played videos showing Frank saying that the problems with the GSEs are exaggerated and are sound entities going forward – a couple of months prior to the collapse.

He’s anti-military calling for a 25% reduction the Defense Department budget. In 2006, Frank was one of only three Representatives to oppose the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act, which restricted protests at soldiers' funerals. Of course, he’s in favor of same-sex marriage, gays in the military and other special rights for what he calls LBGT people. No one is more pro-abortion than Barney Frank –not even Obama. He’s staunchly in favor of partial birth abortion, against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and against prohibitions on taking underage girls across state lines for abortions.

This poster child for term limits gets elected with 98% of the vote because of the overwhelming advantages he has from incumbency. Even his homosexual scandal where another of his homosexual roommates ran a prostitution ring out of the congressman’s apartment failed to hurt his reelection efforts. His current boyfriend, according to Wikipedia, is Jim Ready, 39, from Maine. Now it is a different story for Republicans –Mark Foley gets run out of congress for sending some suggestive emails. You can fill a large book with examples like these. Dems walks, Repubs punish their own. That is a main difference between the parties –Repubs still have some shame, Dems have no shame, no moral standard whatever. [Don’t worry, we have some Repub Poster Children to feature later –we’re trying to get the worst offenders first, regardless of party.]

Barney Frank should have been term-limited out of congress a long time ago to make way for someone with real world experience in business, perhaps in finance. With term limits there would be fresh blood coming in to congress many with skills desperately needed to understand complex issues. Barney Frank is one clear example of the need for term limits on congress –as we have on the president and most governors and many State legislatures, county commissions and city councils. Eight is enough! –that is our slogan in Florida meaning eight years in an office is enough for public service. Any more than that and it gets to be self service and disaster for the taxpayers.