Monday, September 22, 2008

How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis of '08

(Economics can be a pretty boring issue. At least take the time to read the bold red text I highlighted for you!)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aSKSoiNbnQY0#

How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis: Kevin Hassett

Commentary by Kevin Hassett

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The financial crisis of the past year has provided a number of surprising twists and turns, and from Bear Stearns Cos. to American International Group Inc., ambiguity has been a big part of the story.

Why did Bear Stearns fail, and how does that relate to AIG? It all seems so complex.

But really, it isn't. Enough cards on this table have been turned over that the story is now clear. The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally.

Fannie and Freddie did this by becoming a key enabler of the mortgage crisis. They fueled Wall Street's efforts to securitize subprime loans by becoming the primary customer of all AAA-rated subprime-mortgage pools. In addition, they held an enormous portfolio of mortgages themselves.

In the times that Fannie and Freddie couldn't make the market, they became the market. Over the years, it added up to an enormous obligation. As of last June, Fannie alone owned or guaranteed more than $388 billion in high-risk mortgage investments. Their large presence created an environment within which even mortgage-backed securities assembled by others could find a ready home.

The problem was that the trillions of dollars in play were only low-risk investments if real estate prices continued to rise. Once they began to fall, the entire house of cards came down with them.

Turning Point

Take away Fannie and Freddie, or regulate them more wisely, and it's hard to imagine how these highly liquid markets would ever have emerged. This whole mess would never have happened.

It is easy to identify the historical turning point that marked the beginning of the end.

Back in 2005, Fannie and Freddie were, after years of dominating Washington, on the ropes. They were enmeshed in accounting scandals that led to turnover at the top. At one telling moment in late 2004, captured in an article by my American Enterprise Institute colleague Peter Wallison, the Securities and Exchange Comiission's chief accountant told disgraced Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines that Fannie's position on the relevant accounting issue was not even ``on the page'' of allowable interpretations.

Then legislative momentum emerged for an attempt to create a ``world-class regulator'' that would oversee the pair more like banks, imposing strict requirements on their ability to take excessive risks. Politicians who previously had associated themselves proudly with the two accounting miscreants were less eager to be associated with them. The time was ripe.

Greenspan's Warning

The clear gravity of the situation pushed the legislation forward. Some might say the current mess couldn't be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie and Freddie ``continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,'' he said. ``We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.''

What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.
Different World

If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.

But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter.

That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then. Wallison wrote at the time: ``It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so if their constituents understood what they were doing.''

Mounds of Materials

Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons. Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices. Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.

But we now know that many of the senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years.
Throughout his political career, Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who received more than $165,000.

Clinton, the 12th-ranked recipient of Fannie and Freddie PAC and employee contributions, has received more than $75,000 from the two enterprises and their employees. The private profit found its way back to the senators who killed the fix.

There has been a lot of talk about who is to blame for this crisis. A look back at the story of 2005 makes the answer pretty clear.

Oh, and there is one little footnote to the story that's worth keeping in mind while Democrats point fingers between now and Nov. 4: Senator John McCain was one of the three cosponsors of S.190, the bill that would have averted this mess.
(Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is a Bloomberg News columnist. He is an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Kevin Hassett at khassett@aei.org

Last Updated: September 22, 2008 00:04 EDT

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Poll Shows One-Third Of White Democrats Harbor Negative Feelings Towards Blacks

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D93AIV882&show_article=1

Sep 20 01:11 PM US/Eastern
By RON FOURNIER and TREVOR TOMPSON
Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks—many calling them "lazy," "violent" or responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004—about 2.5 percentage points.

Certainly, Republican John McCain has his own obstacles: He's an ally of an unpopular president and would be the nation's oldest first-term president. But Obama faces this: 40 percent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.

More than a third of all white Democrats and independents—voters Obama can't win the White House without—agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Obama than those who don't have such views.

Such numbers are a harsh dose of reality in a campaign for the history books. Obama, the first black candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, accepted the Democratic nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, a seminal moment for a nation that enshrined slavery in its Constitution.

"There are a lot fewer bigots than there were 50 years ago, but that doesn't mean there's only a few bigots," said Stanford political scientist Paul Sniderman who helped analyze the exhaustive survey.

The pollsters set out to determine why Obama is locked in a close race with McCain even as the political landscape seems to favor Democrats. President Bush's unpopularity, the Iraq war and a national sense of economic hard times cut against GOP candidates, as does that fact that Democratic voters outnumber Republicans.

The findings suggest that Obama's problem is close to home—among his fellow Democrats, particularly non-Hispanic white voters. Just seven in 10 people who call themselves Democrats support Obama, compared to the 85 percent of self-identified Republicans who back McCain.

The survey also focused on the racial attitudes of independent voters because they are likely to decide the election.

Lots of Republicans harbor prejudices, too, but the survey found they weren't voting against Obama because of his race. Most Republicans wouldn't vote for any Democrat for president—white, black or brown.

Not all whites are prejudiced. Indeed, more whites say good things about blacks than say bad things, the poll shows. And many whites who see blacks in a negative light are still willing or even eager to vote for Obama.

On the other side of the racial question, the Illinois Democrat is drawing almost unanimous support from blacks, the poll shows, though that probably wouldn't be enough to counter the negative effect of some whites' views.

Race is not the biggest factor driving Democrats and independents away from Obama. Doubts about his competency loom even larger, the poll indicates. More than a quarter of all Democrats expressed doubt that Obama can bring about the change they want, and they are likely to vote against him because of that.

Three in 10 of those Democrats who don't trust Obama's change-making credentials say they plan to vote for McCain.

Still, the effects of whites' racial views are apparent in the polling.

Statistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama's support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice.

But in an election without precedent, it's hard to know if such models take into account all the possible factors at play.

The AP-Yahoo poll used the unique methodology of Knowledge Networks, a Menlo Park, Calif., firm that interviews people online after randomly selecting and screening them over telephone. Numerous studies have shown that people are more likely to report embarrassing behavior and unpopular opinions when answering questions on a computer rather than talking to a stranger.

Other techniques used in the poll included recording people's responses to black or white faces flashed on a computer screen, asking participants to rate how well certain adjectives apply to blacks, measuring whether people believe blacks' troubles are their own fault, and simply asking people how much they like or dislike blacks.

"We still don't like black people," said John Clouse, 57, reflecting the sentiments of his pals gathered at a coffee shop in Somerset, Ohio.

Given a choice of several positive and negative adjectives that might describe blacks, 20 percent of all whites said the word "violent" strongly applied. Among other words, 22 percent agreed with "boastful," 29 percent "complaining," 13 percent "lazy" and 11 percent "irresponsible." When asked about positive adjectives, whites were more likely to stay on the fence than give a strongly positive assessment.

Among white Democrats, one-third cited a negative adjective and, of those, 58 percent said they planned to back Obama.

The poll sought to measure latent prejudices among whites by asking about factors contributing to the state of black America. One finding: More than a quarter of white Democrats agree that "if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites."

Those who agreed with that statement were much less likely to back Obama than those who didn't.

Among white independents, racial stereotyping is not uncommon. For example, while about 20 percent of independent voters called blacks "intelligent" or "smart," more than one third latched on the adjective "complaining" and 24 percent said blacks were "violent."

Nearly four in 10 white independents agreed that blacks would be better off if they "try harder."

The survey broke ground by incorporating images of black and white faces to measure implicit racial attitudes, or prejudices that are so deeply rooted that people may not realize they have them. That test suggested the incidence of racial prejudice is even higher, with more than half of whites revealing more negative feelings toward blacks than whites.

Researchers used mathematical modeling to sort out the relative impact of a huge swath of variables that might have an impact on people's votes—including race, ideology, party identification, the hunger for change and the sentiments of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's backers.

Just 59 percent of her white Democratic supporters said they wanted Obama to be president. Nearly 17 percent of Clinton's white backers plan to vote for McCain.

Among white Democrats, Clinton supporters were nearly twice as likely as Obama backers to say at least one negative adjective described blacks well, a finding that suggests many of her supporters in the primaries—particularly whites with high school education or less—were motivated in part by racial attitudes.

The survey of 2,227 adults was conducted Aug. 27 to Sept. 5. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

___

Associated Press writers Nancy Benac, Julie Carr Smyth, Philip Elliot, Julie Pace and Sonya Ross contributed to this report.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gore's New Houseboat Target Of Critics

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080915/NEWS01/809150337/1006/NEWS01

September 15, 2008

'Global warming' Gore attracts heat

His new houseboat is the latest target of critics' attacks

By ANNE PAINE
Staff Writer

When Al Gore uses energy, the blogosphere lights up.

That's power.

His large Nashville home, utility bills and jet travels have drawn flamethrowers over the last year and a half. Now, it's a houseboat he bought this summer.

"Here's the good news for him," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "It doesn't matter a whit. He's out of politics. He's won the Nobel Prize, the Academy Award and goodness knows what else. ... He's got the last laugh on anybody."

The latest angry anti-Gore round boiled up when radio talk show host Steve Gill, a regular Gore basher, fired up listeners over the family's new 100-foot houseboat that's docked on Center Hill Lake.

As he often does, Gill labeled Gore a hypocrite who preaches energy conservation to curb what Gill refers to as "so-called global warming," but who doesn't practice it.

A Web post by Gill on Sept. 6 had elicited as of Saturday a hefty 181 comments — the large majority in agreement with the radio host and many of them scathing. At least one was downright threatening.

The fact that the http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=DN&Dato=20080912&Kategori=GREEN&Lopenr=809120818&Ref=PH">houseboat, called Bio-Solar One, has a roof blanketed with solar panels and runs on biodiesel seemed only to annoy some of those commenting. No one was praising him for vacationing locally.

"He's put himself out there on climate change and, as he knows, in the public square, you get criticized for everything," Sabato said.

He's long been a target

Gore, who declined to be interviewed last week, has been a lightning rod for years. It started with his political career.

"He was already the Democrat you loved to hate for folks in the Republican Party," said Pat Nolan, a longtime Nashville political analyst.

Later mixing in the hot-button issues of global warming and climate change made him "an even larger and more inviting target," Nolan said.

"When you've got the kind of profile he does and political past, add it up and it's pretty much a convergence of a perfect storm."

It's also difficult "to be correct enough" when it comes to global warming and the environment, Nolan said.

"There's always something you can do better. You're kind of guilty until you can prove yourself innocent."

Mike Kopp, who worked for Gore from 1981 to 1988, chuckled as he talked of his former boss's earnestness and inability back then to catch a break on a much simpler matter: how he dressed.

"When he was in the House of Representatives and pretty much all the years in the Senate, he wore the same blue suit. We used to joke about it."

A small sewing kit with blue thread was on hand to mend the occasional holes in the fabric, Kopp said.

"He was trying to be conservative. He didn't want to waste money on fancy clothes. He thought it would make him more approachable.

"It was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. People thought he was just cheap when it came to clothes."

It 'goes with the job'

Gore's office would receive critical letters from supporters as well as those opposed, and Kopp keeps a framed copy of one on his office wall at MMA Creative, a local marketing company where he's a partner.

The handwritten message, dated May 29, 1987 — about a month into Gore's first campaign for the presidency — reads:

Dear Mr. Gore,

I am working hard for you to get elected to any office you seek, but please go to your tailor and get your pants lengthened to the top of your shoes.

Good luck,

One of your supporters.

When Gore tried to figure out a better way to dress and present himself, he hired an image consultant. He was criticized for that, too.

"It just kind of goes with the job," Kopp said. "It doesn't matter what you do and how dedicated you are, someone will find fault in everything you do — even supporters.

"You've got to develop a thick skin and get over it. I'm sure he's had plenty of practice."

Records show McCain more bipartisan than Obama

http://washingtontimes.com/news/2008/sep/15/records-show-mccain-more-bipartisan/

The Washington Times:

Monday, September 15, 2008
Records show McCain more bipartisan
Stephen Dinan

ANALYSIS:

Sen. John McCain's record of working with Democrats easily outstrips Sen. Barack Obama's efforts with Republicans, according to an analysis by The Washington Times of their legislative records.

Whether looking at bills they have led on or bills they have signed onto, Mr. McCain has reached across the aisle far more frequently and with more members than Mr. Obama since the latter came to the Senate in 2005.

In fact, by several measures, Mr. McCain has been more likely to team up with Democrats than with members of his own party. Democrats made up 55 percent of his political partners over the last two Congresses, including on the tough issues of campaign finance and global warming. For Mr. Obama, Republicans were only 13 percent of his co-sponsors during his time in the Senate, and he had his biggest bipartisan successes on noncontroversial measures, such as issuing a postage stamp in honor of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

With calls for change in Washington dominating the campaign, both Mr. Obama, the Democrats' presidential nominee, and Mr. McCain, his Republican opponent, have claimed the mantle of bipartisanship.

But since 2005, Mr. McCain has led as chief sponsor of 82 bills, on which he had 120 Democratic co-sponsors out of 220 total, for an average of 55 percent. He worked with Democrats on 50 of his bills, and of those, 37 times Democrats outnumber Republicans as co-sponsors.

Mr. Obama, meanwhile, sponsored 120 bills, of which Republicans co-sponsored just 26, and on only five bills did Republicans outnumber Democrats. Mr. Obama gained 522 total Democratic co-sponsors but only 75 Republicans, for an average of 13 percent of his co-sponsors.

An Obama campaign spokesman declined to comment on The Times analysis.

McCain campaign surrogate Sen. Lindsey Graham, though, said the numbers expose a difference between the two candidates.

"The number - 55 and 13 - probably shows that one has been more desirous to find common ground than the other. The legislative record of Senator Obama is very thin," said Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, who has teamed up with Mr. McCain probably more than any other senator.

The Times study looked at the bills each man introduced as the chief sponsor, and at the bills sponsored by other senators that each man signed onto. The study excluded resolutions and amendments, focusing instead on measures that each man authored and put into the normal legislative process.

Former Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, all independents, were grouped with Democrats because each caucused with Democrats during the time under study.

Bipartisanship is a frequent issue on the campaign trail, with the McCain camp and surrogates such as Mr. Graham arguing the standard is how often someone takes leadership on an issue in defiance of his own party - a measure by which Mr. Obama falls short and Mr. McCain clearly excels.

He even revels in his stances, telling the audience at a values forum at Saddleback Church in California last month his list is extensive: "Climate change, out-of-control spending, torture." He could have added campaign-finance overhaul, immigration, a patients' bill of rights, gun control and tax cuts as other areas on which he's broken with the majority of his party.

At the same forum, Mr. Obama said his major break with Democrats came on congressional ethics, when he sponsored a bill to curb meals and gifts from lobbyists.

In a memo to reporters, his campaign points to bills he worked on that gained near-unanimous support from both parties, including a bill more than a third of the Senate signed onto, sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, pushing peace initiatives in Sudan, and a bill sponsored by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, on charitable contributions that passed by a voice vote in each chamber.

But foremost, his campaign cites his work teaming up in 2006 with Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, on the Cooperative Proliferation Detection Act, a noncontroversial measure to secure weapons of mass destruction, and with Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, to force the administration to create a searchable database to track federal spending grants.

Speaking to reporters during the Republican National Convention earlier this month Obama aide Robert Gibbs said Mr. Lugar and Mr. Coburn would back up Mr. Obama's bipartisanship claims.

Mr. Lugar's spokesman said the senator is not doing interviews on the subject. Mr. Coburn, in an interview, said Mr. Obama is a good senator to work with, but said there's no comparison to Mr. McCain's long record.

"Barack is a great guy, a nice guy, he's a good friend of mine. He has passed two pieces of legislation since he's been in the Senate - had his name on two," Mr. Coburn said. He praised Mr. Obama's staff for the work they did on the spending grants bill, but he said Mr. Obama hasn't gone head-to-head against his leadership when it mattered: "Where have you seen him challenge the status quo?"

Mr. McCain on the campaign trail cites his own frequent Democratic legislative allies such as Mr. Lieberman, with whom he's worked on gun control and global warming; Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was his partner for immigration and patients' rights; Sen. Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, who worked with him on campaign finance; and Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who was the top Democrat on the Indian Affairs Committee when Mr. McCain was chairman.

Mr. Feingold, Mr. Dorgan and Mr. Kennedy didn't respond or declined through spokesmen to talk about the issue. Mr. Lieberman, however, has gone in the opposite direction, endorsing Mr. McCain for office and hitting Mr. Obama for failing to live up to his bipartisan claims.

Mr. Graham said it was unfortunate people weren't recognizing their work with Mr. McCain.

"What you've got now is, you've got some people who are afraid to recognize John's bipartisanship because of the nature of the election," Mr. Graham said.

Mr. Graham has teamed up with Mr. McCain on some of his most contentious bills, including the immigration and campaign-finance fights, and said they both have "the scars to prove" they were in the fights.

"I have experienced the price that's been paid to help John do some difficult things since 2004," he said.

Those fights are part of the reason Mr. McCain had trouble securing the Republican presidential nomination, including winning less than 50 percent of Republican primary voters' support, despite clearing the field less than halfway through the primaries.

The Times analysis found Mr. McCain's most frequent Democratic teammates are Mr. Dorgan, with whom he shared leadership of the Indian Affairs Committee and who co-sponsored 23 of Mr. McCain's bills, and Mr. Lieberman, who signed onto 15 McCain bills.

Mr. Obama's most frequent Republican partners were Mr. Lugar, who co-sponsored nine Obama bills, and Sen. Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republican, who signed on to eight of Mr. Obama's measures.

The bill on which Mr. McCain attracted the most support in the past few years was his plan to combat greenhouse-gas emissions. That bill garnered 16 co-sponsors, 14 of whom were Democrats, including Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrats' vice-presidential nominee. Mr. Obama himself signed onto another of Mr. McCain's global-warming bills.

Mr. Obama's best successes in attracting co-sponsors came on a bill to boost the union's bargaining power with the Federal Aviation Administration, on which all 38 co-sponsors were Democrats, and a bill to issue a postage stamp honoring Mrs. Parks, which garnered 24 Democrats and 14 Republicans.

The Times study didn't look at voting, but Congressional Quarterly conducts annual studies of senators' voting records.

Over his Senate career, Mr. McCain has voted with the majority of Senate Republicans about 85 percent of the time, while in his three years in the Senate Mr. Obama has voted with his party 97 percent of the time.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

UK Environment Minister Call's Global Warming a "Hysterical Psuedo-Religion"


The Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has angered green campaigners by describing their view on climate change as a "hysterical psuedo-religion".

In an article in the News Letter, Mr Wilson said he believed it occurred naturally and was not man-made.

"Resources should be used to adapt to the consequences of climate change, rather than King Canute-style vainly trying to stop it," said the minister.

Peter Doran of the Green Party said it was a "deeply irresponsible message."

Mr Wilson said he refused to "blindly accept" the need to make significant changes to the economy to stop climate change.

"The tactic used by the "green gang" is to label anyone who dares disagree with their view of climate change as some kind of nutcase who denies scientific fact," he said.

The minister said he accepted climate change can occur, but does not believe the cause has been identified.

"Reasoned debate must replace the scaremongering of the green climate alarmists."

John Woods of Friends of the Earth said Mr Wilson was "like a cigarette salesman denying that smoking causes cancer".

"Ironically, if we listen to him Northern Ireland will suffer economically as we are left behind by smarter regions who are embracing the low carbon economy of the future."

It is the latest clash between Mr Wilson and green groups since his appointment as environment minister in June.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7599810.stm

Published: 2008/09/05 09:27:44 GMT

Friday, September 05, 2008

Why Martin Luther King Was Republican

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=16500

Why Martin Luther King Was Republican
08/16/2006

It should come as no surprise that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. In that era, almost all black Americans were Republicans. Why? From its founding in 1854 as the anti-slavery party until today, the Republican Party has championed freedom and civil rights for blacks. And as one pundit so succinctly stated, the Democrat Party is as it always has been, the party of the four S's: slavery, secession, segregation and now socialism.

It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860s, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s.

During the civil rights era of the 1960s, Dr. King was fighting the Democrats who stood in the school house doors, turned skin-burning fire hoses on blacks and let loose vicious dogs. It was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who pushed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and sent troops to Arkansas to desegregate schools. President Eisenhower also appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending school segregation. Much is made of Democrat President Harry Truman's issuing an Executive Order in 1948 to desegregate the military. Not mentioned is the fact that it was Eisenhower who actually took action to effectively end segregation in the military.

Democrat President John F. Kennedy is lauded as a proponent of civil rights. However, Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act while he was a senator, as did Democrat Sen. Al Gore Sr. And after he became President, Kennedy was opposed to the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. King that was organized by A. Phillip Randolph, who was a black Republican. President Kennedy, through his brother Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, had Dr. King wiretapped and investigated by the FBI on suspicion of being a Communist in order to undermine Dr. King.

In March of 1968, while referring to Dr. King's leaving Memphis, Tenn., after riots broke out where a teenager was killed, Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, called Dr. King a "trouble-maker" who starts trouble, but runs like a coward after trouble is ignited. A few weeks later, Dr. King returned to Memphis and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Given the circumstances of that era, it is understandable why Dr. King was a Republican. It was the Republicans who fought to free blacks from slavery and amended the Constitution to grant blacks freedom (13th Amendment), citizenship (14th Amendment) and the right to vote (15th Amendment). Republicans passed the civil rights laws of the 1860s, including the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Reconstruction Act of 1867 that was designed to establish a new government system in the Democrat-controlled South, one that was fair to blacks. Republicans also started the NAACP and affirmative action with Republican President Richard Nixon's 1969 Philadelphia Plan (crafted by black Republican Art Fletcher) that set the nation's fist goals and timetables. Although affirmative action now has been turned by the Democrats into an unfair quota system, affirmative action was begun by Nixon to counter the harm caused to blacks when Democrat President Woodrow Wilson in 1912 kicked all of the blacks out of federal government jobs.

Few black Americans know that it was Republicans who founded the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Unknown also is the fact that Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen from Illinois was key to the passage of civil rights legislation in 1957, 1960, 1964 and 1965. Not mentioned in recent media stories about extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is the fact that Dirksen wrote the language for the bill. Dirksen also crafted the language for the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which prohibited discrimination in housing. President Lyndon Johnson could not have achieved passage of civil rights legislation without the support of Republicans.

Critics of Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater, who ran for President against Johnson in 1964, ignore the fact that Goldwater wanted to force the Democrats in the South to stop passing discriminatory laws and thus end the need to continuously enact federal civil rights legislation.

Those who wrongly criticize Goldwater also ignore the fact that Johnson, in his 4,500 State of the Union Address delivered on Jan. 4, 1965, mentioned scores of topics for federal action, but only 35 words were devoted to civil rights. He did not mention one word about voting rights. Then in 1967, showing his anger with Dr. King's protest against the Vietnam War, Johnson referred to Dr. King as "that Nigger preacher."

Contrary to the false assertions by Democrats, the racist "Dixiecrats" did not all migrate to the Republican Party. "Dixiecrats" declared that they would rather vote for a "yellow dog" than vote for a Republican because the Republican Party was know as the party for blacks. Today, some of those "Dixiecrats" continue their political careers as Democrats, including Robert Byrd, who is well known for having been a "Keagle" in the Ku Klux Klan.

Another former "Dixiecrat" is former Democrat Sen. Ernest Hollings, who put up the Confederate flag over the state Capitol when he was the governor of South Carolina. There was no public outcry when Democrat Sen. Christopher Dodd praised Byrd as someone who would have been "a great senator for any moment," including the Civil War. Yet Democrats denounced then-Senate GOP leader Trent Lott for his remarks about Sen. Strom Thurmond (R.-S.C.). Thurmond was never in the Ku Klux Klan and defended blacks against lynching and the discriminatory poll taxes imposed on blacks by Democrats. If Byrd and Thurmond were alive during the Civil War, and Byrd had his way, Thurmond would have been lynched.

The 30-year odyssey of the South switching to the Republican Party began in the 1970s with President Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy," which was an effort on the part of Nixon to get Christians in the South to stop voting for Democrats who did not share their values and were still discriminating against their fellow Christians who happened to be black. Georgia did not switch until 2002, and some Southern states, including Louisiana, are still controlled by Democrats.

Today, Democrats, in pursuit of their socialist agenda, are fighting to keep blacks poor, angry and voting for Democrats. Examples of how egregiously Democrats act to keep blacks in poverty are numerous.

After wrongly convincing black Americans that a minimum wage increase was a good thing, the Democrats on August 3 kept their promise and killed the minimum wage bill passed by House Republicans on July 29. The blockage of the minimum wage bill was the second time in as many years that Democrats stuck a legislative finger in the eye of black Americans. Senate Democrats on April 1, 2004, blocked passage of a bill to renew the 1996 welfare reform law that was pushed by Republicans and vetoed twice by President Clinton before he finally signed it. Since the welfare reform law expired in September 2002, Congress had passed six extensions, and the latest expired on June 30, 2004. Opposed by the Democrats are school choice opportunity scholarships that would help black children get out of failing schools and Social Security reform, even though blacks on average lose $10,000 in the current system because of a shorter life expectancy than whites (72.2 years for blacks vs. 77.5 years for whites).

Democrats have been running our inner-cities for the past 30 to 40 years, and blacks are still complaining about the same problems. More than $7 trillion dollars have been spent on poverty programs since Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty with little, if any, impact on poverty. Diabolically, every election cycle, Democrats blame Republicans for the deplorable conditions in the inner-cities, then incite blacks to cast a protest vote against Republicans.

In order to break the Democrats' stranglehold on the black vote and free black Americans from the Democrat Party's economic plantation, we must shed the light of truth on the Democrats. We must demonstrate that the Democrat Party policies of socialism and dependency on government handouts offer the pathway to poverty, while Republican Party principles of hard work, personal responsibility, getting a good education and ownership of homes and small businesses offer the pathway to prosperity.

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Ms. Rice is chairman of the National Black Republican Association (NBRA) and may be contacted at www.NBRA.info.

Monday, September 01, 2008

U.S. hands back security of Anbar Province

For years those who opposed the war in Iraq mistakenly claimed that the US was fighting against Iraq. I attempted to clear things up and explained that we were actually fighting IN Iraq and FOR Iraq but not against Iraq. We were instead fighting against insurgents who came to Iraq to fight against us and to prevent democracy and peace from taking hold in Iraq. It was a battle for a way of life. We were there to protect Iraq from the insurgents who wanted to topple the new democratically elected government. We were there to help the Iraqis until they could protect themselves. Well, it now looks like that day has come. Let's cross our fingers and pray they ready!

http://iht.com/articles/2008/09/01/mideast/iraq.php

International Herald Tribune:

U.S. hands back security of Anbar Province

By Dexter Filkins
Monday, September 1, 2008

RAMADI, Iraq: Two years ago, Anbar Province was the most lethal place for American forces in Iraq. A U.S. marine or soldier died in the province nearly every day, and the provincial capital, Ramadi, was a moonscape of rubble and ruins. Islamic extremists controlled large pieces of territory, with some so ferocious in their views that they did not even allow the baking of bread.

On Monday, U.S. commanders formally returned responsibility for keeping order in Anbar Province, once the heartland of the Sunni insurgency, to the Iraqi Army and police. The ceremony, including a parade on a freshly paved street, capped one of the most significant turnabouts in the country since the war began five and a half years ago.

Over the past two years, the number of insurgent attacks against Iraqis and Americans has dropped by more than 90 percent. Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has been severely degraded, if not crushed altogether, in large part because many local Sunnis, including former insurgents, have taken up arms against it.

Since February, as the security situation improved, U.S. commanders have cut the number of marines and soldiers operating in the province by 40 percent.

The transfer of authority codified a situation that Iraqi and American officers say has been in effect since April: The Iraqi Army and police operate independently and retain primary responsibility for battling the insurgency and crime in Anbar. The United States, which had long done the bulk of the fighting, has stepped into a backup role, going into the streets only when accompanied by Iraqi forces.

But the dynamic that has brought such calm to Anbar, welcome as it is, seems fragile. Many former insurgents now man the local police forces, or remain on the U.S. payroll as loosely supervised gunmen working for the so-called Sunni Awakening Councils.

But with most of the Sunni population having abstained from voting in 2005, many are now claiming that the present arrangement leaves them unrepresented. Local Sunni leaders have warned that provincial elections must go forward if violence is to be averted.

Still, as the parade marched along Ramadi's Main Street on Monday, the signs were mostly good. The ceremony was a primarily Iraqi affair, with the U.S. marines wearing neither helmets nor body armor, nor carrying guns. The festive scene became an occasion for celebration by Iraqis and Americans, who at several moments wondered aloud in the sweltering heat how things had gone from so grim to so much better, so fast.

"Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined this," said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the Iraqi national security adviser, who flew in from Baghdad. "Two or three years ago, had we suggested that the Iraqis could take responsibility, we would have been ridiculed, we would have been laughed at. This was the cradle of the Sunni insurgency."

Indeed it was. Anbar Province became the most intractable region after the toppling of Saddam Hussein in April 2003. More than 1,000 American marines and soldiers have died in the province, a quarter of the total U.S. toll.

Anbar's second city, Falluja, was the scene of the biggest battle of the war, in which nearly 100 Americans died and more than 500 were wounded.

Bordering on three countries, Anbar was also considered the primary transit point for foreigners entering Iraq.

The fighting devastated much of Anbar. Falluja, a city of 250,000, was razed, and large parts of Ramadi, a city of 500,000, were reduced to ruins.

By the summer of 2006, insurgents had tried to kill Anbar's governor, Mamoon Sami al-Rashid, 29 times. They failed with Rashid, but that was an exception. Rashid's immediate predecessor, Raja Nawaf, was kidnapped and murdered. His deputy, Talib al-Dulaimi, was shot and killed. The chairman of the Anbar provincial council was also murdered. Rashid's personal secretary was beheaded and most of his ministers went into hiding.

What finally broke the stalemate, according to former insurgents and local leaders, was a local revolt against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the radical insurgent group believed to be led primarily by foreigners. As the group began to expand its goals beyond killing Americans to include sectarian assassinations and imposing a fundamentalist Islam, local tribal leaders struck back and reached out for help to U.S. forces. The "Sunni Awakening" was born, and it soon spread across the Sunni areas of Iraq.

Saadi al-Faraji used to be a gunman for a local group called the Islamic Movement of Holy Warriors, which focused mainly on attacking Americans. Then, in 2006, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia tried to take over his group and force them to kill Iraqis who worked for the government, including police officers.

"Qaeda declared that we were apostates, and they demanded our heads, because we would not kill Iraqi soldiers or Iraqi police," Faraji said.

The Islamic Movement of Holy Warriors began attacking Qaeda fighters at about the same time that a local Sunni sheik named Abdul Sattar abu Risha struck a deal with the Americans and formed the first Awakening Council. The Islamic Movement formed its own Awakening Council, and today, Faraji is a colonel in the Iraqi police.

As for his view on Americans, Faraji said they had evolved.

"They made mistakes, and so did we," he said. "The past is past."