A Reply To Larry Summer’s Op-Ed Piece

If you didn’t see this article by Larry Summer’s against the Obama Administration and the handling of the housing crisis, here is it for you. It was posted online and in Monday, October 24, 2011′s edition of the Washington Post. With that said, here is a reply to Mr. Summers.

Dear Lawrence Summers,

I see that you are looking at the housing market in the Washington Post, and writing your views on what the administration should do. I am well aware that you were a part of this administration from the start, and a member of the Democratic party. I am also well aware of the influence you held during the talks for reform, stabilization and the Stimulus Package passed at the beginning of President Obama’s first term.

I am fairly certain that the measures you’ve pointed out in this op-ed piece were presented to the President during your stay in the cabinet with him, so there should be no surprise or confusion as to why Obama has no taken these steps that you’ve outlined in your article. That is a conversation I am sure you have conducted with him, in private, and you know the reasons and justifications for the President’s positions on these matters as well as anyone outside the administration could.

I’m not writing to question your understanding of the markets. I’m not even questioning your understanding of the housing crisis. What I do have concerns about is you’re talking about the “backward-looking resolution” to the problems. In this case, that’s code for “making new regulations”. You’re clearly a proponent of deregulation, while I favor regulation and control of the financial markets. You’re paid by the large banks to support them and to work for them as a lobbyist. I’m not. New regulations preventing this thing from happening in the past is critical.

You spoke about the predatory lending practices that came up during the housing markets, and how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government. The loans that Fannie and Freddie ended up holding were banned until Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and yourself pushed for more deregulation of the markets. You actively pushed to keep derivatives and credit-default swaps legal and unregulated. You were even a part of keeping the warnings from Brooksley Born from ever resulting in new regulations.

All of the predatory lending that arose in the 2000s was a direct result of trying to turn mortgages into CDOs, which could be bet against by investors. Had the regulations and warnings of Born been implemented, the regulation of these markets would have taken place, the explosion in predatory lending and the subsequent collapse of the markets would have been avoided. All of these events were the result of the actions of you and your cohorts.

Credit-default swaps are considered insurance, which is supposed to be regulated. Yet, the three of you worked to keep them unregulated and uncontrolled. The ability to take out an insurance policy against an item that you don’t hold is illegal when it’s a home or a car. Yet, you allowed the markets to make money based on the value of loans bundled together, and then allowed people to bet these loans would fail, and insure the CDOs which were not even held by the people buying the insurance. And you kept all this behind closed doors until after the fact.

I’m sorry, Mr. Summers. I know you’re a very intelligent person, having attended MIT and Harvard, and working with these markets. I’m also very intelligent and work to uncover the truth. Your response in the Washington Post was simply you blaming the problems of the many on a few terms, saying the President didn’t listen to you about the housing market, and saying that regulation and fixing the existing problems won’t work. You’re working on your agenda, trying to make yourself look like the savior, when really, you were a huge part of the problem. You don’t want regulation, and that’s a fine position to have. You say that trying to stop foreclosures is important. I agree, as do millions who are faced with growing pressures. You say that the President should do more to help everyone. Agree entirely on that point as well. How we do that as a nation, is where we disagree.

I believe that derivatives and credit-default swaps should be regulated and heavily controlled. I believe that the people making the regulations and tasked with enforcement should not be members, present or former, from the firms working on Wall Street. I believe you’ve helped the American people enough during your time in the public eye. You’ve helped them lose their homes, their jobs and their savings. You’ve helped them to see all that is wrong with the financial system in America, and to see how the men on that Time Magazine cover were really working towards Armageddon. The “Three Horsemen of Financial Destruction” is a more apt description.

Please, Mr. Summers, with all due respect, you’re the last person who should be telling anyone how to fix the situation; a situation that would never have materialized had it not been for you and your cohorts meddling with the rules and laws that protected us in the first place. You, sir, should be ashamed of what you’ve caused.

Sincerely,

The American People.

Where’s Fox Mulder When You Need Him?

There is a smoking man lurking deep inside the political center of a Republican campaign. He’s unafraid of anything, and talking cryptically about being different. He is spreading all over the Internet, like a virus, plaguing society. He knows things that we don’t, and he appears to want to keep those to himself, for the time being at least.

No, this isn’t a scene from the popular television program The X Files. It’s Mark Block, the campaign manager for Harold Cain.

In the ad, which you can see here, Mark Block talks about how the Cain campaign is different from any other campaign before it. Well, I’m not sure that this style campaign has never been run before, but it’s not exactly a good campaign. A lot has been made of the scene showing Block taking a puff from a cigarette. Is there a deeper meaning to this? Is he trying to attract the coveted smokers vote? (I’m a smoker, but I’m not even considering voting for Cain.) What is the message behind the ad?

When you are the manager of a campaign, and you release an advertisement that does more to confuse than to clarify, you’re not doing your job. Perhaps the intention was to just get people talking about Cain’s candidacy. If that was the intent, then the ad delivered, pun intended.

Prior to the ad, people were already talking about Cain and his views. He’s crude and behind on foreign affairs. People still make jokes about Cain’s “Uzebeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” comments. He has changed his views on abortion faster than even Mitt Romney. Cain’s “9-9-9″ and “9-0-9″ plans have been talking points, mostly on the negatives of raising taxes on the poor and middle class. This is just another weird instant from the Cain campaign.

Advertising is usually a way to get across a message or talking point. It’s typically done with someone people recognize, or a scene that reminds them of their own lives. The idea of using an unknown person outside of a building, clearly looking uncomfortable standing there with a camera in his face, well, that marketing ‘guru’ should be fired immediately.Eventually, it’ll come out that Cain designed this video. Only he could come up with an idea so confusing and random like this. Unless Michelle Bachmann is suddenly working on his campaign.

Even if the ad was never intended to be aired on television, the idea of making it just shows another lapse in the judgment of Herman Cain. If this is the best challenger to Mitt Romney the field can muster, then we should prepare looking forward to entertaining debates in September and October 2012 between Romney and President Obama. Two skilled debaters, taking to the stage, hammering one another of proposed policies and failed initiatives, could be the shot in the arm America needs. The debates between John McCain and Barack Obama were rather one-sided, more so on television than radio, due to McCain’s age. Romney doesn’t appear any older than Obama. They’re both experts at delivering their message. Those are the debates that would be the most interesting since the Kennedy-Nixon debates.

Herman Cain and the “Smoking Man” are working towards an America that is even worse than what we currently have. His oversimplified ideas and plans lack substance and fail the scrutiny test. Cain may be the master of delivery pizza, but he has a long way to go before he is a legitimate candidate for President.

Help us Fox Mulder. We can’t allow the “Smoking Man” to control America. You can bring Scully along too. Call it a “Reunion for the preservation of America”.

Journalism vs. ‘A Hobby’ in Maryland State Law

Did you know that the Eye Care Professionals in Hagerstown, MD has moved from their old location on Eastern Blvd. to their new location, about 60 feet away on Eastern Blvd.? The company built a brand new building directly across the narrow street leading to the loading zone for the strip mall and have opened operations there.

That clip above, while factual, is considered journalism in Maryland. If I wrote nothing but segments like that, I could be considered a journalist under state law. For what I do on this site, however, it is considered a “hobby”. Forget for a moment that I write about important events in the lives of people. Forget that I tackle issues the media tries to confuse us about. Forget all the facts and figures, the charts and the explanations. In Maryland, that is considered a hobby because I write on a blog. I don’t write stories of “current events” using the “Five W’s”.

Why does any of this matter? I recently sought to obtain a press card, so that I could, in fact, cover the local political workings in Washington County, Hagerstown, Annapolis and Washington, D.C.. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was not qualified because what I do on a daily basis is not “professional, paid journalism” and does not use the “Five W’s” format of reporting. I was told that if I was to have content entirely based on who, what, when, where, why and how, excluding opinion, spin and conjecture, then I would be eligible to reapply for a press card.

Now, I know that my site is a simple one-woman operation that consumes a large portion of my time. I do my very best to provide the best content available on a wide range of topics. I wanted to expand and cover different aspects of the political world around us using first hand information and sources. For this desire, I was told that I wasn’t welcome because I don’t work for an established media company. Other bloggers and web journalists have faced similar problems in Maryland and other states. These changes have come about as more and more independent sources have sought media passes, allowing them to cover and be a part of events. Most of these events are political in nature. Funny how you must have permission to visit a government event that is supposedly open to the public, since they are funded and supported with public funds.

I won’t stop trying to get a press card. I won’t stop trying to cover news events or learning details as close to the situation as I can. I’ll keep working, trying to obtain credibility enough to obtain my media credentials. One day, I’ll be able to report directly from some of the biggest and most important events in Maryland and Washington, D.C.. In the meantime, I’ll just have to remain rogue, working as hard as I can dealing after the fact with the information available.

Glad to know that freedom of the press, as outlined in the First Amendment of the Constitution, only applies to those who work for media conglomerates who donate funding to America. Way to keep the American people from seeing what’s really behind the curtain.