Sunday, September 28, 2008

Prosecutor Jennifer Joyce, a Member of Missouri's "Barack Obama Truth Squad"

"As a citizen, I believe that elections should be about issues. I also have enormous respect for our First Amendment and freedom of speech. My sole purpose in participating in this initiative [Missouri's "Barack Obama Truth Squad"] is about getting truthful information to the voters. This has never been or never will be about prosecuting people."---Prosecutor Jennifer Joyce, a member of Missouri's "Barack Obama Truth Squad"

On 9-26-o8, I reported that Missouri television station KMOV TV had reported that the Obama Campaign was asking Missouri prosecutors and sheriffs who have joined Missouri's "Barack Obama Truth Squad" to "target anyone who lies" about Senator Obama and "violates Missouri ethics laws."

It does not appear that there are actually any plans to prosecute people who, in the opinion of the "Barack Obama Truth Squad," tell lies about Senator Obama.

American prosecutors are public officials who are required to enforce the laws equally. If prosecutors who belong to "The Barack Obama Truth Squad" only protected Democrats against libel, they would become a political police like the KGB, the "sword and shield" of the Communist Party.

The KGB enforced libel laws only when dissidents criticized the Communist Party. Article 70 of the Soviet Constitution was called Anti-Soviet Agitation and Propaganda. The "sword and shield" of the Communist Party didn't protect dissidents when the Communist Party libelled them.

Missouri prosecutors and sheriffs would be violating a federal civil rights law if they used "the color of their office" to deprive people of free speech:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.

I think that some people might be intimidated by the KMOV TV report. It is hard to know if the TV station or the prosecutors were trying to imply that the "Barack Obama Truth Squad" was going to prosecute "anyone who lies" about Senator Obama and "violates Missouri ethics laws." It was the news announcer who used this language, but the clips of the prosecutors appeared to support it.

It is still not clear to me what ethics laws would justify targeting "anyone who lies" about Senator Obama. The news announcer didn't explain that, and a Missouri prosecutor didn't address the issue of "ethics laws" when she responded to allegations that she would prosecute "anyone who told lies" about Senator Obama.

St. Louis Circuit prosecutor Jennifer Joyce is one of the "Barack Obama Truth Squad" prosecutors who was interviewed on KMOV TV.

Joyce (9-27-08) responded and clarified what she means:

As a citizen, I believe that elections should be about issues. I also have enormous respect for our First Amendment and freedom of speech. My sole purpose in participating in this initiative is about getting truthful information to the voters. This has never been or never will be about prosecuting people.

Clearly there are those who are attempting to twist the purpose of this initiative for their own benefit. This attack is a great example of how the truth is distorted in campaigns and what we’re trying to stand up against.

That's good, but I notice that Senator Obama didn't unleash any "Truth Squads" to counter slander when his minister Rev. Wright told his congregation that the American government made AIDS to kill black people. Senator Obama didn't denounce this KGB-inspired lie until Rev Wright's slander was plastered all over TV and youtube and became an embarrassment to him.

Senator Obama says that he didn't know that Rev. Wright was telling this lie about AIDS. If that is true, why doesn't Senator Obama pound a stake into this KGB lie once and for all by telling the whole world where it came from?

If Senator Obama were to stand up on national television and tell our people---especially young black boy and girls---the whole history of this KGB lie, I would seriously consider voting for him. But I don't think he will do this, because he has supported communist radicals and probably doesn't want to annoy them.

In 1987 the KGB-controlled Soviet media even slandered a friend of mine named Brent Anderson who became critically ill with AIDS in China. A Soviet newspaper wrote that Brent Anderson was a biological weapon against the USSR who had been sent by the CIA to China to give the Chinese AIDS "because China has a long border with the Soviet Union."

At that point, the State Department complained about these lies, and the KGB finally halted the AIDS propaganda campaign.

In 1992, the chief of Russia's foreign intelligence service--in a burst of glasnost' followed by a clumsy lie--admitted before an audience of Russian college students who were being recruited for the Russian intelligence service that the KGB made up this lie.

The Russian newspaper Izvestiya (3-19-92) reported:

[Russian foreign intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov] mentioned the well known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists' 'crafty' plots were fabricated in KGB offices. [For the motives behind Primakov's frank admission see here.]

This crackpot KGB "science," which is reminiscent of Stalin's belief in Lysenkoism, was a big embarrassment to honest scientists in the former USSR; and they disavowed the KGB's AIDS theory in November 1987, a few weeks after Brent died of AIDS.

The New York Times (11-5-87) reported:

Soviet scientists have disavowed charges in the Soviet-sponsored press that the AIDS virus was artificially cultivated at a secret American military base.

The scientists, Roald Sagdeyev and Vitali Goldansky, publicly distanced the Soviet Academy of Sciences from the accusations about American responsibility for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. They said they had protested the appearance of Soviet articles that repeated those contentions.

The disavowal was contained in Izvestia, the Soviet government newspaper, on Friday. The timing of the article by the scientists suggested that it had been written in response to complaints raised by Secretary of State George P. Shultz in an Oct. 23 meeting with Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, about Soviet discussion of the AIDS issue. Mr. Shultz told Mr. Gorbachev that Moscow had been peddling ''bum dope'' on the subject.

According to the medical and scientific community who study AIDS, this KGB-inspired crackpot "scientific" conspiracy theory endangers the health and lives of black people:

More than 20 years after the AIDS epidemic arrived in the United States, a significant proportion of African Americans embrace the theory that government scientists created the disease to control or wipe out their communities, according to a study released today by Rand Corp. and Oregon State University.

That belief markedly hurts efforts to prevent the spread of the disease among black Americans, the study's authors and activists said

....Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, said past discrimination is no longer an excuse for embracing conspiracies that allow HIV to fester.

"It's a huge barrier to HIV prevention in black communities," Wilson said. "There's an issue around conspiracy theory and urban myths. Thus we have an epidemic raging out of control, and African Americans are being disproportionately impacted in every single sense."

"The whole notion of conspiracy theories and misinformation . . . removes personal responsibility," Wilson said. "If there is this boogeyman, people say, 'Why should I use condoms? Why should I use clean needles?' And if I'm an organization, 'Why should I bother with educating my folks?'

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Alicia Forrest of Quartzsite, Arizona Charged with Criminal Interference Following a Confrontation with the Denver Police

The district attorney's office will not file charges against a Denver police officer who was videotaped shoving an activist to the ground at a protest during the Democratic National Convention last month...."A thorough review of all the evidence compels the conclusion that a woman failed to comply with repeated lawful police orders to move back," said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver DA's office.
"She then grabbed an officer's baton, pushing it away. The officer pushed back, using the baton, and the woman fell to the ground. She was not injured. It was these facts that were considered in the decision."---Rocky Mountain News (9-24-08)
[See also Zombie’s Anatomy of a Video: Fabricating Police Brutality]

Code Pink's fairy princess Alicia Forrest (age 22 or 24) was arrested during the Democratic National Convention in Denver's Civic Center Park and charged with criminal interference with the police. According to the Rocky Mountain News (9-27-08), Forrest splits her time between Courtside, Arizona and Los Angeles.

Actually, I think Forrest probably hails from Quartzsite, Arizona, although rumors have reached me that the fashion designer-turned-activist shops for all her Code Pink raiment needs at our very own Broomfield Mall's exclusive Halloween Express.

Quartzsite is at the junction of Interstate 10 and U.S. 95, in the Sonoran Desert between Phoenix and Los Angeles or San Diego. Quartzsite is a pit stop in the desert where travellers can use the facilities and buy gas, coolant, a Big Gulp, and a Big Mac; but the town also has a colorful history.

Quartzsite was founded in 1867 on the former site of old Fort Tyson, a private fort built in 1856 by Charles Tyson for protection against Indian raids.

In town, the Hi Jolly Monument, a tombstone in the shape of an Egyptian pyramid, is the final resting place of Quartzsite's favorite son, a Syrian camel driver named Hadji Ali who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.

Roadside America explains:

In 1856, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (later President of the Confederacy) had a novel idea: transporting freight and people across the desert Southwest on camels. He eventually imported over 70 of the beasts. Along with the first batch came a Syrian caretaker, Hadji Ali. His American masters called him Hi Jolly.

A plaque on Hi Jolly's tomb says of the camel experiment: "A fair trial might have resulted in complete success." But the Civil War intervened, Jefferson Davis changed jobs, and without his support the project was abandoned. The camels were set free to fend for themselves in the desert near Quartzsite.

Hi Jolly remained, living into his seventies and dying in 1902. Such was the locals' fondness for him that they built Hi Jolly a special pyramid tomb, made of multicolored petrified wood and quartz, in the Quartzsite cemetery.

Today the camels have vanished, but Quartzsite has grown into a flea market oasis for caravans of tourists crossing the the Sonoran in their cars and campers. Quartzsite is a huge fairgrounds with gem and mineral shows, car shows, RV shows, flea markets, trailer parks, and its very own fairy princess, Alicia Forrest.

Quartztown's official site explains:

Tourism is the major contributor to Quartzsite's economy. The retail trade and services sectors benefit from the visitors who reside at the numerous (more than 70) mobile home parks in the vicinity between October and March. Nine major gem, mineral, and 15 general swap-meeting shows are popular tourist attractions, attracting approximately 1.5 million people annually.

But I digress...we were speaking not of Quartzsite's famous camel jockey Hi Jolly but of Code Pink's fairy princess Alicia Forrest and how she gets her jollies.

An investigation found that Forrest refused to move back as protesters surrounded the Denver police during the arrest of another protester on Aug. 26, 2008.

The Denver Post (9-23-08) reports:

An investigation found that Alicia Forrest, 24, refused to back away as protesters crowded police during the arrest of a protester Aug. 26. A Rocky Mountain News video captured Officer Scott Stewart shoving the woman with his baton and saying, "Back up, (expletive)," as Forrest collapsed. Before the camera panned to the shove, police can be heard telling people to "Back it up," and Forrest can be heard saying, "Do it again."

"(Forrest) failed to comply with repeated lawful police orders to move back," said the DA's office. "She then grabbed an officer's baton, pushing it away. The officer pushed back, using the baton, and the woman fell to the ground."

Forrest is facing up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. On October 15, 2008, she must appear at a disposition hearing to discuss the charges against her.

Pajamas Media (8-31-08) has a story about Forrest's 15 minutes of fame that includes pictures and video.

15 minutes is all she rates.

Hi Jolly, on the other hand, rode to fame in Quartzsite on his camel and is buried beneath a pyramid. Quartzsite's favorite son didn't dress as a fairy princess.

The Hi Jolly Exhibit and Human Leg Bone site notes:

Hi Jolly passed through this stretch of the Mojave Desert on his travels, which is reason enough to include an exhibit about him at Fort Irwin's National Training Center and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Museum.

The exhibit features a real stuffed camel (although not one of Hi Jolly's), and notes that the camel driver once saved the lives of five Americans under attack by Indians. "Hi-Jolly drew his Scimitar and charged them yelling 'Bismiallah' (God is Great) with his great cape flapping in the wind. The Indians had never seen a camel or such a rider and fled in a state of terror."

...In addition to the Hi Jolly exhibit, the museum contains "many unusual pieces" according to director Neil Morrison, all of it relating to the history of the Fort or of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which has seen combat all over the world. One exhibit from the Philippines is a "poking device" made from a human leg bone. "You'd poke the enemy and try to kill him," Neil explained. Also on display are two primitive combs, again from the Philippines, dipped in poison. "There was no cure for it," Neil said. "They would scratch you, and you died a horrible death."

"One fellow made a necklace out of fingers," Neil added, "but we didn't get it."

Fort Irwin is the "opposing force" training center of the U.S. military. This means that it uses real people against U.S. troops. With over 1000 square miles of land, the Fort once regularly hosted tank battles against fake Russians. Now, according to Neil, "we employ over 280 Iraqis who live out there," in over a dozen fake villages, to season soldiers in middle eastern urban combat. Tourists aren't allowed onto the training sites, but they can visit the museum, which displays some of the fake Russian stuff and has a dummy of an Arab with an RPG and an explosive vest. One bad guy Arab, one good guy Arab -- it's a stalemate here.

Roadside America explains:

In those long-ago days the cemetery [where Hi Jolly is buried] was remote, just bare ground and a few scrubby sagebrush at the edge of an obscure desert outpost. Now you have to drive through the very busy Quartzsite flea market to get to Hi Jolly. Still, his tomb is the biggest thing back in its tiny patch of desert solitude.

The camels, by the way, outlived Jefferson Davis, Hi Jolly, and even the cementing of the plaque. Their last reported sighting was in 1942.

...Neil Morrison, director of the 11th Armored Calvary Museum at Fort Irwin, California, said that Hi Jolly had two wives simultaneously, and that there was a second middle-eastern camel trainer as well, "Greek George" (There were originally ten, but the other eight quit when the Army refused to pay them up-front). Greek George eventually settled in southern California. One day he innocently helped a Mexican bandit who had been injured in a fight, was later tried and found guilty of aiding a criminal (even though he spoke no English or Spanish), and was hanged -- so no monument for George.

Probably no monument for Alicia Forrest, either.

The Barack Obama Truth Squad

A Missouri television station is reporting that the Obama Campaign is asking Missouri prosecutors and sheriffs who have joined the Missouri's "Barack Obama Truth Squad" to "target anyone who lies" about Senator Obama and "violates Missouri ethics laws." It is hard to believe ethics laws would be exploited to stifle political debate, but look at the KMOVT.V. video.

A Conservative political organization called the American Issues Project (AIP) is publicizing information about Senator Barack Obama's ties to radicals.

The American Issues Project (8-27-08) reports:

The Barack Obama campaign has now sent a second letter to the Department of Justice calling for the prosecution of one of American Issues Project’s donors for his role in funding a political advertisement in full compliance with all election laws. “Having failed in its attempts to get our legal, factual and fully-supported ad off the air, Barack Obama’s campaign now wants to put our donors in prison for exercising their right to free speech," said Ed Martin, American Issues Project’s president. “These over-the-top bullying tactics are reminiscent of the kind of censorship one would see in a Stalinist dictatorship, with the only difference being that those guys generally had to wait until they were in power to throw people who disagreed with them into jail.”

In addition to two letters sent to the Department of Justice asking the government to investigate American Issues Project, its officers, board of directors, and donors, the Obama campaign has been contacting stations running American Issues Project’s ad in an unsuccessful attempt to compel them to pull the spot.

With no success on either front, the campaign has also begun running its own ad in response. Notably, this ad fails to dispute a single fact in the American Issues Project’s initial ad. The American Issues Project is a 501(c)4 organization, similar in structure to NARAL and the League of Conservation Voters, two liberal organizations that have claimed status as “qualified nonprofit corporations” for two decades. In accordance with federal law, American Issues Project only solicits and accepts contributions from individuals and not from any business corporation. The FEC also sets out specific regulations for the activities of a qualified nonprofit corporation, which American Issues Project follows.

Senator Obama has a site called Fight the Smears and organizations called "Barack Obama Truth Squads" in some states that counter what his campaign feels is misinformation about Senator Obama.

A Missouri television station is reporting that the Obama Campaign is asking Missouri prosecutors and sheriffs who have joined the Missouri's "Barack Obama Truth Squad" to "target anyone who lies" about Senator Obama and "violates Missouri ethics laws." This is hard to believe ethics laws would be exploited to stifle political debate, but look at the KMOVT.V. video.

National Review Online (9-26-08) discusses this development:

Prosecutors and sheriffs from across Missouri are joining "The Barack Obama Truth Squad."

They mention Jennifer Joyce, St. Louis Circuit Attorney and Bob McCullough, prosecutor for St. Louis County in Missouri.

The reporter says, "They will be reminding voters that Barack Obama is a Christian who wants to cut taxes for anyone making less than $250,000 a year."

While the report never quite comes out and says that anyone running an ad saying those things would be subject to prosecution, that certainly is the message implied. [Full text]

KMOTV has video that includes the prosecutors speaking. The prosecutors who speak on T.V. don't actually say they will bring criminal charges, but they sure imply this would be the case. KMOTV says the prosecutors and sheriffs on the "Truth Squad" have said they will use Missouri's ethics laws to go after people who lie about Senator Obama.

Is "Truth" going to be determined by prosecutors and sheriffs who support Senator Obama instead of by open debate?

Senator Obama is a public figure whose campaign and supporters can easily counter what they consider misinformation and lies, but they should not get to privatize prosecutors and exploit ethics laws to intimidate people who criticize a Presidential contender. It was the Soviets who used libel laws to silence their critics.

Senator Obama and the Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers channelled educational funds to political radicals such as the Maoist Mike Klonsky.

Terrorists and Communists think they should be the only ones who have free speech. They use slander laws to suppress peaceful criticism of their policies and regimes.

The National Review (9-26-08) cites a Friday statement from the American Issues Project (9-26-08) publicizing the intimidating tactics of the Missouri Truth Squad:

Barack Obama is now using local law enforcement officials to carry out his campaign of legal intimidation by assembling a group of high-ranking Missouri police officials and prosecutors – including St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough and City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce – to identify and target anyone the campaign determines is producing “misleading” political advertisements.

“This is an outrageous and shocking attempt by the Obama campaign to again employ Stalinist, police state tactics against those who dare to disagree with Barack Obama,” said Ed Martin, American Issues Projects president. “I am frankly stunned to see public officials like McCullough and Joyce abusing their official prosecutorial positions to serve as attack dogs for a national political campaign. I am quite certain Missourians elected these individuals to enforce the laws and arrest criminals, not to throw people in jail for daring to practicing free speech.

"The Obama campaign continues to provide a chilling preview of what would happen to political freedom in an Obama administration.”

This new effort is only the most recent attempt by the Obama campaign to crack down on free speech. Obama’s lawyers twice demanded the Department of Justice investigate and prosecute the American Issues Project, its officers, board of directors, and donors. The campaign also threatened stations running American Issues Project’s ad in an unsuccessful attempt to compel them to pull the spot, and ran its own ad in response.

Notably, this ad failed to dispute a single fact the American Issues Project has put forth.

Friday, September 26, 2008

John Graham's Attorney Argues that Graham Is Not "Indian" Under Federal Criminal Law

"[F]ederal prosecutors say Aquash and Graham are "Indians" and subject to federal jurisdiction. According to proposed jury instructions filed in U.S. District Court, "An 'Indian' is a person who 1) has some Indian blood; and 2) the person is 'recognized' as an Indian."

Jury instructions proposed by prosecutors go on to say that other factors can be used to help determine whether a person is recognized as an "Indian," such as whether the person is "socially recognized as an Indian through living on the reservation and participating in Indian social life."--Rapid City Journal (9-25-08)

American Indian Movement (AIM) member John Graham (pictured above) goes on trial on October 6, 2008, for the December 1975 murder of the Canadian Indian Anna Mae Aquash. Anna Mae's body was found on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation near Wanblee, S. Dakota. She may have been killed because Leonard Peltier told her that he killed two FBI agents and there were fears she would reveal this information to the FBI.

The prosecution will ask Dr. Gary Peterson, a pathologist who examined Anna Mae's remains, to testify. Dr. Peterson found that Anna Mae had been shot in the back of the head and that there was evience she had been raped or had sex before she was murdered.

The Rapid City Journal (9-25-08) reports that Graham's defense attorney John Murphy is arguing that the indictment should be dismissed because U.S. District Court does not have jurisdiction over the case because Graham is a Canadian Indian:

...[Murphy argues that] Graham and Aquash are both Canadian citizens who belong to indigenous tribal bands there. Neither belonged to tribes recognized by the U.S. government. And because of that, defense attorney John Murphy argues, the U.S. government can't prosecute Graham.

"For this court to have jurisdiction over this case, either Mr. Graham or Ms. Aquash have to be recognized as an 'Indian,'" Murphy wrote in his motion. "The threshold inquiry to determine whether a person is 'Indian' under federal criminal law is whether the person is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe.

"Murphy goes on to cite case law, saying that historically, when tribes in the U.S. migrated to Canada, the United States' relationship with those tribes ceased to exist.

...[C]rimes that happen on reservations that do not involve either a native defendant or a native victim are subject to prosecution in state court.

But federal prosecutors say Aquash and Graham are "Indians" and subject to federal jurisdiction. According to proposed jury instructions filed in U.S. District Court, "An 'Indian' is a person who 1) has some Indian blood; and 2) the person is 'recognized' as an Indian."

Jury instructions proposed by prosecutors go on to say that other factors can be used to help determine whether a person is recognized as an "Indian," such as whether the person is "socially recognized as an Indian through living on the reservation and participating in Indian social life."

Aquash, Graham and [convicted killer Arlo] Looking Cloud all belonged to the American Indian Movement, as did a third defendant, Richard Marshall.

Prosecutors are expected to file a response to Murphy's motion. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol has not issued a ruling. [Full text]

The assertions in this article are a real surprise to me. I always thought that the crime of murder on an Indian reservation was a federal offense and that the race or nationality of the person was irrelevant. I will have to find out more about this.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who Elevated Barack Obama to the Chairmanship of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge?

"New evidence strongly suggests that Barack Obama has been less than forthcoming about the role that unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers may have played in choosing him to lead the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC)."--Editors, National Review Online (9-24-08)

Investigative reporter Stanley Kurtz (pictured above; articles archived here) has published two new articles about Senator Obama in the National Review Online: "Obama’s Challenge: The campaign speaks to “Radicalism” (9-23-08) and "Founding Brothers: What’s behind Obama’s early rise?" (8-24-08).

I have written previously about Kurtz' investigative reporting here and here.

In an earlier article, "Barack Obama, Aspiring Commissar"(8-28-08), The National Review Online editors explained:

As [blogger Steve] Diamond relates [here (8-20-08)], one of the first CAC [Chicago Annenberg Challenge]awards in 1995 was $175,000 for the “Small Schools Workshop,” which had been founded by [Weatherman bomber Bill] Ayers and was then headed by [Maoist] Mike Klonsky. It was only the beginning of the CAC’s generous funding of Klonsky — a committed Maoist who had been an Ayers comrade in the radical Students for a Democratic Society (the forerunner of Ayers’ Weatherman terrorist organization)...

In his current article, "Founding Brothers: What’s behind Obama’s early rise?" (9-24-08), Mr. Kurtz writes:

New evidence strongly suggests that Barack Obama has been less than forthcoming about the role that unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers may have played in choosing him to lead the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC).

...Obama and his allies are not being fully forthcoming on this issue, quite possibly in an attempt to disguise the fact the Bill Ayers had a substantial role in elevating Barack Obama to the chairmanship of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

...the question of how a young and inexperienced lawyer like Obama was chosen to head a foundation created by Bill Ayers in 1995 is still very much open. [This is a complicated article, so read the original as well as the 9-23-08 article.]

FBI Official Kenneth Kaiser Comments on the Mortgage Crisis

"[T]he FBI is a law enforcement and intelligence agency, we are not banking regulators...In the end, most economists have attributed the crisis to very aggressive lending practices and too little risk management throughout the financial services industry."--Kenneth Kaiser, Assistant Director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division

Like everyone else, our media pundits don't really understand the mortgage crisis very well.

On 8-29-08, FBI official Kenneth Kaiser (pictured above) commented on an article published in the Los Angeles Times (8-25-08) that he felt mischaracterized the causes of the current mortgage crisis.

Mr. Kaiser, the Assistant Director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, explained:

Your 8/25 story on the mortgage crisis ("FBI saw threat of mortgage crisis," L.A. Times, August 25, 2008) implied that if the FBI had made more arrests for mortgage fraud, the crisis could have been averted. To even suggest that is a cry for a lesson in both civics and basic economics.

The story's premise was built around a 2004 quote from an FBI official who said he was confident the FBI could prevent fraud from becoming a massive problem. In context, Assistant Director Chris Swecker meant he believed the FBI could stay focused on mortgage fraud to prevent fraud from becoming the major driver that would cause a collapse of credit in the housing market. We believe by a good measure, the Bureau did that.

The FBI's Criminal Division has arrested 1000 suspects and targeted 180 criminal enterprises since 2004. We targeted those lenders and buyers involved in multiple frauds or cases where the profits went to drug crews, gangs or organized crime. More investigations are ongoing. But the FBI is a law enforcement and intelligence agency, we are not banking regulators.

In the end, most economists have attributed the crisis to very aggressive lending practices and too little risk management throughout the financial services industry. As far as mortgage fraud was concerned, the FBI had the right intelligence and provided the right warnings to the industry, but fraud alone does not appear to be the straw that broke the mortgage camel's back.

In the boom and bust of the mortgage business, to suggest that making more arrests would have averted the mortgage crisis is to confuse the root cause with the side-effects. It is not a fair or realistic assessment.

Kenneth Kaiser

Assistant Director Criminal Investigative Division Federal Bureau of Investigation
(As posted on the Los Angeles Times website, August 29, 2008)

[See also the FBI Mortgage Fraud homepage]

Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings Shoots from the Lip

"If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention...Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through."--Florida Representative Alcee Hastings

Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings (above) used to be a federal judge in Florida before he was impeached and removed from the bench because of a bribery scandal.

Now Rep. Hastings is claiming that John McCain's running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin doesn't care about Jews and blacks just because she is a hunter.

ABC News (9-24-08) reports:

Florida Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings pointed to Sarah Palin on Wednesday to rally Jews to Obama.

"If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention," said Hastings. "Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through."

Hastings, who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, made his comments in Washington, D.C., while participating in a panel discussion sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Asked what the congressman meant, Hastings spokesman David Goldenberg told ABC News that he was trying to argue that Palin is an "extremely conservative woman who is out of touch with mainstream America." [Full text]

The FBI on the Trail of Accounting Fraud


You'll do better, Licinius, not to spend your life
Venturing too far out on the dangerous waters,
Or else, for fear of storms, staying too close in
To the dangerous rocky shoreline.
That man does best
Who chooses the middle way, so he doesn't end up
Living under a roof that's going to ruin
Or in some gorgeous mansion everyone envies.
The tallest pine shakes most in a wind storm;
The loftiest tower falls down with the loudest crash;
The lightning bolt heads straight for the mountain top.
Always expect reversals; be hopeful in trouble,
Be worried when things go well. That's how it is
For the man whose heart is ready for anything.
It's true that Jupiter brings on the hard winters;
It's also true that Jupiter takes them away.
If things are bad right now, they won't always be.
Apollo isn't always drawing his bow;
There are times when he takes up his lyre and plays,
And awakens the music sleeping upon the strings.
Be resolute when things are going against you,
But shorten sail when the fair wind blows too strong.

--The Roman Poet Horace advising people to chose the golden mean

Last night, President Bush (9-24-08) addressed the nation about the financial crisis our country faces:

I know many Americans have questions tonight: How did we reach this point in our economy? How will the solution I've proposed work? And what does this mean for your financial future? These are good questions, and they deserve clear answers.

First, how did our economy reach this point?

Well, most economists agree that the problems we are witnessing today developed over a long period of time. For more than a decade, a massive amount of money flowed into the United States from investors abroad, because our country is an attractive and secure place to do business. This large influx of money to U.S. banks and financial institutions -- along with low interest rates -- made it easier for Americans to get credit. These developments allowed more families to borrow money for cars and homes and college tuition -- some for the first time. They allowed more entrepreneurs to get loans to start new businesses and create jobs.

Unfortunately, there were also some serious negative consequences, particularly in the housing market. Easy credit -- combined with the faulty assumption that home values would continue to rise -- led to excesses and bad decisions. Many mortgage lenders approved loans for borrowers without carefully examining their ability to pay. Many borrowers took out loans larger than they could afford, assuming that they could sell or refinance their homes at a higher price later on.

Optimism about housing values also led to a boom in home construction. Eventually the number of new houses exceeded the number of people willing to buy them. And with supply exceeding demand, housing prices fell. And this created a problem: Borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages who had been planning to sell or refinance their homes at a higher price were stuck with homes worth less than expected -- along with mortgage payments they could not afford. As a result, many mortgage holders began to default.

These widespread defaults had effects far beyond the housing market. See, in today's mortgage industry, home loans are often packaged together, and converted into financial products called "mortgage-backed securities." These securities were sold to investors around the world. Many investors assumed these securities were trustworthy, and asked few questions about their actual value. Two of the leading purchasers of mortgage-backed securities were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because these companies were chartered by Congress, many believed they were guaranteed by the federal government. This allowed them to borrow enormous sums of money, fuel the market for questionable investments, and put our financial system at risk.

The decline in the housing market set off a domino effect across our economy. When home values declined, borrowers defaulted on their mortgages, and investors holding mortgage-backed securities began to incur serious losses. Before long, these securities became so unreliable that they were not being bought or sold. Investment banks such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers found themselves saddled with large amounts of assets they could not sell. They ran out of the money needed to meet their immediate obligations. And they faced imminent collapse. Other banks found themselves in severe financial trouble. These banks began holding on to their money, and lending dried up, and the gears of the American financial system began grinding to a halt.

...The government's top economic experts warn that without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic, and a distressing scenario would unfold:

More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically. And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit. More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs. Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.

Fellow citizens: We must not let this happen. I appreciate the work of leaders from both parties in both houses of Congress to address this problem -- and to make improvements to the proposal my administration sent to them. There is a spirit of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans, and between Congress and this administration. In that spirit, I've invited Senators McCain and Obama to join congressional leaders of both parties at the White House tomorrow to help speed our discussions toward a bipartisan bill.

I know that an economic rescue package will present a tough vote for many members of Congress. It is difficult to pass a bill that commits so much of the taxpayers' hard-earned money. I also understand the frustration of responsible Americans who pay their mortgages on time, file their tax returns every April 15th, and are reluctant to pay the cost of excesses on Wall Street. But given the situation we are facing, not passing a bill now would cost these Americans much more later.

Many Americans are asking: How would a rescue plan work?

After much discussion, there is now widespread agreement on the principles such a plan would include. It would remove the risk posed by the troubled assets -- including mortgage-backed securities -- now clogging the financial system. This would free banks to resume the flow of credit to American families and businesses. Any rescue plan should also be designed to ensure that taxpayers are protected. It should welcome the participation of financial institutions large and small. It should make certain that failed executives do not receive a windfall from your tax dollars. It should establish a bipartisan board to oversee the plan's implementation. And it should be enacted as soon as possible.

In close consultation with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and SEC Chairman Chris Cox, I announced a plan on Friday. First, the plan is big enough to solve a serious problem. Under our proposal, the federal government would put up to $700 billion taxpayer dollars on the line to purchase troubled assets that are clogging the financial system. In the short term, this will free up banks to resume the flow of credit to American families and businesses. And this will help our economy grow.

Second, as markets have lost confidence in mortgage-backed securities, their prices have dropped sharply. Yet the value of many of these assets will likely be higher than their current price, because the vast majority of Americans will ultimately pay off their mortgages. The government is the one institution with the patience and resources to buy these assets at their current low prices and hold them until markets return to normal. And when that happens, money will flow back to the Treasury as these assets are sold. And we expect that much, if not all, of the tax dollars we invest will be paid back. [Full text]

It might be years before financial experts really understand what caused the current financial collapse, but Treasury Secretary Paulson is charged with fixing the problem right now.

The President seems to be saying that Americans were borrowing and lending recklessly because there was too much easy money; and now we can't borrow or end because there is suddenly no money.

Here's how my dad summed up the Great Depression: "There was no money."

I will never understand the complexities of the subprime mortgage crisis, but I do understand that I have to be able to afford my mortgage and that sometimes real estate goes down. Many borrowers, lenders, and lawmakers seem to have forgotten this.

It also seems to me that the people who lend money for mortgages should also have to shoulder the risk of their loans, but mortgage brokers get paid to make a loan and then sell these risky loans to someone else. The way the laws are now, we seem to have privatized the profits and socialized the risk.

One financial expert I spoke with believes that the subprime mortage crisis is the fault of the financial system and the housing bubble. In this view, criminals did not cause this crisis, although they may be taking advantage of the downturn in real estate.

The FBI (April 2008) also explains:

The downward trend in the housing market provides an ideal climate for mortgage fraud perpetrators to employ a myriad of schemes suitable to a down market. [See also the 9-29-08 comments of FBI official Kenneth Kaiser on the mortage crisis]

The subprime mortgage crisis has been brewing for a long time, and now the media coverage of Wall Street's meltdown has politicians on the hunt for criminals to scapegoat; however, the subprime mortage crisis is probably more the result of our laws than our frauds.

Back in January 2008, there were media reports that the FBI was investigating 14 companies suspected of accounting fraud, improperly securing loans, and insider trading. The New York Times (1-30-08) published an article publicizing the FBI investigations as did The Washington Times (1-30-08) and other newspapers.

In January, the FBI (1-31-08) also posted information about financial fraud and subprime mortgages. The FBI has a homepage for Mortgage Fraud. [For background about the FBI's investigations google FBI subprime; seach the FBI site for "subprime"]

Bloomberg (9-24-08) is now reporting:

The FBI is investigating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and American International Group Inc. in its probe of the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, according to a senior law-enforcement official.

Those companies are among 26 being reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for possible accounting misstatements, said the official, who asked to remain unidentified. The investigations are preliminary, the official said late yesterday.

The FBI has come under pressure to hold companies responsible as the loan crisis rocked Wall Street and led to the biggest housing slump since the Depression. Financial companies worldwide have reported more than $500 billion in losses and writedowns stemming from the subprime collapse.

Housing lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, as well as insurer AIG, were all taken over by the government earlier this month. Lehman filed for bankruptcy. The crisis has led the Bush administration to ask Congress to approve a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry.

...The investigations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were recently opened, said the law enforcement official. The agency had already been looking into allegations concerning Lehman and AIG.

...People familiar with the matter have said that other companies under FBI investigation include IndyMac Bancorp Inc. and Countrywide Financial Corp., which has since been bought by Bank of America Corp.

Back in January, The Washington Times (1-30-08) reported:

The FBI yesterday said its investigation into the subprime mortgage crisis is focusing on 14 companies suspected of accounting fraud, improperly securing loans and insider trading.

None of the companies involved were identified by the FBI, but Bear Stearns Cos., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley separately acknowledged yesterday that government investigators were asking for information about their subprime lending practices.

Those acknowledgments were contained in annual reports the companies were required to submit yesterday to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, although it was not clear last night if the SEC disclosures were directly related to the FBI probe. All three said they were cooperating with the government requests.

FBI officials said agents were looking into possible fraud during the many stages of mortgage securitization, adding that the ongoing investigation involved subprime lenders, housing developers and the many banks that packaged loans as securities.

"We're looking at the accounting fraud that goes through the securitization of these loans," said Neil Power, chief of the FBI's economic crimes unit. "We're dealing with the people who securitize them and then the people who hold them, such as the investment banks."

...FBI agents are working with officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is involved in more than 30 investigations in the subprime mortgage business. The bureau usually focuses on mortgage fraud cases involving more than $500,000. It currently has more than 1,200 cases pending, up 50 percent in the past year.

...The "2006 Mortgage Fraud Report" said there was a "strong correlation between mortgage fraud and loans which result in default and foreclosure," adding that escalating foreclosures provided criminals with the opportunity to "exploit and defraud vulnerable homeowners seeking financial guidance."

The FBI said at the time that it was "proactively working with the mortgage industry" in an effort to curb mortgage fraud crimes...[Full text]

It's a good thing that the FBI is investigating mortage fraud, but the subprime mortgage crisis probably wasn't caused by criminals breaking the laws but by what the laws permitted.

Two thousand years ago the Roman poet Horace gave his countrymen good advice that America's borrowerers and lenders have forgotten today:

That man does best
Who chooses the middle way, so he doesn't end up
Living under a roof that's going to ruin
Or in some gorgeous mansion everyone envies.
The tallest pine shakes most in a wind storm;
The loftiest tower falls down with the loudest crash;
The lightning bolt heads straight for the mountain top.
Always expect reversals; be hopeful in trouble,
Be worried when things go well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Peter Matthiessen's Dirty Little Secret

“The American Indian Movement [AIM] is a revolutionary organization which is committed to violence…has cached explosives and illegally purchased arms…and whose opponents have been eliminated in the manner of the Mafia.”--U.S. Congress, September 1976

The Rapid City, South Dakota trial of AIMster John Graham for the December 1975 execution-murder of the young Canadian Indian Anna Mae Aquash begins on October 6, 2008.

Aquash was the mother of two young daughters. I hope Anna Mae's daughters, who are now grown women, will finally get justice for their young, murdered mother and the closure they deserve. I hope that John Graham's trial will strip away the hypocritical mask that hides the true face of the old AIM leaders who ordered this young mother's murder.

Retired FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph H. Trimbach and his son John M. Trimbach also pray for justice and closure. That's why they co-authored American Indian Mafia: An FBI Agent's True Story about Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM). Joe Trimbach was the Special Agent in Charge in Minneapolis when the AIM attacked the Lakota village of Wounded Knee on the night of February 27, 1973.

Trimbachs post on a blog titled AIM Myth Busters. The latest post, Peter Matthiessen's Dirty Little Secret (9-23-08), predicts that John Graham's trial will implicate the leadership of AIM in Anna Mae Aquash's murder.

In their 9-23-08 post, the AIM Myth Busters also criticize author Peter Matthiessen for cynically wrapping the vicious killer Leonard Peltier in the mantle of the famous Indian warrior Crazy Horse:

Peter Matthiessen's Dirty Little Secret

What’s in a name? For some people, apparently, the difference between having basic knowledge and being basically uninformed. The “Mafia” in American Indian Mafia has made a few readers positively apoplectic with concerns over slighting American Indians. If only they would flip a few pages to the Introduction, and the origin of the term: Congress’s reasoned conclusions after evaluating the criminal history of the American Indian Movement:

“The American Indian Movement is a revolutionary organization which is committed to violence… has cached explosives and illegally purchased arms… and whose opponents have been eliminated in the manner of the Mafia.”

Since that hearing in September 1976, evidence that the AIM leadership indeed operated “in the manner of the Mafia” has become too much to ignore. In fact, in a few weeks the leadership will be put on trial, in a sense, because one of their former lieutenants must defend himself against murder charges. John Graham is the alleged triggerman in the murder of AIM member Anna Mae Aquash. Anyone familiar with the case will tell you that Graham was just following orders. Again, the book’s Introduction and our last blog bear repeating:

“Anna Mae Aquash was executed by a single gunshot to the back of her head on orders from the American Indian Movement because they believed her to be an informant for the F.B.I.”

This statement is also borrowed. It is quoted, word for word, from the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. On June 26, 2007, the Court stated the above as fact and as more than sufficient to extradite Graham from his home country back to South Dakota. If found guilty, he will join his accomplice, Arlo Looking Cloud, in a life sentence. But that is far from the end of the story.

On August 20, 2008, AIM leader Russell Means’s former bodyguard, Richard Marshall, was indicted for aiding and abetting the Aquash murder. This tends to implicate Means far more than the whispered conversations that have floated around the Pine Ridge Reservation for the last 33 years. This time, it appears the big fish might fall. Means’s role in the murder is less clear than that of his former colleague, Dennis Banks, the AIM leader who allegedly made the final call to end Anna Mae's life. Banks spoke too soon, when on February 24, 1976, he informed his wife that "They found Anna Mae." Trouble was, the body had been left in a canyon for over ten weeks, and it took the FBI until March to indentify the remains. Banks has never been able to explain his forensic insight. Very soon, he may have to in front of a jury.

So, what’s in a name? Well, possibly a lot when there is evidence of genuine dishonesty. And when a name is shamelessly denigrated. Take for instance, author Peter Matthiessen’s use of the name “Crazy Horse.” Matthiessen’s book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, seeks to elevate another AIM criminal, convicted killer Leonard Peltier, to the status of the great warrior chief. Peltier was found guilty in the 1975 murders of two FBI Agents. As is the case with his former leadership, the evidence against Peltier has only grown since his incarceration in 1976. Peltier is, in fact, the antithesis of every principle attributed to the noble and brave Crazy Horse.

That leaves Matthiessen with a problem of accountability. Not only did he receive accolades for his book, much of it falsified in support of Peltier, he has never had to answer for the abomination of comparing a genuine Indian warrior to a ruthless, cowardly thug. Matthiessen has gotten away with truly astounding effrontery against all Indians.

Peltier will stay in prison because he is guilty and because he is completely without remorse. Justice has been served. Matthiessen's abomination, however, remains. Native Americans should be outraged. Peltier’s chief defender needs to come clean and apologize to all of Indian Country, and perhaps, the entire country. Until then, he should expect ridicule and derision for dishonoring what many consider the greatest Indian name in history. Some people really do judge a book by its cover, or in this case, misjudge.

Posted by James Simon

Henry M. Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury

Henry M. Paulson, Jr., (above) is Secretary of the Department of Treasury. Mr. Paulson is in charge of fixing the subprime mortgage crisis.

The Administration is proposing a bill called the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

The International Herald Tribune (9-23-08) reports that the original draft of the proposed bill reads:

"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

The International Herald Tribune (9-23-08) reports:

Joshua Rosner, a managing director at Graham Fisher, says TARP should stand for "Total Abdication of Responsibility to the Public." He calls it "a clear abdication of all congressional oversight and fiscal authorities to a secretary of Treasury that has bungled this crisis from the beginning."

He argues that the bill grants "greater powers to the secretary of the Treasury than even the president enjoys."

The bigger issue is that the bill effectively creates protections not just for the Treasury, but for the executives on Wall Street who created this near Armageddon. Rosner says the draft bill "prevents judicial review that could allow the protection of decisions that create false marks, hide prior marks, or could be used to prevent civil or criminal prosecution in situations where a management knowingly provided false marks that aided the growth of this crisis of confidence."

False marks - using mark-to-market accounting to hide the true value of security, rather than disclose it honestly - has a lot to do with why Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron chief executive, is in jail.

Mr. Paulson used to work for Goldman Sachs. Here is his official biography:

President George W. Bush nominated Henry M. Paulson, Jr. to be the 74th Secretary of the Treasury on June 19, 2006. The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Paulson to the position on June 28, 2006 and he was sworn into office on July 10, 2006 by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. As Treasury Secretary, Paulson is the President's leading policy advisor on a broad range of domestic and international economic issues.

Before coming to Treasury, Paulson was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs since the firm’s initial public offering in 1999. He joined Goldman Sachs Chicago Office in 1974 and rose through the ranks holding several positions including, Managing Partner of the firm’s Chicago office, Co-head of the firm's investment Banking Division, President and Chief Operating Officer, and Co-Senior partner.

Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Paulson was a member of the White House Domestic Council, serving as Staff Assistant to the President from 1972 to 1973, and as Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon from 1970 to 1972.

Paulson graduated from Dartmouth in 1968, where he majored in English, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an All Ivy, All East football player. He received an M.B.A. from Harvard in 1970. He and his wife, Wendy, have two children, Amanda and Merritt.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Broomfield Mall's Halloween Brew Ha-Ha!

Ward Churchill (pictured above) before his consultation with Broomfield's Halloween Express Extreme Team
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Ward Churchill (pictured above) after visiting our Extreme Team Makeover Specialists at Broomfield Mall's Halloween Express
The Yourhub police blotter reports (9-19-08):
A 37-year-old Louisville woman filed a harassment report Sept. 16, insisting several men were following her. The woman, who describes herself as a conservative political activist, felt she's being targeted because she helped organize a rally at the Democratic National Convention. She said she noticed several men following her around town shortly after she posted information about the rally on a political Web site she maintains. The woman took pictures of the men and posted them on the site in an effort to help identify them. She stated this is not the first instance she's been targeted for her political beliefs. The woman claims former CU professor Ward Churchill threw "poisonous gas" in her face as she was exiting a store in Broomfield in 2006.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Subprime Mortgage Crisis: The Mother of All Bailouts

"My momma always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'"--Forrest Gump

Wikipedia has an article on the subprime mortgage crisis:

The crisis began with the bursting of the United States housing bubble[1][2] and high default rates on "subprime" and adjustable rate mortgages (ARM). Loan incentives, such as easy initial terms, in conjunction with an acceleration in rising housing prices encouraged borrowers to assume difficult mortgages on the belief they would be able to quickly refinance at more favorable terms. However, once housing prices started to drop moderately in 2006–2007 in many parts of the U.S., refinancing became more difficult.

It's a very complicated subject, but it sounds like a lot of people bought houses even though they couldn't afford the mortgage. They gambled that the price of their houses would go up. There seems to be plenty of blame to go around, and everyone is pointing fingers at each other. It appears that some mortgage brokers didn't make an effort to qualify their buyers.

Here is a diagram of the subprime mortgage crisis.

Wikipedia comments:

The reasons for this crisis are varied and complex.[21] The crisis can be attributed to a number of factors pervasive in both the housing and credit markets. Some of these include: the inability of homeowners to make their mortgage payments; poor judgment by the borrower and/or the lender; speculation and overbuilding during the boom period; risky mortgage products; high personal and corporate debt levels; financial innovation that distributed and perhaps concealed default risks; central bank policies; and regulation (or lack thereof) [22]

...Speculation in real estate was a contributing factor. During 2006, 22% of homes purchased (1.65 million units) were for investment purposes, with an additional 14% (1.07 million units) purchased as vacation homes. During 2005, these figures were 28% and 12%, respectively. In other words, nearly 40% of home purchases (record levels) were not primary residences.

Governor Palin claims on T.V. that her running mate John McCain told other Senators that there were problems in Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, but that nobody paid attention. Hopefully he has learned something since he was one of the Keating Five.

I don't think Senator Obama knows how to take care of other people's money, either. He just knows how to redistribute it to his far-left political friends. He doled out 100 million dollars to ideologues on the far left who promised to improve Chicago children's educational achievement, and had nothing to show for it.

Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., the head of the Department of the Treasury since July 10, 2006, is in charge of protecting the financial system, and he has outlined some measures he is taking.

When we bought our house, we had to prove we could afford our mortgage. The lender didn't take our word for it because they didn't want to lose their money. We bought a house we could afford to live in; we didn't buy a house we couldn't afford and gamble that we could sell it and make a profit. Now we will have to pay the bill for a lot of greedy people or else we will have a depression.