Letters to the Editor Week 41

CRAhad zero to do with financial meltdown

Dear Editor,

            BillSlusher is back! I guess we can all look forward to another series of lettersin which everything wrong with America can be blamed on poor blacks, liberalsand previous Democratic presidents. If only it was that easy. Mr. Slusherquotes Ann Coulter (No doubt a real expert on Wall Street and macro economics!)in his letter entitled “Regulations subjugated in the name of politicscorrectness.” His central point seems to be that the financial melt-down wascaused by previous Democratic administrations demanding that bankers andmortgage companies loan money to unqualified customers.

            If that’swhy he thinks this mess occurred, I’ve got news for him: He’s actually aboutone percent right! (For once!) Of course, being one percent right also meansyou’re about 99 percent wrong.

            While it isindeed true that both the Carter and Clinton administrations went along withderegulation of some industries and pushed for wider home ownership forminorities (which started with the “Community Reinvestment Act” in 1977),Slusher fails to mention (or perhaps didn’t bother to investigate) that the CRAhad zero to do with today’s financial meltdown, and was originally put in placeto end “redlining” (discrimination in lending). There was nothing in the CRAabout taking bad loans, in fact the CRA mandated loans consistent with safebanking practices. (But, just for the sake of argument, let’s say you stillthink this mess had something to do with Carter and the CRA, is there anyoneout there idiotic enough to think loans made 31 years ago would have anythingto do with a financial meltdown in 2008?)

            It’s a factwidely accepted in Wall Street and financial circles that what ultimatelyallowed this huge mess to occur was the legislation pushed by Phil Gramm (AMcCain financial advisor) in 1999 called the “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.” Itrepealed the Glass-Steagall act, passed during the Great Depression, whichprohibited a commercial bank from being in the investment and insurancebusiness. Gramm then went on to push through the “Commodities FuturesModernization Act,” which exempted most over-the-counter derivatives, creditderivatives and credit default swaps from regulatory scrutiny. (A “creditdefault swap” is a form of insurance that is not regulated – because insuranceunder U.S. law has to be backed with cash – that was invented by the WallStreet bankers to make risky loans seem less risky to the institutions theyresold them to).

            The writingof bad mortgages for low income people (loans with exploding interest rates andno income documentation) was something that occurred mostly after 2003. And, in2004, the Bush administration actually weakened CRA regulations, freeing banksand thrifts from its toughest standards. Instead of reducing the number of badloans and sub-prime lending (As you’d imagine would happen if Slusher wascorrect in his theory), it actually accelerated the process!

            We are nowwitnessing the result of Bush/Gramm/Republican (and yes democrat) deregulationof banking and what has become known as “Casino Capitalism:” Big bets on thebelief that real estate will go up forever and that through a series of complexfinancial transactions (Not overseen by any meaningful regulation), the inherentweakness of the underlying theory could be masked and insulated from taxpayersand the public. It was a stupid bet made by greedy people and the result is afinancial crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Great Depression.

            Inconclusion, blaming poor minorities and programs designed to get them into homeownership for this gigantic mess when in reality it was caused by greedy WallStreet bankers and idiotic politicians that enabled them, is akin to blamingchildren for being fat when their parents give them Twinkies for every meal.Give me a break!

Greg James


            P.S – justin case you’re one of those ideologically driven folks that thinks Bush can dono wrong and – like Slusher –  refuse to accept that there are some deepproblems with conservative economic theory, ponder this: A couple of years backBush and Co. tried very hard to privatize Social Security and hand the wholesystem over to Wall Street. Had they achieved their goal I suspect a lot of”believers” reading this newspaper might very well be facing an even more bleakfinancial future. Tough as it might be to accept, the people that shot downthat idiotic idea may well be the folks that saved your rear end frombankruptcy.


Perplexedand angry at the response

Dear Editor,

            RE: Mr. Penney’sletter: In retrospect, perhaps I was a bit off – evasive in my letterpertaining to your “dislike” of Dr. Dienst and his efforts. I just don’tunderstand your animosity level delivered against him. What did he do to you? Idon’t personally know the man, other than him setting a busted finger I got atwork once and stitching up my wife’s finger from another work mishap. He cameacross as a nice man with the demeanor required to be a good doctor. So whenyou jumped on his work I was a bit perplexed and a little angry.

            Yes, theBible says Israel is the chosen land and the chosen people. It doesn’t say allof their actions are right. In fact, having read the Bible twice cover to cover(not nearly enough!) Israel has been punished by God numerous times for theirmistakes. Which, in my view continue. Caring about the Palestinians is not asin it is being compassionate. You know the Beatitudes, I presume. Or maybeyou’re Jewish. That would explain some of it. No offense intended at all.

God bless everyone,

Dan Dixon



Letthe markets balance themselves out

Dear Editor,

            Day by day,year after year, the NRWS Media lives through attacks on values by thosewithout regard for honesty or contextual facts. Values are inverted, makin
ggood appear as bad appear as good. It is time to tear off the disguises worn byprofessional cheaters who usurp a bogus living from honest value producers.

            Throughhistory, politicians have been the premier professional cheater operating on agrand scale, harmful to society. The “crisis” talked about this past week took10 years to get here and now they are pushing hard for an “immediate strategy.”Could this be another example of political dishonesty? Dishonest politicianseventually sink under the accumulated weight of their dishonesties, responsiblefor the harm inflicted on value producers, undermining personal values, loveand happiness.

            Theinevitable on-going “crisis” will result in the “blame game,” often donethrough the simple trick of using a point to evade the point; thus evadingreality. Facts and reality must be back in focus. The failed bale-out wasblamed on the media, the upcoming Jewish Holiday, Rosh Hashanah and the Speakerof the House.

            Theconstituents of member of the House let them know that Americans are angry.Greed and misjudgment stemmed the crisis.

            The failedbale-out reflected the resentment of Americans required to pay for mistakes andgreed of others…after all no one bales them out when the grocery bill is toohigh and the electric bill is overwhelming, and of course gas at the pump.Crude oil is down but gas prices still range from $3.60 to over $4 a gallon.

            TheAmerican people are willing to listen but more details are needed to instillconfidence. What is the cost to the taxpayer?

            We are cautionedthat a bale-out doesn’t promise a quick fix. The crisis will probably lastyears.

            For 30years prices have escalated, loans were pushed hard with “teaser rates” whilepeople greedily accepted for they were too attractive to turn down. Ultimatelyforeclosures started. Now industry suffers. There is pervasive fear. No simpleanswers. Back to survival of the fittest, the honest American who lives withinhis means, helps his neighbor, treasures his friends, assumes all of hisresponsibilities and obligations and is resilient enough to cope with hardtimes.

            I believean apology is in order for the American people and others affected abroad forthe obvious lack of statesmanship and leadership. Told the “economy was sound”while a crisis was in the wings just weeks later. Described as the worstSeptember since 1937 with the biggest point drop ever (down to 770 on the Dow)a general paranoia sets in, “bail me out first” and the sentiment of those whoremember the Depression years will be ever cautious, their sentiment: “Fool meonce, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

            I haveheard the question on the news, “what if we do nothing?” Not having registereda reply, my sense is to “let it all hang out.” Allow the markets to balanceout, work themselves out to balance over time without outside interference.There may be fewer ripples. Confidence will be restored with time. Congressmencan go home, the presidential candidates can resume campaigning. The holy dayof Rosh Hashanah can be celebrated and Halloween will help to pull us out ofthe sand and open our eyes to the reality of many changes ahead.


Marya Silverthorn



Urgeyour support for Shelly Short

Dear Editor,

            To thevoteers of the 7th District, this is a letter to compliment Shelly Short forthe completely clean campaign she is running to urge you to vote for her. Neverhas she uttered a smearing word of he opponent. We call that pretty amazing.

            We knowShelly and she is an extraordinary woman. So very intelligent, compassionate,kind and polite. She will work for the people of the 7th district, all thepeople, not just a chosen few. Joel Kretz wants to work with her in Olympia.That is a very good recommendation.

            We urge eachone of you, if it is possible to talk to Shelly. You will be glad you did. Shewill be our voice in Olympia. She knows all the ways of Olympia sessions,because she has been working in that capacity for years. She will be able tostart her job immediately, because she already knows how to do everythingneeded.

            Please joinus in voting for Shelly Short for our next State Representative of the 7thDistrict.


Ed and Stella Windsor



Conservatismis more than a ‘litmus test’

            Voters havea clear choice in the candidates for the 7th District Legislative House race.Shelly Short has spent the past 14 years listening to and helping individuals,communities and businesses solve their problems with state and federal agenciesand has taken agencies on when necessary. She has a proven record of someonewho listens and stands on the side of the citizens of Northeast Washington.That’s what we need-representation based on strong conservative values and aproven record of working with folks across the political spectrum to make apositive difference to us and our communities.

            Sue LaniMadsen’s statements in a recent article raised more questions than answersabout where and how firmly she stands on important issues. Contributions to hercampaign from liberal groups were brushed aside as common in a race between twoRepublicans, however public records show she received significant liberal groupcontributions in her previous
failed attempt to run for a legislative officewhen Democrats were also running. We have grave concerns about how liberal sheinterprets her stated positions of “bipartisan cooperation,” “conservative withan open mind” and having to “find a way to live together.” 

            To say thatconservatism in the 7th District is based simply on a three-issue litmus testalso misses the mark by a long shot and shows Madsen’s real lack ofunderstanding of the people’s need for strong leadership on a number of issuesimportant to our and our families’ lives and livelihoods.

            Madsendoesn’t seem to get that conservatism is a belief and a way of life to allcitizens of the 7th District. And a desire for less government interference andmore individual freedom. And recognition and pride that farmers, ranchers,loggers and miners in our rural communities have had in providing food, woodfiber, minerals and so much more, for ourselves and others for generations. Andthe ability to recognize and support true and beneficial environmental progresswhile having the courage to stand up against costly “feel good environmentalism”and policies based on pseudo-science. And government spending control andaccountability and economic stability. And much more.

            Conservatismis reflected in the individuals who currently serve the 7th District in theLegislature. Shelly Short has been endorsed by retiring Representative Bob Sumpto fill his position and by Representative Joel Kretz to work by his side inthe legislature on issues important to all of us.

            We believewe need to be represented in the legislature by a candidate who has a clearvoice and the ability to get things done. We strongly support Shelly Short asthat person. We encourage you to learn more about her strong experience andclear positions at www.vote4shelly.com.

Jim and Darlene Hajny



Palindoesn’t make any sense

Dear Editor,

         Sarah Palinis a brilliant strategist who has far reaching vision. And if you believe that,there’s a bridge in Brooklyn you may be interested in.

         RepublicanVP nominee Sarah Palin is so embarassing; she doesn’t make any sense. Palinopposes evolution, sex education, abortion, gun control; does this soundmainstream to you? The GOP VP nominee opposes universal health care, globalwarming predictions, abolition of capital punishment and is for abolishing theseparation between church and state.

         This is areligious kook right out of the Middle Ages who Republicans haveselected for the number two spot on their national ticket.Better wake up America – Sarah Palin makes George Bush look like a choirboy.


Nevada City, CA