Posts Tagged ‘Ron Paul’

Michigan Primary Prediction and Statistical Analysis

February 28, 2012

It’s been a while since I updated this, but I figured this would be fun.  I made my primary prediction for Michigan late last night and here’s the breakdown I went with:

Santorum – 40%
Romney – 39%
Paul – 11%
Gingrich – 9%
Others – 1%

Then today, I decided to look at the recent polls for Michigan.  The first poll I went with was starting on February 12, since anything before this wouldn’t factor in Santorum’s triple win in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota.  I made a scatter plot of Santorum – Romney:

I then added 2 trendlines. The first one (red) was a linear trendline which I knew wouldn’t be reflective of Santorum’s momentum recently. I plotted the second (green) second order polynomial trendline, which did a decent job at predicting his momentum, but I noticed that the relatively low lead he had right after his triple win was skewing the results a bit lower.  Those polls are so old that they don’t correctly account for what’s going on now with just a simple second order polynomial.  So I put in the third (purple) trendline, which was a third order polynomial.  This correctly factored in his slow start to gain momentum, but looks like it drastically overestimates it at the end.

So I thought, how can I better examine Santorum’s momentum.  I took out the polls right after Santorum’s triple-win, which I thought weren’t representative of the momentum he gained, then lost, and regained, and got this plot, with the red representing a linear trendline, and the green representing a second order polynomial:

This plot matched up almost perfectly with my predictions (which I wasn’t expecting it to turn out just like that), but I think accurately portrays the general momentum Santorum has had since his triple win.

Ultimately, gauging the momentum a candidate has is hard to do, but I think the second order polynomial in the second graph accurately portrays Santorum’s momentum.  Ultimately, both of these models could end up being wrong, and there’s no perfect algorithm to predict voters, but the results of my second model, I believe, accurately portray Santorum’s momentum, and cement my confidence that Santorum will have a close victory over Mitt Romney.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican

Do Ron Paul’s Supporters Refuse to Admit His Faults When It Comes to Earmarks?

March 5, 2009

I was reading an article on ConservativeHQ.com, “Ron Paul’s Pork Problem,” which basically criticized Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) for being a hypocrite on fiscal conservative principles by arguing for smaller government and less government spending but getting 22 earmarks (totaling $96.1 million) in the recent $410 billion omnibus spending bill.

Now, I love Dr. Paul.  He’s one of my favorite Congressmen, but I disagree with his stance on earmarks.  According to his Congressional website, “As long as the Federal government takes tax money from his constituents, he will make every effort to return that money to his district.”

So, while I disagree with him, I still have a HUGE amount of respect for Dr. Paul, but I am willing to admit that this (in my opinion) is a fault of his.

Now, take a look at some of the comments left on ConservativeHQ.com:

  • “Congrats, you just lost a member.”
  • “Ron Paul has never voted for a bill with unconstitutional provisions in it. He is the most principled statesmen in Congress. You lost all your credibility with this “Pork Problem” article. You also lost me as a member!”
  • “This article is very one sided. You obviously cannot stand the fact that Ron Paul is the only real conservative in the Republican Party. Please remove me from any of your biased e-mails! There is nothing conservative about this web site.”
  • “Ron Paul votes against the spending. Then if the money that they voted on doesn’t get spent on ear marks, it ends up being spent by the Executive Branch. Does that sound constitutional to you?! I can’t believe this was posted here. How completely irresponsible. I am out of here. I hope others with any logical sense of reason will follow unless this website retracts this article immediately and sends out an e-mail apologizing for being stupid.”

So, my message to those supporters of Dr. Paul who refuse to admit his faults, he’s a great man, but he’s not perfect, and I think his stance on earmarks is out of line with conservatism.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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President Bush Approves $17.4 Billion Auto Bailout

December 19, 2008

Alright, well this morning, President Bush held a press conference where he announced his plans to give  a $17.4 billion loan to GM and Chrysler.  Here’s a video of  that press conference (courtesy of FOX), and I have a transcript (again, courtesy of FOX) which I’ve done a “play-by-play” analysis of below:

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE ADMINISTRATION’S PLAN TO ASSIST THE AUTOMAKERS

Roosevelt Room

9:01 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. For years, America’s automakers have faced serious challenges — burdensome costs, a shrinking share of the market, and declining profits. In recent months, the global financial crisis has made these challenges even more severe. Now some U.S. auto executives say that their companies are nearing collapse — and that the only way they can buy time to restructure is with help from the federal government.

This is a difficult situation that involves fundamental questions about the proper role of government. On the one hand, government has a responsibility not to undermine the private enterprise system. On the other hand, government has a responsibility to safeguard the broader health and stability of our economy.

Well, personally, I think that the best way to safeguard the health and stability of our economy is to NOT give out loans to companies who were irresponsible!

Addressing the challenges in the auto industry requires us to balance these two responsibilities. If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy and liquidation for the automakers. Under ordinary economic circumstances, I would say this is the price that failed companies must pay — and I would not favor intervening to prevent the automakers from going out of business.

How exactly would the bankruptcy be disorderly?  The whole point of  bankruptcy is to keep the process orderly.  And if President Bush means liquidation as in the entire company, then this press conference was just a scare tactic to get the American people behind the auto bailout.  The companies wouldn’t go under.

But these are not ordinary circumstances. In the midst of a financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action. The question is how we can best give it a chance to succeed. Some argue the wisest path is to allow the auto companies to reorganize through Chapter 11 provisions of our bankruptcy laws — and provide federal loans to keep them operating while they try to restructure under the supervision of a bankruptcy court. But given the current state of the auto industry and the economy, Chapter 11 is unlikely to work for American automakers at this time.

American consumers understand why: If you hear that a car company is suddenly going into bankruptcy, you worry that parts and servicing will not be available, and you question the value of your warranty. And with consumers hesitant to buy new cars from struggling automakers, it would be more difficult for auto companies to recover.

Then by this argument, Chapter 11 would NEVER work for an auto company, because people would be hesitant to buy.  And how do you remedy these fears?  You emphasize the fact that 3rd party institutions offer warranties, and you don’t HAVE to go to the dealer to get your car serviced.  There are lots of other shops that do just as good of a job, if not a BETTER job than the dealership.

Additionally, the financial crisis brought the auto companies to the brink of bankruptcy much faster than they could have anticipated — and they have not made the legal and financial preparations necessary to carry out an orderly bankruptcy proceeding that could lead to a successful restructuring.

Um … when they were losing money years ago and asked the UAW members to take a pay cut, but the union said no, so in order to avoid a strike, the companies gave in, the companies should have known that continuing to pay wages that you can’t afford would make you go into bankruptcy eventually.  Like I’ve said before, it’s the companies’ heads’ fault for not cutting wages of the workers as well as taking pay cuts themselves, and it’s the UAW members’ fault for being greedy and refusing to budge at all.

The convergence of these factors means there’s too great a risk that bankruptcy now would lead to a disorderly liquidation of American auto companies. My economic advisors believe that such a collapse would deal an unacceptably painful blow to hardworking Americans far beyond the auto industry. It would worsen a weak job market and exacerbate the financial crisis. It could send our suffering economy into a deeper and longer recession. And it would leave the next President to confront the demise of a major American industry in his first days of office.

Are these the same economic advisors who encouraged the Economic Stimulus Package and the first bailout bill?  Because if so, they suck, and I would have fired them a LONG time ago.

A more responsible option is to give the auto companies an incentive to restructure outside of bankruptcy — and a brief window in which to do it. And that is why my administration worked with Congress on a bill to provide automakers with loans to stave off bankruptcy while they develop plans for viability. This legislation earned bipartisan support from majorities in both houses of Congress.

If bipartisan you mean Democrats along with traitorous Republicans, then yes, I guess it was bipartisan.  HOWEVER, I commend the brave and honorable REAL Republicans who stood up against this bailout, and the other bailouts.  I especially commend Bob Corker (R-TN) for standing up against the UAW.  Of course, Ron Paul (R-TX) must be mentioned, since he’s hugely against this as well.  I commend all 28 Republicans who had the common sense to vote against this bill.

Unfortunately, despite extensive debate and agreement that we should prevent disorderly bankruptcies in the American auto industry, Congress was unable to get a bill to my desk before adjourning this year.

This means the only way to avoid a collapse of the U.S. auto industry is for the executive branch to step in. The American people want the auto companies to succeed, and so do I. So today, I’m announcing that the federal government will grant loans to auto companies under conditions similar to those Congress considered last week.

These loans will provide help in two ways. First, they will give automakers three months to put in place plans to restructure into viable companies — which we believe they are capable of doing. Second, if restructuring cannot be accomplished outside of bankruptcy, the loans will provide time for companies to make the legal and financial preparations necessary for an orderly Chapter 11 process that offers a better prospect of long-term success — and gives consumers confidence that they can continue to buy American cars.

Because Congress failed to make funds available for these loans, the plan I’m announcing today will be drawn from the financial rescue package Congress approved earlier this fall. The terms of the loans will require auto companies to demonstrate how they would become viable. They must pay back all their loans to the government, and show that their firms can earn a profit and achieve a positive net worth. This restructuring will require meaningful concessions from all involved in the auto industry — management, labor unions, creditors, bondholders, dealers, and suppliers.

Well obviously they have to pay back the loans.  It’s not a loan if you keep the money!

In particular, automakers must meet conditions that experts agree are necessary for long-term viability — including putting their retirement plans on a sustainable footing, persuading bondholders to convert their debt into capital the companies need to address immediate financial shortfalls, and making their compensation competitive with foreign automakers who have major operations in the United States. If a company fails to come up with a viable plan by March 31st, it will be required to repay its federal loans.

OK, this is where this whole thing just confuses the crap out of me.  We give them the money, and they spend it.  If they don’t have a plan by March 31st, they have to give all the money back.  But does Bush really think that they’ll have all the money that we gave them?  If they do, then it’s OBVIOUS that they don’t NEED the loan, because they still have enough money!  If they can’t repay us back, how is it any different than a normal loan.  How are we going to force  them to pay us back?  The entire PREMISE around this bailout is just idiotic!

The automakers and unions must understand what is at stake, and make hard decisions necessary to reform, These conditions send a clear message to everyone involved in the future of American automakers: The time to make the hard decisions to become viable is now — or the only option will be bankruptcy.

The actions I’m announcing today represent a step that we wish were not necessary. But given the situation, it is the most effective and responsible way to address this challenge facing our nation. By giving the auto companies a chance to restructure, we will shield the American people from a harsh economic blow at a vulnerable time. And we will give American workers an opportunity to show the world once again they can meet challenges with ingenuity and determination, and bounce back from tough times, and emerge stronger than before.

Thank you.

END 9:08 A.M. EST

Well, I have now lost most all of the approval that I still had for the Bush administration.

There’s still a glimmer of hope: Once Treasury Secretary Paulson actually makes a formal request, the money will be released unless Congress rejects the request within 15 days.  I can only hope that Republicans oppose it and that enough Democrats, angry at the way Bush has handled the release of money, will oppose this awful plan.  Sadly, I don’t see that happening; however, I will hope and pray and continue advocating that we put a stop to all of this economic nonsense!

This bailout plan is NOT the solution.  Like I said, the entire premise of it is flawed: We’ll loan you money to spend, but if you don’t have a good plan, you have to give that money back.  Well, either the money is STILL in their bank accounts (meaning they didn’t NEED the money), or the money has already been SPENT (partially)!

We need some strong fiscal conservatives to show what the Republican party truly stands for.  We need more people like Neil Cavuto, Bob Corker, and Ron Paul.  I’m tired of the Republicans here in Michigan supporting the bailout because it will help our state.  It’s selfish and wrong.  I’m especially disappointed in Representative Pete Hoekstra, who has always been very outspoken about fiscal conservativism.  We need people who will fight for economic justice!  We need people who will fight for the American TAXPAYER!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul Was Right (The [Short] Movie!)

December 18, 2008

I ran across the following video on my homepage on YouTube earlier today.  It details some of the predictions that were made by Representative Ron Paul the Great (R-TX) and Peter Schiff (head of Euro Pacific Capital) about the economy:

Honestly, it amazes me how much Ron Paul has been right, yet people still dismiss him as some wacky libertarian politician.  Sure, SOME of his supporters may have been a little … weird, but for the most part, his supporters were normal, just like him.

And although I didn’t vote for him in the primary (he probably would’ve been my second or third pick), I at least have the common courtesy to say when he’s right, and when it comes to economic issues especially, that’s almost every time he speaks.  And I don’t think that it’s because Dr. Paul is some super-genius (although he is a VERY bright individual); I think it’s because he’s not afraid to call things as he sees them.  There’s no sugar coating with him.

He called things such as the trouble with adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), the problems with the Federal Reserve, and inflation years ago.

I give a lot of credit to Neil Cavuto the Great for acknowledging that Paul was right.

And honestly, I am ashamed of the Republican Party for the way that they tried to ostracize Representative Paul because he has a different stance on a few issues.

That video also had a clip from an interview with Representative Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)  (the one where he said, “It’s not your money”) that I did a blog post on.  When I hear that, it still appalls me that he could say that (and he’s one of my favorite representatives).

My only hope is that we will start listening to the things that Ron Paul is saying, especially when it comes to the economy.  With the situation that we’re in, how can we afford not to listen to somebody who has the great track record that Dr. Paul does when it comes to the future of our economy!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Analysis of the House Voting Down Yesterday’s Bailout Bill

September 30, 2008

I had hoped to do a post on this yesterday, but I wanted to actually see the bill before I did anything on it.  It took them a while to get the bill language up, and I found out that it was about 110 pages long (it is available here if you’re interested).  Also, here’s the bill that the Senate didn’t vote to pass (it needed 60% to pass).

As I’m sure all of you know, the House voted down yesterday’s bill, H.R. 3997, the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008″ 205 (140D/65R) – 228 (95D/133R), with 1 not voting (R).

The following is the summary of the act, courtesy of the Financial Services Committee of the House:

SUMMARY OF THE “EMERGENCY ECONOMIC STABILIZATION ACT OF 2008″

I. Stabilizing the Economy

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) provides up to $700 billion to the Secretary of the Treasury to buy mortgages and other assets that are clogging the balance sheets of financial institutions and making it difficult for working families, small businesses, and other companies to access credit, which is vital to a strong and stable economy. EESA also establishes a program that would allow companies to insure their troubled assets.

Alright, this basically explains the principle that the Representatives who were for the bill were advocating: This is an investment, not a bailout (similar to the Chrysler government loan guarantees of the 1970s and 1980s, where we co-signed on a $1.5 billion loan).  They argue that we will make our money back, and even possibly make a profit (like we did with Chrysler).  Here’s the problem with that thinking: many American people who are in crisis right now are NOT helping the situation.  I gave an example of a woman who simply left her old home and mortgage in the middle of the night and bought a house in the Carolinas (I don’t remember which off the top of my head) the next day, before the credit caught up to her.  There have been stories of people tearing apart houses right before the bank repossesses them, “because the bank is the bad guy” when in actuality, it’s both the bank’s fault for giving a loan to somebody who never should have been able to get one as well as the homeowner’s fault for trying to buy a house that he/she simply couldn’t afford.  It’s a lack of basic family budgeting and spending principles that helped get us into this situation.  Then mortgage companies gave out Adjustable Rate Mortgages to people who NEVER should’ve been able to get one, and people looking to buy homes ignored the first basic principle of fiscal responsibility: don’t buy something you can’t afford!  So, we’re going to buy these mortgages, but that’s not going to stop people from not being able to pay the mortgages.  Instead of banks losing money, it’ll be the government.

Now, on the other hand, it IS unfair for responsible buyers who happened to get a mortgage from the wrong company to have to suffer, and it is THESE instances that I am more willing to accept government intervention, but how the government is to analyze and weed out the good from the bad is quite a problem, considering the massiveness of banks and mortgage companies that have failed or are looking like they will fail.

II. Homeownership Preservation

EESA requires the Treasury to modify troubled loans – many the result of predatory lending practices – wherever possible to help American families keep their homes. It also directs other federal agencies to modify loans that they own or control. Finally, it improves the HOPE for Homeowners program by expanding eligibility and increasing the tools available to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help more families keep their homes.

Now, that last sentence is where the government could lose a lot of money.  When you expand eligibility and increase tools for helping people stay in their homes, you’re saying that these people are getting help to stay in homes that they can’t afford, which means that the government is footing the bill, and that’s money that the government will not see back in its hands a good chunk of the time.

III. Taxpayer Protection

Taxpayers should not be expected to pay for Wall Street’s mistakes. The legislation requires companies that sell some of their bad assets to the government to provide warrants so that taxpayers will benefit from any future growth these companies may experience as a result of participation in this program. The legislation also requires the President to submit legislation that would cover any losses to taxpayers resulting from this program from financial institutions.

This is again, where the “investment” principle comes into the bill.  And this could be good for the government, like the bailout of Chrysler was profitable to the government in the 1980s and 1990s.  The part that confuses me is that last sentence – why the President is the one to draft legislation to cover taxpayer losses seems to confuse me, unless that’s their way of knowing that the President will approve of the measure, since he himself drafted it.  I’ll have to look into that a little more to understand what all that would do.

IV. No Windfalls for Executives

Executives who made bad decisions should not be allowed to dump their bad assets on the government, and then walk away with millions of dollars in bonuses. In order to participate in this program, companies will lose certain tax benefits and, in some cases, must limit executive pay. In addition, the bill limits “golden parachutes” and requires that unearned bonuses be returned.

If these executives cared about their companies, most of them just would stop taking pay.  I guarantee you that if I were the CEO of AIG, and if I were set for life, I wouldn’t take another pay check until the company was back on track.

V. Strong Oversight

Rather than giving the Treasury all the funds at once, the legislation gives the Treasury $250 billion immediately, then requires the President to certify that additional funds are needed ($100 billion, then $350 billion subject to Congressional disapproval). The Treasury must report on the use of the funds and the progress in addressing the crisis. EESA also establishes an Oversight Board so that the Treasury cannot act in an arbitrary manner. It also establishes a special inspector general to protect against waste, fraud and abuse [sic]

Good.  Frankly, I don’t trust the Treasury Department after they advocated the Fannie and Freddie bailouts.  I want to know where this money is going, and I want Congressional approval of it (even though I don’t support the Democrats in Congress, the more people that have to approve where the money goes, the better).

So, that’s the summary, and here’s the section-by-section analysis of the bill, basically the summary with details, also courtesy of the Financial Services Committee:

 SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION

Section 1. Short Title.

“Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.”

Section 2. Purposes.

Provides authority to the Treasury Secretary to restore liquidity and stability to the U.S. financial system and to ensure the economic well-being of Americans.

Section 3. Definitions.

Contains various definitions used under this Act.

Title I. Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Section 101. Purchases of Troubled Assets.

Authorizes the Secretary to establish a Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”) to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions. Establishes an Office of Financial Stability within the Treasury Department to implement the TARP in consultation with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the FDIC, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Requires the Treasury Secretary to establish guidelines and policies to carry out the purposes of this Act.

Includes provisions to prevent unjust enrichment by participants of the program.

Like I said above.  The government has to be careful that this really is an investment, because if more companies say, “We can take risks, because we’re too big, so the government will HAVE to bail us out,” then it becomes purely a bailout and a terrible investment that will cost taxpayers billions (if not ultimately trillions, since this bill alone would authorize up to $700 billion).  Personally, I really don’t think the government should be doing this at all, but since some bailout bill will eventually pass, I’d want it filled with as many fiscal conservative principles as possible.

Section 102. Insurance of Troubled Assets.

If the Secretary establishes the TARP program, the Secretary is required to establish a program to guarantee troubled assets of financial institutions.

The Secretary is required to establish risk-based premiums for such guarantees sufficient to cover anticipated claims. The Secretary must report to Congress on the establishment of the guarantee program.

Again – I like the whole reporting to Congress idea.

Section 103. Considerations.

In using authority under this Act, the Treasury Secretary is required to take a number of considerations into account, including the interests of taxpayers, minimizing the impact on the national debt, providing stability to the financial markets, preserving homeownership, the needs of all financial institutions regardless of size or other characteristics, and the needs of local communities. Requires the Secretary to examine the long-term viability of an institution in determining whether to directly purchase assets under the TARP.

Section 104. Financial Stability Oversight Board.

This section establishes the Financial Stability Oversight Board to review and make recommendations regarding the exercise of authority under this Act. In addition, the Board must ensure that the policies implemented by the Secretary protect taxpayers, are in the economic interests of the United States, and are in accordance with this Act.

The Board is comprised of the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Federal Home Finance Agency, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Section 105. Reports.

Monthly Reports: Within 60 days of the first exercise of authority under this Act and every month thereafter, the Secretary is required to report to Congress its activities under TARP, including detailed financial statements.

Tranche Reports: For every $50 billion in assets purchased, the Secretary is required to report to Congress a detailed description of all transactions, a description of the pricing mechanisms used, and justifications for the financial terms of such transactions.

Regulatory Modernization Report: Prior to April 30, 2009, the Secretary is required to submit a report to Congress on the current state of the financial markets, the effectiveness of the financial regulatory system, and to provide any recommendations.

Section 106. Rights; Management; Sale of Troubled Assets; Revenues and Sale Proceeds.

Establishes the right of the Secretary to exercise authorities under this Act at any time. Provides the Secretary with the authority to manage troubled assets, including the ability to determine the terms and conditions associated with the disposition of troubled assets. Requires profits from the sale of troubled assets to be used to pay down the national debt.

Section 107. Contracting Procedures.

Allows the Secretary to waive provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation where compelling circumstances make compliance contrary to the public interest. Such waivers must be reported to Congress within 7 days. If provisions related to minority contracting are waived, the Secretary must develop alternate procedures to ensure the inclusion of minority contractors.

Allows the FDIC to be selected as an asset manager for residential mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities.

Section 108. Conflicts of Interest.

The Secretary is required to issue regulations or guidelines to manage or prohibit conflicts of interest in the administration of the program.

Section 109. Foreclosure Mitigation Efforts.

For mortgages and mortgage-backed securities acquired through TARP, the Secretary must implement a plan to mitigate foreclosures and to encourage servicers of mortgages to modify loans through Hope for Homeowners and other programs. Allows the Secretary to use loan guarantees and credit enhancement to avoid foreclosures. Requires the Secretary to coordinate with other federal entities that hold troubled assets in order to identify opportunities to modify loans, considering net present value to the taxpayer.

This is the section that is most helpful directly to taxpayers, but will also award people for bad fiscal principles.  If you can’t afford a loan that you took out, it’s not the government’s job to use loan guarantees (essentially co-sign on the loan).  If you lose your house, that’s your own fault.  It’s harsh, but it’s fair.

Section 110. Assistance to Homeowners.

Requires federal entities that hold mortgages and mortgage-backed securities, including the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the FDIC, and the Federal Reserve to develop plans to minimize foreclosures. Requires federal entities to work with servicers to encourage loan modifications, considering net present value to the taxpayer.

Again, the government will lose a lot of money here, and so will banks.  If they’re letting people stay in houses when they can’t afford them, somebody is going to lose money, and it will be both banks and other lending agencies as well as the government.

Section 111. Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance.

Provides that Treasury will promulgate executive compensation rules governing financial institutions that sell it troubled assets. Where Treasury buys assets directly, the institution must observe standards limiting incentives, allowing clawback and prohibiting golden parachutes. When Treasury buys assets at auction, an institution that has sold more than $300 million in assets is subject to additional taxes, including a 20% excise tax on golden parachute payments triggered by events other than retirement, and tax deduction limits for compensation limits above $500,000.

Section 112. Coordination With Foreign Authorities and Central Banks.

Requires the Secretary to coordinate with foreign authorities and central banks to establish programs similar to TARP.

Section 113. Minimization of Long-Term Costs and Maximization of Benefits for Taxpayers.

In order to cover losses and administrative costs, as well as to allow taxpayers to share in equity appreciation, requires that the Treasury receive non-voting warrants from participating financial institutions.

Section 114. Market Transparency.

48-hour Reporting Requirement: The Secretary is required, within 2 business days of exercising authority under this Act, to publicly disclose the details of any transaction.

Good, if we’re going to screw our economy up more, I at least want to understand exactly how it happened.

Section 115. Graduated Authorization to Purchase.

Authorizes the full $700 billion as requested by the Treasury Secretary for implementation of TARP. Allows the Secretary to immediately use up to $250 billion in authority under this Act. Upon a Presidential certification of need, the Secretary may access an additional $100 billion. The final $350 billion may be accessed if the President transmits a written report to Congress requesting such authority. The Secretary may use this additional authority unless within 15 days Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval which may be considered on an expedited basis.

Again, good – it at least gives us the hope that we won’t use all $700 billion, at least on this bailout.

Section 116. Oversight and Audits.

Requires the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct ongoing oversight of the activities and performance of TARP, and to report every 60 days to Congress. The Comptroller General is required to conduct an annual audit of TARP. In addition, TARP is required to establish and maintain an effective system of internal controls.

Section 117. Study and Report on Margin Authority.

Directs the Comptroller General to conduct a study and report back to Congress on the role in which leverage and sudden deleveraging of financial institutions was a factor behind the current financial crisis.

Section 118. Funding.

Provides for the authorization and appropriation of funds consistent with Section 115.

Section 119. Judicial Review and Related Matters.

Provides standards for judicial review, including injunctive and other relief, to ensure that the actions of the Secretary are not arbitrary, capricious, or not in accordance with law.

Section 120. Termination of Authority.

Provides that the authorities to purchase and guarantee assets terminate on December 31, 2009. The Secretary may extend the authority for an additional year upon certification of need to Congress.

Section 121. Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Establishes the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program to conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations of the actions undertaken by the Secretary under this Act. The Special Inspector General is required to submit a quarterly report to Congress summarizing its activities and the activities of the Secretary under this Act.

Section 122. Increase in the Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Raises the debt ceiling from $10.6 trillion to $11.3 trillion.

Section 123. Credit Reform.

Details the manner in which the legislation will be treated for budgetary purposes under the Federal Credit Reform Act.

Section 124. Hope for Homeowners Amendments.

Strengthens the Hope for Homeowners program to increase eligibility and improve the tools available to prevent foreclosures.

I’ve already voiced my opinions on this – this is gonna hurt us.

Section 125. Congressional Oversight Panel.

Establishes a Congressional Oversight Panel to review the state of the financial markets, the regulatory system, and the use of authority under TARP. The panel is required to report to Congress every 30 days and to submit a special report on regulatory reform

prior to January 20, 2009. The panel will consist of 5 outside experts appointed by the House and Senate Minority and Majority leadership.

Section 126. FDIC Enforcement Enhancement.

Prohibits the misuse of the FDIC logo and name to falsely represent that deposits are insured. Strengthens enforcement by appropriate federal banking agencies, and allows the FDIC to take enforcement action against any person or institution where the banking agency has not acted.

This wasn’t prohibited before?  I feel like that should’ve been outlawed back when the FDIC was FORMED!

Section 127. Cooperation With the FBI.

Requires any federal financial regulatory agency to cooperate with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies investigating fraud, misrepresentation, and malfeasance with respect to development, advertising, and sale of financial products.

Again, this needed to be in a bill?

Section 128. Acceleration of Effective Date.

Provides the Federal Reserve with the ability to pay interest on reserves.

Section 129. Disclosures on Exercise of Loan Authority.

Requires the Federal Reserve to provide a detailed report to Congress, in an expedited manner, upon the use of its emergency lending authority under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act.

Again, if we’re going to kill our economy, at least we know how we did it so we don’t do it again.

Section 130. Technical Corrections.

Makes technical corrections to the Truth in Lending Act.

Section 131. Exchange Stabilization Fund Reimbursement.

Protects the Exchange Stabilization Fund from incurring any losses due to the temporary money market mutual fund guarantee by requiring the program created in this Act to reimburse the Fund. Prohibits any future use of the Fund for any guarantee program for the money market mutual fund industry.

Section 132. Authority to Suspend Mark-to-Market Accounting.

Restates the Securities and Exchange Commission’s authority to suspend the application of Statement Number 157 of the Financial Accounting Standards Board if the SEC determines that it is in the public interest and protects investors.

Section 133. Study on Mark-to-Market Accounting.

Requires the SEC, in consultation with the Federal Reserve and the Treasury, to conduct a study on mark-to-market accounting standards as provided in FAS 157, including its effects on balance sheets, impact on the quality of financial information, and other matters, and to report to Congress within 90 days on its findings.

Section 134. Recoupment.

Requires that in 5 years, the President submit to the Congress a proposal that recoups from the financial industry any projected losses to the taxpayer.

Again, why is the President writing this proposal?  And how do they honestly plan on recouping losses?  How do you get back billions of dollars from the financial industry?  I feel sorry for whoever has to write that proposal.

Section 135. Preservation of Authority.

Clarifies that nothing in this Act shall limit the authority of the Secretary or the Federal Reserve under any other provision of law.

Title II-Budget-Related Provisions

Section 201. Information for Congressional Support Agencies.

Requires that information used by the Treasury Secretary in connection with activities under this Act be made available to CBO and JCT.

Section 202. Reports by the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office.

Requires CBO and OMB to report cost estimates and related information to Congress and the President regarding the authorities that the Secretary of the Treasury has exercised under the Act.

Section 203. Analysis in President’s Budget.

Requires that the President include in his annual budget submission to the Congress certain analyses and estimates relating to costs incurred as a result of the Act; and

Section 204. Emergency Treatment.

Specifies scoring of the Act for purposes of budget enforcement.

Title III-Tax Provisions

Section 301. Gain or Loss From Sale or Exchange of Certain Preferred Stock.

Details certain changes in the tax treatment of losses on the preferred stock of certain GSEs for financial institutions.

Section 302. Special Rules for Tax Treatment of Executive Compensation of Employers Participating in the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Applies limits on executive compensation and golden parachutes for certain executives of employers who participate in the auction program.

That I agree with.  If we’re bailing out these companies, lets at least waste the money solely on the companies.

Section 303. Extension of Exclusion of Income From Discharge of Qualified Principal Residence Indebtedness.

Extends current law tax forgiveness on the cancellation of mortgage debt.

Alright, so that was the full summary of the bill that FAILED the House yesterday.

I want give you a quote from Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), given during yesterday’s House session:

Mr. PAUL. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this bill. This is only going to make the problem that much worse. The problem came about because we spent too much; we borrowed too much, and we printed too much money; we inflated too much, and we overregulated. This is all that this bill is about is more of the same.

So you can’t solve the problem. We are looking at a symptom. We are looking at the collapsing of a market that was unstable. It was unstable because of the way it came about. It came about because of a monopoly control of money and credit by the Federal Reserve System, and that is a natural consequence of what happens when a Federal Reserve System creates too much credit.

Now, there have been a fair number of free market economists around who have predicted this would happen. Yet do we look to them for advice? No. We totally exclude them. We don’t listen to them. We don’t look at them. We look to the people who created the problem, and then we perpetuate the problem.

The most serious mistake that could be made here today is to blame free market capitalism for this problem. This has nothing to do with free market capitalism. This has to do with a managed economy, with an inflationary system, with corporatism, and with a special interest system. It has nothing to do with the failure of free markets and capitalism. Yet we’re resorting now, once again, to promoting more and more government.

Long term, this is disastrous because of everything we’re doing here and because of everything we’ve done for 6 months. We’ve already pumped in $700 billion. Here is another $700 billion. This is going to destroy the dollar. That’s what you should be concerned about. Yes, Wall Street is in trouble. There are a lot of problems, and if we don’t vote for this, there are going to be problems. Believe me: If you destroy the dollar, you’re going to destroy a worldwide economy, and that’s what we’re
on the verge of doing, and it is inevitable, if we continue this, that that’s what’s going to happen. It’s [Page: H10370]
going to be a lot more serious than what we’re dealing with today.

We need to get our house in order. We need more oversight–that is a certainty–but we need oversight of the Federal Reserve System, of the Exchange Stabilization Fund and of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. Find out what they’re doing. How much have they been meddling in the market?

What we’re doing today is going to make things much worse.

Pure economic genius from Dr. Paul.

And here’s a quote from Representative Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO):

Mrs. MUSGRAVE. Madam Speaker, I am pleased that the strong opposition to the initial administration proposal has helped to force some very important changes such as the bipartisan oversight board, which is an online database that will allow greater oversight of the Secretary’s actions, but this is still a bailout for Wall Street that will cost the average Colorado household thousands.

I simply cannot stomach transferring that kind of money from the middle class families to a bunch of Wall Street bankers whose avarice and greed put us in this situation in the first place. It’s interesting that, when working families were being crushed by soaring energy prices this summer, Congress went on vacation. Yet, when Wall Street faced the consequences of its actions, we worked around the clock to help them. We should place the same priority on helping Main Street that we place on helping
Wall Street.

And there she expresses what most Americans are expressing: “Why use my money to bail out people and companies who acted irresponsibly?”

A full record of everything said at yesterday’s House session is available on C-Span’s website here (it’s actually pretty cool – I never knew they had that!).

So, again, I am glad that the House voted down this bill.  Hopefully I’ll be able to see the next bill BEFORE there’s a vote on it – I was very disappointed that there was no record of this until today, and even then, so many people were trying to access it that they were killing GovTrack.us and the House websites.

On a side note, here’s a copy of the roll call vote, and I’d like to note that I’m terribly disappointed in Representative Tancredo (R-CO) for voting Aye on this.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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McCain Asks Obama, Debate Commission to Postpone Debate Due to Economic Crisis

September 24, 2008

Today, John McCain issued the following statement regarding the economic crisis:

Remarks on the Economic Crisis

September 24, 2008

America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.

Well, it was mainly legislation that got us into this mess, so let’s be careful not to make a temporary fix that will make things even worse 50 years down the road.

Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.

It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

I will say that this is a good move for both candidates to do.  This crisis is not something that we can end with a Congress that’s more worried about getting reelected than legislating.

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

Again, I’m glad he’s doing this, but on the other hand, this is gonna look kinda bad in the media, and personally, I’m not sure I want to see McCain’s plans for this economic crisis.  I’ve never exactly agreed with his stances on stuff like GSEs and the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 (I’m much more in line with Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) and Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)).

I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.

Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

Alright, so there’s his statement.

Again, I’m glad to see that he’s putting campaigning aside to resolve this, but I’m worried about what the Congress will do here.  The last thing we need is another Economic Stimulus Package-esque bill that’s going to look good to voters, but wind up screwing us up even more.  A $700 billion bailout WILL NOT HELP!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul on Bailouts: “We Are Headed for a Rough Ride”

September 24, 2008

The following is Representative Ron Paul’s (R-TX) statements regarding government bailouts of financial institutions, with my analysis sprinkled throughout his comments:

Many Americans today are asking themselves how the economy got to be in such a bad spot.

For years they thought the economy was booming, growth was up, job numbers and productivity were increasing. Yet now we find ourselves in what is shaping up to be one of the most severe economic downturns since the Great Depression.

Unfortunately, the government’s preferred solution to the crisis is the very thing that got us into this mess in the first place: government intervention.

And here’s the sad part – it’s been people like Paul, and his followers and others who believe like him that have predicted things like this would happen.  I’ve always been against government intervention into stuff like this, although, due to my age, haven’t had the opportunity to voice this as much as Dr. Paul.

Ever since the 1930s, the federal government has involved itself deeply in housing policy and developed numerous programs to encourage homebuilding and homeownership.

Blame a lot of it on FDR – he’s the one who started all this crap TRYING to get us out of the Great Depression.  Emphasis on “trying.”  None of FDR’s plans really worked–what got us out was going to war.

Government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were able to obtain a monopoly position in the mortgage market, especially the mortgage-backed securities market, because of the advantages bestowed upon them by the federal government.

Well, they were, after all, created by the federal government – the first mistake that was made here.

Laws passed by Congress such as the Community Reinvestment Act required banks to make loans to previously underserved segments of their communities, thus forcing banks to lend to people who normally would be rejected as bad credit risks.

And even the Economic Stimulus Package did this.  It INCREASED loan limits for people using adjustable rate mortgages, and increased the amount of people getting loans–people who NEVER should’ve been able to get loans with their credit.

These governmental measures, combined with the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy, led to an unsustainable housing boom. The key measure by which the Fed caused this boom was through the manipulation of interest rates, and the open market operations that accompany this lowering.

When interest rates are lowered to below what the market rate would normally be, as the Federal Reserve has done numerous times throughout this decade, it becomes much cheaper to borrow money. Longer-term and more capital-intensive projects, projects that would be unprofitable at a high interest rate, suddenly become profitable.

Because the boom comes about from an increase in the supply of money and not from demand from consumers, the result is malinvestment, a misallocation of resources into sectors in which there is insufficient demand.

In this case, this manifested itself in overbuilding in real estate. When builders realize they have overbuilt and have too many houses to sell, too many apartments to rent, or too much commercial real estate to lease, they seek to recoup as much of their money as possible, even if it means lowering prices drastically.

And this is evident in my home state of Michigan.  Where I live, there are some housing areas just recently built that are largely still up for sale.  Either that, or people will buy the new houses before selling their own houses, and then the original houses are left up for sale.  But not all of this is the government’s fault.  My mother was telling me other day that the sister of her friend was going to have the bank repossess her house, so she left in the middle of the night, went down to South Carolina, and bought a house the next day, before the credit caught up with her.  Not only is that dishonest and despicable, it’s detrimental to the economy!  Or you have people vandalizing their own houses right before banks repossess them.  IT’S NOT THE BANK’S fault that you can’t make your payments (it’s the bank’s fault if they gave an undeserving person a loan, but still, these actions are NOT helping!).

This lowering of prices brings the economy back into balance, equalizing supply and demand. This economic adjustment means, however that there are some winners — in this case, those who can again find affordable housing without the need for creative mortgage products, and some losers — builders and other sectors connected to real estate that suffer setbacks.

The government doesn’t like this, however, and undertakes measures to keep prices artificially inflated. This was why the Great Depression was as long and drawn out in this country as it was.

I am afraid that policymakers today have not learned the lesson that prices must adjust to economic reality. The bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the purchase of AIG, and the latest multi-hundred billion dollar Treasury scheme all have one thing in common: They seek to prevent the liquidation of bad debt and worthless assets at market prices, and instead try to prop up those markets and keep those assets trading at prices far in excess of what any buyer would be willing to pay.

Additionally, the government’s actions encourage moral hazard of the worst sort. Now that the precedent has been set, the likelihood of financial institutions to engage in riskier investment schemes is increased, because they now know that an investment position so overextended as to threaten the stability of the financial system will result in a government bailout and purchase of worthless, illiquid assets.

And that was the attitude that Freddie and Fannie executives had.  “The government will HAVE to bail us out” mentality HAS GOT TO STOP!

Using trillions of dollars of taxpayer money to purchase illusory short-term security, the government is actually ensuring even greater instability in the financial system in the long term.

The solution to the problem is to end government meddling in the market. Government intervention leads to distortions in the market, and government reacts to each distortion by enacting new laws and regulations, which create their own distortions, and so on ad infinitum.

Easier said than done.  Once you start bailouts, it’s hard to stop.  It’s similar to returning to the gold standard.  Our money is so inflated now that it would take national cooperation to return to the gold standard.  Prices for anything purchased as well as wages would have to significantly decrease, and Americans are too greedy to do this.  People wouldn’t want their wages cut, even though they’d still be able to afford everything that they can now, because “it would look bad on paper.”  Getting out of the Great Depression would’ve been simple, if everybody agreed to a plan, but if one greedy person doesn’t agree to the set plan, that throws off the whole rest of the plan.  Complete cooperation is necessary, but in today’s world, it will never happen (unles the government forces you, but then you’re dealing with extreme government involvement, which STILL doesn’t work as evidenced in the massive failures of communism).

It is time this process is put to an end. But the government cannot just sit back idly and let the bust occur. It must actively roll back stifling laws and regulations that allowed the boom to form in the first place.

But where will they get their money from if they lose their corporate backers!  How’s a politician supposed to live if he doesn’t have businesses feeding him money!

The government must divorce itself of the albatross of Fannie and Freddie, balance and drastically decrease the size of the federal budget, and reduce onerous regulations on banks and credit unions that lead to structural rigidity in the financial sector.

And unfortunately neither of our major Presidential candidates will do this.  I’d like to see what Senator Hagel (R-NE) would’ve done about the Fannie and Freddie situation, since he voted AGAINST the Economic Stimulus Package.

Until the big-government apologists realize the error of their ways, and until vocal free-market advocates act in a manner which buttresses their rhetoric, I am afraid we are headed for a rough ride.

A very rough ride indeed, Dr. Paul.

And again, Paul shows just how smart he is when it comes to economic issues.  I disagree with him on a couple other issues (kinda a half disagreement on Iraq), but I honestly wouldn’t have been disappointed if he were the Republican nominee.

I just hope that people (especially McCain) start listening to him and realize that we can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul Endorses Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party Candidate) for President

September 22, 2008

OK, back on September 10th, I had meant to post Ron Paul’s  “endorsement” speech, but some crazy things happened in my life and I didn’t get to it.  Well, none of that really matters now.  The basics of his speech there (which I have just below) were that he’s endorsing all of the 3rd party candidates – basically don’t vote for McCain or Obama.

Here’s Paul’s speech to the National Press Club:

The coverage of the presidential election is designed to be a grand distraction. This is not new, but this year, it’s more so than ever.

Pretending that a true difference exists between the two major candidates is a charade of great proportion. Many who help to perpetuate this myth are frequently unaware of what they are doing and believe that significant differences actually do exist. Indeed, on small points there is the appearance of a difference. The real issues, however, are buried in a barrage of miscellaneous nonsense and endless pontifications by robotic pundits hired to perpetuate the myth of a campaign of substance.

The truth is that our two-party system offers no real choice. The real goal of the campaign is to distract people from considering the real issues.

Influential forces, the media, the government, the privileged corporations and moneyed interests see to it that both party’s candidates are acceptable, regardless of the outcome, since they will still be in charge. It’s been that way for a long time. George Wallace was not the first to recognize that there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties. There is, though, a difference between the two major candidates and the candidates on third-party tickets and those running as independents.

The two parties and their candidates have no real disagreements on foreign policy, monetary policy, privacy issues, or the welfare state. They both are willing to abuse the Rule of Law and ignore constitutional restraint on Executive Powers. Neither major party champions free markets and private-property ownership.

Those candidates who represent actual change or disagreement with the status quo are held in check by the two major parties in power, making it very difficult to compete in the pretend democratic process. This is done by making it difficult for third-party candidates to get on the ballots, enter into the debates, raise money, avoid being marginalized, or get fair or actual coverage. A rare celebrity or a wealthy individual can, to a degree, overcome these difficulties.

The system we have today allows a President to be elected by as little as 32% of the American people, with half of those merely voting for the “lesser of two evils”. Therefore, as little as 16% actually vote for a president. No wonder when things go wrong, anger explodes. A recent poll shows that 60% of the American people are not happy with the two major candidates this year.

This system is driven by the conviction that only a major party candidate can win. Voters become convinced that any other vote is a “wasted” vote. It’s time for that conclusion to be challenged and to recognize that the only way not to waste one’s vote is to reject the two establishment candidates and join the majority, once called silent, and allow the voices of the people to be heard.

We cannot expect withdrawal of troops from Iraq or the Middle East with either of the two major candidates. Expect continued involvement in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Georgia. Neither hints of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do not expect to hear the rejection of the policy of supporting the American world empire. There will be no emphasis in protecting privacy and civil liberties and the constant surveillance of the American people. Do not expect any serious attempt to curtail the rapidly expanding national debt. And certainly, there will be no hint of addressing the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationship with big banks and international corporations and the politicians.

There is only one way that these issues can get the attention they deserve: the silent majority must become the vocal majority.

This message can be sent to our leaders by not participating in the Great Distraction—the quadrennial campaign and election of an American President without a choice. Just think of how much of an edge a Vice President has in this process, and he or she is picked by a single person—the party’s nominee. This was never intended by the Constitution.

Since a principled non-voter sends a message, we must count them and recognize the message they are sending as well. The non-voters need to hold their own “election” by starting a “League of Non-voters” and explain their principled reasons for opting out of this charade of the presidential elective process. They just might get a bigger membership than anyone would guess.

Write-in votes should not be discouraged, but the electoral officials must be held accountable and make sure the votes are counted. But one must not be naïve and believe that under today’s circumstances one has a chance of accomplishing much by a write-in campaign.

The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system, which in reality is a one-party system with no possible chance for the changes to occur which are necessary to solve our economic and foreign policy problems. This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment principled candidates—Baldwin, Barr, McKinney, Nader, and possibly others. (listed alphabetically)

Yes, these individuals do have strong philosophic disagreements on various issues, but they all stand for challenging the status quo—those special interest who control our federal government. And because of this, on the big issues of war, civil liberties, deficits, and the Federal Reserve they have much in common. People will waste their vote in voting for the lesser of two evils. That can’t be stopped overnight, but for us to have an impact we must maximize the total votes of those rejecting the two major candidates.

For me, though, my advice—for what it’s worth—is to vote! Reject the two candidates who demand perpetuation of the status quo and pick one of the alternatives that you have the greatest affinity to, based on the other issues.

A huge vote for those running on principle will be a lot more valuable by sending a message that we’ve had enough and want real change than wasting one’s vote on a supposed lesser of two evils.

Well, Bob Barr (Lib) didn’t like that too much, and he bugged Dr. Paul to endorse somebody, and today, Ron Paul did.  He endorsed Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.  Here’s what Dr. Paul released today:

The press conference at the National Press Club had a precise purpose.  It was to expose, to as many people as possible, the gross deception of our presidential election process.  It is controlled by the powerful elite to make sure that neither candidate of the two major parties will challenge the status quo.  There is no real choice between the two major parties and their nominees, only the rhetoric varies.  The amazingly long campaign is designed to make sure the real issues are ignored.  The quotes I used at the press conference from insider Carroll Quigley and the League of Women voters strongly support this contention.

Calling together candidates from the liberal, conservative, libertarian and progressive constituencies, who are all opposed to this rigged process, was designed to alert the American people to the uselessness of continuing to support a process that a claims that one’s only choice is to choose the lesser of two evils and reject a principle vote that might challenge the status quo as a wasted vote.

In both political education and organization, coalitions are worthwhile and necessary to have an impact.  “Talking to the choir” alone achieves little.  I have always approached political and economic education with a “missionary” zeal by inviting any group in on issues we agree upon.

This opens the door to legitimate discourse with the hope of winning new converts to the cause of liberty.  This strategy led to the press conference with the four candidates agreeing to the four principles we believe are crucial in challenging the political system that has evolved over many years in this country.

This unique press conference, despite the surprising, late complication from the Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate, hopefully will prove to be historically significant.

This does not mean that I expect to get Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney to become libertarians, nor do they expect me to change my mind on the issues on which we disagree. In the meantime, why can’t we be friends, respectful of each other, and fight the corrupt process from which we suffer, and at the same time champion the four issues that we all agree upon which the two major candidates won’t address?

Many practical benefits can come from this unique alliance.  Our cause is liberty —freedom is popular and is the banner that brings people together. Since authoritarianism divides, we always have the edge in an intellectual fight.  Once it’s realized that the humanitarian goals of peace and prosperity are best achieved with our views, I’m convinced we win by working with others.  Those who don’t want to collaborate are insecure with their own beliefs.

In the past two years at the many rallies where I talked and shook hands with literally thousands of people, I frequently asked them what brought them to our campaign.  There were many answers: the Constitution, my consistency, views on the Federal Reserve, the war, and civil liberties.  The crowds were overwhelmingly made up of young people.

Oftentimes I welcomed the diverse groups that came, mentioning that the crowd was made up of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Liberals and Progressives with each group applauding.  Even jokingly, I recognized the “anarchists” and that, too, was met with some applause.  In conversations, many admitted to having been Democrats and members of the Green Party and supporters of Ralph Nader, yet they came to agree with us on all the issues once the entire philosophy was understood.  That’s progress.

Principled people are not shy in participating with others and will defend their beliefs on their merits. Liberals and progressives are willing to align themselves with us on the key issues of peace, civil liberties, debt and the Federal Reserve.  That’s exciting and very encouraging, and it means we are making progress.  The big challenge, however, is taking on the establishment, and the process that is so well entrenched.  But we can’t beat the entrenched elite without the alliance of all those who have been disenfranchised.

Ironically the most difficult group to recruit has been the evangelicals who supported McCain and his pro-war positions.  They have been convinced that they are obligated to initiate preventive war in the Middle East for theological reasons.  Fortunately, this is a minority of the Christian community, but our doors remain open to all despite this type of challenge.  The point is, new devotees to the freedom philosophy are more likely to come from the left than from those conservatives who have been convinced that God has instructed us to militarize the Middle East.

Although we were on the receiving end of ridicule in the reporting of the press conference, I personally was quite satisfied with the results. True revolutions are not won in a week, a month, or even a year.  They take time.  But we are making progress, and the momentum remains and is picking up.  The Campaign for Liberty is alive and well, and its growth and influence will continue.  Obviously the press conference could have been even more successful without the last-minute change of heart by the Libertarian Party candidate by not participating.  He stated that his support for the four points remains firm.  His real reason for not coming, nor letting me know until forty minutes before the press conference started, is unknown to me.  To say the least, I was shocked and disappointed.

Yet in the long run, this last-minute change in plans will prove to be of little importance.  I’m convinced that problems like this always seem bigger at the moment, yet things usually work out in the end.  Recovering from the mistakes and shortcomings of all that we do in this effort is not difficult if the message is right and our efforts are determined.  And I’m convinced they are.  That’s what will determine our long-term success, not the shortcomings of any one person.

The Libertarian Party Candidate admonished me for “remaining neutral” in the presidential race and not stating whom I will vote for in November.   It’s true; I have done exactly that due to my respect and friendship and support from both the Constitution and Libertarian Party members.  I remain a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and I’m a ten-term Republican Congressman.  It is not against the law to participate in more then one political party.  Chuck Baldwin has been a friend and was an active supporter in the presidential campaign.

I continue to wish the Libertarian and Constitution Parties well.  The more votes they get, the better.  I have attended Libertarian Party conventions frequently over the years.

In some states, one can be on the ballots of two parties, as they can in New York.  This is good and attacks the monopoly control of politics by Republicans and Democrats.  We need more states to permit this option.  This will be a good project for the Campaign for Liberty, along with the alliance we are building to change the process.

I’ve thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election.  I’m supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.

Honestly, this is a detramental blow to Barr.  And it’s a huge sigh of relief for McCain.  Barr was on the ballot in 45/51 states (counting Washington, D.C. as a “state”), but Baldwin is only on 37.  He’s a write-in in Indiana, where Barr was on the ballot.  That greatly helps McCain.  In Montana, the Constitution Party rejected Baldwin and selected Ron Paul.  Who knows how this will effect that whole situation.  In North Carolina, Baldwin can’t even be a write-in, where Barr was on the ballot.  Again, this will help McCain in a state that could be close-ish.  In Pennsylvania, Baldwin will be a write-in; Barr is on the ballot.

Overall, this move helps McCain.  Baldwin will probably beat out Barr now, which will be pretty humiliating for Barr, considering that the Libertarian normally beats the Constitution candidate by 200%-300%.

I find it funny that Barr pushed Paul and Paul said, “Fine, it’s not you.”

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul to Endorse a Presidential Candidate Tomorrow

September 9, 2008

Well, earlier today, Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty put out the following press release:

Ron Paul to Hold Major
Press Conference Wednesday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           CONTACT: Jesse Benton
September 8, 2008

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – Congressman Ron Paul will hold a press conference in the Ball Room at the National Press Club on Wednesday, September 10th at 10:00 am. Dr. Paul will announce his intentions for the fall presidential election and will be accompanied by several special guests.

This event comes on the heels of Dr. Paul’s historic three-day Rally for the Republic in Minneapolis, Minnesota that drew over 12,000 supporters.

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It has been rumored that any or several of the following Presidential candidates may be there: Bob Barr (Lib), Ralph Nader (I), Chuck Baldwin (Con), and Cynthia McKinney (Green) will be there.

Ron Paul’s spokesman apparently told reporters that Paul will give something of an endorsement [with] a real effect on this fall’s election.”

Unfortunately, I’m in class until 10:50, but I may bring my laptop with me to class (it’s a poli-sci class, so my professor wouldn’t mind).

As the press release said, thid DOES come after the Rally for the Republic, Paul’s non-RNC, in Minneapolis, MN.

I have talked with a few Paul supporters who are saying that tomorrow’s announcement may be a third party candidacy announcement, and some Paul supporters remain optimistic, but I don’t expect anything more than an endorsement of Bob Barr and  maybe Baldwin.  McKinney and Nader’s names were thrown in there for possible endorsements, but I HIGHLY doubt Paul would ever endorse either of them.

I’ll keep you updated.  If I don’t have anything up by 10:15 A.M. EDT tomorrow, expect something by 11:15.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul Will Be on the Ballot for President in Montana

September 9, 2008

A website called Ballot Access News has reported that Ron Paul will appear on the ballot for President in November.

The Constitution Party of Montana, which broke off from the national party back in 2006, decided not to stick with the national party’s nominee (Chuck Baldwin for President/Darrell Castle for VP), but rather nominate Ron Paul for President, and 2000 Constitution Party nominee, Michael Perutka, for Vice President.

Paul did not actively campaign for the nomination, but he also did not oppose it.  He has said that he will not object as long as he does not have to sign any declaration of candidacy and as long as he won’t actually have to do anything formal for the campaign.

Paul’s campaign manager in Montana, David Hart, told reporters, “Here in Montana, I think it’s pretty much sealed the deal that McCain will not win Montana.  If he doesn’t win, Ron Paul will probably be blamed for it.  They only need to look in the mirror and blame themselves for nominating someone who doesn’t represent true Republican values and causes like Paul. … [Paul may take some of Obama's votes becaue Paul] is really unifying in terms of liberty and freedom and that goes across the party lines. … It’s an exciting development.  People will have an opportunity to not vote for the lesser of two evils.”

However, Montana Republican Party Chairman Erik Iverson isn’t so worried.  He told reporters, “I’ve got all the respect in the world for David Hart and Ron Paul.  But I think the only candidate in Montana that it hurts is Bob Barr.  Montana voters who would vote for him (Paul) on the Constitution Party ticket are folks who probably wouldn’t have voted for John McCain anyway and they certainly wouldn’t have voted for Barack Obama.”

Personally, I think that this is going to hurt McCain more than Obama, but I’m not ready to call the state one way or another yet.  I think this definitely puts the state into play, and this could be an election where 3 Electoral Votes makes the difference.  This state has been close in the polls lately; however, all of those were pre-Palin, and Palin is going to help McCain in Montana, so I’m really undecided as to how much of a hit McCain will take here (but if Paul wasn’t running, I’d definitely call it for McCain).  I do know that Bob Barr (Libertarian) will suffer here in Montana now though.  Some time soon I’ll be putting out my prediction for the general election (I may do a weekly prediction or something like that).

I’ll keep you updated with anything more that happens regarding Montana and Ron Paul.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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