Saturday, May 09, 2009

Pelosie shocked to discover waterboarding

Nancy Pelosi What??
You mean the CIA was waterbording people??
I can’t believe it!!!
Why did not someone tell me??

CIA Says Pelosi Was Briefed on Use of 'Enhanced Interrogations'

By Paul Kane, Washington Post, May 7, 2009; 7:29 PM ET

Intelligence officials released documents this evening saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed in September 2002 about the use of harsh interrogation tactics against al-Qaeda prisoners, seemingly contradicting her repeated statements over the past 18 months that she was never told that these techniques were actually being used.

In a 10-page memo outlining an almost seven-year history of classified briefings, intelligence officials said that Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) were the first two members of Congress ever briefed on the interrogation tactics. Then the ranking member and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, respectively, Pelosi and Goss were briefed Sept. 4, 2002, one week before the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. [full article]

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Friday, May 08, 2009

More remembrances of Jack Kemp

Conservative hero

May 7th 2009 WASHINGTON, DC.From The Economist print edition

A liberal Republican in the best sense

WINSTON CHURCHILL once said that he “preferred the past to the present and the present to the future”. Jack Kemp had exactly the opposite point of view. For him the future always promised to be better than both the present and the past—provided that the government would just get out of the way.[full article]

The Importance of Jack Kemp

By Jeffrey Lord on 1.9.09, American Spectator

"When you tax something you get less of it, and when you reward something you get more of it."
With that simple exhortation -- and this is a man born to exhort -- Jack Kemp changed his party, changed his country and, ultimately, changed the world.
[full article]

What Jack Kemp Accomplished: The congressman from Buffalo changed his party and the country for the better.

by Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard, 05/03/2009 7:20:00 PM

Jack Kemp was a speaker in search of an audience. But unlike most of Washington, including the city's journalists, Kemp had something important to say. He may have been embarrassed about his academic background--he was a physical education major at Occidental College in California--but the truth was he knew more about economics and what worked in the real world to create growth and jobs than almost anyone else in town.

[Excerpt] Here are the four things I give Kemp credit for:

1) Popularizing tax cuts as the best and most reliable way to spur economic growth and create jobs.

2) Persuading Ronald Reagan to adopt a 30 percent reduction in individual income tax rates initially as the main domestic message of his campaign in 1980 and then as the top priority of his presidency.

3) Transforming Republicans from an effete country-club party into a broad-based party with appeal to middle and working class voters.

4) Making, along with Reagan, Republicans the optimistic, positive party of ideas. [Full Article]

Heritage Foundation Mourns Loss of Jack Kemp, Fighter and Leader

Posted By Rory Cooper On May 2, 2009, The Heritage Foundation

Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner tonight issued the following statement on the death of Jack Kemp, former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and longtime Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow:

“Jack Kemp was a leader – whether it was in a football huddle, a national political campaign or a policy discussion about the Austrian school of economics.

“I first met Jack nearly 40 years ago, during his freshman year in Congress. When he introduced the Jobs Creation Act – a major legislative advance of supply-side economics – I knew I had found an ally. That ally soon became my friend

“Jack was a ‘bleeding-heart conservative.’ He wanted to make it possible for every American to succeed and eagerly worked with people of all races, colors and creeds toward that end.

“Across-the-board tax cuts and ‘enterprise zones’ for blighted neighborhoods are now common economic prescriptions – especially during these hard times. But to make these ideas respectable, Jack had to fight for them constantly during his years in Congress, as Housing and Urban Development secretary, as chairman of a national tax reform commission, and during his presidential and vice presidential campaigns.

“He won those fights, and millions benefited. The tax cuts that Jack helped engineer in the 1980s gave Americans unprecedented prosperity for decades. His commission also boldly proposed a national flat tax. Those policies also helped spread freedom around the world.

“I remember standing with him in Moscow’s Red Square in 1990. The Cold War was starting to thaw, but few even suspected that the Soviet Union’s days were numbered. Jack knew. As we stood on the square, in view of the Kremlin, he pointed out an astonishing sign: The line for the new McDonald’s restaurant was longer than the line for Lenin’s tomb.

“Many people will remember Jack as a great football player – and rightly so. But he was also a great player in the world of ideas, with a mind as strong as his arm. I will miss his strength and friendship greatly.”

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Remembering Jack Kemp

Jack KempI have been out of town on vacation and was in London when I read in the Financial Times that Jack Kemp had died. It saddened me. Jack Kemp along with William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Jean Kirkpatrick, Milton Friedman, Margaret Thatcher and a couple others, was on my short list of people whom I think had vision and passion and who I greatly admire and respect.

When he ran for President against George H. Bush and then later against Bob Dole, I was pulling for Kemp. I was much more enthusiastic about Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign after he chose Jack Kemp as his running mate. For many years I kept hoping that Jack Kemp would become President.

Jack Kemp had a brilliant intellect and was a passionate and articulate defender of free markets. He was a strong proponent of supply side economics and tax cuts and smaller government. One thing I especially liked about Kemp was that he advocated a Republican urban policy and was concerned about Black poverty. As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development he advocated programs designed to spur intercity investment and programs to reduce but improve public housing and increase homeownership opportunities among the poor.

While Kemp was a solid conservative, I am not so sure that he would be welcome in some conservative circles today where being conservative often means being vitriolic and angry. Jack Kemp was not an angry man; he did not ridicule his political opponents or make personal attacks. Jack Kemp always seemed reasonable. He genuinely seemed to want to understand the views of those with whom he disagreed and then try to find common ground and then convert them.
He described himself as a "bleeding-heart conservative" and had compassion for the poor, which I think seems to be missing from many in the Republican Party today. While he opposed abortion and supported school prayer, he also advocated immigration reform and a system of worker permits for those illegal immigrants already here. That alone would disqualify him as a “real” conservative in the minds of many contemporary conservatives. If that did not disqualify him, then advocacy of homeownership opportunities for the poor would do it.

Jack Kemp was comfortable around black people and worked to try to make Republican inroads among Blacks. As a former professional football player, he had played sports with Black men and once remarked that he had showered with more Blacks than most Republicans even knew. He once remarked that he would have gladly spoken at Farrakhan’s Million Man March if he had been invited.

As one who works in a field were most of my clients and many of my peers are Black, I believe the right salesman could bring the conservative message to Blacks and win converts. While few Blacks would describe themselves as conservative, on both economic and social issues many Blacks hold surprisingly conservative views but still vote Democratic. Demographers tell us that at some not-too-distant point in the future that America will be a majority minority nation. If the Party cannot make inroads among minorities we are doomed to be a permanent minority party. Jack Kemp was on the right track but we have abandoned that quest.

Kemp could appeal to people who are not normally Republicans. Kemp was elected and served nine terms as a Congressman from upstate New York. Can anyone imagine a conservative Republican winning that seat today? As the Republican Party continues to spiral downward into insignificance, there is much talk about finding a new face and voice of the Party. I wish there was another Jack Kemp to be that voice and face. A Jack Kemp is what today’s Republican Party needs. I will miss Jack Kemp.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Facing Mortgage Default? Don’t be Scammed!

It is an outrage the number of people who are being scammed by phony mortgage default counseling services. I see it almost every day. Just today, another counselor in my office came to me with a case where the lady had paid a company $2800. She was behind on her mortgage and received a solicitation in the mail. The solicitation contained a form which looked like a government document. The form was a “009-S” and was called a “Payment Reduction Notification,” and said, “RE: HR5140 Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.”

This was totally phony. This company is not associated with the government and they are providing no service of any value. The lady responded to the solicitation and she was told that they could help her save her home. They also offered her legal services to save her house if such services were needed.

One often does need the assistance and guidance of a housing counselor in order to get a workout from one’s mortgage company. There are various factors involved in determining what workout may be available and the homeowner is often ill equipped to negotiate with the mortgage company. You do not need to pay for this service however; it is free. Secondly, Tennessee is a non-judicial foreclosure state and an attorney cannot help you save your home, except in the most extreme and rare of cases.

This lady ended up sending the mortgage company $2800. She has just lost that money and will not get it back. That $2800 could have went a long way toward a workout that would have helped save her home. This lady may or may not be able to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy and keep her house. It is too early to know what options might be available, but she was just ripped off of $2800 and without that money the prospect for avoiding loosing the home is a lot slimmer.

This is not an isolated case. I had one 89-year-old Black widow women who paid a company $800. We got her story on the local news and the “counseling agency” refunded her money. The reason she got her money back is that she had given the firm her bank account number and they took the money out of her bank account. Given the fact that the victim made such a good victim (elderly, Black, widow) and she claimed they took the money from her account without her permission, and that we got the story on TV, I assume the company thought it best to simply refund her money. Most people are not that lucky.

Last week, I served a client who had already filled out an information packet from one of these phony counseling agencies and already made out a check for $1600 to send to a company but luckily, on the advice of a friend, she called me first. We were able to negotiate a workout for her and she saved her home. If she would have sent the company the $1600 she would not have been able to afford a workout and would have most likely lost her home.

These phony mortgage default counseling companies solicit people by phone, by mail, by email, late-night TV infomercials and by knocking on a person’s door. There are several ways they can get the name of potential victims. They can get the names from the websites of the attorneys who handle the foreclosure or once a foreclosure notice is published they can get the information out of the newspaper. Another way is that they can purchase names from the credit bureaus. They establish certain parameters and then purchase the name of everyone who meets that profile. They may, for instance, purchase the name of everyone who is 60 days behind on their mortgage, or everyone who has been 30 behind for the last four months or so.

These companies are preying on desperate people. In addition to these scams there are also other more sophisticated scams, but the most popular scam is the phony counseling agency. Often the victim is the less educated or sophisticated but many intelligent, educated people also end up being victims. No one knows how widespread this is, but it is very widespread. Untold thousands of people are losing their homes when they could have saved them if they had gone to a legitimate housing counseling agency rather than a scam artist.

Legitimate housing counseling agencies are listed at this link: . If you are in the Nashville area and need help call me, Rod Williams 850-3453. If elsewhere, use the above link and get help from a legitimate housing counselor. Please, help spread the word that legitimate free help is available. Please don’t let your friends or family fall victim to one of these cruel scams.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Obama Hopeover, Hopesick, and Hopebreak

A Lexicon of Disappointment

By Noami Klein, The Nation, May 4, 2009

[Excerpt] All is not well in Obamafanland. Whatever the last straw, a growing number of Obama enthusiasts are starting to entertain the possibility that their man is not, in fact, going to save the world if we all just hope really hard. [Full Article]

I wondered when it would start, but I am not surprised that some Obamist are beginning to lose their religion. Some Obama cultist are leaving the cult. Some are realizing that Obama is a just a man and a politician after all. They are beginning to think that maybe he really is not the messiah.

It looks like he can never be far left enough for the very far left. His failure to condemn the Israel's Gaza attack, the fact that he cannot stop all layoffs and foreclosures, his hypocrisy of advocating due process rights for Guantanamo detainees and opposing them for Bagram detainees, his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, and his failure to totally remake society are causing some of his most enthusiastic disciples to lose hope.

This is good news. If the most enthusiastic lose their evangelical zeal, maybe Obama can be vulnerable in 2012. Without his army of Obamaheads to pressure Congress every time the Perpetual Obama Campaign sends out an email, maybe Congress will start actually reading bills before they vote on them. Maybe without a loud chorus to back him up, Obama will be unable to walk on water.

Read this article to learn the new vocabulary of those who are losing Hope.

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