Gay Patriot Header Image

A New Year’s Reflection

As many of you know, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah begins tonight at sundown, so as I write these words, some of our readers are already celebrating the holiday.

Every year, as the Jewish High Holy Days approach, I seek to engage in T’shuvah, the word literally means return (as if we return to the right path), where I examine my deeds in the past year and try to improve upon them for the year upcoming. To facilitate this process, I try to read S.Y. Agnon’s Days of Awe: A Treasury of Jewish Wisdom for Reflection, Repentance, and Renewal on the High Holy Days.

I have no clue how many times I’ve read this book since I first discovered it eighteen years ago. I find when I read it, it spurs me to reflection and helps me prepare for the Holy Days and the New Year.

This year, I pulled the book down from my shelves in the now-ending Hebrew month of Ellul, a month when, to paraphrase something I wrote two years ago at this time, we reflect, looking back on the previous year, considering our faults and resolve to improve ourselves. I didn’t get to it until just a few days ago.

I hesitated picking it up, fearing it would too much of a chore to get through, as I wanted to read the whole book over the Yamin Noraim, these Days of Awe, when we turn our thoughts to our Maker and our own improvement.

Once I started reading, however, it was not as much a chore as I initially feared. I found myself coming alive as I read, awakened to both the traditions of my people and the circumstances of my life, circumstances which helped explain (but not excuse) my own faults.  I realized (yet again) I was not the first to stray, not the first to take good things for granted.

I began to understand what it meant to be “humble and contrite.” Humble, that I am human and weak, not always able to live up to my duties and ideals. I’m not so proud to believe that I can always be perfect. Contrite, in that I take responsibility for my failures (even when I understand them) and seek to do better new year.

But, the real lesson I gleaned from this whole experience. While we may feel it is painful to consider our own imperfections, sometimes when we do, we discover the pain is lessened when we can see a path to improving upon them and find within ourselves the resolve to take the first step.

I’ve engaged in this process before. So, I ask another question: why do we hesitate sometimes to do those things which help us improve ourselves spiritually? And make us feel more engaged with our lives. And more alive.

May you, our readers, be inscribed and sealed for a Good Year.

Barney Frank’s Fire

it seems Bruce and I have been reading different sources to reach the same conclusion. It was not a failure of government to regulate which caused the current problems facing Wall Street, but an excess of government intervention which provoked it.

Bruce posts my friend Rich Miniter’s piece which I had not yet seen, but addresses many of the issues I’ve been learning about these past seventy-two hours or so.

A bill passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by a Democratic President (Jimmy Carter–can he do anything right?), the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, basically forced banks to make loans to would-be home-buyers without good credit histories. Another Democratic President, Bill Clinton, expanded on the bill.

The two institutions at the heart of this crisis are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are GSEs. Some media sources sometimes fail to define GSE. Well, it means Government Sponsored Enterprises. Let me repeat they are Government Sponsored Enterprises. They are not the free market.

Republicans have been calling for reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac throughout the Bush Administration, with the President himself calling for reform 17 times just in 2008.

As I mentioned before, John McCain co-sponsored legislation in the 109th Congress designed to fix the problem. Meanwhile, as per the video below, House Democrats thwarted reform while Republicans warned of the upcoming crisis.

And there is Barney Frank in 2004, saying all is hunky-dory at Fannie Mae.


205 YEA, 228 NAY

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 1:55 pm - September 29, 2008.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

Is today Financial Armageddon?

UPDATE: (Not My) Speaker Pelosi’s incompetence led to failure of bailout vote.

House leaders held open the vote as they tried to sway reluctant lawmakers to support the plan, which was failing 207-226 after the vote clock expired but arm-twisting continued.

Opponents said part of the reason for the opposition from Republicans was what they termed a partisan speech by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said one GOP source.

“Pelosi’s partisan speech has caused our members to go berserk and may cost us any remaining chance to pass the bill,” the source said.

Pelosi had said that Congress needed to pass the bill, even though it was an outgrowth of the “failed Bush economic policies” of the last eight years.

Wait….remember last week the Democrats didn’t need ANY Republican votes for passage at all.  What happened, Speaker Of Incompetence?

UPDATE: An astounding 40% of Pelosi’s own Democrats voted AGAINST the bill.  This was the Democrats’ bill (before the House Republicans helped improve it).   And all she could get was 60% of Democrats???


-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Wall St. Meltdown – There Are People To Blame

No, “WE” didn’t cause this Wall Street mess – Richard Miniter – PajamasMedia
(and yes, this is the whole column printed below)

You must be as tired of hearing it as I am.  Somehow, we are all at fault for Wall Street’s meltdown.  We demanded cheap loans for houses we couldn’t afford and voted in corrupt dolts, who took from Fannie Mae and told us what we wanted to hear.  Now, we are getting what we deserve.

Take Rod Dreher’s otherwise excellent column in the Dallas Morning News:

After all, these scoundrels did not elect themselves, nor was there an outcry heard in the land against Wall Street rapacity and recklessness when our 401(k)s were rising, and all but the lowliest plebeian was moving into his very own McMansion.

Along those lines, there’s one proverb that we will all become painfully acquainted with in the years to come: You reap what you sow.

There are two essential problems with this analysis: it is factually false and morally unwise.

Rep. Barney Frank was elected by a majority of the people of his district in Massachusetts. Senator Chris Dodd is brought to us by many but not all of the voters of Connecticut. And so on. Most of us never had the chance to vote for or against these solons. So why should we be blamed?

The regulatory changes that led us to this point were the work of lobbyists, bureaucrats and lawmakers including Dodd and Frank and corrupt executives, like Raines and Johnson. We know or can know their names.

The idea of blaming “all of us” is a way to avoid blaming those who did the deeds and reaped their ill-gotten gains.

What about cheap mortgages?   Sure, some of us took them when they were offered.   But who offered them and why?   Yes, it is the Clinton-era changes to the Community Reinvestment Act that forced banks to lend more for “affordable housing.” Law firms, including ones connected to Obama, sued banks that failed to meet their low-income quotas for mortgages. Bankers were not driven by greed, as everyone says, but by fear.  Fear of the baying hounds of regulators and lawyers would call them racist and ruin their careers.  But who unleashed the hounds on the bankers?

Particular policies and people made this mess. The public’s only role will be to pay the tab, a cruel addition that will equal more than $2,500 per person.  Can’t the talking class at least have the decency to stop blaming the one group generous enough to pay for the party they didn’t attend?

Amen, brother.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

History of America’s Financial Meltdown

Spend just 10 minutes and learn a lot about why we are facing a $700 BILLION financial crisis.

Spend 10 minutes and learn how the same Democrats in Congress who caused this mess, also got massive campaign contributions from the greedy investment houses and lenders.

Spend 10 minutes and learn that these same Democrats are still kowtowing to their Wall Street donors and left-wing groups during this financial crisis.  We expect the people who caused this mess to FIX IT??

Ask yourselves why Chris Dodd & Barney Frank are SO EAGER to pass the Paulson package so we can “move on” to other subjects.   Don’t look behind the curtain, says Barney, just do what I say.

Ask yourselves which political party, over the past 10 days, has stood up for Main Street and which one has had to stand up for Wall Street due to the political support they rely on.

Spend 10 minutes watching this before you decide who to vote for this November. (h/t – Ace of Spades)

[RELATED STORY: Bailout Mess: And You Wonder Why I’m Not A Democrat? – Kevin at Citizen Crain]

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

UPDATE (from Dan);  As that video above no longer works, please check this one out: