Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bush's economic policies were bad? Really?

More wonderful reading: The Constitution says Congress regulates the economy not the President! Since 2006, Democrats ran Congress. Uh oh.

On CNN Late Edition today, Senator Evan Bayh (D - Indiana) commented that McCain was going to carry on Bush's economic policies if he was elected. Yet, Bayh couldn't exactly pinpoint which specific Bush policies were wrong. Was it the tax cuts that created jobs after 9/11 and dot com bubble recession (from Clinton's time)? Bayh also commented that McCain voted "with Bush" 90% of the time -- yet he failed to mention Obama voted 40% of the time "with Bush" in 2007.

Government 101 - Who makes "policies?"
Let's go to government 101 and analyze some basics about the structure of the executive and the legislative branch. I want to highlight this because Senator Bayh seems to be confusing people when he says "Bush's policies".

The president signs bills into law. The policies from those bills, that affect the housing market, tax rates, minimum wage, welfare, declaration of war, job creation -- all of those details are sorted out by....Congress! Which party actually has the majority in both houses of Congress since 2006? The Democrats. Hmmm... The plot thickens. For the past two years, government policy, and potential economic reform has been under the approval or disapproval of the Democratic majority.

Obama votes present on unpopular bills instead of 'yes' or 'no'
The percentage of Obama's agreement on "Bush's policies" would have probably been higher if Obama actually had an opinion on 129 bills, where instead of voting "yes" or "no", he politically postured to vote "present" to avoid being held accountable for it in future political debates. For instance, he voted "present" on legislation where victims of rape and sex crimes could have their courts sealed. Anything that smells of controversy and could hold him accountable to the public, he seem to have avoided. He only agreed to vote on what's popular. Ouch.

Bad economic policy?
The cause of the economic crisis no doubt came directly from a bad housing market...but that started in the Clinton administration. In 2006, it was actually Senator McCain that tried to regulate the housing market but the Democratic majority in Congress said no way...

In 2006, McCain demanded reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose collapse ultimately precipitated the financial crisis now gripping the world.

As American citizens, we have every right to constructively criticize our government and our elected officials. But we have to do this with proper knowledge. The constant attack of "Bush policies", if you research further, points back to the Democrats, who controlled the legislative branches for the past two years.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Sanctity of Life - the Issue Above the Economy

Out of all the issues, the sanctity of life hasn't grabbed the headlines. But that's okay, because the people that believe in such sanctity will reveal its importance through one action -- voting their conscience on November 4th, 2008.

Obama takes a shot at the Bible

An interesting clip...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is socialism a sin? A biblical analysis

God commands you to work and if you don't, you shouldn't eat

The humanistic viewpoint of socialism, where those that work hard, are forced by the government, to share with those that do not, strikes against a core biblical principle of the Bible.

If you are a believer in God, you are commanded in the fourth commandment to work: Six days you will work, and on the seventh day you rest.

The commandment to "rest" (Sabbath) has a precondition -- that is for that person to work. This is further expanded upon in the New Testament in II Thessalonians 3:6-12. This is where we get the principle of, "...if any would not work, neither should he eat."

How about those that are disabled or can't work?

The Bible has clear guidance on what happens to the elderly, the single mothers, the disabled, and it is laid out both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. For instance, in 1 Timothy 5, the first point of contact should be the extended family members. The second point of contact should be the church.

1 Tim 5:3-4 (NIV): "Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."

Ask yourself: does this chapter or any other biblical verse talk about asking for the secular government (Roman empire) to come in and help? Do the verses say, "ask Pilate to spread the wealth around"? The answer is clearly no.

The effects of humanistic socialism

The effects of this type of government is laziness. It encourages people that are able to carry on a job to not work. Don't take my word for it. Consider this family that never worked for three generations. Why not? Because the U.K. government and its European socialistic policies have encouraged such behavior.

One of the youngest family members, Jessica, sum's it all up on why we should avoid a society where "spreading the wealth" is advocated as a right:

"I don't like the idea of having to be bossed around at work and I don't want to go to college or anything because I like to stay in bed in the morning. In the meantime, it's my right to claim benefits. One day I'd like a council flat [government housing]."

Yep that's right, God's Ten Commandments is still relevant today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pandora proof PSPs?

WARNING: This post is a bit geeky.

PlayStation Portable (PSP) News: Pandora Proof

I always bring an old PSP when I travel. I can look for wifi locations, view web sites, play games, view pictures, movies, and much more. Its also fun doing PSP hacks and mods from time to time. But I discovered a couple of things that's probably going to scare potential PSP home brewers out there.

So far in the past four weeks I've come across two PSPs from Japan (piano black) and the United States ( black regular) where the pandora battery is not working. The 'magic' memory stick and the pandora battery works on all other phats and slims, but on these particular two units, the only response was:

  • Auto-on, green light / no other lights
  • Black screen

    What's causing this problem? Apparently a new CPU which Sony may have done on purpose (or accidentally) to block any pandora-based hacks or mods. Here's a more technical explanation: Dark Alex's Flowchart
  • Monday, October 13, 2008

    Scared rich? An economic reflection

    The sun is setting here in Tokyo, Japan as I'm typing this short reflection on our current economic crisis.

    I have always thought that the end of the world would be some sort of nuclear holocaust, but clearly this week showed us there's more than one way to end the world. I don't want to scare you or worry you too much, as we have the ability to rise above this crisis if we want to.

    After scouring through my normal weekly reading of TIME, Forbes, US News, Washington Post, and reading through CNBC reports, listening to economists and their disagreements, I have come to one solid conclusion: most of this is in our heads.

    Here's the basics:

    1. The banks don't trust each other so they don't lend money. According to Mortgage Bankers Association chief economist Jay Brinkmann, 1.4 million mortgages are in foreclosure out of 51 million. So roughly 3% are toxic assets based on foreclosure rates and if I was a betting man (I'm not), I would hedge that conservatively up to 7%-9% for those mortgages that are going to be in default.

    Financial institutions do not know how exposed their colleagues are, so they aren't lending each other money due to the fact that they don't know who is affected, or by how much.

    This has immediate impacts to middle size companies and small businesses, as their lines of credit could potentially shrink as their banks are running out of cash. An example of this would be your local McDonalds franchise having to spend cash on hand instead of their line of credit to order their next month's supply of burgers and fries.

    2. Investors are freaked out by the news. The Internet, the global information superhighway, satellite broadcasts, and other media vehicles can bring the news to anyone in the world in seconds. This gives us a great advantage in breaking down cultural and political boundaries...but it also exposes us to a great risk. Our ability to take in information and react to it (in this case, "panic"), has revealed our biggest weakness in this globally connected economy. The easily influenced masses that are driven purely by what they see on TV or what they hear from friends are selling off their portfolios.

    In the United States, according to Forbes, American citizens have roughly $7.4 trillion dollars saved in their bank account and another $4.1 trillion in bonds and the Treasury. We are not in a depression where we have no cash and doctors are lining up to soup kitchens like in the 1920s and 30s, but we could potentially put ourselves there if we continue to be scared from coming out of our homes and stop investing.

    But worst case scenario, I have a plan - let's find some land and plant and live like farmers.

    Sunday, October 05, 2008

    Bad mortgages caused the financial crisis

    Credit crunch, housing did it all begin? A quick look at our history shows a different story. Know your history, know the truth, then spread it.

    Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

    New York Times

    Published: September 30, 1999

    In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

    The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

    Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

    In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

    ''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''

    cont'd (Please see New York Times for past archives)