Saturday 31 January 2009

This is the sub-prime house that Barack Obama built

It is all very well for President Obama to vent his anger on all those US bankers who continued to claim billions of dollars in bonuses while expecting Washington to bail them out after the sub-prime mortgage scandal brought the banks to their knees. But conveniently overlooked has been the curious part Mr Obama himself played in the sub-prime debacle.

At the heart of it was a 1995 amendment to the Community Reinvestment Act which legally required banks to lend money to buy homes to millions of poor, mainly black Americans, guaranteed by the two biggest mortgage associations, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And no one campaigned more actively for this change to the law than Mr Obama, as a young but already influential Chicago politician.

It was this Act which, more than anything, helped to create the US housing bubble, well beyond the point where it was obvious that hundreds of thousands of homeowners would be likely to default. And in 2005 no one more actively opposed moves to halt Fannie Mae's reckless guarantees than Senator Obama, as he was by then. As the official records show, no senator received more donations from Fannie Mae than he did (although Hillary Clinton ran him close). Thus no US politician arguably did more to promote the sub-prime disaster than the man now expected to pick up the pieces, Rather like Gordon Brown, really.
Source: The Telegraph

Obama half-brother on drug charge

The Kenyan half-brother of President Barack Obama has been arrested for alleged marijuana possession.
George Obama was arrested in Nairobi with one joint of marijuana, police chief Joshua Omokulongolo said. "He is not a drug peddler. But it is illegal, it is a banned substance," he said. Mr Obama has denied the allegations.
Source: BBC

Thursday 22 January 2009

Obama orders Guantanamo prison closed

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered the Guantanamo Bay military prison closed within one year and established a cabinet-level task force to determine what to do with the remaining 245 detainees held at the facility.

Obama signed the executive order on Guantanamo following meetings Thursday morning with a group of former military officers who have been urging him to shut down the facility.

"Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now," Obama said, adding that the move will be carried out "consistent with national security."
In your own time, Barry, in your own sweet time.


Monday 19 January 2009

Obama’s Rick Warren Scandal Just Got Worse

The Obama team has just opened up a new front in their skirmishes with gay rights supporters over Obama’s decision to invite Rick Warren, the anti-gay megachurch preacher, to give the invocation at the inauguration tomorrow.

The latest incident occurred yesterday when HBO failed to broadcast an invocation delivered by openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson during pre-inaugural events at the Lincoln Memorial. Now HBO is claiming it was ordered not to broadcast Robinson’s prayer by the Presidential Inaugural Committee:

…HBO insisted in an email on Sunday night that it was not their decision to omit Robinson’s invocation, saying, “The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show.”
Source: Pensito Review

Thirty-three per cent believe that Obama was born on Planet Krypton

... the opinions on where Obama was born (opinions and beliefs being far more important than facts nowadays, two can play at that game) on a good turnout of 132 votes (thanks to everybody who voted, as ever) are as follows:

Runaway winner: Planet Krypton (33%)

Leaving that possibility aside, 37% reckoned he was disqualified from being US President:
Mombassa, Kenya (24%)
On an aeroplane from somewhere to somewhere else (4%)
It's irrelevant, he lost US citizenship when he was adopted by an Indonesian (9%)

And only 31% are True Believers:
Kapi'olani Medical Center, Honolulu (13%)
It's irrelevant, he will still Save The World (10%)
Queens Medical Center, Honolulu (7%)
Washington State (1%)

Friday 16 January 2009

Non-job axed

When Barack Obama won election to the senate back in 2004 one of the first things he did was secure a $1 million earmark for his wife's employers, who a few months later nearly trebled her salary overnight. It's the Chicago way- "Pay to play" I believe they call it.

She didn't actually do anything that enabled the hospital to treat patients more effectively, quite the opposite in fact, she was in a diversity make-work role that involved transferring money that could have been spent on medical care to political clients.

Obama defenders were insisting that it was a very valuable job and that she was being paid for the job she did. Yet amazingly now that the position, which was previously of such importance that it merited a $300000+ salary, is no longer filled by someone whose spouse can deliver the federal largesse, it turns out that the position is no longer needed. I'm shocked I tell you!
Source: Unenlightened Commentary, New York Times, Chicago Daily Observer

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Obama's pick as treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, failed to pay taxes

The man chosen by President-elect Obama to run the US Treasury failed to pay $34,000 in taxes over several years in the first half of the decade.

The disclosure of the unpaid tax bill of Timothy Geithner, who is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will complicate a Senate Finance Committee hearing into his nomination as US Treasury Secretary.

It may also add some bumps into what has so far been a relatively seamless transition between the Bush and Obama presidencies.

The unpaid taxes, which relate to a period when Mr Geithner worked as a senior official at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and a separate issue regarding the employment of a housekeeper without a work permit, emerged in papers released yesterday by the Senate Finance Committee.
Source: The Telegraph

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Obama dumps scandal-tainted key nominee

PRESIDENT-ELECT Barack Obama has moved to cut short ethical controversies surrounding his incoming administration, by accepting the withdrawal of his nominee for commerce secretary, Bill Richardson, who is embroiled in a financial scandal in his home state of New Mexico.

The two issued a statement announcing that Mr Richardson, once a presidential candidate and the first prominent Latino to be appointed to the cabinet, would withdraw and return to his duties as Governor of New Mexico, after it became clear a grand jury inquiry into the dealings of a donor company with the state would take some time.

Mr Obama said he had accepted Mr Richardson's decision to withdraw "with deep regret".
Source: The Age