Frank Louis
They keep claiming that torture doesn't work: so what is up with this "crucify" thing?
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By Frank Louis
April 29, 2012

It just occurred to me that we have in front of us yet another conflicting set of "principles" (and I use the word loosely) coming from the mouths of those in the current administration of this country. I will site the two most recent that I have come upon: Recent statements by Fannie/Freddie Mae Director Ed DeMarco with respect to principal reductions on mortgages and the recently discovered video footage of the EPA Region VI Administrator, Al Armendariz with regard to "crucifying" and "making examples" of oil and gas companies.

In both of these examples, I believe there are severe conflicts in leadership philosophies. Philosophies, I would add, that are destroying this nation minute-by-minute in financial "principles" and "principles" that affect the defense of our nation. Let's start with my favorite subject, the housing crisis. We are all too well aware of how this crisis is playing out, destroying many or most of our savings, lives, investments in real estate, our credit, financial estates, etc; Wealth Redistribution at its best!

Often, I have written and spoken about the many Americans who made the "correct change" when they bought into the fraudulently "overvalued" real estate market with 20% — 30% down payments. Down payments made in a market that, as we all know, in which full disclosure to the nation's housing market's exposure to subprime mortgages was not made. In fact it was outright lied to us about. Mortgages often made to straw buyers through even more fraudulently made transactions made to create derivatives for resale to yet more unsuspecting investors. No concern to the stability of this aspect of our economy.

With respect to this crisis, most recently Fannie/Freddie Mae acting director Ed DeMarco made negative comments pertaining to much needed mortgage balance buy downs or modifications as they are called; "principal reductions." Face it; foreclosures, short sales, etc are all examples of "principal reduction." However, these are at the detriment of the mortgagee (borrower) as out tax dollars make up the losses on the other end. We, on the other hand, have lost over $9 trillion in net worth.

In an instance where no down payment was made -the loans that created the problem- I have no issue, take the property now. But when people invested the 20% — 30% or more because they were serious purchasers, they need to be compensated. They were robbed. If you don't agree with me, send me an email, have me on your show, do some research see how this came about. Some people actually paid money in this fraudulently represented industry. They lost it all.

Some of DeMarco's big complaints regarding these reductions are the following: He complains about the risk of "Strategic Modifiers" as he calls them. People who claim "hardship." Ed, if they made a down payment they were robbed. Their "strategy" was to invest their hard earned savings and make an investment. They have lost their money. That should be the only qualifier. Isn't losing every penny one invested a "hardship?" If not, then what is and then just who would you call the "hardest hit?" However, Hardship or not, they overpaid. Get it? Look at the closing documents, you will know who paid and who did not. Quit making more and more opportunity for more and more fraud through more and more convoluted programs.

DeMarco also complains that this is not a "silver bullet." That it only affects a small segment of the market crisis. So it is not worth pursuing. Well, as I see it, the same with regard to the "Tax the Rich" issue. It is (admittedly by the administration) not a "silver bullet" either as it hardly puts a dent into the nation's financial crisis. So, why is the administration wanting to "tax the rich" which will do very little with respect to the national debt but unwilling to help out underwater real estate "owners" who were robbed by a fraudulent market because it too does "little" to solve the problem? Maybe to further kill our free enterprise economic system?

Frankly, I do not believe he has the best interests of the American public at hand. Recall for a moment his predecessor, Larry Summers (now financial advisor to our current president, Harvard etc) who walked out of his Fannie/Freddie Mae Directorship with (by some accounts) upwards of $40milion while we all lost our life savings in those same transactions. Something is wrong here if you ask me. Are we to believe that Ed DeMarco is any more "altruistic?" I rather doubt it.

Now, the other conflicting set of "principles" I have identified.

We have, I am sure, all heard the plan of action (revealed in the recent release of a 2010 video of a speech), set forth by EPA Region VI Administrator, Al Armendariz with respect to getting the energy industries into lockstep with the administration's policies: "Crucifixion!" Wait a minute here... Isn't that "torture?" The very thing this administration claims they are against... even with respect to water boarding that harms no one. Now I realize that he was using a metaphor (or at least I do hope he was) but the intent is there: torture by example!

Among others, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, for example, have disputed the fact that "torture" unlocked information leading to Bin Laden's final fate. Didn't these techniques, if nothing else, provide examples that perhaps influenced others with regard to the information they may have provided? I think so. In fact, this is a big problem this administration has. They do not understand the concept of how people are influenced by example. Take the recent Secret Service issues and President Clinton's (John Edwards too) attitude toward sexual exploits. How about Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's tax issues (Warren Buffet's billion dollar back tax bill too) and how the government wants to raise our taxes to create "fairness." Records show that many of these don't give to charities, etc. They can pay more taxes if they wish (there is a line for that on the form), they can give their secretaries raises, they can lead by better example. Sounds like they do not understand how what they do set examples others follow. For example, read about Democrat Elizabeth Warren's recent tax discussion with the Boston Globe. According to this article, "she did not pay the higher 5.85% rate on her state tax form, a legal option available for Massachusetts taxpayers who believe they should pay more. " Hummm.

So, on one hand we have an administration that has environmental policies that secretly "torture" in the Roman model of "random crucifixions" to set examples but they will not water board? They come out and repeatedly claim that "torture" and enhanced interrogation techniques have no positive results but, at the same time, they use these tactics (less the cross, or water I assume) to enforce policy against their own people? Yep, something is wrong here.

When I think about it, why should we believe anything any longer?

© Frank Louis

 

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Frank Louis

Frank Louis is a print and on-air commentator who offers opinions and solutions on and for the economy, social issues, and the future of this nation. In the Old Testament, Nehemiah 4: 14 instructs us to fight for our houses; something we need to be doing now. Our future generations depend on it!... (more)

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