Jan 27 2009

What Price Peace Mr President?

Published by at 8:08 am under All General Discussions

Obama took and interesting, if impotent, move today by making his first press interview directed towards the Muslim World:

President Obama expressed optimism yesterday about the prospect of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but he said a peace accord will take time and require new thinking about the problems of the Middle East as a whole.

“All too often the United States starts by dictating — in the past on some of these issues — and we don’t always know all the factors that are involved,” Obama told al-Arabiya. “So let’s listen. 

But in tone, his comments were a stark departure from those of former president George W. Bush, who often described the Middle East conflict in terms that drew criticism from Palestinians.

By contrast, Obama went out of his way to say that if America is “ready to initiate a new partnership [with the Muslim world] based on mutual respect and mutual interest, then I think that we can make significant progress.”

Emphasis mine. America has always been ready to partner with the Muslim world and has done so for decades. Our allies in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Kuwait (to name a few) know this. Our new allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan know this. It has nothing to do with America. We are not the ones crying death to America, death to Israel. We do not use suicide bombers to wipe out markets, restaurants and schools. We do not attack ‘soft targets’. 

We have spent our precious blood in Iraq and Afghanistan. What else do we have to give to send ‘a signal’ we are ready? President Bush ‘changed’ America. Instead of being seen as a clueless, weak and self absorbed target the world knows we can be a strong ally or deadly enemy. It is THEIR choice which side of America they want to deal with. 

When Palestinians and other Islamo Fascists stop raising their children to be gruesome weapons, then maybe the other side will be ready to partner in common cause? 

Are the liberals and Obama truly this naive? Its like watching 3 year olds playing with a scalpel.

43 responses so far

43 Responses to “What Price Peace Mr President?”

  1. owl says:

    Cobalt S……………I decided some time ago that a test should be required for the vote. Forget age, just name the President, VP, 2 Cabinet members and 2 Senators. They do not even have to be your own. That ought to fix that problem.

    I agree kathie. The man does not have a gracious bone in his body and class will tell. Bush is class.

    I think we should give Guy that test if he lists Gitmo and Abu Ghraib as mistakes. Now that I think of it, let me give Sen Susan Collins a test on Katrina. Oh well.

    BTW, my period of giving him a chance is long gone. I do not like our new President. He appears to want to sign suicide pacts. He is trying to unseat Jimmy Carter and become king of the Blame America Club. He’s gonna be an expensive little bird flipper. I’m almost certain he gave it to Bush (in front of Laura) on the big day and we just didn’t catch it.

    Where are you MSM? Hello. Do you feel safer yet?

  2. The Macker says:

    Good post.

    Of course America has always been ready to “partner in peace.” To imply otherwise is to lie and pander to the Islamists.

    It is really tough to “partner” with those that want Israel gone and who deny its very legitimacy. Bush is pilloried for his honesty in the so called “Arab/Israeli” dispute and the ignorati praise Obama for “bold new steps.”

    It will be expensive for this administration to relearn the old lessons.

  3. kathie says:

    Well said Terrye.

    Just read that Susan Rice said from her perch at the UN that we would be happy to have direct talks with Iran if they renounce building nuclear weapons. Was that insightful or what? Now that is change even I can believe in. Wait a little minute, isn’t that what Bush said. I tell you these guys must have started reading the newspapers last week!

  4. GuyFawkes says:


    “But you are a leftie, so while you are just fine with some terrorist blowing up a market place”

    I’ve been hesitant to share what I’m about to write, because I always thought that it would feel like a cheap ploy. I felt I could make whatever points I wanted to without it easily enough. And besides, none of you know me – this is completely anonymous. However, reading what you wrote above has kind of forced my hand.

    I lost a family member in the attacks on 9/11.

    So, I’d like to ask you a serious question, Terrye:

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

    We disagree on some basic political concepts – and that means that I love terrorists? I have no problem with people dying in a marketplace? What kind of fucking defect do you have in your brain that lets you think that? What is with this need to demonize anyone who disagrees with you?

    Do you really believe what you wrote above?

    Because if you do, you are a sick, hateful person, and I pity you.

  5. Redteam says:

    I’ve been hesitant to share what I’m about to write, because I always thought that it would feel like a cheap ploy. I felt I could make whatever points I wanted to without it easily enough.

    give us a break. so you admit you’ve been making stupids arguments that can’t win on their own so you now want to win by playing the sympathy card.

    Why are you so desperate to defend terrorists that didn’t allow the victims of 9/11 to defend themselves. You’ll get no sympathy from me as long as you are supporting the people that support the rights of the terrorists over the rights of their victims and/or potential victims. Go cry somewhere else with your liberal buddies.

  6. Frogg says:

    She’s baaaaaaack:

    Helen Thomas: ‘Why is Obama Sending More Troops to Afghanistan to Kill People?’

  7. Frogg says:

    Terrye, Anchoress’ analysis was good. But, I thought Ed Morrissey’s was one of the best:


    And, speaking of Al Arabiya and Obama’s decision to do an interview with them….

    I wonder why he didn’t ask how it came to be that their Al Arabiya studio in Gaza was used by Hamas to launch rockets?


  8. kathie says:

    I found this at HOT AIR, really like the idea.

    Gary Schaub: Why the military will be America’s chief diplomatic tool for years to come

  9. crosspatch says:

    This is not going to be a downturn the government can “fix” by simply injecting some liquidity into the markets. There has been a fundamental change in what was generating economic growth, not simply a temporary reduction in the cash flowing into it. You have to understand how the basic nature of things has changed over the past two years in order to see how ridiculous the government’s reaction is.

    Consider that over about the past 10 to 15 years housing values in the faster growing areas of the country were rising at a dramatic rate. In addition to having to house the parents of the boomers, the boomers, their children and their grandchildren; certain areas of the country (mainly the South and West) were experiencing a migration of people from other areas (mostly North and East).

    On top of this, we had Congress using taxpayer guaranteed mortgages as a massive welfare program. People of marginal ability to pay were encouraged to obtain loans they could barely pay for with very risky loan schemes such as very low initial rate, short term, adjustable rate mortgages as well as interest only mortgages and even “reverse amortization” where one did not even pay all the interest due each month and the difference was added to the loan balance so the balance GREW each month rather than being paid down.

    The logic of all of this was that with record low interest rates combined with record rates of value appreciation would make it likely that the consumer would qualify for a better mortgage as equity would build through appreciation. The bet was even with the “reverse amortization” loans, appreciation would outpace loan balance growth and the borrower would still build enough equity to qualify for better terms on a refinance at some time in the future. All that is fine as long as both of the following conditions remain true: interest rates never go up while people are in the initial mortgage and are able to refinance to a more conventional “fixed” rate before interest rates rise, or, appreciation continues at the same pace.

    The result of all of this was that people’s houses in some areas of the country were basically like an oil well spewing cash. In California, people would refinance every couple of years and pull all that equity out or take it in a “home equity line of credit”. This allowed people to buy things such as home improvements, second homes, cars, vacations, boats, wardrobes, heck, some people were basically living off of home equity for the past few years. All that money was trickling into the local economy keeping roofers, painters, landscapers, cabinet makers, carpeting stores, appliance stores, home entertainment stores, etc. operating at full throttle.

    The problem came when it was time for interest rates to go up. THAT was the initial domino that set the entire string falling. And the entire thing was made much worse and the downturn amplified by the Sarbanes/Oxley accounting requirements that tends to dampen good news (potential asset value) and amplify bad news (potential liability) in order to protect investors from another Enron.

    In the meantime the banks were doing well as the properties on which the mortgages were written appreciated in value. As each month went by, the properties increased in value which decreased the “risk” of the underlying loan and that allowed the banks to hold less in “reserve” and lend it out. This was often lent out in new mortgages, often to marginal buyers but it was also lent out for all sorts of other loans to business and commerce to keep the wheels of the economy turning. The banks also bundled these up and sold them, sometimes at a premium because the “exposure” on these loans was getting less each month as they appreciated. It was like holding $10 worth of risk on a $20 bill that was going to be a $50 bill soon.

    Then the Fed finally increased interest rates. That did not impact people who had fixed interest rate mortgages but for some people with a marginal ability to pay their current mortgages who had adjustable rates, it was a disaster. At first they got behind on their mortgages and finally the first wave of foreclosures happened. That’s when Sarbanes/Oxley kicked in and amplified the problem. Sarbanes/Oxley’s “mark to market” requirement meant that when those foreclosures hit the market and sold at very low prices that depressed the market, ALL mortgages in that market had to have their underlying values marked down, even mortgages being paid at fixed rates by people who had no trouble making the payments. This means the amount of “risk” went up. This meant the banks had to decrease what they could lend out because the mortgages were not such a good asset any longer.

    The second shoe was that when home equity stopped rising, so did the cash spewing from these properties. People could not refinance and pull out more equity. Home equity lines of credit began to approach zero. People began to put off putting on buying a new roof or a second story or an addition, or new siding or a new car or a second vacation home.

    At the same time when local property values went under what was owed on the mortgages, those mortgages became a liability to the banks rather than an asset. The bank was now on the hook for $10 for a $5 bill. As long as the buyer kept paying, it would be no problem but now the risk was enormous and the lenders had no underlying “assets” from which they could lend money. This means businesses can’t get bridge loans, importers can’t get letters of credit, everything stops. Even if a lender had 100 mortgages and they were all “fixed rate” and none of the owners had trouble making the payments, Sarbanes/Oxley requires the lender to mark the value of the property to the current market (rather than a moving average of the market over time or some offset based on the “quality” of the loan such as income of the borrower and the amount of the payment and the credit history of the borrower). This means that even “good” mortgages became “junk” according to the accounting rules.

    Now, government pumping money into the lenders so they can build up their reserves to cover the liability and lend money again is a good thing but it doesn’t fix the underlying problem. Once that is done, people *still* don’t have any equity in their homes so they *still* aren’t going to hire a local contractor for improvements.

    Once the lenders are stabilized, the only thing the government can do is find something that somehow stimulates the entire economy and gives real value to people that they can then use to finance growth by increasing the demand for things that produce jobs.

    People are NOT going to be able to sit on their rear ends again while the house stuffs cash into their pockets. Consumers (and lenders) are going to need to return to first principles and invest wisely, study risk, and lower their expectations. The appreciation in home values over the past decade or so was a fluke. It is NOT going to return no matter what the government does. It was a bubble that has burst. People need to go back to a more old-fashioned method of growing wealth that doesn’t rake in $100,000 a year. Nothing the government does is going to return us to those days.

    The only thing the government can really do at this point is raze foreclosed homes over 10 or 20 years old and put them on the market as building lots. A home much over 20 years old reduces the value of the lot anyway. That would reduce the inventory of homes on the market and stop the bleeding.

    Otherwise, this is just a political party using a “crisis” as a money grab to shovel cash to their cronies. It is despicable and they need to come clean with the people. The “good old days” of the last 10 years is not coming back. At least probably not in the lifetime of the people reading this.

  10. kathie says:

    And as usual Obama has put the cart before the horse. What programs is he going to cut back to help with the deficit? How much more do the banks need? The only way to create jobs for real and the beginning of growth is to reduce spending, cut taxes, especially small business and corporate, and the bottom 2 groups too. Every body feeds to freeze growth, but do to ideology none of it will happen. What boggles the mind is that they say Bush’s tax policy got us into this mess, do they remember the tax cuts after 911?

  11. ivehadit says:

    Mr. obama is naive, indeed. Grandiose is more like it….
    Apparently he has a Savior /Rescuer complex as in he can fix anything if he just sets his mind to it…and his mouth.

    G-d bless America, the Beautiful…regardless of what obama says!

  12. Snapple says:

    GuyF mocked Dr. Cashill’s thesis that Bill Ayers had a hand in Obama’s autobiography within minutes of my post.

    I have closely studied Ayers’ and Obama’s books and have found many similarities.

    There are similar incidents and similar language.

  13. Snapple says:

    Obama taped an interview with Arab TV on Monday and said Americans don’t listen.

    Maybe Obama should listen to what Iran said on Tuesday:

    Iran’s government spokesman on Tuesday branded the Holocaust a “big lie” created to place the Islamic republic’s arch-foe Israel in the Middle East, the state IRNA news agency reported.

    “The Holocaust is a concept coming from a big lie in order to settle a rootless regime in the heart of the Islamic world,” Gholam Hossein Elham told a conference on Gaza in central Iran’s religious city of Qom.

  14. Terrye says:


    My niece was in Manhattan on that day and it was two almost two days before I knew if she was dead or alive. And it was not Bush flying those planes. It was radical Islamists and if you can not even bring yourself to say that without feeling the need to apologize for it then I pity you.

    And I have had two family members serve in Iraq. I have listened to crap from the anti war people about how our soldiers conduct themselves while I watch relatives pray for the safe return of their loved ones.

    So do not lecture me.

    Meanwhile Obama is talking about abandoning the people of eastern Europe to make the Russians happy. He may kill the defense shield treaties. No wonder Obama did not want to pick sides when the Russians invaded Georgia…he really does not have a side. His idea of avoiding a missile attack is not technology, it is butt kissing the people who might want to use the missiles on us.

  15. Terrye says:

    And Guy, I am not a sick hateful person. I do not go on liberal sites and pick fights with people and then whine that they are picking on me, or that there is something wrong with them. Talk about demonizing people, read what you yourself write about how our military treats the detainees at Gitmo.

    Ashley Judd just said that it is nice to be living in America again, now that her guy won of course. That is the attitude that conservatives have been listening to for years.

  16. Terrye says:


    A Muslim cleric was on Egyptian TV praising the Holocaust.

  17. Terrye says:


    That was interesting. I read this from the Atlantic Business channel and it says much the same thing. The idea is that even smart well intentioned people can screw things up.

    But you are right about the housing market. I used to have a real estate license and even 10 years ago my broker was saying this thing was going to blow.

  18. […] Reader Crosspatch wrote an extensive and excellent comment on this very topic yesterday – worth a […]

  19. crosspatch says:

    What they did was basically a huge ponzi scheme of proportions the world has never seen. In order to keep pumping the housing prices up, more and more people had to be brought into the market until they were finally scraping the bottom of the barrel and selling houses to people who wouldn’t even be able to qualify for a car loan. Those increases in housing values pumped billions into government from property and capital gains tax as assessed values increased and properties changed hands.

    In California it was somewhat limited due to Prop. 13 limits on annual tax increases, but when properties changed hands, governments still got a windfall of cash. This caused state and local governments to go on spending sprees. Towns here were bidding up salaries and benefits for emergency services people and were constantly trying to hire away each others people.

    A fireman in many towns here can retire in his early 50s with 2/3 of salary, annual pay increases, medical care for life, etc. Some towns have more people on benefits than employed.

    I have a friend who works for a city government. They had a meeting this week. The employees were demanding a 5% pay increase while the city’s unemployment rate is rising and the cost of living is flat. The arrogance of government employee unions (most of which are affiliated with the SEIU — ring any bells?) to continue extracting money from the hard earned incomes of the population in the face of an economic downturn is simply fascinating. These people are living in a fantasy world and don’t realize that the golden goose is dead.

  20. Rich says:

    SOX is an auditing standard, not an accounting standard. The analysis is right though. FV accounting for financial assets has been around for a while (mid to late 1990s). It is a reason why Enron was showing a profit (unrealized) when it had much lower cash flow earnings. What new accounting standards did was close the wiggle room as to when you have to look to quoted market prices as opposed to other guidance. The market price when there is no market for an asset is $0, hence all these writedowns as nobody wants mortgage assets anymore. The irony is that a lot of these assets are still paying interest and will be paid in full. Moral of the story is the market isn’t always efficient in the short term. This is a painful lesson of that.