tip off

Planet Janet re-orbits and the last word on The Monthly

Planet Janet Albrechtsen was back in orbit this week, returning to the conservatives’ most desperate measure  — to try and blame the current financial squelch on excessive regulation and a social policy encouraging home ownership for low income families. Pinging off an article by noted housing economist Claudio Veliz  — oh no that’s right he’s a humanist as much at sea in technical economics as the rest of us – Planet returned to the Tories new fetish objects, the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (which addressed discrimination in lending), and the home ownership extension policies, to which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became subject.

Let’s deal with the CRA accusation once and for all. As the Chicago economist and Fed governor Randall Krozner noted in that lefty rag the Wall Street Journal, the proportion of toxic mortgages purchased under explicit CRA criteria and funds accounted for drum roll  — two per cent  — of the total of the bad debt that brought the system down last September.

Krozer, a classical liberal and political conservative, remarks:

First, only a small portion of subprime mortgage originations are related to the CRA. Second, CRA —  related loans appear to perform comparably to other types of subprime loans.

Taken together … we believe that the available evidence runs counter to the contention that the CRA contributed in any substantive way to the current mortgage crisis.

The issue of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is more complex, because they were subject to the competing demands of running a private company while also responding to HUD (Housing and Urban Development) demands for active expansion of home ownership.

However, the crucial move that fuelled the process was not regulation, but the removal of it  — in 2004, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were permitted to count subprime mortgages hitherto classed as “predatory loans” towards their quota of “extending affordable housing”. Having successfully advanced affordable housing for decades without trouble, they could now simply scarf up bad mortgages on the open market, despite warnings from many that they were headed to disaster. Had regulation remained in place, the now-nationalised then-private mortgage holders might have missed their quotas, but they wouldn’t have fuelled the fire.

Conservatives are trying to spin a moral fable out of the GFC to counter the (at times equally fatuous) one some on the left are telling about greedy bankers etc (if greed damaged capitalism, we would all be speaking Inuit by now). They appear to succeed only in consoling themselves in their losses.

Who is really to blame for the renewed threats to Israel? Melanie Phillips has the answer. It’s the Jews. American Jews to be precise. Her latest hilarious rant on the “nihilist” President Obama, notes that:

Almost eighty per cent of American Jews voted for Obama despite the clear and present danger he posed to Israel.

They did so because their liberal self-image was and is more important to them than the Jewish state whose existence and security cannot be allowed to jeopardise their standing with America’s elite.

But the ordinary American people are a different matter. They do value and support Israel…

Hard to know what’s more eye-popping about that  — the idea that Israel has to be protected from American Jews by gentiles, or the implicit argument that American Jews aren’t “ordinary Americans”. Isn’t that kinda um the argument of, you know, the KKK?

But even weirder is her remark earlier in the piece suggesting dual loyalties:

As predicted here repeatedly  — Obama is attempting to throw Israel under the Islamist bus, and he’s getting American Jews to do his dirty work for him.

Well, are they Americans who happen to be Jewish, or are they part of a global people with loyalties to another entity, who happen to be American? If the former, then they serve their country. If the latter, well what sort of thing is being said?

Absolutely the last word on the Monthly. Christian Kerr’s spray in the Oz Spectator was a standard right-wing attack on Robert Manne, concluding with a few reflections bout whether the publication would survive. Which is pretty funny in the Oz Spectator, a bizarre hybrid publication which lacks much of the charm of the old UK edition  — a missive from faraway places  — while sending the costs through the roof, due to the demands of a local print run.

Considering that its eminence grise is Andrew Neil  — who has already had two publications (The European and The Business) fold underneath him  — one would advise the local staff against ordering any branded five-year diaries, just yet.

It’s official. The blame for rugby gang bangs sits squarely on the shoulders of … Catherine Lumby. Both Miranda Devine and Bolt the Comic Dog have slated her (and co-author Kath Albury) for the “rules of the game” guidelines which they developed when the League came up with the brilliant wheeze of being fronted by a couple of chicks, not a fat old bloke in a blazer. Makes sense.

Lumby and Albury emphasised consent as the key issue, pointed out that some women might like group s-x (the Led Zeppelin female fan base 1969-1980), and have written about p-rn. Where else would our pure healthy sports lads have got these twisted ideas from, but cultural studies academics?

Self-proclaimed “global content provider” Mark Steyn was once a fixture in the Times, The Spectator, the Oz etc etc, rising to fame from his native Canada under the wing of Prisoner #321123432, Conrad Black. How’s it going for him now? Let’s check his bio on a recent piece:

MARK STEYN’S column appears in several newspapers, including the Washington Times, Philadelphia’s Evening Bulletin, and the Orange County Register.

The OC Register is a local rag for California’s Toorak equivalent, and the Washington Times is owned by the Moonies. Still, the Philadelphia evening paper, that’s big? Well no, it’s actually a revived vanity product by a conservative local millionaire, circulating in main to 25,000 households. Res Ipsa Loquitur, its mast-head reads, truly words for thought. Sic transit gloria mundi are some others.

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    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 19 May 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Mad Mark often gleefully told, in the Speccie, how Lord Blackheart of Coldharbour or Lord Cold of Blackheart, rescued him from obscurity of theatre reviewing (“.. to which I’ll happily return once Clinton is out of office..”) to write political polemics coz he’d done so well with “Clintons bl*wj*b jokes”. With such experience why couldn’t he become global content provider to the world, if the world were composed of uptight aemrikans.

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