Nobody can defend a movement that is not a movement.

Doing so would mean defending the entire thing -- including the nutjobs who tried to hang a banner in the Senate yesterday saying "Tax the Rich", the guy with "Down with Capitalism" printed across an American flag with an Apple Computer logo where the stars were, and the potheads from MoveOn leeching their one-sided, hate-filled messages into the very justifiable frustration of the mostly young folks down there who are scared to death of their future prospects right now. That latter group, I understand. I'd say let's throw out words like attack/defend the "movement" because there is no "movement". There is just a collection of frustrated, angry, and scared folks at the core, and groups of mostly farleft party clowns who hate anybody who doesn't look, feel, or (yes) smell like them. Maybe a goodly proportion of these mostly left-leaning types who are making noise think that Republicans and greedy stock brokers are the cause of all of their problems, but the truth of course is that they are the cause of almost nothing other than the mistakes made during the long-gone Bush years. Did Bush have any influence on today's events? Sure. But this is Obama's era now. Beating up on a long-gone Republican president, one who wasn't very adept, doesn't remove the guilt from a Democrat president who is responsible for the overwhelming majority of the mess we have today. Yes, so many of us like to skirt the question, but I'll say it again folks: this Obama's watch now. They had three years and for two of them, both houses of congress as well, and that should have been enough time to navigate the rough waters to at least keep our ship afloat with some prospect for optimism. Didn't happen, and if there's any silver lining to all this it is that Obama and Biden have finally come to publicly accept responsibility for their roles in the debacle. Greedy brokers, rich folks, bailed-out Wall Street (but not all of WS was bailed out, remember - many such as Lehman were forced to merge or go out of business, sending thousands of those "greedy brokers" into unemployment...) We blame the finance community as if it is the root cause of all that ails us, but it absolutely, positively, without any question is not and never was. Let us go back to find out, then, what WAS the cause. The root cause was a misplaced "do-gooder" policy promulgated by the Clinton administration that stated, in essence, that everybody should be able to qualify for a home loan. Happy to get everyone's mind away from the blooming Lewinsky scandal and shore up his crumbling voter base, Senate leaders - in particular and ironically including Barney Frank and Chris Dodd - pushed and probed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- two quasi-governmental agencies -- to lower standards and they complied. Fannie and Freddie didn't need any prompted. Rumblings that leftist groups would begin picketing if they didn't move, plus an administration that was pressuring them hard to drop standards, meant it was easy to take the leap, and their executives took over with glee. Yes, they took advantage of this administration-instigated policy to bundle the subsequent loans into securities that Wall Street bought up at deep discounts to market -- but remember, as crazy as that sounds today -- at the time every Democrat and even some Republican politician were rahrahing it, saying things like "finally minorities have a chance at home ownership" and "home ownership will help reduce crime in neighborhoods at risk". They called it a "win-win": Many genuinely wanted to see more home ownership for those who before could not get loans because they actually DID want these people to have a shot at the American dream. True. But they were also eager to cement the image of the Democrat party as the party that "cared" about their African-

American and Latino base, the ones most likely to benefit from reduced lending standards. That is the rock solid truth. That is what actually happend that is now obscured in the public policy analysis and debate. Yes, Fannie/Freddie profited from the securities, as did brokers on Wall Street. But the overwhelming majority of them did not lie or deceive. They -- like most brokers on Wall Street -were honest with their clients, told them exactly what they were, and if the client wanted to buy after that, they did not stand in their way. I know of several brokers who simply would not sell these CMO's to their valued clients because they did what most brokers and financial advisors do all the time -- serve their clients while working ot build portfolio value, not detract or harm that value. After all, that's how brokers earn their living -- protecting and growing their clients' investments. A minority -- a fraction -- of mostly young brokers at some firms like Goldman with some misguided execs who wanted these CMOs moved out quickly as policy -- did hold back on the facts, did promote them as great investments when they should not have. That was wrong, and they and their bosses have been punished many times over. These big investment banks don't want those kinds of policies to be part of how they operate because they know that if they do not properly serve their clients, they will always lose in the long run. Most brokers are acutely aware of their duties to their clients. They do not lie. They do not push bad products intentionally. Why would they? A bad product with dropping value would mean less value in their clients' portfolios. Less value means smaller management fees, since most brokers and advisors are paid a percentage of the value of the investments they manage. Painting a broad brush on an entire class of working American brokers is wrongful The securities business is a risk-filled business, a gamble, by its very nature as those of us in this business know well. That doesn't mean a broker an lie or push shoddy securities. Of course not -- that's why we have the NASD, the SEC, and many other regulatory agencies ready to shut a broker and his agency down should they do any of the above. It's also why jobs on Wall Street are the most stressful, tension-filled jobs there are. People put their faith in the decisions these people make. If through fate, chance, or even simply being human a trade, a portfolio, an investment -- doesn't pan out, they are in the firing line automatically. If you are among those who believe these fees are obscene, that is your right of course. But if you want to form an objective opinion, not one based on wealth jealousy, you owe it to yourself to understand what these peope endure for their money as well as the important service they render and what they must go through to provide it. I can give you the names of many individuals who work on Wall Street who absolutely are not fat cats sitting around smoking cigars thinking up ways to screw the next unsuspecting investor, as MovOn's people stereotype them. These people work their tails off, are on call more than doctors, often forced to be up in the wee hours when their client's get some sort of blinding inspiration, then sweating bullets the next morning if some announcement doesn't occur even though half the experts in the field have gone on record expecting it. They are always - I underscore - ALWAYS - one bad turn of fate, one word to a client misunderstood -- from being out of a job or having their reputations unfairly tainted and losing everything. It's a job that's only fun when there are no crises, and that's almost never these days. Now they are being demonized by people who have taken a few bad apples and the bailouts of some firms and drawn the black brush on the entire industry. That is wrong. That is not fair and it is not right. In short -- We should all sympathize with the frustration of the mostly young folks in the streets there. They are speaking to us all loud and clear. When the young show anger and frustration like this, it means the system is no longer working as it should. It is a boil on the body of society indicating an

illness exists and requires treatment. When the young - people of many persuasions, despite the loud-mouthed con artists trying to turn it into a MoveOn event -- come out, that is a sign everyone should heed. The young are the future. I protested in the streets during the Vietnam era. There, a poorly managed war agains a foe we didn't understand was robbing us of our national treasure and young lives first among that treasure. The system wasn't working. Our remedies were ridiculous, but our frustration was real. We had to react because the body was, again, ill. Eventually, the crowds will dissipate just as they did in my era. But that won't happen until it is clear the Obama administration is on the way out and responsible, sensible policies are returned to our economy. No, Obama is not to blame for everything. His heart, at times, has been in the rigt place. But the man is far, far over his head, should never have been elected to a position for which he does not have the native skill, and cannot be part of any treatment for the illness affecting America right now. He can't because he does not have the ability to treat our illness. He must be removed and replaced with someone who does. Before our young people can look to a brighter future, they will have to believe there are jobs out there for them, career jobs. Jobs that come not from the government's use of more and more taxpayer money (no matter what class it comes from), but from innovative companies growing and hiring in an atmosphere where they feel welcome and supported. That atmosphere, in this administration, no longer exists and must be restored. Those small companies will not grow nor hire because they are scared and intimidated by this president and his anti-Wall Street, anti-business rhetoric, regulation, and policies. They are waiting for this man to leave and sorry to say it folks, but they are mostly going to stay put until that day comes. I agree with the core impetus for those sincere young people who are not just showing up for a stupid MoveOn pot party but who are actually expressing nonpartisan angst and anger at an American economy that looks so bleak and hopeless to them right now. That core, I understand and support. The other loonies, sorry, no way. I hope that the core will show the latter the exit soon. DS

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