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The Ticket talks with DNC Chairman Howard Dean

Howard Dean is a former doctor, a former state legislator, a former lieutenant governor, a former governor and a former presidential candidate who sought the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee in 2005 as a kind of states rights guy, a power to the states fellow who would run the national operation with a lenient hand in terms of centralized power.

So here he is in 2008 locked in a bitter stalemate with two key states -- Florida and Michigan that will be crucial for the DemocBefore he was Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean was a presidential candidate himself. Now he must handle a difficult Florida and Michigan issue for the Democratic National Convention in Denver in late Augustratic candidate come November -- but at the moment are barred from any representation at the party's national convention in late August in Denver, which is a lovely pre-snow time of year there even at 5,280 feet. (Take your jacket just in case.)

But things could get as hot in Denver as Howard Dean was in 2004 when he finished third in Iowa, if this Clinton-Obama mano a mano goes that far. So, our veteran colleague Mark Z. Barabak, who's known the chairman for years, asked him when they sat down for a recent chat, what's wrong with states setting their own primary dates?

“This is a national election," Dean replied. "They supported a set of rules for the candidates to abide by, everybody agreed to abide by those rules — including Michigan and Florida — and then....

at the last minute they tried to undo the system, which caused a lot of problems. We had Iowa threatening to move into 2007. We had New Hampshire doing the same thing.

"We had carefully put together four states which were both ethnically and geographically diverse, which was going to be screwed up. So, we thought that we needed to preserve the rules as everyone voted for them.

"It’s a little like waiting in a lunch line. If two kids jump out of line and try to get to the front of the line, if you don’t do something about it, pretty soon you’ve got mob rule and that’s not a good way to nominate a president.”

In other words, nevermind states rule. It's the principal's rules that count.

Here are a couple other things the chairman talked about:

The Dream Ticket of O-C or C-O: "Obviously that solves the unity problem. But whoever is eventually the nominee will decide who their running mate is. I don’t think there are too many Democrats who would object to that and it’s obviously a very attractive solution.

"But in the long run, whoever wins the nomination is going to have to make their own pick for whatever their reasons are.”

In other words, it's not up to the chairman.

Clinton Get Out!: “I wouldn’t want to do that because, having been a candidate myself, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. That’s a very personal decision and this is an incredibly difficult race and I think everybody makes up their own mind about when to get in and when to get out.

“I have a lot of respect for both these candidates. So I can’t imagine either one of them doing something that’s churlish or that’s bad for the party or bad for the country.”

Has either of them crossed the line so far? “Not even close.”

And what about this John McCain fellow, who's already sewed up the Republican nomination and started his general election run?  "He has no ideology, it doesn’t seem to me, that he’s willing not to change. It always makes me worry when somebody seems to not have too many core beliefs.

"And I think John McCain does have core beliefs. The problem is he’s willing to give them away.”

(UPDATE: In response to this Ticket item, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, Alex Conant, issued this statement Tuesday:

( "Voters are sick and tired of the angry rhetoric and personal attacks, and that’s all that Howard Dean offers. It’s clear that Dean will say anything to distract from the divisive nomination battle within his own party, but that doesn’t excuse his over-the-top statements.”)

In other words, it seems unlikely the Arizona senator will be getting Dean's vote come fall.

-- Andrew Malcolm

 
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mccain lambasts what he calls the democratic presidential nominees' plan for a "reckless & irresponsible withdrawal of {american} forces from iraq...."

well, this is my short take on it: what then does mccain want? would it be, for mccain, "well-thought out & responsible" if the americans send mccain himself, along with his two sons, to iraq, for the mccains to lead the american troops there in, say, fighting al-sadr's mahdi milita forces?

if mccain & his two sons will do that, i think that will sit well with the american people. at least, mccain will walk his talk.

get movin' john, pronto.


McAuliffe was no star himself but Dean is a disaster. He is
unable to hide his penchant for Obama and asTony Rezko'
s senator has been more than instrumental in sabotaging the efforts for revotes in both Florida and Michigan. He also
played a part in getting Judas Richardson to back the guy
with the enraged mentor and pastor. I guess thst explains
why he appears so constipated in this interview

Dear Chairman Dean,

I believe that the democratic party should make the following solution for the sub-prime mortgage and liquidity crisis as part of its platform. I have communicated this subject with Senator Obama and The Speaker of the House.


I have been following the problems of the sub-prime mortgage and its consequences, as well as the liquidity crisis and its effect on the economy. I see that the Fed is allocating hundreds of billions of dollars here and there to avoid a deep recession. I can also see that the Fed is trying non conventional ways to deal with the problems, which is very good, because what I am going to propose is quite non-conventional solution.

An idea came to my mind and felt it is worth an attempt to communicate it with you. It may look silly and crude, but I really believe that it could help to solve the problem much better than what the Fed has committed itself in saving Beer Stern and other actions.

Here is the idea:

If the Fed or any government agency, by the help of the Fed, commit its resources to buy the houses slated for foreclosures at the prices of whatever the left over principle of the mortgage of those houses is, and telling the owners do not abandon the property but stay in it and pay as a rent whatever you were paying prior to the point where you became unable to pay your monthly installation, we will give you the option of buying it back a year or two years later at the same price plus nominal interest if you can afford to buy it and finance it again at that time prevailing conditions. Provided you continue to pay your rent and maintain the house during such grace period.

What will be the effect of such plan?

1- The houses slated for foreclosure will not be abandoned or foreclosed. Such action will stabilize the housing market and that prevent prices from falling down perpetually.
2- The securities, which were issued, based on the mortgages, and no one is interested in buying them now because of the problem, will come back to life because the mortgages will be paid by the rent collected and whatever the Fed will put up money as complementary to the rent payment. However such payments by the Fed will be collected later, in a year or two, from the buy back by the previous owners or whoever will buy it later on, at little higher prices, since the prices will be stabilized at a level higher than what the Fed has paid for. The present housing prices are at the bottom and they cannot go anywhere but up if such cushion is applied.
3- It is projected that this year there will be about one million houses slated for foreclosure, so assuming that an average price of $300,000 per house, the total cost to the Fed would be $300 billions, which I believe that it would be much less than what the Fed is committing itself now to solve the problem with. A lot of public money would be wasted, but not the way I am proposing. Since the Fed or any agency supported by the Fed will sell the houses later on and get the money back and may be making some profit on it.
4- The psychological cycle of the downtrend of the housing and economy will be broken and things will go back to normal.
5- Perhaps the Fed can negotiate with the worthless security holders to commit selling some of those securities at a discount rate to the Fed, by that action the Fed will not have to put extra money to be added to the rent paid by tenants who were previous owners. The Fed will sell them in the market and collect the discount.

What are the difficulties in carrying such plan?

1- An organization to do the job of buying the houses with the help of the Fed, and organization to collect the rent and an organization to deal with the banks holding the securities and paying those mortgage instalments.
2- A solution to maintain the houses already abandoned by the owners.
3- The holders of those worthless securities should pay the Fed some fees for bringing those securities back to life.
4- Time taken to activate such organizations and begin advertising such actions.
5- Some other difficulties in the details.


Frankly speaking I do not think that anyone would pay attention to the plan I am proposing, for the simple reason, who ever will read this message will say who is this guy to tell us what to do? Same thing happened in 1993, when President Clinton was elected as President, I wrote a letter to him and to his designated secretary of state Warren Christopher, telling them that we should change our policy in the Middle East. We destroyed Jamal Abdul Nasser because he was nationalist militant, so we got the Baathists which are more militant and if we destroy the Baathists we will get the fundamentalist, which will be much more militant than the Baathists. No one paid any attention to that proposal. When President Clinton retired I wrote him another letter and attached to it the first letter, and asked his opinion after what happened in 9/11. He wrote back to me thanking me. If someone thought about the proposal and made use of it probably we would have never had 9/11 and the war in Iraq, which is costing us a lot of money and lives of our dear soldiers, would have never happened. Ironically the present administration, which invaded Iraq to destroy the Baath and Saddam Hussein, now is trying desperately to get them in back into the Iraqi Government.

Rusk Masih,
PhD Engineering, MA Economics
Retired Professor

I think you will find the following idea is not only good for integrating it in your presidential campaign, but also it could save the country from recession and solve the housing sub-mortgage crisis and the liquidity crisis. I have conveyed it to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and got a response saying that it is beyond the Fed sphere of acts. Here is the idea:

I have been following the problems of the sub-prime mortgage and its consequences, as well as the liquidity crisis and its effect on the economy. I see that the Fed is allocating hundreds of billions of dollars here and there to avoid a deep recession. I can also see that the Fed is trying non conventional ways to deal with the problems, which is very good, because what I am going to propose is quite non-conventional solution.

An idea came to my mind and felt it is worth an attempt to communicate it with you. It may look silly and crude, but I really believe that it could help to solve the problem much better than what the Fed has committed itself in saving Beer Stern and other actions.

Here is the idea:

If the Fed or any government agency, by the help of the Fed, commit its resources to buy the houses slated for foreclosures at the prices of whatever the left over principle of the mortgage of those houses is, and telling the owners do not abandon the property but stay in it and pay as a rent whatever you were paying prior to the point where you became unable to pay your monthly installation, we will give you the option of buying it back a year or two years later at the same price plus nominal interest if you can afford to buy it and finance it again at that time prevailing conditions. Provided you continue to pay your rent and maintain the house during such grace period.

What will be the effect of such plan?

1- The houses slated for foreclosure will not be abandoned or foreclosed. Such action will stabilize the housing market and that prevent prices from falling down perpetually.
2- The securities, which were issued, based on the mortgages, and no one is interested in buying them now because of the problem, will come back to life because the mortgages will be paid by the rent collected and whatever the Fed will put up money as complementary to the rent payment. However such payments by the Fed will be collected later, in a year or two, from the buy back by the previous owners or whoever will buy it later on, at little higher prices, since the prices will be stabilized at a level higher than what the Fed has paid for. The present housing prices are at the bottom and they cannot go anywhere but up if such cushion is applied.
3- It is projected that this year there will be about one million houses slated for foreclosure, so assuming that an average price of $300,000 per house, the total cost to the Fed would be $300 billions, which I believe that it would be much less than what the Fed is committing itself now to solve the problem with. A lot of public money would be wasted, but not the way I am proposing. Since the Fed or any agency supported by the Fed will sell the houses later on and get the money back and may be making some profit on it.
4- The psychological cycle of the downtrend of the housing and economy will be broken and things will go back to normal.
5- Perhaps the Fed can negotiate with the worthless security holders to commit selling some of those securities at a discount rate to the Fed, by that action the Fed will not have to put extra money to be added to the rent paid by tenants who were previous owners. The Fed will sell them in the market and collect the discount.

What are the difficulties in carrying such plan?

1- An organization to do the job of buying the houses with the help of the Fed, and organization to collect the rent and an organization to deal with the banks holding the securities and paying those mortgage instalments.
2- A solution to maintain the houses already abandoned by the owners.
3- The holders of those worthless securities should pay the Fed some fees for bringing those securities back to life.
4- Time taken to activate such organizations and begin advertising such actions.
5- Some other difficulties in the details.


Frankly speaking I do not think that anyone would pay attention to the plan I am proposing, for the simple reason, who ever will read this message will say who is this guy to tell us what to do? Same thing happened in 1993, when President Clinton was elected as President, I wrote a letter to him and to his designated secretary of state Warren Christopher, telling them that we should change our policy in the Middle East. We destroyed Jamal Abdul Nasser because he was nationalist militant, so we got the Baathists which are more militant and if we destroy the Baathists we will get the fundamentalist, which will be much more militant than the Baathists. No one paid any attention to that proposal. When President Clinton retired I wrote him another letter and attached to it the first letter, and asked his opinion after what happened in 9/11. He wrote back to me thanking me. If someone thought about the proposal and made use of it probably we would have never had 9/11 and the war in Iraq, which is costing us a lot of money and lives of our dear soldiers, would have never happened. Ironically the present administration, which invaded Iraq to destroy the Baath and Saddam Hussein, now is trying desperately to get them in back into the Iraqi Government.

Rusk Masih,
PhD Engineering, MA Economics
Retired Professor


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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