Friday, January 22, 2010
Bloomberg Hammers Obama, Congress Over Bank Plan
Mayor Says President's Idea To Limit Size And Investments Will Lead To Big Problems For NYC, Including Layoffs
President Barack Obama's demand Thursday that Congress clamp down on the size of banks and their investments got major blowback from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said it could cause layoffs and hurt the city.
It's a clash between the president and the mayor. President Obama wants to whittle away at the size of the financial services industry. "The American people will not be served by a financial system that comprises just a few massive firms," the president said.
But Mayor Bloomberg said the banks and Wall Street are part of the bedrock of the city's economy, and efforts to slash their business just means less tax revenue for the city, which brings up the dreaded "L" word. "If that's the case then we'll have to lay off people because it will really hurt our industry," Bloomberg said.
The mayor was so upset about the move -- and a suggestion that Wall Street bonuses be put in escrow, which means the money wouldn't be spent here, wouldn't help the city economy -- he responded with a proposal of his own for members of Congress. "Maybe we should hold back their salaries for a decade or so and see whether the laws they pass work out," Bloomberg said.
The mayor also demanded that the members of our congressional delegation go to the mat to protect the financial services industry, much like senators from Texas protect the oil industry.
Senator Charles Schumer said he will try to protect New York, but that some reforms are necessary. "It's a careful balance. You can't say do nothing because we all know the banks made mistakes, but you can't be so draconian that you cause job loss or make the institutions not function properly," Schumer said.
The banking reforms still have to be negotiated by Congress, where people are still reeling by the effects of the Massachusetts Senate race, so it's anybody's guess what will happen.
Mayor Bloomberg also said that limiting the size of banks will hurt their competitiveness in the global economy.
ACORN's California Makeover
With help from docile Democratic politicians and journalists, ACORN is attempting to perpetrate yet another spectacular fraud on the American people.
After the American public saw the true face of ACORN last year, hidden camera videos showing its workers across the nation bending over backwards to facilitate underage prostitution, fraud, immigrant smuggling, and tax evasion in the name of social justice, ACORN realized it needed to take emergency action to protect its revenue streams. So among other measures the embattled radical advocacy group is changing the name of its largest state chapter in an effort to keep tax dollars and foundation grants flowing into its coffers. ACORN feels it needs to do this because California ACORN is a critical component of the ACORN empire, boasting 37,000 dues-paying members.
With the fallout from the hidden camera videos, congressional funding of ACORN's election fraud and racketeering business is no longer guaranteed, so ACORN decided to reconstitute its California operation as the "new" group Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). ACCE claims that it is "up and running as an independent state-wide organization with no legal, financial or structural ties to ACORN."
Of course we know that ACCE is lying. How do we know this? For starters, because ACCE's new executive director is Amy Schur. Schur is a loyal 20-year-plus ACORN employee who has shown her willingness to get her hands dirty for the cause. Marcel Reid, a former member of ACORN's national board, said Schur is corrupt and hopelessly tainted. "If there was true reform, why would Amy Schur be the head of ACCE?" she said. Reid, who with other ACORN whistleblowers formed a group called ACORN 8, was expelled from ACORN in 2008 when she tried to investigate a nearly $1 million embezzlement by founder Wade Rathke's brother. According to the ACORN 8, Schur participated in an eight-year long cover-up of the theft whose exposure in 2008 led to Rathke's ouster.
ACORN insiders say Schur has intimate knowledge of how ACORN operates. Schur has been in charge of the group's national campaigns and is likely to testify later this year in Nevada when ACORN goes on trial for illegally paying canvassers to register Nevada voters in the 2008 presidential campaign. Her testimony could be devastating to ACORN because it could publicly air many of the group's skeletons.
ACCE's office address is shown in the registration as 3655 S. Grand Ave., Suite 250, Los Angeles 90007. That address just so happens to be the address of California ACORN's headquarters too. A new splinter group trying to make a clean break with the original group would presumably have the good sense not to operate out of the original group's office. Or not.
How conservative is Scott Brown? More conservative than you might think
There's been a lot of fretting about exactly how jubilant conservatives should be over Scott Brown's election. Sure, his election may spike health care legislation -- but the Senate has just inherited a Pro-Choice Northeastern Republican who may buck the party on a number of issues going forward.
It's clear that Scott Brown is no Jim DeMint, and it remains to be seen how Brown will assert his independence after repeatedly asserting he wasn't beholden to Washington interests in the campaign. But there's evidence that Brown is much more conservative than your typical Northeastern Republican.
For one thing, while Brown may be pro-choice he's not a social liberal. Last month, the Boston Phoenix published what in retrospect is an hilariously wrong thumbsucker on Brown's Senate race. The theory was that Brown was simply running in the Senate race to elevate his profile so he could run for Governor. Whoops. However, the piece does contain this telling observation: "Throughout his political career, Brown has been considered a staunch conservative. His first race for the State Senate, in 2004, was defined largely by the issue of same-sex marriage, which Brown opposed. He is extremely popular among the conservative base of the state party, say insiders."
That's worrisome to those in the wing of the state GOP — personified by gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker — who believe the party needs moderate candidates who focus on job creation and fiscal responsibility. They want to downplay social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion, and to distance themselves from the hard-line rhetoric of the Tea Party movement.
The liberal Republicans in the Massachusetts state party actually saw him as a threat because he was too conservative? After last night, it's hard to say Brown's more conservative detracted from his campaign rather than benefited him.
It's also not clear that Republicans in Massachusetts are all that fiscally conservative, even as they try and dodge socially conservative issues. As discussed in my column today, "Are the Reagan Democrats back?", former Democratic state treasurer Tim Cahill renounced his Democratic partisanship on the grounds Democrats are fiscally reckless. Cahill has teamed up with a pro-life Republican state Represenative to run for Governor in Massachusetts. It's now a three way race against an unpopular Democratic incumbent Governor where an independent former Democrat(!) is credibly running to the right of the Republican in the race. That's how liberal the Republican party is in the state.
And Massachusetts may be Democratic, but it's not necessarily liberal. In his report from Massachusetts yesterday, Reason writer Michael Moynihan -- a Boston native -- summed up Massachusetts voters this way: "These guys support labor unions, not civil unions."
Given Brown's demonstrable personal appeal and the fact he campaigned specifically against the Democratic economic agenda, Brown might prove to be able to get away with being more socially conservative and economically conservative than anyone could expect from a Massachusetts Republican.
Out-of-touch Democrats and the Kamikaze Congress
Democrats across the country are switching parties or retiring, probably because they place greater value on their political careers than in blind party loyalty or supporting a far-left agenda. A new Rasmussen poll indicates that 36% of Democrats “believe their representatives in Congress have lost touch with the party’s voters”, while only 54% say they “have done a good job representing their party’s values over the past several years.”
Obviously, Democrats are not on the same page as their supporters, let alone independents and Republicans. Which page are they on? Whose interests are they representing? And how can they possibly believe that ignoring their constituents will be helpful in winning reelection in November?
Some don’t, which is why they’re getting out of the game with their reputations intact. The rest, who go along with Obama’s disastrous agenda, seem to be committing political suicide, sacrificing their careers to implement long-lasting changes in U.S. government and society that the people do not want. Like Japanese kamikaze pilots of the Second World War, they fly a one-way mission. But this brand of liberalism is no “divine wind,” and the inevitable crash will affect the entire country.
The House of Representatives was designed to reflect shifting public opinion. Today’s problem is that opinion is shifting, and House Democrats aren’t reflecting. They continue to pursue federal health care reform that is unnecessary, unpopular, and unconstitutional. They ignore, or support, the president’s alarming use of policy “czars,” sidestepping Congress and the voters in an unprecedented increase of the Executive Branch’s power. If Democrats refuse to address the problems in the Obama administration, and continue to disparage the legitimate dissent of concerned citizens, they will be dealt a severe blow in the coming 2010 election, which could result in a lost Democratic majority and lame duck presidency only halfway through Obama’s first (and possibly last) term.
This is not to say that Republicans are safe, either. Some in Washington, like Representative Ron Paul and Senator Jim DeMint, are active and vocal in their opposition to the current mad dash toward big government and socialism. Others are disturbingly silent. So-called RINOs (Republicans in name only) may find their seats to be equally at risk in the coming election.
Both major parties have an opportunity to represent the best interests of the American people by embracing the Constitution and the free market, and slowing Obama’s progressive agenda. They have less than ten months until Election Day. There is no doubt that voters will be watching their actions very carefully.
I am finally able to say something good about Senator Ted Kennedy: He timed his death superbly -- not a moment too soon and not a moment too late. The result: Scott Brown.
New Senate math means rough road for more "stimulus": "The road for another stimulus bill just got tougher following Tuesday’s election of Republican Scott Brown to the Senate in Democratic stronghold Massachusetts. After health care, Congress’ next big priority is to pass something that shows voters in an election year that they’re on top of the nation’s unemployment scourge.”
The coming grab at your wealth and retirement: "Unfortunately, you cannot protect yourself or your family from the feds as long as you stay within American borders. And the most disturbing grabs for your wealth are likely to come from the federal government. Consider just one. … Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Department of the Treasury is officially formulating ways to force a portion of every 401k/IRA account into ‘fixed payment annuities’ — that is to say, into long-term Treasury bonds. In other words, your retirement dollars would be converted into government IOUs. This is the same government debt that Obama cannot peddle overseas anymore because places like China know the greenback is unsustainable in the long run … perhaps in the short run as well.”
Muslim convicted of planning Canadian terror plot: "A member of a homegrown terrorist group was found guilty Thursday of participating in a plot to set off truck bombs in front of Canada’s main stock exchange and two government buildings. Shareef Abdelhaleem, 34, was a member of the so-called Toronto 18 plot to set off bombs outside Toronto’s Stock Exchange, a building housing Canada’s spy agency and a military base.”
Nobody wants to listen to Leftist whining: "Air America Radio, a progressive radio network that once aired commentary from Al Franken and Rachel Maddow, said Thursday it is shutting down immediately. The company founded in April 2004 said it ceased airing new programs Thursday afternoon and will soon file to be liquidated under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It began broadcasting reruns of programs and would end those as well Monday night. Air America said 10 consecutive quarters of declining ad revenue and the difficulty of making money on the Internet contributed to its financial woes. ‘The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America’s business. This past year has seen a `perfect storm’ in the media industry generally,’ the company said in a statement on its Web site. The network had some 100 radio outlets nationwide.”
Report: Army betting big on ray guns: "The ray gun is real … or at least it will be soon. The U.S. Army is betting big on laser warfare — designing, testing and perfecting ultra-precise weapons based on devastatingly powerful beams of light. And given recent developments, it’s only a matter of time until the military has in its arsenal a weapon that until now has been the staple of science fiction — the ray gun. Set your phasers to kill. Boeing, one of the Pentagon’s top contractors, already has a laser weapon that will improve the military’s ability to counter artillery, mortar, drone aircraft and even rockets, a spokesman tells FoxNews.com.”
Earthquakes and economic development: "Think of all the jobs that will be created in rebuilding Port-au-Prince’s presidential palace, its port facilities and other infrastructure destroyed by nature’s wrath! Money will pour in from the United States, China, and Western Europe to succor the earthquake’s victims and to finance repairs and new construction activity. Haiti will rise from the ashes and be lifted out of poverty. Or so the story goes. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Haiti’s real crisis is poverty: "Haiti’s poverty — 80 percent of Haitians live on less than $2 per day — is especially tragic given the strong link between poverty and vulnerability to natural disasters. A study by the Belgium-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters looked at a recent 30-year period comparing natural disasters in the world’s 10 richest countries to those in the 10 poorest countries. The center found that the average annual number of victims per 100,000 population per rich country was 36; for the poor countries it was 2,879 even though rich countries experience the same amount of disasters. Why is Haiti so vulnerable? Its insular economic policies and dysfunctional institutions have kept Haitians poor.”
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Posted by JR at 11:30 PM