Rep. Jan Schakowsky: stop the attacks on the CRA

A politician's hypocrisy, or ignorance, speaks for itself. CRA was good only so far as it got banking sites into poor and less savory neighborhoods. Unfortunately, this was not a solution to anything but logistics for those who lived in bad neighborhoods. It brought with it a lot more that was not a good idea. 

This seems to be putting the chicken in front of the fox, since bad neighborhoods have folks who rob banks. Then, to offer mortgages to people who couldn't afford basic living costs? What? Insane. A pretty pathetic example of assuaging the guilt of success: bad home loans.

View from the Hill Online - Representative Jan Schakowsky, 9th District, Illinois
Today, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights sent a clear and loud message to Congress stop the attack on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Enough is enough.

Since its enactment in 1977, financial institutions have made more than $1 trillion in loans in low-income communities. More than ninety percent of these loans came in the past seven years [that would be 1992 to 1999, Bill Clinton's time]. As a result, neighborhoods have prospered, communities have flourished, small businesses have succeeded and the quality of life for many has improved.

However, there are those in Congress who are attempting to undermine the success of the Community Reinvestment Act, either by refusing to expand it or calling for its outright end.

I hope that my colleagues were listening today. The Community Reinvestment Act is a wise investment with a sure return. I applaud the efforts the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and join in their crusade to protect and expand the Community Reinvestment Act.

So where did she get her business/finance/economics degree? She didn't. That's why in that same statement she used a bank CEO as a crutch for her argument, not logic or fundamental facts of the CRA concept. She's essentially a career politician with a degree in Elementary Education. She has been an impressive activist, running groups and strong on women's rights. I suggest that she is weak on commonsense financial legislation and regulation, as this statement above suggests.

First, the attacks on the CRA have to do with the fact it created nonsensical SUBPRIME MORTGAGES, which means they were built on an unending positive growth in the markets. A bit UTOPIAN, maybe?!! In bad times, they would pull down banks that held them in a slowing or bad market cycle. Hello, 2007-2008 and beyond!

That was ten years ago. Way to go, madam Congresswoman. Thanks for helping America ultimately be hurt, deeply, for something that was neither a civil idea nor right in any way except that it served to boost up some at the cost of the whole system, effectively. Not on its own, no! But CRA, subprime mortgages, and the sinking of some pretty risky banks and financial institutions undoubtedly went hand in hand. And among those we have to thank are Rep. Schakowsky. 

- jR

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Forbes: Paul Krugman let out to pee on NY Times

Help! The crazy economist is after me! OK, Krugman takes a wild pitch at supply-siders, that's all. But it is a wild throw! Read the piece in the NY Times, you'll notice the rest of it is not even cohesive with the first paragraph. I assume this means he is now forging ahead full steam with a "hate Republicans" career (even though he was an economist affiliated with a pretty big one, once). I guess the getting's easy now, huh?

Forbes' writer Karlgaard blogs his defense of supply-siders and business, and damns -- rightfully, I say -- the immoral capitalists. We could use more of that!

Failure Of Morality, Not Of Capitalism - Digital Rules By Rich Karlgaard
“Old-fashioned voodoo economics--the belief in tax-cut magic--has been banished from civilized discourse. The supply-side cult has shrunk to the point that it contains only cranks, charlatans, and Republicans.”

Take a guess. Who wrote this?

If you said "one of those anonymous twerps posting on Daily Kos," you are forgiven. Had I not cut and pasted this crazed quote myself, I might have guessed it came from a reedy tenor in the Huffington Greek Chorus.

It was actually Paul Krugman, writing in today’s New York Times. capitalism is just a simple and benign idea. It posits: Only suppliers can supply us with goods and services. The demand side can’t will a product or service
into existence. Society therefore advances economically when it reduces tax and regulatory barriers to the creation of goods and services.

Hardly a cultish idea. One can unpack this simple idea into entire books, and many of Krugman’s betters have. The reputations of Smith, Say, Schumpeter and Hayek surpass that of the dyspeptic economist writing for The New York Times.

In fairness, Krugman is not alone. Many people do blame capitalism for bringing us to this low moment in the economy. Do they have a point?

They do if capitalism, as they define it, is devoid of any underlying morality. True enough, it is hard to see any underlying morality when one surveys the present carnage caused by liar loans, shady banks, duplicitous politicians, Ponzi schemers and regulators angling for Wall Street jobs.

The author continues by reflecting on the title of his piece, and I think perfectly, rightly, so in his suggestions on how to get back on track. Lest we ultimately FAIL (!!!), I should note.
This weekend, I caught a BBC radio program on the meltdown in “The City”--London’s financial district. The program quoted many young Brit bankers who said morality was a barrier to personal success in The City. Better to have the sociopath gene if one wants to become a billionaire.

What we are hearing and seeing, in other words, is a failure of morality, not of capitalism.

How do we get back to the old Adam Smith/Benjamin Franklin idea of free enterprise based on a moral foundation? It won’t be easy, but I think we need to start with these:

Please read the piece to review his kernels of good old American business... goodness, and keep going.

Krugman, a Nobel-winning economist (that was the old days, while today some suggest he's merely a political pundit who hates the GOP and favors state-heavy economics) will have NOTHING to do with that remotely unpartisan, working together thing. He wants to blame it all on the same people that 18-year-old video game addicts who don't read want to blame it on: the bloody Republicans.

Oh, please, will someone please out him as a slimy little socialist -- and uncover some sickly thing he likes doing in his free time or something -- so we can move past this kook?!! Geez -- where's Noam Chomsky when you need him!!! (Gaaag!)

- jR

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Obama's first day: we are going to lead with 'transparency and the rule of law'

You may read the entire piece via that link below. Might be worth a read. The ending is what's unexpected, and, well, LOL funny.

If you're in for a laugh, check out the dialog between Biden and Obama at the end (and quoted at the bottom of this post). I don't think Biden's up for this -- correction! -- I think Biden is going to make a terrific elderly and trim Lou Costello to Obama's mellow Bud Abbott. Biden is apparently not up to being next in line to the president.

However, a little levity never hurt anything. I adore levity. I don't trust people who don't enjoy levity in nearly all circumstances (rationally: short of Family Guy Peter Griffin tactlessness, for reference). Some people think levity in the workplace, during meetings especially, is a sign of stupidity, lack of tact, or ignorance. Those folks are not so much fun at a party, or even at a movie, I expect. They are not much good to work with, either. That said, not sure I want nutty Uncle Joe with his finger on the button.

Obama Announces New Pay, Ethics Rules - RealClearPolitics
Obama: Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.

Our commitment to openness means more than simply informing the American people about how decisions are made. It means recognizing that government does not have all the answers, and that public officials need to draw on what citizens know. And that's why, as of today, I'm directing members of my administration to find new ways of tapping the knowledge and experience of ordinary Americans -- scientists and civic leaders, educators and entrepreneurs -- because the way to solve the problem of our time is -- the way to solve the problems of our time, as one nation, is by involving the American people in shaping the policies that affect their lives.

After some rather noble and respectable words from Obama on his first full day as president, upon the swearing in of the senior staff of his Administration, there's this little bit of verbal slapstick:
THE PRESIDENT: The American people are really counting on us now. Let's make sure we take advantage of it. I know you will. So thank you for your commitment.
Joe, do you want to administer the oath?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Am I doing this again?

THE PRESIDENT: For the senior staff.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: For the senior staff, all right.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. A number of Cabinet members have already --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: My memory is not as good as Justice Roberts, Chief Justice Roberts. (Laughter.) Okay, no, I -- this is the list. Do you have a copy of the oath? Which senior staff are we doing?

THE PRESIDENT: A whole bunch of senior staff.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Okay. All of the senior staff --


THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- please rise. I will say "aye," and then you repeat your name.

THE PRESIDENT: Marvin, button up your coat. (Laughter.)

Those are words I hope we can all believe in. The quote at the top, I mean. Not the silliness immediately above. Obama understands what rule of law means, quite succinctly, being a Constitutional lawyer.

- jR

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2010 elections: Time for change we can believe in is still to come

In reflecting on the pathetic, awkwardly funny disappearance of the age Florida hedge fund manager Arthur Nadel, I realize that the change is not yet complete.
After all, Congress has the same horrific, at times supremely arrogant, leaders that it had for the past two very decisively bad years for our economy. What did they all do, almost to a person? They blamed Bush and his Administration for all of this. Excuses, excuses.

It started with Clinton's era,
and the Dem, then GOP, Congresses of the time. It continued into Bush's terms, and for some mad reason even the supposed fiscally conservative GOP let the crazy mortgages survive when they could have stopped them -- obviously, since their friends in finance were getting rich off the crooked concept of CRA loans. Then, even when it was OBVIOUS that the economy was broadly slowing down, this robbery thrived while Barney Frank insultingly balked -- like a mean grammar school teacher -- at those who told him, in public meetings, that we needed a tightening on CRA mortgages and other financial matters.

So, thanks to all of our leaders who could have gotten some control over the financial meltdown up to two years ago, or could have ended the illogical CRA mortgage "plan" ages ago. You've failed us. So stop pretending you're going to fix it now. You're too comfortable or too foolish to truly manage to fix it, I fear.

Time for the "Obamatized" change is not yet active. There's the 2010 election in our sights. Some will never change: too bad Connecticut and Massachusetts, to name a few, can't help but elect the same blowhards over and over again. Too bad the Dems couldn't pick a real leader for either half of Congress (they couldn't even if they did it behind closed doors in a secret ballot, I suspect) -- they appear too happy with average people who are elitist dullards, like Pelosi and Reid, as leaders. After all, Pelosi was selected leader once again, just recently, though her Congress is the least popular of all time. Its popularity plummetted concurrent with her reign. No coincidence, in my estimation. She's simply too beauty queen populist to believe that any of it is her fault -- it must be merely a sign of the times, after all, since Bush is the terror in all of this. Hypocrisy is alive and well in Washington, folks.

It is they who created and let thrive the pathetic old monsters such as Madoff and Nadel, and the CRA mortgage companies, and all the Wall Street greedmongers who robbed while the robbing was easy (and quite legal, by accident, seeing the lack of actual regulatory effort by our government). It is you who are now letting them all simply step away from the card table quite wealthy, cards still stuffed in their sleeves, for fear of the house of cards falling. It is the government wave of irresponsibility that has let them leave Wall Street for their cozy winter homes, except for the rare imprisonment or the recent, and the future, suicides and "disappearances" (I wonder if these last ones are at all out of guilt, or simply out of mad selfishness?).

We have yet to address the full weight of our anger. There is still 2010 to finish the job, and to motivate any good leaders to find a way -- through the dull flow of political maneuvering or by going around it -- to put out for the night the ferile cats who screwed us all. There is still an election in 2010 in which to remove more garbage from the Capitol steps.

- jR

Arthur Nadel: I've gone stark raving Madoff

Flying the coop is generally a sign someone was a crook of some sort, even if there were no regulators there to see it.

Florida man suspected of running Ponzi scheme - Business -
Around the same time he mysteriously vanished, hedge fund manager Arthur G. Nadel owed a $50 million payout to some of the investors who had entrusted their life savings to him, an accountant said Monday.

Instead, they learned their money was gone -- and now they're left asking if it was all a bad investment, or if they were scammed.

The search for Nadel entered its sixth day Monday as more investors contacted authorities with concerns their savings, and Nadel, were gone forever. Nadel's green Subaru was found in a Sarasota airport parking lot on Jan. 15, and he left his family a note in which he appeared to be ''very distraught,'' said Lt. Chuck Lesaltato of the Sarasota County Sheriff's office.

Since being a criminal and being a hedge fund manager are somehow NOT the same thing, legally, I guess Nadal, Madoff, and the like, are helping us all by maybe, just maybe, giving government an idea that hedge funds, and hands-off ideals about financial services are a bad idea. This attitude was virtually UNIVERSAL in Congress (both GOP and Dem) and, seeing that the GREED factor attracts many people to fishing for other people's money for a living, for starters, it is the most obvious mistake in governing since Ebonics was being considered as a subject of educational instruction in our schools.

- jR

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All hail the Mexican billionaire: news media to plummet farther, NY Times goes first

The Times to get their own bailout. From Mexico. Is this a Peter Sellers film I've not yet seen, or what? 

New York Times may find benefactor in Slim | Reuters
The New York Times Co has heard more than its share of opinions on what it must do to survive. Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim appears ready to let his cash do the talking.

The 68-year-old telecom tycoon, ranked by Forbes magazine as the world's second-richest man with $60 billion, may pump hundreds of millions of those dollars into the Times Co.
I SUPPOSE this is because his money, and plenty more of it, is not needed in Mexico, where everyone is wealthy and enjoys a good economy, reasonably safe neighborhood. Who knew? Well, I guess those stories of Mexico plummeting into a nether-world of battles of police versus drug gangs, especially near the U.S. border, were just propaganda. 

Slim is the second richest man on earth - ON EARTH! Indeed.  Glad to see his own country doesn't need the awesome usefulness of his huge bags of money. I had no idea how well the infrastructure improved in Mexico in the last week, and how economically stable Mexico was! On the other hand, I guess he's already applied his wealth where it is needed: keeping the impoverished where they belong, like a good crooked capitalist in a grandly crooked political system that poses -- far more laughably than most -- as a "democratic system."

Here's a fundamental question: how exactly would someone become the SECOND WEALTHIEST MAN in the WORLD in Mexico? Seriously, how? Mule sales? Earthquake insurance? Drugs? There's a lot of world out there, and this guy pulled off second place on the richer scale (grin) from creepy, dangerous, unkempt, corrupt little Mexico.

Go ahead, look the other way, NY Times. You're good at seeing one side of a story! Take that cash in one hand and proclaim appreciation for "progressive" policies on your pages. You get Slim's money to hang on like a bloated U.S. auto company, and the U.S. at-large gets Mexico's troubled citizens, for any reason, like a painfully trickling Mariel boatlift. 

Illegals are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get. Once the plans are complete, the "progressive" plans, the U.S. will appreciate how crooked Mexico is, since for the lower and middle classes it will be in the same condition as Mexico by the end of Obama's first administration, if the far left has anything to do with it (such as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi). You go, NY Times! Let's hear it for the master of so-called "progressive" journalism.

This is the NY Times -- please turn off the irony -- which ran front page stories about a non-affair by John McCain back in 2008 which was based on totally unfounded rumors. Meanwhile, it buried news of completely strange and questionable issues about Obama as much as they could manage it. Regularly. Repetitively. Often!

This paper, once held at the top of journalistic high regard, not just a place for highly intelligent, nonobjective writers, and for politically wrongly categorized commentators such as David Brooks, is going to be bailed out by a proclaimed telecom tycoon? 

Wow. That just ... that really ... that simply underlines how sad news media is today. Sad. Very, very sad. We've gone from conscientious and overt, to TV reporting and the selective nonobjectiveness of Ed Murrow, to the knee-jerk, one-sided reporting that is pervasive in much media, to being bailed out by Mexican business cretins. What's next? Reporters simply shooting the people who disagree with their editorializing? 

What a waste of paper. 

- jR

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