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07/02/2010 - 16:46

Maxine Waters photoSupporters call it "financial services reform." Yet one has to wonder what the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 is reforming or stabilizing. The House on Wednesday by a 237-192 margin passed the 2,300-plus-page conference bill designed to protect American households from predatory practices by banks, subprime lenders, brokerage houses and other intermediaries. But evidence suggests that if it becomes law, the bill instead will lay the groundwork for another major federal bailout. During House-Senate conference sessions, affirmative action zealots inserted a host of mandates to promote credit allocation by race.

5,042 reads
07/02/2010 - 13:11

Rules for RadicalsLast week the Chicago Tribune reported that Illinois Finance Authority chairman Bill Brandt threatened “a firestorm” in the Windy City if the Federal Reserve did not follow through with a bailout of South Side-based ShoreBank. This followed some reported pressure applied by the Obama Administration on companies like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, GE Capital, Bank of America, and Chase, who were asked to kick in $20 million each to make politically-backed community lender appear eligible to receive TARP funds. 

Turns out the preference for Chicago-type coercion goes right to the top (and the origins) of the troubled bank itself.

4,763 reads
07/02/2010 - 10:50

Meeks photoRep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) is one of 31 House conferees appointed by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) on the financial regulation bill. When he was named on June 9, Meeks claimed:

As conferee I plan to make sure that by having a strong presence of financial oversight and accountability in this legislation U.S. consumers will have the necessary financial protection and be as financially informed as possible.

But now Meeks is using “oversight” in a different context. You see, when he failed to disclose $55,000 in personal loans as required, he called it an “oversight.” This excuse sounded downright familiar to us. It is the same one cited by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) when he failed to report hundreds of thousands in income and assets.

3,941 reads
06/30/2010 - 17:03

Stalin bustJosef Stalin’s bust remains at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia despite mounting criticism. A chorus of voices is asking what Stalin had to do with D-Day, and why a mass murderer is being honored at all.

The National D-Day Memorial officially opened in June 2001. Congress authorized the small town of Bedford as the site of the memorial because it proportionally suffered the severest D-Day losses. Nineteen soldiers from Bedford’s town of about 3,200 died on D-Day.

4,012 reads
06/30/2010 - 12:06

Holland Tunnel, Port Authority-managed Daniel Hughes lived large, figuratively and literally. Now the former New York City-area union chieftain is facing a major downsizing in his lifestyle. Hughes, ex-president of Port Authority Field Supervisors Association Local 111-S, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court on June 16 to embezzling nearly $300,000 from the union over the course of a half-decade to finance his seemingly boundless appetite for hookers, gambling and gourmet meals. The union, whose roughly 250 members perform roadwork at Port Authority-managed bridges, tunnels and airports, is for the time being out of money. Hughes is trying to deal with a bigger dilemma: a prison sentence of between 46 and 57 months.

4,244 reads
06/25/2010 - 07:08

Shorebank logoIllinois Republican Rep. Judy Biggert on Wednesday inserted into the financial regulatory reform bill an amendment calling for an investigation of efforts to rescue ShoreBank. Meanwhile the White House issued denials that it pushed for a bailout of the politically-favored community lender. The Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday:

As Chicago's ShoreBank struggles to survive, the Obama White House issued a strong statement Wednesday denying that it is interfering in any way with federal regulators or influencing financial institutions willing to pump money into the bank.

3,803 reads
06/23/2010 - 13:05

Horowitz/Mob Money photoDr. Carl Horowitz, director of NLPC’s Organized Labor Accountability Project, is a featured expert on CNBC’s “Mob Money,” a special presentation of “American Greed,” narrated by Stacy Keach. The program premieres tonight at 9PM ET.

I’ve previewed an advance copy of the program and it lives up to its billing. The show performs a real public service by highlighting the relationship between corrupt labor unions and organized crime. Carl provides commentary as the publisher of our newsletter Union Corruption Update, published on line and twice monthly in print.

3,008 reads
06/22/2010 - 16:21

Henry Louis Gates photoCould the headline-making arrest last July of Harvard African-American Studies Professor Henry Louis Gates by a white Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer be justified? While the official civil-rights narrative continues to cast Gates as a victim, the facts, as National Legal and Policy Center reported in detail at the time, appear to vindicate Police Sergeant James Crowley. Now a new report by a Boston University-affiliated journalism think tank is providing even more fuel for the latter view. The study, which examined arrests for disorderly conduct in Cambridge over several years, concludes that local police have not engaged in a pattern of racial profiling. One hopes that President Obama, who played no small role in this affair, will give it a close read.

5,574 reads
06/22/2010 - 11:57

ShoreBank logoAccording to a story over the weekend from the Chicago Tribune, the $135 million that the Obama Administration reportedly coerced from TARP recipients like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup may not be enough to save ShoreBank, the politically connected “community” lender whose big bank bailout was supposed to make it eligible for its own TARP funds. From the Tribune:

The bailout of Chicago-based ShoreBank has hit a serious snag as the Federal Reserve and Treasury drag their feet on whether to provide funding to the ailing South Side lender, sources close to the situation say….

The Treasury is deferring to the Federal Reserve. One source said some at the Fed want ShoreBank to raise more private dollars before it gets government money.

3,660 reads
06/22/2010 - 10:54

Rattner photoThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly considering a ban on former auto czar Steven Rattner from working in the securities industry for up to three years. Even if he gets the three years, it would be pitifully short.

Rattner oversaw the bailouts of Chrysler and GM, which were conducted to the benefit of the United Auto Workers. In the GM bailout, billions of dollars were simply stolen from bondholders and turned over to the union-controlled funds.

3,437 reads
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