Friday, March 27, 2009
By Examiner Editorial
With almost no public attention, both chambers of Congress in the past week advanced an alarming expansion of the Americorps national service plan, with the number of federally funded community service job increasing from 75,000 to 250,000 at a cost of $5.7 billion. Lurking behind the feel-good rhetoric spouted by the measure’s advocates is a bill that on closer inspection reveals multiple provisions that together create a strong odor of creepy authoritarianism. The House passed the measure overwhelmingly, while only 14 senators had the sense and courage to vote against it on a key procedural motion. Every legislator who either voted for this bill or didn’t vote at all has some serious explaining to do.
Last summer, then-candidate Barack Obama threw civil liberties to the wind when he proposed “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the regular military. The expanded Americorps is not quite so disturbing, but a number of provisions in the bill raise serious concerns.
To begin with, the legislation threatens the voluntary nature of Americorps by calling for consideration of “a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people.” It anticipates the possibility of requiring “all individuals in the United States” to perform such service – including elementary school students. The bill also summons up unsettling memories of World War II-era paramilitary groups by saying the new program should “combine the best practices of civilian service with the best aspects of military service,” while establishing “campuses” that serve as “operational headquarters,” complete with “superintendents” and “uniforms” for all participants. It allows for the elimination of all age restrictions in order to involve Americans at all stages of life. And it calls for creation of “a permanent cadre” in a “National Community Civilian Corps.”
But that’s not all. The bill also calls for “youth engagement zones” in which “service learning” is “a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency.” This updated form of voluntary community service is also to be “integrated into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula” at all levels of schooling. Sounds like a government curriculum for government approved “service learning,” which is nothing less than indoctrination. Now, ask yourself if congressmen who voted for this monstrosity had a clue what they were voting for. If not, they’re guilty of dereliction of duty. If yes, the implications are truly frightening.
Between being first officially "reported" to the House and being voted on by the full House, bill managers stripped one whole section of the measure that created a Congressional Commission on Civil Service, thus removing the section that contained the language cited above concerning "a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people" and a possible requirement for "all individuals in the United States" to perform such service. The section could be restored during the Senate-House conference committee meeting. A new, separate bill containing that language has since been introduced in the House.
Friday, March 20, 2009
“In any other area of American life, this track record would get a man run out of town. In Washington, he’s hailed as a sage whose history of willful error will be forgotten faster than taxpayers can write a check for $200 billion.” - The Wall Street Journal on Rep. Barney Frank, Sept. 9, 2008
The only thing more painful than watching 180 billion tax dollars swirl down the AIG drainpipe is listening to Barney Frank bloviate about it.
I don’t know The World’s Most Expensive Legislator personally, but I hear he’s quite a cut-up at cocktail parties. However, as legislator and politician, he is an unmitigated disaster. Frank combines the economic success of AIG, the business ethics of Enron and the personal accountability of Ruth Madoff.
Frank began his career opposing Reaganomics, an opposition that stubbornly resisted 25 years of nearly constant economic growth. In the 1990s, Frank sat on the Banking Committee regulating Fannie Mae, even as his then-partner, Herb Moses, worked as a Fannie exec.
Is it a coincidence that Frank has been a die-hard advocate for expanding Freddie/Fannie at any cost?
Since at least 2002, Frank fought an ever-growing drumbeat of calls to slow down the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac train wreck.
In 2003, he famously said that Freddie and Fannie were “not in a crisis,” that they were “fundamentally sound financially.” He repeated that expert testimony in 2005, all the while rejecting the argument that the taxpayers were responsible for Freddie and Fannie’s bills.
And in 2007, he actually proposed raising the caps on Fannie/Freddie’s portfolios - exposing taxpayers to even more risk - and then dumping the new money into (drum roll, please) even more subprime mortgages.
Less than a year later, the Fannie/subprime/derivatives catastrophe was upon us. And the cheerleader for all three? Our Barney.
Which is why it so astonishes that anyone takes him seriously as the self-declared watchdog of Wall Street. Please, Barney, just shut up.
Frank is great at blustering his way past reporters and his Econ 101 liberal constituency out in Newton. But watching him yesterday afternoon questioning AIG chief Ed Liddy, Frank was revealed as the picayune partisan he truly is.
Where was the “grilling” of this AIG fat cat we were all promised? Where was the “A-ha!” moment as Frank revealed the private-sector greed and corruption behind the bailout mess?
Nothing. “Pitchfork Barney” curled up like a kitten at Liddy’s feet, purred a few inconsequential comments and then slinked away.
If there’s anyone in Massachusetts with the street cred - make that “cash cred” - to lecture the execs of AIG, it’s Joe Petrucelli of East Bridgewater Savings Bank.
Under his leadership, East Bridgewater has no delinquent loans, no homes in foreclosure and even made a profit during the last quarter. And not one thin dime in bailouts, either.
And what did Petrucelli get for his trouble? Slapped with a citation from the FDIC for not making enough “Community Reinvestment Act” loans - also known as “Barney Frank” loans.
A banker does everything right, and he’s a problem. Barney Frank gets the economics entirely wrong, and he’s the solution?
We taxpayers have a lot bigger problem than AIG.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
BARACK OBAMA HAS NOW ISSUED 17 EXECUTIVE ORDERS. HE ORDERED GITMO CLOSED. HE ORDERED THE MILITARY TO GO SOFT ON TERRORISTS IN INTERROGATIONS. HE ORDERED THAT THERE BE A WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF URBAN AFFAIRS. AND TODAY HE ORDERED FEDERALLY FUNDED STEM CELL RESEARCH. AND WHAT HAS COME OUT OF ALL THESE ORDERS? DISORDER. THE STOCK MARKETS ARE DROPPING LOWER EVERY DAY. THE TALIBAN IS WINNING IN AFGHANISTAN. IRAN IS GETTING CLOSER EVERY DAY TO MAKING A NUCLEAR BOMB. OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ALLIES ARE GIVEN HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY BY THE PORKULUS BILL WHILE AMERICANS ARE BEING KICKED OUT OF THEIR HOMES. NORTH KOREA IS THREATENING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. BARACK OBAMA HAS BEEN TESTED AND HAS FAILED ON ALL FRONTS.
STRANGE STORIES ARE BEGINNING TO COME OUT OF THE MEDIA ABOUT OBAMA. THE MEDIA SAYS THAT HIS HAIR IS TURNING GRAY. HE IS RUMORED TO BE “OVERWHELMED” BY THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY, AND HASN’T FOUND TIME TO HIRE FOR THE TOP POSITIONS IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. THIS MAN IS A COLLEGE PROFESSOR. HE IS CLEARLY NOT PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL. GEORGE W. BUSH CREATED AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH SO MANY PEOPLE FELT BETRAYED THAT MOST AMERICANS WERE WILLING TO VOTE FOR ANYONE WHO DIDN’T REPRESENT A CONTINUATION OF HIS POLICIES. BUT AMERICA DIDN’T VOTE FOR KARL MARX.
EVEN AN EFFECTIVE MARXIST WOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS. EVEN THOUGH HE ENDED UP IMPOSING A FORM OF SOCIALISM ON THE U.S., FDR AT LEAST VIGOROUSLY PURSUED THE ENEMIES OF THE NATION. HE FOUGHT AGAINST APPEASERS AND ISOLATIONISTS WHO TRIED TO KEEP US FROM HELPING THE ENEMIES OF TYRANNY AND EVENTUALLY JOINING THEIR SIDE IN THE FIGHT. AT LEAST FDR HAD EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE AS GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK. OBAMA HAS HAD NO REAL EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF A CLASSROOM. AND THAT INEXPERIENCE IS BEGINNING TO TAKE ITS TOLL.
in the political discourse.
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