Maxine Waters violated pledge to help the poor with Scandal Bank

September 10, 2010
OneUnited said it would partner with the city to offer the mortgages to first-time and current homeowners, and provide financial literacy training to residents. “As a child of an inner-city community I can tell you, it doesn’t get any better than this,’’ the bank’s president, Teri Williams, told the crowd that day.
But no loan program ever emerged — one in a long list of failures by the nation’s largest minority-owned bank, which is controlled by Williams and her husband, Kevin Cohee, the bank’s chairman.
seven other banks that partnered with the city to provide affordable mortgages have made more than 1,000 loans to residents since 2005. Those banks include community institutions like East Boston Savings Bank and Hyde Park Savings Bank, as well as giants like Bank of America and Citizens Bank.
Cohee said OneUnited has been in “research-and-development’’ mode since the financial crisis, when it lost $50 million it had invested in the mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were taken over by the government.
“We’ve really been focused on this issue of how to have a widespread, a nationwide impact on job creation,’’ Cohee said. “The stuff we’re coming out with is absolutely cutting edge, absolutely state of the art.’’
Yet OneUnited is shrinking by almost any measure. Its assets, once over $650 million, have fallen by more than $132 million. Bank analysts point to the institution’s declining deposits, and expenses that now exceed the income the bank earns on loans. They also note that the bank has set no new money aside this year for potential losses on millions of dollars in past-due customer loans.
“That’s a big red flag’’ when regulators examine the books, said Suzanne Moot, a banking analyst in Milton. “If I were a regulator, I’d be talking to them.’’
Cohee further alienated his supporters in Washington last month when police arrests came to light that dated back to 2007. One was a sexual assault allegation that was dropped; another was a drug charge, which was dropped after Cohee agreed to go to counseling. Cohee denies any wrongdoing.

The spin that the bank would help the poor acquire housing and jobs was just that: spin.  A few dollars trickled out to help some poor people — but not in Boston, Miami, or Los Angeles, where it opened offices. But large sums did go to a wealthy developers in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, executives rewarded themselves with fancy cars and high salaries. The president had run-ins with the law; a sexual assault allegation (dropped) and a drug charge that was dropped after he agreed to counseling.  The plight of the poor was a ruse to ransack.

Quiet a crew that Maxine Waters bent — actually broke — the rules to help reward with our money. She should be ashamed, instead of defiant. And Congressman Barney Frank logrolled for her — did favors to help her while attempting to keep her role hidden. He should be ashamed of himself, as well (let alone for  his role in creating the housing crisis by his drive to promote home ownership among those who could not afford it).

Russia the Hidden Guiding Hand

June 10, 2010

Russia — the country with the best intelligence services on the planet, and with a unique history of successfully penetrating the intelligence services of other countries (including the United States). The Russians can see around corners, anticipate events, and manipulate the thinking of Western politicians. If you want to peer into the future, and see what the future holds for Korea and the Middle East, watch Russia. Weeks before September 11, 2001, the Russian Duma held hearings that featured a Kremlin advisor, Tatyana Koryagina, who predicted something she called “Tidal Wave 21.” The main blow from this tidal wave, she said, “will be inflicted on the United States of America.” She did not mention who would be inflicting the blow, but later referred to “shadow forces.” She noted that the world had accumulated $400 trillion in financial assets, but the global GDP was only a $30 trillion. The entire structure of global finance was bloated, and ready to burst….

Whenever something big is expected to happen in the world, it is difficult for those who know about it to say and do nothing in advance. Russian policies and pronouncements often provide signals to the wise. Prior to the Russian invasion of Georgia, the intended war and its diplomatic exploitation was alluded to in a speech delivered by President Dmitri Medvedev on 15 July 2008 at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow. In another prescient sequence, Russia urged China to dump Fannie and Freddie bonds in August 2008, a month before the historic U.S. financial meltdown. It is worth noting that the Russians sold  $65.6 billion in Fannie and Freddie debt at the beginning of that same year. (As it happens, Fannie and Freddie were seized by regulators on 6 September 2008.) The Russians have spies everywhere, who keep close tabs on global finance, military affairs and politics. The Russians piggy-back on international organized crime, which is a key source of information on corruption and the global underground economy.

The Russians also do more. They make the future, directly, instead of merely reacting to events. Back in the 1980s, for example, you might ask whether Europe was going to use Russian natural gas or continue to build nuclear power plants. The answer appeared by way of a nuclear reactor accident at a place called Chernobyl. Europe’s future dependence on Russian natural gas was thereby sealed. To take another, more recent, example: a KGB analyst in Moscow has predicted civil war in the United States. According to Russia’s Igor Panarin, America’s breakup will occur sometime around 2010 or 2011. In this instance, the Chernobyl component has yet to be detonated.


burden on small and medium sized business = NO JOBS

January 14, 2010

Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is a burden on small and medium-sized businesses that could grow and create jobs.

In lamenting the lack of economic growth in the decade that just passed, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman had pointed the finger at a typical culprit: the supposed deregulation that occurred in the Bush administration. “As for the Republicans, now that their policies of tax cuts and deregulation have led us into an economic quagmire, their prescription for recovery is – tax cuts and deregulation.” Krugman called the 2000s “the decade in which we achieved nothing and learned nothing.”

the very same Paul Krugman who sees “humanity” in climategate… not liars.

Yet a glance at what really happened in the first decade of the new millennium shows that Krugman and others of his ilk are the ones who have really learned nothing. They continue to insist that the financial crisis was caused by deregulation even though so much government intervention in housing — from the subsidies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the reckless lending encouraged by Community Reinvestment Act – contributed to the mortgage meltdown.

And, as Rep. Ron Paul recently pointed out, “As for a lack of regulation, the last decade saw the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the largest piece of financial regulatory legislation” in decades.

Rushed through Congress and signed by President Bush in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals in 2002, the law has quadrupled the costs of the audit process for public companies and achieved little tangible results in preventing fraud. Because of all the high-paying work it creates for auditors in helping firms comply with the law, Sarbox has been called “a boon for bean counters” (in Business Week) and the “Accountants Full Employment Act.”

Sarbox is a significant cost factor holding back job growth and a stronger recovery. If it is repealed or scaled back, the second decade of the new millennium could see real prosperity as American entrepreneurial energies are once again unleashed through the next Microsoft and Googles going public.

On top of this, Sarbanes-Oxley has achieved very little in preventing fraud. In 2007 Countrywide Financial Corp. was praised for its Sarbanes-Oxley controls by the Institute of Internal Auditors. Two years and many scandals later, its former executives have been charged with securities fraud. And certainly, overall transparency doesn’t increase when companies go private or delay going public, as many have chosen to do because of the law’s costs.

So how do you keep companies like Enron from abuse? My opinion… more competition. If there is a near monopoly in energy for example then the government should break up the private company or make it easier for other “Enrons” to get out there. One private energy company going against the government is a system that is ripe for abuse. The same could be said about the healthcare industry that we are presently creating. A government industry with only one private alternative will always have people cheating and even cronyism between the government and it’s private competitor.

burden on small and medium sized business = NO JOBS

January 14, 2010

Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is a burden on small and medium-sized businesses that could grow and create jobs.

In lamenting the lack of economic growth in the decade that just passed, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman had pointed the finger at a typical culprit: the supposed deregulation that occurred in the Bush administration. “As for the Republicans, now that their policies of tax cuts and deregulation have led us into an economic quagmire, their prescription for recovery is – tax cuts and deregulation.” Krugman called the 2000s “the decade in which we achieved nothing and learned nothing.”

the very same Paul Krugman who sees “humanity” in climategate… not liars.

Yet a glance at what really happened in the first decade of the new millennium shows that Krugman and others of his ilk are the ones who have really learned nothing. They continue to insist that the financial crisis was caused by deregulation even though so much government intervention in housing — from the subsidies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the reckless lending encouraged by Community Reinvestment Act – contributed to the mortgage meltdown.

And, as Rep. Ron Paul recently pointed out, “As for a lack of regulation, the last decade saw the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the largest piece of financial regulatory legislation” in decades.
Rushed through Congress and signed by President Bush in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals in 2002, the law has quadrupled the costs of the audit process for public companies and achieved little tangible results in preventing fraud. Because of all the high-paying work it creates for auditors in helping firms comply with the law, Sarbox has been called “a boon for bean counters” (in Business Week) and the “Accountants Full Employment Act.”
Sarbox is a significant cost factor holding back job growth and a stronger recovery. If it is repealed or scaled back, the second decade of the new millennium could see real prosperity as American entrepreneurial energies are once again unleashed through the next Microsoft and Googles going public.
On top of this, Sarbanes-Oxley has achieved very little in preventing fraud. In 2007 Countrywide Financial Corp. was praised for its Sarbanes-Oxley controls by the Institute of Internal Auditors. Two years and many scandals later, its former executives have been charged with securities fraud. And certainly, overall transparency doesn’t increase when companies go private or delay going public, as many have chosen to do because of the law’s costs.

So how do you keep companies like Enron from abuse? My opinion… more competition. If there is a near monopoly in energy for example then the government should break up the private company or make it easier for other “Enrons” to get out there. One private energy company going against the government is a system that is ripe for abuse. The same could be said about the healthcare industry that we are presently creating. A government industry with only one private alternative will always have people cheating and even cronyism between the government and it’s private competitor.