Simply Creating another Expensive Federal Bureaucracy Will Not In Itself Protect Consumers
In the aftermath of every crisis there are lessons to be learned. The recent financial collapse is no exception. In hindsight, there were glaring regulatory gaps in many areas of finance, including consumer protection. We can all agree that regulators, financial institutions and consumers should work together toward the shared goal of better transparency and ease of understanding for financial products such as mortgages and credit cards.
Simply creating another expensive federal bureaucracy will not in itself protect consumers. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) takes shape, strong oversight is essential to ensure that the rules are effective and efficient so that consumers are never again left out to dry. As members of Congress, we have a duty to put a regulatory structure in place that protects our constituents from unscrupulous actors; however, we also have a duty to protect them from unchecked, unelected bureaucrats.
This week, the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, which I chair, will examine common-sense bills that seek to promote effective and efficient transparency in the CFPB. The first bill would replace the director of the bureau with a five-person commission. We think this is a more balanced approach and follows the standard structure for other product regulators, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The second bill would strengthen the review authority of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to make it possible to overturn a bad rule; currently the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the new bureau, makes this process virtually impossible. We’ll also take a look at my suggestion to make sure the CFPB has a director in place — confirmed by the Senate — before it’s officially set up in July.
Some may say these improvements are making the CFPB weak and ineffective.
The truth is that yes, many members of Congress — and many Americans — cringe at the idea of unelected bureaucrats in Washington overseeing personal financial decisions. Frankly, they’re tired of Washington creating another agency instead of holding existing ones accountable. But if the CFPB is here to stay, it’s my job as chairman to make sure the bureau is accountable to the American people.
G-Comm™: Stop All Military Aid: to Israel, Pakistan, Everybody
Israel is now dictating conditions to the US and upbraiding President Obama for having the nerve to suggest finally following UN Resolution 242, which has long called for a return to the 1967 borders of Israel. He says it should be the border of the two states of Israel and Palestine. It is long past time to end all military aid to Israel.
When I was growing up in the 1950s Israel was seen in my Minnesota community as a brave outpost of kibbutzim egalitarianism amidst a harsh Arab environment of hatred and bloodlust. Jews had traded European persecution for Arab persecution. The Cold War exacerbated this as the hatred for Jews in Russia and throughout the Soviet Union in general led to USSR sponsorship of Arab arms pointed at the head and body of the tiny Jewish state. It was the right thing to do, to support Israel.
It was not until many years later that the story of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians came to light in much of the US. The assumption had been–and this was buttressed by the ongoing image of Israel as a social experiment in justice and equality–that Israel was founded upon the most modern principles that were meant to produce justice for all. Even Nazis who went on trial there for slaughtering countless innocent Jews in Europe were let free if the cases did not meet good judicial standards of evidenciary robustness.
The late 1960s produced big cracks in that image as the antiwar movement in the US generally aligned itself with Palestinian aspirations, but the development of the peace wing of the antiwar movement questioned the left/right acceptance of violence and the Cold War frame around the struggle. This ambivalence continued until the fall of the Soviet empire in the late 1980s-early 1990s. The violence of the left and the violence of the right were alienating to peace people. Most of us put our energies into disarmament and into struggles in which one side could be identified as a nonviolent party. Asymmetry of violence is still violence.
Certainly it has been the general position of the peace movement to cut off military aid to everyone, including Israel. That is still the case. But the talking points in favor are now stronger and have more political cache. It is time to press the point, to stop the horrific enabling of apartheid in Israel and subjugation/occupation of Palestine. It is long past time to let Israel survive with some humility, to take its place as a nation state that was founded on someone else’s land during a period of extreme duress. The sight of an arrogant Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu proclaiming derisively that Obama is out of touch with reality and marching into the Oval Office to dictate to the US should help Americans realize it’s time to pull the military plug on Israel.
From Pakistan to Israel and moving around the world from there, the US taxpayer continues to hemorrhage vast amounts of money on governments that despise us, alienating people from us, and impoverishing the US taxpayer even as it erodes the US infrastructure. The only ones who gain in the US are the war profiteers.
End this now. As the Republicans are so fond of saying whenever a social safety net is discussed, “No. We’re broke.” The reason we are broke is exactly the war system and we should begin our conversion now. Save many $billions right away by ceasing all military aid to Israel and all our clients.
Legislative Update – by – Delegate Brent Boggs - House Majority Leader - 05.23.11
As I write this week’s column on Sunday night, the news reports are just coming in about more deadly tornado outbreaks; earlier Sunday in Minnesota, then later this evening in Joplin, Missouri. Our prayers go out to the residents who have been devastated by these violent twisters.
Here in West Virginia, nice weekend weather allowed for lots of catching up on outside work. This week, I’m taking a week of vacation time to stick close to home and complete multiple projects around the house. Jean has a long list. I can’t eliminate it, but I hope to make a meaningful dent in it.
Last week was a busy time for legislative matters – both in Charleston and here in the district, with a railroad day sandwiched in last Wednesday. First, interim meetings last week were somewhat abbreviated, with the normal three day meetings pared down to 2 days. The Joint Committee on Government and Finance approved a number of interim studies, with several more likely to be approved before next month’s interims on June 13 – 15 at the Capitol.
During the legislative session, I met on several occasions with Cabinet Secretary Keith Burdette and several of his key staff members from the Department of Commerce and the West Virginia Development Office. After a number of scheduling conflicts, we were able to meet at my request, on site in Braxton County last Friday to review development options, along with Terrell Ellis, Braxton County Development Authority Executive Director.
Initially, we toured the Tech Center and the evolving progress of the State Emergency Medical Command Center. Director Drema Mace provided Secretary Burdette and his staff a great overview of this high tech center, its function and plans when fully on-line. DHHR Cabinet Secretary Dr. Michael Lewis was unable to attend as previously planned, but he and I will tour the facility in the near future.
Additionally, there is an opportunity to begin planning for additional recreational facilities and opportunities on a portion of Corp of Engineers property around Bee Run and the Sutton Lake vicinity. Ms. Ellis and I previously met with Mr. Burdette at the Capitol to discuss this, so an on-site opportunity was in order while in the area. I want to thank Bill Hunt and his staff at Sutton Lake Marina for their hospitality in providing a tour of the site from Sutton Lake. This gave everyone a better prospective of the property boundaries and opportunities that may be available for local residents and visitors.
In all, the group checked out at least five major locations around the county, plus an on-site review of an industrial access road that we hope to upgrade. I believe it’s important that those at the helm of the State economic development efforts have the opportunity to view first-hand the numerous development locations, meet with property owners, advice on strategic planning and to coordinate closely with our local development authority officials. It was a very productive day.
While the Legislature is not in session all year long, the job entails much more than 60 days at the Capitol. I will continue to explore any and all options we have available in Braxton and Gilmer Counties to move central West Virginia forward. We have the location. We have the infrastructure. Working together, we’ll make a great area even greater.
Finally, I appreciate the daily assistance of the leadership staff at the Capitol. Communications Stacey Ruckle helps me in a multitude of ways; most recently by monitoring various news stories and events that affect the House. Assistant to the Majority Leader Tom Bennett graciously filled in for me last Friday in speaking to a school group in Kanawha County. He also is working with House technology staff and the Governor’s Office of Technology as we install major data and computer server upgrades and set up off-site back-up of legislative data here at the Braxton Technology Center in Flatwoods. Leadership assistant Jennifer Underwood was instrumental in working to plan and coordinate Friday’s meeting and also attended the meetings.
Both Tom and Jennifer are working on numerous special projects and troubleshooting problems and concerns for central West Virginia residents and folks across West Virginia. I am indeed grateful for their help each day in working to serving you.
How to Contact
Please send address your inquiries to the Capitol Office at: Building 1, Room 226-M, Charleston, WV 25305. Or, call the Capitol office at 304.340.3220 or my Assistant to the Majority Leader, Mr. Tom Bennett at 304.340.3262 or fax to 304.340.3213. If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.
For those with Internet access, my e-mail address is “Boggs34@aol.com”. You also may obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and other information from the Legislature’s web site atwww.legis.state.wv.us/. If you write or leave a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and state government phone directory may be found atwww.wv.gov and on the Facebook site of the West Virginia Legislature.
Remember to thank a veteran for their service to our nation and continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Until next week – take care.
01 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac “Now Hiring”
02 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M’s
03 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine
04 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Burger King
05 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M
06 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal
07 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express
08 06 David Ragan Ford UPS “We Love Logistics”
09 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser / Realtree
10 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation
The celestial scorpion skitters across the southern sky during late-spring nights.
Its tail clears the southeastern horizon in late evening, and the scorpion remains visible throughout the night.
Its brightest star is bright orange Antares.
Stars are brilliant beacons of light shining through the vast cosmic darkness. But just how brilliant they are, and how far they shine across the darkness, varies by a huge amount. In our Milky Way galaxy, for example, the most brilliant stars are several billion times brighter than the faintest ones.
What the faint ones lack in power, though, they make up for with numbers—they account for most of the galaxy’s stars, and most of our stellar neighbors, including the closest one of all. Yet not a single one of them is bright enough to see from Earth with the eye alone.
These stars are known as red dwarfs. Their surfaces are so cool that they shine reddish-orange, like dull cosmic embers.
They range from about half down to less than one-tenth the mass of the Sun. With such little material, the nuclear furnaces in their cores chug along at a leisurely rate, so they produce little energy. In fact, those at the low end of the scale are so feeble that it takes them a year to emit as much energy as the Sun produces in just an hour.
These stars are quite turbulent, though. A red dwarf’s surface layers bubble like a boiling tea kettle. All of that motion generates powerful magnetic “storms”: dark “starspots” that can cover close to half of the star’s surface, and powerful explosions that shower space with X-rays.
Yet red dwarfs should be good targets to search for planets. We’ll explain why tomorrow.