Feed on


I’d say this isn’t America anymore, but let’s face it – all that’s changed is that we’re finding out:

NEWARK, N.J. — Americans living and working in New Jersey’s largest city were subjected to surveillance as part of the New York Police Department’s effort to build databases of where Muslims work, shop and pray. The operation in Newark was so secretive even the city’s mayor says he was kept in the dark.

For months in mid-2007, plainclothes officers from the NYPD’s Demographics Units fanned out across Newark, taking pictures and eavesdropping on conversations inside businesses owned or frequented by Muslims.

The result was a 60-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, containing brief summaries of businesses and their clientele. Police also photographed and mapped 16 mosques, listing them as “Islamic Religious Institutions.”

The report cited no evidence of terrorism or criminal behavior. It was a guide to Newark’s Muslims.

According to the report, the operation was carried out in collaboration with the Newark Police Department, which at the time was run by a former high-ranking NYPD official. But Newark’s mayor, Cory Booker, said he never authorized the spying and was never told about it.

“Wow,” he said as the AP laid out the details of the report. “This raises a number of concerns. It’s just very, very sobering.”

Police conducted similar operations outside their jurisdiction in New York’s Suffolk and Nassau counties on suburban Long Island, according to police records.

John O’Brien was the register of deeds in South Essex County, Massachusetts, and he was one of two who audited mortgage fraud in their jurisdiction. Yves Smith has this from him today on the proposed mortgage settlement:

It is my opinion that this deal has been crafted for the banks and by the banks. It is not in the best interest of the consumer, the homeowner, or the taxpayer. Simply put, I do not trust these lenders who have flooded my registry with over 32,000 fraudulent documents to do the right thing. Those homeowners who now have a corrupted title are looking for answers. This deal gives them none. The illegal activity by the banks is nothing shy of a criminal enterprise, where they crossed state lines using the United States Postal Service to deliver the instruments that were fraudulent and contained forgeries.

I know – why don’t you tell the feds they were also selling medical marijuana? Problem solved!

I will continue to pursue my request for Federal and State grand juries to be impaneled to hold the CEOs of these banks liable for the crimes that have been committed under their watch. The only thing missing in this illegal scheme that MERS and the big banks came up with was a gun and a mask. I will continue to expose this fraud and work everyday to make sure that the taxpayers are fully reimbursed for the over $44 million dollars in lost recording fees in my district alone by institutions who still believe fees are “for thee but not for me.” A message needs to be sent to these banks that they may think that you are too big to fail but they are not too big to go to jail.

We need a common sense approach in order to get this economy running again. I strongly believe that the hardworking homeowners who have struggled to stay current on their mortgages should be able to refinance their homes quickly at a fixed rate of 3%. A true national program with these terms would lower payments and infuse millions into our economy immediately.

Let’s not forget that foreclosures benefit no one. When a bank auctions off a home for less than is owed, that becomes the “comp” for the neighborhood. Simply put, your home and those of your neighbors are worth less. It makes far better sense to work with struggling homeowners and to take whatever action is needed to keep people in their homes.

Unless we face the facts and approach this with common sense we will be talking about the same issues a year from now and I am not sure we can wait that long.

Around the hood

One of the things about living in a part of the city that’s being art-ified and gentrified is that I get to see a lot of interesting new architecture going up. Like these:


Now that I’ve seen what my niece actually did, I can’t quite believe it. She jumped up?

Click here for the video.


Mitt Romney slipped yesterday and said something sensible. Don’t worry, his campaign did a little repair work later:

Mitt Romney said Tuesday that cutting spending slows growth in the economy — a rhetorical slip more akin to an argument a Democrat might make than a Republican.

Speaking in Shelby Township, MI, the former Massachusetts governor took a question about the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission empaneled by President Obama to address the nation’s deficit and debt issues. In his response, he said that addressing taxes and spending issues are essential.

“If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy,” he said in part of his response. “So you have to, at the same time, create pro-growth tax policies.”

That sort of comment was sure to raise the eyebrows of fiscal conservatives in the GOP, who have long preached a message of fiscal restraint as a path to economic growth.

“It’s hogwash. It confirms yet again that Romney is not a limited government conservative,” said Andy Roth, the vice president for government affairs at the fiscally conservative Club for Growth. “The idea that balancing the budget would not help the economy is crazy. If we balanced the budget tomorrow on spending cuts alone, it would be fantastic for the economy.”

[…] **UPDATE*** Romney spokesman Ryan Williams commented on the comments:

The governor’s point was that simply slashing the budget, with no affirmative pro-growth policies, is insufficient to get the economy turned around. However, he believes that budget cuts – especially in the context of President Obama’s unprecedented spending explosion – are a step in the right direction. As he made clear in his economic plan, he believes that spending cuts that reduce the size of government and balance the budget are crucial to economic growth and job creation.

Whew! A grateful nation heaves a sigh of relief.

Corporate tax cut

Since so many aren’t paying anything now, this should result in an increase:

WASHINGTON — President Obama will ask Congress to scrub the corporate tax code of dozens of loopholes and subsidies to reduce the top rate to 28 percent, down from 35 percent, while giving preferences to manufacturers that would set their maximum effective rate at 25 percent, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

Mr. Obama also would establish a minimum tax on multinational corporations’ foreign earnings, the official said, to discourage “accounting games to shift profits abroad” or actual relocation of production overseas.

His proposal would close a lot of the present loopholes, which Republicans of course oppose.

Feds squeeze Twitter

Over Occupy protesters.

Payroll tax cut

Of course it’s a bad idea. Of course it will weaken Social Security. Feature, not a bug!

Evil Girl Scouts

Lawmaker says Girl Scouts support abortion, homosexuality: wane.com

Hat tip to R.K, who asks: Does crazy go to “11”? I was wondering, too, because I’ve heard so many similarly crazy things from Wingnut Nation in the past couple of weeks. Like this low-level politician from Fort Wayne who can’t bring himself to be associated with the scandalous abortion-loving, transgender-embracing Girl Scouts of America:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne lawmaker’s refusing to sign a resolution to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts.

He says he chose not to because of things he uncovered about the organization while surfing the web. State Representative Bob Morris says he won’t sign it because the organization supports abortion and homosexuality. But the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana – Michiana says it doesn’t do any of the above.

It was websites like Honest Girl Scouts and Speak Now Girl Scouts that persuaded Representative Bob Morris to not sign the resolution.

Morris sent a private letter to his party members over the weekend explaining why he’d be voting against celebrating the Girl Scouts 100th birthday.

“Mixed reaction and some eyes were opened,” (R) State Rep. Morris said.

He says he doesn’t have a problem with Girl Scout groups or troops locally here in Fort Wayne.

“The Girl Scouts of America 99.9 percent of them are great groups, great troops but the problem that I have is with Girl Scouts of America of the national level.”

Some websites claim The Girl Scouts of America donate funds to Planned Parenthood.

The Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana – Michiana released this statement about it:

“Neither Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana – Michiana nor Girl Scouts USA have any relationship with Planned Parenthood. No funds are allocated to Planned Parenthood. Neither organization has a programmatic relationship with Planned Parenthood. Neither organization has plans for any relationship in the future.”

Other sites also say The Girl Scouts promotes homosexuality by allowing transgender children to join troops


I’m sure he will find enough money in the state budget for corporate tax cuts, so don’t worry:

Gov. Corbett’s new budget proposal would cost the city $42 million in mostly mental health and addiction treatment funding, but city officials say the impact will be worsened by ensuing needs for emergency shelter, child welfare, and other services.

“Our first take is pretty negative,” city Finance Director Rob Dubow told the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, the city’s financial oversight board, in a 15-minute presentation Tuesday.

Beside the cuts in aid to the city government, the Philadelphia School District faces an additional $21 million reduction in state support, due to the elimination of a “state accountability grant” program.

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