A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hey, All You States' Rights Advocates Out There!

Check out this little bit of creative Hamiltonian Federalism:

"In January 2004, the previously obscure and little-noticed Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), part of the U.S. Treasury Department, asserted itself with two new regulatory rules. The rules give it and it alone sole legal authority to enact and enforce all consumer protection regulations applicable to both national banks (any bank with national or N.A. in its name) and even their state-licensed operating subsidiaries such as mortgage companies.

"The OCC's newly self-imposed authority even negates state banking laws where no federal law exists. This decision eliminates longstanding state legislative authority to enact laws and prevents state attorneys general and financial regulators from enforcing violations of virtually any state law.

"The OCC took these actions without Congressional approval, but the courts have unfortunately sided with recent efforts by the OCC and national banks to override, or preempt, state consumer laws, such as PIRG-backed ordinances banning ATM surcharges in San Francisco and Santa Monica, PIRG-backed anti-predatory lending laws in several states and a PIRG-backed credit card disclosure law in California.

"So, the best solution is to pass a "Congressional Motion of Disapproval," also known as a legislative veto. State legislatures, attorneys general and governors have joined consumer, community and civil rights groups to fight back. If the OCC action is not overturned by Congress, predatory mortgage lending will increase, more banks will get involved in shabby payday loan-like "bounce protection" scams, credit card companies will intensify their unfair practices and bank fees will rise even more astronomically.

"You can find out more about the OCC at PIRG's special OCC Watch website."

Where are the Sons of Liberty when you really need them?


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