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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mel Watt Most Liberal NC Rep, Most Gerrymandered District (12th)

So Mel Watt is North Carolina's most Liberal Congressional Rep.


I guess "Liberal" is the new buzz word for sorry, ineffective Democrats seeking to raise Campaign funds.

Isn't Mel Watt's 12th District the MOST gerrymandered Congressional District in the state? He's been in there WAY too long.

Mel ONLY caters to Wall Street and his Fraternity/ Sorority friends that's it!

Mel is an Incumbent who keeps the rest of his constituents (mainly African-Americans) within North Carolina's 12th District poor so they can never challenge him.

Thus he's basically useless.

Due to North Carolina's Racist history, there was definitely a time when Gerrymandered districts were necessary.

However Politicians like Mel Watt are now abusing the true intended purpose of Gerrymandering for their own personal gain.

They advocate and push Straight Ticket Voting from their poorest Constituents which allows them to remain in Public Office NOT to help, but to become personally Wealthy.

In fact Mel Watt is so crooked he introduced a watered down amendment in 2009 which would have granted Wall Street execs more power to be corrupt and play games with Taxpayer money.

Even Alan Grayson slammed Mel Watt's bill.

Too many Black Youth are dropping out of High School and NOT attending College because of Mel Watt's Selfishness and Greed.

Does Mel care? Don't count on it!

North Carolina, especially Charlotte deserves better.

We need fresh blood in Congress.

Time to go Mel! Bye-bye.

Mel Watt Most Liberal North Carolina U.S. House Member

An annual list of how members of Congress stack up, ideologically speaking, has U.S. Rep. Mel Watt as the most Liberal member of the state's House delegation while U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry is the most Conservative.

National Journal studied 97 roll-call votes that it used to establish where House members ranked in terms of how liberal or conservative they were.

Watt, a Charlotte Democrat, was among eight House members who were tied for the most Liberal in the chamber. Watt was the 423rd most Conservative House member.

McHenry, a Cherryville Republican, was the 17th most conservative member of the chamber and the 413th most liberal. Virginia Foxx, a Banner Elk Republican, was the 19th most conservative member and the 411th most liberal.

No other members of the state's delegation cracked the top 20 as either Conservative or Liberal.

Here's how they ranked, in alphabetical order:

G.K. Butterfield: Democrat, Wilson. 88th most liberal, 343rd most conservative.

Howard Coble: Republican, Greensboro. 348th most liberal, 82nd most conservative.

Bob Etheridge: Democrat, Lillington. 169th most liberal, 262nd most conservative.

Walter Jones: Republican, Farmville. 274th most liberal, 155th most conservative.

Larry Kissell: Democrat, Biscoe. 214th most liberal, 217th most conservative.

Mike McIntyre: Democrat, Lumberton. 247th most liberal, 184th most conservative.

Brad Miller: Democrat, Raleigh. 143rd most liberal, 184th most conservative.

Sue Myrick: Republican, Charlotte. 395th most liberal, 34th most conservative.

David Price: Democrat, Chapel Hill. 35th most liberal, 394th most conservative.

Heath Shuler: Democrat, Waynesville. 239th most liberal, 192nd most conservative.

Audit The Fed Effort Under Threat In House

A Bi-partisan effort to force Transparency on the Federal Reserve is suddenly in jeopardy after a House Financial Services Committee member introduced an amendment that would let the multi-trillion dollar organization continue throwing tax dollars around in secret.

Rep. Mel Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, has introduced an amendment intended as an alternative to the measure to audit the Federal Reserve introduced by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Alan Grayson's (D-Fla.) . But instead of increasing transparency, as the amendment claims to do, Watt's measure would instead make the institution more opaque.

The measure could come for a vote anytime this week. Read the amendment here.

Watt pitched his amendment in a letter to colleagues circulated Tuesday. "While my amendment will certainly fall short of demands by those intent on destroying the independence (if not the existence) of the Fed, the critics of my amendment will have to concede...that my amendment will provide transparency of the Fed's financial operations that will be completely unprecedented," he wrote.

In fact, the critics are conceding no such thing. "The Watt Amendment, as written today, actually places new restrictions on the little authority that exists, such as it is, for independent auditing of the Fed," Grayson said. "It keeps in place all existing restrictions and adds four more. So I don't see why anybody would reasonably think that it creates unprecedented authority to audit the Fed."

The devil, as always, is in the details. While Watt's amendment talks a big game about opening up the Fed to a complete audit, all of the new powers granted must be carried out "each case in accordance with subsections (b) and (e)."

Those subsections of the current law delineate the many restrictions that an auditor confronts when seeking to audit the Fed. Watt's measure not only leaves those in place but requires all audits to abide by them.

And in addition to the current restrictions in place, it creates new ones. An auditor could not look at loans or liquidity arrangements the Fed enters into, the terms of those arrangements, or the effect of those loans and other liquidity deals on "reserves, the balance sheet or financial condition of a Federal reserve bank or the Federal Reserve System."

The Fed has expanded its balance sheet drastically over the last year, entering into exotic swap arrangements and otherwise pumping trillions of dollars into the economy. How it has done so and who has been on the receiving end would remain secret under Watt's bill.

By contrast, the Paul-Grayson amendment is patterned after Paul's bill H.R. 1207, which has broad bipartisan support. It has more than 310 cosponsors in a chamber with 435 members.

Paul's measure would repeal the provisions that Watt's leaves in place. If every member who cosponsored Paul's bill votes for it in committee this week, it would have the votes to pass. Watt's amendment is an effort to peel off votes.

Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said that Watt's proposal falls far short of the transparency that the multi-trillion dollar organization needs.

"The new exemptions are described as limited but they are extremely broad," Grayson said. They're so broad, in fact, that there would be very little left for an auditor to look into. What could an auditor check up on?

"Count the pencils on the desks," Grayson speculated. "Perhaps check on proper Metro card usage."

Watt wasn't immediately available, but his letter to colleagues is here:

Dear Financial Services Committee Colleague:

This week during the Financial Services Committee markup of the Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009, I plan to introduce an amendment to provide historic transparency to the operations of the Federal Reserve. While my amendment will certainly fall short of demands by those intent on destroying the independence (if not the existence) of the Fed, the critics of my amendment will have to concede (1) that I have worked diligently with them to find all possible common ground and (2) that my amendment will provide transparency of the Fed's financial operations that will be completely unprecedented.

My amendment acknowledges that taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent. To that end, my amendment will expand the audit powers of the Government Accountability Office ("GAO") over the Federal Reserve to all financial activities of the Fed.

I. Complete GAO Audit Authority of the Numbers.

Under my amendment, the GAO will have complete authority to review and audit, including by onsite examination:

(1) Federal Reserve programs, activities and operations: A full audit of the functions, programs, activities and operations of the Federal Reserve Board and Federal reserve banks relating to prudential supervision, provision of currency, check clearing and collection services, payment systems operations and provision of wire transfer services;

(2) Federal Reserve financial statements: A full audit, of the kind performed by outside auditors, of the Federal Reserve's financial statements, including all the Fed's assets and liabilities no matter how they are acquired or incurred; and

(3) "Emergency" 13(3) lending facilities: An audit of the emergency actions taken by the Fed under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act ("13(3) powers") to extend credit to a single partnership or corporation, or broad liquidity facilities for distressed markets, including:

* The effectiveness of the Fed's internal control structure to ensure limited risk exposure to the Fed with respect to each liquidity facility and the prevention of waste, fraud and abuse in the use of that facility;

* Whether the collateral policies and procedures appropriately address risk to the Fed;

* Whether credit extended and fees charged by the Fed are collected in accordance with the terms and conditions established by the Fed;

* The manner in which the Federal Reserve system accounts for the facility on its balance sheet and the adequacy of the procedures for financial reporting.

For example, my amendment would allow the GAO to audit the financial aspects of multi-billion dollar credit facilities extended to Bear Stearns and AIG during last year's financial crisis, as well as the broader market credit facilities such as the Term Asset-backed Loan Facility (TALF). In addition, the specific names of borrowers of 13(3) credit facilities would be disclosed after 1 year.

In sum, the GAO will have new powers under my amendment to audit every aspect of the Fed's nearly $2 trillion balance sheet, providing unprecedented transparency to the American people.

II. No Interference with Monetary Policy.

The critics of my amendment will say that it does not allow the GAO to audit or second guess Fed monetary policy decisions. They are correct. My amendment strikes a sensible balance between providing increased transparency to the public, while preserving the long-standing independence of the Federal Reserve regarding the making of monetary policy. Every industrialized nation observes strict independence of their central banks to set monetary policy and shields them from undue political interference. Such independence from political interference is important for several reasons:

* An independent central bank can limit inflation and promote economic growth. If there is even the perception that politics is interfering with monetary policy decisions, fears of inflation could rise and erode market confidence in the ability of the central bank to make sound economic decisions, which could cause higher prices and increased job losses;

* Bond rating agencies view the independence of central banks as an important factor in determining sovereign credit ratings. An erosion of Federal Reserve independence could harm the credit rating of Treasury bills, increasing our cost of borrowing and hurting the economy in the form of higher prices to all American consumers;

* Foreign central banks would fear engaging in transactions with a politically compromised Federal Reserve, which could destabilize the U.S. and international economies.

Recently, over 400 economists, academics and former government officials signed the attached petition supporting the independence of the Federal Reserve regarding monetary policy. The petition included three winners of the Nobel Prize in economics and five former presidents of the American Economics Association. The notion that we should allow the GAO or any other government agency to audit or second guess Fed monetary policy is nonsensical and would be terrible public policy.


My amendment strikes the appropriate balance of increasing Federal Reserve transparency while preventing political interference with monetary policy. Only a transparent central bank, free from political interference, can effectively carry out its congressionally-required dual mandate of stable prices and fostering job growth. I hope you will support the amendment to provide an historic advance of transparency at the Federal Reserve while preserving its independence to be able to fulfill the dual missions for which it was formed.



R.I.P. Mel Watt: We Come To Bury Him Not Praise Him

Posted Tue, 10/31/2006 - 18:00 by Leutisha Stills

Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina is stepping down after 2 years as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. CBC Watch correspondent Leutisha Stills evaluates his tenure, and pronounces Watt dead on arrival.

In looking back at how the Congressional Black Caucus has operated in the last two years, we at CBC Monitor, have not come to praise Congressman Mel Watt's (D-NC), leadership, but to bury him in his performance as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus for the past two years.

You can't really praise an individual's leadership when they consistently subverted it to do the will of House Minority Leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in the hopes of receiving favorable treatment from her. Watt's obsequious relationship with Pelosi negatively impacted everything the CBC attempted to do as a Caucus, and rendered them virtually ineffective.

The fact that the CBC is as ineffective as Mel Gibson's apology for his anti-Semitic remarks, was not lost on individuals attending this year's CBC Legislative Weekend. It was reported to CBC Monitor by reliable sources on Capitol Hill that attendance at this year's conference was down by an estimated 15,000 people. Well, people get tired of attending events, using their own money, vacation time and travel, to listen to elected officials talk loud and say nothing, as well as do talk loud and do nothing.

"Watt's obsequious relationship with Pelosi negatively impacted everything the CBC attempted to do as a Caucus."

Mel Watt deserves all the ridicule, scorn and derision we can hurl upon him, for his decided lack of leadership and a woeful unwillingness to call out any renegade CBC member for voting the corporate interests that serve to decimate the majority Black districts they represent, in the name of maintaining unanimity. Even when his own colleagues made the customary laudable speeches, praising his leadership, one got the sense that they really didn't mean what they said.

His repeated capitulation to House Minority Leader Pelosi, one assumes, is in the hope that he positions himself well for a plum committee assignment, should the Democrats take back Congress in November, by holding himself out to Pelosi as being a "good, non-threatening Negro," while selling out his own Caucus, even though he always voted in such a way that earned him a position on the Honor Roll since we began publishing the Report Card.

Well, for his trouble to attempt to maintain unanimity, as well as subverting the CBC's own political agenda (if they ever had one) to stay in Pelosi's good graces, those who relied on the CBC being the "Conscience of the Congress" got the following results of Black Leadership for their reliance:

* 20 CBC members were scrubbed off the list of lawmakers who sponsored legislation to renew provisions of the Voting Rights Act, because Pelosi, in code words, deemed the bill "too Black," and was afraid she wouldn't be able to get the reich-wing bigots in the GOP to sign off on it.

* The isolation of, and slinging under the bus of one of their own members (Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-GA), for crying out about corruption in the Bush Administration, as well as being subjecting to racial profiling by the Capitol Hill Police, while circling the wagons to protect a member of the CBC who was so corrupt in the selling of his office that he has the moniker of "Dollar Bill," and is currently under a Federal indictment for bribery (Rep. William Jefferson, D-LA).

* We believe the CBC's willingness to follow Pelosi's orders and isolate McKinney may have played a direct role in her primary loss this past August. We know that their circling the wagons around Jefferson has cost the Caucus in terms of credibility among many progressive organizations, especially when, instead of taking action to handle the Jefferson matter themselves, they waited until Pelosi took the action of removing Jefferson from his committee assignments and then they cried "Foul" and implied that Pelosi's actions were racially motivated.

They probably were, but the CBC leadership did not have to abdicate personal responsibility in calling out one of their own for ethics violations and corruption of their office. We would expect the CBC to be as vigilant about their own members as they are about the system of Checks and Balances in the Federal Government.

"Watt provided derelict Black members cover in their duty as lawmakers."

* The failure to publicly censure CBC members who voted for anti-people legislation (such as the Bankruptcy bill; Net Neutrality, Estate Tax Repeal, Border Protection Act, Authorization of Iraq War, etc), when the sense of the majority of the Caucus (better than 60%) was against such legislation and voted accordingly.

In excusing the votes of the renegade members, Watt provided them cover to be derelict in their duty as lawmakers, while publicly chastising organizations such as CBC Monitor, for daring to publish Report Cards highlighting such dereliction.

There are many examples of Mel Watt's dereliction as a leader of the CBC, which we have expanded on in several issues of the Black Commentator, so there is no need to do anymore than write Mr. Watt's obituary on his tenure as CBC Chairman. His obituary, from our standpoint, is brief:

He often voted correctly, but when it came to matters of importance, and holding the Caucus together as a Caucus, in leadership, HE WAS MISSING IN ACTION.

Rather than advance the Agenda of the Caucus he often sought to subvert it, at the directive of the House Minority Leader.

In so doing, and refusing to have the Caucus take positions on things that mattered, the Caucus was absent from any political position of importance.

Mel Watt threw away any bargaining chips the Caucus would have had, and rendered 41 House Members and 1 Senator as no more than bumbling fools on Capitol Hill.

In evaluating the leadership of Congressman Mel Watt as CBC Chair, we cannot praise him, we can only bury him.

Leutisha Stills, a member of the CBC Monitor, is on the Faculty Administration of George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia. She can be reached at

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Sources: McClatchy Newspapers, Huffington Post, Black Agenda Report, MSNBC, C-Span, Youtube, Google Maps

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