Russell Krauss / Boise Liberal Examine & Carol E. Lee / Politico.com – 2009-05-22 10:09:27
Credit Reform Piggybacks on National Park Gun Bill
Russell Krauss / Boise Liberal Examiner
BOISE (May 21, 2009) — By now, everyone knows that the credit card reform bill is on its way to President Barack Obama’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law on Friday. Despite all the hoopla, it doesn’t seem to be that sweeping in effect.
There is no cap on interest rates, and the infuriating litany of fees and penalties may still be imposed, although they must bear some reasonable relationship to whatever services and infractions they represent.
Who knows what that means? A summary of the changes can be found here. For all the griping and gloom and dooming from the banking industry, it doesn’t seem the hugely profitable business will suffer much.
Still, the bill is significant in that it heralds a change from the Bush years, during which the rights of ordinary citizens were always subordinate to those of business and the special interests. And of course the rich.
One repercussion could include higher costs for borrowers who pay their balances off every month, including restoration of annual fees, elimination of rewards, and imposition of interest charges during the grace period, from the date of purchase to the due date of the billing cycle in which the item was bought. “Deadbeats,” are how these borrowers are described by the credit card industry. An interesting twist of the term.
One unfortunate amendment to the bill, which reverses the 1983 Reagan ban on loaded guns in national parks and wildlife preserves, was passed by approximately 2/3 of both the Senate and the House – just short of a veto-proof margin had it been a separate bill.
So much for responsible gun control legislation coming from the United States Congress. Not going to happen. Rules for guns will revert to the individual states in which the public lands are geographically located, so in some states, like California, loaded weapons will still be prohibited.
Gun enthusiasts have long sought to overturn the ban, and claim the usual 2nd Amendment rights and protection against crime and predatory beasts as reasons. As for serious crime, there have been an average of 450 cases of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault per year in national parks over the last decade. For the United States as a whole, the comparable figure is 1.4 million. You can be the judge as to how dangerous our parks are.
Opponents to lifting the ban warn that opportunistic poaching of wildlife will obviously rise, and that many park visitors take refuge and comfort in the fact that thousands of strangers aren’t wandering about toting firearms. I tend to side with this sentiment.
But gun control is considered political suicide these days, and few Democrats, and virtually no Republicans, dare broach the subject anymore. Guns and God are sacred in these United States.
Guns at the White House?
Carol E. Lee / Politico.com
WASHINGTON (May 22, 2009) — Could tourists pack heat with cameras?
Not if Secret Service has anything to say about it. But a guns provision in the credit card bill President Barack Obama signs into law today touches pretty close to his new home.
Obama never really wanted the provision, but he wanted credit card reform on his desk by Memorial Day, so he let slide an amendment that allows people to bring loaded guns into national parks.
And the White House is a national park.
A spokeswoman for D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty was quick to note “the provision in the credit card legislation will not apply to the national parks in the District.”
But Washington has no law that specifically says no guns are permitted in national parks – and why would they? Until now they didn’t need one.
The amendment, tacked onto the credit card bill by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), permits gun-owning visitors to bring their concealed weapons with them as long as “the possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the state in which the unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System is located.”
The Obama administration wasn’t hot to the idea, but if House and Senate Democrats fought it, the credit card bill could have been derailed.
The White House being not just any national park, Secret Service would never allow loaded guns in the hands of those getting a tour.
“We control security at the White House,” said spokesman Ed Donovan. “No weapons are permitted.”
The White House, at least the portion built in 1790 to 1800, was designated a national park in 1961, said James McDaniel, who was director of White House Liaison for the National Park Service for almost two decades.
The National Parks System has jurisdiction over the residence within the original stone walls, but not the colonnades and the east and west wings. It also takes care of the exterior and all 18 acres of gardens and grounds.
And while loaded guns in the hands of visitors there is hardly a reality, it’s one indication of the Pandora’s box Obama opened up when he let the guns amendment go.
© 2009 Capitol News Company, LLC
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
The Credit Card Bill S. 627
Is A Sham Without Usury Protection
The headline today read “Reform may mean good card users pay more”, even as the Senate passed their totally phony credit card bill, S. 627. The one thing that actually mattered, an amendment to limit interest rates to a very generous 15 percent was killed. With the government bailing out some of these same companies, and giving them money for zero interest, how greedy can they possibly get? Oh, but they had no problem tagging on a totally unrelated Wild Bill Hickok in our national parks provision.
How stupid do they think we are? What we are left with is a cosmetic makeover which will continue to bless outrageous interest rates with no real protection for the American people at all, another charade of reform which actually changes nothing of substance. In fact, the bill expressly gives credit card companies an additional 9 months to rip us off without any new restrictions whatsoever. Congress needs to know they are not fooling us one little bit on this one.
No Usury Action Page:
Besides submitting the action page at the link above, we are asking our participants to also call their members of Congress toll free at 800-828-0498, 866-338-1015 or 866-220-0044 (all numbers just checked good) to protest their failure to actually confront the core problem .. unrestrained interest rates. They will be voting in the House in a matter of days.
So what if they must give at least 45 days notice before raising our interest rates to the sky. Where are we the American people to go, as the job market collapses around our ears? The credit card “industry”, just like the medical insurance “industry”, is just a giant leech sucking the lifeblood out of our economy, without adding anything of value to it.
The reason we are making such a point of this action is that they have the same phony reform routine planned for health care, in trying to perversely ban from public debate the one thing that would actually cure the patient, single payer universal health care.
The 30% eaten up by paper pushing, claim denying, overpaid medical insurance company bureaucrats, has already got the rest of us barely holding on to life support. And here especially, we need to demand that we get legislation that isn’t just written by corporate lobbyists to preserve their power to take an arm or a leg for themselves.
So if you have not yet submitted the action page for single payer health care, please do that as well.