April 2014 - W.C. Varones

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4.29.2014

LA Times' Nicole Santa Cruz: Hey everybody, white people committed a crime!

10:08 PM 1
Have you ever seen a reporter go so far out of her way to point out the race of arrested criminal suspects?


It's one thing to use race as part of a description in order for the public to help police catch an at-large suspect. Even then political correctness often prescribes against noting that a suspect is black or Hispanic. But with the suspects already identified and arrested, what possible point is there in emphasizing their race three times?

A crazy homeless guy stabbed a tourist who refused him a dollar.  Why make this into a race thing?

Check out the giant racist chip on the shoulder of Nicole Santa Cruz. And where the heck are her editors?
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4.18.2014

Jerry Brown's Body Count

5:09 PM 3


This is the kind of "non-violent" offender that California Governor Jerry Brown releases early from prison in his "prisoner realignment" program:
Los Angeles police are investigating potential links between the kidnapping of a teenage girl who was doused with flammable liquid and two other South L.A. attacks that left two women and a 1-year-old boy dead.

The suspect, Robert Ransom Jr., 30, has been charged with nine felony counts related to the attack on the 16-year-old, including rape, attempted murder, kidnapping and assault, according to a complaint filed by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

[...]

A week after the kidnapping, the LAPD said Ransom -- who has previous felony convictions for robbery, assault and being a felon in possession with a firearm -- was arrested on a parole violation.
He was released early as a non-violent offender because his most recent prison term was only for possession of a firearm by a felon.

In possibly related news, another serial killer may have appeared in the Mt. Tamalpais area of Marin County north of San Francisco.
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4.05.2014

I love postage-paid reply envelopes

12:15 PM 0



"Doc fix" is a recurring budget gimmick. Every year, the budget contains an assumption that Medicare will severely cut payments to doctors. Congress passes that budget to make the overall numbers look good, then later they always sneak back and undo the cuts to doctors.

This year, Speaker Boner teamed up with Democrats to pass the budget-busting "doc fix" over the objections of fiscal conservatives in his own party who wanted to pay for the fix with offsetting budget cuts elsewhere.

Here's what Club for Growth said about Boehner's tactics on this vote:


Dear W.C.,

The act of publicly voting in Congress is fundamental to our nation.  It is fundamental to Democracy.

It is only through transparency that there can be accountability.  And a true democracy cannot exist without both of these. 

Which is why it was so outrageous – and frankly even a little hard for even us to believe – that House GOP leadership was able to pass a Medicare Spending Bill, otherwise known as the “Doc Fix”…WITHOUT A ROLL CALL VOTE! 

Last week, Speaker Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy gaveled through a bill that increased spending on Medicare reimbursements without it being offset by spending cuts elsewhere – something conservatives were demanding.  And again I repeat, they passed the bill WITHOUT A ROLL CALL VOTE.

Not only was the bill bad economic policy – but it violated the trust that the Republican conference is supposed to have with the Republican leadership. Sneaking a bill past your own colleagues is downright unconscionable.

So how did fiscal conservatives react?

“Bulls**t,” said Congressman Mick Mulvaney (SC-05).

Congressman Tom Massie (KY-04) described how the mind boggling deceit unfolded before his own eyes to the Washington, D.C. paperRoll Call:

“I was there on the floor of the House and I did observe it, but I didn’t believe that was happening,” he said in an interview. “I couldn’t grasp, I couldn’t bring myself to believe two things: One, that more than 400 members would be misled into thinking there’s no vote and then for the vote to occur. The other thing I was trying to resolve is that there were clearly Democrats on the floor and they were publicly opposed to the [sustainable growth rate] … also that the Democrats were in on this.
    
“As I was trying to resolve all this, the gavel went down, the vote was done,” he said.
    
Massie added that GOP staff was on the floor and celebrated as the vote was called.

“The staff were giddy, almost like they shot off a firework and ran and got away with it,” he said. “It made me feel sick.”

I wish I could say that I was surprised that the GOP leadership stafferswere actually celebrating the fact that they misled their fellow Republicans.  But sadly, I am not.

This is just another addition to an increasingly growing list of times the House GOP leadership has betrayed not only their colleagues – but their constituents who elected them because of their claimed conservative values.

Another recent example is when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor went around Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling in order to pass a bill to increase taxpayer-backed subsidies for flood insurance.

And who did Cantor negotiate with instead of Hensarling? 

Liberal California Democrat Maxine Waters – lifetime Club forGrowth score: 10% (Hensarling has a lifetime 96%). 

The result?

More government, more spending, and more taxpayer exposure for beach-front properties!

House GOP leaders have also stymied Chairman Hensarling’s bill to reform the government’s role in the housing market and eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - a position the Club for Growth and almost every fiscal conservative supports. 

Coming up next in Congress will be debates over extending unemployment benefits and the so-called “tax extenders” -- market-distorting provisions in the tax code like credits for NASCAR drivers and horse racing.   They are basically tax earmarks.

If Republican leadership negotiates from a position of weakness with people like Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi again, you can expect to see these policies sail through Congress.

And so if Republicans won’t hold themselves accountable on policy then the Club for Growth will!  It is clear that our role as the guard dogs of economic freedom has never been more needed in Congress than it is today.

We will watch.  We will report back.  And with your continued support, we will continue to hold politicians’ feet to the fire through our Congressional ScorecardKey Vote Alerts, and hard-hitting independent issue ads.

Best regards,
Chris
Chris Chocola
President, Club for Growth

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4.02.2014

A Wall Street veteran's view of High-Frequency Trading

7:45 PM 1
High-Frequency Trading (HFT) is the media's bogeyman du jour, thanks to Michael Lewis' latest book tour.

The reality is not so simple.  A couple of good rebuttals are here and here, and I'd like to add the following response from friend of the blog JF:
I think this line nailed it in a lot of ways…. “High-frequency traders tend to do it best because their computers are much cheaper than expensive Wall Street traders, and competition forces them to pass most of the savings on to us investors. That also explains why many old-school Wall Street traders hate them.”

Wall Street guys had a very hard time accepting the reality that electronic trading, whose adaptation was delayed several years thanks to the power of Wall Street and men like Dick Grasso, was here to stay and a game changer. Traders continued to try to trade the same way they had for years. They would enter orders to buy 10,000 shares of XYZ on Dot when only 2500 shares were offered, and they would spook the markets which would in turn work against them. They would get frustrated by their inability to trade the way they always had. So HFT became their scapegoat on how and why they had become so crappy at executing orders for clients. It used to make me laugh. So in 2008, I stopped using [well-known Wall Street firm's] trading desk. I had all the tools to execute orders myself, and the high paid talent that was there to execute would butcher my clients orders because they refused to update their approach. I started going more passive, using 5-10% of volume strategies, dark pools, etc… I had to train a lot of my clients to not judge an execution by the old metrics they had. If a client told me to be super active with an order, I would try to talk them out of it. I said if you do that, it will cost you. I covered one account that refused to update how they liked to execute. The portfolio managers knew best, no less than 30% of the volume. Man stocks would go up 5% and they would buy nothing. Was it HFT that caused the stocks to go higher, maybe. Was it the firm's unwillingness to accept the fact that the market structure had changed and their approach should change as well, absolutely. Once I had figured it out, I had no problems trading for my clients. What the HFT guys did was meaningless to me if I did things right. And if I didn’t, shame on me it was my fault…

I read the NYT article on Sunday about this guy from IEX. I love what he is doing. If the story is true the way it is told, he put his clients first. That doesn’t happen on Wall Street. That said he used to be a liquidity provider for RBC. He would print a client on 1mm XYZ to get an order to sell 2mm. Well as soon as that 1mm would trade, he would already be in a losing position. He was trying to do business the old way, the way he got paid $1.5mm a year. And when that old way didn’t work anymore, he wanted to know why. For wanting to know why, I applaud him. Who knows what is true or not, but someone putting a client first at a Wall Street big bank is commendable for sure….




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