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Bailing Out The Rich Only Makes It Worse

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(Via Zerohedge)

In 1948, the architect of the post-war American suburb, William Levitt, explained the point of the housing finance system. “No man who owns his own house and lot can be a Communist,” he said. “He has too much to do.”

It’s worth reflecting on this quote on the ten-year anniversary of the financial crisis, because it speaks to how the architects of the bailouts shaped our culture. Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, and Hank Paulson, the three key men in charge, basically argue that the bailouts they executed between 2007 and 2009 were unfair, but necessary to preserve stability. It’s time to ask, though: just what stability did they preserve?

These three men paint the financial crisis largely as a technical one. But let’s not get lost in the fancy terms they use, like “normalization of credit flows,” in discussing what happened and why. The excessively wonky tone is intentional – it’s intended to hide the politics of what happened. So let’s look at what the bailouts actually were, in normal human language.

The official response to the financial crisis ended a 75-year-old American policy of pursuing broad homeownership as a social goal. Since at least Franklin Delano Roosevelt, American leaders had deliberately organized the financial system to put more people in their own homes. In 2011, the Obama administration changed this policy, pushing renting over owning. The CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, echoed this view shortly thereafter. There are many reasons for the change, and not all of them were bad. But what’s important to understand is that the financial crisis was a full-scale assault on the longstanding social contract linking Americans with the financial system through their house.

The way Geithner orchestrated this was through a two-tiered series of policy choices. During the crisis, everyone needed money from the government, but Geithner offered money to the big guy, and not the little guy.

First, he found mechanisms, all of them very technical—and well-reported in Adam Tooze’s new book Crashed—to throw unlimited amounts of credit at institutions controlled by financial executives in the United States and Europe. (Eric Holder, meanwhile, also de facto granted legal amnesty to executives for possible securities fraud associated with the crisis.)

Second, Geithner chose to deny money and credit to the middle class in the midst of a foreclosure crisis. The Obama administration supported this by neutering laws against illegal foreclosures.

The response to the financial crisis was about reorganizing property rights. If you were close to power, you enjoyed unlimited rights and no responsibilities, and if you were far from power, you got screwed. This shaped the world into what it is today. As Levitt pointed out, when people have no stake in the system, they get radical.

Did this prevent a full-scale collapse? Yes. Was it necessary to do it the way we did? Not at all.

(Full Article Here)

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“If you can’t manage a campaign, how do you manage the country?”: Chuck Todd schools Bernie Sanders

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In a segment Thursday on MSNBC, network host Chuck Todd slammed Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders for allowing sexual misconduct to occur inside his 2016 presidential campaign.

“Could this derail his chances of another presidential bid,” host Chuck Todd wondered before playing a video clip.

“Boy, that is a tough answer to defend of course,” Todd said referring to Sanders telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview that he didn’t know about ongoing sexual misconduct because he was “a little busy running around the country trying to…make the case.”

“Because if you’re running to be president of the United States…if you can’t manage your campaign, how do you manage the country,” Todd continued. “No potential 2020 candidates had a worse start to 2019 than Bernie Sanders”

WATCH:

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Michael Cohen, former Trump attorney, accepts Democratic invitation to testify before Congress next month

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Michael Cohen

WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, who implicated his former boss and the now-president in a federal crime, has accepted an invitation from House Democrats to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee early February — just shy of a month before he must report to federal prison to serve his sentence for violating federal campaign finance law, lying to Congress, and tax evasion.

“In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7th before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,” Mr. Cohen said Thursday in a statement. “I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.”

Mr. Cummings, 67, said Thursday that his committee was “in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller’s office” to confirm that Mr. Cohen’s testimony wouldn’t conflict with Mr. Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. “I want to make clear that we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Cohen, who served as Mr. Trump’s fixer for over a decade, once famously said that he would “take a bullet” for Mr. Trump. However, within the last several months, Mr. Cohen has turned on his former boss, offering partial cooperation to Mr. Mueller.

Mr. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison last month by a federal judge in Manhattan after entering into a plea agreement on Nov. 29 with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. In his guilty plea, federal prosecutors did not, in exchange for his cooperation, downgrade sentencing recommendations. Mr. Cohen voluntarily offered his cooperation to Mr. Mueller and his team of assistant prosecutors.

Mr. Cohen ultimately spent over 70 hours behind closed doors with federal prosecutors — both from the Southern District of New York and members of Mr. Mueller’s team, who are probing whether the Kremlin, with or without the assistance of Mr. Trump’s campaign, sought to influence the 2016 presidential election. In response to his cooperation with prosecutors, Mr. Trump has called his former attorney, Mr. Cohen, a “weak man.”

Mr. Trump has thus-far said he did “nothing wrong,” and accused Mr. Cohen of misconduct and lying in an attempt to receive a reduced sentenced. In legal filings, federal prosecutors have not directly named Mr. Trump — referring to him as a “candidate for federal office,” and “Individual-1.”

“I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to: The personal ones to me and those involving the President of the United States of America,” Mr. Cohen said last month at his sentencing hearing. “I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real-estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired.”

When asked on Thursday whether he was concerned about his former attorney testifying to Congress, Mr. Trump said: “I’m not worried about it at all, no.”

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‘Second Chance Voters’ Campaign in Florida To Help Felons Vote and Get Jobs

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Today a new campaign is officially launching in Florida for encouraging Felons to vote, increasing their opportunity through jobs, and lessening the stigma around the issue of felons voting. The ‘Second Chance Voter Campaign’ is lead by experienced Councilman Steve Nadine. With an official launch on their website here at www.SecondChanceVoters.org , you can see the intent of the organization and goals set forth.

Karyn Turk of Red America Radio and Populist Wire is also a leading effort in the campaign, she says

“Although many of us were not for, Amendment Four, before it passed. As Republicans it is of extreme importance that we motivate these voters. This new population is a great opportunity for the GOP. We must work with these voters to educate them on republican candidates and important initiatives”

The Press Release States:

Second Chance Voters is led by Steve Nadine. Steve previously served as a County Commissioner and City Councilman and has also served on Alabama’s Sentencing Commission. These experiences have given him a unique and highly qualified credible resume especially in light of his status as an ex-felon and who served his time and probation.

Second Chance Voters will also be a proactive in leading the efforts to work with local and state leaders to effectively and efficiently implement the important components of The First Step Act:

Second Chance Voters will focus their efforts on the following:

Registering ex-felons and their families to vote.

Creating workforce development programs to provide employment opportunities.

Working with Local and State Leaders on tax incentives and tie-ins with economic development organizations to educate and train those incarcerated in local, state and federal prisons, a step critical to reducing recidivism.

Proving guidance on prison, probation and prosecution reform after the First Step Act is implement.

Creating outreach programs for at risk ex-felons and those who are scheduled to be released.

Conducting research on how The First Step Act reforms will effect local, state and federal prosecution and how it will impact the currently under-funded prison systems.

Launching a “Reforming from Within” initiative which will focus on how vitality important it is to educate the ex-felon and those set to be released that this is their Second Chance to proactively participate in their communities and that they can exercise those rights through voting.

Educating the public about the stigma and discrimination faced ex-felon including efforts to ban “checking the box.” These include the many jobs and professions from which they are restricted.

Lobbying in all states that currently restrict ex-felon voting rights.

A lot of what this Campaign is doing is holding politicians like newly elected Governor Rob Desantis to not hold up this right for Felons who have completed their sentence, fine, and probation. It’ll make sure the rights of Felons are restored as soon as possible, as close to the original intent of Amendment Four. This is going to empower any individual who takes it upon themselves to get their rights that had been previously been disenfranchised.

Founder of the Campaign, Steve Nadine is no newcomer when it comes to politics and especially this issue. Steve has an extensive record as the he was at the forefront of the battle to give rights to ex-offenders. He was most important in creating the ‘Jump Start’ program which offered jobs and opportunities to juvenile offenders who were completed a military-style boot camp.

This will be a great way to not only help felons get on their feet but help realize their larger role in a Democratic society that has left them out of the process.

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