Thursday, December 1, 2016

Last Call For The Great Preet-Ender

Donald Trump summoned US Attorney Preet Bharara to Trump Tower on Wednesday, raising all kinds of conflict of interest questions.

Donald Trump met with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Wednesday at Trump Tower, a senior law enforcement official told NBC News.

Bharara, whom many regard as the Justice Department's most powerful prosecutor, told reporters that he agreed to remain the U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York after a "good meeting" with the president-elect. He added that Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's attorney general pick, previously reached out to him, asking him to stay as well.

Bharara and his office are known for their successful prosecutions of Wall Street figures, such as securing the guilty plea of Bernie Madoff's brother, Peter, for his role in the infamous Ponzi scheme.

The federal prosecutor also created two units focusing on financial fraud, including the Civil Frauds Unit, which has collected multimillion dollar settlements from financial institutions.

In other words, Trump only bothered to personally talk to precisely one US Attorney: the one who would be dealing with any Trump Organization cases, as NYC-based Trump would be in Bharara's Southern NY district.

You know who else Bharara would be dealing with in a federal prosecution?

The Clinton Foundation.

You do the math. I have, and two plus two equals authoritarian.

White Out In The Senate Dems

I understand the fact that 99% of the time, activist and NY Daily News columnist Shaun King is in it solely for the benefit of one Shaun King rather than the racial justice issues he advocates for, but this is part of the 1% of the time that he actually has a valid point: Senate Democrats have a major, major lack of diversity on their staffs and it's pretty appalling as he talks to a Senate staffer about it.

“Do you know how many black Chiefs of Staff exist in the Senate? The whole Senate? One. Out of one hundred chances they had to hire a black chiefs of staff, they hired just one African-American,” the staffer said in disgust. 
“But hold up, hold up,” the staffer continued. “I haven’t even given you the punchline yet. Guess who the one black Chief of Staff works for?” 
“Who?” I asked — having no idea what the answer was. 
Tim Scott,” the staffer replied. “The lone black chief of staff in the entire United States Senate works for South Carolina Republican, Tim Scott. His office may be the most diverse in the entire Senate.” 
It was like a punch to the gut. It’s one thing for the elected officials in one of the most important halls of government in our nation to be just 2% black — that could be blamed on voters or demographics or fundraising, but the fact that only one U.S. Senator has hired a black chief of staff, and that senator is a Republican, is an indefensible choice. 
According to a recent study from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, of the 336 senior staff positions in the U.S. Senate, 0.9% of them are held by African-Americans. That’s three people. 
This is inexcusable and it has a devastating impact on the positions and priorities taken by senators themselves. 
“When Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were shot and killed by police in Minnesota and Louisiana, I practically begged my boss to issue a statement. My request fell on deaf ears,” the staffer said, 
It’s no wonder the Senate has done so little of substance on issues that truly matter to black folk. 
The lack of diversity in the U.S. Senate is so severe that it was called “one of the world’s whitest workplaces” in a scathing critique authored by The Atlantic’s Russell Berman. Berman also highlighted how the online magazine, Diversity Inc., “the nation’s worst employer for diversity.” 
The NBC News4 I-Team in Washington, D.C. actually discovered that Congress isn’t even following its own rules and laws on diversity. As Congress attempts to hold tens of thousands of employers feet to the fire on diversity all over the country, they aren’t even doing it themselves by tracking and reporting the most basic data on their hiring practices and records for women and people of color.

 It's pretty awful, and King is right.  It really is indefensible that fewer than 1% of Democratic staffers are black, when black voters make up more than 25% of the party as a whole.

Fix this, Democrats.

More than ever, heading into 2017?

Fix this.

Welcome To 2007, Suckers

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." - H. L. Mencken

After campaigning with lots of populist and anti-Wall Street rhetoric, Donald Trump is seriously considering a veteran Wall Street financier, Steve Mnuchin, to be his Treasury secretary.

Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs, ultimately as a partner at the investment bank. More recently, he's headed a privately owned hedge fund, Dune Capital Management. Last April he became Trump's chief fundraiser, and he's now a member of the president-elect's transition team. 
But Mnuchin's resume also includes a stint as chairman and CEO of a California bank that's been called a foreclosure machine. 
During the depths of the financial crisis, Mnuchin was looking to make profits from the ruins of the housing bust. In 2009, he put together a group of billionaire investors and bought a failed California-based bank, IndyMac. It had been taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. after its sketchy mortgage loans went bad.

The next housing bubble and economic meltdown is probably not going to be remotely recoverable. Not with Trump's team of crooks at the helm.  It's going to be brutal when it goes.

And it's the fault of idiot voters like Rex and Rose Schaffer.

Rex Schaffer, 86, and his wife Rose were among those who lost their homes, in a OneWest foreclosure. After living nearly 50 years in their home in La Puente, Calif., the Schaffers took a home equity loan but struggled to make the payments. They say they qualified three times for a government assisted modification, but OneWest failed to modify the loan.

"It was a disaster dealing with those people," Rex Shaffer says. "We'd have a different person every time we called in." He counted 33 OneWest employees, in all, and each one would give him "a different story." 
Facing threats that their home would be auctioned off, the Schaffers finally got through to a OneWest vice president. According to Rex Shaffer, the VP said, "I'm going to get you a 60-day extension on the sale date, so we can work this thing out." That was on Feb. 17, 2011. But the next day, the Schaffers' house was sold without their knowledge. "We didn't even know it — didn't have the faintest idea," Rex Shaffer says. 
They voted for Donald Trump, but Rose Schaffer says they're praying he doesn't choose Mnuchin as his Treasury secretary. "If he can't run his own little bank," she asks, "how can he handle a large thing for the United States?"

Spoilers: he can't.  But hey, the Schaffers are in their 80's.  They're not going to have to spend 50 years dealing with the next economic collapse, and they live in California, where their vote for Trump wasn't directly responsible for his election.

Guys like me, well,  It was nice knowing all of you.


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