As I had a lot to do last night, I thought that I would share some stories that I found.
There is always a lot going on in our world, and too often, important stories get buried by spectacle.
One topic that I care about deeply is corruption. I believe that no one should be above or below the law. Sadly, the Department of Housing and Urban Development , however, is trying to pass a rule to allow banks convicted of felonies to still make federal mortgage loans
From the Huffington Post:
With the blessing of the White House and the Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is attempting to sneak through a major policy change that would enable big banks convicted of felonies to continue lending through a federal mortgage program, according to federal records and government officials.
The housing agency wants to quietly delete a requirement for lenders to certify they haven’t been convicted of violating federal antitrust laws or committing other serious crimes. HUD proposed the move on May 15, without detailing the reasoning behind the change. It’s now considering public comment, with an eye towards finalizing the proposal.
Five years after lawmakers and the Obama administration said the Dodd-Frank financial reform law would end the problems caused by banks perceived to be “too big to fail,” HUD's move could represent yet another capitulation from federal officials who want to appear to be tough on Wall Street’s crimes, but don’t want big banks to suffer the consequences typically associated with felony convictions.
The main beneficiaries of the proposal would be JPMorgan Chase, the nation's largest bank with more than $2.4 trillion in assets, and Citigroup, the third-largest U.S. bank with $1.8 trillion in assets, according to Federal Reserve data.
I believe this is a case where the President and his officials should say no to a proposal. I still believe that the Justice Department should have strongly prosecuted Wall Street officials for their role in the economic collapse of 2008.
In some good news for the President, the Washington Post reports that dozens of retired generals and admirals support the Iran deal
Three dozen retired generals and admirals released an open letter Tuesday supporting the Iran nuclear deal and urging Congress to do the same.
Calling the agreement “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” the letter said that gaining international support for military action against Iran, should that ever become necessary, “would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance.”
The release came as Secretary of State John F. Kerry said U.S. allies were “going to look at us and laugh” if the United States were to abandon the deal and then ask them to back a more aggressive posture against Iran.
Not only would U.S. global credibility be undermined, Kerry said, but also the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency would be threatened.
“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Kerry said in a public question-and-answer session at Reuters news service headquarters in New York . “But I’m telling you, there’s a huge antipathy out there” to U.S. leadership. Pointing to efforts by Russia and China to join forces with rising, nonaligned powers, he said that “there’s a big bloc out there, folks, that isn’t just sitting around waiting for the United States to tell them what to do.”
This comes as Israeli intelligence officials, past and present, are disagreeing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Iran deal
For our bloggers in Virginia, here is some good news. The Democratic Party is making the Commonwealth a focus of its battle to fight voter restrictions
, according to a report in the Washington Post.
According to voting rights activists, 15 states with 162 electoral votes face new voting restrictions in 2016. Because of a 2013 Supreme Court decision overturning part of the 50-year-old Voting Rights Act, next year’s presidential election will be the first in which Southern states, including Virginia, will not be required to have election-law changes approved by federal authorities.
Democrats are hoping to bring in new voters across the country by breaking down barriers to voting through legal challenges, regulatory changes and grass-roots organizing. In Virginia, the only battleground presidential state that also has elections this year, Democrats are working closely with their national counterparts to expand the electorate — testing ways, for instance, to work around voter-identification laws, narrower voting windows and other restrictions generally backed by Republicans.
The effort will be key in the swing state, which national Republicans for months have been describing as a must-win if they are to take back the White House next year. But any victory in Virginia is expected to be a narrow one.
For some more stories that I came across yesterday, feel free to swing by the Democracy Interactive Facebook page
where I posted a link to yesterday's blog. So, what news do you think is worth sharing here today?