Accountability-June 6, 1944

75 years ago our country was united behind our need to eliminate a clear and present threat to our, and the world’s, way of life. Fail, and hundreds of millions of people would live under tyrannical leaders whose vision excluded vast classes, races, political freedoms from their vision of a “1000 year rule.”

Luckily the German, Italian and Japanese fascists were defeated, the communists were not engaged and in various forms still exist today. China is implementing facial recognition Ala “Minority Report” as well as social scores that control what benefits you receive-they are growing rapidly in military might; Russia is rearming, taking land that legally isn’t theirs per the UN, threatening bordering countries; Venezuela has descended from one of the highest GDP per person in South America to beggar status; Cuba remains Cuba; many in our country think giving government more power over individual freedoms is a solution; and the list goes on.

Our political leaders on both sides refuse to meet in the middle;  pursuing political wins versus doing something. They are accountable to themselves only. This isn’t new; after G. Washington left office he warned of the divisiveness of party politics. That happened in the next election, and continues through today.

General Eisenhower was confident in the plan for “Overlord”, but also realistic. He penned the below prior to the landings.

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

How I wish those in Washington had an iota of the same kind of courage to be accountable. We live in a dangerous world. Our fellow citizens are not our enemies; many outside our borders are-whether economically or militarily.

Fannie, Freddie and an Outbreak of Amnesia

Douglas Holtz-Eakin penned the above title in a WSJ article on 25 May, 2016. The gist; During the 2008 financial imbroglio these two “government sponsored entities” were put into conservatorship with the taxpayers contributing $188 Billion to bail them out. These two agencies buy mortgages and package them to sell as bonds.

The hope was they would be reconstituted and run better next time. Someone was smoking something in the cloak room to hope for that, they are giant honey holes for Congress to “reform society” and put their friends in place. Being government they get lower interest rates than banks and if they mess up WE get the bill.

Fanny and Freddie are the very embodiment of crony capitalism that the Bern, HRC and the Donald rant about.  They are a defacto state owned enterprise in the United States, kind of like China, or our friend Putins’ place.

Why is it that it has become a right to own a house? If we agree home ownership is a good thing is there a better way to put forward that policy without exposing the taxpayers to this kind of risk, maybe a more free market oriented solution? Maybe cities looking at how much cost they load on builders that increases the cost of housing by 20-30-40%. Maybe renting is a better idea than buying at certain times in your life.  Maybe being more vertical is a good idea, seems to work in New York.

Driving a social policy through by threatening banks with regulation and fine hell has been proven to be stupid.

The Great Recession Blame Game

The above title comes from the WSJ, an article by Phil Gramm and Michael Solon.  The recession of 08-10 was caused by the “government policy to promote housing ownership and regulators who chose to promote that policy over their traditional mission of guaranteeing safety and soundness.”

HRC has just announced that the potential first husband will be in charge of the economy, hmmmmm. It was he who threw gasoline on a smoldering fire through the regulators, his speeches, Fannie and Freddie, etc.  You can see how bubbles grow, we will be in for another one.

I wish someone in Hollywood would make a movie about that.

COrporate leaders attacked, government employees and legislators go free

Teh below article talks about Sen. Warren going after corporate leaders for alleged malfeasance, as well they should be if laws were broken. What isn’t talked about are the many federal employees, and legislators that invoke their “brilliance” and throw millions into enconomic or personal tragedies.  Examples:  The VA; Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae; the ACA; need I go on?  Everyone but her is evil, us versus them, no effort to solve problems, only blame someone else.  That attitude is the foundation for wars, totalitarianism, fascism.  Sad.

As Congress considers overhauling the criminal justice system, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is working to show that law enforcement is “shockingly weak” when it comes to corporate crimes.

Warren’s office released a 13-page report on Friday, titled “Rigged Justice: 2016; How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy,” which argues that the justice system is rigged in favor of corporations and executives who commit crimes. The report highlights 20 cases that, in Warren’s staff’s view, demonstrate how the federal government failed to hold corporations and executives accountable for breaking the law.

“When government regulators and prosecutors fail to pursue big corporations or their executives who violate the law, or when the government lets them off with a slap on the wrist, corporate criminals have free rein to operate outside the law,” according to the report. “They can game the system, cheat families, rip off taxpayers, and even take actions that result in the death of innocent victims—all with no serious consequences.”

Prosecuting corporate crimes has become a topic of discussion as Congress looks to overhaul the criminal justice system. Such overhaul efforts have become entangled over whether to change laws relating to criminal intent, also known as mens rea. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, said at a Jan. 20 Judiciary hearing, “I believe that any package of criminal justice reforms that passes Congress must include meaningful provisions to shore-up mens rea protection.”

Hatch argued that such provisions, submitted in an amendment to a bipartisan sentencing bill, would protect citizens from being prosecuted for a crime that they did not realize they were committing. But Democrats raised concern that altering such provisions would make it more difficult to prosecute corporate crimes.

The authors of Warren’s report furthered that argument, writing, “If adopted, this amendment would severely weaken the already anemic enforcement of federal white-collar criminal laws.”

As the debate continues, Warren’s report sought to demonstrate the extent to which such “anemic enforcement” exists.  The cases detailed in the report grabbed headlines throughout the year, including the BP Deepwater Horizon settlement with the Justice Department and five states, where BP is required to pay nearly $21 billion, though $15 billion of that would be tax deductible.

The report also highlighted an agreement with General Motors that the company pay a $900 million fine for covering up ignition switch problems that resulted in more than 100 deaths and nearly 300 injuries. The report’s authors argued that no individual was held accountable for the cover up, or charged with a crime, and pointed out that criminal charges against GM were suspended.

In addition to these cases, the report covers settlements over violations that span such areas as the financial sector, education and student loans, automobile safety, environmental laws, trade laws and drug manufacturing. The authors noted that only one of the examples, a coal mine blast that killed 29, resulted in a trial and conviction.

Warren has worked to make corporate settlements in criminal and cases more transparent. Her “Truth in Settlements Act” won approval in the Senate in September, and has been referred to House Oversight and Government Reform. The bill would require federal agencies to release settlement agreements on their websites, and list information including payments involved in the agreements and where the payments will be collected.