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Paul Krugman: ‘The Big Short,’ Housing Bubbles and Retold Lies – The New York Times

In May 2009 Congress created a special commission to examine the causes of the financial crisis. The idea was to emulate the celebrated Pecora Commission of the 1930s, which used careful historical analysis to help craft regulations that gave America two generations of financial stability.

But some members of the new commission had a different goal. George Santayana famously remarked that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” What he didn’t point out was that some people want to repeat the past — and that such people have an interest in making sure that we don’t remember what happened, or that we remember it wrong.

Read More: ‘The Big Short,’ Housing Bubbles and Retold Lies – The New York Times

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The Great Greek Bank Robbery – Project Syndicate Op-Ed

Yanis Varoufakis

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A Revolving Door Helps Big Banks’ Quiet Campaign to Muscle Out Fannie and Freddie – The New York Times

By

Seven years after their dubious lending practices helped push the United States economy to the brink of disaster, the nation’s largest banks are closing in on a long-sought goal: to unseat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants, and capture their share of the profits in the country’s $5.7 trillion home loan market.

Taking place largely behind the scenes, the movement to take over the mortgage market has been propelled in part by a revolving door between Washington and Wall Street, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

While the big banks’ effort to enshrine their vision into law has failed so far, plans to replace Fannie and Freddie — which have long supported the housing market by playing a unique role as so-called government-sponsored enterprises, or G.S.E.s — are still very much alive. The Obama administration has largely embraced the idea, and government regulators are being pushed to put crucial elements into effect.

Read more: A Revolving Door Helps Big Banks’ Quiet Campaign to Muscle Out Fannie and Freddie – The New York Times

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Let This Be an Opportunity for Business Unusual | Queen Rania al Abdullah

These are more than attacks on pillars and stones, these are attacks on millennia’s worth of archaeological heritage and human co-existence… all with the aim of eroding one of the richest and most diverse cultural landscapes in the world. They’re targeting our collective history… the foundations of our civilization…. In essence, humanity’s very memory. They’re deluded enough to think that they can author a new era, AD, After Daesh, and brainwash future generations.

Well, over the last two years, these groups have given us a glimpse of what their dark world would look like.

We’ve been haunted by scenes from Syria and Iraq: communities robbed of life; livelihoods destroyed; childhoods lost; schools and hospitals deserted; torture and mass murder.

Haunted by images of children’s bodies washing up on shore. And by the idea that we could live in a world where people die in restaurants. Or at concerts. Or kneeling while they pray.

As unsettling and upsetting as it is, this glimpse into the future has been a revelation. It’s given us a renewed appreciation for what we have, what we value, and for what we must fight.

So, it must be a turning point for humanity.

Source: Let This Be an Opportunity for Business Unusual | Queen Rania al Abdullah

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No, let’s not go easier on white collar criminals

mathbabe

We all know the minimum sentencing laws for drug violations are nuts in this country. Combined with “broken windows” policing, those laws have sent entire generations of minority men to jail. We need criminal justice reform badly.

But one version of the bipartisan effort to address this issue, called H.R.4002 and backed by the Koch brothers, goes too far in a big way. In particular, it extends to white-collar crime and it insists that the defendant in a Federal criminal case “acted with intent.”

The entire bill is here, you can read it for yourself. Concentrate on Section 11, where it state:

if the offense consists of conduct that a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would not know, or would not have reason to believe, was unlawful, the Government must prove that the defendant knew, or had reason to believe, the conduct was unlawful.

Here’s why I am particularly…

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