Monthly Archives: July 2016

Black Lives Matter

From an immensely powerful post:

So to ask us—when we’ve been crying for our lost kin, begging for change that would save the lives of all those impacted by police brutality and a corrupt criminal justice system, begging to be seen as people and not targets—to reaffirm for you that we believe violence isn’t the answer is not just ignorant, it’s cruel. Everything we have worked for is put at risk with these police shootings, every scrap of progress we’ve made on getting the world to see that we are human beings who don’t deserve to be shot like dogs in the street is at risk with these shootings—and people ask us, “Don’t you think these shootings are just as bad?”

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Understanding Trump

One of the most clear-eyed examinations I’ve seen:

Trump has already managed to take Pence the governor of a major state and recast him as a ridiculous figure, the guy who managed to bag the vice presidential pick only to have the guy at the top of the ticket broadcast to the world that he’d rather not have him. This will hang over Pence regardless of how the ticket fares. He’s also now publicly renouncing various past statements about Trump and his policies. Almost every vice presidential candidate has to do some version of this. But Trump’s positions are far more extreme and the criticisms of them are too. So Trump’s Muslim ban goes from being “offensive and unconstitutional” to … well, awesome.

This may all seem like no more than riffing on a handful of entertainingly pitiful figures. But it’s more than that. As we discussed in the early Spring, the entirety of Trump’s political message is dominance politics. To paraphrase McLuhan it is both the messenger and the message. Trump attacks, others comply and submit. Whether or not that is always true it is the story and the promise he has sold his supporters. Trump’s handling of his vice presidential pick casts him in an extremely unflattering light. And yet the heaviest weight undoubtedly falls on Pence. It is simply no accident that those who come into his orbit, who join with him, are rapidly visited with a string of indignities that stand in a bracing contrast to the power and status they earlier enjoyed. On the field of other political actors, other would-be ‘alpha males’, for Trump you are either his enemy or his property. The only exceptions are those – think of Cruz and Rubio – who remain far enough from Trump’s event horizon not to get pulled in.

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Hillary

From an amazing profile of our future President:

“It’s always amusing to me that when I have a job, I have really high approval ratings,” Clinton said. “When I’m actually doing the work, I get reelected with 67 percent of the vote running for reelection in the Senate. When I’m secretary of state, I have a 66 percent approval rating.”

Her explanation for the Gap is simple enough. “There’s a lot of behavioral science that if you attack someone endlessly — even if none of what you say is true — the very fact of attacking that person raises doubts and creates a negative perspective,” she says. “As someone Exhibit A on that — since it has been a long time that I’ve been in that position — I get that.”

I don’t buy it. Other politicians find themselves under continuous assault, but their poll numbers strengthen amid campaigns. Barack Obama’s approval rating rose in the year of his reelection. So too did George W. Bush’s. And Bill Clinton’s. All three sustained attacks. All three endured opponents lobbing a mix of true and false accusations. But all three seemed boosted by running for the job — if anything, people preferred watching them campaign to watching them govern.

Hillary Clinton is just the opposite. There is something about her persona that seems uniquely vulnerable to campaigning; something is getting lost in the Gap. So as I interviewed Clinton’s staffers, colleagues, friends, and foes, I began every discussion with some form of the same question: What is true about the Hillary Clinton you’ve worked with that doesn’t come through on the campaign trail?

The answers startled me in their consistency. Every single person brought up, in some way or another, the exact same quality they feel leads Clinton to excel in governance and struggle in campaigns. On the one hand, that makes my job as a reporter easy. There actually is an answer to the question. On the other hand, it makes my job as a writer harder: It isn’t a very satisfying answer to the question, at least not when you first hear it.

Hillary Clinton, they said over and over again, listens.

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Someday

Via Dailykos:

In 1995, Walmart sold T-shirts in its stores with the phrase “Someday a woman will be president.” That is, Walmart offered these shirts in a single store, for a very brief period.

That is, until:

… a buyer for Wal-Mart’s national office in Bentonville, AR told her the store would not carry the shirt nationwide because the message “goes against Wal-Mart’s family values.”

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Foreclosure Fraud

Banks are still getting away with it:

EVERY DAY IN AMERICA, people continue to be kicked out of their homes based on false documents. The settlements over allegations of robosigning, faulty paperwork, and illegal mortgage servicing didn’t end the misconduct. And law enforcement, along with most judges and politicians, have looked away in the mistaken belief that they wrapped up a scandal that just goes on and on.

My new book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud, is about three foreclosure victims who ended up doing more investigation of the corrupt U.S. mortgage industry than any state or federal law enforcement or regulatory official.

They exposed the mass production of false mortgage documents in courthouses and county records offices across the country.

It’s a work of history, depicting events that occurred from 2009 to 2012. But it’s a living history, and that’s one of the reasons I wrote the book.

Here at The Intercept, in the past 10 months, I’ve written about the New Jersey man who had precious family heirlooms robbed by Wells Fargo subcontractors when they illegally “trashed out” his foreclosed home. I’ve written about the use of false documents in Seattle and the unregistered business trusts operating in Montana. I’ve written about the Texas jury that awarded $5 million in one wrongful foreclosure case with fabricated and robosigned documents. I’ve written about the California Supreme Court enabling foreclosure victims to challenge phony documents in their cases.

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Comedian Flips It On Sexist Heckler

This was amazing – AND funny.

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Kay Jewelers

Ugh:

Some customers are claiming that after they took their diamond jewelry to Kay Jewelers, the rare stones were mysteriously replaced with cheap imitations. Kay said that it is “actively reviewing this issue.” Shares of Signet Jewelers (SIG), Kay’s parent company, fell as much as 11 percent on Thursday, although the share plunge came after the company’s earnings fell short of analysts’ estimates.

Chrissy Clarius told BuzzFeed that she would bring her $4,300 engagement ring, which was bought at Kay Jewelers, to Kay every six months to get it inspected, as this was part of the company’s gemstone guarantee that insures the stone will “last forever.” After taking the ring in February for its six-month checkup, she said the Kay employee couldn’t find the diamond’s certification number. Suspicious, she took the ring to another jeweler, who tested the stone and declared that it was moissanite, a cheaper stone.

Apparently this and other kinds of fraud are rife at Kay Jewelers, which is exactly the reason why people like state Attorneys General exist. Hopefully one or more of them investigate this nastiness soon.

Incidentally, a more comprehensive expose is on Buzzfeed.

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