Glimpses of the Kakistocracy: The foreclosure King

Steven Mnuchin has a lot to answer for:

Yang was lucky. The bank eventually dropped its efforts against him. But others were not so fortunate. In recent years, OneWest has foreclosed on at least 50,000 people, often in circumstances that consumer advocates say run counter to federal rules and, as in Yang’s case, common sense.

President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary has prompted new scrutiny of OneWest’s foreclosure practices. Mnuchin was the lead investor and chairman of the company during the years it ramped up its foreclosure efforts. Representatives from the company and the Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment.

Not that it would make any difference, but I'd love to find out how many of those 50,000 foreclosed folks voted for Trump, and how they feel about that mistake now. Mnuchin represents the worst type of businessman, one who directly profits from the suffering of others. Calling him a "Robber Baron" is too nice, he's really just a flim-flam man. Speaking of, here's Republican Fred Thompson hawking reverse mortgages:

Tuesday News: Rip van Holding's precious can

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CURIOUS ABOUT GEORGE HOLDING’S SPECIAL GARBAGE PICKUP DEAL? (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A Raleigh sanitation worker using a specialized trash truck empties the garbage cans behind the house of U.S. Rep. George Holding. Raleigh requires homeowners to pull their trash cans to the curb, although some receive special service. Holding received an exemption due to his "steep driveway."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/article122514054.html

Must read: Chris Fitzsimon's Monday Numbers roundup for 2016

Selfish governing has produced terrible outcomes:

30—number of years since President Ronald Reagan called the EITC “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress” (“Earned Income Tax Credit,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

3—number of years since North Carolina allowed its state EITC to end in 2013 (“States Can Adopt or Expand Earned Income Tax Credits to Build a Stronger Future Economy,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, January 19, 2016)

The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of those "out of sight, out of mind" issues that don't generate as much interest amongst the general public, but the loss of it has generated a lot of suffering in families on the lower end of the income scale. And taking it away has served to perpetuate poverty, because those dollars had been spent in areas and businesses that desperately needed that currency to keep them hiring. And when those jobs disappear, the next slap in the face is dwindling unemployment benefits:

Monday News: March of the kangaroos

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TRUMP IN POSITION TO RESHAPE JUDICIARY WITH MORE THAN 100 VACANCIES (Washington Post) -- In addition to an open Supreme Court seat, openings throughout the federal circuit and district courts will allow Donald Trump to quickly make a wide array of lifetime appointments. The new Republican president will have nearly twice the number of vacancies to fill than President Obama had when he took office.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-to-inherit-more-than-100-court-vacancies-plans-to-resh...

Christmas Day open thread

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By all rights this thread should be pointless, because you should be basking in the warmth of family. Or slaving over a hot stove, so said family members can recharge after all that arduous present-unwrapping. Or wandering around picking up shreds of said wrapping paper, before the dog (or cat) gets ahold of it and hacks on the carpet. Or intervening in a discussion that has the potential to turn into World War III. But you know what? It's all good. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everybody. :)

Sunday News: Good will lacking

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DISCRIMINATION UNDER FIRE IN N.C. (Albuquerque Journal) -- North Carolina Republicans have provoked a political firestorm. First, Gov. Pat McCrory refused to concede his loss for close to a month. Then, under the guise of providing Hurricane Matthew relief money, they convened several back-to-back special sessions, all geared at stripping power from Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper before he takes office. Whereas President Barack Obama is honoring the tradition of the peaceful transfer of power, a fundamental pillar of American democracy, North Carolina Republicans are taking a different path.
https://www.abqjournal.com/915387/discrimination-under-fire-in-north-carolina.html

Counting the costs of a deceptive, opaque Governor

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And you thought raising your children was expensive:

Gov. Pat McCrory’s office has spent more than $230,000 on an outside law firm to defend itself in a public records lawsuit filed in 2015 by a media coalition, according to billing invoices.

McCrory’s office provided the records Thursday after The Charlotte Observer filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking the information. The paper filed the complaint after the governor did not respond to a records request in October seeking the invoices from Charlotte’s Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, as well as all correspondence to the law firm.

Get that? They had to file a lawsuit, just to find out how much (taxpayer) money had been spent on other lawsuits. We (the public) are paying dearly to block our own access to information that should have been provided to us without hesitation. It's so absurd it's hard to wrap your mind around it. And so is this:

Saturday News: Sad state of the State

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BATTLE LINES TURN N.C.’S MODERATION INTO DISTANT MEMORY (New York Times) — Political chaos has become as much a fixture of life here as the basketball rivalry between Duke and the University of North Carolina: four years of battles, boycotts, protests and standoffs over voting, gerrymandering, anti-discrimination ordinances, bathroom access and the ability of Republicans to strip power from the governor’s office as soon as a Democrat wins it. The warfare has turned North Carolina, once the South’s beacon of moderation, into perhaps the most polarized state in the country.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/us/north-carolinas-republican-legislature-governor.html?mtrref=us7...

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