Here We Go AGAIN…

Conservatives NEVER learn. Eleven years after the federal government placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under tight federal oversight on the heels of the 2007-2008 financial crisis Trump and his minions want to privatize the institutions.

Mark my words, it will only be a matter of time before we find ourselves dealing with anther crises of similar or greater magnitude. Unless the organizations remain closely monitored history will repeat itself.

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Donald Trump is interested in privatizing the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), a pair of government-sponsored enterprises that together guarantee about half of the mortgages in the United States.

The Treasury Department insists that they want to privatize the agencies in a way that would not decrease access to credit. According to the Wall Street Journal, these changes would take years to implement, and existing mortgages would be unaffected. The government would also continue to backstop the agencies even after they are privatized.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are responsible for repackaging loans into securities to sell to investors. The government assumed tight control over them during the 2008 financial crisis to prevent their collapse.

Members of both parties have suggested abolishing the enterprises for years. Republicans in particular have tried to blame Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the financial crisis, although this argument is specious.



Our High IQ president

Will the Domestic Violence Continue Unabated?…

The battle over whether America continues its steady progress towards increased firearm violence or formulating a cohesive and effective national strategy to reduce firearm violence and the resulting loss of life is again at hand. As the nation prepares itself for another contentious political battle it is anybody’s guess how it will shake out. Our best guess? Unfortunately until the rank and file GOP’ers in the Senate grow a set, stand up on their hind legs, and tell the NRA and Moscow Mitch to stick it nothing of any consequence is going to happen. Sad  but true.

“We’re doing this quarter-million-dollar ad campaign to make sure we are a part of the conversation and policymakers know that the gun industry has been leading on this issue for some time,” an NSSF official told The Daily Beast. “We’re the ones who conceived of the instant background check system and are doing an average 38,000 of them every single day.”

The gun group will argue that nobody cares more than firearms manufacturers about keeping their products out of the wrong hands. It’s an argument that is likely to draw pointed criticism.

It’s been years since the NSSF launched an expensive campaign to shape the conversation about guns. In 2013, they funded a grassroots effort to oppose legislation from Sens. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin that would have expanded background checks (the bill did not become law). But besides spending to support candidates, they’ve been publicly quiet since then.

The ad buy highlights the fact that supporters of gun rights take seriously the upcoming congressional debate on firearms. Last week, The Daily Beast obtained a letter from a top NRA official saying the group moved its scheduled mid-September board meeting from Alaska to northern Virginia so its team could be close at hand during Congressional talks on guns. The letter predicted “a fight of historic proportions.”

We are hoping for the best but expecting the worse. AGAIN.

More BELOW the FOLD.

The Brilliance Of Elena Kagan…

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2019’s Rucho v. Common Cause was a painful setback for voting rights advocates. By a 5–4 vote, SCOTUS slammed the federal courthouse door on partisan gerrymandering claims, ruling that they cannot be brought under the U.S. Constitution. But Rucho had a silver lining in Justice Elena Kagan’s powerful dissent, which showed state judges how to kill off the practice under their own constitutions. Her dissent served as a blueprint for the North Carolina court that invalidated the state’s legislative gerrymander on Tuesday. That decision charts a path forward for opponents of political redistricting. Every state constitution protects the right to vote or participate equally in elections, and state courts can take up Kagan’s call to arms to enforce those protections under state law.

The brilliance of Kagan’s dissent lay in its clarity: She laid out the precise harms inflicted by partisan gerrymandering and explained how they can be measured and remedied. Kagan identified two distinct but intertwined constitutional violations: Warped maps “reduce the weight of certain citizens’ votes,” depriving them of the ability to participate equally in elections; they also punish voters for their political expression and association. These dual injuries, Kagan concluded, implicate fundamental principles of both equal protection and freedom of speech.

After castigating her conservative colleagues for minimizing these harms, Kagan illustrated the ease with which courts can address them. In his Rucho opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts insisted that federal courts were unable to determine when a partisan gerrymander goes “too far.” Kagan pointed out that, in fact, plenty of lower courts have already done exactly that. These courts deployed a three-part test. First, they ask whether mapmakers intended to entrench their party’s power by diluting votes for their opponents. Second, they ask whether the scheme succeeded. Third, they ask if mapmakers have any legitimate, nonpartisan explanation for their machinations. If they do not, the gerrymander must be tossed out.

“If you are a lawyer,” Kagan wrote, “you know that this test looks utterly ordinary. It is the sort of thing courts work with every day.” In practice, the most important part of the test—its evaluation of a gerrymander’s severity—often boils down to a cold, hard look at the data. Take, for instance, North Carolina’s congressional map, which contained 10 Republican seats and 3 Democratic ones. Experts ran 24,518 simulations of the map that used traditional, nonpartisan redistricting criteria. More than 99 percent of them produced at least one more Democratic seat. The exercise verified that North Carolina’s map isn’t just an outlier but “an out-out-out-outlier.”

Gerrymandering… how in a democratic republic a political party insures minority rule.