Richard Cordray:  Partisan politics or service to the people?


U.S. President Barack Obama nominates Richard Cordray a former attorney general of Ohio to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration adviser who is setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, listens during an announcement at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2011. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

If you thought president Barack Obama was a person the Republican party despised, you are correct.  Or, in addition to him, you may have noticed that Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren have also gotten in the craw of the party?   And, in Warren’s case, even Donald Trump takes great glee to call her out of her name.  If this is so, you may have missed the lad by the name of Richard Cordray who was selected the first official director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, after Warren set up the frame-work and subsequently trekked back to Massachusetts to reclaim Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat.

 

Cordray has caused much consternation for the Republicans.  You would think the remnants of the 2008 financial meltdown was only felt by those who claimed not to be Republicans (i.e., Democrats, Independents, Green Party, etc.)?  Cordray is the director of the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CFPB).  Created out of the Dodd-Frank legislation designed to offer consumer protection from banks and those in the financial industry, their mandate was simple.  Yet, many and particularly those who identify as Republican policy makers have gone to great measures to reduce the agency’s effectiveness and have been vocal that such protection is no longer needed.  It’s the same example, anything the other team did, especially if named Obama must be dismantled or vilified as ineffective.

Fret no more!  Today Richard Cordray announced he is stepping down from the CFPB and plans to leave by the end of this month.  He has done a remarkable job to “steady the ship” in some very turbulent political waters.  His eyes are laser-focused on moving back to Ohio and to throw his name in the hat for the run of the Governor’s race.

“The new director of the CFPB must be someone with a track record of protecting consumers and holding financial firms responsible when they cheat people. This is no place for another Trump-appointed industry hack.”   Elizabeth Warren

Since the director of the CFPB is an appointed position, it will be interesting who the Trump administration appoints or even if they feel bold enough to try to eliminate the agency altogether?    It’s one thing to be partisan, as if there is only one way to do things, it’s another to use government as a tool to protect the people and that is all of the people, especially those who are not in your party.

Review: Roman J. Israel, esq – Symposium & Discussion


Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a dramatic thriller set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Denzel Washington stars as a driven, idealistic defense attorney whose life is upended when a turbulent series of events challenge the activism that has defined his career. Colin Farrell costars as the ambitious, monied lawyer who recruits Roman to his firm.

[Leimert Park, CA]  Known as the cultural heartbeat of the African-American community Leimert Park was full of energy as SONY Pictures, the African-American Film Critics Association and the Urban Issues Forum hosted a symposium and discussion on the upcoming movie Roman J. Israel, esg.  Last night a standing room only crowd squeezed in the iconic Regency West supper club to hear first hand why this movie is a must-see.

“You have lots of great civil rights attorney’s but they are not the same as civil rights activist.”  Jasmyne Cannick.

Led by AAFCA president Gil Robertson the panel was allowed to stretch out and gave great examples of current day activism in Los Angeles.  The panelists were social critic and political commentator Jasmyne Cannick;  the film’s director and producer Dan Gilroy; Professor of African-American studies and noted historian of activism in Los Angeles, Dr. Anthony Samad and noted community activist attorney Nana Gyamfi.

Asked about what motivated him to create the film, director Gilroy stated he is a “child of the 60’s” who grew up in a very liberal-minded family.  He noted the impact of the civil rights movement and how he came to appreciate the activist attorney’s who worked during that period even up until now.  “The issues never stop,” mentioned Gilroy.  He spoke how the character portrayed in the movie had a unique personality and once he showed the screen play to lead actor Denzel Washington the rest is history.  Washington played a critical role in developing the film and once the movie “Fences” was completed he gave his full energy in helping Gilroy bring the movie to the big screen.  Screening is set with a special engagement on November 17th in Los Angeles and New York.

The film is set in Los Angeles during the ’70’s and is one you will enjoy.  Coincidently, coming out of the civil rights movement many students moving on to college were motivated to study law.  A good crop were led to become proficient as “people’s law” attorney’s with the aspiration to bring justice to all of those who were underserved or victims of the criminal justice system.  Like the movie character Israel, they weren’t the most flashy in appearance but were extraordinary in understanding the law and how it could benefit the clients who sought them out.  Israel’s character also reminds you of the work such as James Bell who has built a stellar legal career dealing with the injustices of youth.

Review: Ta-Nehisi Coates “We Were Eight Years in Power – An American Tragedy”


Ta-Nehisi Coates “We Were Eight Years in Power – An American Tragedy” is a must read for those who desire to stay informed in our current environment.

CLICK PHOTO ABOVE TO VIEW ENTIRE VIDEO.  (L-R), Ta-Nehisi Coates, author and national correspondent for The Atlantic, and moderator Michele Norris, freelance journalist and author, participate in The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC hosted “A Conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates: We Were Eight Years in Power”, on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto)

We Were Eight Years in Power” showcases Coates’ voice who is a Gen X’r but offers credible perspectives as seen through the African-American lens, or at least from those such as his. The book weaves eight essays and demonstrates a new thought of how our world is changing. The notion of Barack Obama running for president, let alone thinking he could get elected seemed like a lark, if not an impossible reality to so many. Yet, people like Coates and later generations such as millennial’s write with pride as Obama defied the odds to become President and successfully completed two terms. Starting as a Blogger, Coates joined the team at the Atlantic and in a short period has taken off.

The content of the book takes you on a journey of historic reality. Some may be troubled from how Coates portrays racism and how it has shaped our culture. He admits there has been progress but while so many dismiss the gains as we are “so better off,” his point is to remind you of the vestiges created from the notion of using race as a benchmark.

Regardless of whether you agree with some of Coates perspectives or not, the book is chalk-full of personal examples and other documented facts which allow you to better appreciate his writing style. He is unapologetic and reminds you how African-American’s have risen to tremendous levels of success, despite the barriers of how life is conducted in the United States.

Through his credibility as a journalist/writer he was given the opportunity to be in the company of Barack Obama. The first meeting morphed into a relationship where then president Obama invited him to the White House for more robust discussion centered around race and progress. Coates writes how much he treasured the invite and subsequent relationship.

The chapter “My President is Black” came from an essay which received international acclaim. Despite your feelings of Barack Obama, Coates allows you to better understand the rise and how he and first lady Michelle took the notion of being the first African-American president with pride and conducted themselves impeccably.

As this review is being written, Coates is concluding his book tour. Also, the recent elections of November 7, 2017 which brought a solid rebuke to Donald Trump, his politics and the rhetoric he spews is a point Coates makes, still in disbelief the voting public elected him as the 45th president is very interesting. The book references this point with a unique twist. Coates brings it home by helping the reader understand the dilemma and pressures Obama had to contend while, while Trump with just the reality of being a “white man” desiring to be president never had to deal with the continuousness. His primary issue was brought on by his own actions, not from systemic racism.

Coates admits not trying to be a “voice” for people or causes, but through his writing and how he has penned this book you quickly are thought to elevate him to a credible voice, which will be prominent for years to come.

The book which is a tad under 400 pages is a quick read. The good news is each chapter is its own separate essay and does a very good job of referencing how Coates saw things during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. It is a worthy investment for your library, especially if part of your frequent communication is on politics and race, and you truly desire a different perspective.

New Travel to Cuba Guidelines Announced


[Washington, D.C.] Updated regulations for U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba to be effective Thursday, November 9, 2017

** It is important to note that those who have already made legitimate travel arrangements prior to November 9th, and fall within the categories of travel will not be negatively impacted by the updated regulations.

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to implement the National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM), “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba,” signed by the President on June 16, 2017. These amendments implement changes to the authorizations for travel to Cuba and related transactions and restrict certain financial transactions. These
amendments also implement certain technical and conforming changes.

 

Click here for the FAQ’s on the updated guidelines.

Part of the irritation for many who applauded the Obama administration’s common sense approach of offering hope in establishing communication with Cuba, is to see Donald Trump and his administration hell-bent on trying to dismantle anything viewed positively by Obama, with very little regard to the desires of the american people.

“I think overall it’s certainly a step backwards.  It’s bad for U.S. companies. It’s bad for U.S. travelers.” Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel

Janet Yellen:  time to move on


Today, Donald Trump appointed Jerome Powell as the next chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system (Fed) replacing Janet Yellen.  The announcement was expected as Powell must now prepare himself to go through the gauntlet called confirmation.  Since he is already part of the board there should be no surprises and he is expected to be in place when Yellen’s term ends in February.

“I congratulate my colleague Jay Powell on his nomination to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Jay’s long and distinguished career has been marked by dedicated public service and seriousness of purpose. I am confident in his deep commitment to carrying out the vital public mission of the Federal Reserve. I am committed to working with him to ensure a smooth transition.” Janet Yellen, 11/2/17

 

Yellen was appointed as chair by President Barack Obama in 2014 and her term officially ends February 3, 2018.

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Prior to taking over the chair’s functions she was second in command under then Fed chair Ben Bernanke.   Many in the financial sector applaud her tenure as being a steady force in guiding the United States monetary policy.  Even though the position is supposed to be non-partisan, her primary criticism came from those on the opposite side of President Obama who took fault with anything and everything he proposed.  Yet, like most things history has the final say and the economy is in much better shape as she exits – stage left!

Not fake news

Her critics and several others have short memories or blatant amnesia as they forget about a decade ago, the United States economic condition was becoming quite perilous and eventually exploded in 2008 resulting in hardships for millions of citizens and people around the globe.  It was through focus and commitment that Bernanke and his team as well as the leadership of President Obama who accepted the daunting task of stabilizing the markets.  The rest is history and the residual effect is an economy which has regained its footing, including a stock market which has grown to unprecedented levels.

Fed rate remains unchanged

Yesterday the Fed’s Monetary Committee met and decided to maintain the fed discount rate, although it is still projected to increase before the end of the year.  The concern conveyed by members was acknowledgment the economy is moving is a positive direction.

As Yellen is preparing to move on the one concern being voiced is the GOP’s proposed tax reform bill.  Monetary policy is a methodical process and it takes extreme discipline to not allow partisan politics to be the guiding force to ensure normalization.

 

“That task could be complicated  by the GOP plan to inject huge stimulus into an already-healthy economy. Doing so may force the Fed to more aggressively raise rates to prevent the economy from overheating. “

Donald Trump:  George Papadopoulos who?


“You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

George Papadopoulos v united states

Donald Trump portrays himself as a prolific successful business person.  He is known by his bombasity, arrogance, bullying and otherwise keen on convincing anyone who comes in contact with him that his faults are few, if any.   He has claimed to only associating with the smartest people, going to the best schools, having the best luck, on and on.  Those who support him maintain he is simply misunderstood and his gift is what this country needs to move forward.  Those who do not support him, can’t understand why the supporters can’t see the obvious?

 

While many pleaded for caution as he announced his run for the presidency, there were more who grew frustrated with government and the politicians who operated within it.  Thus, as Trump ran a Boston on the field of candidates of the GOP primary, the result was successfully high-jacking the party by becoming their leader.  His personality convinced more than a handful of voters that he would provide the type of leadership they were desperate for.  His bottom line proclamation to his supporters was it was now or never!  The rest is history.

Sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut!

Another interesting thing about Donald Trump is his boastful remarks.  Unfortunately words do matter and in his case they have proven to be a thorn in his side.  Yet, he talks and tweets as if in some type of robotic craze, then gets upset when people challenge the very remarks which came from him.

You may recall during the presidential campaign of 2016, Trump boasted with great gravitas how the professional politicians; particularly Hillary Clinton operated with an army of staff?  The contrast that he offered was that his team consisted of a fraction of his opponents.  He promised he knew what he was doing and when questioned on the number of staff operating his campaign, he boasted one of his favorite phrases, “trust me!”

 

Can he be a great guy and a liar at the same time?

 

This brings us to the Papadopoulos connection.        Some have intimated the entire Russia issue would be a non-issue, if not for Donald Trump commenting about it during the campaign.  There is no crime in meeting with Russia.  The problem Trump finds himself in is because he professed a blanket denial of having ANY connection!  How hard would it have been just to say, “sure, I have connections……? what’s the big deal?”

 

During the course of the past eighteen months, Trump and his supporters have insisted the entire Russia issue is ridiculous and only used as a disguise to block him from successfully executing his agenda.  Despite evidence to the contrary, Trump has dispensed an army of supporters who frequent the media airwaves with the core objective to dismiss the entire issue as nonsense.  In reviewing some of their comments you feel as if they have taken a “blood oath” in promising never to agree to obvious contradictions, especially when the topic is Trump and his actions.

 

The sin of arrogance

One part of an arrogant personality is attempting to exude confidence and projecting knowing more than most.  It is nothing wrong with this trait, as long as it is truth.  It becomes a big problem when it is clear the person is being dishonest and merely speaking to speak, as if the sound of their voice will overwhelm any common sense.

 

Part of Trump’s behavior is never admitting “you don’t know” as perhaps in his mind that shows a sign of weakness?  The irony is it is absolutely nothing wrong to state “you don’t know, if in fact you don’t know,” especially if asked a question.

The Washington Post Editorial Board Meeting

It was March 2016 and Trump’s popularity was steamrolling through the nation.  He met with the Washington Post editorial board and for some bizarre reason belted out the name of George Papadopoulos.  As a matter of fact, if you are even concerned, go back and listen to the audio and you will conclude he hesitated when the question was posed, yet felt he had to provide something so among other names Papadopoulos was mentioned as a key part of Trump’s team.  The words came from Trump’s mouth.

The transcript of the interview shows Post Publisher Fred Ryan Jr. saying to Trump, “We’ve heard you’re going to be announcing your foreign policy team shortly. … Any you can share with us?”
Trump responds in part, “Well, I hadn’t thought of doing it, but if you want I can give you some of the names … Walid Phares, who you probably know, Ph.D., adviser to the House of Representatives caucus, and counter-terrorism expert; Carter Page, Ph.D; George Papadopoulos, he’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy; the Honorable Joe Schmitz, [former] inspector general at the Department of Defense; [retired] Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg; and I have quite a few more.”

Yet, now that the Mueller probe has finally started unleashing names of those accused of wrongdoing, Trump has insisted Papadopoulos is a nobody.  He has insisted he didn’t know who in the hell Papadopoulos is, yet can’t explain why he volunteered his name to the Washington Post in the first place!.

The October 31st tweet

Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump

More

….came to the campaign. Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar. Check the DEMS!

 

What do Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Bagdad Bob have in common?

When the Papadopoulos news broke Trump demanded Sarah Huckabee Sanders face the press and insist not only was Papadopoulos a nobody and a liar but that his involvement had nothing to do with the Trump campaign?


Some of you may remember the infamous Bagdad Bob who swore Iraq was not being attacked – despite the obvious

Unfortunately, however you try to slice it, the facts are Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to his behavior and the indictment highlights more than enough information for a reasonable person to conclude indeed his actions were at the heart of the campaign and specifically dealt with an attempt to connect it with Russia.  Of course, those who are not happy of Mueller’s indictment of Papadopoulos are very quick to offer the red-herring about Hillary Clinton and the uranium deal, or for allegedly paying for the Trump dossier, or anything which will divert your attention to the real issue; the serious indictment of Papadopoulos.

 

Papadopoulos presents a problem.  While he may in fact was just a motely volunteer, his overzealousness caught the attention of leadership within the campaign.  As the fledgling team bragged their frugal operation at the same time they embraced Papadopoulos and what he had to offer.  Interestingly many of them are perhaps a bit fidgety, thus who knows how many will have federal marshals’ contacting them.  Only time will tell what the impact will conclude and whether Donald Trump and his supporters will come to accept what most others already know; his campaign sought support from the Russians.

This week’s news could result what some have insisted – the entire Mueller investigation is a big “NOTHING BURGER.”  At the opposite end of the spectrum, social media has already projected a different conclusion in this “Russia with Love” clip.