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Grayson calls on American public to ‘Unmask the Fed’

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Florida Democrat U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson wants Americans to help him block Congress from confirming the Chairman of the Federal Reserve to his second term unless he hands over documents relating to the bailouts of financial institutions, including the rescue of Bear Stearns.

In the “Unmask the Fed” campaign, Grayson calls on constituents to sign petitions demanding that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke “come clean” before senators re-confirm his appointment to the helm of the Federal Reserve.

Grayson wants access to the Bear Stearns rescue paperwork as well as the details of which financial institutions received $1.2 trillion in bailout money, how much each institution received, and what was promised in return.  He’s also seeking Fed documents that discuss the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch merger, transcripts of Open Market Meeting minutes, and the terms and conditions of Fed transactions not reflected in balance sheets from the past three years.

“[T]he Senate should know who got the $2 trillion the Federal Reserve has lent out over the last two years,” the petition reads.  “Only then will the Senate be able to judge whether he should keep his job.”

Grayson and Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul sent Sen. Chris Dodd, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, a letter last week asking him to postpone Bernanke’s re-confirmation hearings until the public has access to more information about the Federal Reserve.

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“Without such an understanding, it is impossible to know whether Chairman Bernanke is fit to serve another term and fulfill the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate to ensure price stability and full employment,” the letter to Dodd read.

It continued: “Today, big banks are being bailed out and have a substantially lower cost of capital through an implicit government backstop even as Americans themselves are seeing their pay cut.”

There are separate bills that would authorize an audit of the Federal Reserve that are picking up speed in both the House and the Senate, with bi-partisan support in both chambers. Paul sponsors the House version of that legislation, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is behind the Senate measure.

“The Federal Reserve has got to understand that this money does not belong to the Federal Reserve. It belongs to the American people,” Sanders told Raw Story in an email from his spokesman.  “As long as the Federal Reserve is allowed to keep the information on their loans secret, we will never know the true financial condition of the banking system.”


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‘Expect the worst’ as Trump doubles down on racist rhetoric to rile up his base: columnist

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In a column for the Daily Beast, commentator and Sirius radio host Dean Obeidallah claims that all signs point to Donald Trump doubling down on racist rhetoric in an effort to rally his base as his internal polling shows him losing the key states that propelled him to the White House.

As Trump officially launches his re-election bid in Orlando on Tuesday night, Obeidallah notes Trump is falling back on what helped him appeal to disgruntled white workers in the Midwest and that he will likely ramp up attacks on undocumented immigrants -- including official actions.

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2020 Election

Here’s why ‘electability’ is a sucker’s bet in the 2020 primaries

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Primary candidates fight hard to be seen as the person best positioned to beat an incumbent, but electability is only clear in hindsight.  It isn’t quantifiable. Voters may work backwards, concluding that the candidate they personally prefer is also the most likely to win.

It’s a perception often grounded in lazy conventional wisdom. CBS reports that in key 2020 battleground states, “the belief that [Joe Biden]] could fare best against President Trump is currently propelling [him] in the early Democratic nomination race.” That belief is common despite the fact that the former Vice President is well known for being overly handsy and putting his foot in his mouth, has previously run two notably bad presidential campaigns and has been dogged by accusations of plagiarism dating back to law school.

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2020 Election

‘It can be hacked’: Election experts already see red flags in the Democrats’ 2020 nomination process

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The Democratic National Committee may reverse course on its plans to increase participation in 2020 presidential caucus states by offering off-site voting options—starting with telephone voting in Iowa and possibly online voting in other states.

That prospect of a reversal, at least in the early nominating caucuses, stems from growing concerns in top party circles about protecting the “integrity of the process” in a post-2016 climate, said James Roosevelt III, co-chair of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee.

“It is entirely possible,” said Roosevelt. “The committee is going to be looking to be convinced that it will work. I think the committee is subject to competing pressures. One is to honor Iowa’s commitment to participatory democracy. And the other is to a heightened sensitivity that did not exist four or certainly eight years ago to the integrity of the process.”

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