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Obama urges Senate action on controversial finance reforms

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US President Barack Obama on Saturday urged senators to grant the Federal Reserve a dramatic expansion of its regulatory powers and to establish a new consumer protection committee to help safeguard Americans from Wall Street’s excesses.

“These reforms are essential,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.

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“As I’ve urged over the past year, we need common-sense rules that will allow our markets to function fairly and freely while reining in the worst practices of the financial industry.”

On Monday, the Senate banking committee will debate a proposal by Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd that is designed to halt what he sees as abuse and excess by financial firms.

Dodd’s bill would empower the Federal Reserve to conduct oversight across the financial sector, putting insurance companies and even smaller lenders under their sway.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has disclosed in public that with the bank’s expanded framework, it assumes the coming elimination of “minimum reserve requirements” for banking institutions.

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Unhinging banks from even basic deposit standards would essentially create a class above the daily requirements of capitalism, resting atop a pool of funds with infinite depth, removing the need for what’s currently known as “fractional reserve banking.”

Such a system is described by Investopedia as such: “A banking system in which only a fraction of bank deposits are backed by actual cash-on-hand and are available for withdrawal. This is done to expand the economy by freeing up capital that can be loaned out to other parties. Most countries operate under this type of system.”

Only a few other nations have removed their reserve requirements, including Mexico, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

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The bill also proposes greater scrutiny of large financial firms; oversight over the sales of complicated financial products such as derivatives; and measures to prevent banks from engaging in risky dealings through their own hedge funds.

Additionally, it would give shareholders inside companies a say in determining executive salaries and bonuses.

And the bill proposes to set up a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to prevent predatory loan practices and other abuses.

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The House of Representatives has already passed a similar reform proposal. A key difference is that Dodd’s reform bill excludes a popular House measure promoted by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), which would command the Government Accountability Office to audit the Federal Reserve. A majority of Paul’s peers backed the proposal, but it is currently idle in the Senate.

“I urge those in the Senate who support these reforms to remain strong, to resist the pressure from those who would preserve the status quo, to stand up for their constituents and our country,” Obama said in his address.

“And I promise to use every tool at my disposal to see these reforms enacted: to ensure that the bill I sign into law reflects not the special interests of Wall Street, but the best interests of the American people.”

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Dodd’s plan to expand the Fed’s powers has been heavily criticized by financial journalists for the bank’s failure to prevent prior crises, such as the 2008 financial collapse.

“[The] Federal Reserve had regulators in place inside of Lehman Brothers following the collapse of Bear Stearns,” Forbes writer John Carney noted, mocking Dodd’s plan as “incredibly stupid.”

“These in-house regulators did not realize that Lehman’s management was rebuking market demands for reduced risk and covering up its rebuke with accounting sleight-of-hand. When Lehman actually came looking for a bailout, officials were reportedly surprised at how bad things were at the firm. A similar situation unfolded at Merrill Lynch. The regulators proved inadequate to the task.”

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This video was published to the Internet by the White House on March 20, 2010.

With AFP.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘What could possibly go wrong?’ MSNBC panel laughs at Trump stupidity on dropping a bomb to stop hurricanes

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An MSNBC panel couldn't help but laugh and joke at the news that President Donald Trump asked if hurricanes could be stopped with a nuclear bomb.

The incident reportedly took place after multiple hurricanes hit the U.S. numerous times. Axios reporter Jonathan Swan told MSNBC Sunday that scientists did research the question in 1961, but the conspiracy has persisted and that there is a factsheet dispelling the myth on the National Geographic's website.

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Robbery sends shoppers at California Westfield Topanga Mall fleeing in panic of possible mass shooting

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Americans are running scared as mass shootings erupt all over the United States. The Los Angeles police are responding to a possible shooting that hasn't been verified. Local news reports that it could have been a robbery, but it was enough to send patrons into sheltering in place at the Westfield Topanga Mall. The mall is in a northwestern suburb of Los Angeles and to the east of Thousand Oaks.

ABC7 News reported that it was an organized group of robbers who tried to do a "Smash and grab" at a Neiman Marcus store in Canoga Park.

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Trump told his administration to check if he can stop hurricanes with a nuclear bomb

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President Donald Trump's lack of knowledge about science prompted another embarrassing moment when the U.S. president said that we should simply "nuke hurricanes" to solve the problem.

Another hurricane is headed toward Puerto Rico this week. The island is still recovering from being hit twice in 2017. Trump's solution, however, wasn't entirely thought out, however, Axios reported Sunday.

"I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?" Trump said during a hurricane briefing at the White House, sources said. "They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane, and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?"

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