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05/06/14 Black News , Black Politics , ybw #

Blacks With Weak Credit 50% More Likely to Have Mortgage Applications Rejected Than White Peers

Blacks With Weak Credit 50% More Likely to Have Mortgage Applications Rejected Than White Peers

In a credit market driven by pure numbers, the outcomes should reflect the credit scores. However, as Vox discovered, new data seems to show that while blacks are punished by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for having poor credit, whites are far more likely to be given the benefit of the doubt.

When looking at rates of home mortgage denials, it is clear that the most likely people to be given a mortgage among all demographics are those with strong credit. But among “weak applicants only”, it appears that blacks are 50 percent more likely to be rejected than their white counterparts.

This data was published by the Metro Trends blog and seems to point to a disturbing discriminatory trend. Here’s how they run down the data:

By race and ethnicity, in 2012, at least 40 percent of all African American applicants, 27 percent of Hispanic, 14 percent of white and 15 percent of Asian applicants were denied GSE loans. Yet of low credit profile applicants, at least 75 percent of African American applicants were denied GSE loans, 67 percent of Hispanic, 50 percent of white and 55 percent of Asian. In 2001 (a pre-bubble year), at least 37 percent of African Americans were denied GSE loans, as were 25 percent of Hispanics, 15 percent of whites and 11 percent of Asians. But if we narrow down to applicants of GSE loans with weaker credit profiles, these denial rates jump to at least 56 percent, 49 percent, 42 percent and 35 percent.

And here’s the chart:

mortgage denial chart

 

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02/06/14 Black News , Black Politics , featured , ybw #

Revealed: How the CBC Leverages Blackness to Work as a Tool for Wall Street

Revealed: How the CBC Leverages Blackness to Work as a Tool for Wall Street

congressional-black-caucus

by Yvette Carnell

For years in many black political circles, there has been an ongoing discussion over the need for a firm that lobbies on behalf of black interests. As it turns out, however, the Congressional Black Caucus has been producing effective lobbyists for decades, it’s just that they’re lobbying against the interest of black people instead of in favor of those interests.

A bombshell Huffington Post report published last week details the sheer cravenness and hypocrisy of many CBC members. As the report thoroughly lays out, even though Wall St. systematically targets African-Americans with its mortgage fraud schemes, members of the CBC have been actively doing Wall Street’s bidding, even working to upend legislation intended to rein in the worst offenses of the greediest banks.

From the Huffington Post:

The GOP isn’t shy about its antipathy to government regulations, and a pro-business coalition known as the New Democrats has come to its aid. But there is also a third, lesser-known faction: the Congressional Black Caucus. Moore, along with colleagues such as New York’s Gregory Meeks, Georgia’s David Scott, Missouri’s Lacy Clay and Alabama’s Terri Sewell, has pushed for a host of seemingly arcane measures that would undermine Dodd-Frank’s rules on financial derivatives, the complex contracts at the heart of the 2008 meltdown. She is the co-sponsor of multiple measures that would once again allow Wall Street to shift its riskiest transactions out of the view of regulators.

The report details how a group of former CBC staffers turned lobbyists formed an informal group called the Washington Government Relations Group. Instead of the group using its formidable political knowledge to further the interests of black people, they chose instead to use their talent and connections to lobby the CBC on behalf of Wall Street. The lobbying industry even has a term for these black lobbyists: CBC specialists.

Since the CBC tends to vote as a bloc, and, as CBC head Marcia Fudge admits, most of them don’t know much about financial services law and usually defer to CBC members on the financial services panel, the CBC is an easy mark for sophisticated lobbyists. It’s also easy because, as HuffPost notes, white lawmakers aren’t quick to criticize the CBC. A lobbyist explained to HuffPost how it works:

“We go right to the CBC because they are open-minded and they often vote as a bloc,” he says, asking for anonymity because he frequently relies on CBC members for support on deregulation bills. “And the professional left is scared of them. Every white liberal — media, politician, advocacy group — knows better than f*cking with a CBC member.”

Since joining forces with Wall Street, several CBC members have been siding with Republicans on financial issues and having a devastating impact on financial reform:

In February 2013, Moore and Fudge joined three Republicans to introduce HR 677, a bill that would allow corporate conglomerates to trade derivatives among their myriad subsidiaries without following Dodd-Frank’s trading rules. The bill infuriated financial reform watchdogs, who say it makes it much harder for regulators to see risks accumulating in the system and could facilitate international tax-dodging. Moore’s measure probably won’t ever get a vote on the House floor, but it doesn’t need to. After proposing a relatively robust rule on the topic, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission switched course last year and finalized a regulation that adheres closely to Moore’s language.

Members of the CBC have also been sneekily sending letters to regulators “championing” the rights of Wall St. banks. Of course, when these same CBC members give press conferences championing social justice, they don’t mention that they themselves are already in the pockets of Wall St. That doesn’t sell well when you’re on MSNBC or the Tom Joyner Show.

In another example, CBC members waged war against the Volcker rule in 2012, a rule popular among mainstream and left of center liberals that “bans banks that receive taxpayer perks from making speculative trades for their own accounts.” Meeks, Scott, Sewell, and Clay were all onboard with killing the rule. Moore, who has also been a key member in supporting the banking industry, has a chief of staff who is onboard with the financial services lobby as well as a former staffer who is in the pocket of the industry as well.

At one point, Rep. Maxine Waters reportedly had a contentious argument with Rep. Alcee Hastings over his selling out to big money interests. During the disagreement, Hastings allegedly admitted he’d sold out, just for a higher price than Waters implied:

What was more embarrassing than selling out, Waters told her assembled colleagues, was selling out cheap to nickel-and-dime scammers like the for-profit college industry. If you’re going to sell your soul, she admonished, have some self-respect and sell high. (Hastings didn’t dispute the conflict, but he did dispute Waters’ point. “It would be a mistaken premise,” he says, smiling. “There are a hell of a lot of for-profit schools.”)

Regarding financial reform, Waters has been fighting for the soul of the CBC.

“It’s critically important that we understand the significance of that reform, that we send the message that we’re about protecting our taxpayers and investors, ” said Waters.

Waters may be in for the fight of her life.

 

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29/05/14 Black News , Black Politics , featured , ybw #

Obama’s Success Doesn’t Mirror Drastic Decline Among Top Black Lawyers

Obama’s Success Doesn’t Mirror Drastic Decline Among Top Black Lawyers

black lawyer

During President Obama’s ascent to the presidency, many middle and upper class black Americans viewed his rise as a reflection of themselves. But although Obama, a Harvard law school grad, was successful at getting elected to two terms, top black attorneys are witnessing one of the most dramatic declines in history.

The New York Times reported that the number of black lawyers at top firms has declined:

Black lawyers accounted for 3 percent of lawyers at big firms last year, a percentage that has declined in each of the last five years. And the proportion of black partners at such law firms remained stagnant at 1.9 percent during the same period, according to the 2013 diversity scorecard published in the June issue of The American Lawyer.

What is most disturbing, though, is that there’s not a decline among all minorities, just African-Americans:

In contrast, other minorities are claiming a larger presence in the big legal firms, with Asian-Americans taking the biggest share of positions and Hispanics the next largest share, surpassing blacks for the first time. The findings were based on figures provided by 223 large law firms.

According to the Times, this decline among top black lawyers is a result of the recession: “The percentage of black partners, whose ranks doubled from 1995 to 2008, fell to 1.9 percent in 2009 and has remained there.”

While black lawyers account for only 1.9 percent of attorneys at top firms, Asian-American lawyers accounted for 6.3 percent and Hispanics accounted for 3.2 percent.

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28/05/14 Black News , Black Politics , ybw #

Heisman Trophy Winner Herschel Walker Endorses Georgia Republican for U.S. Senate

Heisman Trophy Winner Herschel Walker Endorses Georgia Republican for U.S. Senate

Herschel Walker.jpg

Georgia’s U.S. Senate election is one of the most watched in the country, namely because this is one of the few opportunities in recent memory for the solidly red state to send a Democrat to U.S. Senate.

Although Michelle Nunn easily won the Democratic primary, the Republican primary was a much tighter race. A run off is scheduled between Congressman Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue. Prior to the election, however, Kingston got a little help from Heisman trophy winner Herschel Walker, who was featured in an ad praising Kingston.

“That’s why I want my friend, Jack Kingston, carrying the ball for us in Washington,” said Walker, adding, “He’s one of us.”

Currently Kingston is leading Perdue by 12 points, according to a PPP poll. Kingston is tied with Nunn at 45 percent whereas Perdue trails Nunn by two points.

It would seem that populist conservatives are leaning toward Kingston.

“After all these years of knowing and liking Jack Kingston, I’ll have the pleasure of voting for him,” conservative pundit Eric Erickson gushed.

Kingston also recently received an endorsement from third place finisher Karen Handel.

“We need our new U.S. senator to be a person who is extremely knowledgeable about the complicated issues Congress faces every day,” Handel said in a statement. “We need a consistent conservative who brings the experience to be an effective member of the Senate from Day One.”

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25/05/14 Black News , Black Politics , ybw #

On Memorial Day, Let’s Remember the Only Congressperson Who Stood Against Bush’s Illegal War

On Memorial Day, Let’s Remember the Only Congressperson Who Stood Against Bush’s Illegal War

Barbara Lee.jpg

As Jeremy Scahill painstakingly details in his book Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield, prior to September 11th, the Bush administration was headed in a similar direction as the Clinton administration with regard to covert assassinations. The CIA’s head at the time, George Tenet, had qualms about using drones for assassinations; who would pull the trigger? Were Americans even comfortable with such a program?

Even though Vice President Cheney and other neocons, like Paul Wolfowitz, were working behind the scenes, as they had been for years, to rid the executive agency from having to report to any agency or  branch of government, the opportunity to enact sweeping changes didn’t come until after the September 11th attack.

Only days after the terrorist attack, the Bush administration proposed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AMF), giving Bush sweeping authority to go after those who’d been behind the terrorist attacks.

Over the decade preceding the terrorist attack, a strict process had been put in place to oversee covert operations, and the Constitution gave power to declare war to the Congress. But the AMF changed all that, giving Bush the “latitude to wage a global war.”

As is common for American politicians, most of them tucked their tails when faced with the shredding of the Constitution and sang “God Bless America” outside of the U.S. Capitol. Only  Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) stood against this radical overreach of the executive branch.

While her other CBC members looked on in knee buckling fear, Lee stood alone against the Bush administration and every other member of Congress. On this Memorial Day, she should be remembered for the courage she showed at that moment.

Watch the speech where Lee, on the House floor, explained her opposition to the bill:

 

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