Gleanings: July 20, 2016

  • LA Times mini-doc: Unaccompanied minor struggles for better life in LA
  • Ohio Supreme Court task force: AG should handle all cases of lethal force by police
  • WSJ: Failed promises of the American economy and the rise of Trump and Sanders
  • Vox: An alternative view of Trump’s rise
  • Federal Reserve: Evidence of illegal credit practices at Fifth Third

LA Times mini-doc: Unaccompanied minor struggles for better life

Gaspar Marcos is making the best of the hand he was dealt. This LA Times mini-doc follows the unaccompanied minor–an orphan at five–from Guatemala, over the course of his 19-hour day as he struggles to balance high school and work in a strange, new land.

“At first you must suffer but maybe, further along, I’ll have a better future, if God allows me to keep doing what I’m doing.”


Ohio Supreme Court task force: AG should handle all cases of lethal force by police

At a time when highly charged cases regarding police use of deadly force, especially against African-Americans, raise questions about the impartiality, fairness, and equality of the justice system, a state supreme court task force strongly recommends that exclusive authority to investigate and prosecute such cases be granted to the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

The task force contends that public confidence in the process would be increased because the OAG, unlike local prosecutors, is a step removed from local law enforcement.

Local prosecutors work cooperatively with local law enforcement to investigate criminal cases and rely on their testimony to prosecute them. When local police officers are charged with the death of a citizen, “the need to preserve public confidence is significantly heightened.” The public may reasonably question whether these same local prosecutors can be impartial and, if necessary, adequately adversarial in the context of a cooperative relationship with law enforcement.

To preserve the appearance of impartiality, judges must sometimes disqualify themselves. The Ohio code of judicial conduct provides that “a judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned …” (emphasis added).

The OAG currently has the statutory right to prosecute certain types of cases, but only after the local prosecutor fails to exercise the right of first refusal. The task force recommends that the Ohio legislature change state law to grant the OAG the exclusive authority to investigate and prosecute all instances in which police use lethal force.

WSJ: Failed promises of the American economy and the rise of Trump and Sanders

“The 2016 election is shaping up in large part as a referendum on an economic model that is widely seen as failing,” write Jon Hilsenrath and Bob Davis, staff writers for the Wall Street Journal, as part of a WSJ series entitled “The Great Unraveling.”

Donald Trump New Hampshire Town Hall on August 19th, 2015 at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH. Photo by Michael Vadon. Used under creative commons license.

The authors contend that the economy’s broken promises explain the rise of both Trump and Sanders. They claim, “Red states and blue states are being redefined along new lines: haves and have-nots.”

Technology, trade, and a wise central bank would fuel rising prosperity was the wisdom of 2000.

“After 2000, the economy would experience two recessions, a technology-bubble collapse followed by a housing boom, then the largest financial crisis in 75 years and a prolonged period of weak growth.”

Technology has not produced the promise of rising incomes and broadly shared prosperity, but instead it has reshaped the economy by sharply reducing jobs and adding to the pool of disillusioned workers. And the trend is expected to accelerate.

Trade with China has not produced a net positive impact on the economy as promised. The high-priests-of-free-trade economists failed to anticipate the scale of potential downsides and the effect on U.S. manufacturing.

“Between 1999 and 2011, work published this year found, China accounted for 2.4 million jobs lost, including manufacturing and service jobs,” according to Hilsenrath and Davis.

Moreover, as they report, the Federal Reserve failed to deliver the growth it expected, consistently undershot its own inflation objective, and “missed the buildup of financial excesses which caused the 2007-2009 financial crisis.”

Economists are re-evaluating their theories and recalibrating their models. Their rethinking “echoes the re-examination that occurred after the Great Depression.”

Vox: An alternative view of Trump’s rise

The deep dysfunction of the Republican party led to the rise of Trump, according to Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, and Thomas Mann, a senior fellow in governance studies at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution writing in Vox.

13343055_870134589786387_6370349190604478105_nA Trump candidacy, they argue, is the logical conclusion of 30 years of active efforts on the part of GOP leaders–starting with Newt Gingrich–to make all government look corrupt and illegitimate. The party evolved from a problem-solving center-right party into an obstructionist party intent on appeasing extreme forces inside and outside Congress.

In the end, “the Republican political establishment looked no less corrupt, weak, and illegitimate than the Democratic one, and the appeal of a rank outsider became greater.”

Ornstein and Mann first set out their thesis in an April 2012 Washington Post Sunday Outlook article: “The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier in American politics — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”


Federal Reserve: Evidence of illegal credit practices at Fifth Third

Fifth Third ’s compliance rating with the Community Reinvestment Act was downgraded from “satisfactory” to “needs to improve,” which is one step above “substantial noncompliance,” the Enquirer reported.

The Federal Reserve downgraded the Cincinnati-based bank based on “evidence of discriminatory and other illegal credit practices” during the period 2011 to 2013, citing “substantive violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Act, and the Fair Housing Act.”

“Fifth Third and Birmingham, Alabama-based Regions Bank are the only two U.S. banks with more than $100 billion in assets with such a low rating,” according to the Enquirer.

Bus2-Passenger-SideThe Enquirer quoted Fifth Third officials, who said the low rating stemmed from “legacy issues” that have already been corrected.

Congress passed the CRA in 1977 to reduce discriminatory credit practices against low-income neighborhoods, a practice known as redlining. “During the heyday of redlining, the areas most frequently discriminated against were black inner city neighborhoods.”