Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Thu, Nov. 21

Column: Mistakes, there and here

Alternet piece that pulls the Britain story together.

The Telegraph source reporting on British intelligence.

British government statement about ISIS fighters from Britain.

Regulation rollback review by the firm of Davis, Polk, and Wardwell, LLP (pdf).

While trouble Trumples along, serious problems need attending. Two items.

First, it’s been reported the Brits may have set themselves up for some of the terrorism there. The coverage has come from multiple sources, with at least parts of it corroborated by The Telegraph UK and official British announcements. A few years back when British leadership were hoping to see the fall of Gaddafi in Libya, their intelligence service allowed radical leaders in Britain to work unhindered as they recruited hundreds of young men to go join groups fighting Gaddafi. Later they did the same with recruits fighting Assad in Syria. Then, many of these trained, hardened men returned to Britain. They were fighting Gaddafi or Assad but they were in groups that were radicalized against the West. In fact, one of the radical leaders in Britain recruited 500 fighters specifically to join ISIS to fight Gaddafi and Assad.

This fits the pattern of the U.S. and Britain playing intelligence games, war games, Middle East games, and having it come back to bite us. Our security concerns don’t need to focus on the refugees escaping from all of this, but on the trouble we stir up for ourselves.

Second, while Comey was testifying, the House GOP voted to roll back a lot of your financial protection. Democrats in the Senate will block it, but the Republicans in the House voted to:

  • Allowed banks to again mix their high-risk, investing-for-themselves

side with their small-account-holder, supposed-to-play-it-safe side.

  • Legalize investment advisers to steer retirees to investments that are not in their best interests but generate commissions for the advisers.
  • End the plan for orderly wind-down of big, failing, financial institutions, and to put tax payers back on the hook for crisis bailouts. Yes, the exact opposite of what they’re claiming. The existing plan has banks pay into a bailout fund, and if the government has to step in and add more, then they can go after the banks later to recover it. This ends all of that.
  • Hobbled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Again allow companies to use forced arbitration. It prevents groups of consumers or employees who’ve been harmed from being able to sue. A little progress had been made on limiting arbitration. The House vote would let companies use it without limit, hiding behind this gutting of legal recourse.
  • Allow entities that have a big impact on finance, but which aren’t banks, to go back to being unregulated. One of the big factors that led to the crash.
  • Force the Federal Reserve to decide rates in ways that are worse for employment and better for big investors. It would force them to use a formula rather than their best judgment, and the formula would lean more toward being a damper on employment at times when the Fed still thinks it needs boosting.
  • Let banks off the hook on mortgages. Mortgages now have to be partly retained by the bank to keep them on the hook for whether it’s good. The vote ends that for a big class of mortgages.
  • Create rules to hamstring enforcement of SEC regulation of banks.

A summary by a law firm heavily used by U.S. corporations is linked online. The country is fortunate this will get blocked in the Senate.

Tom Cantlon is a local business owner and writer and can be reached at comments at tomcantlon dot com.

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