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The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the largest residential fair-lending settlement in history, saying that Bank of America had agreed to pay $335 million to settle allegations that its Countrywide Financial unit discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers during the housing boom.
A department investigation concluded that Countrywide loan officers and brokers charged higher fees and rates to more than 200,000 minority borrowers across the country than to white borrowers who posed the same credit risk. Countrywide also steered more than 10,000 minority borrowers into costly subprime mortgages when white borrowers with similar credit profiles received regular loans, it found.
In the case of Countrywide, the racial discrimination was systemic....simply part of the business plan. I suppose the justification for the discrimination was simple greed.....and the fact that the mortgage company COULD discriminate widely in a highly deregulated industry.
When Countrywide was given a pile of mortgage applications with white and minority applicants, applicants with the same credit risk....the lender purposely chose black and Hispanic applicants for "costly subprime mortgages" while whites were steered into less costly "regular loans".
Instead of anyone going to prison from Countrywide.....for conspiratorial discrimination crimes....the new owner, Bank of America, simply pays a cost-of-doing-criminal-business fine without admitting any wrongdoing. Equal justice for all....I think that's called.
A new South Carolina voter identification law is impacting predominantly black precincts more than others in the state, according to a study by The Associated Press.
The AP found that many voters in predominantly black counties in South Carolina do not have proper identification — and the percentage of minority voters without the required identification is higher in those areas than other precincts statewide.
For example, in Richland County, there are 11,087 nonwhite voters without ID, and in Orangeburg County, there are 4,544. The AP study said that means half of those impacted in Richland are nonwhite voters. In Orangeburg, that equals 73 percent of nonwhite voters hit by the law.
Birtherism, writ large....or the 21st century version of the poll tax, you decide...
Thirty-three states have considered adding or strengthening voter identification requirements this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The new South Carolina law will disenfranchise thousands of state citizens who don't drive and have no means of obtaining a birth certificate, said Victoria Middleton, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina.
Many on the far right claim that America has moved beyond racial discrimination against minorities. In fact, these same conservatives often tout the New Haven, Connecticut firefighter case from the Roberts Supreme Court a couple of years ago where the city of New Haven was actually found guilty of reverse discrimination against white firefighters seeking promotions. Many conservatives concluded from that case that racial discrimination against blacks is basically over...and if anything, whites are the ones now being discriminated against.
To hear conservatives, one would think that what's happened since 1965 is that the discrimination tables have been turned 180 degrees. Now, conservatives intimate, whites are the discriminated-against group and it is minorities and liberals who are doing the discriminating against whites....I guess, because liberals and minorities hate whites, or America, or both....and desire to see their country destroyed.
However, as the two recent stories above demonstrate.....racism against minorities is alive and well in America. What's more, as seen in the Countrywide sewer...and in the GOP's minority voter disenfranchisement conspiracy....institutionalized forms of modern racism are all around us.
Republicans, conservatives....do not like being accused of racism. I get that. And yet, like in the voter disenfranchisement conspiracy in some 33 states, when conservatives are confronted with material like the AP's South Carolina study they most often respond by defending voter ID laws. Conservative credibility, naturally, is diminished because Americans understand that for all intents and purposes....voter fraud in the U.S. is non-existent.
But it could exist, you know, sometime.....conservatives respond. Which is like saying that we need to build a space shield around the globe to prevent aliens from attacking us. You know, it could happen.
Perhaps there are those who, in spite of the seemingly obvious evidence, still do not think racism has anything to do with voter ID and voter suppression efforts by Republican-controlled states. The following information from Politico should clear up the issue....
Early voting: U.S. elections are traditionally held on Tuesdays — an obstacle for many low-income working people, few of whom are given time off to vote. So 33 states and the District of Columbia now allow early voting — including on Saturday and Sunday. Many Americans, particularly minorities, have taken advantage of this.
In 2008, for example, black voters accounted for 13 percent of the total turnout but for 22 percent of the early votes and 31 percent of Sunday voters. Latinos were 7.4 percent overall — but 22 percent of the final-Sunday voters.
In North Carolina, which Obama won narrowly in 2008, more than half of the African-American vote was cast early, compared with 40 percent of the white vote. This pattern was repeated in 2010.
But it won’t be in 2012. GOP state legislatures in Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia have cut the number of early voting days. Florida, under Gov. Rick Scott, who has been a leader in the voter-suppression effort, reduced early voting from 14 days to eight. In Ohio, it went from 35 days to 16.
With Countrywide the discrimination was all about the money. With GOP voter disenfranchisement initiatives, initiatives targeting minority voters (Democratic voters), the discrimination is about gaming the system to win elections.....a violation of the civil rights of minority Americans to be sure....but also a conspiracy to commit treason against the citizens of the United States.
America is not in some post-racial era. Racism is still all around us. Yes, everyone is thankful for the progress made in the last 50 years, and would not deny that, indeed, it is progress. Yet as we see with these two current examples of post-racial era racism.....racism is still alive and well in the United States.