This week, as police shut down the Occupy encampment in Los Angeles, a trio of stories fortified the movement's fundamental argument about the two-tiered nature of our democracy. First up was a report on how, in July 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson gave a group of Wall Street cronies inside information on the rescue of Fannie and Freddie. Then came word that, in the midst of the financial meltdown, the Fed had secretly loaned banks $7.7 trillion with absolutely no strings attached -- loans the banks used to turn a $13 billion profit (while foreclosures escalated and small businesses struggled to get loans). Finally, heroic Judge Jed Rakoff's rejection of a sweetheart fraud settlement the SEC had gift-wrapped for Citigroup turned a spotlight on how the public interest is routinely sacrificed on the altar of expediency, and how the lack of accountability makes it much more likely that the wrongdoers will do wrong again and again without paying a real price.
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