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Twelve Days of Christmas for Virginia Democrats: Day Seven, Growing Democratic...

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(Welcome to this twelve part series looking at the challenges, obstacles, and future possibilities of Virginia Democrats. If you've missed past diaries, follow these links: Day One, Competitive Districts. Day Two, Turnout Problems. Day Three, Past Mistakes. Day Four, Downstate Democrats. Day Five, Unchallenged Incumbents. Day Six, Present Opportunities. And as always, at the end of the diary there is a poll! Thank you for reading, and have a happy 2014!)

On the seventh day of Christmas, the Commonwealth of Virginia gave to me ...

Encouraging signs of growing Democratic trends in the state's largest counties and most competitive districts!

Take a look at the vote trend between 2001 and 2013 from Daily Kos. There's a lot of red there, but it's in the most rural, slow-growth parts of the state. All of the major population areas, from Northern Virginia to Richmond to Tidewater, are trending blue. The population growth in the state is heavily concentrated in this urban crescent. Favorable demographic trends and the alienation of moderate suburban voters by the hard-right have combined to turn Virginia into a blue state ... at least statewide in higher turnout elections.

Yeah, but what about in the General Assembly?

The Financial Crisis Redux: JP Morgan

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Frontline's third episode of Money, Power, and Wall Street concludes: the financial crisis never ended. Last Friday that became more evident. Firing three executives at JP Morgan solves nothing. The time for "Old Testament Justice" is past. But Congress seems powerless against the bank lobby.

Three years ago, in the midst of a home grown global financial crisis, President Obama erred on the side of caution. Instead of systemic changes to the financial sector, he and his team chose a course of confidence building, a course advocated by Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner who argued against "Old Testament Justice." Others close to Obama, like Larry Summers and Christina Romer, called for a more dramatic course: heads should roll.

It is clear now, and hindsight is always more vivid, that in the midst of the crisis the opportunity for substantive change was lost. The fight to keep the markets afloat fatigued the new administration with other irons in the fire. The success of the bailout was the enemy of any regulatory structure designed to avoid bailouts including eliminating banks "Too Big to Fail." Flush with cash from the Obama policy success, banks successfully lobbied for the status quo.

Now, on its own, JP Morgan has managed to lay out the case for regulation following another episode of the malfeasance that precipitated the economic disaster of 2008.  

Republicans, Deregulation, and Ruin

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In 2008, free-wheeling, unfettered markets toppled, erasing $11 trillion of American's net worth and 8.5 million jobs. Right, don't blame Bush; blame the entire bankrupt, oversimplified "conservative philosophy" and its blind eye to history. It all will become clearer in this election year, the bad hand Barack Obama was dealt.

Yet another reason for Republicans to attack public broadcasting: Frontline's series: Money, Power, and Wall Street is helping set the record straight. Incompetence, malfeasance, and reliance on an economic philosophy that rationalizes policy rather than providing safeguards against illegitimate market action are the underlying themes. All of this complements of Republican and private sector influence.

The first episode of this "Election 2012 Special Event" provides an engaging glimpse into the development of a new unregulated market in the securities sector built on an instrument that spread like poisonous kudzu throughout the financial world. From humble beginnings at JP Morgan in an effort to abate the risk exposure to an Exxon line of credit following the Exxon-Valdez disaster, credit default swaps (a kind of derivative that insures a loan against default) became common instruments even in the predatory lending galaxy, usually insulated and isolated in the legitimate financial universe. The stage was set.