A wrap-up of stories and posts you might have missed or overlooked -- the ones below the fold.
Much of the conversation around the activist, OWS, foreclosure defense community invariably gets to, "How do they sleep at night?" I'm pretty sure they sleep very well. Why wouldn't they?
The vast majority of our elected officials are well fed, insured, and will, unlike the rest of us, retire with dignity. They have done little to address foreclosure, unemployment, and the economic crisis, which have decimated families across the country. They prefer to concentrate on seemingly more important issues, such as Elizabeth Warren's ethnic background - an argument that has been refuted and that Massachusetts voters seemingly have no interest in. The argument still lingers however, despite Warren's proven track record of standing up for the working poor and disintegrating middle class.
Staying on target, relevant, and more to the point, Warren prefers to comment on track records rather than ethnicity. "The facts and the record are clear," Warren said. "[Scott Brown] is on the side of Wall Street and the big banks, not the middle class families of Massachusetts," as quoted in "Elizabeth Warren Slams Scott Brown Over Dodd-Frank Undermining."
More from that same article:
Scott Brown is trying to make it easier for the big banks to keep hammering consumers when we ought to be figuring out how to take away the hammer and protect consumers. Scott Brown is part of the guerrilla war that's undermining financial reform and weakening critical protections for consumers. We ought to be holding these big banks accountable, not letting them off the hook.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems more concerned with how his fair city looks than how his constituents live and what to do about thousands of them losing their homes to illegal foreclosures. Homeless people are of little concern as long as they're not fat and spoiling the view for the pretty people by drinking super-sized sodas.
Furthering the contempt that elected officials have for the rest of us, watch Speaker of the House John Boehner in a CNN interview with Candy Crowley:
CROWLEY: You know, [Mitt Romney] comes from a privileged background. You did not come from a privileged background. This is a time -- an economic time when people are hurting and have been hurting for quite some time.
Do you think that someone who is as wealthy as he is, who has had as much privilege as he is, has a hill to climb to overcome that?
BOEHNER: No. The American people don't want to vote for a loser. They don't want to vote for someone that hasn't been successful.
The Speaker's role, among other things, is to act as the representative of Congress to the rest of us. According to Boehner, if you're not a gazillionaire, you're a loser.
Even the Tea Party folks, who were supposedly going to turn things around as America's last ray of hope have proved to be easily corruptible after very little time in office. Market Ticker's Karl Denninger had a piece up a couple of weeks ago titled, "The Tea Party F*ed You. Fire Them," in which he references a separate article, "HOW BANKS BOUGHT THE TEA PARTY: Cash Transforms Populist Insurgents To Reliable Vote For Financial Industry" by Josh Israel and Adam Peck at ThinkProgress.org. Israel and Peck look into the $602,627 in PAC contributions that went to Tea Party members:
Their rhetoric has also become extremely friendly to the financial industry. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) famously yelled at a constituent: "Don't blame banks, and don't blame the marketplace for the mess we're in right now! I am tired of hearing that crap! This pisses me off!" Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) bashed financial regulations as "part of a pattern of government interference in the private sector." Rep. Blake Fahrenthold (R-TX) warned "excessive regulations will hurt our financial institutions." Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) said that by regulating banking and financial institutions, "what they're doing is getting into our lives. And many of us are trying to find a way to get them to pull back." And several of the freshmen criticized Dodd-Frank's regulations for limiting credit availability for small businesses.
The article also points out that 11 of the 15 Tea Party flag bearers voted in favor of H.R. 3461. According to Americans for Financial Reform, the legislation would "tilt the playing field further in the direction of excessive deference to industry interests and tie the hands of regulators attempting to protect the public interest." The bill would essentially make it more difficult for bank examiners to do their job and hand over regulatory responsibilities to an industry that has not shown much success when it comes to self-regulation.
Back at Market Ticker, Denninger adds:
The fact that the collateral, which was the predicate for the loan in the first place, no longer supports the loan as originally agreed, cannot be used as the reason to place the loan in "non-accrual" (that is, at risk of not performing) status. But the predicate for the loan being made in the first place was the provision of the collateral; but for that collateral's actual value the loan would have never been made in the first place! This is what the so-called "Tea Party" that claimed to be against bank bailouts has supported -- literally changing the qualifications on a loan after it is made so that in effect there is no collateral required at all! This is an attempt to literally approve by legislation the effective counterfeiting of the nation's currency and you are the victims as your purchasing power will be further destroyed by this bill should it become law.
He ends with, appropriately, "Fire them all; they're traitors and mendacious bags of pus."
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