Springtime in America

by lizard

How can the unbelievably audacious story of what Wall Street CONTINUES TO GET AWAY WITH flit by with nary a blink from the citizenry? Media?

Who cares, it’s spring, so what if the hollow beasts of finance are once again burrowing their snouts in the public trough looking to insulate themselves from the next inevitable crisis. The link is another Michael Whitney piece examining The Economic Scam of the Century:

The leaders of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), released a draft bill on Sunday that would provide explicit government guarantees on mortgage-backed securities (MBS) generated by privately-owned banks and financial institutions. The gigantic giveaway to Wall Street would put US taxpayers on the hook for 90 percent of the losses on toxic MBS the likes of which crashed the financial system in 2008 plunging the economy into the deepest slump since the Great Depression. Proponents of the bill say that new rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) –which set standards for a “qualified mortgage” (QM)– assure that borrowers will be able to repay their loans thus reducing the chances of a similar meltdown in the future. However, those QE rules were largely shaped by lobbyists and attorneys from the banking industry who eviscerated strict underwriting requirements– like high FICO scores and 20 percent down payments– in order to lend freely to borrowers who may be less able to repay their loans. Additionally, a particularly lethal clause has been inserted into the bill that would provide blanket coverage for all MBS (whether they met the CFPB’s QE standard or not) in the event of another financial crisis.

This legislation is of course supported by the president. If you want to see how the mainstream media depicts this scam, here’s an AP piece:

A plan to phase out government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and instead use mainly private insurers to backstop home loans has advanced in Congress.

The agreement by two key senators and a White House endorsement sent shares of Fannie and Freddie sinking Tuesday. Fannie stock fell $1.79, or more than 30 percent, to $4.03. Freddie dropped $1.48, or 26.8 percent, to $4.04.

The plan would create a new government insurance fund. Investors would pay fees in exchange for insurance on mortgage securities they buy. The government would become a last-resort loan guarantor.

“Last-resort loan guarantor” is one hell of a phrase. Thanks AP. And thank you, president Obama. Maybe this despicable servitude to Wall Street will finally open the eyes of Democrat supporters to the true nature of the enabling role Democrats play in our totally corrupt political system.

Shifting to our government’s unconstitutional snooping by the NSA, president Obama is asking Congress to fix the problem because we all know Congress is really good at passing constructive legislation to protect our constitutional rights. What isn’t getting a lot of media attention is the fact that Obama, if he wanted, could simply not re-authorize the bulk storage of our metadata. This program requires re-authorization every 90 days, so at the end of March Obama will sign off on another 90 days of our constitutional rights being violated by our government.

Thanks Obama!

Then there’s the continued posturing with Russia regarding the crisis in Ukraine. After Obama’s incredibly unhelpful depiction of Russia as a regional power, he laughably defended America’s credibility regarding the ongoing disaster that is Iraq, 11 years after Bush lied our country into one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our short history. The title of this Washington Post article is Obama gives Iraq war a more positive spin:

President Obama, whose presidential campaign in 2008 took off in large part because of his criticism of the Iraq war, on Wednesday used that war as a contrast to what Russia is doing in Ukraine.

Speaking in Brussels, Obama dismissed suggestions by Russia and its supporters that the Iraq war undercuts the United States’ credibility in criticizing Russia’s incursion into Crimea in Ukraine.

“It is true that the Iraq War was a subject of vigorous debate – not just around the world, but in the United States as well,” Obama said. “I happened to oppose our military intervention there.”

Obama added: “But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory, nor did we grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state could make decisions about its own future.”

I don’t even know where to start with that comment. How about a list of attacks and violent deaths that occurred on just March 1st of this year:

At least 70 people were killed and 50 more were wounded in today’s attacks. Meanwhile, the United Nations, Iraqi government and Agence France-Presse released their casualty figures for February. All three found that more than 700 people were killed in Iraq during the month — not counting militants. Including those militants, Antiwar found that at least 1700 people were likely killed.

Near Falluja, security forces killed six militants. One child was killed and nine others were wounded during a shelling attack in nearby towns.

Gunmen killed two soldiers and wounded three more at a Khalidiya checkpoint. Four policemen were killed in a drive-by shooting.

A car bomb in Hit killed one person and wounded two more.

Security forces killled one militant and wounded two more in Ramadi.

West of Ramadi, seven gunmen were killed.

Outside of Anbar province:

Security forces killed 31 militants in southern Nineva province.

In Mosul, six militants were killed.

Three militants were killed in a clash in Latifiya. A sticky bomb wounded an officer in Latifiya.

A bomb killed three people and wounded 10 more in Tuz Khormato.

An I.E.D. in Baiji killed two soldiers and wounded four more.

A woman was killed in a double bombing in Balad Ruz that also left five women and a child wounded.

One patrolman was killed and three more were wounded in an I.E.D. blast in Shurqat.

A soldier’s body was found in Dibiss.

In Abu Saida, gunmen killed a civilian.

A bomb killed a military official in Hawija.

Six people were wounded in a blast in Baghdad. A kidnapped girl was rescued.

In Kirkuk, a rocket wounded a family of four.

This is the Iraq America has left behind after a decade of war based on lies, a war Obama only “ended” because Maliki refused to allow Obama to renegotiate Bush’s Status of Forces Agreement that held US forces to an established timeline of withdrawal.

The economy is in shambles, our constitutional rights are violated every day, and our foreign policy has reignited the cold war with Russia. Convincing Americans that Democrats aren’t as corrupt and dangerous as Republicans is going to be a hard sell.

  1. evdebs

    When Obama announced his wish that congress constrain the NSA’s surveillance, I assumed it was hyperbole, that he could do it himself it he wanted to do so.

    Thanks for confirming that assumption.

    • Abraham Froman

      Strictly in a legal sense he could ‘end’ the program, but the question is does he really have the power to do so as a practical matter? What kind of power has really accumulated behind closed doors with this and other programs and who has the power accumulated to? What kind of information has accrued and do our elected leaders at this point really have any power to stop it? Did they ever? Maybe it’s a cry for help on his part? I doubt the last one and I don’t know the answers to these questions but I suspect they hold some keys to this issue rather than Obama simply refusing to use his power to end it. I don’t think he really could if he wanted to.

  2. JC

    When, barely 2 months into his first term, Obama said to a gathering of Wall Street bankers and other high financiers about their bonuses in face of the free-falling economy:

    “My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

    I realized it was going to be a long dark winter in america. And it just gets darker…

  3. JC

    RT has an interesting counterpoint to the MSM’s take on Obama’s speechifying in Brussels yesterday:


    “We are confronted with the belief among some that bigger nations [Russia] can bully smaller ones to get their way — that recycled maxim that might somehow makes right.”


    “World’s biggest bully preaching peace and love. And its flying killing robots are the messengers. And guards in secret CIA prisons are the keepers. And the NSA keeps an eye on those who won’t listen.

    As the Romans used to say, quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi (what is allowed to Jupiter is not allowed to the bull). Well, there are no gods sitting in Washington, and some people just don’t want to be treated as cattle.”

  4. JC

    TASS gives a Russian perspective on Ukraine’s puppet government leader Yatsenyuk’s speech today about the impending doom and austerity:

    “Ukraine is on the verge of economic and financial bankruptcy, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, appointed by the country’s unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, to the post of prime minister, said at a parliamentary session Thursday.

    The situation in Ukraine comes after a coup in the country in February that occurred after months of anti-government protests, which often turned violent. President Viktor Yanukovych had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns last month.

    The crisis deepened when the Republic of Crimea, which did not recognize the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities in Kiev, signed a treaty with Russia to become its constituent member on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which most Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia…”

    Yeah, I know, everybody thinks I’m just another leftist commie sympathizer…

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