January 29, 2012

Just Another Indictment Of Our Corrupt Political System?

Readers suggested a topic on the latest proposals out of Washington. “Typical Obama: All of a sudden… 4 years after the crash… he has the idea to go after the bankers for their criminal behavior… 4 YEARS!!!!… HE WAITED UNTIL A RE-ELECTION YEAR TO PANDER TO STUPID VOTERS…. & act like he’s ‘doing something.’ He put up every roadblock… until now… to thwart any investigation into his banker buddies.”

A reply, “There is never a better time to pander to stupid voters, whose memories are only slightly higher on the evolutionary scale than rodents. By contrast, what are the GOP candidates doing on the issue of restoring a Rule of Law in the banking sector?”

The Gannett News. “President Barack Obama announced during Tuesday’s State of the Union address that he asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to form what he described as ‘a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general.’ New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined Holder and other officials Friday at a news conference to discuss the formation of the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group. Federal and state officials will target the creation, promotion and sale of the financial instruments that provided fuel for the overheated housing market and the run-up in prices.”

“‘Americans lost close to $7.5 trillion in home equity over the last five years,’ Schneiderman said. ‘That’s where the wealth of the working class and the wealth of the middle class was. And that’s why we have to make sure we hold people accountable.’”

“Schneiderman, New York’s top law enforcement official, wouldn’t predict when any the architects of the housing bubble might go to jail. ‘I can’t comment on the specifics of the investigation,’ he said.”

From KPCC. “In his address to the nation, Obama said ‘responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.’ Obama said that’s why he’s sending Congress a plan ‘that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low interest rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks.’”

‘Congresswoman Judy Chu of El Monte said, ‘It isn’t enough.’ She said mortgage lenders own 12,000 homes in her district. ‘In one ZIP code in a city in my district, Covina, the rate of foreclosure was 738 percent in just over two years.’”

The LA Times. “Some liberal groups have been pushing for a broader investigation into the financial crisis and praised the initiative. ‘By launching this investigation, President Obama will take a crucial step toward holding the 1% on Wall Street accountable for the big bank fraud that nearly torpedoed the economy,’ said Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org.”

“If the goal is to get criminal convictions — Obama called in his State of the Union address ‘to hold accountable those who broke the law’ — it will be difficult to accomplish, said Thomas Gorman, an attorney at Dorsey & Whitney in Washington. ‘Frankly, it’s coming to the table somewhat late,’ said Gorman, a former enforcement official at the Securities and Exchange Commission. ‘There’s a huge body of information out there about what happened, and there have been very few criminal charges brought.’”

The Guardian. “Is this, finally, the moment Obama gets tough with Wall Street? Among the populist pledges rolled out in the speech was tough talk against the too-big-to-fail banks that have funded his campaigns and for whom many of his key advisers have worked: ‘The rest of us are not bailing you out ever again,’ he promised.”

“Does the formation of the new task force signify a move to more progressive policies, as MoveOn suggests? Longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader doesn’t hold much hope: ‘This financial crimes unit, that’s like putting another label on a few doors in the Justice Department without a real expansion in the budget.’”

“Delaware’s Beau Biden, the vice president’s son, expressed similar concerns about the task force, asking: ‘How many FBI agents are being put on it? How many investigators? How many prosecutors?’”

“This is the Occupy Wall Street conflict distilled. Will Eric Schneiderman’s new job lead to the indictment of fraudulent financiers, or to just another indictment of our corrupt political system?”

Bits Bucket for January 29, 2012

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