It’s Time for Sharia Law for Bankers

So how’s that deregulated, free-market banking industry working out for ya’? If you’re one of the saps who can’t pay your mortgage – in many cases because of the financial crisis wrought by crappy loans from crappy banks on stupid bets – not so good.

Apparently, the nation’s largest banks can’t figure out how to properly foreclose on homes. Although, you’d think they had enough practice to do it in their sleep.

Oops, I forgot. These are the financial wizards who claim the collapse was a huge surprise to them. The ones who’ve claimed foreclosure is the “moral” thing to do. The ones who break into homes to change locks before the home is even in foreclosure.  I guess the light from their sky-high bonuses blinded them to reality and civil behavior.

Robbie the Robo-Signer
In a demonstration of the alleged efficiency of the private sector, Bank of America and others used “robo-signers” – people who sometimes sign as many as 6,000 foreclosures a week -  to OK them without even looking at the paper work. The problem has reached such epic proportions B of A has decided to stop all foreclosures until they can get their house in order. Several other banks are set to join them soon.

Harry Reid’s (D-Dipshitvada) response was to “thank Bank of America for doing the right thing” – which is like thanking a drunk driver for only maiming you because he hit the brakes and would’ve otherwise killed you.

Closer to the proper analysis is Tom Domonoske, a lawyer and consumer advocate in Virginia. Domonoske says the foreclosure experience is much like the predatory lending schemes that tanked the economy. “It’s the same process, falsifying documents to make them look acceptable to someone. They’re falsifying foreclosure documents so judges will look at them and say, ‘Here’s an affidavit. It’s signed.”

All the worse is that a bipartisan bill (finally bipartisanship!) making foreclosures much more difficult on homeowners comes across the President’s desk soon. He promises to veto it.

It’s not that there isn’t plenty of blame to go around for this mess. Many homeowners stupidly took on more debt than they could pay or believed slithery predatory lenders when they said being in debt ass over teakettle was all the rage. “Hey, it’s trendy! Everybody’s doing it!”

Wing-Tipped Wolverines
But despite the banks and government trying to foist the whole sad adventure onto the homeless and soon to be homeless, they look more like the super jackwads. Republicans never saw a regulation they liked. Bushbama never saw a regulation they’d enforce. And, Congress never saw a reason to nip these crapweasels in the bud during their “irrationally exuberant” phase. Everything had to collapse – something any mouse with a human brain saw coming long before it got here – for them to do anything.

And when they did something, it was to the banks’ benefit.

Here’s the thing. Government wouldn’t have to regulate banks (or any other industries) if the industries stopped doing stupid, disingenuous, and dishonest things. Most of the regulations we already have were put there to corner the wing-tipped bastards like wolverines in rut.

Now the answer everyone looks for is more regulation – regulation that gives the wolverines a nice feather bed to lay upon. We don’t need no more stinkin’ regulations, we need to enforce the ones we have…with extreme prejudice.

Since Sharron Angle thinks Sharia law is taking over the country, lets do Mohamed proud. Any banker caught breaking the rules should have his hand cut off for stealing and we should keep hacking body parts until they look like Monty Python’s blood-spurting knight.

That way, it’ll be a lot easier to run from them when they try to steal the shirt off your back.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

It’s Time for Sharia Law for Bankers

So how’s that deregulated, free-market banking industry working out for ya’? If you’re one of the saps who can’t pay your mortgage – in many cases because of the financial crisis wrought by crappy loans from crappy banks on stupid bets – not so good.

Apparently, the nation’s largest banks can’t figure out how to properly foreclose on homes. Although, you’d think they had enough practice to do it in their sleep.

Oops, I forgot. These are the financial wizards who claim the collapse was a huge surprise to them. The ones who’ve claimed foreclosure is the “moral” thing to do. The ones who break into homes to change locks before the home is even in foreclosure.  I guess the light from their sky-high bonuses blinded them to reality and civil behavior.

Robbie the Robo-Signer
In a demonstration of the alleged efficiency of the private sector, Bank of America and others used “robo-signers” – people who sometimes sign as many as 6,000 foreclosures a week -  to OK them without even looking at the paper work. The problem has reached such epic proportions B of A has decided to stop all foreclosures until they can get their house in order. Several other banks are set to join them soon.

Harry Reid’s (D-Dipshitvada) response was to “thank Bank of America for doing the right thing” – which is like thanking a drunk driver for only maiming you because he hit the brakes and would’ve otherwise killed you.

Closer to the proper analysis is Tom Domonoske, a lawyer and consumer advocate in Virginia. Domonoske says the foreclosure experience is much like the predatory lending schemes that tanked the economy. “It’s the same process, falsifying documents to make them look acceptable to someone. They’re falsifying foreclosure documents so judges will look at them and say, ‘Here’s an affidavit. It’s signed.”

All the worse is that a bipartisan bill (finally bipartisanship!) making foreclosures much more difficult on homeowners comes across the President’s desk soon. He promises to veto it.

It’s not that there isn’t plenty of blame to go around for this mess. Many homeowners stupidly took on more debt than they could pay or believed slithery predatory lenders when they said being in debt ass over teakettle was all the rage. “Hey, it’s trendy! Everybody’s doing it!”

Wing-Tipped Wolverines
But despite the banks and government trying to foist the whole sad adventure onto the homeless and soon to be homeless, they look more like the super jackwads. Republicans never saw a regulation they liked. Bushbama never saw a regulation they’d enforce. And, Congress never saw a reason to nip these crapweasels in the bud during their “irrationally exuberant” phase. Everything had to collapse – something any mouse with a human brain saw coming long before it got here – for them to do anything.

And when they did something, it was to the banks’ benefit.

Here’s the thing. Government wouldn’t have to regulate banks (or any other industries) if the industries stopped doing stupid, disingenuous, and dishonest things. Most of the regulations we already have were put there to corner the wing-tipped bastards like wolverines in rut.

Now the answer everyone looks for is more regulation – regulation that gives the wolverines a nice feather bed to lay upon. We don’t need no more stinkin’ regulations, we need to enforce the ones we have…with extreme prejudice.

Since Sharron Angle thinks Sharia law is taking over the country, lets do Mohamed proud. Any banker caught breaking the rules should have his hand cut off for stealing and we should keep hacking body parts until they look like Monty Python’s blood-spurting knight.

That way, it’ll be a lot easier to run from them when they try to steal the shirt off your back.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Political Spectrum Moves Right

Host of The Young Turks Cenk Uygur guest hosting on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show explains how the political spectrum has shifted far to the right in the last 30 years.

 

 

Weekly Audit: Fighting Economic Inequality in Haiti and at Home

By Zach Carter, Media Consortium Blogger

Rampant poverty can’t be written off as the result of historical accident or a worker’s incompetence. It is actively cultivated by bad public policies that direct economic resources into the hands of a wealthy few. The resulting inequality creates unnecessary suffering all over the world, from the humanitarian crisis in Haiti to the alarmingly high poverty rate in the United States.

Systemic poverty in Haiti

The tragedy in Haiti is not only the result of a massive earthquake. As Richard Kim explains for The Nation, Haiti has long been one of the world’s poorest nations, and that poverty has prevented the country from protecting itself against natural disasters. As Kim explains:

Haiti’s vulnerability to natural disasters, its food shortages, poverty, deforestation and lack of infrastructure, are not accidental. To say that it is the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere is to miss the point; Haiti was made poor—by France, the United States, Great Britain, other Western powers and by the IMF and the World Bank.

Kim details Haiti’s struggles under the weight of colonialist debt that dates back to 1804, the year it won its independence from France. Soon after the revolution, the U.S. and France threatened a trade embargo against Haiti unless the nation of former slaves agreed to pay reparations to its former slave-masters in France. Haiti paid off this extortion with loans from U.S. and European banks. The country was still paying those loans back in the 1940s.

In 2003, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide demanded that France repay Haiti $21 billion of these unjust payments. He was ousted by a military coup for his efforts. Even today, the emergency IMF loans that are ostensibly helping Haiti cope with the disaster are crippled by insane stipulations, such as raising electricity prices for Haiti’s poorest citizens.

One-eighth of U.S. population receiving food stamps

The U.S. has been waging a quiet war against its own poor for decades as well. In a blog for Working In These Times, Akito Yoshikane highlights today’s record level of poverty: One in four U.S. children are living on food stamps, while one-eighth of the entire nation is receiving them. That’s over 38 million people, or more than four times the population of New York City. A poverty epidemic on this scale is a total affront to any concept of economic justice, liberal or conservative.

MLK and economic justice

Just economic policy was a critical concern for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But today’s 13.2% U.S. poverty rate is actually higher than when King spoke out against it in 1968, as Rich Benjamin notes for AlterNet. The economic oppression of minorities continues to this day. While the overall U.S. unemployment rate is 10%, among black workers, the rate is an astonishing 16.2%, while Latino and Latina workers face 12.9% unemployment.

10% unemployment vs. multi-million dollar bonuses

It’s impossible to tolerate 10% unemployment in any economy. But those high rates are especially cruel considering the multi-million-dollar bonuses being paid to bankers who were bailed out with U.S. citizens’ tax dollars. Nomi Prins‘ fantastic interactive chart at Mother Jones reveals both the obscene executive pay levels and staggering federal bailouts that banks subsequently used to boost profits and banker pay.

Top bank executives scored regal paydays for nearly destroying the economy, and some of them even helped pervert the government into an enabler of banking excess. Need an example? Prins highlights Robert Rubin, who pushed through a host of radical deregulatory laws as Treasury Secretary in the 1990s, then left to take a job at Citigroup, where he reaped over $120 million before his company needed a massive bailout. There’s no reason for policymakers to accept a 13.2% poverty rate while subsidizing paychecks for wealthy bankers.

What can be done?

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a panel convened to uncover the causes of the financial crisis, could play a key role in overturning the injustices embedded within the U.S. financial system. As Ruth Coniff notes for The Progressive, it’s not simply that the bailouts saved the banks. It’s that the banks are piggybacking on taxpayer-granted perks to score record profits.

Economic arguments are routinely deployed to excuse outrageous social injustices—the most common argument for the U.S. bank bailout claims that things would have been much worse for everyone if we hadn’t thrown billions at the banks. There are grains of truth in the argument. If all of the banks had actually failed, the result would have been economic mayhem. But that bailout money should have come with major strings attached. There is no reason why bank CEOs, rather than taxpayers, should be reaping the rewards from profits that taxpayer funds generated.

In both global and domestic politics, severe inequality is often accepted as an economic fact, not a problem that must be solved. But the moral outrage prompted by the disaster in Haiti and the U.S. financial bailout is both real and justified. If we want to live in a just society, we cannot continue to subsidize the rich by exploiting the poor.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Audit for a complete list of articles on economic issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Mulch, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

Showdown in Chicago: Thousands Protest Bankers

More than 5,000 people are packing the streets of downtown Chicago this morning, chanting, marching and rallying against Big Bankers and financial institutions that have taken taxpayer money and are using it to give big bonuses to CEOs and to lobby against financial reforms that would ensure they don't go back on the public dole.

The crowd is marching to the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, site of the American Bankers Association meeting, to protest the banking industry's greed and irresponsibility that crippled our economy, leaving millions of workers behind.

After the house of cards they built collapsed, bankers and the financial industry took $700 billion in taxpayer funds for a bailout. But rather than reform their failed practices, they want to go back to business as usual--with the chance of again precipitating another financial collapse and need for taxpayer bailout in coming years.

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