Guests and Topics for Monday February 27, 2012

It’s a big lineup for Monday, : Dylan will be talking with Eliot Spitzer, Mark Meckler on the future of the Tea Party, a discussion on rising interest rates for student loans, and the latest out of Afghanistan with Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer and Rep. Joe Sestak.

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The Scale of the Problem

On the blog Calculated Risk, Bill McBride had a reasonable post criticizing my article that I co-authored with Eliot Spitzer. Here’s our response.

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Eliot Spitzer & Simon Johnson: Addressing the Foreclosure Crisis

Dylan talks to former New York Governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund, MIT’s Simon Johnson, about mortgage write downs.

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Mr. President, Defend America

The only thing more blatant than the fraud and corruption that is killing our country is our current leaders’ unwillingness to stop it.

Now, as we are faced with the unspeakable damage from both the Gulf oil spill and the financial crisis, our leaders still insist that the best people to deal with the aftermath are the very people who caused it in the first place.

Imagine how silly this reasoning would sound if we decided to let the spouses of murder victims be in charge of the crime scene. After all, they know the area the best and are very familiar with the victim. By our current leaders’ reasoning, these criteria alone would make this the best person to do a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrator to justice.

This kind of bizarre ignorance of incentives is now displayed by our current president, who often appears to think that government works best when it is subservient to corporations under even the most dubious circumstances. So far, it seems like the only entrenched power that our president is interested in fighting was the Democratic Party machine that wanted him to wait his turn back in the primaries. This from a man that so many hoped would be an antidote to the horrendous corporatist reign of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Nowhere is this attitude more on display than in the Gulf right now. Perhaps operating under the fear of that “if you try to actually fix something, you own it politically,” our government continues to abdicate its responsibilities in the ongoing disaster.

Instead, it prefers to blindly trust the corporation that is largely responsible for the problem in the first place, regardless of the fact that the corporation has a history of safety mishaps and makes “covering-up” the basic tenet of its overall marketing plan.

Meanwhile, the corporation prevents tankers from cleaning up, scientists and engineers from researching, journalists from reporting and Americans from witnessing, all while the oil spill pumps into the gulf at an alarming rate for what could potentially be another 30 years before running dry.

I’m not sure what is more a sign of the times — having a Democratic White House claim that they couldn’t possible infringe on the rights of a private corporation that is destroying public water and land while a Republican Senator rightly demands a Government takeover, or Sarah Palin and Robert Gibbs having a flame war over who is more on the take from said corporation (the answer — both).

This dynamic is not new to those who have been following the Government’s response to a financial crisis that continues to let the Banksters ruin our economy while they line their pockets.

Our current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the one who handed billions of tax dollars to a corporation now under federal fraud investigation, is spearheading the government’s fiscal response and financial “reform” efforts even though he may eventually be charged as well.

Meanwhile, Larry Summers, Director of the White House’s National Economic Council, has responded to the financial thievery by fighting against real derivative reform, which isn’t surprising considering he was a chief architect of the dangerous system that tanked our economy in the first place. Of course, Larry also made millions off of the very derivatives he helped legalize.

That just leaves us to rely on the “independent” Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, who seems more interested in using his endless money-printing hose to try to delay the pain (and blame) of the fire that he helped start until after he’s long gone.

So while real regulators and proven advocates of the People like William Black and Eliot Spitzer are relegated to the sidelines, we are left with a paltry $8 million dollar “investigation” by Phil Angelides. So who should step into the void? That’s right, the very corporations who caused the collapse are now running the cleanup effort.

As bad as government can be (and, as we know in New York, it can be very bad), our leaders are trying to tell us that corporations have your interests at heart as much as government does. But corporations do not work for the general public, nor are they set up that way — they work for money.

As grim as all this may sound, let’s not forget that corrupt politicians, bankers and yes, even media figures are nothing new. However, a vast, unstoppable flow of the truth brought on by amazing advances in technology, and a country that still counts each person’s vote equally, allows its citizens the right to speak freely and decide how and where to spend its non-taxed money — is a stiff antidote to this age-old problem.

I believe we are already well on our way to righting this ship. Recent primaries point to a deep rumbling in the sleeping giant for a shared value that offends us all deeply regardless of political affiliation — the basic issue of fairness and its obvious betrayal by our previous and current Government.

Who Will Your Senator Stand With Now?

At this very instant, many of those in our Senate are in danger of being led off the plank by outgoing Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Chris Dodd. With cloture passing, Senator Dodd now has one final chance to present a manager’s amendment to make a weak bill stronger (or possibly even weaker.)

Once again, this financial “reform” process has thankfully brought into the light of day that we have politicians who are brazen in their willingness to aid the same fraudsters who have brought a great nation to its knees. But as this week’s primaries have clearly shown, there is no hesitation by the voters in throwing out the Establishment that got us into this mess and apparently has no plans to help us get out.

Thankfully, once forced to vote, politicians can no longer merely pretend to working for the People as they do the bidding of the Banksters. So once you look beyond all of the well-documented behind-the-scenes work by Dodd to weaken financial reform, we also have his on-the-record votes on a few of the meaningful attempts at real reform:

And just so you don’t think he can’t say yes to anything…

  • Yes on the Carper Amendment to actively prevent state Attorney Generals from fighting for your rights, because apparently the one lesson Senator Dodd learned from this mess is that our country will be much better off if he can just keep the next Eliot Spitzer from protecting citizens.

Now is the time to contact Senator Dodd and let him and his staff know that you demand real financial reform. Though the Senator is leaving office voluntarily, chances are that your Senator would like to stay. So if you are so inclined, ask them to exert their influence on the Chairman as well.

Ask them if they stand with Chris Dodd, who vacates his office with our nation in tatters largely due to the same banking system run amok that has plied him with campaign dollars, in danger of leaving this as his legacy:

Chris Dodd can still do what is right and give our country real reform. But since he is leaving the Senate for what are sure to be greener pastures, there is very little incentive for him to work for the People other than in the hopes of saving his legacy. However, we have a right to be represented in our Government and this is the time for your representative to hear the will of the People.

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