“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
William K. Black and L. Randall Wray: Foreclose on the Foreclosure Fraudsters, Part 1: Put Bank of America in Receivership
After a quick review of its procedures, Bank of America this week announced that it will resume its foreclosures in 23 lucky states next Monday. While the evidence is overwhelming that the entire foreclosure process is riddled with fraud, President Obama refuses to support a national moratorium. Indeed, his spokesmen on the issue told reporters three key things. As the Los Angeles Times reported:
A government review of botched foreclosure paperwork so far has found that the problems do not pose a “systemic” threat to the financial system, a top Obama administration official said Wednesday.
Yes, that’s right. HUD reviewed the “paperwork” problem to see whether it threatened the banks — not the homeowners who were the victims of foreclosure fraud. But it got worse, for the second point was how the government would respond to the epidemic of foreclosure fraud.
The Justice Department is leading an investigation of possible crimes involving mortgage fraud.
That language was carefully chosen to sound reassuring. But the fact is that despite our pleas the FBI has continued its “partnership” with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The MBA is the trade association of the “perps.” It created a ridiculous on its face definition of “mortgage fraud.” Under that definition the lenders — who led the mortgage frauds — are the victims. The FBI still parrots this long discredited “definition.” That is one of the primary reasons why — in complete contrast to prior financial crises — the Justice Department has not convicted a single senior officer of the large nonprime lenders who directed, committed, and profited enormously from the frauds.
Glenn Greenwald The real danger from NPR’s firing of Juan Williams
I’m still not quite over the most disgusting part of the Juan Williams spectacle yesterday: watching the very same people (on the Right and in the media) who remained silent about or vocally cheered on the viewpoint-based firings of Octavia Nasr, Helen Thomas, Rick Sanchez, Eason Jordan, Peter Arnett, Phil Donahue, Ashleigh Banfield, Bill Maher, Ward Churchill, Chas Freeman, Van Jones and so many others, spend all day yesterday wrapping themselves in the flag of “free expression!!!” and screeching about the perils and evils of firing journalists for expressing certain viewpoints. Even for someone who expects huge doses of principle-free hypocrisy — as I do — that behavior is really something to behold. And anyone doubting that there is a double standard when it comes to anti-Muslim speech should just compare the wailing backlash from most quarters over Williams’ firing to the muted acquiescence or widespread approval of those other firings.
But there’s one point from all of this I really want to highlight. The principal reason the Williams firing resonated so much and provoked so much fury is that it threatens the preservation of one of the most important American mythologies: that Muslims are a Serious Threat to America and Americans. That fact is illustrated by a Washington Post Op-Ed today from Reuel Marc Gerecht, who is as standard and pure a neocon as exists: an Israel-centric, Iran-threatening, Weekly Standard and TNR writer, former CIA Middle East analyst, former American Enterprise Institute and current Defense of Democracies “scholar,” torture advocate, etc. etc.
David Sirota: The Tea Party Test Case
What is the tea party? Many have tried to answer that question ever since CNBC’s Rick Santelli first launched the backlash with his trading-floor rant against the poor.
Democratic operatives, for instance, say the tea party is merely a Republican Party facade. As proof, they point to GOP-linked corporate groups’ involvement in tea party events, and cite the absence of tea party deficit and bailout protests during George W. Bush’s presidency.
Social scientists, meanwhile, suggest that the tea party is not the entire Republican apparatus, but specifically the extreme conservative edge of the GOP. The data add credence to that argument: As the Public Religion Research Institute and the University of Washington report, tea party followers are disproportionately part of the Christian right and are more racially resentful than the general public.