Matt Taibbi Gets it Right – Santelli Keeps Getting it Wrong

10 Mar

Matt Taibbi does a great job here of exploring and exposing the Co Opting of the “Tea Party” movement that started with Ron Paul supporters and became rabble rousing Palin pushing pawns of the Media – as well as addressing the cultural bias and prejudice that underlie the new revisionist history surrounding predatory lending and bank fraud that is now being turned into the “new success” of the economy as if there were such a thing.

Between this piece and Yves Smith’s piece on the spin up of the Obama PR rhetoric I’d say we have a fairly consistent picture here of complete revision of facts across all fronts.

Santelli on Predatory Lending: ‘You can’t cheat an honest man’

by Matt Taibbi

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Look at about the 5-minute mark of this video — Janet Tavakoli debating Rick Santelli about predatory lending. You basically have a whole panel of CNBC goons pooh-poohing the idea that predatory lending took place, setting up the inevitable revisionist history that the 2008 crash was caused by individual homeowners borrowing beyond their means.

My favorite part of this comes roughly at the six-minute mark. Tavakoli has just deftly explained how a lot of the predatory practices worked — people with limited financial literacy were presented with long and complicated mortgage deals, and told they would have a fixed payment in perpetuity or a guaranteed re-finance, or were nailed by fraudulent appraisals. Then she mentioned the big one, the fact that investment banks then took all these mortgages and with eyes wide open securitized them and sold them off as worthy investments to suckers on the other end of the chain.

While she’s saying all this stuff, Santelli, who is one of the fathers of the Tea Party movement, is shaking his head furiously, video-scoffing at everything she’s saying. When he finally does get a chance to speak, this is what he says:

Here’s my problem with this. It takes two to tango. You can’t cheat an honest man.

You can’t cheat an honest man? What the fuck does that mean?

This whole scene sort of encapsulates what’s wrong with the Tea Party movement. The movement, and let’s admit this, has some of its roots in legitimate grievances about government waste and some not-entirely-inaccurate observations about what’s left of the American welfare state. Of course what resonates most with the suburban whites who mostly make up the Tea Party are stories about minorities and immigrants using section 8 housing, food stamps, Medicaid, TANF and other programs, with the Obama stimulus being for them a symbol of this ongoing government largess. The heat of the Tea Party movement comes from the racial frustrations that actually exist out there, in the real world outside New York and LA, as urban expansion and immigration increasingly throw white and nonwhite communities together, with white Tea Party types more and more often blowing gaskets over increased crime rates, declining school standards, and mislaid or wasted tax revenue.

That this perception that minorities are the prime or sole consumers of government entitlement programs is absurdly inaccurate — white people, for instance, are overwhelmingly the largest nonelderly recipients of Medicaid, making up 42.8% of the program’s rolls nationwide, compared to 22.2% for blacks and 27.9% for Hispanics — is beside the point. The point is that the Tea Party is built largely on this narrative of “personal responsibility,” where the central demons are unwed black and Hispanic mothers and absent black and Hispanic fathers, who are, let’s face it, not uncommon characters in the American melodrama.

Which is another subject for another time, but let’s just say this: the Tea Party movement contains a lot of people who are far more impressed by what they can see with their own eyes than with what, for instance, they read about. I’ve been to Tea Party events where global warming was dismissed by speakers who, without irony, pointed to the fact that there was snow on the ground outside. And while very few people have ever actually seen a CDO manager or a Countrywide executive, or were aware if it when they saw them, the Tea Party folks sure as hell have seen who their neighbors in foreclosure are.

The Fox/CNBC types have very cannily latched on this narrative to rewrite the history of the financial crisis. They know that Tea Partiers will go for any narrative that puts blame on poor (and especially poor minority) homeowners, because the idea of poor blacks and Hispanics borrowing beyond their means fits seamlessly with their world view. But this is a situation where poor minorities were really incidental to a much larger fraud scheme that culminated in a welfare program — the bank bailouts — that dwarfs the entire “entitlement” infrastructure. But the millions of people who are actually in the Tea Party movement seem to have absolutely no idea that their so-called leaders, the Santellis of their world, are shilling for tax cheats and crooks and welfare bums of the sort they would despise (perhaps even more than their black and Hispanic neighbors), if they could actually see them.

But thanks to people like these CNBC goons, they don’t see them, and probably won’t. The further we get from the crisis, the muddier all of this stuff is going to get.

p.s. I seem to be getting a lot of mail from Ron Paul supporters about this, claiming that I’m overlooking the early Ron Paul tea parties and suppressing his message.  I actually like Ron Paul and have said nothing but nice things about him. I talk to people in his office regularly. But the Ron Paul tea parties and these post Feb-2009 Tea Parties are two different things. Certainly the current Tea Partiers see it that way. While these folks may have lifted some of the Paulian themes, they’re just physically different people. They’re mainstream Palin supporters, and the reason I find them ridiculous is because I was covering these people while the bailouts were happening and remember what was actually on their minds back then. Does anyone remember what the cause of the day was when the AIG bailout took place? It was the uproar from Palin supporters about Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” comment.

The reason I’ve always respected the Ron Paul people is that, even though I don’t always agree with them, they’re intellectually consistent and motivated by actual policy issues. These Teabagger types on the other hand are just a giant herd of video sheep being jerked around by snickering DC-New York types, who are very skillfully playing on their cultural paranoia and their economic and racial frustrations. When they were told to flip out about Obama’s “lipstick”  comment, they did. When they were told to flip out about the bailouts, they did. I’m not saying that some of these people weren’t frustrated about the bailouts, to the extent that they even knew about them, before Obama got elected. But they did not coalesce into a mass movement against them until part II of the bailout was passed under Obama’s watch, and one should note also that their keynote speaker in Nashville a few weeks ago, Palin, was a bailout supporter.

The Paul people were upset about deficit spending and Fed corruption throughout and ardently opposed Bush’s policies throughout his presidency. These Teabaggers did not. They were the people inside the rope-lines at McCain and Romney and Rudy events, complaining about “those people” consuming social services money, while the Paul people with their protest placards were physically barred from coming near the events. I must have seen that dynamic a dozen times during the campaign. So to all those Paul people, I hear you. I’m not trying to say you weren’t on these issues beforehand. What I’m saying is, this new Tea Party thing, it’s different from your protests, not necessarily because the message is so different, but because of two things. One, it was inspired by major-network media figures. Two, the people at the protests are overwhelmingly different people. They’re dupes; the Paul movement is more like a real grass-roots organization.

Thanks Matt – that was just awesome. :D   On every point!

Now On to Yves Smith:

The Empire Continues to Strike Back: Team Obama Propaganda Campaign Reaches Fever Pitch

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I’ve seldom seen so much rubbish written by people who ought to know better in a single day. Many able people have heaped the scorn and incredulity on three articles, one a piece on Rahm Emanuel slotted to run in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, another an artfully packed laudatory piece on Timothy Geithner by John Cassidy in the New Yorker and a more even handed looking one (I stress “looking”) in the Atlantic.

Ed Harrison has skillfully shredded parsed the Geithner pieces . Simon Johnson thrashed the New Yorker story. A key paragraph below:

The main feature of the plan, of course, was – following the stress tests – to communicate effectively that there was a government guarantee behind every major bank or quasi-bank in the United States. Of course this works in the short-term – investors like such guarantees. But there’s a good reason we usually don’t guarantee all financial institutions – or act happy when other countries do the same. Unconditional bailouts lead to trouble, encouraging reckless risk-taking and undermining responsible governance. You can’t run any form of reasonable market system when some big players hold “get out of bankruptcy free” cards.

Banking expert Chris Whalen was so disturbed by the numerous distortions in the New Yorker piece that he had already fired off a long letter to the editor by the time I pinged him, with these starting paragraphs:

Jack Cassidy tells us that “Timothy Geithner’s financial plan is working—and making him very unpopular.” Unfortunately this is completely wrong. Cassidy’s comment just illustrates why the New Yorker has fallen into such obscurity, namely because it is more Vanity Fair than its vivacious sibling and unable to perform critical journalism.

In fact, the banking system is continuing to sink under bad loans and even worse securities losses. Telling the public that the banks are “fixed” is irresponsible. Unfortunately this false perception is widespread, including among major media such as CNBC and also with a number of my clients in the hedge fund world.

And from Marshall Auerback, who had a ringside view of the aftermath of the Japanese bubble:

Cassidy’s article brings to mind a retort by Chou En Lai when he was asked about the success of the French Revolution. He said, “It’s too early to tell”. Yet here we have John Cassidy from the New Yorker and Joshua Green from The Atlantic both making the assumption that the Geithner plan “worked”. This whole line about “taxpayers to recover bailout money” is based on an accounting fraud, because accounting abuses are the primary means by which TARP recipients have repaid bailout money — putting us at greater risk. That may seem paradoxical, but the rush to repay is driven by a desire to have unrestrained executive bonuses (a very bad thing associated with far greater accounting fraud and failures — requiring future, larger taxpayer bailouts) and accounting abuses produce the (fictional) ability to repay the United States (primarily by failing to recognize existing losses). The TARP recipients weakened their financial condition, and increased moral hazard, when they rushed to repay the TARP funds. Both factors increase the risk of making more expensive future bailouts more likely.

Yves here. The reason that people who can discern clearly what is afoot are so deeply disturbed is simple, and all the comments touch on it. The campaign to defend Geithner and Emanuel, both architects of the administration’s finance friendly policies has gone beyond what most people would see as spin into such an aggressive effort to manipulate popular perceptions that it is not a stretch to call it propaganda.

This strategy, of relying on propaganda to mask their true intent, has become inevitable, given the strategic corner the Obama Adminstration has painted itself in. And this campaign has become increasingly desperate as the inconsistency between the Adminsitration’s “product positioning” and observable reality become increasingly evident.

Recall how we got here. Early in 2009, the banking industry was on the ropes. Both the stock and the credit default swaps markets said that many of the big players were at serious risk of failure. Commentators debated whether to nationalize Citibank, Bank of America, and other large, floundering institutions.

The case for bold action was sound. The history of financial crises showed that the least costly approach is to resolve mortally wounded organizations, install new management, set strict guidelines, and separate out the bad loans and investments in order to restructure and sell them. An IMF study of 124 banking crises concluded that regulatory forbearance, the term of art for letting impaired banks soldier on, found:

The typical result of forbearance is a deeper hole in the net worth of banks, crippling tax burdens to finance bank bailouts, and even more severe credit supply contraction and economic decline than would have occurred…

Shuttering sick banks is hardly a radical idea; the FDIC does it on a routine basis. So the difference here was not in the nature of the exercise, but its operational complexity.

This juncture was a crucial window of opportunity. The financial services industry had become systematically predatory. Its victims now extended well beyond precarious, clueless, and sometimes undisciplined consumers who took on too much debt via credit cards with gotcha features that successfully enticed into a treadmill of chronic debt, or now infamous subprime and option-ARM mortgages.

Over twenty years of malfeasance, from the savings and loan crisis (where fraud was a leading cause of bank failures) to a catastrophic set of blow-ups in over the counter derivatives in 1994, which produced total losses of $1.5 trillion, the biggest wipeout since the 1929 crash, through a 1990s subprime meltdown, dot com chicanery, Enron and other accounting scandals, and now the global financial crisis, the industry each time had been able to beat neuter meaningful reform. But this time, the scale of the damage was so great that it extended beyond investors to hapless bystanders, ordinary citizens who were also paying via their taxes and job losses. And unlike the past, where news of financial blow-ups was largely confined to the business section, the public could not miss the scale of the damage and how it came about, and was outraged.

The widespread, vocal opposition to the TARP was evidence that a once complacent populace had been roused. Reform, if proposed with energy and confidence, wasn’t a risk; not only was it badly needed, it was just what voters wanted.

But incoming president Obama failed to act. Whether he failed to see the opportunity, didn’t understand it, or was simply not interested is moot. Rather than bring vested banking interests to heel, the Obama administration instead chose to reconstitute, as much as possible, the very same industry whose reckless pursuit of profit had thrown the world economy off the cliff. There would be no Nixon goes to China moment from the architects of the policies that created the crisis, namely Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers.

Defenders of the administration no doubt will content that the public was not ready for measures like the putting large banks like Citigroup into receivership. Even if that were true (and the current widespread outrage against banks says otherwise), that view assumes that the executive branch is a mere spectator, when it has the most powerful bully pulpit in the nation. Other leaders have taken unpopular moves and still maintained public support.

Obama’s repudiation of his campaign promise of change, by turning his back on meaningful reform of the financial services industry, in turn locked his Administration into a course of action. The new administration would have no choice other that working fist in glove with the banksters, supporting and amplifying their own, well established, propaganda efforts.

Thus Obama’s incentives are to come up with “solutions” that paper over problems, avoid meaningful conflict with the industry, minimize complaints, and restore the old practice of using leverage and investment gains to cover up stagnation in worker incomes. Potemkin reforms dovetail with the financial service industry’s goal of forestalling any measures that would interfere with its looting. So the only problem with this picture was how to fool the now-impoverished public into thinking a program of Mussolini-style corporatism represented progress.

How did the Administration and financial services message control teams work together?

The first was the refusal to consider investigations of any kind. Obama is widely reported to have studied the early days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration for inspiration; it would be impossible for him to miss the dramatic steps FDR took, including supporting the continuation of a Senate Banking Committee investigation into the misdeeds of the Roaring Twenties, the Pecora Commission. The Pecora Commission not only kept the bankers on the defensive, but it also did the forensic work into the abuses. It was critical to bring the nefarious practices to light to devise durable and lasting reforms.

Why were there no inquiries into how the firms that needed bailouts got themselves into a mess? This was an obvious and comparatively easy avenue of inquiry which would make a great deal of useful background accessible and identified issues for further examination. For instance, after the rescue of UBS, the Swiss Federal Banking Commission required UBS to provide an extensive report of what went wrong, and also had the bank make considerable portions of that information public, via a special report to its shareholders. Yet no US firm has been asked to make any explanation of how it managed its affairs so badly as to require extensive public support to keep from failing.

The choice here was obvious. A refusal to investigate was tantamount to a refusal to reform. A good understanding of what had happened was essential, not merely to develop sound new rules, but also to keep the industry from muddying the waters, which would be easy to do, given how complex and opaque many of the products are

More compelling evidence of the Administration’s lack of interest in reining in the money-changers came via Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s first presentation on his reform plan, which was more accurately a plan to have a plan. It was widely criticized for its sketchiness, but most observers missed the true significance. Had the Obama transition team done any serious thinking about the financial crisis? Obviously not, because you don’t need to think too hard if the game plan is to go back to business as usual to the extent possible. Geither’s presentation came nearly three weeks after Obama was sworn in, and all its initiatives were Bush/Paulson wine in new bottles: a new go at the failed idea of having the government overpay for bad bank assets; “stress tests” to put more discipline around the process of handing out TARP funds to the needy; and a mortgage modification program which pretended to be able to square the circle of saving borrowers without taking on investors in mortgage securitizations.

Geithner’s not-much-of-a-plan exemplified the second tool in the Obama campaign to sell doing as little as possible to the financiers: the Theory of Positive Thinking.
That notion has a proud tradition in America and was much in evidence in the run-up to the crisis. It promises that the economy will be fine as long as everyone thinks happy thoughts about it. For instance, I noted in a March 2007 blog post that while the tone of the Financial Times as of March 2007 had become generally grim, the US had become a Tinkerbell market, where valuations are held aloft by faith, and participants conspire to stoke true belief. And as the crisis wore on, other magical personages intervened. As a hedge fund manager who writes as Augustus Melmotte noted,

The market responded with enthusiasm to reports that the Tooth Fairy has agreed to acquire Lehman. The purchase price has not yet been determined and will be set by Dick Fuld wishing upon a star, clicking his heels three times, and being transported back to that magical place where Lehman still sells for over $70 per share….. Meanwhile, the SEC has announced an investigation of mean, evil, bad short-seller David Einhorn. …. Einhorn reportedly suggested that the Tooth Fairy does not exist and that wishing upon a star is not a wholly reliable price discovery mechanism. Christopher Cox, chairman of the SEC, said, “Vicious rumors attacking the Tooth Fairy will not be tolerated. Our entire financial system and indeed the American way of life depend on the Tooth Fairy and wishing upon a star…” The SEC is reportedly planning to set up re-education camps for short-sellers.

Remember that the US has an entire cable channel devoted to the Theory of Positive Thinking, namely CNBC, and a goodly portion of the financial media falls into CNBC-style cheerleading with more than occasional abandon.

Now it is true that this idea has a kernel of truth. John Maynard Keynes attributed the Depression to a change in investor “liquidity preferences,” which meant they had suddenly become very risk averse and preferred to hold cash until they felt conditions had improved, with devastating consequences for economic activity. Uncertainty can morph into a self-reinforcing downcycle. But it is one thing to use confidence boosting as a tool, quite another to regard it as a magic bullet. Merely clapping our hands all together will not cure the long-standing ailments in the economy.

Moreover, the Theory of Positive Thinking has been used, upon occasion, to suggest that conditions will only deteriorate if the public examines the financial services industry critically. It isn’t hard to see whose interests benefit from that posture.

Now it is hard to prove in a tidy way that the tone of financial press coverage had shifted suddenly, and decisively, to optimism as of early March. But many professional investors in my circle started regularly talking of cheerleading. Two Wall Street veterans, Sandy Lewis and William Cohan, weighed in on this pattern at the New York Times:

Whether at a fund-raising dinner for wealthy supporters in Beverly Hills, or at an Air Force base in Nevada, or at Charlie Rose’s table in New York City, President Obama is conducting an all-out campaign to try to make us feel a whole lot better about the economy as quickly as possible… We’re concerned that nothing has really been fixed. We’re doubly concerned that people appear to feel the worst of the storm is over — and in this, they are aided and abetted by a hugely popular and charismatic president and by the fact that the Dow has increased by 35 percent or so since Mr. Obama started to lay out his economic plans in March.

This result relied on more than mere dint of personality. A Pew Research Center study found that roughly government and businesses originated over half the economics-related news after the crisis. Obama himself “dominated” the key images and ideas. The reporting had a clear arc. The early coverage focused on the struggles over the stimulus plan and the banking industry plans, and as those faded, so did coverage of the crisis in any form. The tacit assumption was that the crisis was over, and the performance of the supposedly forward looking stock market was proof. But as anyone with a modicum of detachment could see, the market was a false positive, treating an aversion of utter disaster as an imminent return to normalcy.

The stock market has rallied over 60% from its early March lows, enabling the wounded banks to sell new equity to the public and avoid further contentious taxpayer-funded rescue measures. But the justification for the soft glove treatment of the banking classes, that what was good for them would prove to be good for everyone else, has proven to be wildly false. When the Dow levitated over 10,000, mainstream news outlets celebrated the event, with nary a mention of the continued train wreck in the real economy. As Matt Taibbi observed, “the dichotomy between the economic health of ordinary people and the traditional ‘market indicators’ is not merely a non-story, it is a sort of taboo — unmentionable in major news coverage.”

But banking boosterism has succeeded all too well, allowing Team Obama to fantasize that it can get away with creating Potemkin prosperity in lieu of waging the pitched battles needed to lay the groundwork for the real thing.

Indeed, the adoption of the Theory of Positive Thinking has virtually guaranteed that nothing will change, unless there is sufficient deterioration in the real economy or the financial markets to provide compelling counter-evidence. One example is the “paying back the TARP” charade. As the banks continued to post improved earnings, no matter how phony they were, they argued that they were now healthy and should be allowed to pay back the TARP funding that had been crucial to their survival. The reason they were so keenly motivated to do should have been reason enough to deny their request: namely, that they wanted to escape restraints on executive compensation, virtually the only demand that the government had made. But overpaying staff and keeping too little in the way of risk reserves was precisely the behavior that led to the near collapse of the financial system. Going back to business as usual would virtually guarantee more looting of major financial firm and another series of collapses.

But the Obama administration miscalculated badly. First, it bought the financiers’ false promise that massive subsidies to them would kick start a economy. But economists are now estimating that it is likely to take five years to return to pre-crisis levels of unemployment. Obama took his eye off the ball. A Democratic President’s most important responsibility is job creation. It is simply unacceptable to most Americans for Wall Street to be reaping record profits and bonuses while the rest of the country is suffering. Second, it assumed finance was too complicated to hold the attention of most citizens, and so the (non) initiatives under way now would attract comparatively little scrutiny. But as public ire remains high, the press coverage has become almost schizophrenic. Obvious public relations plants, like Ben Bernanke designation as Time Magazine’s Man of the Year (precisely when his confirmation is running into unexpected opposition) and stories in the New York Times that incorrectly reported some Goldman executive bonus cosmetics as meaningful concessions have co-existed with reports on the abject failure of Geithner’s mortgage modification program. While mainstream press coverage is still largely flattering, the desperation of the recent PR moves versus the continued public ire and recognition of where the Adminsitrations’s priorities truly lie means the fissures are becoming a gaping chasm.

So with Obama’s popularity falling sharply, it should be no surprise that the Administration is resorting to more concerted propaganda efforts. It may have no choice. Having ceded so much ground to the financiers, it has lost control of the battlefield. The banking lobbyists have perfected their tactics for blocking reform over the last two decades. Team Obama naively cast its lot with an industry that is vastly more skilled in the the dark art of the manufacture of consent than it is.


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  1. StevieWonders

    March 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I agree with Rick Santelli. He said many times the blame goes all around banks,etc. included. I know for a fact, people had their hand in the problem too.I know people that took advantage of the really easy money, it was fun while it lasted. I read Taibbis Rant, seems he doesn’t watch Santelli, because he doesn’t know what Rick talks about. Taibbi is taking one thing and acting like that’s all Rick has ever said. I think it was a cheap shot, maybe Taibbi has a beef with Santelli, I also read on Businessinsider (from a link from the comments on Taibbis blog)that Taibbi or Mad Dog as they call him has anger issues. It also seems to me that Matt has a political disposition, and Santelli is just getting information out to his viewers. I like hearing both sides, so I can form my own opinion!

  2. admin

    March 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    SW: Sure Matt sometimes jumps fast and writes fast, but I like him. He is mostly on point and on target. To point the finger of blame at the party with the least power, money and ability to perform is just scape-goating and side stepping.

    The truth is the lenders got everyone into these contracts at inflated values on false pretenses (the market will always go up) which, as they are the financial professionals, is simple hog-wash. Financial experts know all about market cycles. They also know what happens when you flood the markets with easy money. To say a borrower is to blame for taking them up on their bogus offer to get into a predatory contract is just being intellectually lazy and once again blaming the victim. Sure people took advantage, sure there were some who behaved badly, either out of ignorance or self interest, but who set them up to do that? If you don’t want people defaulting on loans you should not lend them 1million dollars at 1500$ a month and then be surprised when they cannot pay more than the 1500$ you qualified them to pay.

    Read Albert Edwards piece on this blog about how the central banks have stripped the wealth of the middle class out to the top .01% in the last 20 years. You can miss the big picture watching the minutia.

    More importantly, when the commentators blame the public for the planned and implemented wrong doing of the power players who control the money and the rules, then it just continues to obscure the underlying truth which is that the entire nation has just been sold down the river.

    Consider this: The banks got everyone into overinflated contracts for payment that were unsustainable. Then they sold those same unsustainable contracts to the managers of the borrowers’ retirement funds as “investments” – then they bet on the failure of those same investments, against their own clients (the fund managers who bought the MBSs) and on EVERY front they made a profit and everyone else lost.

    Read William Black’s work on Control Fraud. Get a grasp of the whole picture. This is not a reason to start blaming various sectors of our population for something that is systemic and pre-meditated.

    Where Matt Taibbi gets it right is that he doesn’t let people get away with missing the underlying facts. He does what any real investigator MUST do: he follows the money.

    If you want to blame your neighbor for falling for a teaser rate easy entry scam, so be it but you won’t find me joining you in that. I’ve spent way too much time in the trenches here and I can tell you that for every person who “took advantage” by getting what they THOUGHT was a great deal and a personal windfall – (which, by the way they have now lost everything because of) there are twenty more who were just hard working people with no real concept of financial reality who bought a house based on what they were TOLD they would be able to afford – to refinance later into something better.

    Between the FDIC loss share program and the HAMP and TARP and HAFA and HOPE and all the rest the lenders are now making a PROFIT on their foreclosures and short sales at the tax payers and home owners expense.

    And who ever does not understand that this is why banks should be public utilities, and/or should be so highly regulated that they cannot use their own money to bet against their own clients, or to steal blindly from their customers still has not grasped what has happened here and is now happening all over the world.

    The people of Iceland got it right: We didn’t make the loans, we didn’t insure the investments – we didn’t have anything to DO with this money shenanigans – and STILL their elected officials are at the table trying to “negotiate” a settlement on debts that they had no part of.

    When you combine that with the blatant theft of the wealth of the world through loan sharking and debt impoverishment of nations that has been going on for decades it is no wonder the entire system is on the verge of collapse. It deserves to fail. And the bankers who perpetrated this madness and greed belong in jail. Period.

    Everyone compares this to the 1930s but in the 1930s there was a response by government that put people in jail. Today we are still paying the crooks who stole the money in the first place. Front loaded predatory loans that made a profit at the start of the scam are now back ended FDIC loss share foreclosures making them more profits on the back end.

    The sad truth is that the only way this could have happened is if we had a population so woefully uneducated about money and finances (who all grew up in the brave new world of credit cards and monthly payments – arguably the logical extension of a government now set on harvesting the working capital of its people in income taxes – who do not comprehend that indebtedness is financial slavery – and you offer them what to them looks like a workable payment – for something that seems incredible – they trust you and take it.

    To suggest that the fault of this massive extortion is to be laid at the feet of the borrowers is like saying children who are allowed to feed themselves a diet of candy all day are responsible for having no teeth. Sure the borrowers are not children, but in this case they are ignorant of higher level finance. That is why the laws that require borrowers to provide disclosure are so critical.

    There are plenty of studies out from the people bothering to ask the questions that show that our brains do not manage the concepts of debt and payments and wealth building and asset management well without some extensive trainging and education – and our education system does exactly NOTHING in this regard; which means the vast majority of Americans are financial illiterates. It may not be popular to say so, but it is the truth. Seventy five percent of Americans recently polled could not tell you what percentage of 8 was equal to 2.

    The difference between human and beasts is supposed to be our higher intellect. If we refuse to use it when confronting such major issues as this and instead turn to scape goating and finger pointing and ‘common sense’ where none exist then we are doomed to go right down the road they are making ready for us into complete neo-feudlism. I for one am not going.

    Every single major media outlet is owned by the multi-national corporations. Every one. Read the blogs, read the independent thinkers. Let the media talk to themselves – and don’t let them get away with blaming the people for what has been a perfectly orchestrated global heist of the first order.

  3. StevieWonders

    March 11, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    One last time, Santelli has always said the blame goes all around. Taibbi has no idea what Santelli talks about, he just is spinning one hit, out of hundreds and hundreds.One thing Santelli doesn’t do is miss the underlying facts. I read Taibbi stuff. He just didn’t do his homework. You can see for yourself, there are many,many youtube videos on Santelli to prove this. Matt is either lazy, has a beef with this guy, or is just doing what liberals do best Lie! Taibbi should stick to following pot stories, maybe a nice healthcare piece on marijuana. The human, beast thing is just dumb! Just because we don’t choose to have this administration reward bad behavior(no matter whose)with our hard earned money, and that of our children, doesn’t mean we are uncaring. I can make my own charitable donations, I don’t need anyone to tell me how saintly to be. I believe that’s called freewill, and I’m also to old for a nanny! So you and Taibbi can do whatever with your money, put it where your mouth is! Just keep your sticky fingers off of mine! P.S. Sounds like you don’t disagree that people had a part in this housing crisis,that makes Taibbis Rant apply to you too,I guess that makes you a racist! So how’s that working for you?