Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oops - Spitzer Really Busted for Opposing Predatory Lending!

Bottom Line: This week George Bush's government bails out a bunch of predatory lenders using $200 billion of tax payers funds - or maybe just through printing press money. Last week - coincidentally? - it busted one of America's foremost critics of predatory lending practices, and governor of the state that harbors the biggest banks engaging in them, Governor Eliot Spitzer. Even though he is just one of the thousands of politicians engaged in lewd and/or illegal behavior. But we won't hear much about that from mainstream media.

Here's some of what Spitzer wrote in the Washington Post.com February 14, 2008 in Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers:

...Predatory lending was widely understood to present a looming national crisis. This threat was so clear that as New York attorney general, I joined with colleagues in the other 49 states in attempting to fill the void left by the federal government. Individually, and together, state attorneys general of both parties brought litigation or entered into settlements with many subprime lenders that were engaged in predatory lending practices. Several state legislatures, including New York's, enacted laws aimed at curbing such practices.

What did the Bush administration do in response? Did it reverse course and decide to take action to halt this burgeoning scourge? As Americans are now painfully aware, with hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure and our markets reeling, the answer is a resounding no.

Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.

Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function.

But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers. In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government's actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.

Greg Palast has written more about this at DissidentVoice.Org: "The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked." So has F. William Engdahl at Global Research: "Why the Bush Administration 'Watergated' Eliot Spitzer."

Yup, one more reason to secede from our very crooked union.

Which reminds me, check out my most recent entries at my Vermont Commons "Secede and Survive" blog:

Secessionist Theory and News: a listing of links to theoretical works, plus links to and brief descriptions of a couple of secession news items of note.

Benefits of Secession for Minorities: The benefits of political decentralization to them are positive, similar to the benefits I described previously for women.

Secession and Sectarianism: Secessionists face the problem of sectarianism both from the most rabid unionists who oppose secession on ideological grounds and, contrarily, from those who support it as a means of advancing and even imposing their sectarian agenda, be it racial, ethnic, religious or ideological. ...So it is very important to build a secessionist movement that recognizes and has strategies for dealing with sectarianism.

Liberty and Democracy as Antidotes to Sectarian Secessionism: This is a continuation of my previous entry on “Secession and Sectarianism.” It details two important antidotes to the problem of sectarian conflict among secessionists - Liberty and Democracy.

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