Digging Deeper

Though I’ve been on a hiatus of late, I’ve tried to keep up with basic headline reading, dipping my toes into stories of interest [and/or those producing sheer outrage].  The latter pushed my crazy button when I read this headline last week at New Deal 2.0:

Eric Schneiderman Urges Progressives to “Dig Deeper” to Transform the System

Eric Schneiderman, NY State Attorney General, who vowed to take on Wall St., bring the wrong doers to justice and rectify the massive fraud perpetrated on American homeowners forced into foreclosure.  That Eric Schneiderman, the man I willingly and enthusiastically cheered.  I went so far as to send a note of appreciation.

That was then, this is now.

Because Eric Schneiderman threw his lot with President Obama’s weak-kneed, planned-to-fail foreclosure/securitization fraud task force that has effectively done zip, nada, even after the President’s stirring words during his State of the Union Address.  And then, there was Schneiderman’s claim that he would have a posse of investigators [that would be a total of 55 dedicated, blood hound investigators for a fraud estimated to be 80 times larger than the S&L debacle—which had 1000 investigators] to track down and document laws broken, crimes committed and bring the guilty parties to heel.

Camelot  Revisited! Now back to grim reality.

The wildly touted foreclosure fraud settlement was simply another Get-Out-of-Jail Pass (aka amnesty] for criminal enterprises that took American homeowners for a ride—a slippery slide right out of their homes.  For the inconvenience, the shocking upheaval and worry, 750,000 homeowners (of the 4 million homes seized since 2007] will reportedly receive $2000. What a deal! For the scammers, they received a blanket no-accountability kiss from the Obama Administration, by collectively paying $5 billion to states and the Federal government and allocating $20 billion more to ease the distress [loan modification] for a fraction of the 11 million homeowners now ‘underwater.’  Oh, and the pledge [step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back] to sin no more.

Problem solved!

Hummm.  Not really.  Because although the settlement was puny in terms of homeowner relief, it was at least . . . something.  Until we read in late February and early March that a number of states were diverting the settlement funds to plug shaky budgets.

I think it’s reasonable to say that damaged American homeowners have been left holding the bag–the dirty, empty bag.  Again.

But getting back to Eric Schneiderman, the man I had a temporary crush on, the Hero on a Quest Gone Terribly Wrong, had the gall to stand before a group, an initiative ironically entitled Rediscovering Government and give the keynote address, where he reportedly said [in the New Deal 2.0 piece cited above]:

Progressives’ efforts at making significant changes to the system after the financial crisis have mostly borne little fruit, he noted. We therefore “need to dig deeper” see how deeply the unfettered propaganda that less regulation leads to growth and higher taxes always create jobs has affected the American mindset and economy. We also have to aim for long-term, “transformational” change instead of the everyday “transactional” change we usually get bogged down in. We have to move past the election cycles and everyday battles to politics that involve working today to improve circumstances in the future and challenging the way that people think about issues in the first place.

What horse-hockey!

Long-term ‘transformational change,’ instead of that irritating ‘transactional’ change.  Are we to wish upon a star that the crime syndicate dies off, bankster-by-bankster [and all their ass-kissing dwarves]?  Let’s not get into those niggling details of fraud, disgusting greed and all manner of malfeasance, we’ll aim for future transformation?  What the hell does that mean?  Maybe a little corrective surgery down the road, where we implant a human conscience, a sense of honor and integrity into the Wall St. CEOs and their tracker jacker drones?  Otherwise, we might as well change the national motto to:

In Fraud We Trust.

And excuse me, Mr. Schneiderman!  You are the state AG of the Great State of New York.  You were standing square on the power plate and from everything I’ve read you had a fine hand of cards.  But then . . . you folded like a beach chair.

It does no good blaming the Republicans [though they certainly deserve much blame and condemnation] when you’re unwilling to take on the monster, to make good on your own words and vows, only to then turn around and use the editorial ‘we’ in describing what needs to be done in the future.  The future will be forever tainted by the past until we purge the rot and corruption out.  Plastering over an infection never works.  Corruption always bleeds through.  Sadly, I’m sure Mr. Schneiderman [to his ever-lasting shame] knows this.  And how exactly are the damaged parties, progressive or otherwise, suppose to dig for anything?  No job, no home, no healthcare, no future.  Not even a shovel.

Yesterday I stumbled across this:

Corporate America is shifting its focus in product development and marketing to serve the “hourglass economy.” The hourglass has two chambers connected by a slim channel. Translated into economic terms, or better yet, the emerging picture of America, the two chambers represent rich and poor, with virtually nothing in the middle.

Worse, while the traditional hourglass has two equal chambers, the economic hourglass does not. One chamber contains a small percent of the population and most of the wealth and the other is filled with the bulk of Americans, who have little access to resources and diminished hope for prosperity The hourglass economy has become so entrenched that Bloomberg News credits it with dividing Americans and defining U.S. politics.

Perfect!  Better yet:

Citigroup was quick to notice the hourglass trend that was taking root in 2009. To help investors cash in on the demise of the middle class Citigroup recently issued an hourglass investment advisory that highlights twenty stocks of companies targeting low end consumers and fifteen companies targeting the high end ones. Showing that the hourglass economy is real and gaining momentum, Citigroup’s hourglass index posted a whopping 56.5% return between Dec. 10, 2009 and Sept. 1, 2011, according to financial reporter,Patrick Martin.

Ahhhh, yes.  The American way—investing in feudalism’s bright, bright future.  You cannot make this stuff up.

We wonder [well, some wonder] why the electorate is dispirited, angry and disgusted.  This is a prime example.  Public officials from the President down are suppose to be working for the American public, not an abusive oligarchy.

Yes, the GOP propaganda regarding the ‘magical market’ needs to be exposed for the ludicrous and damaging fraud it is.  Taxes are a necessary tool in running any stable government, not a Marxist plot.  Regulation is a counterweight to capitalism’s reckless greed and worst instincts.  But public officials need to be on board, manning the bully pulpits, educating and inspiring the public to press for and demand honest, effective reform, not a slap-hazard wallpapering job called good when the result is an utter wreck. Elected, public officials [sometimes quaintly referred to as public servants] are suppose to be working for us–the public at large–for our welfare.  Not simply feeding the industrial/military complex, bowing and scraping to corporate financiers.

Literary critics question why The Hunger Games trilogy [a Young Adult series] has become so popular, why it’s had crossover appeal.  Bread and Circuses, the never-ending distractions, the deliciously effective tools of fear and need, so effective that not even our children escape [think students up to their eyeballs in impossible debt].

The allegory is us.

In any case, elections are upon us.  We’re going to hear all manner of pontificating, accusations screeched and name-calling taken to brain-freeze levels.  The really disturbing part?  Both 2012 candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, have sold their souls to the highest bidders.  We, the electorate?  We’re merely spectators sitting in the cheap seats.

Let the corporate dogfight begin!

Btw, for a chilling, even startling essay, I’d highly recommend an essay at Naked Capitalism: Code is Law.  Literally.

It’s another angle to look at and contemplate, one that I haven’t seen discussed before.   The comment section is equally good.

As for the election season?  We’re going to need a good shovel.