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Beyond Spitzer: Tha Abyss of Business

recorded 3/27//08

1) 2:43 Radio Essay - short - MP3

2) 3:54 Radio Essay - long - MP3

Beyond Spitzer -- The Abyss of Business

[col. writ. 3/25/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

    It has been several days since the national fever has broken over the alleged sex scandal of the meteoric politician, Eliot Spitzer, and like a predator seeking fresh prey, the media has prowled on, seeking a new feeding ground.

    But, even as the embers cool 'on the barby', we seem to have been drowsing, for we have missed the most important things about this scandal.

    There is a reason why today's media is little more than a recurrent sex-fest, and a reality show machine.

    This navel level of programming keeps us too dazed to appreciate what lies behind the curtain.

    In Spitzer's case, yes, hypocrisy was a juicy story that few true reporters could ignore.

    But what was more important; who he slept with, or what he was involved in shortly before his ungracious fall from grace?

    The well-known investigative reporter and writer, Greg Palast (author of Armed Madhouse; Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?.... (N.Y.: Dutton, 2006), was, in his pre-reporter days, a student of Milton Friedman, who earned a degree in finance.

    He thus has insight into economic matters.  In a recent article, * Palast has pointed to Spitzer's efforts to criminalize and outlaw the sub prime  market, which Spitzer considered not just unjust, but illegal. That's because sub-prime lenders, using a process called "steering", directed some 71% of such business to Black and Latina high-income families. Only 17% of similar white families received such loans.  The loans were essentially balloon payments, which had cheap teaser rates to attract (and indeed, entrap) home buyers, and once the bait was hooked, the monthly payments exploded. If home owners couldn't afford the increased payments, they were evicted, and their properties were rushed back to the market, and other families were snared.

    It was great for everybody -- but homeowners.

    On Feb. 13, Spitzer wrote, for the Washington Post, "When history tells the story of the sub prime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects  on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably."

    Spitzer added, "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."

    That date is significant not only because that's when he penned these words, but on that evening he would visit a Washington hotel room and, of course, the rest is history.

    As he began his precipitous fall from power, the federal government began its $200 billion bailout of the bankers who issued these sub primes.

    For the bankers, everything; for the families who've lost their homes -- nothing.

    And while Spitzer was far from a perfect public servant, his instincts were to follow the money (well-- everyone's but his own).

    In law, what these bankers did was tantamount to predatory lending, or what's called "fraudulent conveyances" --- in a sense, this is a huge bait and switch!

    But, they have nothing to fear. They were given the biggest public payoffs since the infamous savings and loan scandals of the 1980's.

    But, Spitzer is, for all intents and purposes, out of the game, as surely as he was ejected from the governors mansion.

    But, he's a wealthy man, and will always have a place to live.

    For the duped borrowers, and their families, they should be so lucky.

--(c) '08 maj

[*Source:  Palest, Greg, "Eliot's Mess: The $200 billion dollar bail our for predator banks and  Spitzer charges are intimately linked,"  AirAmerica, Clout: http://mailings.gregpalast.com//It/tgo.php?i=Mjuxnzu=&I=http--www.GregPalast.com]


[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.


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[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
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justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

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