Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Peter Dale Scott on 1-27-09 + Michael Hudson on 2-27-09

"Saving American Politics from the Present Two-Party System" address by Peter Dale Scott to "The Republican Roundtable."

The guy who introduces PDS has no idea who he's dealing with and hasn't read any Scott, which reflects rather poorly on the RR as host. PDS is, in reality, the greatest documentarian of American suppressed history; he coined the phrase "Deep Politics"; he wrote some of the best books on the real origins of the Vietnam War, the large-scale structure of geopolitical crime and political sabotage, the two Kennedy Assassinations, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the global systems of drugs, oil, and war. He's also a fine poet with several books of poetry from the great New Directions Press.

This presentation by PDS just a month ago (1-27-09; it's now 3-2-09) is particularly interesting in light of his more frank and alarming article of a few weeks before (1-8-09):
Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and War
That article is rather bracing and well word reading immediately. Some weeks ago I was so struck by the section on the Gary Hartization of Eliot Spitzer just as he blew the whistle on the bush administration's Ponzi financial policy, that I posted a small excerpt of it here:

How the Bush Administration Protected Predatory Lending and Let the Financial Crisis Grow
Let us now consider the financial crisis and the panic bailout. No one should think that the crisis was unforeseen. Back in February Eliot Spitzer, in one of his last acts as governor of New York, warned about the impending crisis created by predatory lending, and reveled that the Bush Administration was blocking state efforts to deal with it. His extraordinary warning, in the Washington Post, is worth quoting at some length:
Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. …
Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers. . . . Several state legislatures, including New York's, enacted laws aimed at curbing such practices. . . .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 [Treasury] 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.
But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.21
Eliot Spitzer submitted his Op Ed to the Washington Post on February 13. If it had an impact, it was not the one Spitzer had hoped for. On March 10 the New York Times broke the story of Spitzer’s encounter with a prostitute. According to a later Times story, “on Feb. 13 [the day Spitzer’s Op Ed went up on the Washington Post website] federal agents staked out his hotel in Washington.”[22]
It is remarkable that the Mainstream Media found Spitzer’s private life to be big news, but not his charges that Paulson’s Treasury was prolonging the financial crisis, or the relation of these charges to Spitzer’s exposure.

Let's return to the video of his presentation to the Republican Roundtable. Here's part 3 of 4. It starts with PDS reiterating some shocking yet familiar statistics about the wealth transfer (not wealth production) upward from the general population into the coffers of the most wealthy. Then (at 1:26) he quotes Kevin Phillips on the FINANCIALIZATION of America, "'A process whereby financial services, broadly construed, take over the dominant economic, cultural, and political role in a national economy...' and in his wonderful book,
[Phillips] shows how this happened in Spain in the 16th Century and led to the rapid collapse of Spain; happened in the Netherlands the 17th Century led to the collapse of the Netherlands; and happened very conspicuously in Britian in the 19th Century, followed by the collapse of Britain as a world power..."

I've just ordered Philips' book, but I can already recommend a great book I read in 2004 on this: Super-Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance, by Michael Hudson. I got it new off the shelf for about $29 back then. Today there are 7 copies for sale on amazon, and the cheapest is $72. Word must've gotten out about the extraordinary explanatory power of Hudson's book. He did a great article in Harper's in May 2006 called "The New Road to Serfdom: An Illustrated Guide to the Coming Real Estate Collapse." Harper's wants money for access to its articles online (understandable), but here's a video interview with Michael Hudson:

And now back to Peter for Part 4 of 4:

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