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Thread: Wall Street Whitewash

  1. #1
    Havakasha is offline

    Wall Street Whitewash

    OP-ED COLUMNIST
    Wall Street Whitewash
    By PAUL KRUGMAN
    Published: December 16, 2010

    When the financial crisis struck, many people — myself included — considered it a teachable moment. Above all, we expected the crisis to remind everyone why banks need to be effectively regulated.

    How na´ve we were. We should have realized that the modern Republican Party is utterly dedicated to the Reaganite slogan that government is always the problem, never the solution. And, therefore, we should have realized that party loyalists, confronted with facts that don’t fit the slogan, would adjust the facts.

    Which brings me to the case of the collapsing crisis commission.

    The bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was established by law to “examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.” The hope was that it would be a modern version of the Pecora investigation of the 1930s, which documented Wall Street abuses and helped pave the way for financial reform.

    Instead, however, the commission has broken down along partisan lines, unable to agree on even the most basic points.

    It’s not as if the story of the crisis is particularly obscure. First, there was a widely spread housing bubble, not just in the United States, but in Ireland, Spain, and other countries as well. This bubble was inflated by irresponsible lending, made possible both by bank deregulation and the failure to extend regulation to “shadow banks,” which weren’t covered by traditional regulation but nonetheless engaged in banking activities and created bank-type risks.

    Then the bubble burst, with hugely disruptive consequences. It turned out that Wall Street had created a web of interconnection nobody understood, so that the failure of Lehman Brothers, a medium-size investment bank, could threaten to take down the whole world financial system.

    It’s a straightforward story, but a story that the Republican members of the commission don’t want told. Literally.

    Last week, reports Shahien Nasiripour of The Huffington Post, all four Republicans on the commission voted to exclude the following terms from the report: “deregulation,” “shadow banking,” “interconnection,” and, yes, “Wall Street.”

    When Democratic members refused to go along with this insistence that the story of Hamlet be told without the prince, the Republicans went ahead and issued their own report, which did, indeed, avoid using any of the banned terms.

    That report is all of nine pages long, with few facts and hardly any numbers. Beyond that, it tells a story that has been widely and repeatedly debunked — without responding at all to the debunkers.

    In the world according to the G.O.P. commissioners, it’s all the fault of government do-gooders, who used various levers — especially Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored loan-guarantee agencies — to promote loans to low-income borrowers. Wall Street — I mean, the private sector — erred only to the extent that it got suckered into going along with this government-created bubble.

    It’s hard to overstate how wrongheaded all of this is. For one thing, as I’ve already noted, the housing bubble was international — and Fannie and Freddie weren’t guaranteeing mortgages in Latvia. Nor were they guaranteeing loans in commercial real estate, which also experienced a huge bubble.

    Beyond that, the timing shows that private players weren’t suckered into a government-created bubble. It was the other way around. During the peak years of housing inflation, Fannie and Freddie were pushed to the sidelines; they only got into dubious lending late in the game, as they tried to regain market share.

    But the G.O.P. commissioners are just doing their job, which is to sustain the conservative narrative. And a narrative that absolves the banks of any wrongdoing, that places all the blame on meddling politicians, is especially important now that Republicans are about to take over the House.

    Last week, Spencer Bachus, the incoming G.O.P. chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told The Birmingham News that “in Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

    He later tried to walk the remark back, but there’s no question that he and his colleagues will do everything they can to block effective regulation of the people and institutions responsible for the economic nightmare of recent years. So they need a cover story saying that it was all the government’s fault.

    In the end, those of us who expected the crisis to provide a teachable moment were right, but not in the way we expected. Never mind relearning the case for bank regulation; what we learned, instead, is what happens when an ideology backed by vast wealth and immense power confronts inconvenient facts. And the answer is, the facts lose.

  2. #2
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Like we haven't heard this before from Krugman.

    I cannot for the life of me understand why a liberal cannot understand the role of freddie and fannie in the housing crisis. Here's an anology, but I wonder why I do it. You are so engrained in your own beliefs that you will recognize nothing remotely contrary. In fact, you usually end up deriding it, probably even hurling an insult, but here I go.

    If the government were to make "policy" that all gambling losses could be written off 100%, what do you think would happen? Yes, lots of folks would gamble knowing that there is safe backing by the US government.

    Now I know Banks were irresponsible. Money was too easy. They took advantage of government policy, so blame goes both ways.

    Face it, what you want America to become is something more like Venezuala.

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
    Fannie Freddie Forked Tongue by Paul Krugman

    "Oh, my. As I pointed out in today’s column, Republicans on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission are pushing a false story — that Fannie and Freddie, by pushing loans to low-income buyers, created the housing bubble and hence the crisis.

    The right way to refute this story is to point to all the contrary evidence. But catching the commissioners in some rank hypocrisy can’t hurt.

    And sure enough, Richard Green points us to this 2006 article by Conservative Peter Wallison in which he attacks Fannie and Freddie for … not doing enough to promote borrowing by low-income home buyers:

    'There are many lenders aggressively competing to make the higher-amount loans, and the GSEs are not doing the job they should for low-income homebuyers.
    Fannie and Freddie should do a much better job of providing affordable home financing to a neglected portion of the mortgage market.'

    Less than a year after that article was published, by the way, the subprime meltdown began.

    So, a quick summary: the Republican position is that Fannie and Freddie caused the bubble by doing what we said they should be doing but denounced them, at the peak of the bubble, for not doing. Got it?"

    HERE IS ONE READER'S COMMENT ABOUT THIS CATCH:

    "That was an awesome catch.
    And come on the real reason is this, also from the same AEI paper. 'The list of friends of Fannie
    and Freddie changed over time; wheel the GSE's enjoyed broad BIPARTISON support in the 1990's,
    over the past decade, they have become increasingly aligned with the Democrats.' It really boils
    down to politics and money.
    Fannie and Freddie make for a convenient scapegoat and wont cost the Republicans their financial support. They get tremendous amounts of money from Wall Street so the Republicans are trying to change the narrative to minimize it role and protect their benefactors.
    ITS SO OBVIOUS ITS INSULTING."
    Last edited by Havakasha; 12-20-2010 at 01:18 AM.

  4. #4
    Havakasha is offline
    And here is that Peter Wallison article that Krugman refers to.

    Higher GSE Limits Would Hit Those Who Need Help
    By Peter J. Wallison, John J. Lafalce | American Banker
    Friday, March 3, 2006

    The GSEs are not doing the job they should for low-income homebuyers.

    We come from different political backgrounds and differ on the merits of government-sponsored enterprises, but we are in complete agreement that the government should not be subsidizing housing for the wealthiest in our society.

    Yet that would be the result of a provision in the GSE reform bill passed by the House this past fall. It would raise the “conforming loan” limit for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by a whopping 50% and thereby increase the access of wealthy homebuyers to a government subsidy that Congress intended to benefit families with low and moderate incomes.

    So far, the Senate has rightly balked at including this provision in its own bill.

    To help ensure that the subsidy accorded Fannie and Freddie was used only for those who need it, Congress established limits--called “conforming loan limits”--on the amount of a mortgage that Fannie or Freddie could deal in. Under existing law, the limit has risen to $417,000.

    This is already too high. To qualify for a $417,000 mortgage, a family would have to earn at least $130,000--more than twice the median family income in this country, and hardly a low or moderate income.

    The House bill, however, would increase the conforming loan limit by 50%, to $625,500, for higher-cost areas across the entire United States. To qualify for a mortgage of that size, a family’s income would have to be $190,000, almost three times the national median, and in the top 5% of all family incomes. And such an increase would probably mean, assuming a standard down payment, that the actual cost of the home would be about $800,000.

    Let’s be clear about what this means. To the extent that Fannie and Freddie make loans to these wealthy families for high-cost homes, they are not making loans to the families of low and moderate income that Congress intended to benefit.

    The GSEs and some special interests that benefit from government subsidies for housing are now trying to convince the Senate to adopt the House-passed provision. This would be very bad public policy--not just extending a subsidy to those who don’t need it, but depriving those who do need help of whatever benefits the GSEs confer.

    In any event, the GSEs’ record in providing assistance for homebuyers of low and moderate income has not been good. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has long had regulations intended to focus Fannie and Freddie on low-income or affordable housing. HUD secretaries have set goals, but these have had little effect in helping ensure the GSEs meet the housing needs of the underserved.

    In an April 2002 report, HUD found that the GSEs “continued to underperform the conventional conforming market in funding affordable home purchase loans for borrowers and neighborhoods targeted by the housing goals.” It also found that “their market share for each of the affordable lending categories is less than their share of the overall market; and they account for a very small share of the market for important groups such as minority first-time homebuyers.”

    In other words, despite their significant subsidy--about $20 billion, according to a 2004 Congressional Budget Office study--the GSEs were doing less than conventional lenders in helping the underserved. The HUD data was striking: GSE purchases were about 46% to 48% of all home loans originated in metro areas, but only 24% to 29% of loans for African-American and Hispanic borrowers, and about 35% to 37% for low-income borrowers and properties in underserved areas.

    Further, a Federal Reserve Board staff study had earlier found that the GSEs, despite their large and growing portfolios and dominance of the conforming market, provided only about 4% of the credit support going to minority borrowers.

    Even more troubling, the GSEs have been more interested in looking good than doing good. Recently, both Fannie and Freddie were found to have engaged in “roundtrip” transactions purely to “appear” to meet goals rather than actually funding goal-related loans. They did this by purchasing mortgages from major financial institutions but with agreements containing dissolution options that allowed the seller to take the mortgages back within a very short time.

    So, one must ask: Why should the GSEs be allowed to underwrite mortgages of up to $625,500 for homes costing about $800,000? There are many lenders aggressively competing to make the higher-amount loans, and the GSEs are not doing the job they should for low-income homebuyers.

    Fannie and Freddie should do a much better job of providing affordable home financing to a neglected portion of the mortgage market. And this certainly doesn’t include someone applying for a $625,500 loan."

    AND ONE COMMENT ON IT:

    Bethany McLean on the GOP "primer" on the financial crisis
    She writes:

    This narrative isn't completely wrong—but it is shockingly incomplete, which makes it, in the end, a ludicrous distortion of what happened.
    Three points. First, I have never, ever, seen Peter Wallison suggest that banks are ever anything but morally upright and wise, despite lots of evidence to the contrary (I would welcome a correction on this point).

    Second, to say that the Affordable Housing Goals were major contributors to the crisis is silly, because as people like Wallison liked to point out, the GSE's continually lagged the market when it came to advancing mortgages to low income borrowers and underserved areas. Wallison specifically said in 2006 that GSEs were "not doing the job they should for low income borrowers. Finally, the Community Reinvestment Act did not cover many of the financial institutions that originated the most toxic loans.

    What bothers me about the entire Republican narrative is that it continues a pattern of argument that suggests that when it comes to finding fault, borrowers are always more culpable than lenders; low income people are always more culpable than high income people; and underrepresented minorities somehow have gotten an unwarranted good deal.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 12-18-2010 at 11:25 PM.

  5. #5
    Atypical is offline

    Covering the Republicansĺ Crisis Commission Document

    From the Columbia JOURNALISM Review (December 17, 2010)

    The four Republicans on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission released their own report Wednesday on the causes of the financial crisis after voting—I kid you not—to ban the words “Wall Street,” “shadow banking,” “interconnection,” and “deregulation” from the main report. Sure enough these words are nowhere to be found in their report.

    What can you say about that? {That's why conservatives are PUKES! Atypical]

    How about calling it “shockingly incomplete,” “a ludicrous distortion,” “simply false,” “utterly dishonest,” “calculatedly incomplete,” “a whitewash,” with “breathtaking conclusions.”

    That’s Bethany McLean at Slate on what the Republican commissioners, Bill Thomas, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Peter Wallison, and Keith Hennessey had to say. Thing is, she’s not being hyperbolic.

    Shahien Nasiripour of The Huffington Post was first to report the stunning Orwellianism of the Republican word ban, which is like writing about the origins of the Civil War without “The South,” “slavery,” “nullification,” and “secession.”

    The Republican remembers of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission want to blame the government for causing the financial crisis. Why? In no small part it’s because they know much of the press is institutionally incapable or unwilling to call them on Big Lies. Or to put it another way:

    The Republican report sets up a competing set of narratives for the financial crisis…

    and score a few political points themselves.


    That’s The Wall Street Journal’s news story yesterday on the Republicans’ report (It was also headlined “GOP Set to Issue Own Fiscal Report,” which is imprecise at best and misleading at worst).

    Reuters’s story goes with this lede:

    The panel empowered by Congress to investigate the causes of the 2007-2009 financial crisis is falling prey to the partisan bickering gripping Washington…

    The focus by Republicans on the role of government policies that subsidize and push homeownership as a problem stands in contrast to panel Democrats, who at hearings and other public events have pointed to fraud and shady business practices as a major factor in the crisis.

    Of these stories, plus ones in the Washington Post, Financial Times, and New York Times, not one points out that the Republicans’ report, or even elements of it, is misleading and/or false.

    Which brings us back to McLean’s Slate piece. Naturally, the Republican report places most of the blame for the crisis on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which is wrong). McLean says:

    As for the implication that subprime lending began with Fannie and Freddie and resulted from the government’s affordable housing goals, that’s simply false. Subprime lending began in the 1990s with a group of other, nongovernment-affiliated companies more aggressive than Fannie and Freddie that sold the mortgages they made to Wall Street. These mortgages, for the most part, had nothing to do with putting people in homes. They were refinancings, not purchase loans, and they allowed people to use their homes as ATMs. Homeownership was just a convenient fig leaf—albeit one embraced by lenders and politicians alike.

    For most of the 1990s, Fannie’s and Freddie’s affordable-housing goals required them to buy a certain percentage of mortgages made to families with a median income level. That was hardly onerous or risky, and anyway Fannie executives, who were far more preoccupied with return to shareholders, used to joke about the ways they neutered the affordable-housing rules. Indeed, there was an odd alliance between housing advocates and right-wing Republicans, both of whom complained—legitimately—that Fannie and Freddie weren’t really doing anything to help homeownership. For Republicans to ignore now those earlier contentions in order to claim that it was the housing goals that gave birth to subprime lending is utterly dishonest.

    McLean is writing a column here, but there’s quite a bit in these two paragraphs that a straight-news reporter could or should write (besides the last two words). Isn’t the question of whether a report is accurate or not something news reporters ought to be at least attempting to explore in their stories, especially when there’s plenty of reason to thing that it’s intentionally misleading?

    Paul Krugman on that:

    Never mind relearning the case for bank regulation; what we learned, instead, is what happens when an ideology backed by vast wealth and immense power confronts inconvenient facts. And the answer is, the facts lose.
    It’s hard to come up with a better explanation.

    I could quote McLean’s whole piece, but I’ll just go with this last part:

    Now, get ready for a few of the primer’s breathtaking conclusions. “Put simply, the risk of a housing collapse was simply not appreciated.” Shit happens. (“Bubbles happen” is, in fact, the first sentence in the report.) How about some exploration of why consumer advocates—who in the 1990s began warning the Federal Reserve and members of Congress that people were getting loans they couldn’t pay back—were ignored? Here’s another genius insight: “The panic ended when confidence returned.” That one inspired me to check the definition of panic (a “sudden overwhelming fear”) to make sure I wasn’t wrong to find this a bit redundant. Daylight appeared when the sun rose. War ended when the armies stopped fighting. Hurt went away when the pain subsided.

    That is what we call a beatdown.

    Bravo.

    __________________________________

    How many times does this myth have to be debunked? I believe that on this site alone it has been disproven by four or more different sources. But that doesn't matter, does it? It just shows that facts are ignored by ideologues - NO MATTER WHAT THE EVIDENCE SAYS.! Frightening what humans do to themselves to find comfort and solace in their beliefs. Kind of like religious fervor - no inconvenient facts are ever let in.
    Last edited by Atypical; 12-22-2010 at 04:00 PM.

  6. #6
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    First off, I am most glad for any republicans in office. Clearly, the democrats need a check and balance or the consequence is indeed socialism.

    Did you hear Obama's speech today. This is the guy I had hoped for. He noted that the governent needed to support the private sector as they are the ones who will hire the unemployed. I was hoping you or Lloyd would figure that one out. And guess what, once hired, income inequality will be reduced. Obama seems to get it, and it's probably due to the beat down the dems got last month. So again, as a non party affiliate, I am thankful for these republicans.

    As far as Fannie and Freddie - where to start. Bethany McClean? A quick google search clearly makes her out to be "liberal", and then there's this

    http://www.deepcapture.com/bethany-mclean/

    Another liberal. Liberal articles, liberal authors, liberal idealogy. Of course, Fannie and Freddie had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the crisis. It was the greedy banks. And you have the BALLS to call everyone else with any contrary opinion and idealogue. Fannie and Freddie DID have a role, as did the banks and fools who bit off more than they could chew, but you don't want to hear it.

    Here's the bottom line. If the government were not involved, business wouldn't make subprime loans. Get it? They'd be playing with their own money. It is really that easy.

    Next article will be Soros or the Huffington Post on the housing crisis lol.
    Last edited by SiriuslyLong; 12-22-2010 at 05:11 PM.

  7. #7
    Atypical is offline

    A Primer on Being a Rigid Ideologue.

    One of the most egregious mistakes a person can make is to be intellectually dishonest. That is, to be resistant to important new information and to ignore the possibility that it could change your beliefs about something. Common to this deficiency is to use labels as a way to justify ridicule of an idea or to avoid considering it at all. Rejection, a priori, becomes the rule.

    Let’s see…what can I use for an example? Let’s pick something at random. How about this?

    “First off, I am most glad for any republicans in office. Clearly, the democrats need a check and balance or the consequence is indeed socialism.”

    Now, there is no evidence for this remark, with the exception that all politicians need checks and balances. However, anyone who has seen how vicious, obstructionist and ridiculous republicans are would hardly want them balancing anything. A careful, objective view of facts indicates the opposite –unless you think any change is bad. Using the loaded and inflammatory word ‘socialist’ is also a giveaway that kool-aid has been imbibed.

    Now let’s look at this.

    ‘As far as Fannie and Freddie - where to start. Bethany McClean? A quick google search clearly makes her out to be "liberal", and then there's this"

    The story in the link is interesting if true. It should be followed up by those without an agenda. But her political affiliation, if accurate, may have nothing to do with this issue. It could be a reporter being over-zealous. What a concept!

    “Another liberal. Liberal articles, liberal authors, liberal idealogy. Of course, Fannie and Freddie had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the crisis. It was the greedy banks. And you have the BALLS to call everyone else with any contrary opinion and idealogue. Fannie and Freddie DID have a role, as did the banks and fools who bit off more than they could chew, but you don't want to hear it.
    Here's the bottom line. If the government were not involved, business wouldn't make subprime loans. Get it? They'd be playing with their own money. It is really that easy.

    Next article will be Soros or the Huffington Post on the housing crisis lol”

    So let’s see what’s being asserted here; 1) that any opinion by a liberal is always wrong. They will never be right about anything. Of course, that means only conservative opinions will be correct. How about this; if one hundred times a conservative is right about something-okay. If one hundred times a liberal is right-okay. Knowing how to know who's right is all that matters, not what their political party is. Accurate facts are all that count-and you have to know how to judge; 2) Fannie and Freddie did have roles but one must know what that means, exactly, not just use them as an excuse. 3) Business would never make a bad loan without government? Any awareness of business’ ethical violations will show that to be an absurd comment; Books have been suggested that provide a comprehensive analysis of the meltdown. I have read them. 4) Ah yes, Soros. The current ‘Satan’ of the right. Another tip-off that more kool-aid was being drunk.

    There is no evidence of any of the factors below being in the referenced post:

    Suspends judgment in the absence of sufficient evidence to support a decision-

    Understands the idea of degrees of belief-

    Recognizes the fallibility of one's own opinions, the probability of bias in those opinions, and the danger of weighting evidence according to personal preferences-
    Last edited by Atypical; 12-30-2010 at 04:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Atypical is offline

    This Is The Kind Of Vicious Anti-Semitism The Right Loves

    Puppetry by Hendrik Hertzberg (The New Yorker)

    It’s hardly news when Fox News airs something nasty. This time, though, it’s personal—or, at least, institutional. Recently, the nation’s highest-rated cable-news network’s biggest star devoted three hour-long episodes of his program to an attack on a single prominent citizen. The in-house advance publicity for these broadcasts was lavish. A promotional spot, distilling to thirty seconds the moral essence of the programs it advertised, is worth describing in full.

    An empty black screen. Then a quotation is superimposed:

    “MY MOTHER WAS QUITE ANTI-SEMITIC,
    AND ASHAMED OF BEING JEWISH.”

    Cut to black-and-white footage, nineteen-thirties-era, of anxious-looking people, presumably Jews, hurrying on a European street; a synagogue door; shawl-wearing Jews praying. On the soundtrack, the faint tha-thump of a beating heart. Another quotation, this one superimposed on a Star of David:

    “I DON’T DENY THE JEWS THEIR RIGHT
    TO A NATIONAL EXISTENCE—
    BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE PART OF IT.”

    A grainy photograph shows a grim-faced, middle-aged man glancing furtively over his shoulder. Who is he? The black background again, and this:

    SOURCE: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SOROS
    BY CONNIE BRUC,
    THE NEW YORKER, JANUARY 23, 1995

    More titles, each fading to the next, as the percussive heartbeat grows ominously louder:

    EXPOSING GEORGE SOROS
    A GLENN BECK SPECIAL EVENT
    THE PUPPET MASTER?
    TUESDAY NOVEMBER 9TH

    Call us oversensitive, but when our efforts are shanghaied like a nineteenth-century sailor and forced to work as a deckhand aboard a ship of lies, we can’t help getting our hackles up. You don’t have to be a professional semiotician to see that the Glenn Beck promo is intended to leave the impression that George Soros, the hedge-fund investor and funder of anti-totalitarian and liberal causes, is an anti-Semite; that he was somehow complicit in the Holocaust; and that he is an enemy of Israel. These are lies—lies told by innuendo, but lies all the same. The promo’s shard of truth is that “The World According to Soros” was indeed published in The New Yorker. Its author was Connie Bruck. (“Bruc” is a Fox flub, not a Fox fib.) The quotes from it, though accurately transcribed, are made to function as lies by being placed in an utterly mendacious context. Bruck’s article is the “source” of these smears only in the sense that the brooks of the Catskills are the “source” of New York City’s sewage.

    George Soros, born in Budapest in 1930, spent his boyhood hiding in plain sight from the Nazis and their local nationalist-Fascist surrogates. He survived, despite some frighteningly close calls, because his father disguised the family’s Jewishness with forged documents and fake identities. As a teen-ager, Soros witnessed the early years of Communist dictatorship. He immigrated alone to England, studied at the London School of Economics, and discovered that he had a feel for financial markets. In 1956, he took a job on Wall Street. (In New York, he was joined by his parents, who had become refugees after Soviet tanks crushed the Hungarian Revolution.) He made himself wealthy; he currently ranks as No. 35 on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world. Soros made and makes his billions in the amoral world of stock and currency speculation; he gives them away in a quite different spirit, but with the same eye for leverage. He provided crucial support to civil-society movements throughout the Soviet bloc. He probably did more than any other private citizen in the West to nudge European Communism into history’s dustbin. While his pro-democracy initiatives continue (Burma is a current area of focus), he has lately added a large domestic component, including funding for liberal policy institutes and advocacy groups. And he spent millions in support of the Presidential candidacies of John Kerry and Barack Obama.

    Apart from the forged documents and fake identities (and, of course, the support for Democrats), viewers of Fox News learned none of this from Beck. The promo was bad; the programs were worse. Beck pictured Soros as a deeply evil figure, a shadowy manipulator whose marionettes include unions, the Democratic Party, the media, and the President; a rapacious financier who seeks to subvert and destroy the American republic in order to satisfy his own greed for money and advance his plot to establish an all-powerful global state under his control. As it happens, these tropes correspond uncannily to those of classical anti-Semitism. This was too much for many who recognized the resemblance; Beck’s denouncers included not only the Anti-Defamation League but also Commentary, the neoconservative organ, and Reason, the libertarian bible. Certainly, the vast bulk of Beck’s fans didn’t recognize the tropes; probably he didn’t, either. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is not among the books he recommends to his fans. (“The Red Network,” by Elizabeth Dilling, to whom President Eisenhower was “Ike the Kike” and President Kennedy’s program the “Jew Frontier,” however, is.)

    The ugliest single sentence Beck uttered that week came on his radio program, which supplements his TV show. “Here’s a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps,” he said, referring to Soros, age thirteen. That’s no ordinary libel—it’s more akin to the blood variety. It was Beck’s ruminations on the Jewish Question that exhausted the patience of some conservatives, but that is a relatively minor aspect of his malicious crusade against Soros. Early in the first of his three hours, he set forth his theme, illustrating his alchemical talent for turning facts into lies:

    Soros has helped fund the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic, the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, the Rose Revolution in Georgia. He also helped engineer coups in Slovakia, Croatia, and Yugoslavia. So, what is his target now? Us. America.

    Relying on his audience’s na´vetÚ, Beck never mentions that all these uniformly peaceful “revolutions” were against Communist or post-Communist dictatorships. (As for the coups in the Balkans, there have been none to engineer.) The falsehoods quickly spin out into pathology; the next day, Beck is accusing Soros of plotting a Weimar-like inflation—“$11.43 for an ear of corn! One ear!”—in order to “reap obscene profits” and “bring America to her knees.” But enough. Too much of this can be hazardous to your health.

    Beck is often dismissed as an “entertainer”—the Rush Limbaugh excuse, calculated to make critics out to be stuffed shirts who can’t take a joke. Beck is nobody’s puppet, but he does have masters: Fox News and the News Corporation. Their respective chief executive officers, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, are the responsible—which is to say, irresponsible—parties. In an interview last week, Ailes had this to say about his National Public Radio counterparts: “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism.” No wonder that, for Beck, there are no strings attached. There don’t have to be. ♦

    _________________________________________
    If you hear or read a negative reference to Soros when someone is trying to make a point favorable to conservatives you can be sure that they are an adherent of this vomit - which makes them a lying, vicious, intellectually empty puke.
    Last edited by Atypical; 12-30-2010 at 03:32 PM.

  9. #9
    Sarah is offline
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    Cool Glen Beck

    I'm saddened by this article, but not surprised. Sure sounds like blood libel to this reader. So sad that a guy like Beck can get away with this: the uninformed gobbble this vitriol up. Cut-n-paste is all it is, and I don't want to write it but ... a guy like Stern gets the boot because he's too raunchy for primetime, while a hate-monger like Beck gets to spew untruths, half-truths, NO-truths freely - and the average listener has NO CLUE he's being duped.

  10. #10
    Atypical is offline
    Hi Sarah

    You make a very good point; that raunch gets stomped by prudes, or at the very least, by the overly-sensitive, while vicious hate, lies and an interest in destroying the fabric of the country gets a pass.

    The 'average listener' is being duped, however as you may know, there are addicts for this stuff also. They can't get enough - they're called conservatives.

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