What I’m Reading

Rolling Stone: Exclusive: Homeland Security Kept Tabs on Occupy Wall Street

Naked Capitalism: Yet Another Mortgage Scam: Homeowners Not Getting Cancelled Notes After Foreclosures, Hit by Later Claims

Allison Frankel: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the MBS sleeper defense

David Dayen: Donovan Pressed on Foreclosure Fraud Settlement in Senate Banking Committee

Huffington Post: Q&A With Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss: How Does Puerto Rico’s Statehood Movement Help D.C.?

Reporters Without Borders: Tibet cut off from the rest of the world

TPM Muckraker: Vaginal Ultrasound Bills A Smokescreen, Say Pro-Choice Groups

Boston Globe: Mormons baptized slain reporter Daniel Pearl

Seeing Through the Data: MBA & Florida Foreclosure Mill Lawyers: MBS Bond Investors Aren’t “Frustrated”

Romney holds off the white knight for now

Originally posted at AMERICAblog Elections: The Right’s Field

Jonathan Karl, ABC News, February 17, 2012:

A prominent Republican senator just told me that if Romney can’t win in Michigan, the Republican Party needs to go back to the drawing board and convince somebody new to get into the race.

“If Romney cannot win Michigan, we need a new candidate,” said the senator, who has not endorsed anyone and requested anonymity.

George Stephanopolous, ABC News, February 28, 2012:

“What [Romney’s performance] tonight has done, I think, is kill any talk in Republican circles of finding another white knight to come into the campaign.”

At least for the moment, that is. Losing his home state of Michigan would have been devastating for Romney. But as it is, he only barely won and Rick Santorum will take home the same number of delegates as Romney. To the extent that Romney has killed the talk of a new “white knight,” it is just barely and just for the moment. He certainly hasn’t suddenly created a popular groundswell in the Republican base for his candidacy. Super Tuesday is a week away and it will be a major test that could produce wins for Romney, Gingrich and Santorum. If Romney gets his clock cleaned next Tuesday, watch for the talk of the white knight to reemerge.

What I’m Reading

Clay Johnson: Change Dot Biz

Wall Street Journal: For the Costliest Homes, Foreclosure Comes Slowly

Bloomberg: Buffett: Banks Victimized by Excesses of Ousted Homeowners (This is b.s.)

Washington Business Journal: D.C. owed $30.6M in condo conversion fees, audit says

Politico: Cuomo shuns media, gets attention

Dean Baker: Is Joe Nocera right when he says that fracking raises U.S. greenhouse has emissions by 20 percent?

Matt Stoller: Towards a Creditor State – One in Seven Americans Pursued by Debt Collectors

TPM DC: Hoyer Working Behind The Scenes On Major Deficit Reduction Bill

Glenn Greenwald: The NYPD spying controversy: a microcosm for the 9/11 era

Abigail C. Field: Dear State Attorneys General: You Failed America. Yes, You.

Greater Greater Washington: Liquor laws, lacking nightlife hurt Silver Spring bars

Rick Perlstein: Why Obama Needs to Change to Win

What I’m Reading

Think Progress: University of Virginia Football Player Goes On Hunger Strike To Get Living Wage For University Employees

Think Progress: STUDY: Ron Paul Never Attacked Romney Once During 20 Debates, But Attacked Romney’s Rivals 39 Times

Barry Ritholtz: Foreclosure settlement a failure of law, a triumph for bank attorney

Naked Capitalism: Abigail Field: Insider Says Promontory’s OCC Foreclosure Reviews for Wells are Frauds. Brought to You by HUD Sec. Donovan

The Uptake: A Tale Of Two US Bank-Occupy Foreclosures Raises Racial Questions

NY Times: Amid a Federal Education Inquiry, an Unsettling Sight

Maddow Blog: Who among us has not befriended NASCAR team owners?


The tragedy of our circumstances

To close out a very strong piece on the lack of honesty in public discourse around housing and the economy, Matt Stoller writes:

There is no honesty among our political elites, and by that statement, I don’t mean that they are liars. There are liars everywhere, and truthtellers as well. Most of us are concurrently both. What I mean is that the culture of the political elite is one in which a genuine conversation about the actual problems we are facing as a society simply cannot be held with any integrity. Instead, we have to chalk up problems in a very busted housing market, and a generation saddled with indentured servitude disguised as a debt, as one of “hormones”.

It sounds cute that way, I guess. Eventually, we will see integrity in our discourse. It’s unavoidable. You can’t operate a society solely on intellectual dishonesty because eventually all your bridges fall down, even the ones the rich use. For a moment, from 2008-2009, there was real discourse about what to do. We’ll see a moment like that again. Only, the environment won’t be nearly as conducive to having a prosperous democratic society as it was in 2008. There will be a lot more poverty, starvation, violence, and authoritarianism when the next chance comes around. Catastrophic climate change, devastating supply chain disruptions, political upheaval, geopolitical tensions and/or war – one more more of these will be the handmaidens of honest dialogue.

The tragedy is not that our circumstances will worsen dramatically, but that it just didn’t have to be this way.

I think that this is one of the most important aspects of what’s happening in America today. I also think the forceful, honest description of what is wrong with our society is what propelled the Occupy movement to popularity last fall. What we need now is not just accurate descriptions of the problems we face, though, but honest discourse on what we need to do to get out of this situation. Stoller’s right – it’s a tragedy that we’re in a moment where it is not happening and only by things getting worse is it likely to change.

What I’m Reading

Washington Post: Maryland Senate passes same-sex marriage bill

Baltimore Sun: Gay marriage law will likely be up to voters

Reuters: FDIC Lawsuits Yielded Big Penalties, But Bankers Haven’t Paid Up

Naked Capitalism: Fannie Putting More Dubious New Loans Back to BofA, So BofA Will Stick Them to Freddie Instead

Felix Salmon: Matter’s vision for long-form journalism

ABC News: Leaker of Stimulus Memo Uncovered?

Dealbook: Holder Defends Efforts to Fight Financial Fraud

WLS-TV: Window factory workers reach deal to stay open for now

Sally Kohn: Occupy’s Return from Hibernation

Matt Taibbi: Arizona Debate: Conservative Chickens Come Home to Roost

BoingBoing: Losar: Tibetan New Year, and “mandatory celebrations”

NPR: On Tibetan Plateau, A Sense Of Constant Surveillance

NY Times: A Shift From Nursing Homes to Managed Care at Home

CNBC: Regulators Plan Safeguards to Prevent Another MF Global

CEPR: A Primer on Private Equity at Work: Management, Employment, and Sustainability

Daily Kos: Sen. John Kerry writes in support of Netroots for the Troops

DCist: Former D.C. Police Commander to Sue City Over Charlie Sheen Motorcade

David Sirota: Forgetting the Past, One Military Movie at a Time

What I’m Reading

I’m going to try doing a periodic (daily?) roundup of what I’m reading.

NPR: With Banks As Landlords, Some Tenants Neglected (h/t Lynn Syzmoniak)

Dealbook: Responding to Critics, S.E.C. Defends ‘No Wrongdoing’ Settlements

Bloomberg: Bank Lobby Widened Volcker Rule Before Inciting Foreign Outrage (via Neil Barofsky on Twitter)

NY Times: Mutated Trout Raise Concerns Near Mine Sites

Amanda Marcotte: The radical anti-insurance plan the right has concocted

Mercury News: San Francisco: Clergy rally at Wells Fargo to protest foreclosure abuse

David Dayen: New Study From Consumer Advocates Shows Mass Servicer Abuse

David Dayen: HUD Continues Defense of Allowing HAMP Modifications as Part of the Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

Mike Konczal: Cochrane Sees Moral Hazard Only in One Direction

PC Mag: White House Proposes Privacy Bill of Rights With ‘Do Not Track’

NY Times: Deadly Car Bombings Strike Across Iraq

CNN: Tibetans cancel New Year celebrations