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Baby it’s cold outside

Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone:

Unchained melody

Righteous Brothers:

Anderson’s electronic instruments make the track sound as big and empty as a prairie, and her voice is beautifully droll. She makes numbness sound sexy. More here.

Rotten to the core

Bill Black (h/t Lambert):

When you are told no one could see this crisis coming, ask them about the subprime crisis of 1990 to 1991. It’s a trick question. As all good things do in the world of fraud, this one started in Orange County, where you had significant people making liars loans. Now, remember, it is the lenders who put the lies in liars loans, not the borrowers. We know this empirically. And we stopped that—because it was insane—as regulators. And guess what happened? The leading folks making liars loans gave up their federal charter, gave up federal deposit insurance, and became a mortgage bank for the sole purpose of escaping regulation. And they changed their name. Some of you will recognize this name—to Ameriquest. Ameriquest was the leading predatory lender that in addition to making liars loans every day of the week targeted minorities to destroy that wealth you just heard about. They targeted Latinos, they targeted Blacks, and they were caught. They were caught three times doing this and the justice department refused to prosecute. Instead they settled for four hundred million dollars and guess what happened to the head of Ameriquest? Did he: a) resign in disgrace, b) was he indicted, or c) did we make him our ambassador to the Netherlands? Got it and won. How hard is this to figure out? Why do you think we made him our ambassador to the Netherlands? Because he was the leading political contributor to president of the United States of America. And that’s bad but what comes next is far worse. Remember, this is the most notorious fraud in the nation. It targets minorities. Everybody knows it does so. Two entities rushed to acquire these personnel and this business and their names—Citicorp and Washington Mutual—who become two of the most notorious frauds in all of this.

So timewise I’ll stop here but the case is, when we prosecuted, we had a ninety-percent conviction rate when they had the best criminal defense lawyers in the world and they spent money like water to protect the CEO from going to prison. So when they tell you no one can stop this, it is utter nonsense. I’ll leave you with these statistics: the FBI warned of this in September 2004. In open testimony, it warned expressly that there was an epidemic—I’m quoting—an “epidemic of mortgage fraud” and it predicted it would cause a financial crisis. If that’s not enough, the industry own anti-fraud experts in 2006, in writing, went to every mortgage banker in America and virtually every other lender and said three things: 1) stated income loans are an open invitation to fraudsters, 2) the incidence of fraud in such loans is 90%, and 3) these loans deserve the phrase—used by the industry behind closed doors—they are liars loans because they are pervasively fraudulent. How big did they get? Well, what did the industry do after it was warned? Did it stop making these loans? No! It massively increased the amount of these loans such that by 2006, one out of every three home loans in America was a liars loan. And that’s why we have a crisis and it came from the very top of these organizations, and it went through—as the FHFA said in its complaint—the largest banks in the world were endemically fraudulent. It is not a few rotten apples. It is an orchard of one percenters who are rotten to the core.

Interesting

Some thoughts on inbreeding.

Austerity measures = medieval bleeding

Millions are protesting in Britain, and it’s no wonder — the government is making an already sick economy even sicker. Paul Krugman provides a good analogy. More here.

Resistance

Cops and movers in Atlanta refused to remove a 103-year-old woman and her 83-year-old daughter from their home in foreclosure proceedings.

Oh, and fuck you, Deutsche Bank.

2 million people in the streets

Of England protesting austerity cuts:

Heh

Glenn Greenwald eviscerates the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus:

Marcus — last seen in this space three years ago demanding that Bush officials be fully shielded from all accountability for their crimes (the ultimate expression of “respect for authority”) — wants everyone to learn and be guided by extreme deference to political officials and to humbly apologize when they offend those officials with harsh criticism. In other words, Marcus wants all young citizens to be trained to be employees of The Washington Post.

UPDATE: Charles Pierce has more.

Matt Taibbi smacked down the SEC regarding its slap-on-the-wrist penalty against Citigroup, but so-called objective reporters seem to think the SEC is a victim! More here.

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