Throw the Bums Out — All of Them

Senate Millionaires Kill Mortgage Assistance for Citizens

The United States Senate took a swipe at the spirit of May Day in a spectacular show of callous indifference when it voted down a bill to provide limited assistance to citizens at risk for losing their homes. The final vote was 45 in favor, 51 opposed to Senator Richard Durbin’s (D-IL) mortgage assistance bill. The original version of the bill covered some but not all of those requiring assistance. The final version was even more restricted. It applied to only homeowners currently in foreclosure as a result of actions prior to the start of 2009.

The denial of assistance to citizens by Senators is ironic given the fact that the origins of the current economic crisis came from Senate legislative actions in 1999 and 2000.

While their avarice knows no bounds, their memory suffers.

Apparently these multimillionaire aristocrats of the Senate “gentlemen’s club” haven’t been watching the news. The International Monetary Fund declared that the United States is in a depression almost three months ago. Delinquency and foreclosure rates around the country are rising at spectacular rates. Unemployment has jumped by 3.3 million in the last five months. Economic growth has declined at a rate of 6.3% in the first quarter of 2009.

What part of economic crisis can’t they understand? Apparently all of it.

Memo to stingy Senators: Workers and their families are in serious trouble or about to be in trouble. That means they lack the money to pay for their homes (also known as shelter, a basic human need). These citizens did nothing to bring on this crisis.

You, the members of the Senate, are largely to blame and you know it.

One of the most revealing remarks came from Democrat Ben Nelson (D-NE) who said:

“Do I want to have my rate go up so that somebody else might be able to cram down” their mortgage payment?” asked Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who voted against the bill.

Nelson has never been regarded as the sharpest tool in the shed but he’s set a new standard for ignorance with this remark. Nelson was worth at least $7.0 million as of reporting in 2008. Obviously he needs to skimp on every penny to stay afloat. He’ll offer no breaks for financially strapped citizens on the brink of ruin even if they are in trouble as a result of his support of Wall Street welfare. The bill would have no impact on his or anybody else’s mortgage rate unless they qualified for help. In those cases, the rate would go down.

The Durbin bill offered a reasonable change in bankruptcy law that would allow those in foreclosure to ask (simply ask) bankruptcy judges to invoke a “cramdown.” In that process, the bankruptcy court would set a lower interest rates and longer terms on loans. This takes the case out of foreclosure and allows citizens to keep their homes and the lets banks collect the money owed at a lower rate over an extended period. (See this for a real cramdown to benefit all citizens.)

The Durbin bill provided limited options since it presumed that homeowners at risk had the money to get in bankruptcy court; that the courts would be able to handle all those in need; and that the judge would accept the request for a cramdown to keep people in their homes. But the bill might have helped as many as 1.7 million homeowners.

Even with those limitations, Sen. Durbin was forced against the wall and had to negotiate the bill to a lower level of protection. The final bill rejected by the Senate. Associated Press reported: “The latest proposal would have restricted eligibility to homeowners already in foreclosure whose lender had not offered better terms. Homes would also have to be worth less than $729,000 and apply to mortgage loans originated before 2009.”

Durbin’s last stand would have provided protection some homeowners but know there’s now protection for anyone.

William K. Black is the chief fraud investigator who untangled the 1980’s Savings and Loan fiasco. His comments on the current economic meltdown are instructive and assign blame:

“We need some chairmen or chairwomen … in Congress, to hold the necessary hearings (on banking fraud) and we can blast this out. But if you leave the failed CEOs in place, it isn’t just that they’re terrible business people, though they are. It isn’t just that they lack integrity, though they do. Because they were engaged in these frauds … they’re not going to disclose the truth about the assets.”

Senators, you allowed changes in banking regulations that turned Wall Street in to a big casino for the “in crowd” and wiped out millions of small investors and retirement funds.

You failed to monitor the new freedoms you gave the banks and Wall Street after you stripped away citizen protections in law since the Great Depression.

You created the current depression.

And now, you’re so stingy you won’t even help a few of the many people victimized by the massive corporate fraud schemes, Ponzi schemes according to Black.

Is there any reason why even one single Senator of the 51 who voted down this assistance should remain in office to complete his or her term?

Is there any reason to hold back from recalling them where allowed or demanding their resignations in every state that they represent?

I can’t think of one. Can you?

Michael Collins writes for Scoop Independent News and a variety of other web publications on election fraud and other corruptions of the new millennium. He is one of few to report on the ongoing struggles of Susan Lindauer, an activist accused of being a foreign agent, who was the subject of a government request for forced psychiatric medication. This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship, a link to this article, and acknowledgment of images. Read other articles by Michael, or visit Michael's website.

13 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. rg the lg said on May 1st, 2009 at 11:15am #

    May I suggest that each of you read:

    It applies to almost ANY so-called ‘elected’ body. And,if I could pick who should get the swine flu … the swine in congress would be first on the list.

    Sadly, they would only be replaced by more of the same!

    Now, was that a terrorist threat?

    So damned what … I for one am not interested in acting like every little event is going to be the end of the freakin’ world. Though, if homo sapiens (actually plumeus) were to disappear, that would be OK by me. (And yes, that does include me.)

    RG the LG

  2. Don Hawkins said on May 1st, 2009 at 11:39am #

    I watched that yesterday and I can’t think of one.

  3. lichen said on May 1st, 2009 at 12:58pm #

    I’ve heard about how in South Africa, communities band together to occupy and force off the police and corrupt landowners etc who try to evict their neighbors; and they win. Housing is a human right; and there should be no mortgages!

  4. joed said on May 1st, 2009 at 3:29pm #

    no one is going to be thrown out! you guys let the bad guys win and now there is nothing for you to do except whine and cry here in the FREE SPEACH ZONE(DissidentVoice etal). i have posted the A Force More Powerful site before but no one seemed interested and i doubt that anyone is interested now. what is interesting is that “Force” site was a pbs site but pbs no longer endorses human rights. amerika is a very sick society and all the words in the internet FREE SPEACH ZONES will not make amerika whole and well. only dire action will make change. check out this site and the vids, or don’t!

  5. Don Hawkins said on May 1st, 2009 at 5:05pm #

    Joed I went to that web site and here is part of that site interesting Stuff.

  6. Michael Collins said on May 1st, 2009 at 5:42pm #

    Joed, despite the implication that I’m a whiner, I looked at that site.

    ere are the backers of one of the Force More Powerful site’s exemplar of democratic revolutions in the former Soviet Union – the Ukraine, the Republic of Georgia etc.

    Not my cup of tea, but who knows. Maybe these Republican, Bush crew groups have changed.

    U.S. money has helped opposition in Ukraine

    By Matt Kelley

    December 11, 2004

    WASHINGTON – The Bush administration has spent more than $65 million in the past two years to aid political organizations in Ukraine, paying to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet U.S. leaders and helping to underwrite an exit poll indicating he won last month’s disputed runoff election.

    U.S. officials say the activities don’t amount to interference in Ukraine’s election, as Russian President Vladimir Putin alleges, but are part of the $1 billion the State Department spends each year trying to build democracy worldwide.

    No U.S. money was sent directly to Ukrainian political parties, the officials say. In most cases, it was funneled through organizations such as the Eurasia Foundation or through groups aligned with Republicans and Democrats that organized election training, with human rights forums or with independent news outlets.

    and more affiliates funding that “revololution:


    As is to be expected, it’s the same folks who were busy funding democracy movements in Venezuela. In this case a lot of the money was routed through the Eurasia Foundation, the Centre for Political and Legal Reforms, the International Republican Institute, many NED funded organizations such as American Center for International Labor Solidarity, Center for International Private Enterprise, the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, the Europe XXI Foundation, the Open Society Foundation – Ukraine, the National Democartic Institute For International Affairs, the Ukrainian Legal Foundation, the Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Research (Razumkov Center), and others….

    Many of the groups such as Center for Ukrainian Reform Education were specifically producing pro-market tv and radio programs as well as creating school materials and holding workshops for journalists. Another funded group is the International Centre for Policy Studies which actually has Mr Orange himself, Yushchenko, on its supervisory board.

  7. joed said on May 1st, 2009 at 6:12pm #

    Mr. Hawkins, that’s wonderful that someone besides me went there. my point of linking that site is to let amerikans know that they can do more than cry and whine in the FREE SPEACH ZONE(DissidentVoice etc). there are actual real humans that have sacrificed to get back their freedoms. and, this sacrifice is what amerikan people must do to make the changes they are crying and whining about now.
    i am not optimistic.

  8. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 2nd, 2009 at 7:13am #

    HELLO ALL: I am in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States of America. And things are not pretty good around here, i mean the economy is doing pretty bad, i can see it in people’s faces. There is a state of underconsumption combined with an overproduction situation of this Imperialist Monopoly Stage of capitalism. Just like Engels and Rosa Luxemburg wrote about. The USA economy will collapse soon and i think that the US proletarian will overthrow this corrupt capitalist system. I have faith in the scientific, historical-materialism writtings of Marxist Writters. They were scientists just like Einstein.

    Here is a great article about the option that we have in USA: Socialism or Mad Max Scenario of Barbarism:


    I have not studied Wallerstein, so I’m curious about his “socialism or barbarism” view — what does he mean by a worse system?

    I understand worst-case scenarios, like an inter-imperialist war going nuclear or biological leading to a kind of ‘Mad Max’ feudalism, but worst-cases are rare and not much to base your theory on. In the last 100 years we’ve seen some major crises and world wars that lead to new rounds of accumulation. How are things significantly different today?

    As I see it, there are two new factors in play here: resource and environmental exhaustion, which can only be overcome by large-scale planning, and the widespread IT infrastructure, which makes possible economic planning beyond the dreams of the 1930s. Both of those tend toward socialist solutions.

    I don’t really understand how a large-scale break down of accumulation leads to something which is exploitative and hierarchical and not capitalist and not socialist, unless he’s talking about the “Mad Max” scenario. Even that would seem to lead back to capitalism.

    Wallerstein is not saying that socialism is inevitable which was the position of mechanical marxist predictions in the past about the demise of capitalism. The Second and Third International prophecies about the end of capitalism tied together the thesis of the “inevitable end of capitalism” with the thesis of the “inevitable emergence of socialism.”

    The latter was deterministically thought as a result of the former. In Wallerstein we have the thesis of the “inevitable end of capitalism” without the “inevitable emergence of socialism.”

    As a matter of fact, Wallerstein is very insistent on the problem that the new historical system that emerge might be worst than capitalism and that all will depend on our agency and political struggles in the next decades. The thesis of the inevitable end of capitalism as a historical system that have lasted 500 years, is very well argued by Wallerstein not in THE NATION essay but in his books

    Immanuel Wallerstein sees capitalism like other historical systems in the past: they rise and demise, they have a beginning and they have an end. The Roman Empire was a particular form of world-system that Wallerstein calls World-Empire and that lasted one-thousand years.

    The Modern World-System is a particular form of world-system that he calls a capitalist world-economy and that so far have lasted more than 500 years. He explains in detail how historical systems end out of its own systemic contradictions.

    In his recent books, Wallerstein has analyzed at length in what consist the contradictions that are going to lead to the end the present capitalist world-system (read his work to find out more about his analysis because it is impossible to summarize here).

    However, there are important epistemological issues involved here. Wallerstein’s perspective represents a revolution in the social sciences because of his challenges to the analytical TIME/SPACE unit that informs most of social scientists today.

    If you think about capitalism as many traditional social scientists, that is, from a nation-state unit of analysis, the argument Wallerstein is making does not make any sense. But if you take the global system, or as he says, the world-system as the unit of analysis with its large scale and long-term structures, then his argument is very coherent and easier to understand.

    One of the points made by Avakian in his so-called new synthesis is about internationalism. He claims that the international system is decisive over the national context. Well, I find dishonest that Avakian does not acknowledge here the contribution and influence of Wallerstein on this point.

    This is a point developed by Wallerstein in many of his historical sociological works since the 1970s. However, Avakian takes ideas and just cite the “founding fathers” or himself and never acknowledges the influence of contemporary marxists and neo-marxists in his perspective.

    But coming back to the question of Wallerstein, I think that it merits a profound consideration because he is not only arguing about how capitalism is coming to an end but also about how if the global left does not create a new historical system that is better, the transnational capitalist elites will create for us a new and worst world-system than the present capitalist system in order to protect and defend their own privileges.

    This is Wallerstein’s historical sociological thesis of what happened in the 15th century with the demise of feudalism in Europe. The feudal aristocracy created a new historical system to preserve their wealth. They created the capitalist world-system by going global and expanding to the Americas. This is what is called in history the European colonial expansion that created the world market and a new international division of labor. One of the many points raised by Wallerstein is that something like this could happen today but that nothing is guaranteed. There are no apriori outcomes for the coming struggles for the formation of a new world-system….

    Class and race privileges still reign among the “white” left and this is why solidarity is extremely retarded in the U.S. And let’s not forget the power of Zionism that has confused and diffused the Left


  9. joed said on May 2nd, 2009 at 8:29am #

    Mr. Collins, sir, i was not implying that you are a whiner. i look forward to reading your articles. DissidentVoice and BuzzFlash and CommonDreams and all the other site of this type are essential to people having access to some sort of accurate info. at the same time these site allow people to expend energy by writing what they want to do. i call this the internet FREE SPEACH ZONE. if the energy went to the streets then you would see some real change. but people will have to make sacrifice and accept hardship for any real change to happen. i am not optimistic. amerika is very sick and the people don’t have to ability to make themselves well. i am not optimistic. there are no reasons for the masters to change. the masters are the pols, the leaders of corps, the military etc. in order to “Throw The Bums Out” people must leave this FREE SPEACH ZONE and actually go into the streets and grab the bums by the shirt collar and put’em in the hoosgow. do you see this happening,, i don’t. amerika is very sick.
    i look forward to reading more of you fine articles.

  10. joed said on May 2nd, 2009 at 8:37am #

    also, Mr. Collins, the Force More Powerful site that i am interested in is the film about gandhi in south africa and india, sitin in tennesse, strike in poland. i dont know about ukraine and this site.
    my ultimate point here is non-violent civil disobedience. the only way to make real change now in amerika. but people must leave the FREE SPEACH ZONE and hit the streets in order to make change.
    i am not optimstic. i don’t see people hitting the streets, do you Mr. Collins?

  11. bozh said on May 2nd, 2009 at 9:33am #

    to me, it is possible to change one or more basics in US by mass protest; we’d need at least 80% of amers to be onside. it seems, it will not happen for yrs, decennia, if ever.
    but movements come and go; accomplishing little or nothing in the long run.
    a second party offers the best chance to enact/institutionalize beneficial change. another way might be terrorist action against pols who oppress own people. i don’t recommend that.
    there is not going to be any change in lands with oneparty systems such as US, iran, yemen, kuwait or in lands where there are weak or no socialist/progressive parties.
    but even in lands with two or more parties, all are gungho for commiting all kinds of iniquities.
    UK, israel, germany, france, georgia, russia, pak’n come to mind. tnx

  12. joed said on May 2nd, 2009 at 2:38pm #

    bari yos bozh,
    have you read jonathan schell’s book, The Unconquerable World.
    it tells about the east europe and how the people survived under soviet police state. it is a wonderful reference and good reading too. seems non-violent civil disobedience is the only way that real change can happen. but the masters will not give up anything. the people will have to take what is theirs anyway. i am not optimistic. humans for the most part are cowardly creatures and the masters are well aware of this.

  13. bozh said on May 2nd, 2009 at 4:25pm #

    no i haven’t read jonathan schell’s book. I’d just like to add that a strong protest, to be successful, ought to include the demand for the change of the constitution and also who wld officially interpret it.
    if we wld still have judges appointed by the rulers interpreting constitution, we are back to square one.

    or even better, do away with the damn thing, since no one understands it, having been written with the intention that it cannot be understood in the first place.

    also a protest, no matter how strong, may not change the army, cia, fbi, msm, medical profession, entertainment industry, advertising, education, etc.
    which means that after protests finally end and political ‘promises’ had been given, once again back to same square.

    however, a political party stays doggedly on in spite of adversity and set backs. A political party is more difficult to be infiltrated by gov’t agents.
    so i vote for a party. however, i am not an american. Best luck! tnx