Bloomberg slaps down #OWS: Blame Congress for mortgage crisis, not banks

A refreshing, rare burst of truth from New York City’s Mayor:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this morning that if there is anyone to blame for the mortgage crisis that led the collapse of the financial industry, it’s not the “big banks,” but Congress.

Speaking at a business breakfast in midtown featuring Bloomberg and two former New York City mayors, Bloomberg was asked what he thought of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

“I hear your complaints,” Bloomberg said. “Some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I’m not saying I’m sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn’t have gotten them without that.

“But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody. And now we want to go vilify the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves. At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticized them for.”

Nice to see you join the Occupy Truth movement, Mr. Mayor. A lot of us have been saying that same thing for years.

Ed Morrissey, in a must-read, echoes Bloomberg’s point that “Occupiers”  are pushing for the exact same lax lending ‘standards’ that helped get us into this mess in the first place:

It’s even more important to not make the same mistake again, which is exactly what the OWS crowd wants.  They want Congress to intervene even more heavily to lower lending standards as a policy of “fairness,” which is exactly what Congress did in the late 1990s, and which started the housing bubble that nearly destroyed the financial sector in 2008.

Unfortunately, as we have seen time and time again throughout history, liberals never learn from their mistakes.   Reason being that they hold a deeply flawed mindset on the exact role of government in the lives of the American people, and to admit their gross mistakes – especially on economic and social policy – would be to acknowledge internally that that line of thinking, er, leads us down a very dangerous path.  But, of course, they’d never, ever admit to that …

Gunwalker: top Holder aide going under the bus? And no, Bush didn’t “do it, too.”

**Posted by Phineas

It looks like a close ally of Attorney General Eric Holder, head of the Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, has decided (1) to throw himself under the fabled bus in order to protect his boss from the unfolding fiasco of Operation Fast and Furious:

The Obama administration appears to be attempting to defend Attorney General Eric Holder as the Justice Department dumped more than 650 pages worth of Operation Fast and Furious documents on congressional investigators late Monday.

There are two reasons why the timing of this release is significant: first, 28 members of Congress are currently calling on Holder to resign immediately. Second, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday — and this appears to be an attempt to divert pressure for Fast and Furious away from Holder.

The new documents, according to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, “indicate that contrary to previous denials by the Justice Department, the criminal division has a great deal of culpability in sweeping the previous Wide Receiver strategy under the rug and then allowing the subsequent Operation Fast and Furious to continue without asking key questions.”

“Most importantly, officials raised very appropriate questions related to Operation Wide Receiver at the same time that many of these same officials were receiving briefings on Operation Fast and Furious,” Grassley said in a statement. “It begs the question why they didn’t ask the same important policy questions about an ongoing case being run out of the same field division.”

Operation Wide Receiver was a Bush administration program similar in nature to Operation Fast and Furious. In a statement he gave after the release of the new documents, Breuer took responsibility for not having learned from the mistakes made during Wide Receiver and implementing the failed tactics again under Fast and Furious.

“When the allegations related to Operation Fast and Furious became public earlier this year, the leadership of ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona repeatedly assured individuals in the Criminal Division and the leadership of the Department of Justice that those allegations were not true,” Breuer said. “As a result, I did not draw a connection between the unacceptable tactics used by the ATF years earlier in Operation Wide Receiver and the allegations made about Operation Fast and Furious, and therefore did not, at that time, alert others within Department leadership of any similarities between the two. That was a mistake, and I regret not having done so.”

That reads like a political suicide note to me, how about you? Even if he is pulling the “I accept responsibility but no blame” scam.

Before we go any further, let’s set the record straight, since it looks like Team Hopenchange is setting up a “Bush did it too!” excuse and Grassley may be buying into it. The referenced Bush-era program, Operation Wide Receiver, was a stupid idea that, when it went wrong, was stopped by responsible adults in DC. Per Bob Owens at PJMedia:

In Operation Wide Receiver, Tucson agents allowed the sales of more than 500 firearms to known straw purchasers. Like Gunrunner/Fast and Furious, the operation apparently backfired.

Some firearms in Wide Receiver were equipped with RFID tracking devices. In Wide Receiver, it seems the illegal purchasers seemed more than slightly knowledgeable of the ATF and how to take their aerial and electronic tracking procedures down.

Knowing the time aloft numbers for virtually all planes used in government surveillance, the buyers had a simple method of getting their purchases across the border undetected. They simply drove four-hour loops around the area.

As surveillance planes were forced to return to base for refueling, the smugglers simply turned and sprinted their cargo across the border.

The RFID tags also turned out to be problematic.

Rather than making large enough holes for the tags to be laid out inside weapons, agents force-fit them into the rifles.

That cramming caused the antennae to be folded, reducing the effective range of the tags. And an already short battery life (36-48 hours maximum) meant that should purchasers allow the firearms to sit, the tracking devices eliminated themselves.

Once it was realized that Wide Receiver was having the unintended result of letting guns slip across the border and that the plans to track them had failed, the operation was stopped.

In the case of Fast and Furious, however, there was no plan or capability to track the guns, and the US government deliberately facilitated their transit to Mexico — including possibly selling guns directly to cartel buyers. See the difference? The Bush administration stopped Wide Receiver after it realized the operation was a failure and around 450 guns had reached Mexico. That’s bad enough, but Operation Fast and Furious represents a quantum leap in boneheadedness, because getting guns to Mexico was the objective. And it succeeded, to the tune of at least 2,000 weapons and maybe as many as 12,000. (2)

So let’s not fall for this latest variation on “It’s Bush’s fault!”, shall we?

Meanwhile, Lanny Breuer is scheduled to testify today. This is no low-level, coffee-fetching flunky we’re talking about; as head of the Criminal Division, Breuer is an appointee of the President and reports directly to Eric Holder’s chief deputy and, you can bet, often briefs Holder, himself. If he’s being set up to take the fall, it means they’re worried the trail leads straight to Holder — and perhaps to his boss.

The timing of the document dump and Breuer’s mea culpa is interesting (in that Washington way), because it was recently announced that AG Holder himself would testify before the House Judiciary Committee on December 8th. This latest development could be a show born of panic, meant to build a firebreak between Holder and the Gunwalker scandal: Breuer confesses “mistakes were made” and resigns.

Then Holder can testify that he was “shocked, shocked” to learn what was going on and that “lessons will be learned” and “steps taken” — and then he’ll breathe a sigh of relief over his narrow escape when he gets back to his limo.

All nice and neat and clean.

And no one will have answered for two dead US federal agents and over 200 Mexicans.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Gunwalker. More at Hot Air.

(1) Or was encouraged to, for the greater good. This is Washington, after all.
(2) Which probably doesn’t include the count of grenades.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Grope a Dope: #OWS protesters “flocking” to clinics for STD testing #OccupyCLT

The  NY Post reports the latest “happenings” at Zuccotti Park (hat tip):

It’s the Autumn of Love!

Occupy Wall Street protesters are flocking to nearby health clinics for STD and HIV testing after getting their freak on in ’60s-style hookups with crusty strangers, sources told The Post yesterday.

“Last week was free love,” said a medical professional at a clinic located a short walk from Zuccotti Park, referring to the number of people who organizers have referred for sexually transmitted disease testing.

A volunteer at the park admitted concern among protesters about STDs.

“We give directions to clinics if people ask for information regarding STDs,” said the volunteer, who identified himself only as “Captain” and added that pregnancy tests are also a hot item.

“Like anything else, it happens. People ask, and we do the best we can for them.”
Volunteers at the medical tent hand out cash, usually $15 or $20, so the randy radicals can visit clinics that cater to a low-income clientele, the source said.

Experts said it’s the right thing to do.

“My advice for the protesters would be to practice safer sex. It’s a lot cheaper to buy a condom than get treated for an STD,” said Dr. Lisa Oldson, medical director of Chicago-based Analyte Health, which provides testing services for labs nationwide, including STD Test Express New York.

I would agree. Practicing safe sex at OWS is a must-do for another important reason, too: It is imperative that these people do not reproduce.

In related developments, the NY Daily News writes about the newly created internal “security detail” at OWS which aims to enforce Occupier “codes of conduct.” Comforting.  Well, not really – considering the outrageous unwritten rule (written in some camps) that you should not go to the cops for anything.  Andrew Breitbart files another disturbing report on incidents of crime at Occupy communes here, and implores Mayor Bloomberg to shut down Zuccotti Park. 

Meanwhile, here at Occupy Charlotte, local TV news station WSOC-TV reports that the commune situated at Old City Hall uptown has cost Char-Meck taxpayers $105,000 to date – and it has only been going on for a month:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dozens of people have been living in front of the old City Hall in uptown Charlotte since Oct. 1 in tents as part of a global protest against corruption, discrimination and greed.

Now, some people said the protesters are being greedy because police patrols in the area have already cost taxpayers more than $100,000.

“At some point we just have to say y’all this is enough,” said Councilman Andy Dulin. After learning of the cost of the patrols, he said it was time for the city to act.

He wants leaders to hold a special session before the election next week to talk about an ordinance that would prohibit camping on public property owned by the city.


Charlotte Mecklenburg police officials said Oct. 1. The Occupy Charlotte movement has cost them almost $105,000. That amounts to about $1,700 on an average, quiet day, but much more on the weekends when there are larger protests with sometimes hundreds of people.

That means fewer officers in other neighborhoods, and there could be other costs associated with the protests, including clean up and court costs. There have also been three arrests.

Two arrests were for jaywalking.  One was for urinating in public. 

A typical local “Occupier” comment to this story was that Wall Street had wasted more tax money and that they (the occupiers) were doing the public a service by sticking it out and ‘educating’ people about … what everyone already knows about Wall Street.  Other comments were: Freedom of speech is priceless, we don’t need police security uptown because we’re “peaceful protesters”, etc. Occupiers across the country are even trying to take credit for the fact that some of the big banks are backing down on some of their ATM fees – in spite of the fact that people have been yelling about the fee increases for a good couple of months now … before Occupiers ever took root on public property.   In other words, narcissism rules the day – again – with liberals. 

It’s gotten to the point where even our Democrat mayor Anthony Foxx, who is running for re-election (the vote takes place next Tuesday) is looking into ways to get Occupiers off of city property, especially before next year’s Democrat National Convention.

Really.  As I said last night on Twitter, the Tea Party managed to get their points across quite well across the country when they staged rallies – and they didn’t have to occupy. They also followed local city codes (even paid their respective city the required fees in some instances, which occupiers have NOT). The issue is not about government “squelching free speech.” When public safety/health/resources become negatively impacted, it’s a whole different ballgame – and it appears at least some of the Democrat mayors in the big cities these “occupations” are taking place in understand this.  When these occupiers get finished patting themselves on the back for accomplishing absolutely nothing, maybe they’ll understand, too. Until then …