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Whither Financial Reform: Why They Don't Get It?

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Translation: Here we go again.


And then there was the super-articulate Raj Date who says we have to get rid of Frannie Mae and Freddy Mac before they get rid of our housing market. His analysis was detailed and textured. His conclusion simple: "they must be eliminated." What is the Obama Administration doing about this? Nada.

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It got better when the only woman on the panel, Harvard's Elizabeth Warren mesmerized the room. She has become a TV fixture because of how charming, honest and forthright she has been in defending consumers from the rip offs that we are all menaced by. She is the chairperson of the House oversight committee on TARP and a leading advocate of an independent consumer protection agency. She is now watching as Senator Dodd and some of his GOP cronies try to bury it in the Federal Reserve Bank, a move that many of the conference criticized in light of the Fed's history of doing so little to protect the rights of consumers.


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After all the speakers presented their arguments, there were comments by George Soros, who also criticized the economics profession for missing the crisis, and businessman Jim Chanos who finally brought the discussion around to the presence of massive fraud and criminality in our financial markets. I spoke to that issue which I have just written a book on and made a film about when I got a chance to ask a question.


All too quietly, Wall Street firms are being sued for their many transgressions. A study by Gary Null found that over $430 billion has been paid to victimized parties by Wall Street firms in over 1500 cases.


Some examples:


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* Bank of America has spent $14.9 billion to settle 15 cases alleging various charges such as securities violations and mismanagement;


* Citigroup has spent over $13.9 billion to settle 12 cases alleging various charges including abusive lending practices and involvement in fraudulent activities;

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at Amazon.com. See Newsdisssector.org/store.htm.

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