Dylan Ratigan, Busted

Dylan Ratigan is the host of MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show.  In my opinion, Ratigan has built his whole show based on substantive ignorance of policy issues and the exploitation of people's fear and anger at a time when our country is in dire straits.  In his show, he features a segment called 'Busted.'  In this segment, he purports to call out government and other important players in our country for hypocrisy and other public outrages.  On Wednesday's show, his segment was on what a great reception bankers received from Congress as opposed to what a terrible horrible no-good very bad reception was given to the party crashers at President Obama's first state dinner.

"First, we're busting Congress, for pandering to bankers who stole our money while slamming two party crashers who stole the spotlight!" extols Ratigan.  Then he shows footage of the hearings for both the bankers and the party crashers.  Here, it's a small segment.  Watch:


Well, first error. Watch the video. The group hosting the hearing with the Bankers, in actuality, isn't a Congressional panel at all.  It is the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, an independent commission with subpoena power set up to take on the banks and propose new banking regulations.  The person you see holding the hearing is the Chairman of the FCIC, Phil Angelides, former Treasurer of California.  The hearing on the party crashers was, in fact, held by Congress.  Maybe Dylan Ratigan needs to first educate himself about the difference between independent commissions and Congressional panels, for starters.  I might remind everyone interested only in screaming at Congress and the President or those riled up and frustrated that this commission would not even exist were it not for President Obama and a Democratic Congress acting together to pass the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, strengthening criminal and civil laws to prosecute banking abuses and fraud.

So, is he getting anything else wrong, other than not knowing the difference between Congressional Committees and independent commissions?  Of course he is.  Ratigan is dishonest about what Chairman Angelides and other members of the FCIC is doing and the questions they are asking.  Despite the Chairman's politeness (which, evidently, Ratigan considers a weakness), he and others are coming down rather strongly on the banks.

The AP reported on last week's hearings:
[Chairman Angelides] reserved some of his toughest questioning for Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs. Angelides scolded the company for escaping the worst of the subprime mortgage crisis by selling $40 billion in securities backed by risky home loans while betting that the housing market would plummet.

"I'm just going to be blunt with you," he told Blankfein. "It sounds to me a little bit like selling a car with faulty brakes and then buying an insurance policy on the buyer of those cars. It doesn't seem to me that that's a practice that inspires confidence in the market."
 And,
"This year, they're lining up for bonuses," Angelides said. "There has been no serious self-examination on Wall Street of what has occurred and what should be in the future. I liken it to someone who has had a significant heart attack, who was a bad eater, a drinker, no exercise. Three weeks later, they're feeling better, and the fact is that the fundamental problems still remain. And so now is the time, I believe, for self-examination."
Here's the Chairman grilling Goldman-Sachs CEO, and getting him to confess bad practices:



Even the Wall Street Journal (a wholly owned subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch) called Angelides the 'toughest' questioner.
Mr. Angelides also warned CEOs the commission could refer evidence of criminal wrongdoing to law enforcement.

The hearings, which are expected to last the remainder of the year, could raise the profile of its members, in particular Mr. Angelides, a veteran of California's rough-and-tumble politics, who emerged as the toughest questioner.
CNBC reported on good information coming out of the testimony of regulators under fire from the Commission, importantly the FDIC chair testifying that her predecessor waited too long to regulate sub-prime mortgages:



So hey, Dylan, you're busted.  And Dylan, you do understand that someone who got that close to the President in the State Dinner could have actually, you know, killed the President, don't you?  The crashers could potentially have been a security threat.  Do you really have a big problem with Congress asking what business they had getting that close to the President without an invitation?

I plan on covering the documents and testimony at the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission extensively on The People's View.  Expect updates, coverage, analysis and opinion here.  But I will not be posting "breaking" items for the most part.  My goal is to give my reader a good understanding of what is going on with the commission and the key outcomes.  I do not plan to sensationalize my coverage, but I do believe good work is going on at the Commission and the information coming out of it are great tools in policy making.