Originally published by TMR Legal Editor, Mike “gamecock” DeVine as Charlotte Law and Civil Rights Examiner @ Examiner.com, where all for verification links may be accessed.
Talk about burying the lede, i.e. The Truth.
The two main objectives of the Drive-By Media in the dissemination of their “news” product are, (a) never let liberalism nor Democrats be discredited; and (b) make sure that the media is seen a necessary agent of positive change.
The dead-tree version in Charlotte seems so dedicated to these axioms, that they are even willing to be a party to damaging the Queen City’s most prominent company, Bank of America.
Ever since the BofA’s stock began to fall a few weeks ago due to growing awareness of the extent of toxic Merrill Lynch assets held by the bank, the Charlotte Observer has seemed to be on a vendetta against the bank’s Chief Executive Officer. The opening paragraphs of most all of their articles on the subject place the blame on CEO Ken Lewis (pictured) and the purchase of Merrill Lynch last year.
Federal governement forced BofA to buy Merrill
But nearly always saved for non-front page paragraphs that tthe Observer knows are much less frequently read is the real story:
Bank of America began seeking government assistance in December as Merrill’s fourth-quarter results worsened, sources familiar with the situation said. Lewis even sent lawyers to New York to see if rising losses equated to a “material adverse” situation that could let the bank escape the deal, The Wall Street Journal reported. Worried about the possible fallout for the financial system, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged Lewis to complete the deal…
Urged to complete the deal? The truth is that BofA was mugged by the Feds and forced to marry Merrill in a shotgun wedding:
So much for being a good corporate citizen. Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis earned kudos last year for stepping into the breach when the mortgage market and Wall Street cratered. BofA’s purchase of Countrywide Financial and its September agreement to buy Merrill Lynch offered a welcome dose of optimism and private capital amid the panic.
In December, Mr. Lewis realized that he had been too optimistic. And when he considered breaking off the Merrill engagement, Washington arranged a shotgun wedding. After BofA shareholders approved the Merrill purchase on December 5, Mr. Lewis saw Merrill’s assets plunge in value and began to explore a way out. At least he wanted a better price given the erosion in Merrill’s real estate and corporate portfolio.
Mr. Lewis’s effort to protect his common shareholders was vetoed by his most important shareholder, the feds. In October the U.S. Treasury had insisted on investing $15 billion in his bank. Come December, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told him that Merrill had to be saved, and that BofA had to be the savior. Mr. Lewis said yesterday that the government was “firmly of the view” that canceling or delaying the Merrill deal might result in “serious systemic harm.”
In other words, the feds believe that the way to calm financial markets is to force the nation’s largest, and a heretofore healthy, bank to swallow toxic assets it didn’t want…
Media agenda to prevent liberal democrat accountability
The Charlotte Observer knows that BOA was forced to go through with the deal, but consistently lead their stories on the BOA stock plunge by blaming Lewis even when he recently bought $1.2 million of the bank’s stock.
What is their agenda? Could it be to protect liberals and elected Democrats.
President Barack Obama recently complained about the lack of accountability in the law that allowed Merrill Lynch’s CEO had spent over one million dollars of TARP (government bank bailout) funds on executive suite office renovations.
Hold President Obama and fellow Democrats accountable
The problems with the President’s allegations: Merrill made the renovations more than eight months before TARP passed the Congress in September and then Senator Obama and the majority Democratic Party Congress passed the TARP law that allowed the Treasury Secretary unfettered discretion in the spending of over $700 billion.
We have seen this unaccountability scheme between the Democrats and the Drive-Bys before over the last two years as corporate CEOs and “greed” were blamed for the housing bubble and resulting credit crunch that led to the current economic crisis including that of BOA’s:
It started under Carter, and it accelerated under Clinton. The so called noble idea was that home ownership should be expanded from 60% to at least 70%. Through PR pressure and arm twisting on lending institutions by the government, the fear of being labeled as discriminatory by Jesse Jackson or other extortion thugs, and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), requirements for mortgage loans relaxed…
Urban communities that no bank would seriously consider lending to were now badges of honor. Credit scoring, financials, current job, etc. – these were no longer paramount. This was doubly encouraged because Government Sponsored Organizations (GSE’s) like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae would buy these loans so the lending institutions didn’t really have to worry…
Prior to all this, both Bush and McCain tried to rein in the GSE’s and their excesses, but the attempt fell on deaf ears in Congress…
What do the major actors in this debacle that have been protected from accountability by the Charlotte Observer and other Drive-bys have in common with President Obama?
President Carter and Jesse Jackson are Democrats. Democrats created the market-distorting GSE’s and Democrats Barney Frank (pictured), Chris Dodd and Franklin Raines were primarily responsible for blocking regulations offered by republicans to correct the housing problem from 2002-2007. Did I mention that President Obama is a Democrat?
Greed has existed since Eve bit the apple and always will, but we don’t have economic crises all the time. Government policy is primarily responsible for Bank of America’s and America’s ills. Yet, for the past two years we have seen those very elected Democrats escape responsibility via show trials with subpoenaed corporate CEOs as “defendants” all with Drive-By Media complicity in the cover up.
The Democrats must be held accountable. So should the in the tank for liberals in the no longer “main stream” media.
They will be here at Examiner.com.
Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer, Examiner.com and Minority Report columns
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson