Via America’s Lawyer: Big banks on Wall Street are doling out mortgage loans left and right, potentially feeding into a real estate collapse. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousinsdiscuss. Also, while contact tracing is making waves as a further threat to privacy rights, RT Correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to bring us up to speed on the Patriot Act renewal, including amendments which could extend its reach to our online browsing activity.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Big banks are once again engaging in the same kind of criminal behavior that led to the last economic meltdown. This is what happens when bankers don’t get punished, when they don’t go to prison for breaking the law. Joining me to talk about this is Farron Cousins from the trial lawyer magazine and honestly one of the best young political commentators I think in the business. I really do believe you are Farron.

Farron Cousins: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

Mike Papantonio: I honestly believe you are. So pick up the story would you.

Farron Cousins: Well, what we’re finding out now is whistleblowers of course have come forward and say, listen, the bank I’m working at and pro public has done a phenomenal job of tracking this. The bank I’m working at is doing the same thing they did back in 06, 07 and 08, which is using these mortgage backed securities, over inflating their values, selling them to investors, knowing they’re going to fail and reaping a huge profit from it. Now, a lot of that, I’m sure a lot of people say, I don’t understand most of those words you just said. So real quick, the mortgage backed security, what that is, you get all these, the bank takes a bunch of different mortgages, puts them together in a bundle, and then it sells that bundle to an investor like a bond. And as people pay the mortgages the people who’ve invested in that get paid. Now if the people don’t pay the mortgages, the investors have lost their money, but the bank made all theirs.

Mike Papantonio: Made the money up front.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: So what’s happening now is we saw it with the housing industry last time. We had bankers, we had banks and bankers, credible banks. I mean, who used to be credible.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: You know, they, they were just making stuff up. Somebody would come in and they would say, well, we know that you’re only making $30,000 a year, but we want to put you in this $300,000 home. So they would just make stuff up. They would. So they’re doing it again, but this time they’re doing it with commercial property and they’re bundling all this garbage up. This garbage, you know, garbage comes in, information that’s garbage comes in, says that this investor can afford to, to, to, can afford this building. They know they can’t. So actually they’re actually, they’re actually phonying up applications, aren’t they?

Farron Cousins: Right. What whistleblowers have said is that some of these applications, they’re seeing the income of the person seeking the loan, the bank is forging it up to 30%. So if you were making a hundred thousand a year, the bank says, you know what, we’re going to put down that you’re making $130,000 a year because that’s going to bump you up in income bracket and now you’re going to be, you know, qual. You can qualify for this loan that we know you can’t pay. And that’s, that’s the kicker here. And again, as you mentioned, now they’re doing it with the retail spaces and retail is dying across the country.

Mike Papantonio: Right, right. And it might after this covid pandemic, you know, people are saying, do we really need brick and mortar?

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Can’t we work from home? I think it’s going to take a big hit. The point is this, it’s the same criminals doing the same criminal activity again and what’s the worst thing? The worst thing is that we have, there’s not been any reform at all for the credit rating agencies.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Why is that important?

Farron Cousins: Well, that’s important because these credit rating agencies are the ones they come in. They tell you whether or not this is worthwhile investment. If this is something that’s even going to pay off, if this bank is even credible.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And because we haven’t changed the way it’s all the same people doing the same thing, is working with one another.

Mike Papantonio: Because they didn’t go to prison.

Farron Cousins: Right. It’s a criminal cartel.

Mike Papantonio: The last time the bankers didn’t go to prison. And if you, what I always found really weird about that story is during the S&L crisis, even Ronald Reagan put 800 bankers in prison. Okay. And so, so, we, we, we, we had a justice department with Eric Holder who represented all of these people, their law firm, Covington Burling represents all these criminal thugs. So nobody went to prison.

Mike Papantonio: The Patriot act is up for extension with the USA freedom authorization act of 2020. The votes have now all been tallied for several amendments and RT’s Brigida Santos joins me now to talk about the status of those votes. Brigida, you followed these kinds of stories a long time. Give me your take on what’s happening in Washington with the Patriot act.

Brigida Santos: Well, look, everybody’s so worried about the coronavirus right now, but there are other things going on behind the scenes. I know that Congress has taken some time off because of this, but they have been voting on these bills and these amendments to the Patriot act. Now this bipartisan amendment that was introduced by democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Senator Steve Daines received 59 of the 60 votes that were required to pass and this bill would essentially ensure that under section 215 of the Patriot act, they could not be collecting people’s internet search histories and web browsing histories as well.

But it did not pass by one vote and it didn’t fail due to a lack of bipartisan support. But reportedly due to the absence of four senators. Now, among those missing from the vote were Senator Lamar Alexander who was in self isolation following the covid 19 diagnosis of a fellow staffer. Washington state Senator Patty Murray was also absent. An aid for her says that she would have voted in favor of the amendment, securing it enough votes to pass. But she’d actually been on her way back to DC when the vote was called. Senators Bernie Sanders and Ben Sasse were also absent, but it’s unclear why.

Mike Papantonio: Well, tell me, tell me about the amendment. Okay. There was, there was an attempt to say, we need to revisit what’s going on with the Patriot act. We think it’s being used in ways that it shouldn’t be used. We need to, we need to take another look at it. And so there was an amendment that was attached to the USA freedom reauthorization act as a, I think it’s called, and it was introduced by a Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. What can you tell me about that provision and what would it have meant to, to take another look at the Patriot act in a way that’s, where we’re honest with ourselves where there is no more privacy in this country. Give me your take.

Brigida Santos: Well, yeah. McConnell’s proposed amendment to the USA freedom reauthorization act would essentially allow the FBI to collect web browsing histories from anyone without probable cause. Now since the Wyden/Daines amendment failed, McConnell’s provision unfortunately stands for now. While the USA freedom authorization act cleared the Senate, it’s not going to the House where privacy advocates are expected to propose some more changes. So if citizens are concerned, they can still reach out to their elected representatives and pressure them to take action. But unfortunately in the House, at least 10 Democrats did side with Mitch McConnell here and that includes Diane Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi and Mark Warner. So it’s, it’s unclear whether they’re gonna, whether people asking for the House to do anything is really going to be effective.

Mike Papantonio: Your position would have been at least let’s take a look at it, see if we can modify it in a way that’s more, you know, it’s, it’s a little fair to both sides of that argument, I think is, has been your position on that. Look, thanks Brigida. Thank you for joining me. Okay.

Brigida Santos: Thanks Mike.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.