Ambrose Bierce wrote in his Devil’s Dictionarythat “Radicalism is the Conservativism of tomorrow, injected into the affairs of today.”
One of the joys of aging is to have been a radical in one’s youth, to continue to be a radical, and to be proven right (or in my case, be proven left?) about past ideas that have been proven correct by time and the evolution of popular opinion. Today’s Los Angeles Times (December 22, 2011) demonstrated I’ve been correct long before popular opinion and the entrenched views of bureaucracy got up to speed.
The simpler of the two issues was editorialized today:
Years ago, I got resolutions of support for changing the 80 year old definition of rape that is used by the FBI for Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistical purposes along the lines suggested by the Women’s Law Project passed unanimously by the Board of Directors of the California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI, the world’s largest private detectives’ organization) and by the San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles Chapter of the National Organization for Women.
In June of this year, I also succeeded in having the Board of California NOW unanimously pass a resolution in support of changing the UCR Rape definition:
As Monty Python would say, “and now for something completely different.”
The lead article in today’s Los Angeles Times business section discusses the landmark settlement of Countrywide Mortgage (now owned by Bank of America) with the federal government of claims that the company discriminated against African American and Latino borrowers on their home mortgages. The claims were settled for a class of about 200,000 families for $335,000,000.00.
Turn the clock back to 1994 when I ran for California State Treasurer against Phil Angelides (Democrat) and Matt Fong (Republican) on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket. I had been investigating corruption, discrimination and sexual harassment by Countrywide Mortgage. In my campaign statement in the California Ballot Pamphlet, I called for a boycott of Countrywide Mortgage that was sent by the state to millions of registered voters. Here’s a campaign statement from 1998 on the issues involving Countrywide: After the Ballot Pamphlet was mailed out I received a telephone call from an attorney I was working with in lawsuits against Countrywide. He in turn had just gotten a call from two attorneys representing Countrywide Mortgage along with certain top company officials.
The gist of the call was begging him to call me off of Countrywide because a certain top company official was in the middle of telephoning a hit man to have me taken out because he was so furious about my public call for a boycott. The Countrywide attorneys said that they’d talked him out of the hit while he was in the process of dialing.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I didn’t call off my activities against Countrywide, prompting then Countrywide President Angelo Mozilo to become a campaign contributor to Phil Angelides who was defeated in 1994 ($5,000 to Angelides from Countrywide in 1994) but came back to win the State Treasurer’s post (I ran again in that race) in 1998 ($10,000 from Countrywide to Angelides in 1998).
Fast forward to today. Phil Angelides was picked by President Obama to head the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. I wonder why Mozilo contributed to Angelides’ campaign for State Treasurer in 1998? Was he just pissed off at me or was he hedging his bets? Notice that nobody has been charged criminally from the old Countrywide Mortgage company leadership.
Phil Angelides wasn’t the only politician who accepted campaign contributions from Mozilo by any means and borrowers weren’t the only people swindled or suckered by the company. When I was a delegate to the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the AFL-CIO sent us down a program which promoted Countrywide Mortgage as purportedly being a labor friendly lender!
By the way, if anybody doubts my contention that I received that telephone call, I’ll take a polygraph administered by any American Polygraph Association certified examiner.