Director of two non-profits, Les Leopold returned to the show to explain how Wall Street's casino-style practices magnified the impact of the subprime mortgage crisis and profoundly damaged the U.S. economy. According to Leopold, banking firms, such as Goldman Sachs, wreaked havoc by selling incredibly complex investments known as synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). The banks packaged and repackaged the same risky debt bonds, which had no real underlying assets, into countless CDOs. Ultimately, this turned $300 billion of bad mortgages into several trillion dollars worth of losses to investors, he added.
One such investor, the School Board of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, lost roughly $200 million in this fantasy finance scheme. Large investment banks, on the other hand, were protected from substantial losses by AIG, which in turn was protected with taxpayer money, Leopold continued. The total cost (so far) to bailout Wall Street has reached $8 trillion, Leopold said, noting that this enormous amount benefits only a very small portion of the population. To avoid future financial crises, Leopold suggested breaking up 'too big to fail' banking firms, reducing the overall size of the financial sector through taxation, and imposing regulatory reform.
Ian Punnett was our special guest in Streamlink's Live Chat last month, for a one-hour Q & A. Below are excerpts (members can view the full transcript) in which he discusses religion, philosophy, and comics.
Hi Ian, I have gone to Bible college, was raised a Pentecostal Christian. Studying the Bible all my life. After 14 years of C2C, no longer a born again Christian! How do you do it? Have you since you started hosting Coast?
Because God for me is a verb. I don't need a scientific explanation that satisfies all aspects of faith. If what I am doing is helping people, making one person less hungry or treat others better, I am being my faith. That way, the only faith I worry about having is the one I'm showing.
You said once on air something to the effect that you did not necessarily have to subscribe to every element of a creed to recite it... that it was like a historical thing... When I was a child I was expected to recite various Christian creeds. I always hardly said them because I didn't want...
I understand that. A 4th Century creed doesn't speak to me but the process of chanting with others does. So, it's not the what's being said as the how it's being said and what it symbolizes that brings me peace.
Do you think we are now experiencing what has been foretold in Revelation or are you of the mind each age feels as if the end is near?
I think some people in every generation think they are special enough to have the world end in their lifetime. It's really important to them to have the party end before they leave. I am not one of them. Revelation is beautiful and a treasured part of my Bible but not because I take up any time trying to "decode" it for today's circumstances.
Ian, have you studied philosophy? if so, who are some favorite thinkers?
My undergrad is in English Literature and Rhetoric and I have a Masters of Divinity so I've studied everybody. My favorite is Jeremy Bentham because Spock quotes him and he is the only philosopher who is as stuffy in death as he was in life (some of you will get that joke).
How much of the things people say on your show do you really believe?
Weird question. I believe they believe it. I am not required to believe it and it would hurt the show if I felt like I had to. Empathy defeats therapy, you know? You can't ask good questions if you are the guest's advocate. Does that make sense? Or am I just giddy because Kate Gosselin finally got kicked off Dancing with the Stars?
Hello Ian, you have heard much on your shows and C2C. Has anything you've heard rattled you, frightened you?
Yes, I would say that the only thing that that has rattled me was the first time I had Jim Marrs on connecting the conspiracy dots back a couple hundred years. I didn't sleep for days thinking about that.
Hi Ian. If you could pick the topic and guest for your favorite evening what would the topic be and who would the guest be?
I always prefer the experiential guest, somebody who has actually put themselves on the line. I'd like to interview somebody very credible whom I could trust who has spent time in a satanic cult. That would be interesting.
What subject on c2c would you most like to know the truth on?
Aliens, hands down. Yes or no, I want to know now.
Hello Ian Punnett, I enjoy listening to your programs! I was wondering who your favorite super hero is and why?
I'm a Batman/Dark Knight kind of guy although I will admit that old, anachronistic ones like the Green Three (Arrow, Lantern and Hornet) never get old for me.
Hey, Ian. What comics are you reading now? Loved the World War Z episode so much!!!!
I am reading a history of "Watchmen" since they're showing it a lot on HBO. Plus, I just bought some old Green Lanterns for giggles.
What is it that you say at the end of every C2C show?
"Deus te amat" is Latin for "Funky Cold Medina."
Bumper music from Saturday May 1, 2010
Midnight Express (The Chase)
Fun Lovin' Criminals
Bank Of Bad Habits
Been Caught Stealing
For the Love of Money
Won't Get Fooled Again
When You Come Back to Me
Hands of Time