May 1, 2014

Bits Bucket for May 1, 2014

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-05-01 02:49:06

Houses depreciate always.

Comment by frankie
2014-05-01 04:24:29

Were forever blowing bubbles

Nationwide reports highest annual house price rise since 2007
Index shows 10.9% rise in past year and could strengthen calls for Bank of England to intervene

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-05-01 05:44:58

“Nevertheless, house price growth is outstripping income growth by a wide margin. The risk is that unless supply accelerates significantly, affordability will become stretched.”

Ask yourself this one question:

“How is this possible? How can prices outstrip income. How can prices go beyond affordability?”

The answer: By the use of borrowed money in addition to the use of earned money.

If you are restricting yourself to buying with earned money alone then you are depriving yourself of those things that are rightfully yours, but if you open up yourself to using borrowed money then all things that are rightfully yours can become yours.

Don’t deprive yourself, don’t be left behind, you are but one signature away from total happiness, one signature away from total bliss.

Visit your friendly lender today and make it all happen.

Comment by Kidbuck
2014-05-01 06:16:13

How can prices outstrip income?

Become a 2 income family.

Get a second job.

Give up saving for retirement.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-05-01 06:30:08

“Become a 2 income family.”

Yes! One should do this!

“Get a second job.”

Yes! One should do this too!

“Give up saving for retirement”

Yes, once again!

All three of these things are doable and they should be done and any money that is saved or generated should be sent to the lender.

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Comment by Mugsy
2014-05-02 01:57:17

If both working members of the household got two jobs each think of how much they could qualify for!

Comment by Northeastener
2014-05-01 07:54:37

Give up saving for retirement

Given the meme of “the largest asset the majority of Americans own is their house”, I would say too many are forgoing retirement savings for current housing consumption with the hope that house values continue to rise, thereby increasing the net worth of the average American without having to “sacrifice” by saving.

I see it with my sister-in-law. They recently bought a nice place in the burbs and moved out of the apartment I rented them. Before, they had plenty of cash every month. Now they are living check to check… but they gained about 1000sq ft and privacy. Was it worth it? Time will tell.

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Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2014-05-01 14:22:03

forgoing retirement savings for current housing consumption


Was it worth it?


Comment by LolaLOL
2014-05-01 06:19:38

How can the stock market hit an all time high on the same day that the GDP number is a huge miss and shows the economy crashing?

Why is bad good? More easing?

Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 06:34:36

The stock market is said to be forward-looking 3-6 months, which means it doesn’t typically react to daily news stories and events.

Said to be.

Who knows the validity of these statements. I sure don’t. It doesn’t mean they are incorrect, however.

Nearly everyone can point to the many exceptions. Few consider whether the axiom is true in general terms.

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Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 07:53:22

Nationwide reports highest annual house price rise since 2007
Index shows 10.9% rise in past year and could strengthen calls for Bank of England to intervene

How can anyone in the UK afford a house? The prices over there are in the stratosphere, they make places like the Bay Area look cheap by comparison. I have a nephew who left the UK, unfortunately, he moved to Vancouver, so I don’t think he and his wife are doing any better.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-05-01 08:12:49

“How can anyone in the UK afford a house?”

With leverage all things are possible, all dreams can be fulfilled.

Visit your lender today and make it happen.

Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 08:17:59

It only goes so far. Seriously, the interest payments alone (and they don’t have MID over there, IIRC) would exceed all their income. Or is home ownership in the UK only for wealthy foreigners who need a place to stash their ill gotten gains?

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-05-01 08:39:17

Dont compare it then. Doing so is like comparifng winning $100 million on the mega millions lottery and $300 million on the powerball. Its meaningless for 99% of people.

Fed Lovers frequently make the false comparison you just made.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 04:34:25

Dramatically collapsing house prices is the path to recovery.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-05-01 05:46:45

Did you notice that demand has collapsed to the mid-1990s level?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-05-01 05:50:17

I’ve noticed demand craters forming on the face of the US like pepperonis on a pizza. And when the observation is put in writing, a frenzy is unleashed.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-05-01 05:52:53

I call BS on the reasons most economists spew into the MSM echo chamber for current low homeownership rates.

Rather, in a nutshell, the prices are too high.

Homeownership Rate in U.S. Falls to Lowest Since 1997
By John Gittelsohn Apr 30, 2012 11:56 AM PT
Blocks of Cuyahoga County are filled with vacant and stripped homes on Feb. 2, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest level in 15 years in the first quarter as borrowers lost homes to foreclosure and tighter inventory and credit kept buyers off the market.

The rate dropped to 65.4 percent from 66 percent in the fourth quarter and fell a full percentage point from a year earlier, the Census Bureau said in a report today. That is the lowest level since the first quarter of 1997, and down from a record 69.2 percent in June 2004.

Mounting foreclosures are displacing borrowers, while a lack of inventory has kept home sales from accelerating amid record affordability, the National Association of Realtors reported April 19. Stricter mortgage standards are also limiting purchases as rental demand surges, said Paul Diggle, property economist with Capital Economics Ltd. in London.

“Although house prices and mortgage rates have fallen to a level that makes buying preferable to renting, ongoing problems accessing mortgage credit are preventing many households from taking advantage,” he wrote in a note today.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 07:04:32

Record affordability?

For whom?

Those who are paying more for energy?
Those who are paying more for food?
Those who are paying more in taxes?
Those who are paying more for ObamaCare?
Those who are paying more for education?

Funny how the NAR thinks that none of these other factors make housing unaffordable. To them, it’s all about income, interest rates and housing prices.

Do they have even an inkling of how poorly they come across?

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-05-01 05:57:41

If you ignore those abysmal home ownership (and purchase transaction) rates, it appears the U.S. housing market is recovering quite well.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 05:57:55

No becuz I was still a stoodent then. The cheapest place we rented was a 4 bedroom house for $525/month.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-05-01 06:01:49

If you squint really hard, you can discern a housing market recovery against the backdrop of collapsing demand.

U.S. News
U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since Mid-1990s
Increased Household Formation Could Be Skewing Data
By Conor Dougherty
Updated April 29, 2014 6:52 p.m. ET

The U.S. homeownership rate hit its lowest level since the mid-1990s, according to a Census release that showed that despite two years of recovery in the housing market there are still fewer homeowners than there were before the recession.

But the data also suggest that more young people are moving out of their parents’ home and into rentals—a positive first step toward an eventual recovery in the share of households that own their home.

Some 64.8% of American families—about 74.4 million households—owned the homes they lived in during the first quarter of this year, down from 65.2% at the end of 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That was the lowest level since 1995 and is a significant drop from 2006, when a peak of 76.5 million households, or 68.9%, were owner-occupied.

The reasons behind the steady decline in homeownership are familiar: As the housing bubble burst, millions of Americans lost their homes to foreclosure as prices fell and exotic mortgages took their toll—triggering a global recession that pushed the unemployment rate into double digits. The loss of jobs led to a second wave of foreclosures that further reduced homeownership.

While foreclosures are continuing to drive families from their homes—albeit at a slower rate than in the past—some economists believe quirks in the data may also be giving an imperfect picture of the homeownership rate.

Specifically, the homeownership rate may be depressed by the rising number of young people leaving their parents’ home and renting their own apartments. The homeownership rate measures the share of U.S. households that own their home, but it doesn’t capture everyone under that roof. For instance, a 23-year-old college graduate that lives with his or her parents while searching for a job is neither a renter or a homeowner, and their situation isn’t reflected in the homeownership rate.

That changes the moment a child gets a job and leaves home to rent their first apartment. At that point they are a renter household, which pushes up the renter rate and drags down the homeownership rate.

The homeownership rate alone is hiding some of the housing recovery’s progress,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, a real-estate site.

Comment by Oddfellow
2014-05-01 08:36:50

68.9% to 64.8% seems like a pretty small drop to me, given that we no longer have NINJA loans and nearly unlimited home equity. A level not seen since 1995? So what, was 1995 that bad? I’m surprised the rate isn’t lower. Maybe theyŕe counting people who aren’t paying their mortgages but are still squatting in their homes as owners.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-05-01 08:41:26

Of course its meaningless. ;-)

Comment by Blue Skye
2014-05-01 09:45:52

That’s a 6% drop in the number of people “owning”, which is probably a 12% drop in the number of people with a mortgage. The number of people no longer paying a mortgage, whether they have one or not, is higher, you guess.

The significance of this phenomena is that it is equal to the runup ‘95 to 2005 during the biggest credit expansion in our history. No signs of the decline slowing btw. The US Census put out a pretty interesting report on this in April. Funny that house prices had such a rally amid this collapse in demand. The price correction is going to be spectacular when it comes around.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-05-01 05:56:50

Buy the dip.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-05-01 05:58:43

This certainly is a great time for dips to buy.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-05-01 06:04:30

The last time home prices went parabolic against a backdrop of collapsing purchase transactions, a big crash in prices was soon to follow.

This time is different, of course.

Comment by LolaLOL
2014-05-01 06:20:48

Cheetos need no dip, they are a stand alone party snack.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 06:37:32

I don’t buy dips. Not palatable to my highly attuned sensibilities.


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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-05-01 06:44:57
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Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-05-01 07:22:22

Notice that the Cheeto fruit is shaped like a bubble curve.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-05-01 07:28:19

Like manna from Housing Heaven.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 09:29:44
Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-05-01 07:19:51

Try the crunchy ones with sour cream.

PS: crater

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-05-01 07:20:52

No. I told you I don’t like those dammit.

Comment by Blue Skye
2014-05-01 09:47:00

Like so many things, the original is still the best.

Comment by Angelo Mozilo
2014-05-01 07:22:12

Personally, I love eating Cheetos.

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Comment by Dolly Llama
2014-05-01 10:07:07

Other powerful people love Chetos, too.

Christine Leggard(sp?)

Comment by Angelo Mozilo
2014-05-01 11:47:50

The only bad part of eating so many of them is they turn me the color of orange.

Comment by chilidoggg
2014-05-01 18:58:12


Comment by phony scandals
2014-05-01 05:31:42

Ain’t no Cheetos when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away
Ain’t no Cheetos when she’s gone
And she’s always gone too long
Anytime she goes away

Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no Cheetos when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away

Bill Withers - Ain’t No Sunshine - YouTube - 145k -

Comment by Dolly Llama
2014-05-01 06:59:03

Amy Hoax ballad?

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 06:01:19

How did this get published by the NAR controlled corporate media?

Remember, if you buy a house today, it will be the biggest mistake of your life.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 06:07:27

Hope and Change

“The health-care law was generated by an administration promoting government as the solution to inequality, yet the greatest irony of ObamaCare is what will undoubtedly follow as a long-term, unintended consequence of the law: a decidedly unequal, two-tiered health system. One will be for the poor and middle class, and a separate system will be for those with the money or power to circumvent ObamaCare.”

Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 07:07:05


ObamaCare has accomplished its mission: to help foster a permanent underclass.

Comment by Blackhawk
2014-05-01 07:14:36

Yes and the voters are going to show their displeasure this fall.

I talked to a friend this week who found he had to buy a $600 per month policy. Good news, it’s subsidized 100%. Bad news. He won’t be able to find a doctor when he needs one.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 07:23:24

Who subsidizes his non-market price?

And how is that good news?

Comment by Blackhawk
2014-05-01 14:04:18

It’s good news for him. Since we’re diametrically opposite politically I didn’t try to tell him it’s close to useless. He’ll find out soon enough.

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Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 07:34:24

“He won’t be able to find a doctor when he needs one.”

Tell your friend to start lining up doctors in Mexico or Belize.

Yeah, he’ll have to pay out of pocket for transportation and care, but he’ll have to do that in the States anyway since his subsidized plan offers no doctors.

Shame he’ll have to waste all that time going to see his MD.

There’ll be numerous ex-pat U.S. doctors setting up shop in foreign countries. Why wouldn’t they?

Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 08:06:31

Since he probably has a $5000 deductible he’ll be paying out of pocket anyway, so he might as well shop around. Since he’ll have to pay cash upfront anyway, so I don’t get the whole “no doctors on his plan” thing. It’s not like the Bronze plans (which most people will buy) allow you to see an “in network” doctor for a small copay. You need a Cadillac plan for that level of luxury. Every time I give my insurance card to some medical receptionist she gets wide eyed and murmurs “you have great insurance”, simply because I don’t have an HD plan.

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Comment by MightyMike
2014-05-01 07:58:37

We already had a two-tiered health care system long before Obama came along.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 08:25:18


How does that equate to what Obama promised?

You sure are in the tank for the guy.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-05-01 08:29:54

Stay on em.

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Comment by MightyMike
2014-05-01 10:13:00

It doesn’t “equate” to anything. It also has nothing to do with anything that Obama promised, since he didn’t promise to end the two-tier system. That might be a valid criticism of Obamacare, that it doesn’t even attempt to end the two-tier system, though I doubt that the WSJ would agree.

Actually, due to all the wasteful complexity in the way that health care is paid for in this country, it’s more accurate to say that four or five tiers.

I’m in the tank for reality.

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Comment by Oddfellow
2014-05-01 08:48:22

Yeah I was thinking that the rich have always had better health care, when and where in history haven’t they?

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2014-05-01 06:12:26

Unemployment claims up 14000, forward!

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 06:14:59

How about that botched execution of Clayton Lockett?

Oklahoma tried to do a Twofer Tuesday but his veins blew out and he died of a heart attack while still conscious.

‘Merica f* yeah!

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2014-05-01 06:17:03

karma? He buried someone alive.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 06:27:04

Because he was a black man, alot of people got a cool, tingly feeling (like when you bite into a Peppermint Patty) that he experienced such pain as he died. The same people who say they love Jeebus and are all about the Family Values™.


Comment by LolaLOL
2014-05-01 06:42:25

Men plan, god laughs. He kidnapped a girl a month after her high school graduation, shot her and buried her alive. He got off easy.

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Comment by rms
2014-05-01 07:21:55

“He got off easy.”

+1 Kim Jong-un’s hungry dogs moar better.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-05-01 07:26:39


Comment by LolaLOL
2014-05-01 06:21:55

Government workers. No one will be fired.

Comment by ibbots
2014-05-01 06:25:04

ultimately, it was a successful execution.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 06:41:28

Linked from Drudge (where else?), here whitey gets a dose of Justice For Trayvon™

Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 07:10:38

And for every one of these that get posted, there are stories you never hear about.

A business acquaintance of mine has a stepson that got stomped by one of these animals in school. “Stomping” is a favorite technique of these creeps and they like to go for the head.

The kid was 15 when it happened, and he made the mistake of telling the animal to shut up, because he couldn’t hear what the teacher was saying over the creep’s wise cracking.

Long story short: the creep got a short stint in juvie. The stepson got a long stint in the hospital, rehab, physical therapy. And was left with some mild brain damage, although he can function fairly well in society. He does have some problems with pain and pain meds.

Parents who play Russian Roulette with their kids’ lives by sending them to the same schools as these animals, should be arrested for child abuse.

Comment by Combotechie
2014-05-01 07:17:29

“Parents who play Russian Roulette with their kids’ lives by sending them to the same schools as these animals, should be arrested for child abuse.”

So I somehow assume you aren’t particularly interested in listening to the merits of forced busing?

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Comment by jose canusi
Comment by Northeastener
2014-05-01 08:02:54

You put my son or daughter in a hospital, you end up dumped in the ocean with a concrete anchor chained to your neck… that simple.

Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 08:09:14

And you would do this how, in today’s creep-coddling society?

Comment by Neuromance
2014-05-01 09:08:12

jose canusi: And you would do this how, in today’s creep-coddling society?

This is a good point.

Just the other day, the court system convicted a man who shot two (attractive, white) teenagers who’d broken into his house. And sent him to jail for life. Prosecutors said he laid a trap for the intruders… in his own house… ponder that concept for a moment.

In 2011, the victim of an armed robbery dared shoot an injured assailant a second time. Life in prison.

To me, these sentences are madness. I appreciate - and support - the sentiment Northeasterner, but FYI.

Comment by Northeastener
2014-05-01 11:15:43

And you would do this how, in today’s creep-coddling society?

Hypothetically speaking of course:

The key to any op is thorough surveillance, proper planning, and liberal use of distractions and misdirection. It would require a team of at least 3 to pull off with the best chance of success, as I’m not Liam Neeson and this isn’t Hollywood…

If you need more ideas of how this could be done, watch this.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 07:52:39

Sounds like that 15 year old who got beat was just making an early down payment on the inevitable future Reparations Tax, and learned a valuable lesson (as my liberal betters tell me) on white skin privilege in America. He should send his assailants a thank you card for allowing him to be a participant in the noble struggle for Social Justice™.

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Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 08:06:02

When I wuz a pup, the school bus drivers in my ‘burb were fit younger white men in their 30s and 40s, and they didn’t take crap off any of their passengers. Anyone started cutting up, they’d pull over, stop the bus and walk back to have a word with the kid or kids responsible, looming over them sternly. Names were taken and notice sent home to the parents. Any further disruption, they were not allowed to take the bus and the parents had to find alternate transportation. Of course, this was Catholic parochial schools, so it was a little different.

Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 08:14:12

And the kids were mostly of Irish, Italian, Polish, Puerto-Rican and Cuban descent. No Catholic blacks in our neck of the woods.

The Italians and Cubans were always getting into it with each other, lol. But it wasn’t any of that ganging up and stomping type stuff. They had this thing about fighting fair and would arrange for a match-up during recess.

Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 08:18:00

“the inevitable future Reparations Tax”

It’s called the Eloi Tax.

Comment by Can Bubble
2014-05-01 19:23:08

This is why people pay a premium to live in the best neighbourhoods.

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Comment by Oddfellow
2014-05-01 09:26:28

Posting black on white crimes is the oldest form of demagoguery there is. Stomping is the new knockout game is the new wilding is the new whistled at a white woman. Then the lynch mob mentality gets stirred up. Its just a way to keep us at each others throats, and distracted from the big con. Its actually an essential part of the big con.

Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 10:06:21

“Posting black on white crimes is the oldest form of demagoguery there is.”

LMAfarking O. People have been “posting” about black on white crime since the Cro-mags met the Neanderthals, right? And you would know this how? Time Machine?

Jeebus, buddy, what do you do, tell kids it’s OK to touch hot stoves? Pick up rattlesnakes with their bare hands?

I agree that the whole game is to keep people divided and fighting, and that this is part of the big con. But in the meantime, it’s good to know about these things so you don’t put yourself or your children into dangerous situations. Unfortunately they do exist. Forewarned is forearmed.

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Comment by Oddfellow
2014-05-01 10:15:51

Look up what the verb to post means.

Comment by Oddfellow
2014-05-01 10:18:13

I told my kids to use their heads and stay out of dangerous situations, which they did a pretty good job of doing. Random crime exists, I warned them about it. Young men of all races are the main perpetrators of it.

Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 10:36:01

Betcha your kids never had to ride a bus by themselves with feral youts.

Comment by Combotechie
2014-05-01 10:54:56

“Young men of all races are the main perpetrators of it.”

Pure genius is the invention of junior high school (not).

In a regular high school (grades 7 thru 12) the older kids are seventeen-years-old-or-so and because they have had a few years of experiencing puberty they have settled down a bit compared to a few years before - the year they turned fourteen.

But in junior high (grades 7 thru 9) the oldest kids at school are (gasp) fourteen, and fourteen years of age is probably the craziest time of boy’s existence. He is experiencing the craziest of times PLUS there are no boys older than him around to help keep his craziness in line (remember, the older boys are in senior high).

And it’s the craziest of the crazies who are the ones who end up ruling the school.

It may be helpful to realize, from a morale point of view, that nothing lasts forever and that these craziest-of-the-crazies are destined to drop out of school soon after moving from junior high on up to senior high but this will come sometime later. In the meantime the less than crazy twelve and thirteen and fourteen year olds will just have to suffer through it all.

Been there, done that.

Comment by MightyMike
2014-05-01 10:19:12

Its just a way to keep us at each others throats, and distracted from the big con.

Look on the bright side. Those stories bring great satisfaction to so many people.

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Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 10:30:38

“Look on the bright side. Those stories bring great satisfaction to so many people.”

Yep. Mainly to sadistic, bluenosing, hall-monitoring whites of the “dieversity for thee, but not for me” persuasion. Members of the media, political class and social engineering classes. I’m firmly convinced they jack off to video of such incidents.

Comment by MightyMike
2014-05-01 10:45:04

No, the stories appear on sites like Breitbart because their right wing readers enjoy them.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 10:51:32

“bring great satisfaction to so many people”

And bring so many Drudge link clicks, page loads, and ad displays.

“dieversity for thee, but not for me”

You gotta problem with the Media/Academia Race Hustlers Industrial Complex™, buddy?

Comment by MightyMike
2014-05-01 17:12:28

That’s an interesting thoery. I was listening to Rush Limbaugh for a few minutes in the car yesterday. He was angry/happy because thought that too much of a fuss was being made about that racist basketball guy. This came just a day or after other people were outraged/ecstatic about the tape of the guy’s racist ranting and the punishment meted out to him.

So it’s win/win. Lefties and righties both get the pleasure of getting outraged at someone’s bad behavior.

Comment by MightyMike
2014-05-01 07:59:41

Yeah, F– the constitution.

Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 06:21:31

Honey, do you smell gas?

Seems like every week brings a new gas explosion somewhere in the US.

But, you know, it’s clean and safe and all that.

To be fair, this happened in Florida’s Panhandle, which just got drowned by 22 inches of rain that fell in 24 hours. I’m sure that had something to do with it, there were washouts and sinkholes and cave-ins all over the place.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 06:22:05

This message sponsored by Koch

Wall Street Journal - The World’s Resources Aren’t Running Out

“Ecologists worry that the world’s resources come in fixed amounts that will run out, but we have broken through such limits again and again”

And for Dannyboy: warmists gonna warm :)

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2014-05-01 07:58:13

Lukewarmist bud.

Comment by MightyMike
2014-05-01 17:14:38

What would the opposite of fixed amounts be, infinite amounts?

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 06:31:43

If Downlow Joe ever made it back from Cleveland last weekend, he could be sitting at the bottom of a massive, goatse-sized crater in Baltimore.,0,1325765.story

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-05-01 06:55:58

Our own Liberace is actually the great internet legend Goatse. I’m just stunned by this.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 07:20:01

Well, heck.

It’s another shovel-ready job, courtesy of Infrastructure Man - our Man, the Messiah!

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 06:51:45

Class warfare (it is May Day, after all) from the New York Times

“Is a family with a car in the driveway, a flat-screen television and a computer with an Internet connection poor?

Americans — even many of the poorest — enjoy a level of material abundance unthinkable just a generation or two ago.

Despite improved living standards, the poor have fallen further behind the middle class and the affluent in both income and consumption. The same global economic trends that have helped drive down the price of most goods also have limited the well-paying industrial jobs once available to a huge swath of working Americans.”

Only higher taxes and more regulations and bigger government can solve this


Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 07:32:01

Is a family with a car in the driveway, a flat-screen television and a computer with an Internet connection poor?

Are they up to their eyeballs in debt?
Can they afford to see the doctor or pay for that $200 prescription? If they get a chest pain can they afford the ER or will they “tough it out”?
Can they afford to pay for college without taking out massive loans?
Will they be able to retire before they drop dead?

Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 07:42:30

A better-off population doesn’t require 44 million food stamps/SNAP cards.

A better-off population doesn’t need subsidized medical coverage.

A better-off population doesn’t need free cell phones.

A better-off population has access to better-made products at lower cost, not lesser-made products at lower costs.

A better-off population doesn’t experience record-high numbers of foreclosures.

A better-off population doesn’t witness its government incur $17 trillion in debt.

A better-off population doesn’t experience an overall decline in wages.

Shall I go on?

Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 07:57:51

A better-off population doesn’t need subsidized medical coverage.

Agreed, but it would really help if we didn’t have, by a huge margin, the priciest healthcare in the world. Between my employer and I we pay $18K per year for health insurance for my family.

18K is more than what a full time, minimum wage earner is paid for a year of labor.

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Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 08:29:26

Get a cheaper plan.

Better yet, go plan-less.

If it’s good enough for the subsidized guy to have to pay $5000 out of pocket (and have nameless taxpayers pay for his worthless “subsidy”), then it’s more than okay for you to go without, too.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-05-01 08:33:07

Tort reform would certainly reduce costs.

Yeah, and THAT’S gonna happen.

Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 09:06:31

Better yet, go plan-less.

The problem with that is that providers will charge you the full “rack rate”, which is much higher than the discount rate they charge insurers.

For example: I just received the bill for my blood panel that is part of my annual physical. The lab’s “rack rate” was about $400, but they only billed the insurance about $100, of which my share was $17.

Comment by ibbots
2014-05-01 10:59:55

Tort Reform for Med Mal already exists - most states have limits on non-economic damages i.e. pain and suffering, in Med Mal cases. I know CA and TX, the 2 most populous state in the nation, do.

Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 14:13:42

I think MacBeth would like to see it done away with altogether.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 07:06:04

More class warfare, here promoting socialist Canada

An interesting nugget from the article:

“Beyond obvious economic issues like education and housing, Canadians also notice cultural differences that seem to affect living standards.

About 68 percent of American children; about 80 percent of Canadian children do.”

American kidz don’t need fathers, that’s what Big Government is for. And after growing up on a lifetime of WIC, SNAP, free school bekfusses and lunches, free Obamaphones, they will all vote Democrat for life.


Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 07:39:08

And after growing up on a lifetime of … free school bekfusses and lunches

Hmmm … from what my kids told me, school meals are gross, and that at lunch time those who could afford it would go off campus to Wendy’s, etc. Wouldn’t that be an incentive to not depend on Big Government?

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 07:45:23

Correction: percent of kidz who live with two parents

Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 08:14:54

But what percent live with both of their biological parents? It seems these days that “blended” families are becoming the norm, which is hardly surprising as 50% of all marriages fail.

So, goonie, when are you gonna “man up” and become some deserving kids’ stepdad? ;-)

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 11:29:05

Give up the Bill in Los Angeles Lifestyle™ to pay for some tattooed single mom’s alpha thugspawn? Are you smoking crack for lunch today?

Article from a few months ago on that topic:

And to the post-wall womyn with baby rabies, your shaming doesn’t work anymore. Nobody’s listening :)

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Comment by goon squad
Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 12:52:08

Holy Hypergamy Batman!

Comment by Tarara Boomdea
2014-05-01 13:16:40

I don’t know any women like that (small sample, admittedly, not being the belle of the ball.)

I have run across a few - the type that get whatever favor they need from you and disappear. They must flock together.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-05-01 13:58:37

From the second article of Goon Squad:

“The researchers believe our culture brings out narcissistic behaviour in almost all of us.

“They blame the internet (where ‘fame’ is a click away), reality television (where the lure of fame without talent is most prevalent), easy credit (which enables people to buy far beyond their ability to pay), celebrity worship, our highly consumerist, competitive and individualistic society, and a generation of indulgent parents who have raised their children to think they’re special, amazing and perfect.”

“… easy credit …”

Hey, this is where I get to play my part:

Don’t do without, do what you deserve to do , deserve to have, deserve to be - and do it with credit!

Visit your local lender today and he will gladly service you, will gladly give to you what you truly deserve.


Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 14:16:05

I don’t know any women like that (small sample, admittedly, not being the belle of the ball.)

Having been outside of the dating scene for 30 years I can’t say from personal experience, but from what my young adult kids tell me it isn’t that uncommon.

Comment by In Colorado
2014-05-01 14:20:20

Hey, this is where I get to play my part:

Don’t do without, do what you deserve to do , deserve to have, deserve to be - and do it with credit!

Of course! Luxury cars and cool clothes aren’t cheap. How else can someone who is very special (even though their incomes are unaware of how wonderful they are) obtain those accoutrements that show the world how swell they are?

This is a job for Mr. Banker!

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-05-01 14:34:50

“This is a job for Mr. Banker!”

You can’t lose with the stuff I use.

In this case, it isn’t my stuff I am using, its the stuff that others - the marketers, the Dream Merchants, those guys - do to prep the narcissists, to thoroughly lube up the narcissists, before they are sent my way. I just provide the method and the means for the finishing touch to be applied.

They provide the voids, I provide the dotted lines. In the long run the dotted lines won’t fill the voids (nothing will fill the voids) hence I get a lot of business.

Comment by goon squad
2014-05-01 16:15:16

Thank you again, Mr. Banker.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-05-01 17:37:37

“Thank you again, Mr. Banker.”

No problem. The pleasure (and the profit), is all mine.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-05-01 19:18:14

Bill in Los Angeles Lifestyle™ -

relationships are an option. I had them before. I don’t miss them. Too much work involved when you 1) have to work out 80 minutes 5 days a week to keep off body fat because 2) you are hypothyroid; Then there is 3) work 8 and a half to 9 hours a day to impress the folks. And also 4) this month I turn 55.

I definitely liked that first article.

I am selfish. The gal he’s talking about is right at that. But “selfishness” in the non-derogatory way. I don’t aversely affect anyone by looking only for my self interest. For now it’s my rational self interest to stay alone and be very mobile and rent.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-05-01 07:07:23

The last six months, Series I bond rates were 1.38%. Of that, the fixed rate was 0.2%. Today’s announced rates are 1.94% and 0.1%.

This means if you have I bonds from 13 years ago still, your fixed rate is 3% and your variable rate is 1.84%, so your bonds issued 13 years ago will earn 4.84% the next six months. That sure beats many dividend stocks!

The Treasury is still stingy about raising the fixed rate to something reasonable. But we won’t see fixed rates above 1% until T bills yield an annual 3% rate.

Comment by rms
2014-05-01 07:33:21

The latest Firefox browser is trying real hard to get the HOME | BOOKMARKS | Etc. buttons to the right side. Used to be that the upper-left was the most important corner of the browser back when I learned html. WEHT standards?

Comment by Combotechie
2014-05-01 08:21:22

What a great idea! But don’t get caught.

Better to secretly install the jammer in someone else’s car, someone you don’t like.

Comment by Combotechie
2014-05-01 09:00:36

Can you imagine how much fun OWS protesters could have if they decided to descend onto Wall Street equipped with cell phone jammers?

If the point of protesting is to get one’s attention then these jammers should do the trick.

Comment by Neuromance
2014-05-01 08:53:14

Interesting thing about this piece, it offers equal opportunity criticism of both parties. One big problem I’ve seen is the propaganda organs of both parties totally ignoring obvious facts and quacking talking points regardless of the blatant reality. Sure, you’ll get your single-issue voters who were going to vote for you regardless of what you say, cheering for you. But party members not who are not True Believers, as well as independents, will be put off by the whole transparent theater.

The Citigroup Clique
Why is Obama appointing so many former employees of one Wall St. bank?
By Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Today, I cast my vote on the Senate Banking Committee for Stanley Fischer to serve in the No. 2 position at the U.S. Federal Reserve … But I cast my vote reluctantly because of my growing frustration over the concentration of people with ties to the megabank Citigroup in senior government positions.

In recent years, Wall Street institutions have exerted extraordinary influence in Washington’s corridors of power, but Citi has risen above the others in exercising a tight grip over the Democratic Party’s economic policymaking apparatus. Fischer, after all, is just the latest Citi alumnus to be tapped for a high-level government position. Starting with Robert Rubin – a former Citi CEO – three of the last four Treasury secretaries under Democratic presidents have had Citigroup affiliations before or after their Treasury service. (The fourth was offered, but declined, Citigroup’s CEO position.)

For too long, the titans of Wall Street succeeded in pushing government policies that made the megabanks rich beyond imagination, while leaving working families to struggle from payday to payday. Many Republicans openly acknowledge their ties to Wall Street, but Democrats have campaigned on an alternative approach focusing on expanding opportunities and leveling the playing field for the middle class. Democrats’ slogans have won some elections, but once in power, Democratic administrations have too often stacked top positions in government with people close to Wall Street.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-05-01 09:18:45

“Today, I cast my vote on the Senate Banking Committee for Stanley Fischer to serve in the No. 2 position at the U.S. Federal Reserve … But I cast my vote reluctantly because of my growing frustration over the concentration of people with ties to the megabank Citigroup in senior government positions.”

She casts her vote reluctantly but she casts it nevertheless.

Bla bla bla bla …

So - what does this mean? - does her vote somehow get diluted because it is casted “reluctantly”?

Truly, a nation of idiots.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-05-01 09:24:35

Words …

I suppose now is a good time to trot out a bunch of meaningless words spoken by one of those Senator guys a few years back …

‘The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.’

Comment by Neuromance
2014-05-01 09:42:20

Mr. Banker: So - what does this mean? - does her vote somehow get diluted because it is casted “reluctantly”?

Indeed. “I was for it before I was against it” I suppose.

But the points raised I thought were very unusual to hear discussed in DC.

But also realize that actions have consequences. Had she voted against… there would have been consequences. It’s like pissing off the prison gang (political party) which saved your life (helped you get elected) in the past. I don’t think she has enough political capital after a close election to speak too much truth to power.

Comment by oxide
2014-05-01 09:38:41

She’s 1/16 Injun. You know what Sheridan said.

[will the good folk as NSA kindly note that this was satire.]

Comment by Arizona Slim
2014-05-01 09:34:26

When recovery looks like a bubble. And AZ is featured prominently.

Comment by X-GSfixr
2014-05-01 10:14:29

An example of how the “liberal” media is just as stupid as the “conservative” media. Or a prime example of how people don’t have a clue as to how things work in the real world.

Just a few observations:

-The story make a big deal out of an e-mail exchange between a Federal inspector and a transportation company co-ordinating a “surprise inspection”.

For starters, the way a lot of business is run in America, a real “surprise” inspection might mean that the Fed can show up, and find the facility locked up, with nobody present to assist the inspector (typically, the policy is that the inspector will be escorted by the Quality Assurance or Safety Manager/Supervisor…… about 99% of the businesses I’m familiar with, this guy has more than one facility he’s responsible for). Or be refused access to the facility by the security staff, unless it is cleared before hand (he could be a terrorist, after all)

- The story has all kinds of hand wringing about covering up problems if an inspection isn’t a “surprise”. The reality is that four-five days of notice isn’t going to matter much. Fundamental problems can’t be corrected in four or five days. Nobody has the extra staff, the extra budget, and vendors take two weeks to supply parts and equipment to correct any discrepancies.

The reality is that the Feds in the local offices with industry experience who do the grunt work are a helluva lot smarter than the doofuses in DC who create the policies.

My personal experience with the FAA guys is that they have been around enough, and have seen enough, to know what questions to ask. If they get the answers they are looking for, an FAA visit isn’t that big a deal. “Wrong” answers mean more questions. It is also an educational experience, in that the inspectors I’ve dealt with have passed along advice that can help improve the way you are doing things, especially when it comes to submitting applications to the FAA. A properly written/submitted request will be approved a lot faster than one that doesn’t have info that they need.

Comment by Neuromance
2014-05-01 12:59:56

” Laws are like spiders’ webs: if some light or powerless thing falls into them, it is caught, but a bigger one can break through and get away.” — Solon

The blatant double standards are troubling.

Its Great to be the CEO Running a Huge Criminal Bank
by Bill Black - May 1st, 2014, 6:00am
Ritholtz: The Big Picture

Every day brings multiple new scandals. At least they used to be scandals. Now they’re simply news items strained of ethical content by business journalists who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak not about evil. The Wall Street Journal, our principal U.S. financial journal ran two such stories today. The first story deals with tax evasion, and begins with this cheery (and tellingly inaccurate) headline: “U.S. Banks to Help Authorities With Tax Evasion Probe.” Here’s an alternative headline, drawn from the facts of the article: “Senior Officers of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Aided and Abetted Tax Fraud by Wealthiest Americans, Failed to Make Required Criminal Referrals, and Demanded Immunity from Prosecution for Themselves and the Banks before Complying with the U.S. Subpoenas: U.S. Department of Justice Caves in to Banker’s Demands Continuing its Practice of Effectively Immunizing Fraud by Most Financial Elites.”

Oh, and the feckless DOJ (again) did not require any officer who committed the felony of aiding and abetting tax fraud to resign or to repay the bonuses he “earned” through his crimes. But not to worry, the banks – not the bankers – may have to pay fines as the cost of doing their felonious business. The feckless regulators did not even require Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to disclose to shareholders their participation in the program.

The one time the GAO uses the word fraud is to report that the foreclosure payout program carefully protects itself from fraud by the victims – by providing that the checks expire after 90 days [GAO 2014: 34 n. 51]. In a very dark Irish humor kind of way I find this hysterically funny. By contrast, when the GAO discusses real frauds the passage again reads as if it were drafted by the bank’s criminal defense lawyers.

Bill Black Twitter:

Comment by jose canusi
2014-05-01 14:51:45

William K. Black is awesome.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2014-05-01 16:01:23

Your HBB Librarian recommends his book, The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

Comment by rms
2014-05-01 18:05:49

One can start with a null hypothesis for the culprit’s cohort, but the jooz keep popping up, which is amazing considering they’re only 2% of the US population. The only reasonable explanation for the density distribution is cronyism and nepotism, which is maintained through graft, corruption and influence lobbying. Heck, they’re above the law these days.

Comment by MightyMike
2014-05-01 18:43:25

Gee, some of the people on this blog are simply amazing.

Comment by rms
2014-05-01 22:23:58

Take the blue pill and go back to sleep.

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Comment by phony scandals
2014-05-01 16:45:16

With 1 In 3 Homes Unaffordable, Freddie Mac Prepares To Enter The Trailer Home Loan Market

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/01/2014 18:22

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

I can’t say this is surprising. After all, with average peasants, I mean citizens, now priced out of the domestic housing market (Zillow recently showed 1 in 3 homes are unaffordable) due to billionaire financiers and foreign oligarchs buying up all real estate in cash purchases, American serfs now will find out where the “elites” think they belong. In trailer homes, naturally.

Oh, but the story gets better, a lot better. As is generally the case in the USSA these days, crony capitalist oligarchs have perfectly positioned themselves to benefit financially from the final transition of Americans to neo-feudalism. Recall that in my post from last October titled, Carlyle Group’s Latest Investment…Trailer Parks, it was noted that trailer park owners share the following attractive quality:

Our customers have no alternative shot at homeownership, nor do they [normally] even have the credit scores and quality to seek anything better…They never leave the park they are in, and the revenues are unbelievably stable as a result.

Sure, we know from the Dark Ages that peasants on the land stay put. Same concept here. However, it gets even better than this. America’s number one hypocritical, crony capitalist, Warren Buffett is also positioned to benefit.

From Bloomberg:

Want to buy a trailer park? Freddie Mac wants to give you a loan.

The unit of the government-owned mortgage giant that funds apartment buildings is set to begin financing manufactured-housing communities, the company said in a statement today.

The firm is broadening its reach in the multifamily segment of the housing market as it seeks to fulfill its mandate to provide affordable options for low-income families. The McLean, Virginia-based lender will work with established companies in the industry across the U.S., said David Brickman, the head of multifamily operations at Freddie Mac.

“It’s rounding out our ability to touch the affordable housing space,” Brickman said today in a telephone interview. “Manufactured housing is a big piece of rural affordable housing.”

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., lamented the punitive rates charged to purchase factory-built homes in his 2009 annual letter to shareholders. Berkshire owns Clayton Homes Inc., a builder of manufactured housing.

Serfs up!

Full article here

Comment by localandlord
2014-05-01 18:47:53

Oh heck, Warren Buffet runs his own finance company, why is he complaining?

In related news Clayton is targeting hipsters with the “Gen Now” model. Outside it looks like a trailer but the inside is styled like a loft. Maybe that’s where the kids will go when they finally move out of the basement.

Comment by rms
2014-05-01 22:37:14

“Oh heck, Warren Buffet runs his own finance company, why is he complaining?”

It’s just ‘ol gramps nursing that good-guy folksy image.

Comment by phony scandals
2014-05-01 17:29:33

Holder’s Latest Scandal: DOJ Now Pressuring Banks to Refuse Service to Gun Stores

Operation Choke Point also targets other legal businesses for political reasons

Kit Daniels
April 30, 2014

For the past several months, the U.S. Department of Justice has been pressuring banks to refuse service to businesses the DOJ is targeting politically, such as gun stores, in a program entitled Operation Choke Point.

Corrupt Attorney General Eric Holder has been involved in no less than 16 scandals.

Under the program, the DOJ, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, is attempting to shut down various legal businesses, including firearm dealers, dating services, purveyors of drug paraphernalia and pornography distributors, by coercing financial institutions to close the bank and merchant accounts associated with these businesses.

The businesses targeted follow a 2011 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bulletin which lists all of the above legal activities and others as “merchant categories that have been associated with high-risk activity” involving “disreputable merchants.”

“Although many clients of payment processors are reputable merchants, an increasing number are not and should be considered ‘high risk,’” the bulletin reads. “These disreputable merchants use payment processors to charge consumers for questionable or fraudulent goods and services.”

In other words, the FDIC, and now the DOJ, are trying to demonize gun shops by causing banks to view legal firearm dealers as no different than pushers of “ponzi schemes” and “get rich products,” two “high-risk” activities that are also listed in the bulletin.

In 2012, Bank of America told a gun company, McMillan Group International, that because the company was expanding into firearms manufacturing, the bank no longer wanted McMillan’s business.

“We have to assess the risk of doing business with a firearms-related industry,” the bank’s representative told operations director Kelly McMillan.

Last month, BitPay, a U.S.-based bitcoin processor, likewise refused to do business with gun dealer Michael Cargill of Central Texas Gunworks due to a similar policy.

And also in March, a Florida couple who own a gun store received a letter from BankUnited informing them that the bank was closing their business account, which they opened seven years prior, and gave them three days to transfer their money elsewhere.

“I was very angry,” Elizabeth Liberti told the Miami New Times. “They were very inconsiderate. We had all our credit cards going through that bank.”

“All of a sudden, we had to run and find another bank to keep our business going. We shut down for two weeks, and they wouldn’t even tell us why.”

BankUnited finally gave them a reason some time later.

“This letter in no way reflects any derogatory reasons for such action on your behalf, but rather one of industry,” wrote branch manager Ricardo Garcia. “Unfortunately your company’s line of business is not commensurate with the industries we work with.”

And it isn’t just gun stores that the Justice Dept. is targeting.

Last week, Xbiz, a news outlet pertaining to adult entertainment, reported that Chase Bank was sending out letters to hundreds of porn stars notifying them that their accounts would be terminated.

“I got a letter and it was like please cancel all transactions, please fix your automatic pay account and make sure everything’s taken care of by May 11,” actress Teagan Presley told Xbiz. “I called them and they told me that because I am, I guess, public and am recognizable in the adult business, they’re closing my account.”

“Even though I don’t use my account, it’s my personal account that I’ve had since I was 18, when it was Washington Mutual before Chase bought them out.”

And when Presley went to Bank of America to open a new account, the bank also turned her away.

An adult industry attorney, Michael Fattorosi, told Xbiz that banks in the past have “notoriously closed adult accounts or people in the industry’s accounts, but nothing like this.”

That’s because this discrimination is coming straight from the Justice Dept.

Jason Oxman, the CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association, recently revealed the massive scope of Operation Choke Point, which he indicated was also targeting ammunition sales.

The DOJ is ensuring the banks’ cooperation by threatening them “with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands,” he wrote on The Hill. “And it’s working – payments companies across the country are cutting off service to categories of merchants that – although providing a legal service – are creating the potential for significant financial and reputational harm as law enforcement publicizes its activities.”

The Justice Dept.’s ultimate goal is to shut down these businesses completely.

This article was posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Comment by phony scandals
2014-05-01 17:40:49

“Operation Choke Point” harmful to flow of commerce

By Jason Oxman
April 24, 2014,

In Alfred Hitchcock’s movie classic “Dial M for Murder,” the crime at the center of the plot is hatched on a phone call. A half-century later, the universal availability of mobile devices and communications networks means that criminal acts are even more frequently plotted and carried out using electronic means. In investigating such crimes, does law enforcement hold responsible those companies that merely operate communications networks? Of course not. And yet that is exactly what the Department of Justice and other federal agencies are doing as they pursue disfavored – but legal – categories of merchants by targeting our nation’s payments systems.

The enforcement program has a name – “Operation Chokepoint” – and as more details of the program become public, more concerns are raised. The “chokepoint” in this operation is the nation’s payments infrastructure, the means by which merchants process nearly $5 trillion in consumer purchases in the U.S. each year. Federal law enforcers are targeting merchant categories like payday lenders, ammunition and tobacco sales, and telemarketers – but not merely by pursuing those merchants directly. Rather, Operation Chokepoint is flooding payments companies that provide processing service to those industries with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands. - 115k -

Comment by Little Al
2014-05-01 20:35:09

I hate to broadcast my investments, but if it can help someone else make decisions, it is worth it. My main worry is if I lose money, someone will rub it in. However, the last threeeeeee tips have been
money makers. I own 1050 of AUY, I think it’s very close to a bottom.

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