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Thread: Looting Main Street

  1. #1

    Thumbs up Looting Main Street

    Wall Street nemesis and muckraker extraordinaire Matt Taibbi takes no prisoners, as he reveals how the nation’s biggest banks, this time with J.P. Morgan at the head of the pack rather than Taibbi’s usual bad guys from Goldman Sachs, are ripping off American cities with the same predatory pattern and zeal that just brought down Greece. zg
    Looting Main Street

    How the nation's biggest banks are ripping off American cities
    with the same predatory deals that brought down Greece


    MATT TAIBBI
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 8:15 AM




    If you want to know what life in the Third World is like, just ask Lisa Pack, an administrative assistant who works in the roads and transportation department in Jefferson County, Alabama. Pack got rudely introduced to life in post-crisis America last August, when word came down that she and 1,000 of her fellow public employees would have to take a little unpaid vacation for a while. The county, it turned out, was more than $5 billion in debt — meaning that courthouses, jails and sheriff's precincts had to be closed so that Wall Street banks could be paid.

    As public services in and around Birmingham were stripped to the bone, Pack struggled to support her family on a weekly unemployment check of $260. Nearly a fourth of that went to pay for her health insurance, which the county no longer covered. She also fielded calls from laid-off co-workers who had it even tougher. "I'd be on the phone sometimes until two in the morning," she says. "I had to talk more than one person out of suicide. For some of the men supporting families, it was so hard — foreclosure, bankruptcy. I'd go to bed at night, and I'd be in tears."

    Homes stood empty, businesses were boarded up, and parts of already-blighted Birmingham began to take on the feel of a ghost town. There were also a few bills that were unique to the area — like the $64 sewer bill that Pack and her family paid each month. "Yeah, it went up about 400 percent just over the past few years," she says.

    The sewer bill, in fact, is what cost Pack and her co-workers their jobs. In 1996, the average monthly sewer bill for a family of four in Birmingham was only $14.71 — but that was before the county decided to build an elaborate new sewer system with the help of out-of-state financial wizards with names like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. The result was a monstrous pile of borrowed money that the county used to build, in essence, the world's grandest toilet — "the Taj Mahal of sewer-treatment plants" is how one county worker put it. What happened here in Jefferson County would turn out to be the perfect metaphor for the peculiar alchemy of modern oligarchical capitalism: A mob of corrupt local officials and morally absent financiers got together to build a giant device that converted human sh*t into billions of dollars of profit for Wall Street — and misery for people like Lisa Pack.

    MORE on PAGE-2: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics..._main_street/2
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  2. #2
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    Which of the big financial wizards forced Birmingham to embark on building "the Taj Mahal of sewer treatment plants," which they couldn't afford in the first place? Let's have a little bit of personal, in this case, city, responsibility. We have to live within our means, and when we try to be like the big guys and flip a house or two and get caught in the bubble bust, we have only ourselves to blame, not the big financial institutions who made it all so easy. Why is it when we build something at home we do it on a shoestring, but when government does anything it has to be good enough for the Rockefellers?
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

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    I think it is called fiduciary responsibility. Something sorely lacking in BOTH political parties at the federal, state and local level.

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    “Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.” Edward Abbey
    Caps are my emphasis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by metronome View Post
    “Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.” Edward Abbey
    Caps are my emphasis.
    I'm in favor of Federal government as close to anarchy as practicable. There are limits, of course, but most of the things done by the Feds could be done at the state or local level and give us the choice of which state or county we want to live in. Inter state competition has to be a healthy idea.
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by metronome View Post
    “Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.” Edward Abbey
    Caps are my emphasis.
    The article above demonstrates beyond doubt the truth of Abbey's quote.
    There are some familiar infamous names there among the list of bad corps... Weren't some of these beneficiaries of bailouts and the like, late last year? The article shows what they get up to... and how!

    Here's another from Abbey:
    "Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others."
    Last edited by Katweezel; April 8th, 2010 at 06:21 AM. Reason: Good bad guys get bailouts?
    Dogma schmogma

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    Default Aslan

    Quote Originally Posted by aslan View Post
    Which of the big financial wizards forced Birmingham to embark on building "the Taj Mahal of sewer treatment plants," which they couldn't afford in the first place? Let's have a little bit of personal, in this case, city, responsibility. We have to live within our means, and when we try to be like the big guys and flip a house or two and get caught in the bubble bust, we have only ourselves to blame, not the big financial institutions who made it all so easy. Why is it when we build something at home we do it on a shoestring, but when government does anything it has to be good enough for the Rockefellers?
    Me and the wife have always handled our money carefully, very very.

    Now today we can tell anyone we want to, to go get fu##ed.

    CP
    "Midwest Masters Of Advantage", "Strength and Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by creeping panther View Post
    Me and the wife have always handled our money carefully, very very.

    Now today we can tell anyone we want to, to go get fu##ed.

    CP
    As it should be!
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

  9. #9

    Default Money money money

    There was an interesting four-part series on PBS last year called the Ascent of Money which is available for online viewing. It's a worthwhile look at how our current financial system evolved from bullion to bubbles. If nothing else, it makes clear how empty the whining of us Mainstreet types are compared to the power of those who actually run the system as Matt Taibi has been documenting of late.
    (Along the way it helps identify at least one aspect of the historical orgins of anti-semitism as pious (hypocritical) Christians relied on Jewish money lenders.) http://video.pbs.org/program/1155680272/

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diver View Post
    (Along the way it helps identify at least one aspect of the historical orgins of anti-semitism as pious (hypocritical) Christians relied on Jewish money lenders.) http://video.pbs.org/program/1155680272/
    First, let me say I am not an expert in the history of the time. But off the top of my head, it appears at least worth investigating first what was the ratio of Jewish money lenders to non-Jewish money lenders during that period of history, if any reliable source can be found. This would ensure that the series itself is not antisemitic.
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Diver View Post
    (Along the way it helps identify at least one aspect of the historical orgins of anti-semitism as pious (hypocritical) Christians relied on Jewish money lenders.) http://video.pbs.org/program/1155680272/
    How dare you Sir! zg
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
    .....................The Zengrifter Interview (PDF) |
    The Zengrifter / James Grosjean Reputation Debate
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    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
    "Is everything a conspiracy? No, just the important stuff." ZG

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by aslan View Post
    First, let me say I am not an expert in the history of the time. But off the top of my head, it appears at least worth investigating first what was the ratio of Jewish money lenders to non-Jewish money lenders during that period of history, if any reliable source can be found. This would ensure that the series itself is not antisemitic.
    Matt Taibbi was called 'antisemitic' after he went after Goldman in his Bubble Machine hit piece last summer. zg

    Great American Bubble Machine –
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...bubble_machine
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
    .....................The Zengrifter Interview (PDF) |
    The Zengrifter / James Grosjean Reputation Debate
    -----------------------------------------
    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
    "Is everything a conspiracy? No, just the important stuff." ZG

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zengrifter View Post
    Matt Taibbi was called 'antisemitic' after he went after Goldman in his Bubble Machine hit piece last summer. zg

    Great American Bubble Machine –
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...bubble_machine
    We sling these charges of anti-semitism around like empty beer cans at a redneck campsite. (Not me, I keep the site clean at all times.) OTOH, history shows abundantly that anti-semitism is a reality. Jews are the classic scapegoat. I guess fortunately, my Jewish friends hardly have two dimes to rub together, let alone go into the business of lending them out.
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zengrifter View Post
    Matt Taibbi was called 'antisemitic' after he went after Goldman in his Bubble Machine hit piece last summer. zg

    Great American Bubble Machine –
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...bubble_machine
    Goldman is still sputtering and spewing 9-mos after Taibbi's piece >>

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2...r-shareholders
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
    .....................The Zengrifter Interview (PDF) |
    The Zengrifter / James Grosjean Reputation Debate
    -----------------------------------------
    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
    "Is everything a conspiracy? No, just the important stuff." ZG

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aslan View Post
    We sling these charges of anti-semitism around like empty beer cans at a redneck campsite.
    zg
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
    .....................The Zengrifter Interview (PDF) |
    The Zengrifter / James Grosjean Reputation Debate
    -----------------------------------------
    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
    "Is everything a conspiracy? No, just the important stuff." ZG

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