You wouldn't know it by watching the news or reading the paper, but America's banks are on the largest crime spree the country has ever known. Let's go to the highlight reel, shall we?

In July, Wells Fargo paid a $175 million settlement after the feds caught its brokers systematically pushing minority customers into mortgages with higher rates and fees, even though they posed the same credit risks as whites.

One study found that Wells Fargo charged Hispanics $2,000 more in what the Justice Department called a "racial surtax." The bank docked blacks nearly $3,000 extra for their own improper pigmentation.

Illustration by Patrick Faricy
"They designed a fraud cookie-cutter, and all of these guys have been running comparable scams," Blakey says. "The variation between scam to scam is minor, and none of them are particularly imaginative."
wikimedia commons
"They designed a fraud cookie-cutter, and all of these guys have been running comparable scams," Blakey says. "The variation between scam to scam is minor, and none of them are particularly imaginative."
"Juries don't like holding mid-level people accountable when the top people are getting off," says Spitzer.
Inside Job/Sony Pictures
"Juries don't like holding mid-level people accountable when the top people are getting off," says Spitzer.

But despite a colossal civil rights fraud perpetrated against 30,000 customers, the settlement amounted to just 0.011 percent of the San Francisco bank's annual income. It was like forcing a $30,000-a-year working stiff to pay a $240 fine.

Across the country, in Minneapolis, U.S. Bank also swindled its customers, though at least it let whites in on the action. Instead of logging debit-card purchases in the order they were made, the bank rearranged them from highest amount to lowest, the better to artificially stick customers with overdraft fees.

U.S. Bank paid $55 million to settle a class-action suit in July. It was the 13th major bank caught running this scam.

Yet these titans of finance were pikers compared to American Express. It promised $300 to anyone who signed up for its Blue Sky card then decided it would be way better to just stiff them. The company also was caught charging illegal late fees and discriminating against older applicants. The penalty for its sins: $112 million in fines and refunds.

These were just the opening salvos of the assault. Bank of America was caught illegally foreclosing on the homes of active-duty soldiers. Visa and MasterCard were charged with fixing the prices they charged merchants to process credit-card payments. Morgan Stanley colluded to drive up New York electricity prices. And in the most depraved case of all, Morgan Stanley was even sued for allegedly swindling Irish nuns in an investment deal.

If they'd been common robbers, the bankers surely would have faced indictments. After all, their scams have run for years, their breadth and coordination breathtaking.

But not a single boss went to jail. Some firms settled for just a fraction of what they'd stolen. Most have never admitted wrongdoing. And in the ethics-optional land known as Wall Street, many saw their stock prices rise.

America's country club set has forged its own replica of the Mafia — only bigger, broader, and capable of unleashing far more damage on the U.S. economy.

"Unquestionably, that's true," says Notre Dame law professor G. Robert Blakey, whose career prosecuting organized crime runs all the way back to the Kennedy administration. "I was looking at stuff on Mulberry Street, and the real theft was on Wall Street . . . All of the people who ran the scams have their big houses and their airplanes, and they're laughing — they got away with it."

The crime wave is a ready-made campaign issue: Gucci villains plundering the middle class. But you haven't heard a peep out of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. Both have records they'd prefer you didn't notice.

The situation leaves Sam Antar with a sense of longing. He's a former chief financial officer convicted of securities, mail, and wire fraud.

"My biggest mistake in life was that I committed my crimes in the 1980s," he says. "If I committed them today, I wouldn't even get house arrest. I'd just hire a good lawyer and pay a fine and I'd be free."


Capitol Hill's approach to organized crime — at least the yacht-club variety — was on display in June, when JP Morgan Chase chief executive officer Jamie Dimon was summoned to appear before the Senate Banking Committee.

Four years earlier, American taxpayers shoveled him a $25 billion bailout package. But Dimon had since refashioned himself as the sweetheart of Wall Street, the heroic captain who'd weathered the storm. Obama called him "one of the smartest bankers we've got."

On this day, that compliment appeared based on a very low bar. A Morgan trader known as the "London Whale" had just gambled away a stunning $6 billion by making bad bets on the credit markets. His behavior reflected the same strain of incompetence that detonated the economy in 2008.

The senators had presumably summoned Dimon to extract a pound of flesh. Instead, the exact opposite happened.

They stumbled over themselves with softball questions and blubbering supplication.

Typical of the biting line of inquiry was Tennessee Republican Bob Corker: "You're obviously renowned — rightfully so, I think — for being one of the best CEOs in the country," he told Dimon.

So much for protecting the economy.

By the time the hearing was over, Dimon may have needed a post-coital shower.

Conveniently unmentioned at the hearing — or covered in the press — was that JP Morgan was in the midst of a criminal bender that would make the Genovese crime family envious.

It began the year before, when Dimon's bank paid a $27 million settlement for systematically screwing 6,000 active-duty soldiers. JP Morgan was caught overcharging on interest rates and illegally foreclosing on the soldiers' homes. (The bank did not respond to interview requests.)

Last fall, JP Morgan was nabbed again, this time for violating international sanctions and anti-terrorism laws. The Treasury Department cited the bank for engaging in illegal and "egregious" transactions with Iran and Cuba over a five-year period. But instead of being indicted for treason, JP Morgan paid an $88 million settlement to make the problem go away.

In February, the bank was caught gouging customers on overdraft fees. Some were charged hundreds of dollars for being just a few bucks overdrawn. Yet cash — a $110 million settlement, to be exact — again made the accusations disappear.

The crime spree didn't end until August, when JP Morgan paid another $100 million to settle another class-action suit. This time it was dinged for enticing customers to transfer balances at other banks to its own credit cards. In return, they would only have to pay 2 percent of the debt each month. But the bank quietly raised that minimum to 5 percent — the better to generate late fees.

In a span of 18 months, JP Morgan was involved in three major fraud cases — while moonlighting in money laundering and treason. But not a single executive faced criminal charges. And since the bank posted $25.9 billion in revenue during its most recent quarter, the collective settlements amounted to docking it less than two days' wages.

The bankers behaved like mafiosi. The feds handed out parking tickets.

"It's just about dollars," says Mitchell Crusto, a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans. "If no one's serving time and no one's personally liable, I gotta do that all over again."


Kid-glove treatment for wayward bankers first became fashionable under George W. Bush. In the Orwellian world of conservative economics, he viewed fraud and racketeering statutes as little more than burdensome regulation — at least when it came to the executive crowd. Crimes against consumers were just a lucrative new profit center.

Obama was supposed to change that; he was anti-business, after all, a modern-day Karl Marx with better access to a barber. But this reputation was born of the prattling of Republicans and their televised subsidiary, Fox News. The evidence screams otherwise.

To be fair, the president did push through the Dodd-Frank Act, which includes too-big-to-fail legislation and other measures that hinder banks' ability to set depth charges across the economy. Obama also created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whose mission was to return America to the same safeguards that existed under Reagan and the first Bush.

But when he appointed Eric Holder attorney general, it was like making John Dillinger's lawyer head of the FBI bank-robbery unit.

Holder, a former Wall Street defense attorney, would ramp up big-dollar settlements. But criminal charges quietly sputtered to a trickle.

Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson disagrees with this interpretation.

"We understand there is desire by the public to put company officials behind bars who may be with firms that have committed fraud against the government," she says in a written statement. "We follow the facts and the evidence, and whenever and wherever we uncover evidence of criminal wrongdoing, we will not hesitate to bring prosecutions."

Iverson offers a list of people who have been convicted for insider trading, Ponzischemes, and mortgage fraud. But they're mostly the smaller fish of finance, people who've never slept in the Lincoln bedroom or golfed with John Boehner. Conspicuously absent are racketeering indictments or repeat-offender charges against the likes of Bank of America or JP Morgan.

In a sense, Holder has granted the industry its own version of juvenile court. No matter how pervasive the crime, no matter how many thousands of victims, the major players can be assured of walking away with little more than a fine, released to the custody of their parents.

"When it comes to Wall Street, Eric Holder couldn't prosecute a ham sandwich that sold itself as kosher," says Sam Antar. "The Obama administration's record has been abysmal."

He should know. As the chief financial officer of a retail electronics chain in the 1980s, Antar pleaded guilty to multiple charges of fraud and conspiracy. He now describes himself as a "retired criminal" with a safer career: teaching FBI and IRS agents how to catch people just like him.

"It's kind of like Wall Street has a different set of rules than other industries," Antar says. "It's almost like stealing a billion dollars with a pencil is not as bad. You have a lesser chance of going to jail than if you mug somebody on the streets of New York."

And if Mitt Romney's elected, he'll make Bush and Obama look like disciples of Eliot Ness.

Romney has vowed to rescind even Obama's most modest gains, including too-big-to-fail laws. After all, he's never had an aversion to snuggling up with corruption.

Take the case of Drexel Burnham Lambert, the grandest criminal empire in modern Wall Street history. In the 1980s, its CEO Michael Milken was being investigated in a massive insider-trading and stock-manipulation case. But Romney, then head of Bain Capital, refused to stop doing business with Drexel, claiming its chieftain had yet to be convicted.

Before Drexel collapsed and Milken was sent to prison, Romney made $175 million with the company.

Former Bain executive Marc Wolpow best expresses the nominee's business principles: "Mitt, I think, spent his life balanced between fear and greed," he told the Boston Globe.


So bad has the leniency become that the feds are allowing bankers to keep much of what they steal. Ask Morgan Stanley.

In August, it settled with the Justice Department over its role in fixing New York City's electricity rates. The bank played middleman in a deal between two energy providers, KeySpan and Astoria Generating, which then colluded to withhold electricity from the market, artificially driving up prices and costing consumers an estimated $300 million.

Morgan Stanley was paid $21 million for arranging the scheme. But the ever-generous Holder let the bank settle for $4.8 million.

It marked a stunning new low in federal prosecutions, akin to forcing a bank robber to return just $2,500 after stealing $10,000. With no jail time, of course.

Morgan Stanley offers little defense for its actions. "We will decline comment," says spokeswoman Mary Claire Delaney. But New York state senator Michael Gianaris will happily fill that silence.

"It's a good business deal for Morgan Stanley," he says. "They could break the law and get away with almost $17 million in profits for it, so why not do it again? If they get caught — and that's a big if — they still get 70 percent of the profits."

Peter Vallone Jr., a Queens councilman and former prosecutor, has never seen such tender handling of criminals. "It didn't deter a company this big, because it sort of amounts to their lunch budget," he says. "And most of all, it didn't return the money to the people it was stolen from. I was a prosecutor for six years, and I've never seen someone being fined less than they made."

Unfortunately, it's been happening for years.

Take the widespread scheme of reordering debit-card purchases to push customers into overdrafts. When it began, Bush's attorneys general, John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, refused to prosecute. Private lawyers stepped into the breach with class-action suits.

California attorney Barry Himmelstein was among them. He noticed how bankers had become so entitled, they began to complain that getting caught chopped into their profit margins.

"We got that argument from Wells Fargo," he says. "It's a ridiculous argument. The fact that you can't make millions of dollars by screwing your customers is not an excuse to keep screwing them."

But even in class-action cases, the banks were getting off light. Himmelstein objected to one settlement involving Bank of America, which was also involved in the overdraft scam. By his calculations, the Charlotte company had ripped off its customers to the tune of $4.5 billion.

Yet the settlement allowed Bank of America to repay just 10 percent of its ill-gotten gains. The average victim was eligible for a $27 refund — less than the cost of a single overdraft.

Four years ago, American taxpayers kept Bank of America afloat with a $45 billion bailout. It repaid them by becoming a veritable crime family. Let's return to the highlight reel:

• Last year, BofA paid a $20 million settlement for illegally foreclosing on soldiers' homes over a three-year period. (Bank spokesman Larry Grayson declined comment for this story.)

• But it wasn't until this summer that the bank achieved frequent-guest status in American courtrooms. In June, it was fined for overbilling 95,000 customers over an eight-year period. Total revenue: $32 million. Total fine: $2.8 million

• A month later, it paid $20 million more to settle a class-action suit. This time it was caught deceiving customers — or simply enrolling them without their knowledge — in worthless credit-card protection programs.

• In August, BofA paid another $738 million in a price-fixing case with Visa and MasterCard. It was accused of conspiring to keep merchant credit-card fees artificially high.

• The bank returned to court again in September, this time paying $2.4 billion for deceiving investors over its purchase of Merrill Lynch.

In less than two years, Bank of America had chalked up six major fraud cases. But there was no talk of three strikes. No indictments for racketeering. Not one executive charged with a crime.


The time to break balls was four years ago, believes Ed Mierzwinski of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a nationwide federation of consumer advocates. The banking industry was on the verge of collapse. American taxpayers showed up with a $125 billion life preserver.

Yet government officials were so worried about imminent carnage, they forgot to ask a simple favor in return: You have to stop ripping us off.

"We could have brought them to heel," says Mierzwinski. "The bailout was done so fast that they didn't put in clauses for better behavior."

Bankers, quite naturally, kept doing what they'd always done. This presented one of those only-in-government ironies: While the taxpayers had plenty of money to bail them out, we found our pockets empty when it came time to throw them in prison.

Mierzwinski empathizes with the Justice Department. Banks can field armies of lawyers, who are more than happy to stall and obfuscate as long as the meter's ticking. The feds cannot, so they retreat to triage, agreeing to settlements that present a mirage of victory.

Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer understands their predicament — somewhat. As his state's attorney general, Spitzer was the last major politician to launch a sustained assault on financial crime. He, too, believes that Wall Street has become analogous to the Mafia.

"Look, you organize things in a cartel structure very similar to what the Mob did," says Spitzer. "I think it's also the continuity of the fraud and the pervasiveness."

Yet Spitzer, now host of Viewpoint on Current TV, knows firsthand how difficult it is to drill a multi-billion-dollar crime family. Just like Mafia dons, CEOs are insulated from direct involvement – or may not even be aware of the schemes. Moreover, it's often harder to bring cases that simply pick off henchmen.

"Juries don't like holding mid-level people accountable when the top people are getting off," says Spitzer.

Notre Dame law professor G. Robert Blakey doesn't buy the excuses.

Blakey may be America's most storied organized-crime lawyer. He's a former federal prosecutor and author of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — better known as RICO — the cudgel used to pound the Mafia and corrupt labor unions. It allows prosecutors to charge entire organizations for a continuing pattern of criminality — exactly what the banks are doing.

Back in the 1980s, Rudy Giuliani used the law to take down Romney's pal Michael Milken. Yet prosecutors have been reticent to use it against corporations ever since.

"I am livid that nobody has thought about it," says Blakey. "I am livid that there are all these civil settlements."

He notes that the feds have a long history of taking on seemingly invincible foes, from Standard Oil to Big Tobacco: "What's changed that they could get these convictions and we can't now?"

After all, Blakey argues, corporate criminals are easier to slay. When you subpoena their records, they'll actually produce them. When Blakey was prosecuting the Teamsters, their books would suddenly go up in flames.

Blakey sees bankers at the bottom of the organized-crime gene pool — their schemes simple and obvious.

"They designed a fraud cookie cutter, and all of these guys have been running comparable scams," he says. "The variation between scam to scam is minor, and none of them are particular imaginative."

But the problem isn't Attorney General Holder, the professor asserts; it's the battery of lawyers beneath him. Prosecutors prize their win-loss records like starting pitchers. For them, it's much better to win a weak settlement than potentially lose a real fight.

In other words, if justice were a bar brawl, the feds would seek out the little guy on crutches.


In May, SunTrust was caught working the same mortgage scam as Wells Fargo. It charged more than 20,000 black and Hispanic customers higher interest rates and fees than white clients with the same credit profiles. Price to make the problem go away: $21 million.

A month later, ING paid a $619 million settlement for violating international sanctions and anti-terrorist laws. It spent a decade providing "state sponsors of terror and other sanctioned entities with access to the U.S. financial system," Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at the time.

In July, Capital One was caught luring customers into buying credit-card protection "they didn't understand, didn't want, or in some cases couldn't even use," said the feds. The company paid $210 million in fines and refunds.

In September, Discover was nabbed running the same scam on 3.5 million customers. The company spent $214 million to make its sins vanish.

For those of you scoring at home: Four major crimes against America. Millions of victims. Zero executives jailed.

"If there are no consequences," asks Sam Antar, "what incentive do I have to not be a criminal?"

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75 comments
Lisa Perez
Lisa Perez

WTF?!? I've got FIVE accounts with them!! I'm pulling my money out IMMEDIATELY!!

Infiltrated
Infiltrated

If I owned a business and was losing it as a result of my own actions; the federal government would not bail me out, nor would I expect it from them. The federal government needs to let businesses fail; this is how businesses work. No MORE BAILOUTS!

liberatedexzombie
liberatedexzombie

There are more than two choices for president.  I voted for Gary Thompson.

sarum
sarum

"The Most Lied About Election in American History"

http://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/the-most-lied-about-election-in-american-history/25028/

 

 

“If any of you are wondering why we would print this article when no one else would, it is because of who we are, and why we do what we do.  We are particular about who we work for, and why.

Veterans Today is brought to you by the men and women of the clandestine and special operations services…those who have died, those now in the field, and those who will follow them, because we look after our people, even when others won’t.“                 …Editing:  Jim W. Dean

 

Romney Leaks: Drugs, Blood Diamonds and a Cuban Mistress (Updated)

 

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/11/01/romney-leaks-drugs-blood-diamonds-and-a-cuban-mistress/

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Martha Stewart, the only one to go to prison for lying to the Feds, NOT securities fraud.

lisasimpkins282
lisasimpkins282

@Loise, you make $27h...good for you! I make up to $85h working from home. My story is that I quit working at shoprite to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $45h to $85h…heres a good example of what i'm doing, Fly26.comCHECK IT OUT

 

lisasimpkins282
lisasimpkins282

@Loise, you make $27h thats great going girl good for you! My story is that I quit working at shoprite to work online, seriously I couldn't be happier I work when I want and where I want. And with a little effort I easily bring in $35h and sometimes even as much as $85h…heres a good example of what i'm doing, Fly26.com

 

 

alvafredsmith
alvafredsmith

With just days remaining of a year of campaigning for the position of the President of the United States of America, why on earth arent "we the people" asking canidates why one would spend half a BILLION dollars campaigning for a position that pays an annual salary of $400,000 per year plus expenses! "We the people" need to organize and squash the corruption in the USA!!!

verycold
verycold

If i took $10.00 from a bank they would put me in JAIL for sure . And these crooks get away with MILLIONS of $$$$$$ and NEVER spend a day in jail . Once again the RICH get away with any thing they want and ONLY pay a little fine  and steal from US once again  and sleep like a baby . 

cliff
cliff

If I had the Confederate Army to the South of me and the Bankers to the North of me, who would I fear the most?  A quote by Abe Lincoln.

nursemechanical
nursemechanical

So, one political party tries to do something to benefit the public and another political party blocks it. Then, the blocking party tries to do something and the other party blocks that. We are all incensed each thinking the other party stinks. Gee, notice something? The general public always loses. Gee, ya think MAYBE when the general public loses that the rich get richer? Gee, ya think MAYBE the two main parties are in it together? Now wait a minute, are all politicians rich? Now wait a minute, they are. They certainly don't want to be on Obamacare or the kind of insurance like we have. They have the best, and they will keep it that way.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

How come the great Village Voice doesn't report on what happened in Iceland where the PEOPLE revolted and threw out their government and the Banksters they allowed to prey on them. 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @Infiltrated 

 

I agree with you, however you are not the banks or the largest manufacturer and employer in the US.

 

I hate the bailouts too, of both the banks and the auto industry, but to be blunt - what the fuck were we going to do?

 

If the banks had not been bailed out you would have seen a run on them the next morning that would have made the run on them during the great crash look like a sunday picnic. There would have been a shutdown of the entire US economy and a very good chance of riots since once that entire shutdown happened the dollar would have been worth ZERO, it would have essentially been an economic reset. While not a bad thing, not something you want to do on the fly, it needs to be coordinated.

 

If it had not happened you would have seen the few banks that had any liquidity, buying up all the small banks for pennies on the dollar, if that... it would have pushed us firmly into a depression complete with riots. People were already panicking and ready to start a run on the banks to get out what they could of their assets before someone else got there first.

 

Too quote the FED, who I have absolutely zero love for, in a conversation on Thursday "Come Monday we will no longer have an economy" - no economy, no United States.

 

There had to be a band aid that was enough to allow regulations like Dodd-Frank and others to be implemented, regulations that were removed by Bush and others to allow the bankers to run amok with no consequence to them.

 

That is what the bail out was and now we are in a stronger economic position to continue building on than starting entirely from zero. Now we have a base to build off of.

 

I hated the bailouts but as someone who understands economics I understand the reality that they had to happen to allow TIME for us to make changes and starting moving forward economically again.

 

This applies to the auto-bailout as well since the auto-industry was the last of our manufacturing base and responsible for the employment of a huge number of people. And look at the auto-industry today, they are well on their way to a true recovery and are providing even more jobs and more economic support than ever before.

 

They were a necessary evil.

sarum
sarum

@Infiltrated If you owned a business most likely you would fail because you would be competing with the select corporations that receive welfare, corporate socialism. This has been going on a long time. Do you really think that McDonald's has encompassed most of the globe all on it's own? It took a Romanian born journalist, Andrei Codrescu, to expose that factoid to the US public at large during his on the road stint with NPR.

teknik
teknik topcommenter

 @alvafredsmith they've got us to busy arguing amongst ourselves for people to notice where the real robbery is.

sarum
sarum

 @bernpeteraz “Give A Man A Gun And He Can Rob A Bank. Give A Man A Bank And He Can Rob The World.”

 

 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @cliff 

 

That would be the only time I would willingly turn my back on the south (the south of the time of the confederate army) so I could see the bankers coming

teknik
teknik topcommenter

 @nursemechanical the two party system is a sham, underneath it all there isn't much difference between the republocrats and the demicans. 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @ExpertShot 

 

Dodd-Frank was a good start, but just a start and a LOT more needs to be done.

 

While Obama has done a lot to this end he has been hamstrung by a do nothing Republican congress and the absolute LAST thing those GOP tards want is actual financial reform since it would remove all the ways they have set the system up to be manipulated for their benefit.

 

I agree some mention of Dodd-Frank should have been mentioned in the article but I think it would have actually detracted from the articles readability on the right, which would be bad since they are really the ones we need to convince/trick into getting true reform done. Hate to say it but if it had been in there then even more of them would think excuses are being made for Obama based on it's inclusion, whether that is factual or not.

 

It would have been nice to bring it up in the article, but I can live with it not being brought up if it means a faster/better/bigger step towards getting actual reform done.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @ExpertShot 

 

ummmm.... maybe because this is not Iceland and New Times is a local Phoenix paper

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

 @Flyer9753  you are correct in thinking that if the banks were not bailed out it would start a rush on the banks. people would be fighting out to get what they could before the bottom fell out, and riot when they realized they had nothing. what would happen to the economy would be even worse. people would be diving out windows like they did in '29. i am not happy we had to do it, but it had to be done. 

sarum
sarum

@Flyer9753 @Infiltrated Yeah well lots of those bailed out have turned traitor with OUR money. Chrysler CEO refuted claims of moving Jeep production to China last week but today's news states Jeep production will be moving to Italy. We didn't bail them out to have them bail on us! And since the candidates both say they are going to create jobs and it would be logical that they intend to save the jobs we have, could either one of them have said they intend to prosecute companies that take our money and then move jobs offshore? Silence while my bile raises and I wish to vomit. So I am rethinking my position on bail-outs.

sarum
sarum

Google Mitt Romney Medicare Fraud. Or try Mitt Romney bailout, bailout bonanza or Mitt Romney's FDIC bailout where he basically blackmailed the FDIC. Oh he knows how to get things done alright. Perhaps we should resurrect the phrase "Teflon Don."

nursemechanical
nursemechanical

@Flyer9753 @ExpertShot So one politician tries to do something to benefit the people, another politician blocks it. Regardless of what part does what, the outcome is always the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. It always adds up: Both parties are in it together.

sarum
sarum

@Flyer9753 @ExpertShot Village Voice, LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Houston Press, Dallas Observer, Riverfront Times, Miami New Times, Minneapolis City Pages, Broward New Times, SF Weekly, Seattle Weekly, and OC Weekly, as well as Voice Places, a site for local discovery. The author of this article, Pete Kotz, is Ohio based independent journalist. "The truth about America's biggest criminals" is how this article is titled for the Denver market. "Country Club Sopranos" is how same article is titled for Houston & others - more fitting with the graphic.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @danzigsdaddy 

 

I just wish more people would realize just how close we were to a full blown and very very bloody revolution with what Bush did to this country and economy and the mess he left.

 

Granted it would scare them shitless, but maybe that would be a good thing. It was that bad.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum  @Flyer9753 

 

Sarum you are the one getting pissed since I am not backing YOUR false position, yet you accuse me of that. Project much do you?

 

A lot of people post on here and we have great and engaging discussions, because they post factual information and when they don't and get called on it they admit it instead of trying to bluster their way out of it like you are doing right now.

 

You don't like what I say? Fine, don't read it and don't respond to it, that is always your choice.  I choose to respond to you and that is my choice and my right. Sorry you don't like that but tough to be blunt.

 

I never said these messages were spam - nice how you drag up something from a totally unrelated discussion and try to use it. Just like you were trying to put words in my mouth.

 

This argument is over. Post, don't post, I don't care but don't be surprised when you post bullshit that you get called on it. Grow a spine and quit whining about it.

 

As to your computer. $35 trip charge if under 30 miles from my office, otherwise standard hourly for trip charge. My standard hourly is $85 an hour with a 1 hour minimum on site.

sarum
sarum

@Flyer9753 Once again, why don't you question why it is that the day before the election multiple news stations chose to report this as fact - maybe they were trying to make the point that both major candidates refuse/dare not take a stand on the issue? Nope you rather beat this "rule" thing of yours over & over - this is not the real world and it is not your world either but you sure seem to have enough time on your hands to make it seem so. Ah business must be slow and in anger you have to take it out on someone who merely reported what was heard on radio & TV news and expressed frustration about it. No, if everybody followed your rules then nobody would post here unless they back you and your opinion/ass. That is not a discussion. That is not an exchange. That is not a learning environment. That is merely ass-wiping. If somebody posts a news link you don't like, then it is "spam" according to you and you become suddenly very obtuse in seeing relationships. Other people on here have posted totally twisted "facts" and I notice that you say nothing to them about it. Bullies like to take down the individual who has the capacity to stand up to them too. There is no other explanation for the multiple standards you are attempting to enforce. Yes I will stand by my comment about "authorized" revolution since you only choose to accept certain information sources as well as show yourself incapable of acknowledging some truths - so you cannot possibly come to best conclusion/solution. That is not putting words in your mouth. It is honest feedback from what you have put out there (here.) Control issues much? Oh yes, come fix my computer.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum  @Flyer9753 

 

I agree sometimes facts don't come out for centuries but that does not mean ALL facts take centuries to come out, nor does it excuse not digging as deep as you can to find the facts.

 

MSM is just as partisan as any and all other news sources. The news IS partisan, welcome to reality. That's why they are nothing more than an information source to get you interested, it's up to you to dig and find out the details.

 

If you think ANY news source is not partisan you are delusional. Some are simply less or more so than others.

 

It wasn't always this way. News organization USED to report the news and only the news based on the best available facts at the time of publication, but those days are long gone. Even the stories on here I take with a grain of salt until I verify them through my own research (sorry PNT) and I consider PNT to be one of the leaders of factual news reporting.

 

Who said anything about "Authorized facts"?? Certainly not me. There is no such thing as an authorized fact to someone who knows what a fact is and how to find it.

 

Who said ANYTHING about authorized except you, attempting to put words in my mouth that I did not say nor indicate.

 

A fact something that either comes from the original source or has been verified against that original source to be factual. Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing to authorize or not authorize about it, it does that itself if you dig deep enough to get to the original source material.

 

Your just pissed that you are not doing decent research, retelling things you heard as if they were factual and getting called on it. If you had said above of your Jeeps to Italy post that this was something you heard and had not yet verified you would not have heard a peep from me. Instead you said "but today's news states Jeep production will be moving to Italy" as if that was it. Was I maybe a little hard in my reply? Maybe, but rather than get pissed with me about it, why didn't you just say originally that you were not sure if that was true or not since you had not yet verified it. Again you would not have heard a peep from me.

 

You are attempting to put a lot of words in my mouth twisted out of the context I used them in, like your revolution comment that somehow my revolution comment all of a sudden is an 'authorized revolution' - even though I said nothing of the kind.

 

I am done with this conversation but keep posting like you are and did above and you WILL keep hearing from me calling you out on the posts that are factually wrong. Welcome to life in the real world.

sarum
sarum

@Flyer9753 Admit that MSM is compromised but incapable of analysing alternate sources because it is hearsay not fact? Sheesh. Sometimes the facts don't come out for centuries. You have to learn to read the white spaces and if something "hearsay" is a square peg that fits in square hole - well then you might have your answer. If you stick with the authorized facts you will only come up with authorized solution and personally I think that our problems as a nation have reached critical mass and that the authorized facts, authorized news and authorized solutions are all insufficient to say the least. You make reference to 'revolution." I won't be following you or joining you because the "authorized" revolution will be bogus. Gil Scott-Heron - "The revolution will not be televised" and the answers are not to be found in your "authorized" "facts."

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum  @Flyer9753 

 

Sarum, you switched from a discussion about banking to a CIA conspiricy theory regarding Quadafi (sp?). It was not relevant to the discussion in my opinion which is why I did not respond to it.

 

Did I make a joke at your expense? Yes and if you can't take a joke, you need to get a thicker skin.

 

You then responded to that joke with all kinds of links about Benghazi, again, not the point of this article, so I did not go through them all and I let that part of the conversation die.

 

You referenced a Youtube video and then in this instance we are talking about right now, things you heard about on a radio that you did not confirm yourself before reposting.

 

I could care less about a youtube video as proof of almost anything since in legal terms it is once again, hearsay since it's an opinion being offered by the maker of the video, no different than any other opinion except it's in video form instead of written form.

 

The only time I will ever use or accept youtube as a reliable source is when we are talking about raw video from the original person who is the subject of the video/discussion, otherwise it's just someone elses opinion.

 

I am sorry if that upset you, but it sounds like you are laying the groundwork for proving YOU are the one responding off topic and with questionable source material that since either you saw it in video or read it on the internet, you are taking as fact when it's not.

 

So sorry I did not respond to your links post, but I did not see the need to. Sorry if that hurt your feelings but it's not up to you to say I have to respond to EVERYTHING, even if in my opinion it was not relevent.

 

Post what you want here, it's a free country and free blog, but don't get pissy with me because you don't like the response you get when you fail to use factual and original source material.

 

Get better at doing your own research, factual research and you will never hear me comment about that ever again, but until then I have just as much right as you do to post my comments.

sarum
sarum

@Flyer9753 @sarum Bloomberg has problems and an agenda. Instead of questioning why this fake news was put out on the airwaves today or asking which stations since yes, they need to be taken to task by consumers of news - something I do now & again - no you just want to attack me for not doing research before posting like you ALWAYS do even though you are busy running your own business. Yeah, your "TWILIGHT ZONE" comment was real factual and researched on that great research tool you have under your fingers and when I posted several easily available links you got real silent. You want to be all "ethical" and purist about what gets posted here but don't apply same standards to yourself except when you feeeeeel like it. Yup, that's the boss man's prerogative. Create your own reality till you get road rash. Got your number. Don't waste my time.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum 

 

The sources are not questionable when we are talking about a comment made in a Bloomberg article if you read the actual Bloomberg article.

 

The only time sources come into question is when you don't read the actual source, the Bloomberg article itself and instead look at other articles that are quoting that article.

 

Go to the source and this immediately becomes a moot point.

 

I am not at all PO'ed about your links in response to my comment, that is entirely unrelated.

 

I am PO'ed because you are doing exactly what you know is the problem, repeating a talking point you heard somewhere without researching the ACTUAL source material.

 

Media is unreliable, that is why YOU have to do your own research to confirm or deny what they say. That is where you failed. You didn't do your own research.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum 

 

Sarum I deal in facts, nothing more. Not what I hear someone else say, but facts that I can find and verify.

 

Who are you accusing of offshoring jobs in regards to the auto-bailout? It sure as hell was not Chrysler, GM or Ford since they are all profitable now, meeting their bills, providing jobs and expanding in the US.

 

The auto bailout was not just a bailout of the auto industry. It was of that industry, p0lus the parts industry, plus the shipping industry, plus the car sales industry, plus the car service industry, etc... etc.... They are all tied together and the domino collapse would have affected a lot more people than just those who work for the auto companies themselves.

 

Facts are not subject to interpretation no matter how much the republicans would like to think they are. A Fact is a Fact, period, all you have to do is be willing to find those facts instead of having them told to you.

sarum
sarum

Re your 1st point. I found articles stating same. Obviously the sources are questionable. If I had posted those articles would you still be attacking me? All nice to be a purist about facts but since most media sources are extremely compromised on one point or another it is quite a job. Or are you so PO'd that I refuted your "twilight zone" comment with links explaining? Will have to answer rest later, maybe later today, maybe in few days.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum  @Flyer9753  @Infiltrated 

 

I appreciate the 5 Dr. appointments but you then reposted something that was incorrect before you checked the facts, making you just as much the problem as Romney is with his lies, since he did exactly the same thing. Repeated something the HEARD/READ without checking facts. 

 

Just because you hear something does not absolve you of the responsibility of checking facts before you pass it on, so that you are not unknowingly passing on false information.

 

The plan you mention would not have worked. Every economist who looked at the options stated that and had the figures to back up what they were saying.

 

The only option was some type of loan for them, but the private sector banks would not step up to do it since for them, it would have been good that Chrysler went into foreclosure since they could then pick up the pieces for pennies on the dollar and resell them for much much more - i.e. it was good for them since they banks would have made money, money they then would have done what they have done in the past, sat on instead of lending to promote job growth.

 

So that plan would actually have done exactly the thing we are saying in this article should NOT be done, giving the banks a way to siphon off even more money from the US/World economy without giving anything back.

sarum
sarum

Re who took bail-out $ and offshored our jobs - we can argue if you like but the facts are is nobody knows for sure. One faction is claiming the point is moot because all bail-out monies have been refunded in full. Others say your word, "Bullshit," to that. There are lots of variations of the truth flying around and instead of fighting amongst ourselves we should be seeking the real truth and trying to get ourselves on the same page of understanding so that we might form action against the criminality but I see for whatever reason, that you have made your choice.

sarum
sarum

@Flyer9753 @sarum @Infiltrated OK 2 in 1. No I did not know Bloomberg was the last word & between 5 dr appts today we relied on radio & that is what was being told on radio ALL DAY. An alternative that was proposed at the time, and is recirculating now was to bail-out citizens, force early retirements to make room in the job market for youth, mandatory paying off mortgage in full & buy new US made auto. That would have salvaged autos, banks, jobs & people. Some said it would never work. I really don't know except that it was a firestorm across the continent including Mexicans & Canadians promoting that idea.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum  @Flyer9753  @Infiltrated 

 

BTW - You STILL did not address the point of my post.

 

What was the alternative???

 

You may not like it but until you have a better plan, what was the alternative to what was done??

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum  @Flyer9753  @Infiltrated 

 

Oh Bullshit

 

Jeep is NOT MOVING it's production to Italy.Clearly you did not read the ACTUAL Bloomberg report.

 

Chrysler already has factories in Italy making for the EU Market, as they should.

 

The actual quote from the new Bloomberg report was that "Marchionne (Jeep) is considering building Chrysler models in Italy, including Jeeps, for export to North America" since EU sales are weak right now and that in the future when the EU market recovers they will increase production in Italy when needed for the EU market.

 

Right now demand for Jeeps are high in America, which is why Jeep is EXPANDING production in the US, while demand is lower in Italy so they will export from there to here. That's not a MOVE at all.

 

Realistically they should have production facilities on every continent since it makes no sense economically or resource wise to build everything in one place and ship them all over the world. That is another part of what got us into this problem in the first place.

 

Chrysler, GM and Ford have all paid back the bailout money with interest, all of it.

 

The auto manufacturers are increasing production in the US for the US market and for export. So are the parts companies. That is a fact.

 

That means supplementary jobs as well since those products have to be shipped on trucks and in trains/planes across the country to distributors.

 

Yes we should prosecute companies that take tax payer monies and move them offshore, so when you ACTUALLY find one that has done that, let me know.

 

You have a wonderful research tool you are using to type this, please use it for something other than just typing or parroting something you happened to see somewhere but did not research yourself.

sarum
sarum

What I'm trying to say is that in theory you are correct. Real world no. But the ptb wish you to believe theory as fact.

nursemechanical
nursemechanical

@Flyer9753 @nursemechanical @ExpertShot I agree not all politicians are in it only the key ones needed to complete the manipulation. You hit the nail on the head. Revolution is not practical in this day and age, any country weakened by a revolution will likely be taken over by something worse take for example Syria.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @nursemechanical    @ExpertShot 

 

I am well aware of that which means that right now, since it's impossible to scrap the entire system overnight and start over (unless we want to talk about a physical revolution), that it comes down like many other things to a choice for the lesser of the evils.

 

Looking at facts and history, I will take the work Obama has done to at least attempt to level the field, like Dodd-Frank, over the non-work that has actually hurt Americans and the economy that Romney has done and speaks about continuing.

 

I fully agree both 'parties' are in it together, however I do not believe all politicians are in it, at least not to the same degrees.

 

We'll talk about the revolution aspects another time :)

sarum
sarum

@Flyer9753 @sarum @ExpertShot "US mission in Benghazi was a CIA Operation" http://www.hangthebankers.com/us-mission-in-benghazi-was-a-cia-operation/ "News Outlets Held Back Detail Of Benghazi Attack At CIA's Request" http://12160.info/profiles/blogs/news-outlets-held-back-detail-of-benghazi-attack-at-cia-s-request?overrideMobileRedirect=1 "Exclusive: Security officials on the ground in Libya challenge CIA account" Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/03/exclusive-security-officials-on-ground-in-libya-challenge-cia-account/#ixzz2BIh7vQTg "US Mission In Benghazi Was CIA operation, report says." http://presstv.com/detail/2012/11/02/270036/us-libya-mission-was-cia-operation/ "Petraeus on Benghazi: It wasn’t Me" http://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/petraeus-on-benghazi-it-wasnt-me/24953/

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

 @sarum  @Flyer9753  @ExpertShot <Engaging the "disgust revulsion" factor of the public has become so over used to sanction murder that every time I see anybody accused of anything of that nature - pedophilia, child porn etc. - I automatically wonder what was really going on, what was the individual about to whistle blow on type thing. >

 

You've identified the MO -- sick game played daily -- of the Maricopa County officials as well, the tactic of "disgust revulsion" is used as a weapon for "easy" convictions, most prevalent during election years. Feed the media, profiting from the same thing and move on to the next "victim" -- "rape" by the system.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum  @ExpertShot 

 

Well now you are switching to resource management rather than banking.

 

CIA Engineered 'Arab Spring'??? ok......

 

I think we have now crossed into the twilight zone...

sarum
sarum

 @Flyer9753  @sarum  @ExpertShot Agreed in a way - they are already global and the suffering is pretty much global as well.   When I say global solutions I mean that it is not OK for us to create wealth for ourselves from the suffering of others elsewhere that we cannot see. Equitable sustainable economic growth nurtures and protects resources (ranging from human to mineral) without creating need for mass migration or war.  Ideally people would not need to migrate just to be able to make a decent living.  Current worldwide illegal immigration issues proves that predatory capitalism is a crime along with other improper allocation of resources.  For all our talk of ideals and "freedom" we have made human life very cheap on the entire planet.  US military suicide rates tell us the shameful truth that their mouths dare not speak.  

 

Ideally the only time charity would be necessary would be in response to events like Hurricane Sandy - not like now, when citizens working 2 & 3 jobs cannot afford both food & housing.  

 

Many believe that the whole CIA engineered "Arab Spring" was due to global banksters wanting total control over monies and resources.  Utube vid titled "Why Gadhafi must die!" addressed his intent to create pan-African banking system among other reasons his demise was necessary.  Similar vids made since his death as well.  Eye openers for some.  Plus I am not sure that I believe all the depravity of behaviors attributed to him and his family or others who have run afoul of the hidden hand.  Engaging the disgust revulsion factor of the public has become so over used to sanction murder that every time I see anybody accused of anything of that nature - pedophilia, child porn etc. - I automatically wonder what was really going on, what was the individual about to whistle blow on type thing.   

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum  @Flyer9753  @ExpertShot 

 

I disagree. We need a solution that is right for THIS country first, the globe second.

 

If we tie the American banking system even tighter to the global banking system then we are simply creating another situation like we have now where Greece (for example) is affecting the US economy in a negative way.

 

Individual countries economies and therefore banking systems HAVE to be able to stand on their own otherwise you are inviting disaster on a now global scale, not just a country scale.

 

Standing on their own does not mean we are not part of the global economy, it just means we are a true 'part' in the form of a group, rather than being the group.

 

Part of the problem right now is that US banking interests and other countries banking interests are too global in their operations, management and policies.

sarum
sarum

@Flyer9753 @ExpertShot Yes, American, but the banksters are global, like corporations & politicians. Americans of the US variety are not the only victims. So we need global solutions that are equitable but allow us to retain our nation status/identity - I think most people would prefer to be part of their nation?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @sarum  @Flyer9753  @ExpertShot 

 

True and my bad with that aspect of my comment.

 

Even so, we are talking about America here in an American paper so let's stick to that.

 
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