western plateaus wallpaper, the bankers did it, our raucous founders

western plateaus wallpaper. the plateaus that radiate out from the intersection of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico are thought to be at least 500 million years old.

Zach Carter responds to a Wall Street Journal column,  Bankers Broke The Economy And Got Rich Doing It

Today’s absurd William Cohan column [1] actually argues that we don’t need consumer protections in banking—nevermind the subprime explosion, the $8 trillion dollar housing bubble or the 1.2 million foreclosures [2] expected this year. Nevermind the $38 billion in overdraft fees [3] the banking industry reaped in 2009, or the ridiculous fine-print on credit cards. Nope, in William Cohan’s crazy world, the mortgage crisis was basically a problem caused by idiot consumers who—according to Cohan– don’t even deserve basic legal protections.

[  ]…Cohan waits until the final paragraph of his column to deliver the “evidence” for why we don’t need a CFPB, and he gets it completely, horribly wrong.

“Yes, some people who have lost their homes were victims of fraudulent mortgage brokers and shady lenders. But the vast majority of those who held the billions of dollars in mortgages now foreclosed on knew exactly what they were doing. And one of the dirty little secrets of the financial crisis is that one homeowner after another signed mortgage-loan documents that were filled with inaccurate information about his or her net worth, assets, salaries and ability to make monthly mortgage payments. Why would someone sign a loan document knowing full well the information on it was inaccurate and the mortgage could never be repaid?”

The only real statistic on mortgage fraud comes from the FBI, and it doesn’t back up Cohan’s claims at all. As early as 2004, the FBI was warning about an “epidemic” in mortgage fraud [4]—not a few bad apples, not “some people,” but an epidemic . We know that mortgage fraud was standard operating procedure [4] at Washington Mutual, now part of JPMorgan Chase, and they weren’t alone—for five years, rampantfraud was a basic component of the U.S. mortgage machine. And according to the FBI, 80 percent—repeat, 80 percent—of this fraud was perpetrated by the lender [4].

So, let’s answer Cohan’s question. Why would people knowingly set themselves up for foreclosure? They wouldn’t! The key incentives for fraud and deception do not apply to rational borrowers who want to live in their homes.

There is the old tried and true parental admonishment not to lie because it will inevitably lead to more lies to cover the first. Such is the case with with the Right’s meme that low to moderate income earners are to blame for the housing bubble and the melt down of Wall St. Do not expect this lie to go away. The deflection of blame from bankers and too big to fail financial institutions is required to cover the lie about how regulation is burdensome to business, causes expenses which reduce profits, results in poor GDP growth and keeps business from hiring. Please do not believe that Wall St was blinded by greed and arrogance. We have to believe millions of homeowners wanted the economy to fail so they would lose their homes and jobs, and create the stresses which has caused families to fall apart. We have to believe that average Americans conned bankers with graduate degrees into loaning money that was against the best interests of the bank.

Great Depression home hair cut by Russel Lee

Hey Tea Party-Republicans: The Founders Are Not Your Guys

The grassroots farmers that made the Revolution were free-thinking hemp growers. Their favorite scribe, Tom Paine, was the son of a Quaker whose Age of Reason assaulted the church with unsurpassed fury. Today’s Tea/GOP would have it burned.

Our greatest genius, Ben Franklin, was a proud and joyous sexual adventurer. His very presence today would induce howls of (envious) outrage from the religious right.

It was Franklin who most loved Native America. He introduced himself to the French as “an American savage.” He stamped the Hodenosaunee (Iroquois) gifts of personal freedom and a democratic confederation into the soul of the new nation.

More formally, our tradition of direct voting, still alive in many New England towns, where the Revolution was born, was conceived in Athens, 508 BC. The Republic (“if you can keep it,” as Franklin warned) came from Rome, 509 BC. Long before the “Christian Era.”

The federal structure adopted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, was—with Franklin’s mentoring—based on the Iroquois Confederacy. That union was born at latest 1540 AD. It sustained a functioning democracy for at least 250 years, still longer than the US has been in existence.

[  ]…Like virtually all other American farmers, Washington and Jefferson raised serious quantities of hemp, and made good money from it. Franklin owned a paper mill that ran on it. All may well have smoked its psycho-active cousin, now known as marijuana. If you told them the nation they founded would make this versatile herb illegal, they would laugh at you.

They’d be equally horrified to hear the Foxist Tea/GOP claiming them as icons in a sectarian crusade for repression and empire.

Today’s religious right is an unholy fusion of theocratic authoritarianism—which our Founders hated above all—and corporate tyranny, whose tea they pitched in Boston harbor.

The link between the Founders – Franklin, Jefferson, Adams etc is still under debate, but there is some pervasive evidence the Iroquois Confederacy had some influence. It is known most colonist were fairly heavy drinkers for some odd reasons, but whether they smoked some of the hemp ( or rather the buds) they grew is an interesting speculation. They do deserve their reputation as revolutionaries and would probably find today’s milk-toast conformists on the Right suffocating in their allegiance to authority. The Right’s  appeals to emotion – absent reason – contrary to a thriving lively democracy.

Sealing beauty: Cosmetics top list of swiped goods – Oil of Olay skin creams a favorite of sticky fingers

Rhett Asher, the vice president of industry relations for the Food Marketing Institute, says the group is working on a report looking into why amateur shoplifters swipe what they do. In terms of beauty products — why pocket a $15 lip gloss and risk serious legal consequences?

“You have to look at it as a specifically self-destructive kind of behavior, a statement of rebellion — it’s more about that kind of statement than it is about mascara,” says Dr. Gail Saltz, a New York City psychiatrist and regular TODAY contributor. “I think that if you’re stealing stuff, then probably you aren’t happy and you may feel it’s about the way you look.”

Overall shop lifting is down. Who knows why, maybe shoplifters can’t afford the drive to the mall.

Radiohead  – Karma Police

kick-ass the guard rabbit