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August 07, 2007


Hmmm, I was one of those subscribers that cancelled between April and June -- one too many front page articles from Michael Gordon pushed me over the edge. I liked Herbert, Krugman, and Rich (didn't bother with the rest), but all the good opinion pieces in the world couldn't make up for their dismal editorial standards on the front page.

I'm glad the country's editors are finally cottoning on to the abuses of this administration and what can only be charitably described as incompetence on the part of the Dem Congressional leadership, but I don't need them any more. I am quite happy here thanks. Still, not every has access to the toobz, so a little support from the print MSM certainly can't hurt our stuggling democracy as a whole.

Roger that on the D Brooksie worthiness

An amazingly bad call by the Dems on FISA - Flatbacking for Bush!

Reid and Pelosi really fell down on the job, and now they are going to hear about it for the rest of the year, and maybe well into campaign season next year, too.

Nancy and Harry made the Goopers' Talking Point - Dems are Weaklings - come completely true in one single cowardly act of submission.

Unless Condi Rice gives Bush a hummer (lower case) then the media will not be able to sustain 6 months worth of attention on this issue.

Media irrelevancy... an interesting topic! For those of us who seek out the truth, with balancing opinions or thoughts thrown in, most of the normal media have gone by the wayside. We have sought out our own sources of information.

I no longer watch any television news because it has relegated itself to ratings and soundbites that are so shrill and irrelevant to what is truly happening that it just is not worth the headache. How many times can they report that Lindsey Lohan has gone into rehab? What is the point?

Most of the newspapers are struggling, and rely mostly on wire services for national news. So, the slant is whatever the wire service provides, and it often has no balance to it.

The media, in my opinion, are a major reason why much of the public is so apathetic. It seems that most of the "journalists" have little depth or knowledge to report the complexities involved in today's stories. Maybe Karl Rove has been counting on that in his strategies. Many people seem to have difficulty understanding the problem with politicizing the DoJ and could care less.

Carrying it further, though, the media have allowed themselves to be spoon-fed information from this administration and have not bothered to question it. It is only now that there is any serious question of what is going on.

If the television and print media want to get back into the game and regain their place as the fourth estate, they need to question EVERYTHING very loudly, in banner headlines! Question, question, question! Don't allow themselves to be spoonfed -- go out and dig for answers and alternative viewpoints!

In the end, however, it may be too late... Media relevance is now measured in ratings and profits.

In answer to your question, the dirty deed is done. It is a little late now. Even if the MSM bellows at full voice, and even if the odious law is sunsetted or repealed, there are, as you noted upon return (and I was saying since I realized on Friday or so that the Dems would cravenly cave) far to many substantive elements of damage that cannot be recovered. The Democrats have effectively waived their arguments of criminal conduct on the entire package of wiretapping/privacy issues, and ratified the Administration's previous conduct. These were the best, and most easily understood arguments of criminally violative behavior we had. Now you can fashion an argument that there was legally no such waiver/ratification, but if even I pretty much see that as what happened, I cannot see such an argument going to far. What Pelosi, Reid and the other leaders knowingly allowed to occur here is fucking criminal in it's own right. So, as to what good the MSM getting it right at this point amounts to; not much. This is the same reason I made the somewhat prickly comment yesterday about the YKos participants not having dropped the planned festivities at least enough to make a concerted effort in unison to mobilize the politicians and unique and timely media megaphone they had in an effort to stop the FISA legislation passage. the fight cannot continuously be fought from our heels and behind the eight ball. It is always harder to stop the bus after it has already run over you.

In the other vein, so I am a paid up glorious member of Times Select. What does this announcement mean to me and my dues? Do I still have enhanced search abilities, or is that all free now too?

bmaz: "So, as to what good the MSM getting it right at this point amounts to; not much."

This is most likely not an accident. This reminds me of the Repug dance around torture; McCain and others stand up and say "this is not right"! That makes big headlines, MSM agrees, Scrub call the "upstanding mavericks" into his office, (they all have a big laugh), they come out and say "we have made it right"! The slight problem with that...nothing changed, but I'll bet you money that everyone remembers McCain standing up to our dictator and assumes that the torture has been brought in line. (Ha ha, fooled you again, you morons).

boy, i love it when we don't torture, don't you?

Well, lets just not give it back to them, Marcy.

Here's something you won't see anywhere in the MSM and it is a very "4th Estatish" sort of post...

These articles of impeachment were meant for Nixon, but I am astonished at how all of them, except maybe #5, (who knows?) applies to Bush/Cheney/Rove/Gonzales et al etc ad infinitum...

I have added some references to the Bush era, maybe there are more that others might want to contribute?

1. making false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;
(WMD, yellowcake, serin gas)

2. withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States; (WH emails, Energy Industry Task Force co-conspirators, DOJ documents, etc ad infinitum)

3. approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counselling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States and false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings;
(Goodling/Gonzales tete a tete, energy executive testimony before Congress, Libby investigation)

4. interfering or endeavouring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, (OK that LAST one won't fly, but this next one fitz) and Congressional Committees;(Libby trial, CUNNINGHAM INVESTIGATION, DOJ FIRINGS)

5. approving, condoning, and acquiescing in, the surreptitious payment of substantial sums of money for the purpose of obtaining the silence or influencing the testimony of witnesses, potential witnesses or individuals who participated in such unlawful entry and other illegal activities;(like I said, who knows?)

6. endeavouring to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency of the United States; (yellowcake, Plame, Italian forgeries, this is a long list)

7. disseminating information received from officers of the Department of Justice of the United States to subjects of investigations conducted by lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States, for the purpose of aiding and assisting such subjects in their attempts to avoid criminal liability; (I know there's something here that is ringing a bell, but can't put my finger on it, someone help me out with this one)

8. making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation had been conducted with respect to allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel of the executive branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct: (I thought Bloch might fit this one, but he may actually be sincere... or am I naive)

9. endeavouring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favoured treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.
LIBBY LIBBY LIBBY on the table table table)

Isn't it interesting, how so many of Nixon's crimes can so easily be transposed to Bush/Cheney/Rove and their peripheral minions?

The print press no longer matters much at all now. Television and radio are the only significant determiners of public information. They are completely controlled by the same international corporations whose influence we are striving to control.

Until a way has been found and implemented to solve the TV and radio problem, no real progress can be made in U.S. politics, on any front. Of that I am certain.

JohnJ -- Worse, in one of the Republican debates McCain painted himself as being against torture. Bullshit! He could have stopped the MCA on the strength of his own experience in the Hanoi Hilton and the S.O.B. caved after the tete-a-tete at the WH. It isn't just that people might remember that particular sequence of events incorrectly, but that McCain has actively been rewriting history ever since. Galling completely, utterly and despicably galling.

As an aside, bmaz, I left a question at the end of the Kontogiannis thread, would you mind taking a peek... I didn't want to go off topic up here... thanks!

I'm afraid the MSM used the editorial pages as their safety valve. When Gonzales is let off, after it surfaces that he spied on someone he shouldn't have, they will trot out their editorial. Meantime, they won't report what we need them to.

There has been some recent writing and discussion about the old Fairness Doctrine, which went by the wayside in the Reagan years. By removing that rule, broadcast media almost immediately began going down the tubes, in my opinion. Ratings took precedence, Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer rose in prominence, and sensationalism became the rule, a la the Fox network.

There is also the issue of media ownership. I cannot remember for certain, but there used to be some pretty strict limits on how many radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers that one company could own in any given market (or perhaps nationwide). That was done away with, so now we have the likes of Rupert Murdoch, who is imposing his limited view of the world on all of us.

As U S citizens, we are supposed to be well-informed. Sadly, most of us choose not to be and opt for the entertainment.

I guess that means that I am rapidly turning into an old guy when I go making observations like that...

JEP - Posted on a dead thread for thread continuity. Cited here as an act of "not hiding."

Washing away or damage to lung surfactant is reversible
July 27, 2007 at 10:51

JEP - Between the two of us, you are the more arrogant one.
July 27, 2007 at 11:30

You can have the last word on the subject, here or there, I don't care. I just wanted to make an effort to point you to what I "said" to you.

Boo Radley: "I'm afraid the MSM used the editorial pages as their safety valve. When Gonzales is let off, after it surfaces that he spied on someone he shouldn't have, they will trot out their editorial. Meantime, they won't report what we need them to."

Thank you. I sometimes get lost on the way to making a point. That was the conclusion I wanted to induce.

David Brooks is: the compassionate conservative stenographer.

Editorial boards should be required to listen to Limbaugh and O'Reilly. They won't be letting up for the next six months.

Phred - I took my best stab at your question; can't say it was a great one, but hopefully a little help. I think cboldt could likely make a better stab at it than I can without reviewing the pleadings. He is pretty good on these wonky questions.

I took a stab at it too -- but I think it won't be very helpful because I am completely uninformed about the case.

Thanks bmaz and cboldt -- just left you a thank you on the other thread, too... I didn't realize how complicated it was. I really wish I was less clueless about the law. Thanks again for your help!

It was a chance to (rightly) beat up the Democrats. The Republics, not so much, although as I remember they were the majority voting for the *#$@ thing.

Check that thread again, I just left a post that links back to something that I'm sure you'll find interesting. ;-)

Wow, that was interesting cboldt... thanks!

I too have left another probably useless comment. Another month or two and there will be something right in my limited wheelhouse. In the meantime, it sucks feeling stupid....


You seem desperate to defend you argument, I gues we'll have to disagree here.

If you aren't one, I am sorry for the arrogant troll comment, my knee-jerk reaction when someone (anyone) defends or softens torture (no, not Bush's version, the one I believe, that may be the crux of our problem here), even if it was an academic exercise (although I get the feeling you are still justifying it, and not really coming to grips with it) (See final paragraph...)

I tend to use troll whenever someone makes statements that seem to be apoligizing or excusing Bush's lalessness... so if that is not the case, pleas forginvce me.

And I also might use the word arrogant for anyone who would assume they have some right to determine what torture is, when they clearly have not suffered it...

SO, if I was wrong about either label, forgive me.

But here's your own words, "and therefore is not expected to result in protracted (long term) loss of lung function"

if you think a variable like "is not expected to" suggests some sort of solid argument, let me ask you, what if those expetations are just wrong?

"Is not expected to" takse a lot of liberty with the lives of those whoi are the exception to your interesting "rule."

In my opinion, it is torture. You can argue that I am wrong, but you certainly can not suggest that you are absolutely right, your own words offer toomany consolations to certainty for me to give you any due here..

bmaz, you are a huge help and I found your follow up reply quite helpful!

My apologies EW, didn't mean to hijack this thread at all, but I seemed to manage it anyway.

"Most near-drowning victims recover their lung function."

again, the word "most" gives a very pleasant spin to the prospects, woudln't you think?

So what you are saying, as long as MOST people don't suffer permanent damage, it fits into the interpretation that it isnot torture.

What if you were one of the "least" instead of the most?

I'd tell you to take a deep breath before you answer that, but if you were not one of the most, well, that might not be possible.


what about my comment up above? The first one I posted here, at 15:58?

I sure would like a real expert opinion!

Sorry, EW, for the distractions...

but here's the rub on cboldt's crap:
"must result in protracted loss or impairment of lung function. If the damage is not protracted loss or impairment of lung function, then the statutory threshold has not been met, and therefore the interrogation technique does not meet the statutory definition of torture."

And yet, the very same expert admits (second handedly) that some victims do suffer permanent damage, and while it is not "expected" it happens.

This sounds like Bush protectinism to me, the argument seems like a transparently apologetic excuse for promoting Bush's policies of torture. It is nothing but trying to frame torture with other terms.

"Most"of us recognize this, I would hope.

-- what about my comment up above? The first one I posted here, at 15:58? --

I think the Nixon and Bush fact patterns are markedly different to the extent that drawing a parallel on articles of impeachment, while "fun," doesn't work in practice.

The essential difference is that, so far, President Bush has an argument that his actions are good faith efforts at national security. Nixon couldn't mount that argument with the third rate burglary that he was aware of and participated in cover-up of.

One last piece of you "other post" that I found quite interesting, you need to learn the folks here are pretty smart, and when you throw out a straw man like "He's not arguing that the statute goes too far;" in order to do your apologizing for Bush's torture techniques, you might be held responsible for it..

"He's not arguing that the statute goes too far;"
..how did you come to that conclusion? Silly, really

sheer pretzel logic, why would I post an anti-torture comment in the first place if I did not think the statute went too far?

That one sent6ence set up your entire argument, and that one sentence was patently wrong, if not intentionally deceptive.

You were apparently cocked to defend Bush's torture techniques, so you grasped the first "opening" you thought you could, and invented a nonexistent premise, then proceeded from ther to embarras yourself.

cboldt, who are you protecting? You sure seem determined to justify yourself here.

Its either Bush or your conscience, but your words, like toothpaste are long out of the tube...

Another TimesSelect payee here, in order to access Krugman, archives, and economic info. Speaking of which, the real news right now is mortgage markets, IMHO. Which means that it's not necessarily 'the media' that's irrelevant; it's Bush.

Here's a fact you probably haven't seen on p.1: In 2000, Americans withdrew about $26 billion in the form of Home Equity loans. In 2004, Americans borrowed $139 billion in home equity. Over 25% of that withdrawn equity is estimated to have been used for debt consolidation.

Ominously, on 8/6/07 American Home Mortgage filed for bankruptcy; today, HomeBanc announced that it is closing its mortgage loan arm because it can't borrow money. This affects millions of people: bankers, title agents, insurance agents, realtors, utilties districts, home builders... on and on and on...millions of American jobs in the 'service industry' are housing-related.

What if during the first five years of BushCheney, the economy was upheld by 'borrowing' in the form of home equity borrowing? What if personal 'borrowing against equity' was a key economic driver for the national economy -- at the very same time BushCheney were giving tax cuts to the uber-wealthy? And what do those figures suggest about the wisdom of BushCheney's policy of borrowing to pay for the Iraq War?
Would these 'tea leaves' be newsworthy...?

The ONLY person that I can think of in the media who has consistently sounded the alarm about this is Paul Krugman at the NYT. He's been saying this for several years; he's credible.
And right now, that's huge.
Because the President isn't credible.

Call me Pollyanna, but I think there's a thirst for explanations -- whether people are evangelicals or Wiccans, Dems or Rethugs.
News about problems in the mortgage market are disastrous for the kind of 'ownership society', 'compassionate conservative' politics espoused by BushCheney.
This cuts at the core of their base, the heart of their ideological views.
I expect them to go into uberspin mode in their efforts to denigrate 'the media'.
-- I await the unleashing of Swift Boat Mortgage Bankers for Truth.
-- No doubt K-k-karl has already been setting up bogus, bullshit 'financial experts' to go on teevee and spin this disaster -- will the press be fooled? Or will they expose the bogus arguments of the paid shills?

If this disaster continues to spread (and it will), the Bush administration may seek to retain a stranglehold on the DoJ, the FBI, and other critical areas of government. But with an underlying economic upheaval, their credibility will be shot. And as their credibility continues to diminish, their relevance withers.
Even Fred Hiatt can figure that much out.

"President Bush has an argument that his actions are good faith efforts at national security."

Thanks, that is all I needed to read.

Lets see, where have we seen those words "good faith" relating to the Bush White House before???


I thought I was speaking with a reasonable person, but putting the words "good faith" and "George Bush" on the same page pretty much sums it up.

The qualifying words "most" and "expected" relating to recovery vs. prolonged lung damage are meant to account for some victims either being "drowned" too many times or for too long, and the fact that human body reactions are variable, and to some extent unpredictable.

Most people play baseball without being killed. But see the minor league coach who died after being struck by a ball, and some number of little leaguers who die from being struck in the head or chest by baseballs or broken bats.

Many people recover from brutal beatings too, provided the beating stops one inch short of fatality.

I'm perplexed at your lack of outrage toward the statute, based on your attachment to a belief that waterboarding (leading to lost surfactant) has a significant likelihood of resulting in prolonged loss of lung function.

-- cboldt, who are you protecting? --

Nobody. I'm putting out information that I think helps people see the effect of a recently passed law. I came to the conclusion that you aren't arguing the statute goes too far based on an absence of you arguing the statute goes too far. You keep saying "waterboarding does too violate the statute" which sort of implies the statute is hunky dory.

Even Fred Hiatt can figure that much out.

but he will never admit it publicly, inprint.

Did you all read that mea culpa By MICHAEL IGNATIEFF in the NYTimes on Sunday?


doubtful that old Fred will ever be so humble as to offer his own apoloigy for enabling the war in Iraq...

But then, you need to have some self respect to begin with, in order to regain is when you admit you are wrong.

-- I thought I was speaking with a reasonable person --

I call bullshit on that. You think your dealing with a Bush apologist troll, and it shows.

EW, that mea culpa By MICHAEL IGNATIEFF in the NYTimes on Sunday may be a hint of things to come...

But I still suggest that the blogs may have actually adopted the 4th Estate as a permanent family member, and it doesn't want to go back where it was neglected and abused before...

JEP - Lets not start this up again, there are bigger fish to fry. cboldt didn't say that was HIS argument, he said that would be BUSH'S argument. That statement is absolutely, unquestionably, true. that does not mean that it is a compelling argument for what has occurred (it is not) or that it will eventually carry the day (I sure as hell hope not). However, it DOES distinguish the situation in some regards from Nixon and Watergate; maybe not the charges themselves (which you are correct do resonate eerily), but in how the charges are considered. Whether we like it or not (I don't) this argument will be a linchpin for Bush and we will have to overcome it. This is really a silly crusade.

"This is really a silly crusade."

I moved along two posts ago, I think I made the points that validated my argument, and I still suggest there's some subterfuge at work...

But please, lets move along now, this discussion has gone to the original thread Marcy gave us, the re-institution of the 4th Estate in the MSM, and what I would much rather talk about is that mea culpa By MICHAEL IGNATIEFF in the NYTimes on Sunday.

Lets try to stay on that topic for now. I,ve said all I need to about my opinion of torture.

bmaz, did you read that article I just referenced?

empty wheel writes:
"Or has the media already lost any ability to sway public opinion?"

Perhaps this question should be rephrased to ask if whether public opinion matters any longer. At least with regards to this administration.

Yes, i read the Ignatieff article. With the possible exception of a couple of paragraphs, three at most-all on the last page, it strikes me as an over indulged bunch of rambling gobbledy gook. A well read and well educated man trying desperately to use history and philosophy to excuse the blatant fact that he spent his entire family's life savings on snake oil, and trying to rationalize it to his homeless and hungry wife and children. Here is all he needed write: "I am an idiot. I bought, lock, stock and non-smoking barrel, the bullshit of blithering idiots. I am sorry and will go away".


"I am an idiot. I bought, lock, stock and non-smoking barrel, the bullshit of blithering idiots. I am sorry and will go away".

we should be so lucky, maybe that will be what hiatt and ailes will write...


Still, three paragraphs hidden in one opinion piece is more than the sum total for seven years, so it is a start...

That we can agree on completely.

ReaderofTeaLeaves: Your concerns, in my opinion, are very valid! I am not an economist, but a friend and I were discussing this very thing several months ago. It has "felt" to us for a long time that the economy is a house of cards built on debt.

Remember how badly Bush was wanting to convert all that Social Security money to individual private accounts? Think of it as "putting it into play" in the overall economy. There would be more money chasing around for investment -- and more money for the financial markets to make. Consider, too, that most of us are amateurs when it comes to investing, which means that the brokers would make out like bandits.

The credit industry had been lobbying for a long time for home mortgage lines of credit to tap home equity for the same reason. It puts more money into play in the markets, and also sucks consumers into a spiral of debt if they tap into that to pay all the other debt. I was reading recently that many consumers pay off a lot of debt with home equity loans, and then go further into hock with more easy credit.

The really sad thing is that so many of us, in some way, are caught in that spiral.

I made the observation on another post a couple of weeks ago that the government has abdicated many responsibilities, and particularly in the matter of consumer finance. Consumers are stuck paying fees to every kind of service provider there is -- there is no regulation whatsoever. An example, at least here in Texas, is that electricity was deregulated (through the efforts of Bush's good friend, Ken Lay) ostensibly to introduce competition in the markets. It was supposed to benefit consumers. Just as in California, though, there have been major manipulations in the market and consumers are screwed. Everything, in my humble opinion, is geared to protect businesses, and the average joe is SOL.

I have done a good job, too, of hijacking Marcy's post, but I just had to comment in response to your observations.

"Everything, in my humble opinion, is geared to protect businesses, and the average joe is SOL."

Every morning when I make eggs, I think about how deregulation has made it so I'm paranoid about salmonala. When I was growing up, we didn't think twice about eating cookie dough that had raw egg in it. My brother used to drink milk shakes with raw egg in it for added protein. Now I feel like I practically need to disinfect the whole kitchen if I cook poultry. (Not to mention if I think about how most chickens are raised, I feel sick).

Pregnant women aren't supposed to eat much fish since it has mercury in it? Jeez, we ate albacore tuna sandwiches every day packed in brown lunch bags. (Where would I be now if the beginning of our cat dynasty hadn't chosen to come greet us on the front porch in the mornings as we went off to school since we smelled of fish?) Pisses me off that corporations seem to want to suck the average person dry and the government is happy to enable that. I still can't get over the fact that my one senator voted for the bankruptcy bill.

There's more to the predatory and fraudulent servicing. There are illegal activities that the FTC and many state A.G's have been unwilling to stop. These companies are breaking laws and forcing people into foreclosure. They are doing things like not applying payment after payment until you are forced to prove in a court of law that you made the payments. (some folks just don't follow up or believe the company has it right). Many people cannot afford attorney's. Many attorneys do not want to mess with these time intensive cases against big mortgage who will fight tooth and nail.

Then they start putting fees on your loan. Lawyers fees, inspection fees, special fees. They then inflate what is owed them as if the loan is worth the amount being serviced. So they jack up their assets and then sell it to the next company. These loans are sold, foreclosed on and resold down the line.

Millions of Americans have lost their homes to these fraudulent practices. The whole industry has been operating like a house of cards. It reminds me of enron, but this time it's our homes, its our neighborhoods.

This is going to be really bad. And it's spin when they blame the people who borrowed. I had a 30 year fixed mortgage. They keep painting it like the people they were lending money to were the problem. I had a very good credit rating and was steered to a sub prime lender. They didn't tell me it was sub prime. My loan would not have gone any where close to foreclosure in any normal legal banking.

They would not take my calls, and they returned my checks!! Yes, I am suing and kept every bit of documentation, have a master's degree and have used the internet and many resources that other people do not have. There have been times when I just could not believe what they were doing. I felt powerless just as if someone were breaking into my home.

They have done incredible things that I did not think could be done legally. And I found out that they cannot. They have operated blatantly and fearlessly. It's been like dealing with the mob. GMAC, homecomings financial, who incidently was the primary lender for all the folks in the hurricane in La.

Google "homecomings and fraud" and you will find literally hundreds of complaints month after month where people's payments have not been applied and then they were charged late fees and after two months of non payment, automatic foreclosure and complete communication black out. Some folks have lost their homes before they could prove that they had in fact made the payments.

I am going through this now. I have gone to court 3 times to prove that my payments were made on time and had cleared my bank. Each time they assessed huge fees. Then when they lost in court, they just put it on the end of my loan. So several statements down the road I notice that they say I am 8000$ behind. The statements are so hard to read that even my lawyers can't understand them. We asked for documentation of all payments as is my right. It has taken MONTHS!!! Then you have to file another complaint with the A.G.

This is very illegal. People who do not have a college degree are likely being blamed for being high credit risk and not making payments but my gut and experience tells me that this is probably not the case as often as these companies would like the public to believe.

Yea, I had banked the payments during the 6 months that they wouldn't answer my calls and put me in foreclosure, but not double. And they don't tell you that your debt has doubled until the week before the foreclosure sale. I am telling you it's mob dirty.

So now you cannot get out of the loan by selling your house because they have doubled your buyout. They've put bad marks on your credit. In some cases people have made all payments per contract but day of sale are told they owe thousands more than they actually do. Then they have to straighten this out in court. Can you imagine what happens, next? I am telling you it's incredible. They are stealing on both ends. From the lender...and then the investors.

I don't want to sound like chicken little but my experience has been that these folks were as lawless as thieves. And blatant. Fearless. The mortgage industry has been working almost exactly like the Bush administration. Some judges are on the take and some A.G's have worked to protect these lenders.

When it falls it's going to fall hard and it WILL fall. This isn't about markets and it's not saveable. The stuff they have been doing is so illegal will eventually have many victims. It just hasn't come to the surface and many of the folks affected do not have voice and do not understand that what is happening is illegal.

ReaderOfTeaLeaves...I am with you, it's going to get very scary, soon. (if it wasn't scary enough.) For the little guy AND some big investors.

I have lawyers working on it and I will be okay but millions of minorities and elderly will be losing the only investment they have to these companies. This is going to hit the lowest levels to the corporate level because the companies who are buying out these mortgages are buying a mess!! They don't know what is happening.

Uh thread hijacked again...AND the press is not covering the story. See they are irrelevant because as the 4th estate their reporting could have saved people the pain and stress, could have stopped this mess. The only place you can find bad press on Homecomings financial and GMAC is on rip off report blogs.

Brought it back home :)

One function of the press is to sell hot dogs and beer. The other is to manipulate public opinion and social norms. Disappointment awaits those who expect the press to turn manipulable people into independent and thoughtful people.

This has to be the wierdest thread ever. Who found the stash? And is it all gone?

-- This has to be the wierdest thread ever. --

Follow over to the My Guess on Kontogiannis thread, or else you'll miss some of the better parts.

The FISA fix, in effect, turns the NSA over to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales through January 2009, which includes the 2008 election cycle. Specifically, until the fix's 2/4/08 sunset, Gonzales can approve year-long surveillance programs targeting any communications that he "reasonably suspects" might go outside the U.S. And, what's available to Gonzales is apparently available to Rove, a master of opposition research.

Katie Jensen, you have written many 'big picture' comments in the past that I've read with interest. However, your latest comment breaks my heart.

Hang in there.
I'd guess that most commenters and readers here have one or more versions of stories like yours. I'll spare you mine, other than to say that I've watched the number of credit cards that my kids have received -- completely unsolicited, whether or not they have a job or any means of income. It's insane. As a result of watching that lunacy, I'm hostile at the very notion of bailing out banks or credit outfits. They promote irresponsible behavior, and now we're all supposed to underwrite it? No, thanks.

In the 1980's, the US taxpayers bailed out over $130 b-b-billion (i.e., $130,000,000,000) in Savings & Loan fraud, and it pisses me off to this day. Evidently, we learned nothing from that disaster. I'm sure the mortgage brokers be all crocodile tears before every Congresscritter who will listen. But Congress has no business bailing out mortgage banks, after it refused to fund enough FBI positions to investigate mortgage fraud and white collar crime (!).

Here's the nutshell: July 6, 2007If you are planning on being a white collar criminal and committing mortgage fraud, this is the time to do so. Do to a lack of funding and manpower the FBI is short 2,500 agents that they previously had to investigate white collar crimes such as mortgage fraud. The demands in a post 911 world have kept the focus on investigating international terrorists and not domestic crimes.

See Also:
2007 - - http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2007/03/fbi-mortgage-fraud-is-pervasive-and.html
Rachel Paulose quoted ... http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_203111643.html
2006 -- http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/real_estate/article/0,1299,DRMN_414_4840431,00.html
2005 -- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/14/AR2005121402272.html
2004 -- http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/09/17/mortgage.fraud/

(I don't work in real estate, but have several friends and acquaintance who do, and who have drawn this topic to my attention.)

We're beginning to see the ECONOMIC implications of Alberto Gonzales's disastrous term as A.G. This economic Katrina stems -- in part -- from Gonzales's ineptitude; how can the AG be so utterly lax in failing to lobby for more, better law enforcement? Particularly since there appear to be links between some mortgage fraud and terrorist organizations. After this sinks in, GW Bush is going to have better luck bailing out political pimps on K Street than he'll have in bailing out the mortgage banks -- particularly if the MSM does their homework and uncovers the criminal elements of the mortgage crisis.

How BushCheney could fund Homeland Security, without funding the FBI (which was evidently trying to tell them that mortgage fraud was turning up evidence of terrorist links) is stupifying. Once this mortgage crisis hits, and it becomes clear that billions of dollars are the result of criminal activity, George W. Bush will be so irrelevant, he'll be politically invisible.

Congress shouldn't bail out one single bank until it funds every damn one of those FBI positions.
And even then, it shouldn't bail out those asshats.
BushCheney, and AGAG, have absolutely no excuses for failing to fund those FBI 'white collar crime' positions.

Katie, hang in there.


Your comment is racist. It is sexist. It is a blatant example of the republican party attitude which completely negates the fact that the playing field is not even close to level. There are good people trying hard to be decent citizens. They are working jobs, trying to build good credit, trying to make the first and most important investment of buying a first home so that maybe they CAN send their kids to college someday. Your comment is so telling and it is so republican.

If my lawyers (and I have been to at least 15) in my city cannot sort out the legalese of my mortgage contract without spending literally hours (and we have spent hours together pouring over documents) then certainly there is something wrong with the system. Blame the victims...yes cboldt, women like to be subjugated and raped, blacks like to be descriminated against, gays enjoy being called names and white men are just smarter and better and need to stay in charge. You said it in one sentence. Thanks for being honest about who you are. Now I know what to do with your comments.

I have been willing to entertain your comments because you have shown some intelligence, but I see that you are truly ignorant.

-- cboldt, Your comment is racist. It is sexist. ... You said it in one sentence. --

I'm curious as to which comment-sentence you're referring to.

Katie, your posts were awesome! I am sorry you are having to fight such idiots, though.

My 80-year-old parents are in bad straits, and I would imagine their situation is common, as well. Mom had some major health issues a couple of years ago. Money was real tight, and she required some VERY expensive drugs that Medicare would not cover. Dad had received a couple of unsolicited credit cards in the mail with huge credit lines, so he used those to buy her prescriptions and ran up almost $32,000 in no time.

He did his best to make payments, but we could not figure out why he was seeming so stressed. He finally revealed last year what had happened. The problem was that he was late with a payment and things got ugly. Fees piled up on top of fees. It got to a point that he and Mom would not even answer the phone unless they knew who was calling. The credit card companies sued, and got their judgments which are worthless. They have sucked the life out of my parents, though.

The abuses in the credit card industry are appalling. Again, it used to be that there were limits on what they could charge in interest, and there certainly were not all of these "late" fees and the like. That is all due to deregulation of banking.

In general, it is nice to think that the marketplace will control businesses and what they do, but I see no evidence of that happening. There have to be some controls and enforcement somewhere -- and that is what government should do.

Final note -- your segue to refer back to the media was excellent! ;-) I will do so again -- the media are missing the major stories and making themselves irrelevant.

Marcy, as someone noted above, this is probably the strangest thread I have ever seen posted here, but it is probably one of the more powerful...

Every time I hear reports on the sub prime markets they focus on the fact that the loans were high risk and these folks shouldn't have gotten loans to begin with. Well, no where is it being reported that this is not what is happening. I called my local media to have the discussion and the only part they wanted to focus on was that my ex had quit paying child support. (which is what caused me to miss two payments to begin with. He had been paying faithfully for ten years and quit his 150k job after losing a custody battle. That's the part the t.v folks wanted to do a segment on.)

I know it is really easy to blame poor people for their predicaments...but anyone in my situation as a single mother of 4 losing 1000k a month without warning would have needed a month or two to get things under control. Did I have savings?? I did, until my ex sued for custody when his new 3rd wife did not want to pay child support. I used my savings defending my teen boys rights to stay in the home in which they had been raised. And because I do have a good job and master's degree, I was able to take on a side practice and was able to straighten out my finances quickly. I did not have credit card debt or any of that.

All the bank needed to do was give me a reasonable solution, a little extra interest or put the payments on the end of the loan. I called and explained they did not care. They instead added 500 to my payment which I could not agree to until I had my side job bringing in extra money. This is not what they did. They forced a situation through lies and stealing.

The media was not interested in the story. I wanted to get the word out about the mortgage company because I knew that my resources would allow me to get through this in ways that other folks would not. Plus I could not believe it was happening. That they could do what they were doing. I had a hard time getting lawyers to believe me. I would bring in the documentation and they would just look at me and say, "it would take an awful lot of work to figure out what they are doing with your payments. I don't know if we can stop them." I was told to file bankruptcy because that was the only way I could stop them from taking my home. I was told that their was not enough time to get the court to intervene.

The reaction I often get is that I must have done something "wrong". I must be "irresponsible" and I must have been really "stupid". Folks this is GMAC. I googled them when I got the loan way back in 2000. There were no bad reports back then. I knew my interest rate was a little high but it was not horrible. The contract has nothing in it that would have flagged me to these abuses. My lawyers concur on this. (and this may help my case in court).

I reiterate that I will be fine. I have good money coming in. Yes, they destroyed my credit but I am very good with money and saving. We will be okay. But I ache for those folks who don't realize what is happening or how to fight it. It's been difficult because the paper work and documentation has been like a second job on top of working two jobs and having 4 kids. But I am capable. Just once I would like to take a rich white guy and stick him in my life and in my shoes. I think it would be a great reality show.

The FISA fix, in effect, turns the NSA over to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales through January 2009, which includes the 2008 election cycle. Specifically, until the fix's 2/4/08 sunset, Gonzales can approve year-long surveillance programs targeting any communications that he "reasonably suspects" might go outside the U.S. And, what's available to Gonzales is apparently available to Rove, a master of opposition research.

this wasn't a thread, it was a tapestry...

with some serious, and outright arrogant imperfections..

NTW, I tossed out all credit cards, downsized to a car without payments, and we went the "debt free" route, with some help from fate and discipline. Now we have little or no debt, but it is still a constant week-to-week struggle.

The middle class needs wages, not credit, if this economy is ever going to evolve into the perpetual motion machine that would enrich the whole world.

Trickle-down, supply side economics is going to ruin us all, especially the no-bid, book-cooking supply siders.


After reading this wonderful thread/tapestry it is time for us to seek the best advice, the best information, the most knowledgeable people with INTEGRITY, to guide us in getting our affairs in order.

Katie Jensen, you are a wonderful person to share your situation honestly. We must look ahead in this chess match of disaster and find a way to survive the economic response to irresponsible, criminal governing.

Please, PLEASE find someone to post wise financial advice in light of the worsening situation in the White House, DOJ, armed services, mortgage industry and our disappointing Congress and media.

I watched the money guy, I can't recall his name, freak out because he knows the precarious economic position our country is in... Jim Cramer.... find his link, he freaked out about the number of people with good credit losing their homes.

We need solid economic information.

This thread got "hijacked" because of that very need. This was not a hijack. It was reality intruding on a discussion of the relevance of the MSM. Their relevance will be in direct proportion to their understanding of the difficulties of US, mainstream Americans; you know, we're the Americans that are so busy paying everybody for the benefits of this effing trickle down bullsh*t that we have no time to find relevant blogs instead of dutifully reading the paper.

If I were a helpful economist or money guy, I would jump in and advise. I'm not, and I want to escape from the land of Katie Jensen if possible.

Can you help?
Can someone out there help us to get our affairs in order? Please?

More dark tones for this tapestry -- a 'must read' at Scott Horton (Harper's), who quotes the British Daily Telegraph:

The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation...Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon... such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels. It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market...

The Robber Barons are now globalized; they're not just Yankees, anymore. No doubt the Chinese understand that fact. They don't need the dollar to do business. If the Chinese liquidate their dollar holdings, GW Bush will be even more (economically, diplomatically) irrelevant than he already is.

And someone like Paul Krugman will be even more important as many of us seek explanations to create some sense out of the confusion. The way I see it, Krugman's importance is roughly inverse to GW Bush's. Bush's importance is diminishing; Krugman's becoming even more important in helping us understand why GWBush qualifies as 'The Incredible Shrinking Man'.

Just like the two biggest defense contractors have been gobbling up their competition, leading to near monopoly conditions in the defense arena, media groups, (under editorial and financial control of just a very few magnates), have slowly been swallowed up and have melded into fewer and fewer truly independent voices. It appears even laws currently on the books regarding monopolies and their negative affect on our country and the American public have been conveniently ignored by the oversight agencies and those who could, but did not stop it.

Maintaining financial well being is the best credit debt consolidation plan yet! You'll love the creative credit debt consolidationideas at ArticleMonarch.com

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