Home > Economy, Rob Arkley, Security National Servicing Corp. > DEBT DIVIDE: Arkley Corporation vs. actual people

DEBT DIVIDE: Arkley Corporation vs. actual people

This week’s North Coast Journal looks at how the economic crisis affects regular people compared to big corporations like Rob Arkley’s Security National Master Holding Company.

Regular Joes and Janes live at the brink of financial ruin while Arkley’s numerous LLC entities get loan extensions and other benefits not available to unlucky homeowners duped during the housing bubble. A family who purchased a house in 2006 can’t catch a break while the mega rich get bail outs and lengthy extensions on their loans.

One Security National company that filed for bankruptcy owns a trailer park in Wyoming. The tenants there describe their living conditions:

“My wife was sitting on the toilet when it fell through the floor,” [Ralph Caughie] said. Management eventually rebuilt the rotted floor, he said, but “I had to get on ‘em three or four times before they got the right toilet.” Before being contacted by the Journal, Caughie and other residents had never heard of Security National. They said they walk their rent money down to the manager’s trailer once a month, and they were surprised to learn that their names were on court papers in a Delaware bankruptcy court.

Asked about the trailer park, [security National VP Brian] Mitchell said employment is booming in and around Casper thanks to a natural gas boom (a boom fueled by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which has caused groundwater contamination in the area, according to a December report from the Environmental Protection Agency). Mitchell said he hadn’t heard about Caughie’s wife falling through the floor while on the toilet, and he didn’t agree with the characterization of the park as a slum court. “Is it the nicest place in town? Absolutely not. But I’ve been there. We provide the most affordable housing in the greater Casper area.” It is, he said, housing for the “working class.”

North Coast Journal: The Debt Divide

EARLIER: Bankruptcy for Security National Properties Funding III, LLC | DELINQUENT: Rob Arkley’s property taxes

  1. January 12, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Arkley is a pig!

  2. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Corporations are out of control. Just wait til you see what Shell Oil is gonna do to Rio Dell, Ferndale and the Wildcat hills under “public utility condemnation” they can just take any land in their way AND get paid for it by the state/feds subsidies. It’ll make Arkley look like an amateur.

  3. Anonymous because I know better
    January 12, 2012 at 10:03 am

    “he didn’t agree with the characterization of the park as a slum court. “Is it the nicest place in town? Absolutely not. But I’ve been there. We provide the most affordable housing in the greater Casper area.” It is, he said, housing for the “working class.””

    Again, their own words serve to establish their belief that there is a god given divide between the elite and the working class, we are grunts, we deserve what we get, a rotten affordable trailer to which we owe SN rent.

  4. lisa
    January 12, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Those “regular Joes” made a lot of immature and bad decisions. Hopefully they have grown up and learned from their mistakes how to deal with adult problems like adults.

    Sometimes people make bad choices that are their own fault. This is one of those times. Agreeing to 11% interest? Abandoning a home for personal reasons? Who’s fault is that?

  5. January 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

    And that excuses Arkley HOW???

  6. January 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

    “And that excuses Arkley HOW???

    For doing what? A branch of his company owning a less that upper class trailer park?

  7. Highly Financed
    January 12, 2012 at 11:35 am

    If people aren’t smart enough to see a failing economy, save their money, and start a little business that gouges the poor on their way down, it’s their own fault for being unsuccessful.

    In America, you are free to be a doer or the done to.

    God bless our freedoms.

  8. Mitch
    January 12, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Under its new editor, the North Coast Journal is proving to be an incredibly good weekly. I think it was brave of Ryan Burns to write this piece, and it was brave for the Journal to publish it. Thank you to all involved — it’s really nice to see quality emerging someplace in the local media.

    There’s only one improvement to the article I can think of — I think it’s really important in these articles to stress that underwater homeowners who are trapped by their bank mortgages have no legal or ethical obligation to repay the mortgage.

    The terms of the mortgage contract are completely clear, and the deal you worked out with the mortgage holder is that they get the house if you stop paying. They aren’t entitled to anything more — they charged you high interest because they were taking a risk.

    That this is so under-presented suggests that the government is willing to sacrifice people to the banks, supposedly to “keep the economy going.” It’s a disgrace.

    Here’s an article from, of all places, the Wall Street Journal, that should be required reading for underwater homeowners:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703795004575087843144657512.html

  9. High Finance
    January 12, 2012 at 11:55 am

    One of the investments that one of Arkley’s companies owns has, er, had one of their trailers with a bad floor.

    It was fixed.

    Hang the man !

    You people are so easily manipulated.

  10. January 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Mitch wrote, “…the deal you worked out with the mortgage holder is that they get the house if you stop paying.“.

    Yep, and if they do take the house (or the car) after you stop paying, the bank catches hell for it here.

  11. Matt
    January 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Meanwhile, Obama’s new chief of staff is straight from CitiGroup… “in 2008, he served as chief operating officer of Citigroup Alternative Investments, investing in a hedge fund that bet on the housing market to collapse”. He also got a big bonus after CitiGroup got bailed out with our tax dollars.

  12. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Mitch, you do have a responsibility to pay your mortgage. You have made a legal contract that you will pay. Yes, the bank trusted you and took your word for it, and they took a risk. They make a profit on the interest. It’s how they make money. If the bank takes the house you tried to buy because you can’t pay the mortgage, you have breached your legal contract. It doesn’t make it all better that they get the house back. You may owe more than it is worth, and you might have screwed up the place and made it less valuable. The bottom line is, you have made a legal contract and you have not lived up to it.

  13. Not A Native
    January 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Did anyone else notice the irony in the article? SN pleaded to the Court, asking for forbearance because “Investors with cash were price gouging sellers that had no choice but to sell,”. But thats the exact strategy SN uses. Make profits by buying “distressed assets”, offering much less than the owners who desperately need cash(credit) had paid for them. Taking advantage of people who are in a tight spot. Thats been a HumCo speciality since the Gold Rush. Arkley no doubt learned it well at his Daddy’s knee.

    Likely, many of the sellers that SN buys from end up with nothing. That what “Bottom Feeder Arkley’ brags about, being the last man standing. But on the occasions when he isn’t, he has no hesitation to whine ‘unfair!”.

  14. Matt
    January 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    “The bottom line is, you have made a legal contract and you have not lived up to it.”

    Big F’n deal. The banks have an obligation to not wreck the world’s economy and they haven’t exactly lived up to that either.

  15. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Matt, not all banks are guilty of what you are saying. Many banks are very responsible and they are critical for business. You’re showing your paranoia and that chip on your shoulder.

  16. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    NAN, the banks are thrilled Arkley will pay them for the non performing notes and take them off their hands, do the work (servicing).

  17. walt
    January 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    There are at least 54 foreclosures listed for sale and another 59 short sales listed in HumCo. Almost every day at 11 am, on the steps of the courthouse, a couple of people hold (or cancel or postpone) auctions on foreclosed houses. There were four new foreclosure notices today in the TS, one property in Eureka, one in Fortuna, and two in McKinleyville. Sometimes the people being foreclosed take the toilets and light fixtures when they move out, sometimes people buy foreclosed houses to flip them, sometimes the banks won’t renegotiate the loans, the owners are evicted, and the houses stand empty until they’re trashed. Clearly the system needs a little work.

  18. January 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Nice to see Republicans eating their own. This film was released by the Newtster’s people. “When Mitt Romney Came to Town.”

    If you are easily traumatized by the intentional destruction of regular people’s lives then don’t watch it.

  19. Not A Native
    January 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Gee anon 4:02, the banks aren’t “thrilled” to have to take a loss by selling to Arkley at fire sale prices in order to get some liquidity. And lets be honest, if the assets “aren’t performing”(that means not making payments) then just what is there to “service”?

  20. Mitch
    January 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Anonymous 3:01,

    Bullshit.

    The bank manages its risk by requiring a down payment. They “know” that home values will not fall by as much as your down payment. They were wrong.

    Your arrangement with the bank is as specified in your mortgage contract, and the deal is they take the house if you stop paying. That’s their only collateral, and that’s all they are legally, morally, or ethically entitled to.

    If you are substantially underwater, you owe the bank your house and nothing more. Seek legal advice, and do not let the banks convince you that you owe them more than you owe them.

    Whatever you do, don’t listen to the bankster criminals without seeking independent legal advice. They’ll make you feel guilty for not letting them steal more of your money.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703795004575087843144657512.html

  21. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Mitch, listen to a lawyer. You want it to be okay to leave your home to the bank, but you are breaking a legal contract. You take a risk as well. Bullshit, right back.

  22. January 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Interesting how Hifi and some of the others immediately turned the topic into more whining about how “people need to be responsible”, but obviously exempt Arkley from having to meet his obligations in a timely manner. I guess when you’re, as usual, in the wrong, you just try to change the subject.

  23. Mitch
    January 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Anonymous 5:44,

    My advice to anyone underwater is to pay a lawyer to advise them. It will be well worth it. If you’re a lawyer, Anonymous 5:44, I hope they don’t have the misfortune of getting their advice from you.

    The banks and their lawyers want people to be afraid to exercise their rights. The only reason I can see for someone in California to continue paying a seriously underwater mortgage is to leave open the possibility of suing the bastards at the bank who wrote the mortgage without exercising due diligence.

    Paying a bank a penny more than you are legally obligated to pay is simple foolishness. As the Wall Street Journal columnist who I’ve linked to twice now says:

    They knew what they were doing when they wrote your loan. Many were guilty of malpractice, but they pocketed good money and they’ve gotten away with it. And if they thought your loan was “risk free,” how come they were charging you so much more than the interest on Treasury bonds?

  24. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I believe the person who wrote that to be in error. Although a person may be able to “get away” with not paying their loan in full, they are in breach of their contract. They get away with it because they are simply out of funds.

  25. Mitch
    January 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    No, Anonymous. They “get away with it” because of California law.

    You are obviously a liar. Who are you paid by?

  26. Mitch
    January 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    From: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/29/business/la-fi-harney29-2009nov29

    White contends that far more of the estimated 15 million U.S. homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages should stiff their lenders and take a hike.

    Doing so, he suggests, could save some of them hundreds of thousands of dollars that they “have no reasonable prospect of recouping” in the years ahead. Plus the penalties are nowhere near as painful or long-lasting as they might assume, he says.

    “Homeowners should be walking away in droves,” White said. “But they aren’t. And it’s not because the financial costs of foreclosure outweigh the benefits.”

    Sure, credit scores get whacked when you walk away, he acknowledges. But as long as you stay current with other creditors, “one can have a good credit rating again — meaning above 660 — within two years after a foreclosure.”

    Better yet, homeowners can default “strategically”: Buy all the major items they’ll need for the next couple of years — a new car, even a new house — just before they pull the plug on their current mortgage lender.

    “Most individuals should be able to plan in advance for a few years of limited credit,” White said, with minimal disruptions to their lifestyles.

    What kind of law school professorial advice is this? Aren’t mortgages legal contracts? In so-called anti-deficiency states such as California and Arizona, mortgage lenders have limited or no legal rights to pursue defaulting homeowners’ assets beyond the house itself, White said. In other states, lenders may decide that it is not worth the legal expense to pursue walkaways, or consumers may be able to find flaws in the mortgage documents, disclosures or underwriting to challenge the original contract.

    The main point, he said, is that too often people’s emotions get in the way of clear financial thinking about mortgages, turning them into what he calls “woodheads” — “individuals who choose not to act in their own self-interest.” Most owners are too worried about feelings of shame and embarrassment after a foreclosure, and ignore the powerful financial reasons for doing so.

    Buttressing these emotions is a system that White labels “the social control of the housing crisis” — pressures and messages continually sent to consumers by the “social control agents,” namely banks, government and the media. The mantra that these agents — all the way up to President Obama — pound into owners’ heads, White said, is that “voluntarily defaulting on a mortgage is immoral.”

    Yet there is an inherent imbalance in the borrower-lender relationship that makes this morality message unfair to consumers, White says: Banks set the rules during the housing boom, handing out home loans with no down payments, no income checks and inflated appraisals. Now that property values have dropped 20% to 50% in many areas, banks have been slow to modify troubled mortgages and reluctant to reduce principal debts.

  27. anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    The Del Norte Triplicate has on average three foreclosurer notices each edition. Two of the five City Council members have lost their homes. While we are three years removed from the depth of the financial crisis, I think things are finally hitting home (no pun intended) and that we have not seen the end of this crisis.

  28. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    So I got 300K for my 100K house in 2003 and I blew that 200K profit (real money). You want to now walk away from your commitment to a loan that you were in cahoots with. You knew you couldnt afford that house. The market cheesed out on you instead of me.

  29. anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you Mitch for posting the Mitt Romney video. Now your mission is to MAKE IT GO VIRAL.

  30. Thorstein Veblen
    January 12, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Lenders lend money because they make a profit doing it. The more loans, the more profit. There is an incentive for all this lending that took place, both household debt and business debt, and especially financial sector debt. Each time, somebody took a cut for the priveledge of setting up the loan. Others made money on servicing, etc.

    And theres a good chance the cycle will re-boot at some point, since we haven’t done anything that would keep it from happening again.

    As for SN, the big boys just get different treatment. Thats how our system works.

    Finally, as for Romney, it might as well be Charles Hurwitz running for president. Of the same ilk.

  31. McKinleyvillan
    January 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    as a former commercial fisherman turned restorationist told me during the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy, “if what Hurwitz is doing is legal, that’s proof the laws need to change.” He also said, “if I had a terminal illness, I’d kill that bastard for what he’s done to this county.” He’s probably saying the same for Arkley today.

    I hope Brian can find a more ethical boss real soon.

  32. anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Don’t forget Harry “We log to infinity” Merlo.

  33. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    It needs to be pointed out that someone named Bill on a rural blog called Heraldo published a video documenting Mit Romney’s parasitic empire that many have seen here for the first time.

    It should have been front page news by reporters connecting the dots decades ago.

    That there are still morons “demanding responsibility” from hard working Americans that were tricked and trapped into loans they couldn’t afford; then tricked and trapped out of their careers; while corporate crooks loot the Treasury and tank the world economy….is beyond belief.

  34. walt
    January 13, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Funny thing about “responsibility”: the same media that’s used to sell us Air Jordans and iPods shows over and over guys like Hurwitz, Merlo, Milken, Lay, Cheney, Madoff and most politicians do quite well being crooks. They end up with the money and we get to dream of being them. Then what happens? Deceit becomes the norm, neighbor cheats neighbor, and we have an untenable society. End of empire.

  35. Mitch
    January 13, 2012 at 7:31 am

    anonymous 9:00,

    ’twasn’t me, ’twas highboldtage. Fantastic ‘pub on ‘pub trashing, though. Love the scary black and white, and super-PACs can have unlimited expenditures, ya know? What’s the new word for swift-boating gonna be? The Newt Necklace of Sad Truths?

    Anonymous 8:44,

    Kind of crazy that the bank lent you an extra 200K on such flimsy collateral, but their loss is your gain. They’ve long since passed your loan along, so actually some pension fund’s loss on CDOs is your gain. It’s probably your pension fund losing out, so don’t feel bad. Next time, your pension fund ought to hire people with 3 digit IQ’s instead of Ivy League frat boy backslapping and parent-selecting skills. But, hey, a deal’s a deal. Gotta love ‘Merica!

  36. Mitch
    January 13, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Sad but important reading from Nobel Prize winner and former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/economics-blog/2012/jan/13/many-americans-2012-worse

    Many Americans gave up hope last year – 2012 will be worse.
    The chance of realising the American dream is receding for millions as jobs are lost, savings run out and houses are repossessed…

    Who pooped and peed on the bank!

  37. Mitch
    January 13, 2012 at 8:10 am

    But remember, it’s not just the banks. It’s much of the corporate world of the past generation: “PG&E diverted safety money for profit, bonuses.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/12/BAUS1MOSUC.DTL&tsp=1

    Why are these articles only beginning to appear now? Because it has taken years for the Bush-era and Arnold-era appointees in various agencies to be replaced with people who are not willing to look the other way, and because the mainstream media no longer seems capable of launching investigations, instead reporting (sometimes) on the work done by the agencies that have begun to function.

    Meanwhile, someone at the NCJ blog summed things up perfectly: more people, they wrote, were arrested at the Occupy Eureka protest than for all of the financial greed and manipulation that sunk the entire world economy.

    Makes you think, maybe.

  38. High Finance
    January 13, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Doom & gloom is all I hear. The world is crashing and things will never be the same. Oh woe is us.

    The economy will recover. It is a matter of not “if” but “when”. Even if Obama is re-elected it will recover eventually.

  39. Mitch
    January 13, 2012 at 8:24 am

    The aforementioned frat-boys.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fed-transcripts-20120113,0,2866382.story

    I thought I heard something at 8:20, but it was just a bad smell.

  40. Lost_it
  41. High Finance
    January 13, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Mitch, serious question. Have you lost your mind ?

  42. High Finance
    January 13, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I ask because you used to be fairly normal but lately you have been an asshole.

  43. Mitch
    January 13, 2012 at 8:56 am

    One more from the Guardian, this time about the once-proud New York Times.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/13/new-york-times-public-editor

    No hifi, I’ve been the sort of person you consider an asshole all along.

  44. lisa
    January 13, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Walt, I guess Mit Romney was right when he said that the whining about the economy was about envy and jealousy

    “They end up with the money and we get to dream of being them.”

  45. Plain Jane
    January 13, 2012 at 9:13 am

    No Lisa, Mitt wasn’t right. The very idea that it is jealously that causes people to object to society being looted by vulture capitalists is sociopathic. Even worse is their deliberate incitement of jealousy in their base for the lavish lifestyles of union members and public employees. Matt Taibbi did an essay on people like you which, if you had a brain, you would take to heart.

    http://trueslant.com/matttaibbi/2009/04/14/americas-peasant-mentality/

  46. Plain Jane
    January 13, 2012 at 9:19 am

    In case you are unsure if you have an American peasant mentality:

    Matt Taibbi 2009

    “But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff. And bound to get weirder, I imagine, as this crisis gets worse and more complicated.”

  47. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Mitch, I am now back and you called me a liar, because of my opinion? I contend a legal contract means you are responsible for it. The numbers may not add up, and I am not saying a person is terrible for walking, but there is a reason their credit suffers. They defaulted. I don’t believe every article I read and you don’t either.

    How about this one? A property owner in a small northern CA town is having trouble paying their mortgage. They haven’t been late, so their credit is still good, and they decide to take an additional mortgage out on it. They get $100,000. Now they owe $200 on about a $280,000 home, but know the home will probably not sell. They keep the cash, and default on the loan. The bank gets the house, but are unable to sell the home. Is the property owner right in keeping the money?

  48. January 13, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Mitch, I congratulate you on your “assholiness”. It is a great honor bestowed upon you by the venerable master HiFi. Who should know better?

    Meanwhile how does Arkley’s slum trailer park differ from Floyd Squires squalid rentals in Eureka?

  49. Mitch
    January 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Anonymous 9:23,

    The banks have been able to afford lobbyists to get laws written exactly the way they thought they wanted them.

    In California, a non-recourse state, the lender is entitled to the house if the borrower defaults on their loan. The borrower loses their house, but the laws protect the borrowers other assets, just as a 401k is (I think) protected during a bankruptcy. The idea, I’d imagine, is that loss of the house is sufficient punishment for breaking the contract. (After all, when the law was written it was probably assumed that the borrower would be required to put 20% down, so the borrower would be losing substantial equity.)

    A bank that was keeping loans on its books would not have made ninja loans. It would mitigate its risks by checking the borrower’s income, job, and assets, and it would loan only a percentage of the home’s assessed value.

    I don’t know the relevant law, but I’d say the banksters had an ethical responsibility to do this, even knowing that they were going to stick the loan on someone else the very next day. I’d call it fiduciary responsibility, or some other big word.

    The banksters did not. They shafted one another by winking and nudging loans through for fees, and they shafted the people to whom they stuck the loans, by charging high, practically usurious interest paired with teaser rates. They knew many of their borrowers were placing themselves in precarious financial situations, and they did not care.

    The homeowner was presented with a contract that said they must pay this much every month or the bank will repossess the home. The contract is a legal document that sets out the obligations of each party along with the recourse available to each party in the event the obligation is not met. The recourse in California is the bank repossesses the home. If that is not enough to make the bank whole, that is the bank’s misfortune. I’d advise it to go back and recover the money from the bonus it paid to the liar who wrote the loan.

    I’m not sure if the borrower ever even “owned” the house until the deed of trust is cleared.

    If you borrowed from someone with an expectation that there was a human relationship involving reciprocity, there’s no question in my mind you should repay your debt. If you made a business relationship to borrow from a bank under the legal terms outlined for mortgage loans in California, both the bank’s responsibilities and yours are laid out in great detail in California law. The bank is not going to make exceptions if things turn out badly for you, and you should not make gestures to be nice to the bank. You default, you lose the house.

    If you lied in specifying background information, the bank can go after you for fraud, I suppose. But if you gave the bank honest information, the bank gets the house and that’s it.

    One of the things I linked to points out that “social control agents” are trying to keep people from defaulting in their own interest. You are such a “social control agent,” just like the President has been. You’re also Anonymous, which makes lying easy. My guess is you work for a bank or for an industry that depends on homeowner’s not acting in their own best interests.

  50. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Nope. I am closer to “housewife”, not a bank employee, but I am a person who has bought and sold about 20 homes in my lifetime with my spouse, and still own a few. It’s my opinion. I don’t lie, Mitch. I could be misinformed, but I am not a “liar”. Social responsibility is important to me, and I suppose that is a matter of opinion, what social responsibility means to each person. I would not consider myself similar to a “social control agent”. Thanks for the discussion. I am not too well informed on the non-recourse states, but contracts are familiar to me. It’s an interesting topic. Thanks.

  51. Mitch
    January 13, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Perhaps, 9:53, you have merely been controlled by some other social control agent. There’s been a pretty substantial effort to prevent homeowners from acting in their own interest — if people walked away (the way SN and other corps can and will) the “troubled assets” in TARP will be even more troubled, and important people will either lose more money or need to steal more from the federal government. Somebody might throw their cocktail at Timothy.

    If you say you are not a liar, I believe you. Since I have no idea who you are, I don’t really know why that matters to you, but I apologize for my mistaken allegation.

  52. Badger Buddha
    January 13, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Is it not clear?

    In the movie “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” we see the story of four companies intentionally destroyed by predator capitalist Mitt Romney.

    Here in Humboldt we saw a hedge fund capitalist take over the Samoa Mill, loot it and destroy the lives of hundreds of workiers with the help of Rex Bohn and the support of the local Chamber of Commerce. Not to mention leaving a huge hole in the local private sector economy.

    And Maxxam came to town with more predator capitalist debt leverage and destroyed another local company by liquadation through clear cutting of the company’s “undervalued” assests.

    Who were the local collaborators with Maxxam? These parasites always have local collaborators – quislings – to help them with their theft.

    The pattern is clear and it must stop not only here but it must stop everywhere in the United States.

  53. High Finance
    January 13, 2012 at 10:34 am

    You can’t possibly believe all that garbage Badger Mitch.

    The Samoa Mill was toast. The Japanese company came in & spent tens of millions of dollars on it and lost their shirt.

    Homes are being foreclosed on because people borrowed to the hilt, either buying houses they could not afford or refi them to buy toys. Either way they were living beyond their means and it was doomed to fail if the housing market ever declined.

    Banks gave out loans they shouldn’t have and now they too are paying the piper. This wasn’t any grand conspiracy by the rich to destroy all of your hopes. Except in a few cases where somebody lost their job, the people being foreclosed on bear a large part of the responsibility.

  54. Plain Jane
    January 13, 2012 at 10:43 am

    The “few cases” the being millions of people who lost their jobs, HiFi?

  55. Plain Jane
  56. High Finance
    January 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Did you read your own link PJ ?

    Less than 1/2 of all foreclosures were due to unemployment.

    But even those cases proves my point. This wasn’t some evil kind of conspiracy of the rich, it is what happens during every recession.

  57. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Mitch, housewife here. No, I have no been controlled by a social control agent, whatever that is, as I have never defaulted on a loan or any other legal agreement. Perhaps my opinion has been molded by them though.

    I have to agree with HIFI that there was no big conspiracy and that people share this responsibility for misfortune. People borrow too much. The banks were guilty of being overzealous in their profit making, making too many loans when they didn’t know it was risky,and the people are guilty of over borrowing. The truth is, they were both taken by surprise.

  58. Holistic Healing
    January 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

    The new post-Christmas Hi Fi has outed himself as a non-local. The Pre-Christmas Hi Fi as dumb as he was would never make the mistake of calling Evergreen Pulp a Japanese company.

    Another point, the old Hi Fi would never call anyone an “asshole” he was far too prissy to use language like that, unless of course he had had a few drinky-poos. The new Hi Fi doesn’t hold back the ad hominems.

    The new Hi Fi is smarter than the old one and a better writer but is obviously a paid media shill employed by the Club for Growth or the Federalist Society or some other right wing bunch.

  59. Smart 5th Grader
    January 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

    How many were due to teaser interest rates which adjusted upward to the tune of hundreds of dollars per month? Do you understand the concept of “predatory lending” High Colonic? How about “laissez-faire” High Colonic? Screw working Americans, I got my profit!!!!!!! Now I can “reorganize” (BK13) and society can absorb my losses. Ha Ha Ha laughing all the way to the Bailout Bank.

  60. Plain Jane
    January 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

    That was back in 2010, HiFi. Of course you know that every foreclosure decreases the value of every other house and every job loss means less money in a community putting more jobs at risk and reducing incomes of workers and small business owners alike. MILLIONS of foreclosures due to job losses, not a few.

  61. High Finance
    January 13, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Oh my, where do I begin ?

    So Holistic, big deal. Evergreen was a CHINESE company and not a Japanese one. And if there are two HiFi’s, it is clear that both of them are a lot smarter than you.

    You asked the question, “Smart” 5th Grader, you answer it ? How many were due to teaser rates ?

    Not always PJ, but in this case of a glutted market then yes, this many foreclosures hurts the value of many other homes. And so what is your solution ? Do banks not foreclose on the unemployed who can no longer pay the mortgage ?

  62. tra
    January 13, 2012 at 11:26 am

    “…people share this responsibility for misfortune. People borrow too much. The banks were guilty of being overzealous in their profit making, making too many loans when they didn’t know it was risky,and the people are guilty of over borrowing.”

    Banks got bailed out and many of those who were “overzealous in their profit-making” got fat bonuses. Meanwhile, millions of people lost their homes and their life savings. Such is life in a recession, under welfare capitalism.

  63. Plain Jane
    January 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

    If I had a solution I wouldn’t be wasting my time on a local blog, HiFi. The point is that vulture capitalists and the predatory financial industry caused this fiasco (aided and abetted by deregulation) and made trillions while ordinary people who were their victims are being blamed by fools like you for the crash while they suffer every day from the end result, adding unjust insult to painful injury.

  64. High Finance
    January 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

    And my point is that “vulture” capitalists and the “predatory” financial industry only caused part of it. “Ordinary” people are every bit as culpable.

    Failure to take responsibility for one’s own actions is the biggest problem many (not most) people have. It is the victim mentality that helps cause people to be failures in life.

    And not all banks were bailed out TRA. Remember Washington Mutual ? Many others also closed. AND the banks paid back the bailout with interest.

  65. Plain Jane
    January 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

    HiFi, the regulations were gutted at the request of the financial industry. The financial industry’s greed and political corruption coupled with ordinary people’s fear that housing prices would be increasingly out of their reach and their optimism that home prices and wages only go up was a perfect economic storm. Millions who qualified for prime loans were shuffled into subprime, adjustable rate mortgages without understanding they could be stuck with huge balloon payments, sky high interest and no opportunity to refinance.

    Have you read the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s report or did you just accept Rush’s interpretation of it?

    You being a financial wizard and all, how much blame for the excessive liquidity which fueled the housing / stock market bubble would you assign to the Bush tax cuts and fed interest rates?

  66. jr
    January 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Everyone should go rent Michael Moore’s latest work “Capitalism, A “Love Story” and read Matt Taibbi’s latest work “Griftopia”, now out in soft cover. (His chapter on Alan Greenspan is alone worth buying it for your library.)

    Lastly, when you are at the video store, pick up “Inside Job” too.

  67. Anonymous because I know better
    January 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    The old Hi Fi was smarter, older local and deeply rooted in the community, he was a traditional strict father and believe what he was saying was true and that his principles upheld an economically healthy business community. He probably was a CPA or a Banker of some sort and very likely a member of the Chamber, Eureka Rotary and Ingomar (maybe, maybe he wouldn’t actually use his own money for an expensive membership like that).

    New Hi Fi, hired to blog. To spread Conservative propaganda, drop tid bits, create infighting, it has already started guys New Hi Fi is a political tool.

  68. Mitch
    January 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    “Housewife,”

    No, I have no been controlled by a social control agent, whatever that is, as I have never defaulted on a loan or any other legal agreement. Perhaps my opinion has been molded by them though.

    Social control agent is not my phrase, it’s Professor White’s (see the quote at January 12, 6:24 pm if you’re interested). I think the term is exactly right for a participant in an effort to prevent people from acting in their self interest.

    As for people borrowing too much, of course people borrow too much. You know that, I know that, everybody knows that. That’s why a sane society implements regulations to help prevent sophisticated people from taking advantage of unsophisticated people by offering them too much rope.

    No banker was acting legally or ethically in offering mortgages to potential home-buyers if the banker realized the home-buyer might be over-extending themselves. In earlier times, watching out for unsophisticated customers was considered a professional responsibility; during the bubble, the banksters watched for those customers because they realized they could write them high-rate mortgages.

    Do the people who bought homes they couldn’t afford bear some responsibility? In many cases, yes. Are they anywhere near as culpable as the shameful industry behind the housing bubble and the subsequent crash? Not even in the same ball park. Under the formerly regulated system, there would have been no way for these people to get in over their heads, except by turning to the official Mafia.

    Under the deregulated system, the banksters made the Mafia look like boy scouts. Just watch some of the Waxman hearings, where one of the frat pigs gets asked if he thinks he has a responsibility to act in the best interest of his clients. He’s flummoxed.

    This crash was not an accident, it was an inevitability once the bankster’s lobbyists were able to break down the regulatory barriers between investment banking and retail banking. The bastards who blew up the bubble for their own enrichment have in most cases been bailed out and suffered nothing for their criminal behavior, because wealth brings political power, especially after the Citizens United ruling.

    Sure, feel free to “tut tut” about personal responsibility, but don’t miss the elephant in the room.

    And NONE of this bubble and crash is due to Obama. He can be blamed for molly-coddling the bastards, but the crash is 100% GOP owned.

    You want to know what a social change agent is? Just watch any of the blowhards you’ll see on TV blaming the economic collapse on Obama, and blocking legislation that most economists feel is critical to reducing the impact of the depression.

  69. Mitch
    January 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Abikb,

    Who cares who HiFi is? If the wingers were smart, they’d hardly want to fold a new blogger in under a discredited handle. On this blog, “HiFi” is just another way of saying Dittohead. I confess I wonder from time to time if he (yeah, he) isn’t an invention of Heraldo’s to keep people from getting bored with all the agreement.

    It wouldn’t take much time to write his drivel.

  70. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    “The bank gets the house, but are unable to sell the home. Is the property owner right in keeping the money”?

    Was the speculator right to pocket the money on big home subdivisions beyond the reach of 75% of local incomes?

    The bank financed high-profit McMansion subdivisions in the first place. So far, they’ve managed to profit on both ends thanks to the bailouts.

    They did it in the 1980’s crash, the 2008 crash, and are now issuing big loans to our local speculators who burned the midnight oil keeping regulations favorable to building more big homes.

    Mitch was right, desperate families borrow beyond their means.

    However, comparing a family’s deficit spending on shelter, food, and health care to the greed of Wall Street, is utterly traitorous.

  71. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Remember, there are many inexperienced loan sellers as well as inexperienced loan buyer. This problem is not one sided.

  72. Anon 2
    January 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    A friend of mine bought a house that they could afford but the problem is that they actually got a mortgage that instead of the fixed mortgage they were supposed to get was an adjustable mortgage. Didn’t understand some of their mortgage papers they received as most people don’t understand their Reg Z papers. They closed on the house and then the payments started going up. Why they did not call the bank or their realtor I just don’t know. One of them should have been able to explain what was happening. When the payments were getting too large they went to an attorney who tried to fix the problem either through a refinance or mortgage adjustment. That went on for several years with nothing happening and their payments got probably too large for a wealthy person to make them as the house was not worth what the bank had added to the value through them not making the entire payment. End result the bank would not consider any adjustment on interest and actually lost about $100,000 of actual money loaned but the new buyer in foreclosure got a real deal even in these times as they had done a lot of work to the house after the purchase.

    That is what is happening on lots of loans. People buying can afford the loan that they applied for but they did not get that loan even if they were well qualified for it. That is why lenders are being blamed as they were preditor lenders that knew the borrower could not make the high payments they wanted. Some of those banks that did this have been bailed out by the Govt as they had lots of foreclosures on their books and that created a problem with their assets as they likely did not have “assets” after those loans. Not all bad borrowers have lost home but many were duped by bad banks.

  73. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I am a person who pays regularly on my loans and have paid off a home a couple of times. I tried to refinance a property recently. Now, why would they want me to jump through so many hoops to make my payment lower? Obviously I am qualified to make the new payments, as I am already making the higher payments without fail. I was willing to pay them some points too. Doesn’t make any sense at all to me. I am going to take a loan on my paid off property instead, and pay off the one they are hedging on. One is commercial, and one is a private home, so I can get a better rate. The commercial loan has a higher rate and I don’t have a mortgage on the private home.

  74. High Finance
    January 13, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    The one thing that your incivility makes clear Mitch, is that you are insecure in your talent and/or in your beliefs.

    Otherwise you would be able to debate like an adult instead of a like a petulant child or school yard bully. Software programers tend to lack social skills due to their profession not dealing with people as much as other professions.

    Pathetic.

  75. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    High Finance lecturing others on social skills.

    Unbelievable.

  76. January 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Mitch is “so insecure in his talent and/or his beliefs” that he…..

    wait for it…..

    he posts with his real name!!!!!!!

    Ha Ha Finance you are the gutsy one for sure.

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  77. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    This blog so reflects the economic divide in our country. HiFi and those Anonymous posters who have bought and sold over 20 homes, are financially savvy, have paid off a house or two and/or have borrowing options available for future investments cannot begin to understand what so many people currently face on a day-to-day basis. Their experiences and daily concerns, as are most of those posting here (I would guess Mitch and PJ and myself included), are fairly far removed from those who are born to poverty, have lost everything or are on the verge of doing so.

  78. Anon 2
    January 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    To Anonymous at 5:13 – Be careful what you sign as it may be just like my friends loan. You are told what you are getting but you don’t understand the paperwork that is sent to you and get the loan and it is a bad loan that just keeps going up as it is not what they told you that would get. Home loans are usually lower than commercial loan rates but the home loan lenders are the ones that have caused the real estate problems and some of them are still doing this. Read your paperwork very carefully before you sign anything. There are some lenders that are refinancing business loans and the rates have gone down and you may want to call some local banks to see if this would work and have a lower rate that is a fixed rate on your commercial. Anything that says you have a variable rate on your house or commercial may not be a good loan even though interest rates are currently low. Teaser rates are VERY low but then they go up in 90 days or less and keep going up.

  79. walt
    January 14, 2012 at 5:44 am

    The ocean is full of sharks and barracudas.

  80. Mitch
    January 14, 2012 at 6:53 am

    HiFi,

    programmer, not programer.

  81. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Thanks, Anon 2. I will be careful.

    9:17, time passes and a person can buy and sell a lot of homes if they move around. It doesn’t make them rich necessarily. It makes them experienced, though. This blog needs to have input from all types. Be glad it isn’t all people who are struggling to get a mortgage. Learn from the experience of others.

    If there is one thing I can say, it is live more simply, and don’t try to buy so much by borrowing. You won’t need it later and you’ll be happier with money in the bank than a bunch of toys that you can’t get your money back from.

  82. Mitch
    January 14, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Anonymous 9:17,

    For most of the time I was growing up, my father worked as a letter carrier (postman) and my mother as a secretary. Until I was 5 or so, my father and my uncle ran a tiny delicatessen in a subway entrance, and made very good money. The entire neighborhood was condemned and taken by eminent domain when Rockefellers wanted it for the World Trade Center. They later built it elsewhere.

    I’ve known about the wealth and fairness divide for a long time, and I’ve also known that were it not for public employee unions, I probably would never have got to go to college, and my parents would not have had any money for much of anything in retirement — as it was, they were well taken care of thanks to the retirement benefits that Saint Victor Gotbaum negotiated, in exchange for relatively lower wages.

    The class war is not new, nor is greed, nor is the existence of people who will say anything to suck up to a wealthy and/or powerful person.

  83. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    NAN, the banks are very happy when Arkley and others buys bundles of non performing loans at a discount. This means they take a loss but they get something, and they don’t have to deal with these properties that are a hassle to collect on. In return, servicing companies like SN have a staff and try to collect or they sell the property. They hope to make more than they paid for each property, and of course they don’t on many. The hope is that they can come out ahead. Why else would they buy them?

  84. Told You So
    January 15, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    I agree Mitch, and we have no shortage of rural suck-ups on this tiny blog.

    “They hope to make more than they paid, and of course they don’t on many”. (Anonymous 2:04).

    As we lost our local industries over the last 30 years, business boomed for the parasites…Security National’s “distressed loan” servicing, pawn shops, big boxes, rent-to-own, check cashing, rental agencies, bail bonds, job scalpers, liquor stores, storage units, neighborhood rehabilitation homes,…etc, etc, etc

    After 30 years sucking their victims dry, they begin to wither themselves….a harbinger of even harder times ahead.

    It’s exactly where America’s traitors want us…a population made grateful for the expendable labor of foreign children who keep Walmart’s every day prices low…and a media terrified to pull-back the imperial curtain.

    46 million working-poor Americans are feeling that slow-motion effect of being in a car crash hoping it turns out Ok, while knowing it won’t.

  85. Plain Jane
    January 16, 2012 at 7:37 am

    It’s been 3 days and HiFi still hasn’t responded to my question:

    “You being a financial wizard and all, how much blame for the excessive liquidity which fueled the housing / stock market bubble would you assign to the Bush tax cuts and fed interest rates?”

  86. Mitch
    January 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

    PJ,

    Maybe the new guy didn’t work out, and they’re looking for someone more suited to the profession.

  87. High Finance
    January 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

    PJ, I try to ignore silly questions like that.

    However, I do not see any effect on housing prices due to any tax cuts. Otherwise, why isn’t my house worth $1 million anymore ? The stock market “bubble” occured during the Clinton years and in case you forgot, that was before the “Bush” tax cuts.

    Mitch, this guy isn’t going anywhere. Somebody has to counter your nonsense here. One of my posts to every 20 of yours is enough to do that.

  88. Plain Jane
    January 16, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Oh my goodness! Where do you think the increased liquidity came from that drove housing prices up there HiFi? The banking / stock market / housing bubble that crashed the economy occurred during the Bush years, borne of the tax cuts and federal bank policies on top of financial deregulation. But you want us to believe more of the same is the solution.

  89. Mitch
    January 16, 2012 at 11:22 am

    HiFi,

    Much better slap-down. Perhaps you were just having a bad day.

  90. High Finance
    January 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    PJ, those Bush tax cuts are still with us, there is plenty of liquidity out there but housing prices are continuing to decline.

    Mitch, my “bad days” are still plenty damn good.

  91. Plain Jane
    January 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Yes, those tax cuts are still with us and all they are doing is fueling the stock market, not the main street economy. People needs jobs to buy homes but rich people have plenty of money to invest. Have you ever looked at a historical graph of the stock market and compared it with the tax rates for each bubble, HiFi? What do billionaires do with hundreds of thousands in tax cuts? Do they sleep on cash stuffed mattresses or do they inflate financial bubbles? We know they don’t create jobs with it.

  92. Plain Jane
    January 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm
  93. Anonymous
    January 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    People with money are really not trying to ruin the world. People with money and people with no money do not understand each other, and they both blame the other for the world’s misfortunes. This blog happens to be overrun with the latter, so the opinions slant that way.

  94. Plain Jane
    January 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I’m guessing you’re about 12, 2:58?

  95. Mitch
    January 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    2:58,

    I agree. Most people with money are not trying to ruin the world.

    Many people with money are quite nice.

    Unfortunately, there are some people for whom accumulation has become so central to their egos that they can never feel that they have enough. Even these people are not trying to ruin the world, they are simply acting out their disease.

    But when a person with more money than they and their children can spend in their lifetimes is still trying to drain additional money from people who are starving (as much of humanity is), they are seriously damaging the world.

    War damages the world, and is an inevitability as long as some people are hungry while others have vast sums of money.

    Resource depletion damages the world, and is an inevitability as long as our cultures are driven by the idea of economic growth rather than a desire to participate in and conform our lives with the natural world’s cycles and abilities.

    People who do not know when enough is enough are themselves damaged, but because of the amoral nature of capitalism and the role money plays in our elections, these people are in control of our society (and others). Once upon a time, religious leaders could have an impact on such people by warning them about the afterlife, but such warnings (true or false) are no longer sufficient.

    I am convinced that if these people understood what they are doing and why they are doing it, they’d stop. No sane person would fail to extend a hand to a drowning child out of fear that it might damage their manicure, yet that is the situation the world sees today and every day; it is so common it is not even noticed.

    I feel that making these people conscious is a good goal to work towards, but I doubt very much it will be achieved in my lifetime or in the lifetime of anyone now living.

    I don’t think either the left or the right has much of a grasp of the difficulty of the problem — I doubt it will ever be solved by “putting the right people in charge.” Still, getting the wrong people out of power is a start.

  96. Plain Jane
    January 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    What Mitch said!

  97. Anonymous
    January 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Fortunately, a lot of people with money give back to their communities and are not the blood sucking parasites that seems to be the feeling here. A person who makes a good living does not automatically change into a person with some sort of insane individual as many paranoid individuals think here. Most people I know with enough money have worked hard for it, give back to society, and have it all together more than those who tend to have all day to type into their computer and bitch on this blog. Mitch, you make a lot of sense, but you do have a bit of difficulty and I believe a lack of understanding of those who have more than the average person. As far as Jane is concerned, she has made a good study of the statistics but they do not always translate to reality, and she has a bit of an annoyance for those more wealthy than she is.

  98. Why They Hate OWS
    January 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Whether rich or poor, many Americans suffer propaganda-induced psychosis.

    They believe that their earnings are theirs to spend however they wish, without regard to the actual costs and consequences of worldwide child-labor or the rapidly depleting resources and biodiversity that they are subsidizing.

    Coincidentally , the same “externalities” ignored by their corporate masters!

    With rare exceptions, the more wealth people have, the greater the negative impact.

  99. walt
    January 17, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Since Citizens United and corporate control of elected officials, money is power. The rich herrenvolk have more political say than the untermenschen. If you aren’t rich, move to the back of the bus.

  100. Plain Jane
    January 17, 2012 at 6:40 am

    6:22, it’s not “annoyance for those more wealthy,” (nor is it envy) but anger over corrupt policies that concentrated wealth at the top, caused the economic crisis and continues to restrict recovery. Pretending that statistical evidence, which clearly shows wealth concentrated and working class wages declined when taxes on the rich were cut, isn’t reality is nothing but delusion on your part.

  101. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 7:20 am

    6:22,

    You are looking at individuals, while PJ and others including myself are looking at a system.

    Greed and generosity are well-mixed throughout the population. They occur in all classes. In fact, they are even well-mixed within individuals.

    A system can support people in their generosity or can let their greed flourish. What we have seen, especially in the last forty years, is a system that has been taken over by greed and that now allows greed to flourish. That is a societal disaster.

    “The 1%” is just a slogan. The problem is a system that allows a tiny, tiny minority of people who are unusually driven by greed to take over the wealth and political control of an entire society.

    The evidence of such a takeover is before your eyes: the people who were paying themselves tens and hundreds of millions of dollars per year for their self-declared brilliance would have driven their banks and corporations into bankruptcy had those entities not been bailed out by taxpayers (against our will). Yet they still pay themselves tens and hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Vast corruption in their ranks has been exposed, yet not punished.

    As someone pointed out at the NCJ blog, more people have been arrested at Occupy Eureka than in the entire financial sector. It is inconceivable to me that this is not connected to the ability of the institutions these people run to exert unlimited funds in purchasing political power. Vast inequality destroys a democracy.

  102. Anonymous
    January 17, 2012 at 8:28 am

    How many times do you have to be told, its a republic. We have laws, and that is what we follow. Glad you point out that you, PJ, and many of the regulars have an agenda. It is our system of government that you are attacking. Based on the fact you are not successful at governing yourselfs.

  103. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Our agenda is justice. We are supporting American values, as expressed in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

    The “it’s a republic” argument was a favorite of the John Birch Society… of those who found it anathema that the federal government would actually support equal rights for black people. These same people find it anathema that the federal government would act to protect the vulnerable from the powerful.

    Most of us understand that the need for this protection is precisely why humans create governments.

    Our founders realized that the less-powerful needed enormous protection against the government being captured by the wealthy and powerful. They opposed royalty. They’d be saddened by Citizens United.

  104. High Finance
    January 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

    This system the lefties disparage all the time is the same system that allowed them to grow up soft & spoiled.

    This system enabled the US to become the most economically powerful country in world’s history. Reminds me of the line that Obama said during his campaign. Something like “this is the greatest country in the world ! Join me in changing it” WTF ?

  105. Just Middle Class
    January 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Mitch, your version of history is not correct, remember that the “Founding Fathers” only wanted those who owned land to have a vote, and that did not include women.

  106. Just Middle Class
    January 17, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Also, we do not have a direct vote for President because they also were afraid that the “masses” would vote wrong.

  107. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I love my country. I hate what has been done to it, and I don’t need to pretend it is without flaw.

    The United States expanded into a continent against its indigenous people, who did not have the technology to effectively fight back against the European immigrants. The expansion was and is shameful, but probably no more shameful than other conquests by other people in other times.

    Having an entire new continent’s resources to exploit, the United States did well when the rate of resource extraction remained minor compared to the resources available.

    When World War II resulted in the destruction of much of the infrastructure of Europe, Japan, and the USSR, the United States did indeed become the world’s economic leader. This leadership was a result of our intact civilian infrastructure and our built-up military industry. President Eisenhower famously warned of the dangers this industry represented to our democracy — concentrations of wealth and power are inherently dangerous to democracies.

    The relevant question is, how has the United States used this leadership over the past forty years to improve the lives of its citizens and all humanity? I agree that the United States acted with great wisdom after World War II, but “United States” is a label for different groups of people. Those in charge after World War II acted with wisdom. What about those in charge from 1970 onwards?

    For most people, it is obvious that something has gone terribly wrong. We have exported our industry, created a wealthy nation with an enormous percentage of poor people, and squandered enormous opportunities for good. It’s well-known that every generation needs to pay attention to keep a democracy from decaying. We need to pay attention — repair is overdue.

  108. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 9:11 am

    JMC,

    Never judge people of one era by the standards of a later era. The founding fathers were products of their era. They did not stand for women’s rights, in many cases they saw nothing wrong with slavery, and they didn’t pay attention to the rights of indigenous people at all.

    But they recognized that the dictatorship of a nicely-named dictator (a King) was not something that could stand by divine right, and they applied the standards of the Enlightenment to creating a democracy which, for a long time, was a beacon to Europe.

  109. January 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

    This country is neither a democracy or a republic that is a phony argument meant to divide. It is a dictatorship. In the face of facts like the Patriot Act, the FISA Act, NDAA, GITMO, secret courts, rendition and torture, permanent war, corporate personhood and money-is-speech any other determination is delusional.

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  110. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 9:15 am

    And regarding the “masses” voting wrong, JMC, the founders recognized that public opinion needed to be moderated through a group of statesmen (the Senate) and scholars (the Supreme Court).

    The “masses” of the time were placed in charge, but with protections against the passions of a day. The statesmen were elected for six years, as opposed to the more direct representatives who were elected for two. The scholars were appointed for life.

    It is the separation of powers that has probably done more to preserve American democracy than anything else.

    Separation of powers fails when the powerful can end up controlling all separated parts. That is the situation we nearly find ourselves in today, and the trend created by rulings like Citizens United is devastating.

  111. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 9:24 am

    highboldtage,

    You call it a dictatorship. I call it a seriously-ill democracy, headed towards dictatorship if the citizenry remains asleep at the switch.

    I think we are both seeing the same country, but choosing different language. Different people are motivated by different words, which is why one’s choice of words actually matters.

  112. Plain Jane
    January 17, 2012 at 9:45 am

    HiFi inherited a fortune from his father yet he feels qualified to tell working class people that they too can be rich if only they got a job and worked hard. He is so sure of that that he spends a good portion of every day trying to convince working class people that it’s their fault they are poor and that his kids’ inheritance should be passed down whole so they never have to face that challenge themselves in the working world.

  113. Walt
    January 17, 2012 at 9:49 am

    The key, Mitch, is whether you see light or darkness at the end of the tunnel. Folks like Highboldtage (and me) see Obama as a sell-out, the corporations calling the tune, and the majority of Americans believing the lies of Fox News and the mainstream media. Gitmo is thriving, the Patriot Act is still in place, and you can see from the Wikileaks disclosures what Ms Clinton and her friends want to do. The outlook isn’t brilliant.

  114. Plain Jane
    January 17, 2012 at 9:51 am

    And no HiFi, the system we disparage was introduced by Ronald Reagan with his voodoo trickle down scam, SCOTUS decisions making corporations “people” and giving them unrestricted license to bribe politicians to keep the table tilted in their favor. You don’t have the brains to recognize your own long term self interest, much less that of the country.

  115. January 17, 2012 at 9:55 am

    First of all, the words “Republic” and “Democracy” are almost synonyms, a representative democracy – republic – is just a subset of democracies. In an era when the only choice for overland travel involved horseback the only option for democracy was representative democracy – a republic. This was a compromise with principles of direct democracy but it was necessary. Of course in our era, if internet access becomes universal we may have a new opportunity for real direct democracy. We shall see.

    Naturally Republicans want to call our system of government a “Republic.” Just as naturally the Democratic Party wants to call our system of government a “Democracy.” It’s like watching Sesame Street. Let’s get over it.

    My comments on dictatorship are intended to wake up the citizens at the switch. The system is corrupt past the tipping point. It cannot be reformed.

    When was this tipping point reached? Certainly it reached the tipping point during the George W. Bush administration, but it may have been crossed earlier than that.

    Now the question is how to move on, democratically, non-violently and peacefully and create the future.

    I suggest that instead of wasting any more time trying to reform a system that can’t be reformed we simply pass the Last Amendment – an amendment that simply nullifies the Constitution and then let the 50 sovereign states go their own way. Peaceful, non-violent, democratic and within the traditonal framework of American politics.

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  116. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Walt,

    Actually, I suspect I am by natural inclination the biggest pessimist on this blog. I have to fight that in myself continually.

    No, the outlook isn’t brilliant. The outlook for the destruction of the Berlin Wall wasn’t brilliant the day before it started coming down. The outlook for the removal of Qaddafi wasn’t brilliant before Arab Spring.

    We are lying to ourselves when we wallow in despair — we really don’t know what will happen tomorrow. The absolute worse result of despair is a needless immobilization, and that immobilization can make despair a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    It is very important to be a realist, but realism always includes the opportunity that a great change can occur from a small and unexpected result. The failure of such a change to occur in response to 100 or 1000 efforts is not evidence that such change cannot occur in response to the 1001 effort. Despair can prevent the 1001st effort, so it is poison.

    As the famous anti-Semite homophobe Jesse Jackson says, “keep hope alive!” The man is right.

  117. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 10:02 am

    highboldtage,

    Great idea, but let’s offer California as a site for all nuclear bases first.

  118. January 17, 2012 at 10:48 am

    State (Nation) of Jefferson for me, thank you.

  119. High Finance
    January 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    PJ, you sound like a sad, bitter woman who sees life passing her by.

  120. Smart 5th Grader
    January 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    High Colonic. You sound like a collaborator, a traitor to American businesses and American workers.

  121. Smart 5th Grader
    January 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    “The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election” -George Carlin

  122. Plain Jane
    January 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    You’ve just got a tin ear HiFi and you probably can’t dance either.

  123. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    HiFi,

    As usual, your 12:13 is nothing but a personal attack, completely empty of content. When people attack you in return, you should not be surprised.

    I’d advise people to ignore such personal attacks, but I know they’ll occur anyway. If you think you are disrupting the conversation, recognize that all people need to do to repair the conversation is scroll past your comments.

  124. High Finance
    January 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    FU Mitch, I sure as hell didn’t hear you criticise PJ for her insult of me at 9.51am.

    Hypocrite. As usual.

  125. High Finance
    January 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Or any of the other 6 insults she posted against me this week.

    Or for that matter, any of the other dozens of posters who have insulted people – ever.

    But the hypocrite Mitch is quick to attack when I do it.

    Hypocrite. As usual.

  126. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Have you ever wondered, HiFi, why you attract such personal attacks, while the other occasional conservative posters don’t?

    Perhaps it’s that you are the sole truth-teller here, suffering the fate of truth-tellers everywhere. But perhaps not.

  127. High Finance
    January 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Or perhaps it is because you are a hypocrite ?

  128. Plain Jane
    January 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    If you consider the truth to be an insult then you can only blame yourself, HiFi. Get your head out of your ass and get informed.

  129. High Finance
    January 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    PJ, your POV about how the business world works in not “informed”, it is twisted by your experiences.

    Mitch, are you seriously claiming that the few other posters here are not insulted ?

  130. High Finance
    January 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    PJ, your POV about how the business world works is not “informed”, it is twisted by your experiences.

    Mitch, are you seriously claiming that the few other posters here are not insulted ?

  131. Mitch
    January 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    HiFi,

    Plenty of adolescents are ready to insult views they disagree with.

    You know where the most frequent and sophomoric attacks in the local blogosphere are found, I’m sure. Hint: it’s not a progressive blog.

    The same happens to some extent at the Herald. But the nasty personal attacks against you are definitely in a class by themselves. You might give it some thought.

    Love,
    Your hypocrite friend

  132. Plain Jane
    January 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I don’t whine when HiFi insults me because I don’t value his opinions. He can call me a bitter old envious communist till the cows come home if he wants, it won’t change the facts.

  133. Anonymous
    January 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I have been called a leg humper and many other things by Jane. Don’t think you are the only one, HiFi. She can dole it out pretty evenly. She always thinks I am a man though, by my postings.

    I do think Mitch and Jane have a lot of good things to say though. I also enjoy having the other side (HIFI) speak up. It makes it all more interesting.

  134. Anonymous
    January 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Charitable, 2:59.

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