Links 1/6/14

A buddy from Queens said De Blasio had sent a clear message: no more special treatment for rich neighborhoods. Under Bloomberg, the Upper East Side got its streets cleaned much better than the outer boroughs. She reports that the plowing in the East 70s after last week’s storm was on par with a usual Queens job.

Stuck in the mud! Baby elephant is rescued by its mother after getting stranded while taking a bath Daily Mail

To Nobody’s Surprise, The Canadians Built a Drivable Truck Made From Ice Co.create

Selling social media clicks becomes big business Asian Correspondent

Flu pandemic spreads across HALF the U.S., killing at least six children and targeting young adults Daily Mail. Recommends a flu shot yet reports they are ineffective against this strain. Help me.

Bitcoin Is On A Gigantic Tear Business Insider

George Soros warns that Chinese slowdown is biggest worry in 2014 Guardian

China outlines new shadow banking rules Financial Times

Angry Workers Swarm Seoul’s Streets, Demand President Resign Michelle Chen, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Rising tensions in Thailand pit urbanites against rural poor Globe and Mail

Military Police Are Killing the Cambodians Who Make Your Clothes Vice

130 ‘radioactive’ Japanese cars banned from entering Russia RT (Michael Hudson). However, also notice that Russia has been monitoring fish imports and none have been rejected for radiation levels.

US to press Germany over domestic demand Financial Times

British companies ‘most optimistic for 20 years’ Telegraph

Crisis in South Africa: The shocking practice of ‘corrective rape’ – aimed at ‘curing’ lesbians Independent (Chuck L)

Iraq faces all-out war in Falluja Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

OLC Memos and FOIA: Why the (b)(5) Exemption Matters Just Security (Chuck L)

NSA activity flips the security equation ZDNet

Obviously Bogus Clapper Exoneration Attempt 4.0 Marcy Wheeler

Obamacare Launch

Obamacare Medicaid Split Creates Two Americas for Poor Bloomberg. Um, Lambert pointed this out months ago.

Obamacare Advocates Struggle To Convince Rural Uninsured Huffington Post

On the Horizon after Obamacare Angry Bear

Top 10 Proofs People Can Be Completely Manipulated Without Hypnosis David Swanson, Firedoglake

Dems seize on income inequality Politico. After Obama made it worse? This is like calling the arsonist to put out a fire.

Koch-backed political network expands its reach Washington Post

Morningstar Executive Gives Assessment of New CFPB Rules [on servicing] DSNews

Paying for Foreclosure Delays New York Times. Yowza, what a misleading title. In New York, it’s “paying for being in a state where the courts require foreclosing attorneys certify the validity of documents.” In other words, borrowers in other states get only a very modest rate break (worth less than $6 a month on a typical mortgage) in return for the servicer having the the right to screw you over.

Junk and war overtake gold as the sure investment bets John Dizard, Financial Times

Bond Tab for Biggest Economies Seen at $7.43 Trillion in ’14 Bloomberg

J.P. Morgan to Pay Over $2 Billion to U.S. in Penalties in Madoff Case Wall Street Journal

The Bubble Is Back Peter J. Wallison, New York Times. Wallison is a regular bank water-carrier, so he’s not a likely source for this sort of piece.

1,600 applicants for 3 dozen dairy plant jobs? Welcome to Hagerstown. Washington Post

An elderly veteran delivering pizza? The system has failed us … Daily Kos (Carol B)

Why Do Governments Hate Workers? masaccio, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Antidote du jour (Lance N):


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    1. sleepy

      Definitely a confusing article.

      Earlier it states/implies that the flu shot is ineffective against this strain.

      Then later on the article states: “This year’s flu vaccine contains the H1N1 strain and should offer good protection. There’s still time to get vaccinated and protect yourself and your family, Bresee said.”

      Don’t they have editors?

      1. Juneau

        I believe the best data on the effectiveness of the vaccine will be available AFTER the season is over. I would recommend getting the vaccine but it is no guarantee. It may not prevent flu for any one individual, for example, if you get exposed to some nastier mutant subtype of h1n1…. but may keep you from getting sicker when you do get the flu. Time will tell. People forget vaccination is as much a public health intervention (to promote herd immunity) as it is an individual health issue. CDC considers it a good year if only 3000 people die from flu as opposed to tens of thousands but if your number comes up it is an all or nothing event for you. So do what you can to stay well.

    2. curlydan

      When I become fabulously independently wealthy (through something that requires no talent since I really don’t have any that can make me rich), I’ll be starting a yearly clinical trial testing the flu shot. I’ll be savaged by many, so I’ll probably restrict it to 20-50 yr olds.

      P.S. I think a couple of these trials have been done, but not often enough to my tastes.

      1. Antifa

        To properly conduct such tests, you’ll need to locate your lab within 100 miles of the Canadian border, and the testing must last three months.

        Participants will need to wade barefoot across icy creeks to fetch each meal they eat, spend two days each week ice-fishing, and the other five shoveling snow, milking goats morning and night, two shifts a day as a crossing guard, sleep overnight once a week in an Emergency Room chair for proper exposure to Whatever Viruses Are Out There, serve as Day Nurse at a local public school one full day a week, and when not otherwise engaged stroll out to the local highway and help people put chains on their tires.

        By the 90-day mark the Coroner of whatever County you selected will have some solid numbers for you on your test subjects. Got to keep it real if you plan to publish any of this.

  1. Jim Haygood

    Just as we suspected:

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont sent a letter to the [NSA] Friday, asking whether it has or is “spying” on members of Congress and other elected American officials.

    The NSA provided a preliminary response Saturday that said Congress has “the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.”


    Which is none at all.

    Those who followed politics during the 1950s through 1970s will recall the vigorous assertion of Congressional investigative authority. Committee chairs were important personages and exerted a major influence over policy.

    By contrast, Edward Snowden’s releases made clear that director of national intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress in testimony last March. But instead of putting Clapper back on the hot seat and making him plead the Fifth, lawmakers have called ‘for the Department of Justice to investigate.’

    That would be the same Justice Department whose head, Attorney General Eric Holder, was held in contempt of Congress in June 2012. Yet Holder has neither been arrested or impeached.

    One can reasonably conclude that the NSA has amassed a trove of compromising data on members of Congress, which makes them unwilling to assert authority over the executive branch as in decades past. Since Oct. 2001, when martial law (the so-called Patriot Act) was implemented, we’ve lived under an executive dictatorship ‘legitimized’ by a rubber-stamp Congress.

  2. Chris_gee

    This suggests it is effective in 9% of the elderly and 56% overall –
    While the major complication is pneumonia that is not necessarily bacterial and treatable but viral where the treatment should be started in the first forty-eight hours. That requires prompt identification, availability of the drug and seeking treatment early.
    A 9% rate is something but no panacea that is for sure. From experience the after effects can be long lingering

    1. Mike the Mad Biologist

      Mericola is an incredibly disreputable source: he’s actually argued that some cancer is caused by fungus among other things. He also routinely misrepresents scientific studies about vaccination.

      The after-effects of the influenza vaccine are not “long-lingering” compared to the thousands in the U.S. killed by influenza every year. And, no, to the extent that influenza causes pneumonial complications, it is bacterial (Streptococcus pneumoniae primarily), but influenza without secondary infections can cause severe disease including death (one mechanism is known as ‘cytokine storm‘).

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Ahem, Mad.

        Are you prepared to state unequivocally that all of the “thousands killed by influenza every year” were actually killed by the flu and that NONE of them had gotten the flu shot?

        As for fungus causing cancer, some of what we call cancer isn’t really even cancer so who knows?

        Finally, if the establishment wants people to trust vaccines, they shouldn’t have invented GARDASIL.

  3. Furzy Mouse

    get the flu vaccine if you want, but for many years now, I have abjured it…and watched many around me, who got the vaccine, get ill, while I remained healthy (most of the time…my last transatlantic flight left me with a nasty virus)….Mike, you probably know more than me, but to my limited understanding, the flu vaccine only immunizes against the old, known viruses, not the new ones that come out every year, from China’s farmlands…

  4. Wendy

    Re: The Bubble is Back, by Peter Wallison.

    The theory he offers is based on leaving out significant, relevant information, so it seems misleading; what is his motivation to do this?

    He posits that it was the rise in low- and no-money down loans, among all income groups, that caused the original real estate bubble, from 1997 to 2006, and he states this is happening again (“Today, the same forces are operating… for October, 2013, about half of those getting mortgages to buy homes – not to refinance put 5% or less down.”). He goes on to argue that this ability leverage must be decreased to avoid another bubble.

    Where is any mention of all-cash real estate sales? These have skyrocketed recently. Data from Nov. 2013 show 42% of sales that month were all-cash, while Goldman Sachs estimated in August 2013 that 57% of all real estate transactions are now all-cash – up from only 19% in 2005, before the bubble burst. If even half of all mortgages are over-leveraged, as Wallison says, that’s still only 20-30% of the total market. A cash-dominated market is certainly not a leverage-based bubble, as Wallison states, and warns against.

    All-cash sales data:

    Wallison’s theory is at the least incomplete, and the failure to mention cash-based transactions at all, when they have changed so dramatically, looks intentional. What’s his real game here?

    1. taunger

      His game is clearly stated: change the government policy requiring lenders to include 50% of home mortgage mortgage originations from below median income borrowers. I’m not certain my paraphrase is entirely accurate in regards to how Wallison describes the policy or the actual policy itself, but it seems clear he would prefer no mandate to serve low income populations and that down payment requirements rise to 10-20%.
      The effect that low income households would gradually lose their status as homeowners seems obvious; both unsustainable and the more measured mortgages amongst that population.

    1. Hugh

      Glenn Greenwald continues to play games about the release of the Snowden documents. He says that his deal with Snowden precludes a bulk release. But most people aren’t demanding a release of the raw documents. Just a lightly redacted one with most names and some identifiers blacked out. It is not clear that Snowden would object to such a release. I mean why would Snowden have taken files in the first place if he never intended their release. And nothing prevents Greenwald going back to Snowden for clarification and amendment of their original “deal”.

      There are also the contradictory positions he holds that, on the one hand, there can be no bulk release and yet at the same time multiple news organizations each have tens of thousands of the Snowden documents and various journalists have had unrestricted access to them for extended periods of time. This seems like a classic case of the “experts” can be trusted with the documents, even when often those experts are employees of Establishment neocon publications, but the public can not be trusted with them. It may just be me but Greenwald seems to be digging a deeper hole for himself the more he defends his actions.

      1. JohnB

        Glenn’s been in contact with Snowden from what I can tell, so if Snowden had such an issue he could tell Glenn directly – I think Glenn’s approach, of a slow release aimed at maximum media effect, is the best option alright; it will take time to get all of the information out, but it will achieve maximum effect.

        I don’t see the contradiction with there being widespread private circulation of these documents? That’s needed in order for them to be reviewed/vetted before release, so that actually speeds up their release?

        I heavily disagree with the ‘dump-it-all’ approach that WikiLeaks took before; even with the information redacted, it just completely wastes the political potential of these documents, because once they are all released in bulk they become ‘old news’ after a few months, whereas now the way Glenn releases them, keeps the new stories coming.

        It also allows an invaluable way to trip-up politicians defending this, when they make statements defending current public knowledge about NSA programs using lies, which Glenn can then expose as lies with new releases, and when politicians shift their arguments once again using more lies, Glenn can expose them too – showing up the completely cynical nature of the official defense of these programs, and their contempt for the public.

        1. Hugh

          Slow release for maximum effect was a useful strategy early on, but now it looks more like an impediment and gatekeeping. It does not get the information out to the public. It keeps information from them. It does not allow the public to form their own judgments on the materials but rather says we can’t handle the truth or form good judgments without the aid of a self-selected group of “experts”. This is, of course, the same kind of argument our corrupt political classes use to keep the truth from us. What Snowden and Greenwald have done up to now has been a service to us, but if they continue in this fashion they will be doing us a disservice and will end up, Greenwald in particular, discrediting themselves.

          1. JohnB

            Well, there’s no time limit on the important stories they have coming in the future, and dumping information without putting proper time/effort into making a story out of it is harmful (it diminishes the political effect of it); if they dump the rest now they can’t put enough effective time into making proper hard-hitting stories out of what remains, and then the whole NSA story dies down within a few months.

            If they keep going on the well-studied/written gradual release that they are doing now, they can put proper time into each story (in collaboration with as many media outlets as can help), and can keep the NSA story relevant for up to a year more – that will build far more political momentum than dumping it all.

            I don’t think Glenn or Snowden should care about other peoples perception of their credibility, they should stick to their guns and stick to what they decide is (objectively) the best strategy, the one that will have the most political effect – it’s that (the political effect) that they need need to maximize, regardless of if it harms peoples perceptions of their credibility.

  5. JTFaraday

    re: Flu pandemic spreads across HALF the U.S., killing at least six children and targeting young adults, Daily Mail. “Recommends a flu shot yet reports they are ineffective against this strain. Help me.”

    Yup. My mother got a flu shot a few weeks ago, and yet now has something that sure seems like the flu!

    1. Susan the other

      When you turn 60 they give you a double dose of the vaccine. This is the first year I have bothered to get it in at least 7 years. So it was my first double dose and within 12 hours I felt godawful. I didn’t recover for another 24 hours.

  6. DakotabornKansan

    Antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related viruses. A less than ideal match may result in reduced vaccine effectiveness against the virus that is different from what is in the vaccine, but it can still provide some protection against influenza illness.

    Flu viruses are constantly changing (called “antigenic drift”) – they can change from one season to the next or they can even change within the course of one flu season. Experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine many months in advance in order for vaccine to be produced and delivered on time.

    Other Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine:

    Reading the comments to the Mailonline article about the flu pandemic spreading across the US is confirmation of the forces of irrationality and the woeful ignorance of many who swallow the pseudoscientific misinformation about the seasonal influenza vaccine…

    The anti-vaccine propaganda and skepticism about its efficacy never stops.

    Not getting the annual flu shot can have consequences.

    I saw them every year at the medical center where I worked. Deaths and hospitalizations from serious influenza-related complications are very real.

    There are over 200,000 hospitalizations per year of influenza-related complications, including severe, hard-to-treat pneumonias. Several tens of thousands of people die each year.

    1. JTFaraday

      Well, personally, I’m not being deliberately skeptical on this count, I’m just making an observation.

  7. Vatch

    I can’t find the place in the article that claims this year’s vaccine is ineffective against the current major strain. Maybe the article was modified after someone noticed the mistake? There is a comment by a reader claiming vaccine ineffectiveness, but that’s not part of the article.

    As for people who get sick after being vaccinated, that seems redolent of urban legends. The flu vaccine isn’t fully effective until about 4 weeks after vaccination, so a person is vulnerable to infection for a period of time, but that’s not the fault of the vaccine. The vaccine does not provide any protection against the common cold. Some of the symptoms of the common cold are the same as symptoms of influenza, so people might mistakenly think that they have the flu, when they really have a cold. One symptom of type A influenza is body aches, which is not characteristic of the common cold (at least not any colds that I’ve had). So if you are coughing, and have the sniffles and a sore throat, but no body aches and not much fatigue, you probably do not have the flu.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, the official stats are that the flu shots have at best 60-70% efficicacy. They have to guess as to what the upcoming flu strain will be and 1. they get it wrong sometimes and 2. sometimes the strain is sufficiently new that it would have been hard to nail it.

  8. rich

    Ex-FCC Head To Carlyle

    Jan 6 2014 | 12:41pm ET

    The former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is returning to the private-equity industry.

    Julius Genachowski, who led the FCC four nearly four years before his exit in May, was named a partner at the Carlyle Group. A member of the Washington, D.C.-based firm’s U.S. buyouts team, Genachowski will focus on technology, media and telecommunications.

    “Deep industry specialization is core to our investment strategy and Julius brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to these sectors,” Allan Holt, co-head of Carlyle’s U.S. buyout group, said. “His judgment about how these sectors will evolve will be invaluable to us.”

    “I’m grateful to have been part of developments around tech, media and telecom for many years, working with some of the best in the business, and I’m looking forward to joining my new and superbly talented Carlyle colleagues to help find and build businesses,” Genachowski said.

    Prior to his appointment by President Barack Obama—a classmate at Harvard Law School—to head the FCC, Genachowski served as a special adviser to p.e. firm General Atlantic, among other pursuits. Since leaving the agency, he has taught at Harvard Law and the university’s business school.

    Genachowski is only the latest government veteran to move to p.e. in recent months. Just last week, former Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) joined Victory Park Capital, following former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (Warburg Pincus) and former Central Intelligence Agency Director and retired general David Petreaus (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts). Just last year, Carlyle itself hired a former House of Representatives staffer, Barrett Karr, to head its government affairs department.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ..latest to move to pe.

      Private Equity has more money than they know what to do with it – it was in one of the links last month. I guess that’s why they need people with knowledge to spend it.

      There is enough money – one can’t say often enough.

    2. Hugh

      The revolving door is about bribery and kleptocracy. How many punches did Genachowski pull while at the FTC? How many times did he pass on taking stronger stands? How many corporatist positions did he adopt? And now that his time at the FTC is over, it is all about his connections to government and his ability to manipulate them for Carlyle’s bottomline. The thing is we should just assume that the Genachowskis have been bought and are working against us, when they are in government or out of it, because they are.

  9. DakotabornKansan

    One of the most deadly pandemics in human history, the Spanish Flu Pandemic, an unusually severe and deadly strain of avian influenza, killed some 50 million to 100 million people worldwide over about a year in 1918 and 1919.

    Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill the young, elderly, or already weakened patients; in contrast the 1918 pandemic killed predominantly previously healthy young adults.

    Kansas was ground zero for the 1918 pandemic. It started at Fort Riley in central Kansas, resulting in the deaths of 48 soldiers, who were in training for World War I. When the soldiers were sent to Europe, they took with them the deadly virus.

    Could a similar flu virus once again kill millions of healthy people?

    At the urban trauma center where I worked, we contemplated the worst case scenario of suddenly having several hundred people needing ventilators.

    The CDC says that “Even with modern antiviral and antibacterial drugs, vaccines, and prevention knowledge, the return of a pandemic virus equivalent in pathogenicity to the virus of 1918 would likely kill more than 100 million people worldwide.”

    Tim De Chant, “Preparing for the Next Flu Pandemic,”

    “Scientists and historians are revisiting the worst flu pandemic in recent history to help us better prepare for the next one. They’re reconstructing the 1918 flu virus, poring over historical records, and devising procedures for hospitals and the general public that—they hope—will keep the next outbreak from turning into a catastrophe.”

  10. markf

    re elderly veteran pizza delivery man
    I came across this the other day at a heart health column. It’s a question to the author of the column, which was about avoiding heart attacks when shovelling snow.

    “I work at the maintenance department of a large elderly complex in CT. We do the snow removal for the whole complex. When I started we had 8 or 10 people working 22 acres of sidewalks and parking areas. With cutbacks, this storm, we had 2 people shoveling with a third person arriving 2 and a half hours later. We shoveled for a little over 8 hours. The man I worked with from the beginning of the snow storm is 65 years old. I am 58 and the fellow that came after is 30. My 2 questions are. How long or how much time is too much time for us to be shoveling snow. Years ago we would finish this 9 inch snow fall in one 8 hour day. Since we only had 3 shovelling snow it took two full days of work”


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s sad…65 y.o. and still needed to work like that

      It’s not I don’t want that guy to work, but I wonder, did they not have younger guys or was it younger guys wanted more money and so they hired the older guy, playing one against the other?

  11. Susan the other

    About the claim that fish entering eastern Russia from Japan are not found to be radioactive: I found the actual wording on this claim to be inexact at best. There are many reports of fish testing very high for radiation levels. I personally think it is foolish to ignore the fact that any one fish can be contaminated with deadly levels of radiation, and is every single fish tested? No. The sales of blue fin tuna are (in one report) down 95%. Because everyone who understands the situation, and the irresponsibility of governments to monitor accurately, is rejecting Pacific fish.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That 95%, as soon as they get the brainwashing machine, sorry, education professionals working again, should be just another temporary blip.

      ‘We just need to educate people.’

    2. neo-realist

      My initial thought regarding the Japanese fish imports being allowed into Russia, but not the cars is that the Japanese Fishing Industry probably pays bigger bribes than the car industry to get their products into the market.

    3. JL Furtif

      I still remember the Germans halting a trainload full of radioactive milk out of 1986 Ukraine. So they added a second trainload of non-radioactive milk to obtain two trainloads of acceptable milk, which was all sold to unsuspecting customers.
      You can do the same thing with fish, but not with cars.

  12. Skeptic

    To Nobody’s Surprise, The Canadians Built a Drivable Truck Made From Ice Co.create

    That looks like ice fitted around an existing truck, not a truck built ground up from ice.

    Canadian Tire is known in smarter parts as Crappy Tire:
    It is probably the LAST PLACE in the world you would ever want to buy tires! Orwell would love it: a tire place where you do not want the tires.

    Crappy Tire is also loaded with useless and crappy crap from China. And aisles full of over-consuming zombies. Their latest promo is a Full Monty NSA style Rewards Card. A great bookend for another Canadian travesty, Tim Horton’s, aka Greasy Bits.

    Looks like NC punked once again by a corporate marketing department. Bonuses for them!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      …not a truck built ground up from ice.

      The first thought I had was, it couldn’t be 100% ice.

      1. Punchnrun

        Well, not at stp, no. Under sufficient pressure though, things might be different. As as far as Chinese manufacturing goes, tell it to the iPhone/iPad users.

  13. MikeW_CA

    “Dems seize on income inequality Politico. After Obama made it worse? This is like calling the arsonist to put out a fire.”
    Naw. It’s more like calling an incompetent firefighter to put out the fire. The incompetent firefighter at least acknowledges that fire needs to be put out. The arsonist, on the other hand, thinks fire’s great, and you can only benefit from more of it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have incompetent firefighters, arsonists, puppetmasters, (very good, very competent) kabuki actors, etc.

    2. hunkerdown

      Because nobody has ever faked incompetence in service of their personal interests. The Democratic incompetence marketing blurb has been quite thoroughly debunked, to any neutral observer. They’re perfectly competent when serving their patrons, same as any other politician in the US.

  14. MikeW_CA

    “Flu pandemic spreads across HALF the U.S., killing at least six children and targeting young adults Daily Mail. Recommends a flu shot yet reports they are ineffective against this strain. Help me.”
    Diagnostic process of elimination. If you get a flu shot, and then you get the flu, you know there’s a higher probability it’s this new, more serious strain, rather than one of the lesser ones you might have gotten if you didn’t get the shot.

  15. Hugh

    Re Fallujah, Maliki is a Dawa extremist, always has been. As such, he has been making war on the Arab Sunnis since he took office, stiffing them and imprisoning their leaders on trumped up charges.

    The Bush/Petraeus surge was portrayed as a success but this was always PR. The purpose of the surge was to stabilize the situation long enough for a national settlement to be made between Iraq’s Shia majority and the Kurdish and Sunni minorities. No such settlement ever occurred due in large part to Maliki’s complete lack of interest in it. In other words and despite the PR, the “surge” failed. However, one of the interesting aspects of it and unrelated to increased troop numbers was a program that bought relative quiet to Anbar and the Sunni West of the country. For only a few hundred million a year, Petraeus was able to buy off the Sons of Iraq. This was pocket change compared to the costs of US occupation and was easily affordable by the central government if Maliki had, in fact, continued to back it. But he subverted the mainline Sunni leadership, and this has opened the door to the radicalization of Arab Sunnis.

    What we need to understand is that the situation today in Fallujah is one that Maliki brought on himself and was entirely preventable.

  16. AndyB

    Regarding Fukushima: millions of dead Pacific mammals and fish, radiation readings at lethal levels along the California coast and in Missouri snow. No wonder the government has ordered millions of potassium iodide pills. Betcha the sheeple won’t see any.

  17. afisher

    Digging through the Koch Brothers money maze is quite a journey. Even the WAPO article missed one link – which was a TC4 trust- TGRN- Generation Opportunity. The intermediate link is YEM Trust, llc. I don’t know why the name change, but it is yet another site of pouring money in here and coming out over-there. It is legal money laundering – h/t Citizen United.

    One parent fund: Freedom Partners is under fire from Open Secrets as their only address is a PO Box so when Open Secret sent a real honest to gosh person to request information there was no place to go. According to some darn law – that lying about real person address is illegal! Maybe this money laundering group will be like Al Capone caught via the follow the money rule.

  18. rich

    Couple feel ‘robbed’ by 25% interest TD car loan

    A B.C. couple are speaking out about how they feel they were misled into a 25 per cent vehicle loan from TD, which has left them paying more than double the price of their car.

    “We’re paying $21,000 for the loan — then $23,000 in interest,” said Angie Hauser of Kelowna.

    “They’re making money off of people who have no money.”

    “We’ve been robbed by a bank with the help of a car dealer. I mean, that’s the only way I see it,” said her husband Enzo Gamarra.

    “Why would I want to pay $44,000 for a car that’s now only worth $15,000?”

    Hauser and Gamarra are among a growing number of Canadians without adequate credit who are being signed up for subprime bank loans by car dealerships.

    “I went in willingly to get the loan, because we needed a car. But, from what I was told and what I was promised when I went in — now I feel like I’ve been lied to,” said Hauser, who insists they were assured their interest rate could be lowered, substantially, after a year.

    1. Anon y Mouse

      I clicked through and watched the video. Heartbreaking.

      My cousin worked for an auto dealership in Queens, NY that did the same thing. A local news show did a segment on them. Their response wasn’t to offer more equitable loans, but to stick cameras in the room where people sign contracts. To have some video response if they were ever exposed again on the news.

    2. jrs

      I’ve course it’s the same double the purchase price you end up paying for houses with a mortage, which is somehow considered perfectly acceptable and normal (granted the lenth of the loan is longer)

    3. bob

      Car dealers do not make money selling cars. In the past new car dealers made their money off maintenance, mainly.

      If you see a dealer without a garage, for instance a used car dealer, he’s making money selling LOANS. He tosses in the car as a thank you.

  19. financial matters

    10 years old but still useful..

    THE WAR ON POVERTY AFTER 40 YEARS A Minskyan Assessment Stephanie A. Bell and l. Randall Wray

    Minsky’s fundamental argument is simple: (1) poverty is largely an employment problem; (2) tight full employment improves income at the bottom of the wage spectrum; and (3) a program of direct job creation is necessary to sustain tight full employment. Thus, he argued that a program of direct job creation was “a necessary ingredient of any war against poverty” (Minsky 1965, p. 175). As Minsky put it: “The New Deal, with its WPA, NYA, and CCC, took workers as they were and generated jobs for them. . . . The resurrection of WPA and allied projects should be a major weapon of the War on Poverty” (1965, p. 195).

    Unfortunately, Johnson’s Economic Opportunity Act did not provide for significant job creation. Instead, the WOP aimed to improve the skills and knowledge of the impover- ished, hoping to “end poverty forever” by offering education and training to those living in or near poverty. Improving the education and skill sets of the workforce is certainly desirable, but Minsky believed that a reordering of policy objectives was required: “Once tight full employment is achieved, the second step is to generate programs to upgrade workers. I am afraid that in the poverty campaign we have taken the second step without the first; and perhaps this is analogous to the great error-producing sin of infields—throwing the ball before you have it” (1965, p. 200).””

    also good..

    Push for Job Guarantee Gains Momentum
    05 Jan 2014

    “”2. Jesse Myerson, from “Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For”, Rolling Stone

    It’s a new year, but one thing hasn’t changed: The economy still blows. Five years after Wall Street crashed, America’s banker-gamblers have only gotten richer, while huge swaths of the country are still drowning in personal debt, tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed …Unemployment blows. The easiest and most direct solution is for the government to guarantee that everyone who wants to contribute productively to society is able to earn a decent living in the public sector. There are millions of people who want to work, and there’s tons of work that needs doing – it’s a no-brainer. And this idea isn’t as radical as it might sound: It’s similar to what the federal Works Progress Administration made possible during Roosevelt’s New Deal, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. vocally supported a public-sector job guarantee in the 1960s. A job guarantee that paid a living wage would anchor prices, drive up conditions for workers at megacorporations like Walmart and McDonald’s, and target employment for the poor and long-term unemployed – people to whom conventional stimulus money rarely trickles all the way down.””

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