Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mind the Rift...

Greetings good citizen,

A rift of epic proportions divides our nation with most of us occupying the ‘middle ground’, knowing what needs to be done but fearing to go there.

We are staring at a similar choice faced by our grandparents during the last Depression, most of us hoping we won’t need to choose.

At what price peace, good citizen? Can we afford to ‘turn the other cheek’, to let the vainglorious others have their way, so long as the superficial ‘domestic tranquility’ is maintained?
Our grandparents ‘settled’ for ‘half a loaf’. They got peace and most of the social protections they had sought (and fought for) for so long.

Because that was what made their circumstances ‘similar’ to ours, the alternative was war. To their credit, they were closer to war than we are so turning away from it was…easier. Understand they had been fighting (and dying) for ‘humane’ working conditions and living wages for decades before Roosevelt and the New Deal became reality.

Today the New Deal is all but totally disassembled, what they haven’t taken apart has been rendered inconsequential. We have become the world’s ‘economic dumping grounds’ while our people sit idle, no one is willing to hire them. Let’s not forget the principal cause of our newly founded ‘economic wasteland’, our politicians and their ‘corporate overlords’.

Um, tonight’s offering is one of those stories that will have you searching for an object high enough to throw the rope over…

A Consumer Bill Gives Exemption on Payday Loans
Published: March 9, 2010

WASHINGTON — Senator Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who is playing a crucial role in bipartisan negotiations over financial regulation, pressed to remove a provision from draft legislation that would have empowered federal authorities to crack down on payday lenders, people involved in the talks said. The industry is politically influential in his home state and a significant contributor to his campaigns, records show. [Um, I can’t help but wonder why they differentiate and include Tennessee with the only thing you need to know, dickhead is a Republican. Um, the only Democrat mentioned in these ‘bipartisan negotiations’ is Chris Dodd D- Goldman Sachs (who, ever so conveniently, isn’t running for re-election.) Maybe Republicans consider it ‘bi-partisanship’ when there are two of them vs. one member of the opposite, (albeit not ‘opposing’) party.]

The Senate Banking Committee’s chairman, Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, proposed legislation in November that would give a new consumer protection agency the power to write and enforce rules governing payday lenders, debt collectors and other financial companies that are not part of banks.

Late last month, Mr. Corker pressed Mr. Dodd to scale back substantially the power that the consumer protection agency would have over such companies, according to three people involved in the talks.

Mr. Dodd went along, these people said, in an effort to reach a bipartisan deal with Mr. Corker after talks had broken down between Democrats and the committee’s top Republican, Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama. The individuals, both Democrats and Republicans, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations. [Is it me good citizen or does anyone else find disturbing the level of ‘access’ these ‘predatory lenders’ have with legislators. Sadly, not only is this ‘wrong’ but there is no way to force our so-called ‘elected servants’ to correct this ‘pay for play’ situation. Worse, we are living with the disastrous outcome that this kind of ‘cronyism’ creates.]

Under the proposal agreed to by Mr. Dodd and Mr. Corker, the new consumer agency could write rules for nonbank financial companies like payday lenders. It could enforce such rules against nonbank mortgage companies, mainly loan originators or servicers, but it would have to petition a body of regulators for authority over payday lenders and other nonbank financial companies. [WTF! Is this why dickhead is ‘surrendering’ his seat in the Senate? There isn’t a rope long enough to reach around this traitors bloated head…]

Consumer advocates said that writing rules without the inherent power to enforce them would leave the agency toothless. [Why can’t they just staff the agency with Republicans? That way nothing gets done either way!]

Mr. Corker said in an interview that he had played a role in shaping that section of the legislation, but said people should withhold judgment about the treatment of payday lenders and other companies until the bill was made public. [Um, excuse me? Will the new legislation magically turn these predatory bloodsuckers into the ‘salt of the earth’ too? The fact that these cocksuckers are allowed to remain in business speaks volumes about how depraved the government has become!]

Asked whether the industry’s campaign contributions to him had shaped his thinking about the issue, he replied, “Categorically, absolutely not.” [He’s an asshole and screwing people is why he ran for public office…plan and simple!]

After banks, payday lenders have been perhaps the most vocal sector of the financial services industry in fighting off efforts at federal regulation. The industry’s trade group estimated that payday loan companies contributed $10 billion to the economy in 2007, and directly employed 77,000 people. [Understand good citizen, until the most recent Bush Administration, this type of commerce was ILLEGAL!]

W. Allan Jones, who started Check Into Cash, in Cleveland, Tenn., in 1993, has been a longtime friend and supporter of Mr. Corker’s. The company says it is now the country’s third-largest payday-lending chain, with 1,100 stores in 30 states. Payday loans are short-term, high-interest loans — typically 400 percent on an annualized basis — to help borrowers cover expenses until their next paycheck. Many take out more loans, digging themselves deeper into debt. [Many payday lenders started out as check cashing operations.]

Mr. Jones, his relatives and his employees have given money to Mr. Dodd, Mr. Shelby and other members of the Banking Committee, but have been particularly active donors to Mr. Corker, records show. They have contributed at least $31,000 to his campaigns since 2001, when he was running for mayor of Chattanooga.

In 1999, Mr. Jones and other payday lenders started the Community Financial Services Association to lobby against regulation. The group’s political action committee gave $1,000 to Mr. Corker last year. [I’m no banker but these dates don’t make sense…or the current pay day lender that charges 400% interest has only been doing so since 2003 when W. did away with federal usury regulations. Which is to point out that any precursors to today’s pay day loans were indeed predators who preyed on illegals and others without an existing working relationship with a bank…for whatever the reason. And it was still ‘illegal’]

State lawmakers and regulators in recent years have moved to rein in the practices of payday lenders, which watchdog groups say often charge exorbitant fees for low-income consumers with little financial sophistication.

Last year, the White House proposed the creation of a consumer protection agency to guard against lending excesses. The proposal included the first comprehensive federal plan to regulate the industry. [Yet another damning statement about the shameful state of our society and our legislators failure to protect the most vulnerable from the most greedy.]

In December, the House passed a regulatory overhaul that provided for a new consumer agency with power to write and enforce rules for banks and other financial institutions, like payday lenders.

In 2006, Congress adopted a bill championed by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, to cap at 36 percent the annual percentage rate on loans to active-duty members of the military and their families, a step that primarily affected payday lenders. In 2008 and 2009, Mr. Durbin proposed extending that cap to loans to all borrowers.

The industry says a cap would be devastating to its profitability. [WTF!]

On Monday, the nation’s largest payday lender, Advance America of Spartanburg, S.C., said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that “any federal law that would impose a national 36 percent A.P.R. limit on our services, if enacted, would likely eliminate our ability to continue our current operations.” [You don’t suppose these bozoes pay themselves ‘well’, do you? Or perhaps it’s that damn ‘bonus’ thing that most bankers are clueless about?]

According to the filing, the industry began to expand significantly in the late 1990s because of the low cost of entry and fairly loose state regulations. “However, due to market saturation and to federal and state legislative and regulatory challenges, we believe the cash advance services industry has largely stopped growing in number of centers in the United States,” Advance America said.

Mr. Corker’s campaign received $6,500 in the last two years from Advance America’s founder, George D. Johnson Jr., its chief executive, William M. Webster IV, and its political action committee. [Gee, figure that low makes you wonder how much money gets slipped under the door of his home? Would you paint a ‘bulls eye’ on your back for $ 6,500? What do you think good citizen? How much is getting ‘slipped’ to Senator Corker ‘off the record’? Is it ten times this amount or a hundred? I’m guessing the latter cuz Corky is ‘going to the boards’ for his ‘constituents’.]

A report last year by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan watchdog group, found that the payday industry increased spending on lobbying to $2.1 million in 2008, from $730,000 in 2005.

Steven Schlein, a spokesman for the Community Financial Services Association, said the industry should not be dragged into the regulatory reform.

“The banks caused the financial meltdown, and they’re spending millions and millions to spare themselves from tighter regulation while throwing the consumer lending industry under the bus,” he said. “They’re trying to divert attention to us.” [Well, 400% interest Is a big fat juicy target…and you KNOW they have to be ‘strong-arming’ people to collect that kind of money…]

Mr. Corker also issued this statement: “Our goal in this legislation should be to level the playing field so that the same rules apply to all involved in lending.” [What is Corky saying, that ALL banks should be allowed to engage in ‘predatory lending?’]

Consumer groups, however, say that enforcement is crucial to curbing abusive, deceptive or unfair practices.

On Tuesday, while Mr. Dodd and Mr. Corker continued negotiating other provisions of the regulatory overhaul — notably, the extent to which state attorneys general would be able to enforce consumer protection rules against banks — the Federal Reserve’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, met with National People’s Action, an activist group that wants the Fed to restrict the banks it oversees from financing payday lenders. [Wait a minute Slim…are these assholes borrowing at less than one percent while charging their customers 400%…double WTF!]

Mr. Bernanke, who had met with the group twice before, is trying to fend off proposals in the Senate to strip the Fed of much of its power to supervise banks. A recommitment to protection consumers is part of that strategy.

Um, this is the ‘danger’ we face as a society today. Once the bastards have robbed us of every cent they can lay their hands on, every one of these jokers are going to be howling for ‘justice’, screaming to slam the barn door shut regardless of the fact that the horse died of malnutrition years ago.

It is the ‘promise’ of swift and sure prosecution that keeps honest men honest. When that promise fails, the dishonest ‘win’. Once the criminals become ‘entrenched’, nothing short of a full purge can restore confidence in the system.

Unlike our grandparents, the decision facing us today is not a case of simply restoring balance but one of forestalling collapse. If we do nothing, we will suffer the fate and condemn our children as well, to living in a Banana Republic.

This is ‘perfectly acceptable’ to the ‘upper class’. They will not suffer the grinding poverty, disease and short, brutal lives the people they stole this nation from will have to endure.

Ah, it can’t be THAT bad, tell us you’re just pulling our leg Gegner…

But alas, I’m not.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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