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As I said yesterday, these are criminal enterprises. Matt Taibbi tells it like it is. From Rolling Stone, over the fold:

Wall Street's Naked Swindle

What really happened to Bear and Lehman is that an economic drought temporarily left the hyenas without any more middle-class victims — and so they started eating each other, using the exact same schemes they had been using for years to fleece the rest of the country. And in the forensic footprint left by those kills, we can see for the first time exactly how the scam worked — and how completely even the government regulators who are supposed to protect us have given up trying to stop it.

This was a brokered bloodletting, one in which the power of the state was used to help effect a monstrous consolidation of financial and political power. Heading into 2008, there were five major investment banks in the United States: Bear, Lehman, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Today only Morgan Stanley and Goldman survive as independent firms, perched atop a restructured Wall Street hierarchy. And while the rest of the civilized world responded to last year's catastrophes with sweeping measures to rein in the corruption in their financial sectors, the United States invited the wolves into the government, with the popular new president, Barack Obama — elected amid promises to clean up the mess — filling his administration with Bear's and Lehman's conquerors, bestowing his papal blessing on a new era of robbery.

To the rest of the world, the brazenness of the theft — coupled with the conspicuousness of the government's inaction — clearly demonstrates that the American capital markets are a crime in progress. To those of us who actually live here, however, the news is even worse. We're in a place we haven't been since the Depression: Our economy is so completely fucked, the rich are running out of things to steal.

If you squint hard enough, you can see that the derivative-driven economy of the past decade has always, in a way, been about counterfeiting. At their most basic level, innovations like the ones that triggered the global collapse — credit-default swaps and collateralized debt obligations — were employed for the primary purpose of synthesizing out of thin air those revenue flows that our dying industrial economy was no longer pumping into the financial bloodstream. The basic concept in almost every case was the same: replacing hard assets with complex formulas that, once unwound, would prove to be backed by promises and IOUs instead of real stuff. Credit-default swaps enabled banks to lend more money without having the cash to cover potential defaults; one type of CDO let Wall Street issue mortgage-backed bonds that were backed not by actual monthly mortgage payments made by real human beings, but by the wild promises of other irresponsible lenders. They even called the thing a synthetic CDO — a derivative contract filled with derivative contracts — and nobody laughed. The whole economy was a fake.

Please don't think that this all will go away or be fixed in some mysterious way. It won't be. This isn't television. This is happening to you.

But, you can stop it. You can

  1. Live within your means.
  1. Neither a lender nor a borrower be -- with any government or banking entity connected to JPM, BofA, Wells Fargo/Wac or Citi.
  1. Boycott said banks and end their rein of tyranny.

Seek peace to find it.
Seek fairness to find it.
Seek and ye shall find it.
Whatever! "Just. Do. It."

Originally posted to illyia on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:26 PM PDT.

Poll

Can you live, without credit cards, within your means?

4%3 votes
8%6 votes
17%12 votes
1%1 votes
0%0 votes
8%6 votes
32%22 votes
26%18 votes

| 68 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

    by illyia on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:26:15 PM PDT

    •  Does using a credit union (6+ / 0-)

      count as boycotting the big banks? I don't know why everybody doesn't switch to their nearest credit union. It used to be you had to be a member of some group, like an employee of a company, but now everybody qualifies. If you've come anywhere near a credit union in the last 10 years, you can join it.

      You can't buy online, though, without plastic, so I won't be cutting mine one card up anytime soon. And the mortgage is out of my hands. I'm not moving... I hope.

      •  You can use a debit card to buy online jsut like (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        legadillo, Kitsap River, ceebee7

        a credit card I haven't had any problems with that so far. So credit cards aren't even needed for online purchases. Also I would think with a debit card it's easier to detect ID theft or at least limit the damage done since they can't make huge purchases on credit.

        "You can't reason someone out of something they weren't reasoned into." -- Jonathan Swift

        by Wes Opinion on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:57:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mmmm... (6+ / 0-)

          I have visions of somebody clearing out my bank account with my stolen debit card. My credit card isn't linked to my bank account, and by law, liability for fraud is limited to $50--NEVER buy credit-card theft insurance. By law, $50 is all the fraudulent charge they can make you pay, even if you never report the card stolen.

          My husband had his credit card stolen. The thieves bought this and that, and the bank didn't even ask us for the $50.

          Also, a lot of credit cards insure your online purchases.

          online debiting risky

          •  You have to know the log-in and password (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            legadillo, Wes Opinion

            to use a debit card... How would they clear out your bank account?  And there are certainly ways to confound anyone's using a stolen debit card, even one that's been used, for instance, on line.  I've "lost" (had stolen) my debit card several times -- it's never cost me a dime, I've always had it replaced with a new card (and new number) within days and the bank which issued it has been totally supportive.  Of course, calling the bank and freezing your checking account immediately is paramount.  But I use my debit card constantly, and I will be paying off my last credit card (Visa) in a couple of days, never to use or even have them again.  I stopped using credit cards when the predatory tactics of banks started becoming so visible a few years ago.  And I belong to a credit union -- soon, they'll have ALL my financial business, and I already have a line of credit with them for 2/3 the cost of a personal line of credit with my bank.  Plus the CU debit card guarantees to repay any ATM fees charged by other institutions.  It's CCFCU in Berkeley, in case anyone local wants to know.

            Stated otherwise: Fuck the banks!

            Oh, and fuck the rich, too...  Most of 'em, at any rate...

            Kick apart the structures.

            by ceebee7 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:05:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They would clear out your account (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              legadillo

              by swiping the card repeatedly.

              Debit cards are a useless and dangerous feature for a wide variety of reasons.

              "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

              by theran on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:13:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  It's the "calling immediately" part (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theran, Lujane

              that worries me.

              I debit around town, but I don't do it online. And when my husband's wallet was stolen, the thieves charged stuff, but they didn't debit. I don't know if they tried and couldn't or what. But my credit card is through my credit union, too, so there ya go. And my CU pays out-of-network ATM fees, too. And interest on my checking account.

          •  I don't know I still don't like the idea of (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            legadillo, relentless, illyia

            buying things with money I don't have, so I have no intention of ever getting a credit card.

            Actually though this conversation has gotten me thinking. I was going to look into getting a savings account that I can't access by debit card. An account where I have to go to the credit union to withdraw or transfer money from. Sure it's kind of a pain but if you keep the majority of your money in that account and only transfer what you need maybe every month or so it should be a bit safer than keeping all your money in an account you can access by debit card. A side benefit would be fewer impulse purchases.

            "You can't reason someone out of something they weren't reasoned into." -- Jonathan Swift

            by Wes Opinion on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:06:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I bought an $1,800.00 computer via EBay (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theran, legadillo, Wes Opinion, Lujane

            which didn't exist, and my credit card took the total loss.  I don't particularly like credit cards, but someone else who was scammed by the same "seller" sent a money order and lost $2,500.00.  If credit cards are used responsibly and the balance is paid off every month, there is not a problem for the user, though the seller takes a little hit, which is why I always give checks when I can, especially to artists and other small business people.

          •  One of two good reasons to have a credit card (0+ / 0-)

            The other is to rent a car.

            But not with JPM, BofA, Wells, Citi - or any other monster. The local credit union... several different local banks. Gold.

            We all have got to think different.

            Times have changed...

            If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

            by illyia on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 07:35:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Credit unions are supposed to be okay. (7+ / 0-)

        We've had our private accounts at the one associated with the university since the 80's and we've been very happy with it.

        We have our household account at a local bank. Also, no problems there. We'd had it at Wells Fargo but closed that account 8 years ago because the service was inadequate and impersonal. Customer service was a 1-800 number. That says it all. When I closed the account (in person), they didn't even ask me why!

        However, that was a direct contrast to my experience closing my credit cards five years later (one Master card, one AmEx). I spent at least - and I mean at least - 30 minutes with each one arguing about closing the accounts.

        They tried to bribe with everything they could think of. AmEx even threatened that I'd never get another credit card account again if I wanted one (ha!) - he said I was ruining my credit rating by canceling all my cards.

        Not that I care, but both of them seemed so desperate, I doubt that I'd have much trouble should I decide to jump in again. But who wants a credit card when you have to go through hell just to cancel an account and move on?

        I would say I don't want to argue about it, and both of them would say, I'm not arguing! And then, would continue to argue with me. Finally, I said, I just don't want to talk about it any more. The AmEx guy actually got mad.

        Hanging up was a relief. I hate that I was brought up to be polite. The conversation would've been so much shorter if I'd come from a rude family.

        It is poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish. - Mother Teresa

        by paluxy1945 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:48:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That happened to me, too, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          theran, Lujane, ceebee7

          so now I don't bother to close them. I just file the card away and ignore it until they close it for me. Like right now I have a Target card and a clothing-store card that I applied for a couple of years ago to get a 10-percent discount on whatever it was I bought. I paid off that purchase as soon as the bill came and never used the card again. You have to be careful that there's no annual fee, though.

          Although once some card co. tried to charge me an annual fee and I just wrote "CANCEL" in red marker across the bill and sent it back. I never heard anything about it.

          Why do you need to cancel a card?

          •  If you don't cancel the card (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            legadillo, Lujane

            and someone steals your identity, they can open an account on your card (or get their own cards!) and pay the bills regularly and you can never be aware of it -- until they drop the big bomb.

            I recommend everyone either checking their credit report periodically, or if you have access to Lexis, you can check your SS# and if a stranger appears, you can assume someone has stolen your identity.  

            I had this happen to a friend at work -- she was unaware for two years it had happened -- until she had an auto accident with a rent-a-car, and it all came to light.

            Kick apart the structures.

            by ceebee7 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:11:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Quick note about dropping out of the middle class (6+ / 0-)

          When I retired overseas 4 years ago, the last thing I did before flying out was  to cancel the USA car insurance and credit card for my wife and me. From both companies I got the lecture about serious damage to my credit rating and insurability by having an interruption in service. I can honestly say I found the talk laughable as I knew I would never live in the USA again. But, those people really sounded self-important when they were trying to scare me into continuing service.

          I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

          by shann on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:11:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  My credit card was issued to me by my CU. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        relentless, Lujane

        They got me set up with online banking, so I can check my activity on any of my accounts and pay off any charges practically as soon as my transactions are logged. I never worry about late fees.

        My husband's credit card is through a bank. They send him all bills by snail mail and expect response by same. He got hit with late fees a few times because we live overseas, and now he's just about ready to stop using their service altogether.

  •  The bank I was using..... (11+ / 0-)

    was bought out by Citibank.  I changed banks immediately because I'll be damned if I'll patronize a bank that doesn't know how to spell its own name.

  •  They did? (6+ / 0-)

    And while the rest of the civilized world responded to last year's catastrophes with sweeping measures to rein in the corruption in their financial sectors

    I don't remember that  My recollection is that the one thing the OECD nations had in common was a sluggish regulatory response.

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:43:26 PM PDT

  •  Why having mortage held by a government entity (0+ / 0-)

    is a problem?

  •  I'm credit union since 1994. (4+ / 0-)

    "Troll-be-gone...apply directly to the asshole. Troll-be-gone...apply directly to the asshole."

    by homogenius on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:53:48 PM PDT

  •  Boycotting the big banks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock

    would only end up in them failing and people losing their money.

    Laughter is a force for democracy - John Cleese

    by GlowNZ on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:57:59 PM PDT

  •  We dont have credit cards (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, Kitsap River, palantir

    and have never had one.  Oh and we are with Chase, I guess that makes us evil people.

    Laughter is a force for democracy - John Cleese

    by GlowNZ on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:59:57 PM PDT

    •  No. But it does make you a supporter (0+ / 0-)

      of that "cute" Jamie Dimon...
      Supercool dude.
      Very fine suits... wine... hard worker...

      Hard to find a flaw.
      Isn't it?

      ...

      If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

      by illyia on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 07:53:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lets return to bartering too! (5+ / 0-)

    I'll let someone hitch my dog to a plow for a share of the veggies! He'll even throw in some free fertilizer!

    Our lives pivot on real things that are non-material...To believe only in what you can see seems a peculiar form of blindness- Rabbi David J Wolpe

    by siduri on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:01:13 PM PDT

  •  Bank of America can kiss my ass! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    legadillo, relentless, Lujane

    I closed my account out a couple of months ago at Bank of America.  The B of A person handling my account closure asked me why I was leaving them and I told her "because your bosses don't give a shit about their customers and have robbed the american taxpayers.  No offense."  She told me "No offense taken" and smiled.  It was clear to me that she had handled other recent account closures and talked to folks with similar opinions like mine.
    I'm kinda surprised there hasn't been more of a movement to get folks to leave these banks and take their money elsewhere, not unlike the recent Whole Foods boycott.  Maybe this blog post and comments are the beginning of the Daily Kos nation taking some organized action.  I hope so!

    •  Speaking of Whole Foods boycott (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, Lujane

      I did a big shop at my local co-op this afternoon and felt very good about it. Buh bye Whole Foods.

    •  When the credit card (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      illyia

      company which I owed 30 dollars changed my payment date, I didn't notice.  That threw me into being late and they fined me. That also made it possible for Capital One to charge me interest of $150 on an interest free card.

      Don't deal with the credit cards cos.  They are snakes.

      I am deeply religious but the devil comes out of me when I feel like I have been taken advantage of.  I used F words when talking to these companies. I Would like to see the cheating idea makers in jail.

      People read every credit card statement.  Look for higher payments, earlier payment dates, higher interest and anything else.

      Pay them off if you can.

    •  eddie - I did the same thing! (0+ / 0-)

      Only two years ago - before this stuff became common knowledge. I said, "You guys are a international company with much bigger interests than me. Why would you care about my deposits when the crisis hits? 'Cause the derivatives are going to kill you."

      The young teller just looked so puzzled.

      If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

      by illyia on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 07:58:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  don't boycott, I have a better idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    relentless

    Abuse them.  

    Everyone open a checking account with a big bank or several big banks.  Keep a minimum balance to avoid fees.  Then make as many transactions as you can.  Write checks for everything or use a debit card.  Deposit from your credit union account as needed to cover checks and maintain that minimum balance.  

    It keeps people employed, makes the banks actually provide a service without gouging you, limits their profits to the interest on your minimum balance, limits your losses if someone steals your account info, and it costs you nothing but some inconvenience.  

    Keep your real money in the credit union savings account.  Or the coffee can.

    "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

    by jlynne on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 01:54:31 AM PDT

  •  illyia and others (0+ / 0-)

    What about the dollar devaluing?

    How do we handle that?

    •  Relentless: Buy gold bulllion and wait. (0+ / 0-)

      That's about the only thing you can do.

      The banksters and profiteers are looking for every opportunity to manipulate your money their way. Even wealthy people are being sucked dry. Guess it's "who you know".

      Real physical gold.
      Farm land?
      Independent energy source?
      Water?

      I guess this is about self-sufficiency.

      i.

      P.S.: For more on gold visit the master: Jim Sinclair of jsmineset

      If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

      by illyia on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 08:04:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love this guy.... (0+ / 0-)

    If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

    by illyia on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 08:09:40 AM PDT

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