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The U.S. is Falling Apart

Discussion in 'Politics and Current Affairs' started by hakr100, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. keale18

    keale18 Member
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    If your premise in point 1 is that they are breaking the law and therefore criminals then should we send federal troops to secure the highways and streets from the people that are speeding, texting and drunk driving? Personally I think we should charge these people a few thousand dollars for legal entry since many will pay a coyote to bring them in we could use that money to alleviate the problem.

    Point 2 is what i hear from tea partiers more and more and im not sure these people even know what they are talking about since they cant articulate it any more than regulations suck and the government needs to get out of the way. Many regulations are there for a damn good reason like safety or health.

    I agree on point 3 no real reason it should be illegal
     

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  2. OutofDate1980

    OutofDate1980 Android Expert
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    Per item 3. The US hasn't paid a dime. I've read the WTO has fined the U.S., but no payments have been paid. This doesn't distract from your position that the ban violates trade rules as governed by the WTO.
     
  3. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert
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    Wrong. When gambling goes mainstream, it creates problems. People that cannot afford it will play and get into trouble. People cannot control their urges and if legal, people will decide they can beat the house.

    Bad idea, I say.
     
  4. RiverOfIce

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    I can say that about anything. Cars, food, children, guns, and the internet in general, why not ban them?

    And you need to answer the question on when we last had a great Republican president/candidate.
     
  5. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Extreme Android User
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    Are super cars illegal? They are expensive and can be very dangerous...

    Is alcohol illegal? People buy it when they have very little money and it kills people all the time...

    Is tobacco illegal? Same as above...

    I could go on and on. The point is, it is not the government's job to tell us how to spend the money we earn, unless it hurts others. If I gamble money that I can not afford to, I only hurt myself.
     
  6. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert
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    Because cars, food, kids, guns and the net are not evil things. they do not tend to damage people like gambling does in many cases. Please do not spin off the planet into bad comparison land.
     
  7. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert
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    Nope super cars are both legal and cool. They can be costly, that is true. I'll bet most buyers do not cause societal damage. Danger is all about how you drive one. As for tobacco, they are trying to eliminate the noble weed.
     
  8. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert
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    Oh, you were serious about that president thing.

    Reagan comes close, we need more Reagan and less liberal demo. Actually, we need a Dick Cheney with a little Rush Limbaugh mixed in, channeling Abe Lincoln and passing laws written by a strong Conservative House and Senate.

    We would get a guy that tolerates no BS combined with someone that actually knows his US history, presiding over a government that repairs the damage left behind by a less than ideal president. Ideally, we would have Vice President Palin and first order of business is to drill the holy heck out of Alaska. Or Speaker Palin sounds nice.
     
  9. RiverOfIce

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    So we need a republican president that will spend billions of dollars, creating a economic nightmare, destroying the finical sector with miss management, and a un-win-able war. We had that in Bush Jr.

    Regan spent billions and billions of dollars and created billion and billions of new debt, that we are still paying off. He created the worst economic nightmare from his time to the great depression. Regan over saw the worst percentage drop in dow jones history, ever, 22% in one day. Regan deregulation and relaxed tax laws allowed the savings and loan crisis, that cost the American people about 100 billion dollars in bail outs. He also over saw the worst unemployment record since the great depression, at 10.1%. When you adjust for work force, Bush and Obama have lost about 1 million jobs in 4 years. Regan, in 1981/1982 lost 1 million jobs a week.

    But ignoring all of that, lets focus just on the debt. Regan increased the national debt by 168%. If you toss in bush sr, you get about 217% increase, because bush sr followed the same failed policies.

    You got your president. You had him, he was call Bush Jr, he ran the country into the ground. Do we really need to double tap the country with another one.

    Bush Jr did everything that Regan did and did it with the same results that Regan did.
     
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  10. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Extreme Android User
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    So are you implying that gambling is evil?
     
  11. OutofDate1980

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    It appears you do care about people, even poor people. We may disagree on the means and methods, but at least there is common ground.
     
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  12. nlsme

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    Are not some of the conservative talking points, small government and personal responsability? I am rather good at holdem. Go to the Turning Stone on a monthly basis. I routinely triple my money. Why should the government tell me I can't do it from my own home? But yet, you are are allowed to smoke "cigars" with "brandy". Both are just as bad, if not worse, than a "game" of skill....
     
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  13. OutofDate1980

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    Economically speaking, gambling is a zero-sum activity, which most often leads to a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. I believe Bob brought out the asymmetrical relationship.

    Perhaps there is a compromise, require gamblers (punters) to have a license, proving proficiency in statistics, probability, expected value, etc... I know doubt this would be an easy exam for you.
     
  14. Drhyde

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    Except if, you know, you have a family. I think losing all your money on two-pair hand you thought was a winner is going to hurt them. Then, when you don't have money you try to tap other people for cash or food banks or whatever. Your actions always extend beyond yourself unless you are some weird hermit living in a cave, but even then you still affect others whether you know it or not. Addictions and vices always run their course on people other than yourself.
     
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  15. batgeek

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    good post.
     
  16. Bob Maxey

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    I do not think gambling for some is evil. I believe I said gambling is evil, so I'll refine my answer.

    I occasionally go to Wendover, but I know my limits.

    What I think is if Internet gambling were legalized, countless fools thinking they can actually play poker would find themselves in a deep hole with no way out.

    These people would be sucked into a big problem.

    If Internet poker were legal during these hard times, you can bet many people would look to poker as a way out and they would fail miserably.
     
  17. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra=
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    Monetarily there are many types of acceptable gambling.

    Wall Street is the Grande Casino of the East, attracting players world wide and with deeper pockets than many who go to Vegas. The system in Vegas seems more fairly operated than the Stock Market, but with much less a potential return on your dollar, of course.

    But it's a gamble, and the Market players know it.
     
  18. nlsme

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    Again, what happened to the conservative talking point on personal responsability? Is there a new political group? TBINO, Tea bagger in name only?
     
  19. RiverOfIce

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    Even though I can understand that problem that Maxey is stating, I have a hard time understanding why he only stop at the evils of gambling. Why not protect the population from guns, by banning them. Not only can guns hurt those that use them, but they hurt innocent people.

    PS. I totally hate a nanny state.
     
  20. cjr72

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    Personal responsibility would be the talking point from free market/libertarian leaning conservatives. Curbing gambling would be the talking point of social conservatives. That's the thing, there are different factions of conservatives and different factions of liberals for that matter with sometimes intersecting but also often opposing viewpoints. I realize that complicates the simplistic binary argument of conservative vs liberal etc, but that's life.
     
  21. Bob Maxey

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    To a point, I'll agree with you, Frisco.

    When most corporations go public, they want to sell stock. They want investors and their goal is to build a better widget powered mouse trap. They are not out to steal from investors. Granted, some are fraudulent from the beginning, that is a fact indeed. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes, they fail. When you buy Apple stock, you own part of Apple. Own enough Apple stock, and you can have a say in how the company is run. Generally speaking.

    Vegas is driven by dollars. It was created in the desert by mobsters with a dream and a theory called "The greater sucker theory." Oddly enough, Mobsters did not like their customers taken advantage of so the large casinos were (more or less) fair. For the most part, they did not need to cheat. Get caught rolling a customer and the dealt with you. No courts, either.

    Mobsters had a great run. Sadly, Vegas has become Disneyland and for many, it has lost much.

    Math decides which games live or die. The house always has an advantage because it can be no other way. Except for card counters. The good ones if left to run free, can legitimately break the house. This is why you are "asked" to leave the casino if you are a card counter. And your face and name go into a little book so you can't play in any other casino.

    Over the long run, eventually, most will loose. This is a mathematical certainty. Even though casinos have a high payout percentage depending upon the game. A casino might tell you they have a 95% payout. Most people think they understand it, and the casinos know that over the long run, the percentage is good enough.

    These days, we have lots of people creating financial instruments that defy understanding. For example, Derivatives. Largely unregulated and even hard-core financial professionals do not fully understand derivatives. I recall reading that you can't know at any specific point, what they are worth. I think 60-Minutes did a piece on them and they are scary.

    Part of the problem with some mortgages was you could lend money to unworthy borrowers and it did not matter if the loans went bad. You could sell the loans in packages to others so there was no real downside for the lenders.

    For many people, stocks can be a gamble, I'll agree. When we went public, everyone was given shares. When the price went up a nickle, people were beyond happy. When it dipped a few cents, they were sad. Some were worried because they saw no movement after the close, not knowing that trading closes every day around 4:00.

    I live in Utah and we were once known as the "Penny Stock Fraud Capital of the World." Lots of people seeking fame and riches trusted con men that setup companies specifically to bilk the rubes. Primarily, mining stocks and especially uranium.

    Some made a little money, most lost allot of money, promoters bought huge houses.

    As an aside, you might look into Charley Steen. He set the bar as far as defining colorful characters. In the hey day of uranium mining and he made and lost millions.

    Another aside, I know of a man that made a huge fortune selling busted, closed, useless, worthless, defunct corporations. He bought them and sold them to legitimate corporations that could buy an existing company and avoid the red tape and huge pile of paperwork required during our history when reformers were trying to prevent future frauds. Not illegal, but one artifact of the crazy markets Utah once enjoyed.
     
  22. OutofDate1980

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    Hey we get to look a the pretty pictures in the 10q &10k reports.
     
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  23. OutofDate1980

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    It maybe worse than you think. Sorry about the long quote from The Miscreants’ Global Bust-Out (Chapter 21): How a Small Gang of Organized Criminals Wrecked the World | Deep Capture

    "... The typical media story reported that “skyrocketing default rates on subprime mortgages” caused the mortgage markets to collapse. This was plainly false.

    According to data provided by the Mortgage Bankers Association, default rates on subprime mortgages were above 8 percent every year from 1998 to 2002. In 2001, the default rate on subprime mortgages reached nearly 10 percent. But in those years there was no “mortgage crisis.” And after those years, subprime default rates steadily declined.

    The 2006 vintage of subprime mortgages (the vintage of mortgages commonly blamed for the 2007 “mortgage crisis”) defaulted at an average rate of only 6.8 percent. The 2007 default rates were not much higher than that. And even by the second quarter of 2008, long after the mortgage markets had collapsed, the default rate was still only around 8 percent. So the link between default rates (even on the least credit-worthy subprime mortgages) and the mortgage crisis is not at all clear.

    The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) said as much in its February 2011 report to Congress. According to the FCIC, the “mortgage crisis” was not primarily the result of “reckless” lending to subprime borrowers. It was, rather, largely the result of the 2007 collapse in the market for collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). And the CDO market collapsed because more than half of all CDOs issued in 2006 and 2007 were so-called “synthetic” CDOs.

    Regular CDOs are packages of mortgages that trade like securities. So-called “synthetic” CDOs do not contain mortgages themselves. They contain bets against mortgages, usually in the form of credit default swaps. That is, the sellers of these “synthetic” CDOs (more than half of the overall CDO market in 2007) were people who were betting against mortgages and therefore wanted the mortgage markets to collapse.

    As the FCIC also made clear, just a few specialist firms (working with no more than fifty short sellers) created all of the “synthetic” CDOs that came to comprise more than half of the overall CDO market. Importantly, those specialist firms did not package these “synthetic” CDOs with bets against average subprime mortgages. They and their short selling clients packaged them with bets against the worst possible mortgages in the nation—a select number of handpicked mortgages that seemed certain to default.

    Thus, over half the market was actually comprised of securities that had been designed to implode by people who were betting that they would.

    According to the FCIC, the firms that specialized in creating “synthetic” CDOs actually fueled a demand for fraudulent mortgages. Merely crappy (subprime) mortgages were not adequate because they were defaulting at a rate of less than 8 percent–and the short sellers were looking for default rates of 100 percent. The only kind of mortgages that defaulted at a rates of 100 percent were, of course, fraudulent mortgages—mortgages that were taken out by people who had zero intention of paying them back.

    As is happened, there were people prepared to meet the demand for fraudulent mortgages. Beginning in early 2005, there was a massive surge in mortgage fraud. In March 2007, the FBI announced that known incidences of mortgage fraud had doubled over the past three years. And those were only the mortgage frauds that the FBI was investigating. It is more than likely that the actual incidences of mortgage fraud tripled or quadrupled between 2005 and 2007, when the mortgage markets collapsed.

    This sudden surge in mortgage fraud correlated precisely with the proliferation of self-destruct CDOs. In fact, there appears little question that the creation of self-destruct CDOs could not have occurred without the mortgage fraud."

    "One reason to believe this is that many of the same people who were creating the self-destruct CDOs in 2006 had also seized control of major mortgage companies. Once in control of the mortgage companies, the financial operators loaded them with debt that they used to finance fraudulent mortgages, which were precisely the sort of mortgages they needed for their self-destruct CDOs (i.e., their bets against the fraudulent mortgages they had created).

    In other words, with one hand they promoted the fraudulence that with the other hand they bet against. This is what is called a “bust-out.”

    Indeed, the DOJ says that insiders at some mortgage companies worked in cahoots with organized criminal gangs that descended on cities buying as many homes as they could get their hands on. Often, these criminal gangs (with help from the mortgage company insiders) would take out mortgages valued at twice or more than twice the listed price of the houses they were buying.

    Of course, the mortgage company insiders churned out these criminal mortgages knowing full well that the mortgages would never be paid back. That is, the insiders looted their companies—and in many cases the companies, of course, eventually imploded. If these actions were in fact connected, it means that those companies were deliberately destroyed—at great profit to affiliated short sellers who helped put them out of business, and at great profit to the people who used the fraudulent mortgages to create self-destruct CDOs.

    Fraudulent mortgages represented only a small fraction of total mortgage lending, but bets against fraudulent mortgages were packaged into multiple “synthetic” CDOs. As a result, the health of the entire CDO market (and therefore the health of the mortgage market, the property market, and the banks that purchased property and CDOs) depended disproportionately on whether a relatively few fraudulent mortgages would, in fact, default. Which, of course, they would.

    This must be stressed: a small number of specialist firms and short sellers deliberately created financial weapons of mass destruction that they knew would destabilize the banks and the American economy. As U.S. Senator Carl Levine stated (singling out “synthetic” CDOs as evidence): “The recent financial crisis [of 2007-2009] was not a natural disaster; it was a manmade economic assault.” [the emphasis was Senator Levin’s]

    To the extent that the media, regulators, and politicians have picked up on this scam, the focus has been on the banks (especially Goldman Sachs) that worked with some specialist firms and a few short sellers to broker the sale of self-destruct CDOs to unwitting customers. Goldman Sachs and a few other banks are certainly culpable. They knew that some CDOs were (in the words of one Goldman executive) “shitty”—and they sold them as if they were good investments.

    However, Goldman’s executives did not know just how “shitty’ they were. They did not know that the CDOs were, in fact, guaranteed to self-destruct. That’s because the specialist firms that created these things “specialized” in hiding the outright fraudulent mortgages in the paperwork describing the CDOs.

    Indeed, the specialist firms displayed a perverse sort of genius in admitting to Goldman and others that the CDOs were (in a general sense) “shitty”, but not revealing that they had a 100 percent chance of self-destructing and wiping out the markets, thereby paving the way for a financial crisis that would bring even Goldman Sachs to the brink of collapse.

    The paperwork for a given CDO would state (vaguely) that it contained bets against a selection of mortgages that had been given to, say, especially low income people in Michigan. The paperwork (written up by the specialist firms) would also state that these low income people had poor credit ratings and thus a higher than average likelihood of default. The specialist firms then sold the CDOs as investments that were risky (perhaps even “shitty”), but nonetheless had the potential for a big payoff for anyone with an appetite for risk.

    What the paperwork did not do was identify the individual mortgages. So while the banks that brokered the sales of the CDOs (and the banks that bought them) knew in a general sense that CDOs contained selections of risky mortgages, they did not know that many of those individual mortgages were outright fraudulent.

    Again, only the specialist firms and the short sellers who picked the mortgages (and in many cases created the mortgages in cahoots with organized gangs) knew that they had manufactured instruments that were guaranteed to self-destruct. That’s why they were able to find people who were willing to take the other side of the bets.

    The banks, the credit rating agencies, and others deserve blame for not scrutinizing these CDOs more carefully. But all of them genuinely (and not irrationally) believed that even if mortgages defaulted at rates higher than expected—even if there was a historic and disastrous upsurge in default rates—the buyers of these CDOs could still expect to recoup some portion of their investment.

    Because they did not know about the organized criminals taking out the fraudulent mortgages that were being selectively inserted into the CDOs, they did not know that these CDOs would be worth nothing.

    But the specialist firms and the short sellers knew. And because they knew the self-destruct CDOs comprised half the overall market, they knew what would happen when the CDOs destructed. They knew this would not be a mere correction, or crash, or bursting of a bubble. They knew that the market would be calamitously vaporized—the first time in history that a market for a class of securities would literally drop to zero.

    They also knew that the collapse of the CDO market would seriously hobble the banks. Moreover, the creators of self-destruct CDOs and/or closely affiliated financial operators took other steps to ensure that the banks would be crippled. For example, as we will see, they worked with compromised insiders at some banks (notably Lehman Brothers) to get the banks to buy overvalued Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that would be wiped out once property prices plummeted as a result of the collapse of the CDO market.

    Unsurprisingly, these same financial operators and their affiliates perpetrated much of the manipulative short selling that finished off the banks that had been hobbled by CDOs and toxic REITs.

    One reason why the banks were so easily induced to buy these toxic assets is that they were drunk with leverage and greedy for commissions. But it must be stressed that the banks did not ultimately collapse simply because of a generalized buying spree. They collapsed because they had bought a specific selection of especially toxic assets from a specific selection of financial operators who were deliberately poisoning the banks and would subsequently perpetrate the short selling attacks that would finish them off."
     

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