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View Full Version : Revolutionary response to home forclosure



Erik Bellar
02-21-2010, 12:20 AM
Man Bulldozes Own Home to 'Make Banks Think Twice About Foreclosure' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dqb6ZIXoX2w)

"When I see that I owe $160,000 on almost a $350,000 home and somebody decides they want to take it -- I wasn't gonna stand for that so I took it down." -- Terry Hoskins, Moscow, Ohio

and this from over a year ago...

CNN on Staying in Your Foreclosed Home (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP8sTMhvkaE)

reminds me of a song...

Johnny Cash- I Won't Back Down (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-niro6p2x4o)

Magda Hassan
02-21-2010, 12:36 AM
I can only have sympathy for people in this situation. Property is theft.

Bruce Clemens
02-21-2010, 02:39 AM
"When I see that I owe $160,000 on almost a $350,000 home..."Hell...doesn't that mean he has about $190,000 in equity?
That's a hell of a lot more than I have in mine...and I am still making the payments. He signed the loan documents. And if he is smart enough to read the bulldozer instructions, he is smart enough to read what he signed when he took on the loan.

Sorry, but I saw nothing in this story to tug at my heart strings. He has IRS liens on his business property and a home worth between a quarter and a half million dollars. The bank took a risk that he signed on to.

I wouldn't be in the house I am in if it weren't for a bank that took the same kind of risk on me. They make a profit on that risk and I am benefiting from the transaction.

If I lose my job tomorrow and can't fulfill my part of the bargain that I signed off on, is it OK to destroy what the bank gets in exchange?

Just askin'...

Magda Hassan
02-21-2010, 04:44 AM
"When I see that I owe $160,000 on almost a $350,000 home..."Hell...doesn't that mean he has about $190,000 in equity?
That's a hell of a lot more than I have in mine...and I am still making the payments. He signed the loan documents. And if he is smart enough to read the bulldozer instructions, he is smart enough to read what he signed when he took on the loan.

Sorry, but I saw nothing in this story to tug at my heart strings. He has IRS liens on his business property and a home worth between a quarter and a half million dollars. The bank took a risk that he signed on to.

I wouldn't be in the house I am in if it weren't for a bank that took the same kind of risk on me. They make a profit on that risk and I am benefiting from the transaction.

If I lose my job tomorrow and can't fulfill my part of the bargain that I signed off on, is it OK to destroy what the bank gets in exchange?

Just askin'...
Banks/corporations are not people. They don't live or die. They don't need food or water or clean air to exist. Nor do they need a house. They are a legal fiction and exist only in the abstract. If some one doesn't pay their loan nothing happens to the bank. It will continue to exist as the legal fiction it is. On the other hand if a person loses their home it will result in much serious disruption to all aspects of their life and their families life - food security, health, education, employment, intact family, everything is dependent on secure housing. It can be a matter of life and death. If some one falls behind or stops in their payments what is it to the bank if they continue to remain in the house? Nothing. In fact, the bank will have a better chance of getting 'their' money (another legal fiction and only true wealth can be created by human labor not banks) if people are left in their house as it will not cause so much disruption and dislocation to other areas of their life and they are in a better position to pull through a difficult situation and get back on their feet and resume payments. Losing your house can result in one losing ones family, job, mental and physical health. Once that happens the banks can say goodbye to ever getting 'their' money but in the process of evicting them they have created real pain and misery for living breathing humans and which more often than not has a flow on financial cost which must be borne by the community as a whole.

To me it is particularly obnoxious that some one who has managed to pay 50% of the loan (not even counting the usurious interest) would be treated this way by the bank. He has obviously done the right thing by the bank for a long time to be able to pay half of it back and the bank seems very unreasonable to me.

If people lose their job in these economic times it is not their fault. It is systemic and needs to be systemically dealt with. By making it personal and evicting a family by foreclosing on the property this is just sociopathic behaviour on the part of the bank.

In the US and some other capitalist countries people are limited in their housing options. There is very little public/social ownership of property and that is certainly not encouraged either. Unless one is lucky enough to inherit a house you either have to rent from some one who already owns a house they don't need to live in or you have to buy one which also requires borrowing large amounts of money. Because a basic necessity like a home has been treated like a commodity in this society the price of houses does not reflect the actual cost of a house which is, after all, just a few bricks, timbers, concrete and other materials combined with human labor. Banks themselves, as we know, have much blame to carry for creating a bubble in the housing 'market' and its subsequent collapse. They are just reaping what they sowed if they make it so unaffordable for many and in the process destabilise the whole economy just so they can make huge profit for making loans out of nothing. The housing market is heavily skewed in favor of the 'owners' - landlords or banks so taking out a loan in those circumstances is a loaded dice in any case. 'Mortgage' does mean death gamble after all. Better the bank lose but they're such bad losers.

I'm with the guy who bulldozed the house. Even if he is a lazy prick. Which I doubt. And I'd be with you too Bruce if you lost your job and couldn't make your loan payments either. It's not like you would choose to lose your job. And the bank can choose not to be a sociopathic bastard in dealing with your changed circumstances.

Erik Bellar
02-21-2010, 05:59 AM
Thoughtful and earnest responses to the vexing event... Terry's response to a bank's foreclosure on his home and over ten years of IRS audits drove him to drastic and dramatic actions. Frankly, I am surprised he is not in jail for destruction of property since it technically is not his; the bank owns it by virtue of the mortgage. What he did is opt out of a rigged system by basically telling the bank and the IRS, "if you won't stop harassing me and putting leans on me and trying to take my home from me, well, I'll destroy my assets and become worthless to you." I can see both sides of this but what tilts me in his favor is the following:
1. These times are not the times to throw a family out of a home. The banks should be willing to renegotiate loans and come up with a solution. Banks need to re-learn how to lend money, not steal houses.
2. That goes for the IRS, too. They operate in a purely predatory mode through almost unlimited intimidation and fear. If you have ever been audited, you know exactly what I am talking about.
3. A home is a sacred place, a sanctuary. It should not be flipped for fast profit or speculation or as a tool to over leverage debt and then steal. Taking a persons home is similar to taking their life... it is that traumatic. I know first hand of what I speak.
4. His act is non violent and specifically designed to take the value out of seizing his assets. A brilliant and provocative protest against injustice. It is not perfect. He may be jailed... and yet, I don't think that bothers him much... just like others who are victims of injustice.

I think we will see more of this... sincerely I hope so. Civil disobedience is feedback to the system that we are not willing to play along with the charade and that it will sting them to muck with us.

David Guyatt
02-21-2010, 10:46 AM
"When I see that I owe $160,000 on almost a $350,000 home..."Hell...doesn't that mean he has about $190,000 in equity?
That's a hell of a lot more than I have in mine...and I am still making the payments. He signed the loan documents. And if he is smart enough to read the bulldozer instructions, he is smart enough to read what he signed when he took on the loan.

Sorry, but I saw nothing in this story to tug at my heart strings. He has IRS liens on his business property and a home worth between a quarter and a half million dollars. The bank took a risk that he signed on to.

I wouldn't be in the house I am in if it weren't for a bank that took the same kind of risk on me. They make a profit on that risk and I am benefiting from the transaction.

If I lose my job tomorrow and can't fulfill my part of the bargain that I signed off on, is it OK to destroy what the bank gets in exchange?

Just askin'...

I think that view would be a fair argument if it worked the other way around. But as we have seen, the banks knowingly lent mortgages to homebuyers they absolutely knew couldn't possibly repay them - and from the profits derived paid themselves vast bonuses.

When those loans went bad, the banks came whimpering to the public to bail them out and save their homes and jobs. And having been saved, they now carry on repossessing the homes of others, and paying even higher bonuses to themselves etc.

Factor into this argument that the banks never had any money to begin with, they only ever and always circulate other peoples money - ours - and then leverage it in the arcade and casino; not caring one jot that if the casino doesn't pay out, it's our money that gets flushed down the toilet And all to satisfy their greed and irresponsibility.

So the question to be asked is this: what's the difference between irresponsible lending and irresponsible borrowing? Why weight one higher than the other? It doesn't make sense does it. But then again, it's not supposed to.

The banks absolutely destroyed their assets the same way this guy destroyed his. They used leveraging and other exotic self-interest techniques. He used a bulldozer. And at least he owned more than 50% of his asset. They, however, never actually own a fraction of their assets. And in the bulldozed house case, the bank was the minority owner- the house owner was the majority owner; in boardrooms and corporations around the world that gives you the legal right to asset strip or destroy the asset as you see fit.

Strange how the rules always favour business and never the individual citizen, who remains the vital central core of all businesses and without whom no business could possibly prosper or survive.

Bruce Clemens
02-21-2010, 04:07 PM
Magda, I hope my response to this hasn't upset you...I do understand and appreciate your points here. I am no banker nor a capitalist however, I have used banks and willingly signed the papers that allowed me to, over time, own vehicles that I would not otherwise be able to own and live in houses that I would not otherwise be able to live in.

When I signed the papers I understood that I was entering in to an agreement where I would have to pay back something like 300% of the actual price and I understood that if I was even a day late on the required installment, the bank had the legal "right" to take back the vehicle or kick me out of the house. Yet I agreed anyway.

David, Erik, your points are well taken as well. But there is no way it would exist at all if it were a "fair" system. Casinos wouldn't exist if they operated under a "fair" system. Governments are the same way. Nothing "fair" there.

I am free to live without using banks and their unfair system, and so was Terry Hoskins. But if I chose not to, I must choose a different way of life. There are many people who live not far from me in the rural midwest USA who do just that. You see trailers, shacks and even relatively nice homes in these areas that are being built piecemeal as the individual can afford to. (with the caviat that even though they may owe no one for what they have, if they don't pay the government -imposed annual property tax just for the privilege of "owning" their own land, the government, not the banks, will take it away)

Apparently Mr. Hoskins did not opt for that kind of lifestyle. Instead he opted to sign the promissory notes where he agreed to the unfair terms and then when the going got rough, decided to change the terms on his own. To me, that is not honorable.

I much more respect the person who says he or she won't enter into the agreement in the first place and adjusts his lifestyle accordingly, as those folks whom I mentioned living out in the country are doing.

I am as angry (I think :)) as you are about the banks and what they have done in collusion with our government. I agree- they changed the rules too. They are not honorable. And I work hard and make my promised payments to them none the less.

I would appreciate your input as to what a good alternative would be to this whole system. Because the only other thing that seems to be on offer elsewhere in the world is a state-controlled economy where everyone gets a decent chance at achieving mediocrity. Gray state-owned high rise housing units come to mind here. And government assigned jobs. And a very dull kind of existence.

Thanks for the discussion.

David Guyatt
02-21-2010, 05:27 PM
Absolutely no disrespect intended whatsoever Bruce, but I disagree with you on several points.

The first one is that you are free not to use banks. Once upon this was true, but it is virtually no longer true. Believe me, I tried for several years. This is the crux of the matter because, de facto, one is a captive to the banking system

If you have money you have to have a bank. I could go into all sorts of examples here but I think a brief reflection will prove this to be the case. It is also intended in the future for there to be a cashless society. Government are committed to this as a way of outlawing the black market and this to ensure everyone pays the taxes they are due to pay.

I also disagree on the question fairness. The banking system is undeniably unfair, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s just that the rules are written these days by a tiny but highly influential minority, to suit their own interests and pockets. The rest of us are increasingly being forced to accept a “worker ant” participation in this system, with no say whatsoever.

It has only been in the last 20 years or so that the casino operation has come into banking. I was there when it happened. For hundreds of years prior to that, caution, conservatism and prudence were the keys words used in regard to bankers, who were the trustees of other peoples money. Reagan and Thatcher changed all this with their ridiculous “free market” philosophy. The much vaunted Thatcherite phrase that “free markets regulate themselves” is complete nonsense. They do not such thing (the recent banking crisis showed the futility of this myth). The words “free markets” is simply a cipher for a monopoly - which is illegal under our system of democracy.

I also would not do what Mr. Hoskins did, but as I pointed out in my earlier reply, had he made himself a business - and not a person - what he did would have been completely legal.

And while Mr. Hoskins and millions of others signed an agreement which incorporated unfair terms, those selling him the loan knew full well that they were mis-selling the product in order to generate profits for the current year so that they would receive nice hefty bonuses. Thereafter to hell with what happened.

What has happened in the last 20 odd years is to deregulate banks. Illegality in them, on the rare occasions it is discovered and dealt with, generates a fine -- often a large one. When criminality in a big bank takes place, you can be sure that it is known about and overlooked if it is profitable or could be profitable for the bank. In those cases, if things go wrong, the proverbial muck starts a fast descent from the executive suites to an underling.

The solution is simple. And it’s not the greyness of communism (I traveled through East Germany and East Berlin at the height of the cold war and I am definitely not one to favour that institutionalized drabness and crushing out of the human spirit)

What needs to happen is to heavily regulate the banks internationally. It’s not a lot to ask for the duty of care to be policed and exceptions punished. Have criminal punishment - imprisonment not fines - for the “guiding minds” of banks for the worst excesses and criminality - not fined to peaople who can afford to pay it and still live a sumptuous lifestyle (thanks to the sweat of you, me and everyone else). Surely if the executives expect to benefit in good times, let them pay the cost when things go horribly wrong because of the lack of care- or just plain greed. If under these conditions the executives stood to go to prison, believe me, the incidences of illegality and casino-type risk transactions would be largely reduced over night.

Discussions are taking place internationally for banks to be split into two parts. The casino type operations will be owned by the management and those who wish risk their money (and not other peoples). If they screw up they suffer - not someone else. And they will not be bailed out by the taxpayer. The other half, the deposit, savings and high street banking part will come under strict regulation - as of old. This, if it happens, and if it happens as intended, is probably the right balance.

Thanks for your input too Bruce. It’s always good to discuss matters from different perspectives.

Bruce Clemens
02-21-2010, 05:52 PM
Thanks, David,

I am very willing to seriously consider what you and Magda and Erik are saying. I am sick over what our "system" has become and I am more than willing to applaud civil disobedience when appropriate.

I have had some severe paradigm shifts over the last few years and the members of this forum take credit for no small part of that. This may be the start of another one ;)

From my Traditional-Conservative-Christian upbringing (indoctrination) I believe I have come a long way, but I still have visceral reactions to any discussions that suggest the answer includes criminal sanctions imposed from a global authority of some sort. But you all make compelling arguments that the traditional approach has been corrupted and the model I have believed in for so long just isn't what we have been told it is.

...much like the shattering of what I had always been taught about Representational Democracy in America.

Again, I appreciate you all and the ongoing education you provide.

Dawn Meredith
02-22-2010, 11:27 PM
I too have found all the points in this thread extremely compelling, being pulled in both directions. My initial instinct caused me to agree with Bruce. I might just add that two wrongs do not make a right. The banks are soleless slime but I too have had the benefit over many decades of home ownership, in different locales, that I would not have been able to accomplish without a bank to lend me the money for a mortgage. As for people who get into huge homes they cannot afford and then the value drops, I have zero sympathy for them. I would love to live in a nicer neighborhood, a nicer home but I am not stuipd enough to get in over my head. A friend's mother in law did this a few years back and it is clear that in very short order my friend's family will be paying that mortgage. I would NEVER put my family in this position. In fact I missed out on many a vacation in order to get my mortgage paid off before my 60th birthday. So then I can work the next ten years and save for retirement. Lots of things in this life are not "fair". The banks are in dire need of regulation and the mess that occurred over the last two years is STILL occurring. In fact I recently learned that they are now employing a new trick: I know someone who got in over her head four years ago on a mortgatge in Boston. I warned her at the onset that she could not afford a half million dollar home. Now two years later with no martgage payments she is STILL in the home. Banks are keeping this sort of thing on the q t in order to continue to sell toxic debt. Madness. I don't agree that the banks rates are unfair. A loan at 6% seems pretty fair to me. Now credit card interest is another matter altogether. I agree that when a person loses his or her job that the bank or IRS or whomever needs to works with this person; stealing one's home is tantamount to murder as far as I am concerned. As Walt Brown so "graciously" mentioned on these pages a couple of years back, I did have some IRS problems decades back and had to fight not to lose my home. That was terrifying, but never would I have resorted to any type of violence, be it burning down the home or flying a plane into a building. Instead I remained calm and and presisted in a resolution that saved my home and settled with IRS.

Many people I know believe that property ownership is per se evil, but I have read enough about places like Cuba where home ownership is illegal to perfer to live where there is the choice.

Regulation IS the answer. Violence never is.

Dawn

Magda Hassan
02-22-2010, 11:49 PM
Yes, some people get themselves into debt by biting off more than they can chew. Big mistake. However, the culture and system here and there supports this. Bigger is better. Buy more = be more happy. You can have it all now and pay it off later. All of these messages bombard people everyday where ever they go. People internalise it and it seems 'normal'. But this message is driven by those that profit from it and it isn't the borrower but the lender/banks/finance institutions which benefit very nicely indeed. As David has pointed out it is not an equal relationship. Banks have knowingly created this situation because it profits them to do so. They are supposed to be taking a risk too but it is all skewed in their favor and the risk is not shared equally.
So the question to be asked is this: what's the difference between irresponsible lending and irresponsible borrowing? Why weight one higher than the other? It doesn't make sense does it. But then again, it's not supposed to.
Also people in this society are almost totally dependent of banks as a means to have a home. There are few options other than banks or landlords for one to acquire a home to live in. Both are parasites. This creates a monopoly situation. It also commodifies a basic human need - shelter. Institutions are meant to provide for human needs. If they aren't doing that they are not worth supporting. Banks do not exist to give people housing. They exist to make money for their owners/shareholders. They couldn't give a flying fig if you have a home to live in or not. They are not a human person lending you their money (which would be quite different) they are a corporation lending you other peoples money for profit (including your own more than likely).

I support non-violence also but I do not consider what this man has done as violence. It was a building not a person. Direct action, yes. He was reclaiming and doing what he wished with his part of the house. As a by product it deprived the bank of their part because it is in one whole. But then the bank were going to deprive him of his half weren't they? And as David has also pointed out banks and corporations do this all the time and it is quite legal and called asset stripping. To bad he wasn't incorporated.
The guy that flew the plane into the IRS building was violent because he caused the death of people. If he had flown the plane in to the building with out people in it, say at night time, or had them evacuated, it would have been different.

Bruce Clemens
02-23-2010, 03:24 AM
The guy that flew the plane into the IRS building was violent because he caused the death of people. If he had flown the plane in to the building with out people in it, say at night time, or had them evacuated, it would have been different.Magda, with the utmost respect, I posit:

Who owns the building? I understand your position that property ownership is in itself evil but suppose:

I have worked as a wage slave for 20 years and I squirreled away every dime I had and scrimped and saved and did without and my family lived a pauper's lifestyle for all that time until I could afford a 10% down payment on a commercial building (an investment for my future, better than what the banks offered) and that building had good long-term tenants such as the U.S. Government and the IRS who were going to make the payments, and...

...I paid the down payment and took out a 30 year mortgage on this building because a bank agreed to front the money on the investment...

...and now I was set up to semi-retire and pay for my mother's liver transplant on the proceeds. The lease payments are secure and bring in a little more than the bank takes.

...And then along comes this guy with a grievance against the IRS so he crashes his plane into my building and destroys it. And of course I have lost everything because my insurance doesn't pay for acts of "terrorism".

How is that not destroying MY life? How is that different?

You see, my struggle with your adamant stands is this...in my experience as an American worker and as a small business owner...it's not just the banks nor the "Capitalists" who are affected by radical acts. 90% of business in America is classified as "small business". Now granted, they control much less of the economy than the multinationals, but they actually offer far more of the employment.

I submit that the real situation is much more complex and sensitive than the arguments you offer that "property ownership is evil" and all the banks are at fault and that capitalism is the culprit. At least in my experience, where I grew up and where I currently live, capitalism IS my neighbor. It is the barber shop proprietor, the pizza franchise owner, the corner market owner.

These are not evil people. These are people who are trying their best to be fair to others and still make their way in a hard cold world.

So when I ask what is a better, more fair approach, I hope for an answer that offers something other than that banks and corporations are bad.

I agree with you on that level. But without them my Pakastani friend down at the Quicky-Mart would not have had the chance to even start.

And I guarantee you that the IRS was not hurt by the guy who blew up the building they were in. Dammit, the IRS didn't own the building. Someone else did; someone probably innocent of the whole situation...they were the ones who were hurt.

I greatly respect you and the work you are doing here...And I am very willing to consider the points you make to help me see things as you do.

Magda Hassan
02-24-2010, 03:14 AM
The guy that flew the plane into the IRS building was violent because he caused the death of people. If he had flown the plane in to the building with out people in it, say at night time, or had them evacuated, it would have been different.Magda, with the utmost respect, I posit:

Who owns the building? I understand your position that property ownership is in itself evil but suppose:


Bruce, to be sure, life can often be complex and many layered and individual cases in particular. The following scenario you describe is possible but unlikely and seems to me, and I may very well be wrong I admit, but it seems like a very Norman Rockwell version of the US mythology. Mythology being very important in any society not just the US. Even if it ever were like that, and maybe people just wish it were like that rather than it reflecting a reality, it is not really like that now. However taking it as a basis to work with.....



I have worked as a wage slave for 20 years and I squirreled away every dime I had and scrimped and saved and did without and my family lived a pauper's lifestyle for all that time until I could afford a 10% down payment on a commercial building (an investment for my future, better than what the banks offered) and that building had good long-term tenants such as the U.S. Government and the IRS who were going to make the payments, and...

Not sure about the figures in the US but here the vast majority, about 90%, of landlords are commercial entities. Not individuals who may have inherited mom's home and are renting it out until their children get married and they can give it to them as a present or until the family can agree on what to do with it sort of thing. I know there are some individuals who rent out mostly domestic but sometimes commercial properties because they've managed to save up some and think property is a good investment (your scenario) but in Australia most of the rental properties are owned by companies and investment funds.

Also, again, there is this society which does not provide for its citizens in their aging years. All of this should be a basic human right. It is criminal that people are thrown away like this.



...I paid the down payment and took out a 30 year mortgage on this building because a bank agreed to front the money on the investment...


But remember they lent it to you because they make a profit from doing so. Not because they care about your retirement plans just your repayment plans which can just as easily come from your estate for all they care. There could be other ways of funding your business/retirement.



...and now I was set up to semi-retire and pay for my mother's liver transplant on the proceeds. The lease payments are secure and bring in a little more than the bank takes.

I'm sorry, I will never understand how a society could allow their citizens to suffer like this. I know that American individuals are extremely generous, of their time as well as money, and often have fund raisers for their friends who are needing medical treatment but...what about universal health care for all? Others can do it in poorer nations and it is a better, more efficient and a cheaper system than currently exists in the US. Better that US military do fundraising breakfast to pay for their extravagances and American citizens can just get on with their breakfasts with out all that fund raising and just have the community and nutritional aspects to consider.



...And then along comes this guy with a grievance against the IRS so he crashes his plane into my building and destroys it. And of course I have lost everything because my insurance doesn't pay for acts of "terrorism".

Larry Silverstien did. Lucky for some I suppose. Not all landlords are equal it is true. But in the case of the Austin crash they are saying that it was a criminal act and not domestic terrorism.



How is that not destroying MY life? How is that different?

In this individual case it may well destroy your life or at least your mother's life if you/she can't afford a liver transplant. And the odds of it being like this particular case are....? And what of the society's role in not providing life saving health care and a secure and dignified retirement for all its human citizens not just corporate citizens? That is criminal negligence too and on a far greater scale than one off course pilot could ever hope to achieve.



You see, my struggle with your adamant stands is this...in my experience as an American worker and as a small business owner...it's not just the banks nor the "Capitalists" who are affected by radical acts. 90% of business in America is classified as "small business". Now granted, they control much less of the economy than the multinationals, but they actually offer far more of the employment.

I think the numbers are similar here too Bruce. I would also like to say that in the case here many of those 'small businesses' are people who were made redundant from government and multinational and big bussiness downsizing and asset stripping. They have been forced to set them selves up as a business and apply for their former positions on six monthly contracts but now have to provide their own sick leave, holidays, lunch hours and office space at their own costs in order to have a job at all. Small business can be a hard road to travel regardless of whether it is forced upon you or chosen with eyes wide open and open arms.



I submit that the real situation is much more complex and sensitive than the arguments you offer that "property ownership is evil" and all the banks are at fault and that capitalism is the culprit. At least in my experience, where I grew up and where I currently live, capitalism IS my neighbor. It is the barber shop proprietor, the pizza franchise owner, the corner market owner.

These are not evil people. These are people who are trying their best to be fair to others and still make their way in a hard cold world.

I agree they are not evil people. There are no issues with buying or selling a service or product per se. I do it myself. People need hair cuts, shoes made, toilets fixed, milk to buy. It is the context, particularly the legal and ideological context in which that happens which creates the conditions for these normal human interactions. Capitalism is most definitely your neighbour and it creates a bad neighbourhood. It is broken and doesn't work. It doesn't have to be the way it is.



So when I ask what is a better, more fair approach, I hope for an answer that offers something other than that banks and corporations are bad.

I hope I have provided that within here. Banks and corporations need not be bad per se. Just that within this system, a system not set up to serve you and me and most other human beings, they do not function well for us though they are indeed meeting some one's need but only a tiny handful. It is, of course, useful to have a place to keep one's money and a source from which to borrow money if and when needed. We also need to think outside the box. There are other means of exchange besides money that can be used. The main things that come up as problematic for me are the sociopathic structure of corporations as they presently exist (a la The Corporation doco) which causes the humans within them to also behave in sociopathic ways and the legally permitted theft of surplus value from producers in capitalist structures/societies.



I agree with you on that level. But without them my Pakastani friend down at the Quicky-Mart would not have had the chance to even start.


Your Pakistani friend at the Quickie Mart probably has a PhD in microbiology and ancient Urdu but his qualifications are probably not recognised there (if the US is like Australia in this respect) He has been allowed into the country to be fodder for the machine. To keep wages down, landlords coffers full and to consume. His is probably very home sick and would rather be home except life is impossible there for him perhaps because some foreign powers are messing with his country and his neighbours too. The banks lent him money, like they lend all monies, because they will make a huge profit from doing so not because they want to see a nice Pakistani guy get a start up in life. It's really not that personal. Just business bottom line stuff. Even if some one personally benefits...eventually. Nor do they have a thing for Quickie Marts. Banks will lend to cut down forests and build polluting factories or anything as long as it pays off well in the end for the owners of the bank. Other countries/systems, (I'll make this an individual and personal case too) like Hungary when it was socialist (don't know now) also received migrants and refugees (also because a foreign power was messing with their country and their neighbours) and they received free housing. For the first year they were paid an average wage and provided with free Hungarian language lessons for several hours per day 5 days per week. Children were educated for free (to tertiary level) and there was free child care. There was also free health care. The various migrant groups were given a physical space to make a cultural center for theater, arts, meeting, projects, classes to pass their language on to their children. The second year after language lessons finished there was refresher and reskilling training for some occupations or training for new occupations and jobs found for all including the unskilled. And, yes, they could change jobs they were not slaves. Pensions were usually tied to the workplace not the state. Did you notice there were no banks involved? And yet everyone's basic human needs (shelter, means to purchase food, healthcare, education, employment and access to money) were met? Hungary was much poorer than the US but was able to do that for immigrants. If they wanted to they could drive taxis or work at the Quickie Mart equivalent there but they had more choices and could work in their area of training and much less stress. They had banks in Hungary then in which you kept your money and could borrow from also.



And I guarantee you that the IRS was not hurt by the guy who blew up the building they were in. Dammit, the IRS didn't own the building. Someone else did; someone probably innocent of the whole situation...they were the ones who were hurt.

No, the IRS is not a human and cannot be hurt but people sure are looking and talking and drawing comparisons with their own experiences and observations. I don't think one event will change anything but a few of them might. I don't mean others flying into occupied buildings as that will just piss people off but other scorched earth dealings with the banks. Hit them where it hurts. In the pocket.



I greatly respect you and the work you are doing here...And I am very willing to consider the points you make to help me see things as you do.
Thank you Bruce and I've really do respect your thoughts on this too. :shakehands:

Ed Jewett
02-24-2010, 04:08 AM
I want to throw some small coinage into this argument. I respect all of you here, so I''m not picking a fight or standing up for anyone (DPF member, the 'Austin Red Baron', or "the state").

A fast scan of the thread shows that I agree with the idea that it is virtually impossible to escape the banks and the predatory lenders; they throw the cards at your feet with attractive offers, then change the rules once you are in to the game.

Example #1: When at a time when I was virtually living off my credit card and doing my utmost to keep purchases to a minimum ( I was out of work and in the middle of relocation), the lender suddenly jacked my APR to 24.6% (virtual usury). I secured work, called the company, immediately made major direct transfers of $300 payments for two weeks with others to follow, and then suffered a medical event that caused me to be hospitalized without access to records or files (quite literally I was unconscious for two weeks, after which I was in a state of bed-ridden immobilization for a longer period) and, when discharged, discovered that the balance had grown egregiously, the card suspended, the credit bureaus notified, and efforts put underway to sue and seize. Despite calls and verification of my situation, I was met with little compromise, understanding or planning. Though it was paid off fast enough to avoid a legal case, it caused radical escalation in APR on other cards, and downward availability of credit. But it turns out this is also fueled by other things.

Example #2: My elderly mother-in-law, living on Social Security alone with significant health issues and bills, including pharmaceutical bills that would choke a horse, has a credit card she had run up to $5K on which they are charging 29.9% APR. That's literal usury. It's the money Chase. The one that has you going in circles trying to keep up.

http://www.gdusa.com/issue_2001/04_apr/feature/pics/chase.gif

Secondly, although on a relatively minor level, I have had the pleasure of an IRS audit; I would not wish it on anyone. It is prior training for Abu Ghraib wardens.

Third, tax resistance is a significant issue/threat/reality in the States; there is the case (among others) of Ed Brown, upon whom was visited "diesel therapy". The whole issue of whether U.S. income is valid is hotly debated on some circles and there are enough holes in the argument that it is valid that are big enough to drive a wedge through, if not a bus.

Fourth, Magda is right about the culture selling the situation of home ownership and "keeping up with the Joneses". It is so thick, particularly on TV, as to choke someone who is alert. One need look no further for proof than to watch HGTV which has multiple shows on real estate.

Fifth, it is one thing for those of us out here in the cheap seats to visit opinion and judgment upon this poor fellow. Is what he did wrong? Yes, of course it was. But first we must walk in his shoes. Who here has been under the same degree of stress? Who here, from this distance, can really be absolutely clear on all of the factors involved in this act?

Sixth, the real issue is perhaps not what this fellow did, but how the media has treated it. More people likely died that day on the freeways in the Texan metropolitan centers that did in this event.

On that note, has anyone seen Ed Encho? He had an interesting POV on the matter.

David Guyatt
02-24-2010, 10:07 AM
I can sympathize with you Ed on the IRS audit. I had the same situation with our tax authorities. It is not pleasant.

For my sins I spent a period of almost 20 years with no credit rating, no credit, no assets, no cards and no bank (but I did have a post office account) -- all pleasures which accrued after having my house repossessed. During that period I learned several important lessons, the first of which was that anything not absolutely essential to living, food, heating etc., is an unaffordable extravagance. The second lesson learned was that the system was designed to cause fear of loss and that this fear is used freely and liberally by collection agencies etc. Fear is a terribly dehumanizing strategy.

But having nothing, I found considerable strength in sending these agencies packing with laughter. I discovered how to fight the system -- because that's how I stayed sane in an insane world. I learned self respect because out of great difficulty a great spurt of growth takes root. And so losing can be also winning.

But it remains the case that the system as it now is, is foul and corrupt and has been designed to subjugate the human spirit. The system does not need to be the way it is. It could be so different. But it suits a very small group of elites who grow wealthy and powerful off the sweat of the backs of the rest of society. They feed on us.

One can only hope that an ever greater number of people will gradually wake up, and having awoken, face the fear and take back their own lives. But they will have to do it themselves.

Bruce Clemens
02-24-2010, 06:29 PM
I appreciate your reply, Magda.

I again would like to express my appreciation to all of you for the points you have made in this thread. Your well-reasoned and patient responses to my challenges highlight the unique nature of this forum. I am proud to be a member and to be able to participate in discussions with people of such quality.

I am willing to let things lie at this point and digest what you all have shared. Personally, for me paradigm shifts tend to be mentally, spiritually and emotionally tumultuous. But I am always thankful for it when it is over!

:beer: Thank you all.