Sunday, December 21, 2008

[Message removed for violating bulletin board rules]

Interesting post over on BendBB this past week. Yet another comment by someone that began a chain of events all to familiar:

Smart Creative Solutions said:

What could be smarter or more creative than loaning yourself millions of your clients dollars?

bendbb said:

If you have evidence that someone illegally loaned themselves millions of client dollars give that information to the authorities, but if not I need to remind folks that the public record information posted in this topic doesn't prove any wrongdoing. There may be an innocent explanation for Summit Accommodators's "liquidity problem" so let's wait and see what develops rather than posting innuendos.

Earlier in the thread St Paddy had posted from the County Clerks office this:

TYPE: Deed of Trust / Mortgage CONSIDERATION: $5,000,000 DATE REC: 9/22/2008 8:52:58 AM

DIRECT: NEUMAN, MARK A INDIRECT: INLAND CAPITAL CORP
DIRECT: NEUMAN, JANICE L

SUBDIVISION: AWBREY BUTTE HOMESITES PHASE SEVENTEEN LOT: 22 BLOCK: 6
SUBDIVISION: AWBREY BUTTE HOMESITES PHASE 30 LOT: 7
SUBDIVISION: HIGHLANDS AT BROKEN TOP PHASE 2 LOT: 36


So when bendbb tells people to stop posting "innuendo", there's already a fair bit of PROOF that the principals of Inland & Summit are on the grift. They've already removed $10MM in commingled funds. And so it begins:

Smart Creative Solutions said:

Hold on there Mr. Internet Policeman-- I didn't say it was illegal. As a matter of fact 1031 accommodaters are totally unregulated so there is nothing illegal to report to the authorities.

It is a matter of public record, not innuendo, that both of the principals of Summit Accomodators loaned themselves five million dollars from their company recently and that the security for these "loans" have an RMV that is a fraction of the "loan" amount--smart and creative.


bendbb said:

I'm glad to hear you don't think it was illegal, but your post explicitly said they loaned themselves millions of "clients dollars". That's innuendo, and that needs to stop.
Guest said: Oh pleeeease --there is no innuendo that needs to be stopped. It is undisputed that these loans were made by Island Capitol, the company whose sole purpose was to hold "clients dollars".

On their website they confirm these"clients dollars" are missing

Currently, there are significant funds in the exchange fund accounts maintained by SAI. However, the balances are less than the total amount of all currently open exchanges for Summit Customers.

This isn't an alleged incident--it really happened--the clients money isn't reportedly gone, it is gone.


Panda said:

bendbb you need to put the brakes on. I don't see how any of this discussion crosses any lines. People are offering their opinions as to what is going on here. They have a right, perhaps even an obligation to do that, as there is something very amiss here.

I've had personal dealings with some of these principals and I'd be very worried if I had money in their company.


Panda hits the heart of it right here. I'll put to you that at the heart of any thought suppression is SELFISHNESS. Not caring about anyone but yourself. It's how dictators operate, it's how BendBB operates.

I can offer IRREFUATBLE (rhetorical) proof: If BendB was one of Summit Accomodators clients, and had, AT THIS MOMENT, a transaction that he could not complete because of the CURRENT LIQUIDITY ISSUES, that he'd be about as far away as he could be from his current stance:

"Let's presume INNOCENCE of these grifters despite the fact that we have UTTER PROOF that they have VICIOUSLY VIOLATED THEIR FIDUCIARY DUTIES. No, no. Let's give them another chance. Let's see if they CAN WORK IT OUT. They've DIVERTED $10MM+ to themselves, thencly leaving an untold number of people in the Bernie MADE-OFF-TYPE Lurch of not being able to BUY ANYTHING. Yes. The CORRECT thing to do is GIVE THEM MORE TIME WITH OUR MONEY."

But maybe IHTBYB is Too Cynical? Maybe bendbb is protecting people FROM THEMSELVES. He wll permit No Evil against these Reputable 1031 Exchangers:

Freddi said:

[Message removed for violating bulletin board rules]

Guest said:

[Message removed for violating bulletin board rules]

St Paddy said:

[Message removed for violating bulletin board rules]

Freddi said (again):

[Message removed for violating bulletin board rules]

Then St Paddy posts something I used to exclaim on a regular basis when posting on BendBB, something that hasn't happened in over a year:

WTF did I violate?

bendbb said:

I don't keep track of removed messages. Don't take it personally.

Great thing about this, is there is no one who knows WTF St Paddy even wrote. It's all gone. No personal arbitration of truth, only bendbb's idea of What Truth Is. And so it degenerates into Parsing Every Word so as not to be called LIAR:

Hypothetically Speaking said:
How about if we say hypothetically; In a hypothetical situation like that, could people voice their opinion?
bendbb said:

Hypothetical situations are fine as long as they don't morph into thinly veiled allegations about real people.

Ah yes, there's nothing like a spritzer of Oblique Language to put a spring in your step!

"Thinly veiled accusations"? Really?

So, the posting on the county clerks office Just Doesn't Hold Enough Water? Did you go along with If It Doesn't Fit You Must Acquit? I mean, WTF do you need?

Thickly veiled Hypothesis said:

Thanks for that ruling.

To thicken up the veil, how about if we say the town was in Ohio, and that it was 2 astronauts that stiffed their 1031 customers?


Perfect. If this CAN'T possibly indict the character of any of bendbb's Possible Associates in Bend, can we actually have a conversation about it? PLEASE?

Then the sarcasm starts, because people can't believe they're being Shut Down for Stating The Incredibly Obvious:

Queen said:

I can't figure out if you're being sarcastic or if you live in a parallel universe where what these guys did is something less than reprehensible.

The most obscene part of this is they are characterizing the the 10 million dollars they made off with as an investment.

From their site;
The current amount owing from Inland to SAI is approximately $13,706,557.21. The existing real estate investments will be made available to repay the loan balance and satisfy claims,

The security for these 2 five million dollar "investments" that were both made 9/22/08 are third trust deeds on houses that were already seriously underwater.

The second most obscene part of this is that were it not for these 2 "loans" and the opulent livestyle the principals treated themselves to, no customer would have lost any money.


Bendbb; this is not innuendo-- I'm not insinuating these guys are scoundrels, I'm coming right out and saying it.


Guest said:

I'm being very sarcastic with more than a hint of criticism for the way bendbb handled this entire thread.

bendbb said:

So maybe I should make like BEM and moderate messages *before* they're posted -- is that what you want?

My vision for the bulletin board is to keep it focused on issues, not on people or personalities. I don't understand why you find it necessary to call people names like "scoundrels". Can't you find another way to express your opinions without name calling?


You BASTARDS! Besmirching BendBB with your flagrant use of terms like SCOUNDRELS! Jeebus would roll over in his GRAVE!

bearishly happy said:

bendbb.

It seems like you have a bit of a tin ear for rumor. I know you got the Cessna guy to deal with (Cessna closing tomorrow!) and other scurrilous rumors, but not all rumors are false, either. I'm not sure why you and RDC feel it necessary to be apologists for obvious bad dealings. Scoundrels is the least word I would use.


Guest said:

bendbb you're really showing your colors on this thread. Do you have some skin in the game or some other association with people at this firm? Your continual chastising of people throughout this thread, at the risk of being being censored, has been childish and petty.

BINGO!

Guest said:

So here's another hypothetical.

I call you and say, "I'm new to Bend, and I need to invest in a 1031. I hear your'e the expert, here. What do you think of Summit?"

Do you say nothing?


bendbb said:

I ask you, "How did you get my number?"

Considering that Summit has filed for bankruptcy and isn't accepting new 1031 customers your hypothetical seems a little far-fetched, but maybe that's true of most hypotheticals.


Ohhhhhhh.... there it is. "THAT'S TRUE OF MOST HYPOTHETICALS"

Uh huh. Commenters held BELOW CONTEMPT.

"You know what, I run this fucking board, and I'm not going to have the FUCKING DECENCY to even put forth a useful answer. And I am going to ASSUME THE BEST about a bunch of thieving FUCK STICKS and continue deleting posts as I see fit. AND BEST OF ALL, I am going to make THE 100% COMPLETE ASSININE statement that MOST HYPOTHETICALS ARE FAR-FETCHED. And no. I will OFFER NO PROOF. It's true BECAUSE I FUCKING SAID SO!"

Guest said:

Of course you refer them to Summit, that is if you use the same reasoning processes as bendbb-- He has read their website where they confess to relieving their customers of 14 million dollars, but notwithstanding this admission, he sees no wrongdoing.

Exactly. Do you realize bendbb that people are INCARCERATED EVERY FUCKING DAY WITHOUT EVIDENCE. They are given their day in court, BUT FIRST THEY ARE ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF GUILT. NO PROOF. Just suspicion. ALMOST EVERY PERSON IN JAIL WAS ARRESTED ON SUSPICION, BUT NO PROOF.

And what do we have with Summit? My God, the evidence is OVER-FUCKING-WHELMING... but bendbb doesn't have the critical thinking skills God gave a fucking rock, to realize his commenters have PILED UP THE SUSPICION PRETTY FUCKING HIGH, and probably have the RIGHT to make... wait for it:

INNUENDO.

Yeah. These SUmmit fuckers are as guilty as Hitler in my book. This is FRAUD, and ALL BUT THE SENTENCING is fucking DONE. WTF else do you need? A fucking video where they are sitting around LAUGHING DIABOLICALLY ABOUT COMMITTING FRAUD?

Well, apparently the answer over on BendBB is "YES".

Guest said:

Poor clients....
Gotta do an exchange within 180 days to avoid paying taxes.
Unable to close exchange within 180 days because the money's gone.
Taxes now due. No money to pay them because... the money's gone.


bendbb! ALERT! DANGER, DANGER!

My God, this person is IMPLYING INNUENDO THAT THE MONEY IS GONE! AHHHH! INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY! Where are you bendbb? HELP US!!!

Guest said:

If you're the victim of a fraud it really helps you on taxes. This was discussed several places recently due to the Madoff case.

Whew! Glad to hear about The Vast Upside of Summit's FRAUD.

Guest said:

Quote:
As a long time reader and a poster a few times, I am in complete agreement with BB admin, If it's not the truth at the time of posting it is only an opinion.


Apparently you and bendbb just aren't getting it.

Does anyone ever know the Truth? Or the facts?

Even when you think you've got Truth in a chokehold it gets away.

I think the complaint is that unless bendbb knows for certain something is true (read above) he accuses everyone of spreading misinformation. If he's in a sour mood he deletes stuff.

Which begs the question "How would you ever become enlightened if you weren't first willing to contemplate facts that you might not be certain of at the time?"

Perhaps the funniest part of this whole debate is this board is edited as though its got the readership of the WSJ. But that's Bend. Everyone thinks they are a BSD.

I like hanging out in smoky dark rooms to get the dirt, then I can follow up and figure out whether or not what I've read here is probable or not.

You shut off that spigot and this board becomes worthless. I've watched over-zealous moderators do that time and time again. Pity. I think its happening here also.


I like this guy. But not everyone did.

bendbb said:

If you think this bulletin board is over-zealously moderated feel free to go somewhere else because it's unlikely that the moderation is going to change.

At this point, I'd suggest you go over to BendBB just to read the posting by "Deep Throat" on page 11 of this thread. I'd give a URL, but since bendbb has admitted many times to IP harvesting, I can only give a description of where to go. Deep Throat posts a pretty lengthy and informative comment regarding the Summit mess.

And luckily this debate is nicely sewn up.

Not Deepthroat said:

[message removed for violating bulletin board rules]

See, if you ARE someone WHO HAS ACTUAL real-World knowledge about the Summit-Inland FRAUD, you actually CANNOT post it over on BendBB. Why? Because it will immediately be deleted as INNUENDO.

bendbb, bless his gristly heart, is one of a Vast Number Of Deluded Dumbfuck Who Thinks: This Is Bend, AND EVERYONE IN BEND IS A CUT ABOVE THE REST. EVERYONE. I am a cut above. I am Better.

We're told this EVERY FUCKING DAY by the POLLYANNA BULLETIN.

"No, no. That business is NOT BAD. It's run by Bendites, so THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE. There can't be any FRAUD in Bend, because NOTHING BAD HAS EVER OCCURED IN BEND. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO FUCK US ALL IN THE ASS, THEN KILL US. They are The Dissenters. THEY DO NOT think Bend Is Special. You MUST NEVER LISTEN TO THEM. EVER! Now Let Us Go Forth To Jonestown, where we might all partake in a glorious LIFE ENHANCING KOOL FLUID..."

Ahhhhh cults. They systematically try to rob you of your ability to THINK. Because if YOU ACTUALLY KNEW THE TRUTH, they would LOSE ALL POWER OVER YOU. Have no doubt, BEND IS A CULT.

And it is RUN by Real Estate. And this story is about a HIGH PRIEST of the Cult of Bend making off with MILLIONS, mind you they have ADMITTED IT and There Is No Doubt, and bendbb and every other Bend Media Outlet is True To Form, and STILL LEAVING OPEN TO QUESTION whether they are worthy of our suspicion.

Even having to THINK FOR 1 MICROSECOND about that, is indicative of CULT-THINK. OF COURSE THEY SHOULD BE ARRESTED UNDER SUSPICION OF GUILT, RIGHT NOW. WTF, indeed.

OK, MINDLESS FUCKING CULT-FUELED CENSORSHIP aside, this Summit thing is a HUGE STORY. We've seen ReMax go down. There have been untold boutique mortgage shops & realtors & builders already bite the dust. We've even seen suicides.

But Summit, like ReMax is LARGE. Now the CIRCUMSTANCES are totally different. ReMax just bled out & died, cuz RE is over in this town.

Summit is PHASE II of the shutdowns. The ENRONS of The Bend RE Collapse has begun. Yeah, this is the Clusterfuck Black Hole Phase where the tide has gone out & The Big Boys are starting to be exposed for what they are. FRAUDSTERS.

Bend RE is The Largest Ponzi Scheme FRAUD on the West Coast. We're penny-anti shit, so I wouldn't want to say The Biggest In The US, or anything. But as PER CAPITA FRAUD GOES, this town is at The Top Of The Pile.

Have no illusions, this place is DOOMED. Why? Because when you CANNOT TRUST the intermediaries & the principals, you CANNOT DO BUSINESS. People will not give WHAT MONEY THEY HAVE, to ANYONE. This town is like a GIANT WashMu branch right before the SEIZURE: People will begin BAILING LIKE MAD, JUST TO GET ANYTHING OUT OF THIS FRAUD-RIDDEN SHITHOLE.

Our motherfucking newspaper is ON LAND GIVEN TO THEM BY The Biggest Developer In Town. WTF?

OK, I'll wrap this up. On a lighter note. Did anyone notice there was no "What's Going Up" section in the paper yesterday? At least not in the website of bendbulletin.com. The week before it was a picture of The Administrative BARN for the Sunriver Stables. THAT is What's Going Up. A barn. And not a big barn. A small barn.

RIP "Whta's Going Up". You did manage to go out on a high note.

Oh right... and file this under Not Everything Is As It Seems. Dunc filed a post, Why Open Now? He talks about Gottschalks, and some supplier problems and such. But here's the problem:
GOTT, 3yr chart

This company is about to go BUST. This company has lost almost 99% of it's value, and that is ALMOST ALWAYS a harbinger for DOOM.

I expect a BK on GOTT very soon, within a month probably.

GOTT & Summit illustrate ONE SINGLE TRUTH in times like these: Things are NOT as they seem. Bend Bulletin EXPOUNDED on the UNPARRELLELED ATTRACTIVENESS of Bend for setting up shop, by using GOTT's opening a store in THESE TRYING TIMES.

Uh huh. And I suppose Mark Neumans 8,000+ sf mansion is PROOF that Summit is on FIRM FINANCIAL FOOTING.

We've seen time & TIME AGAIN, that This Time It Is Different. THIS FINANCIAL COLLAPSE is a different breed. We've had 30 years built on phantom income built on credit card & home equity INCOME. This country is largely built on a base that DOES NOT EXIST. OK, NOT EVERYTHING in the US Economy is a PHANTOM, but far more than anyone ever thought possible IS.

We're seeing WHOLE TOWNS and whole areas that were completely sidestepped by the bubble runup, and are now doing "fine". Look at Harney & Grant counties for high relief illustrations of this. These communities experienced BARELY A BLIP whether up or down in the past 10 years.

But then there are places like Bend. Contrary to the 0% Exposure of places like Burns, we are Almost Entirely Dependent On Bubble Economics.

Burns, strangely enough is The Wal Mart of The Bust, doing Quite Well Thank You. But Bend is The Office Max, Gottschalks, KB Toys, Circuit City of the bust All Rolled Into One. We doubled, tripled, and then QUADRUPLED down on REd.

We are so ridiculously quadruple beta-positive on RE, that we will NEVER RECOVER. And note, 18 months ago I made similar statements and was chided as a Clap Board Lunatic.

But this town will NEVER RECOVER. The tide is going out like NEVER IN HISTORY, and the Summit's of Bend are being exposed. Folks, it AIN'T FRAUD UNTIL YOU GET EXPOSED. Go ask Bernie MADE OFF. And the motherfucking tide is GOING OUT.

You will NOT BELIEVE the damage that will be done. Medians at $120K doesn't really fully encapsulate it. $120K medians will happen for a reason. It'll be due to FEAR, FRAUD, and FIDUCIARY ASS FUCKING. People will be SCREWED en masse in Bend.

And I mean WORSE than we have been. Look at our Elected City Council.

This place is 100% DOOMED. And if YOU STAY HERE, or BUY A HOME HERE, you deserve everything you get, including being 100% MADE-OFF'd by Bend's FRAUD-RIDDEN RE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX.

Bend will only be worth buying once the Emporers Clothes have been proven to be NON-EXISTANT in a court of law, and The Kingdom HAS BURNED. This place will be AWASH in vacancies, both residential & commercial.

There will be a time to Buy In Bend, but that time will NOT BE FOR AT LEAST A DECADE. ALL THE FRAUD WILL NEED TO BE WASHED OUT. All the SCOUNDRELS will have to be THROWN OUT OF OFFICE. We will have to be cleansed, and that isn't even close to happening, if anything our elected slate of Councilors further delays the timeline to recovery. Probably 5-10 years, yet again.

We're fucked. Bend is FUCKED.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Failure Nation

It's really sort of amazing what is happening in this country today.

We've had a credit-fueled boom of consumerism these past 30 years or so. Just borrowing from the future to enjoy today. Not a horrible thing, until it goes overboard, which it did.

So to fuel the boom, we've built out excess capacity. An enormous amount. Just a ridiculous amount in consumer banking, and Bend is exactly where it should be in this regard, Far Behind The Times. People are still building banks in Bend. They're still building Everything in Bend.

This is exactly what the auto bailout is about: Taxpayer subsidizing of Excess Capacity. Keep It Alive, Keep It Going.

We don't need it, and No One Can Afford The Products, The Horrible Management, or the Incredible Union Greed, but KEEP IT ALIVE, No Matter What.

We, as taxpayers, are actually being force-fed failure-laden bailouts. We will soon bailout everything. Airlines are probably next. The only thing that won't get bailed out will be companies & industries that don't WANT it.

So what is the upshot? We are expending BILLIONS, probably trillions, to keep excess capacity alive & well. Producing millions of cars we cannot afford and DO NOT WANT. Trillions are being thrown into bank coffers to get us to borrow, but strangely, nobody is.

When it comes down to it, we borrowed to the hilt from the future, and now we can't repay. Everybody borrowed. GM borrowed to build plants. Banks, ironically, borrowed to buy mortgages, and were enriched per transaction. Individuals borrowed and bought the only asset that possibly could have absorbed this much lending capacity, homes, by the millions.

We have too much of almost everything, and we can't make the payments to keep it. Can't pay it off. So "we" have gone to the government & asked for trillions. Well, the banks are getting it. GM, Ford & Chrysler are getting it. Defaulting borrowers are "trying" to get it via Fannie & Freddie's moratorium on foreclosures.

In other words, Idiots Are Getting Rich and The Responsible & Prudent Are Funding It. Nice.

So what's going to happen? Well, I suppose in the ordinary scheme of things, if you are demanding quantity X of something, and producers are putting out 2X, prices will fall. Right? But falling prices brings on failure, which we are of course, vigorously trying to avoid. So we Have To keep prices artificially high.

So US Taxpayers are in the uncomfortable position of not just subsidizing current production that we do not want & can't afford, but owing well over $10 TRILLION dollars in future earnings to pay off government debts as well. And we will somehow have to keep prices HIGH to avoid failure.

So our money is simply funneled to bank presidents. To union bosses. To government bureaucrats. To every FAILURE in this country.

The More succesful you are, the MORE You Are Penalized. The LESS successful you are, the MORE You Are Rewarded.

And THE BIGGEST FAILURES are actually holding out for the Most:

‘UAW bailout’

It is a mistake to use part of the $700-billion rescue package to reward high-tax, non-right-to-work states such as Michigan, says Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC).

“The automaker bailout is actually a UAW bailout,” Flaherty said. “The union will not allow companies to deploy capital in ways that the market would dictate, such as closing plants and layoffs.”

Under Frank’s legislation, car companies receiving bailout money would face tougher restrictions on executive pay and dividends to their shareholders, the A.P. reported.

NLPC says the UAW wants additional taxpayer money to enrich health and retirement plans it controls. Indeed, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger has urged Congress to act immediately to provide a separate, additional $25 billion in loans so auto companies can meet their health care obligations to more than 780,000 retirees and dependents.

Awesome. The UAW will, HOPEFULLY, finally kill The Golden Goose. They are the 600lb suckerfish on the 20lb gristle-laden near-death automakers ass. I HOPE TO GOD they kill it. Because that is truly what the auto-bailout is: UAW payoff. We are paying big fat tubs of shit $90/hr to do NOTHING. Heard of JOB BANKS?

UAW is The Most Corrupt Bunch Of Greedy Fucks On Earth. Followed By Auto CEO's. There are actually thousands of non-union auto-workers, and extended industry workers, several of whom I Know, who think these two groups deserve each other, and deserve extinction. Even though it would probably threaten their own job. MOST of lower Michigan OPPOSES the bailouts.

What the hell is going to happen? We're paying TRILLIONS to keep alive capacity, predominantly Credit Capacity, that No One Can Pay For Anymore. Even 800FICO's aren't getting money.

Well, I can see a few things happening: Corporate ROI going to 0% or below. We are simply funneling money into products no one wants. Profit is simply (Unit Volume X Price) - Costs. And we are witnessing imploding volumes and prices, while Costs are being kept as high as they ever were. So I see permanent lowering of ROI as long as the Bailout Regime holds.

FAILURE Must Be Be Allowed To Take It's Course.

We are becoming Socialists Speculators. Our Government, is actually putting us into the auto and banking industries via EQUITY holdings. Believe me, they will SOON have us in the housing market. The government will soon start taking over HUGE housing developments. It'll happen.

Innovation Lost. Failure is a CLEANSING PROCESS. Failure MUST happen, or necrosis sets in. We are subsidizing FAILURE, and keeping alive the Dead.

War. We, or someone else, will be at WAR soon.

In China, anger rises as economy falls
The crisis in global capitalism has spelled trouble for the Chinese Communist Party, confronted by public unrest as factories shed workers and investments collapse.

By Barbara Demick

December 12, 2008

Reporting from Beijing — The signs of discontent are small but unnerving in an authoritarian country where public demonstrations are not permitted.

Laid-off toy company workers smash windows and computers and overturn police cars in Guangdong province. Employees of a liquor company in Harbin travel to their company's Beijing headquarters to demand back wages. Taxi drivers, as many as 20,000 of them, scuffle with police in protests that have spread into seven provinces.

Even the police have gotten into the act. Auxiliary officers surrounded a Communist Party office last week in Hunan province to demand higher wages, said the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

As China's economy hits the skids, such protests have been sporadic and usually involved fewer than 100 people. But in recent weeks, they have cropped up across the country like brush fires.

"Definitely, this is the most serious problem we have seen since 1989," said Zhou Xiaozheng, a professor of sociology at People's University in Beijing. "You have millions of college students who can't find jobs. . . . You have migrant workers who have lost their jobs at factories and don't have land to go back to."

It is counterintuitive that a global financial crisis that started with the excesses of Wall Street should be undermining the Chinese Communist Party. But academics such as Zhou believe that the economic crisis could present the leadership with its biggest political challenge since the student protests at Tiananmen Square nearly two decades ago.

To a large extent, China's fiscal problems pale next to those of the United States. The unemployment rate is not expected to top 4.5%, compared with the current 6.5% in the U.S. Although the World Bank recently slashed China's growth forecast for next year to 7.5% from more than 9%, even the lower figure keeps it at the top of the pack.

The problem is that ordinary growth might not be enough for a system that's been sustained by double-digit gains over the last five years. New York University economist Nouriel Roubini predicted last month in a widely quoted newsletter that without 9% to 10% growth, China is headed for a "hard landing."

Security in growth

It is the conventional wisdom that Communist Party rule has survived into the 21st century because of the nation's extraordinary economic growth. China watchers often speak of an implicit bargain between the people and the party: Give up demands for democracy and free speech and we'll make you rich.

"I think the leaders are scared stiff," said Susan Shirk, a professor at UC San Diego. "Certainly the Chinese Communist Party leadership believes there is a connection between economic growth, social stability and the survival of one-party rule."

Even members of the intelligentsia have become more vocal, demanding political change in a petition released this week that was modeled after the 1977 one that challenged the Soviet Union's domination of Czechoslovakia. "In the world, authoritarian systems are approaching the dusk of their endings," says the document, signed by more than 300 prominent people.

What makes the government especially vulnerable is that the people hurting financially have few legitimate outlets to air grievances. Unable to vote out their leaders, strike or collect compensation from the courts, they protest. And when the police wade in, things can quickly turn violent.

That's what happened Nov. 25 after 1,000 workers were laid off from the Kai Da toy factory in Dongguan, a southeastern city often called the real-life Santa's workshop because of the toys manufactured there.

As one former worker, a 36-year-old mechanic who agreed to be quoted by his surname, Zhong, describes it: A group of workers was in discussions with management about termination pay when a dispute broke out. "We saw the police beating five workers with sticks, several of them unconscious. . . . Then many workers rushed out and surrounded them. Later there were thousands of people there. They smashed police cars, doors and computers."

The economic downturn is hitting hardest in places like Dongguan, where factories once churned out toys, shoes and clothing to satisfy the seemingly insatiable demand of American consumers. Now demand has plunged because of the U.S. recession and the scandals over tainted foods and dangerous toys produced in China.

The Chinese government reported Wednesday that last month, for the first time in seven years, exports declined. In the toy industry alone, figures from the General Administration of Customs showed that half of the 3,631 companies had gone under this year.

Almost all of the workers who are losing their jobs are migrants who may not have any place to return to.

Zhong and his wife, who is seven months pregnant, came from an area in Sichuan province that suffered heavy damage during the May earthquake. "We are just wandering around now looking for work," Zhong said.

Fears of instability

This floating population of the unemployed and desperate is one of the government's nightmares.

"The redistribution of wealth through theft and robbery could dramatically increase, and menaces to social stability will grow," Zhou Tianyong, an economist for a government think tank, said in an editorial last week in the China Economic Times.

But it is not only the migrants who can turn unruly.

Young professionals trashed the showroom of a real estate complex called Glamorous City in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, after learning that the developer was offering a 25% discount to prospective buyers of units they had paid full price for.

Middle-class Chinese are relative novices when it comes to investing, unaccustomed to the risks of real estate or the stock market -- and quick to blame the government when what they thought could only go up instead goes down.

The anger was palpable at a Beijing stock brokerage where investors sat on a row of orange plastic chairs, sipping tea from jars they'd brought from home and watching the latest indignities flashing on the electronic board of stock prices.

" Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao did nothing to help," snapped one man in a voice that cut through the background clatter and made the others -- unaccustomed to hearing gripes against China's president and premier spoken so loudly -- turn around to hush him. ("Don't tell the foreigner too much about what's happening in China," hissed a woman sitting behind him.)

The 53-year-old man, who gave his name as Lao Yang, or "old Yang," agreed to lower his voice and the conversation continued. He lost seven years' worth of savings from his job at a machine components factory, which is now closed.

Others with him shared his fury -- retired factory workers, homemakers, a former post office clerk, all had lost large portions of their savings playing the stock market and felt the government had betrayed the laobaixing, the common people, by not protecting them.

"Some people lost everything in the stock market. They sold their homes and borrowed money," said Xiong Huanyong, 66, a retired post office worker. "They think there should have been more regulations."

A basic structural problem in the Chinese economy is that wages and living standards have not kept pace with the extraordinary growth. As a result, consumers aren't prosperous enough to pick up the slack and keep the economy rolling in the face of reduced demand from the United States and Europe.

The Chinese government has lowered interest rates several times, and last month announced a $586-billion stimulus package. More moves are predicted, but economists doubt their effectiveness.

"The government's economic policy is still geared to producing high growth figures, but not to producing jobs or raising people's disposable income," said Mao Yushi, a prominent Chinese economist.

Shirk, of UCSD, believes that protests will accelerate as workers realize such actions can help them get what they want. For example, the laid-off workers at Kai Da received severance of about $900 each after their protest.

But Shirk thinks the government will be able to manage the crisis as long as protests remain localized and the nation's leadership remains united.

"They learned their lesson from the Tiananmen period," she said. "As long as they can prevent public splits, throw the ringleaders of the protests in jail, blame the problems on local officials, they can probably hang together."

Something's going to give in Asia. All has been well for the past 20-30 years, even with Tiananmen, because the Commies Have Delivered. But no more. There's about 1.4 billion pissed off motherfuckers over there, and not nearly enough thugs to hold them off. That country is a powder-keg.

China, India, Pakistan. That area is going to explode. Everyone of those fuckers has NUKES. And don't forget RUSSIA, who will do ALL IN THEIR POWER to foment anti-American sentiment. Or really, PRO-OIL sentiment.

The Bursting Bubble now goes FAR beyond American Housing. RUSSIAN OIL is collapsing. Chinese production capacity is imploding. Pakkie's are terrorizing India. And India is RICH & THEY GOT NUKES. There's going to be a FUCKING WAR.

Plan Folks. Plan. This crazy fucking blog has been beating the drums for TWO YEARS. "BEANS, BULLETS, BOOZE, BULLION". DO NOT for a second think that can't happen. Don't think for 1 second you can't be relegated to GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD. And SHOOTING YOUR FUCKING NEIGHBOR TO KEEP THEM FROM TAKING YOUR SHIT. EVEN WHILE YOU ARE STEALING THEIR SHIT!

The recent local rash of shootings, robberies, and assaults is NOT a statistical oddity. People are getting desperate. Unemployment EXPLODED in Deschutes County over the past year. And it's going to get far, FAR worse. This fucking place will be a war zone before it's over. Instead of reading about someone getting shot, YOU'LL KNOW SOMEONE who Got Shot.

So what's the solution to the Armaggedon Scenario? Actually Armeggedon IS THE SOLUTION. Got too many factories? Too much productive capacity? Too many unemployed?

There's One Very Effective Solution: WAR.

War tears shit up, right quick. War kills motherfuckers who would otherwise be robbing you. War will put people back in Chinese, Indian, and Pakkie factories. At least until they are nuked.

We are going to war soon. What do the RICH WORRY ABOUT? That's right, KEEPING WHAT THEY GOT. And India & China have watched the money pile up over the past few decades, and that shit is threatened now. Don't underestimate the retaliation of a well-funded country.

And what do WE do? Well, if we DO NOT side with China, we're fucking doomed. We OWE THEM $1 TRILLION, at least. In many respects, China runs this 2 bit shithole already. Who will they go after? India? Japan? Fuck, who knows. But it'll be US against THEM. And whoever THEM is, they have been our "Allies" for a long time.

Some whacked shit is going to happen. Government-owned EVERYTHING. Including your house, maybe. A tax-rate hike is coming that'll probably kill another 10-20% of this countries small businesses. And not just Federal. All the way down the line.

Hunker down, Folks. The Big One is coming. War. Depression. Suicide. Remember your 4 B's. Stock Up And Lock Down.

This is Going To Get So Much Worse Than You Thought Possible.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bailout Nation

First, I just want to say that The Most Likely International Incident To Be Ignored As Insignificant And Boomerang On Our Corpulent AmeriKKKan Asses is this crap happening in Mumbai.

I know, we've had to endure these low-grade terrorist boom-boom's since Osama showed the World How It's Really Done.

But this one seems different. Blowing up a Train In Spain where the chards fall Mainly On The Plains is one thing. Spain is the trailer park of Europe.

India, in case you've been lost in a fog of hyper-consumerism for the past decade, is RICH. India is extremely wealthy nowadays, and there is NOTHING up-and-comers like to prove more than I Can Kick Your Poor Ass. We've been doing it for 50 years.

Just keep it in mind: That Mumbai shit could escalate to NUCLEAR in no time at all. Always stay alert on where the next downleg can come from.

Speaking of head-in-hand Pathetic, I still very occasionally head over to Bend Economy Board (via ANONYMOUS PROXY!!!!) to see if things are headed up over there. Well, except for BendBB's still kick-ass data collection, this thing has seemingly turned into a Ra-Ra board for RE. To wit:

Housing Consumer Confidence Returns!
posted by:
No better time to buy

All you have to do is read some of the comments to see few people, IF ANY, are buying this tripe. But there is the occasional Realtor plant:

I will admit, having been actively in the real estate market (looking for a good deal on a house) for some time now, there has been an unmistakable uptick in activity.

And there are the Ever-Ebullient Perma-Bulls, like Jack Elliott, for whom No Piece Of Bad News Is Truly Bad.

And I'm sure a lot of people think that I am of the "100% All About Any Piece Of Bad News Is 100% True, And Any Good News Is Bullshit" mindset. Not true.

I just feel that we are in the post-traumatic throes of a Bubble Deflation that will bring down this country to a financial level we have not experienced in 50-100 years. And there will be nowhere in the US that suffers more than Bend.

And I think what I've been saying here about the Nationwide Vicious Aftermath is pretty clear for all to see. Number 1 News Item for months now. But what about Bend?

I'll tell you right now that Bend is going to be ravaged harder than anywhere in the U.S. There's a bit of a somber mood about town, and you can finally actually speak about The Current Bad Times at a cocktail party without fear of ostracism.

But THIS is NOTHING. This is NOTHING compared to what is coming. Just take a look out the Side View Window:
Bend Annual October Unemployment, Oct 1990 - Oct 2008.

It's pretty plain to see that we spanned almost the Entire Gamut of the previous 19 years of economic activity, in one feel swoop, going from some of the lowest unemployment rates ever, to The Highest October Unemployment Rate On Record In One Year.

This AIN'T a Bump In the Road. Wait for February. We will see The Worst Unemployment Rates In Modern Bend History. There's going to be some Major Epiphanizing going on; People realizing EN MASSE that YES, Bend Is Different. IT'S WORSE THAN ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE U.S.

The Bulletin, of course, ran a piece regarding the Great Deflation Of Bend (Population), but it began with a hashing over of The Glory Hole Years.

"This Here? Why, This Is A Little Bump In The Road! Bigger & Better Than Ever In No Time, And So Forth. Yes, Yes. Outdoor Recreation, Wealthy Widows With Big Ol Double Deez, Monsters Of Cock On 96 Year Old Men! It's A Paradise!"

Yeah. Right.

OK, here's an interesting piece that should get your pot boiling, if you managed to act in a fiscally responsible manner for the past 10 years.

Why lenders might forgive your debt

There was a time when lenders didn't want to work with you if you couldn't pay. Now they want to avoid foreclosure, lawsuits or repossession almost as much as you do.

By Liz Pulliam Weston


People who overdosed on debt in recent years learned the paradox of easy credit: While lenders were willing to let you borrow copious amounts, they weren't particularly interested in helping you work out a solution if you fell behind on repayment.

Lenders often found it easier and cheaper to write off delinquent accounts as bad debt than work with you on a repayment plan. After all, they could get a tax break on the loss and then get on with the profitable business of extending credit to the next guy.

Lately, however, lender perspectives have changed. Soaring default rates, a weakening economy and the credit crunch have rewritten the rules.

* Credit card lenders charged off 5.47% of the total amounts owed on cards as bad debt in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve. A year ago, the charge-off rate was 3.85%.

* Consumer bankruptcy filings in October topped 100,000, a 40% increase from a year earlier and the highest level since the federal bankruptcy reform law took effect in October 2005, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

* More than 2.2 million homeowners are more than 60 days late on their mortgage payments, according to the Hope Now alliance of lenders and credit counselors, and one in six homeowners owes more on a home than it's worth.

* With home prices plummeting, every foreclosure now represents a loss of 44% of the original loan amount, up from 29% a year ago, according to data from LPS Applied Analytics.

That's why lenders are now looking for ways to keep people paying their bills, even if it means forgiving some of their debt. Now the paradox is that in order to qualify, you must be struggling, but not so much that a change in terms wouldn't help you.

How the new programs work

The most sweeping new program was announced Nov. 11. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the government agencies that guarantee 31 million U.S. mortgages, will begin paying the mortgage service companies that maintain the loans $800 for every loan they modify. Borrowers would get help in several ways: Interest rates would be reduced so that borrowers would not pay more than 38% of their gross income on housing expenses. Another option is for loans to be extended from 30 years to 40 years, and for some of the principal amount to be deferred interest-free.

The same day, Citigroup announced it would halt foreclosures for borrowers who live in their own homes, have decent incomes and stand a good chance of making lowered mortgage payments. Ultimately, it plans to modify the repayment terms on up to $20 billion in loans.

Late last month, JPMorgan Chase expanded its mortgage modification program to an estimated $70 billion in loans, which could aid as many as 400,000 homeowners. The modifications were to include reducing amounts owed or the loans' interest rates, and replacing so-called "pay option" loans that typically resulted in mortgages growing over time.

Bank of America, meanwhile, has said that starting Dec. 1, it will modify an estimated 400,000 loans held by newly acquired Countrywide Financial as part of an $8.4 billion legal settlement reached with 11 states in early October.

Loan forgiveness is a key part of the Hope for Homeowners program. This is the foreclosure prevention program that Congress created as part of the $700 billion Economic and Housing Recovery Act of 2008. Lenders that want to participate typically must agree to reduce borrowers' principal to 90% of their homes' current value.

But wait, there's more

In late October, a coalition of lenders and consumer advocates asked banking regulators to approve a pilot program that would allow struggling borrowers to pay off, over time, less than they owe -- as much as 40% less. Under current rules, any repayment plan has to be for the full amount owed.

Though the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency rejected the first draft over how banks would book the resulting losses, backers of the plan say they're committed to finding a remedy for overtaxed borrowers that's short of bankruptcy -- which would likely mean the banks see no repayment at all.

In the first proposal, a joint project of the Financial Services Roundtable and the Consumer Federation of America, applicants would have been evaluated by certified credit counselors; those who couldn't pay off their debt under a regular debt management program would have been placed in one of four repayment plans that would reduce their principal by 10%, 20%, 30% or 40%. Only consumers closest to bankruptcy could have qualified for the biggest reduction.

Travis Plunkett of the Consumer Federation of America said his group would continue to lobby regulators "to do everything they can, within bounds of the safety and soundness of the financial system, to help consumers," but that ultimately consumer advocates may have to turn to lawmakers for help.

"It may be Congress that has to step in, and I think there's a lot of interest there" in doing so, Plunkett said. "We've got a train wreck coming."

Student loans and car debt

Meanwhile, makers of student and auto loans haven't announced any new plans for forgiveness. In recent years, in fact, both groups made escaping their debt more difficult. But:

* Certain borrowers can still get portions of their federal student loans forgiven through volunteer work, military service and teaching in low-income communities. And Congress passed a law in 2007 that wipes out federal student loan debt for people who work in certain jobs and who make 10 years of on-time payments. Plus:

* Auto lenders are stepping up their education efforts to let troubled borrowers know they have alternatives if they fall behind on their car payments. According to credit bureau Experian, more than 500,000 borrowers are 30 days or more overdue on a car loan.

Yet fewer than half of consumers in a recent poll knew that auto financing companies often worked with troubled borrowers, said Eric Hoffman, spokesman for the Aware, an education group set up by auto dealers and lenders that commissioned the survey.

Auto lenders may be able to modify a loan to stretch payments over a longer period or allow borrowers to make up missing payments, Hoffman said.

"We tell people, 'Don't ignore the situation if you're having trouble,'" Hoffman said. "Get in contact with your lender and see if there's a way to work out a different payment plan."

The same advice holds true for student loans. You may be eligible for income-sensitive or graduated repayment plans or, if you're facing economic hardship, forbearance or deferment that would allow you to skip payments for up to three years.

Here's what to do about other debt:

Credit cards. If you're already behind on your credit card payments, you shouldn't wait to see if you'll qualify for any loan forgiveness programs. Make two calls: one to a legitimate credit counselor and another to an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Between the two, you'll get the information you'll need to decide whether you should continue paying your debt or have it "forgiven" by the U.S. bankruptcy court.

Mortgages. Gather your paperwork -- your mortgage documents, last year's tax return and some recent pay stubs -- and call a HUD-approved housing counselor to evaluate your situation and your options. If you qualify for a loan modification program, the counselor can help you get through to your lender's loss mitigation department, which will evaluate your application.

A lender will want evidence that you're in trouble -- and assurances that any changes will keep the payments coming. Don't expect that it will immediately hack your loan balance to what the house is currently worth; it won't.

Your lender has only a few ways to help you: It can reduce your interest rate, defer payments, extend the length of the loan or forgive some part of your principal.

With your counselor's help, you should decide what solution you want before approaching the lender. If you have a temporary situation such as an illness that will be resolved soon, for example, ask for deferred payments. If your adjustable-rate mortgage is about to reset, use MSN Money's Mortgage Calculator to see if a reduced interest rate could keep you in your home.

You may have trouble getting your lender's attention. That's particularly true if you haven't already fallen behind on your payments, something you should try to avoid, because late payments can kill your credit scores.

In that situation, consider getting an attorney's help, said lawyer and mortgage broker Alan Jablonski, author of "Successfully Navigating the Mortgage Maze" and operator of the AJ Consumer Watch Web site.

Unlike some of those who advertise loan modification help, attorneys have a fiduciary duty to put their clients first (and clients have many remedies, including lawsuits and disciplinary complaints to the bar association, if the attorney fails to fulfill those duties).

That's a far cry from many of the fly-by-night outfits that demand big upfront fees and then fail to act, or disappear with the money.If you decide to hire an attorney, you'll have to find one on your own, Jablonski said; anyone legitimate has a full workload and isn't proactively contacting potential clients.

Your state's bar association may offer referrals. In any case, you'll need to confirm that the attorney is in good standing with the bar, and that he or she has experience with loan modification.

Published Nov. 17, 2008

Just read that over. Sounds good, right? Actually, no. Most of these "workouts" are simple extensions of the loan term, or rolling missed payments into the principal.

You've got to understand these loan workouts are a clusterfuck. They ACTUALLY REWARD PEOPLE FOR DEFAULTING. You are only eligible for The Best Workouts if You Are 3 Months Behind, or are on the verge of going bust. If you are playing by the rules, you get screwed. To wit:

Feel like a sucker? You're not alone

Bailouts are going to reckless Wall Street bankers, to homeowners over their heads and now maybe even to Americans hooked on credit cards. Where's the reward in doing the right thing?

By Liz Pulliam Weston

If you feel like you're being played, you're not alone.

The financial crisis has deepened many people's suspicions that doing the right thing hasn't paid off. Instead, they feel it's made them chumps.

You see it in the "Where's my @#$%ing bailout?" T-shirts, the despair about plummeting retirement accounts and the hostile comments that greet every news story about mortgage restructuring or credit card forgiveness.

One reader put it this way:

"Doesn't keeping your promises mean anything? Most if not all of the people who snagged these (mortgages) were well aware of the risk and the responsibility. It kills me that I'm playing by the rules and bailing out those who were greedy, stupid or both."

Even when they're not directing their anger at anyone in particular, many of my readers feel like they've been led down the garden path.

"I am 62 years old and HAD been planning to retire in 5 years," one wrote. "Although I have lived frugally my entire life and put away 15% of my income every year in a retirement account, my balanced portfolio lost 60% of its value in the last two months."

What he wanted to know: Would he be a bigger fool for pulling his money out of the market now or staying in and possibly suffering more lumps?

If you have similar questions -- if you suspect you're being a chump for making your mortgage payments, paying your credit card bills and continuing to invest in your 401(k) -- read on. You're certainly not alone as you watch others exploit loopholes, mistakes and well-intentioned remedies.

Bailed out but still ruined

The question of why some homeowners are getting bailouts has really been answered by the financial turmoil of the past few months. A huge spike in foreclosures, magnified by derivatives cooked up by Wall Street firms, nearly brought down the global economy. As it stands, we're still likely to suffer one heck of a hangover in the form of a serious recession.

The foreclosure mess is far from over. Many of the riskiest loans -- the ones where homeowners weren't even paying all the interest that was accumulating on their loans each month, let alone touching the principals -- are just now resetting.

Then there's the whole vicious-cycle effect, which I wrote about in April. As foreclosures rise, banks slash the prices of the homes they recover, putting downward pressure on everybody else's property values. With more homes "underwater," more fall into foreclosure when their owners lose a job and can't sell, or simply decide to walk away.

That's why the Powers That Be are finally getting serious about working with struggling homeowners. Given how interconnected everything is in our economy, their success in saving your neighbor from foreclosure might ultimately reduce the chances you'll lose your job.

I agree that a lot of borrowers were complete idiots for agreeing to mortgages that were eight or nine times their incomes (a mortgage that was three times your income used to be considered a stretch in the days before lenders went nuts). Smart borrowers fixed their rates for at least as long as they planned to stay in their homes; dumb ones agreed to adjustable-rate mortgages on their brokers' assurances that they'd be able to refinance before the payments reset.

But borrowers didn't get these loans in a vacuum. Mortgage brokers and loan officers downplayed the risks. So did lenders, who gave the brokers and loan officers fat incentives to push them. The Wall Street machine encouraged looser lending standards and created exotic investment products that wound up multiplying, rather than reducing, the risks. Regulators, meanwhile, stood by and basically did nothing. No one involved is covered in glory.

Neither is anyone getting an entirely free ride. Plenty of people will still lose their homes, and many who get workouts will have to live with trashed credit from the payments they missed before help arrived.

Forgiven but not forgotten

Personally, I wouldn't trade places with any of them, not even the ones who'll wind up keeping the bigger, fancier homes my husband and I decided we couldn't afford. I wouldn't want to live with the anxiety those troubled borrowers have faced ever since they got unaffordable mortgages or the uncertainty they're feeling as they wonder whether a workout will save their homes. Those folks made a hell of a gamble, and even with efforts to help on the rise, most of them are still going to lose.

Give me a home bought with a fat down payment and a 30-year fixed rate any day.
Forgiven but not forgotten
So how about the people who may be about to get big chunks of their credit card debts forgiven?

Major credit card issuers are seeking permission to knock down troubled borrowers' debts by as much as 40%. Debtors would get preferential tax treatment as well; they wouldn't owe income tax on the forgiven debt until they'd paid off the remainder of their balances.

Credit card issuers are recognizing the obvious: that their free-lending ways have come back to bite them. Delinquencies are soaring, and issuers' charge-offs -- balances written off as bad debt -- are up nearly 50% compared with last year.

The issuers figure getting something out of these debtors is better than getting nothing if they stop paying or file for bankruptcy.

The number of people admitted to the issuers' proposed pilot program would be small -- about 50,000 -- although enrollments likely would rise if the plan worked as anticipated.

You might have a beef with this particular bailout if you faced a huge pile of debt and opted to pay it off rather than have it wiped out in bankruptcy.

But once again, I'd rather be financially responsible and conservative than not. I'm not sorry that we've always limited our credit card charges to what we could pay in full every month.

Maybe we haven't bought as many toys as the folks who carried debt and are about to have some of it forgiven. But we also haven't spent a fortune in interest charges, which those people certainly have.

And I seriously doubt I'd have to pay higher interest rates or suffer in any way from this program, even if it became wildly successful. Those of us with good credit still would get the best rates, as I explained in "The real victims of deadbeats? Other deadbeats."
Investing blindly makes you a sucker

How about the last station on the have-I-been-a-sucker line: investing. Surely we were sold a bill of goods when we were told stocks are a good long-term investment. Haven't they gone essentially nowhere for a decade now?

Yes, except that those who continue to invest, in good times and in bad, inevitably come out ahead. MSN Money columnist Jim Jubak explains it best in "When to start investing? Now."

The folks who blow it are the ones who take too much risk in the good times, then panic and bail out in the bad, locking in their losses.

The reader who asked whether he should stay or go is a case in point. So close to retirement, he should have been ratcheting back on his risk. Although he thought his portfolio was balanced, it clearly wasn't -- otherwise, it wouldn't have dropped 30% during the worst of this fall's gyrations, let alone 60%.

This just encapsulates somewhat, the Heinous Agency Problems we are in the midst of creating.

We've already bailed out Huge Banks and Insurers. We are starting to bailout homeowners who have defaulted (ie; SPECULATORS). We're headed towards an Auto bailout, cuz Barack loves Unions, and the largely Muslim sections of Southern Michigan.

Everyone, it seems, is being Bailed Out. Except The Responsible. Those who lived within their means. I'll agree that Hard Times can hit those who deserve it least. But I'll also put forth that ALMOST NONE OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN BAILED OUT SO FAR MEET THAT DESCRIPTION.

They've said that They Will Print Money Until This Thing Is Solved.

That will, of course, solve nothing. It simply devalues the proxy by which we exchange goods & services. It also redistributes that proxy. Those of least merit are simply given wealth.

This is where we are on a slippery slope. We're a Bailout Nation 100% Addicted To Government Handouts. This should sound EXTREMELY FAMILAR to our local condition. Bend is NOTHING but a taxpayer boondoggle municipality where wealth is redistributed to those who know that local government is nothing more than a wealth redistribution mechanism. Ask Hooker Creek & Knife River: These are less profit seeking corporations, than Sucker Fish on the ailing Bend Slush Fund City Council.

We're NOT governed as much as we are pilfered of our wealth in Bend. Look no further than the last City Council election. Bought & Paid For By COBA. We deserve whatever we get.

And what we'll get is endless USELESS contracts to build infrastructure & "affordable homes".

I actually saw cripple ramps next to The New COVA building on Harriman & Irving, REMOVED and replaced with regular CURBS. Our City, in it's Infinite Wisdom, has decided to allocate resources AWAY from frivolities like Firemen & Policemen, and TOWARDS bricking up cripple ramps at warp speed. Why? Cuz a cripple ramp built TWICE, and still FAILS TO MEET GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS, is a hell of a profitable racket, and THAT IS ALL BEND IS.

That's us: Schemes & Scams that rob the citizens & reward GRIFTERS. And these poeple essentially RUN our EXECUTIVE & JUSTICE systems, as well. So what should we expect?

Well, from my own experience, I can say NEAR ENDLESS ATTEMPTS TO SHUTDOWN UNSAVORY FREE-SPEECH RE BLOGS. Yeah, it's become an onslaught. And just so you know, if this thing just DISAPPEARS one day, THAT IS THE REASON.

We can also expect cops & judges to be on the dole. This fucking place is going to be The Most Corrupt City On Earth, and we are well on our way. It's just going to be a bunch of suckerfish sucking on a corpse. Sooner or later, the money will go away, and all the Corporate Welfare Sleeze will just up & leave, and we'll be left with a hollow husk. It's already happening. They're gutting city services, while erecting ridiculous roundabout art.

Simply incredible. We're going 100% BROKE, and they're still putting art on roundabouts.

We're going BROKE, and they are WAIVING SDC charges to BUILDERS.

Have no doubt: Bend is The Most Corrupt City In The U.S.A., and we are rapidly coming to the end of our RE lotto winnings. The Good Times are LONG OVER, and you are about to witness the most incredible financial implosion of a municipality EVER.

And All There Is To Do, Is Stand Back And Witness The Horror.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Rich Getting... Poorer, For Once!

Lib's LOVE a good conspiracy. Their favorite is that a small band of ultra-rich White bastards are in 100% complete control of the stock market, making it go up & down on a whim.

You might have a look at what Rich Whitey has been "suffering" through recently:

Back on Sept 19, Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett's holding company hit $147,000, probably putting Buffett near the $70 billion mark. But Berkshire finally succumbed to the stock market crush, and nearly got cut in half at it's recent lows near $74,000.

And Lost In The Crushing is this: Remember Ye Olde NASDAQ Bubble? Yeah, those were good times. NASDAQ got poked for a near 80% beating, but then began it's slow but sure ascendance to new highs, right? Almost got to 3,000 during Oct 2007 highs, a pretty good convincer from the 1,100's seen 5 years before at implosion lows.

Well, guess who's coming to dinner? A black dude to marry Whitey's daughter? Ahhhh... were it only that, Whitey could survive THAT. No, it's NASDAQ IMPLOSION PART II!

It's been lost in the chaos, but the NASDAQ, and some of it's favorite, and putridly wealthy sons, are having their asses handed to them. Yes, the recent low on the NASDAQ near 1,200 are frightfully close to the Never-To-Be-Seen-Again lows put in almost 6 years ago to date.

So Scions of Wealth, like Bill Gates, are watching the Redux of the MSFT Meltdown melt billions off their still ridiculous pile of wealth. MSFT started this year about twice what it is trading at right now.

Even the Never Say Die Bubble Boys of BrinPage have watch the beloved Google get it's ass slashed from the mid $700's, clear down to the mid $200's.

Some NASDAQ billionaires are holding up pretty respectably, thank you. Larry Ellison of Oracle fame, has merely lost 1/3rd of his pile, since ORCL has "only" fallen from $24 to $16.

But if you want to plumb the depths of the Truly Shellacked, look no further than the Arab Prince, and his band of Shrieking Joobs.

Arab Prince Alwalheed has simply been destroyed by the recent collapse of Citicorp. He owned (and still owns) 5% of a company that at the beginning of 2007 had 5.45 billion shares trading at $55, or right at $300 billion. That stack alone was worth $15 billion to Alwaleed, and I'm sure he had some oil wells and hot & cold running bitches, too.

Well Wake Up My Bitches, cuz with the almost complete collapse of Citi, Alwaleed has watched that $15 bill pile evaporate in the Saudi Sun, to BARELY a billion dollars. He still rich, but he ain't BIG RICH. He ain't the Warren Buffett of the Middle East rich.

It illustrates a point: You DO NOT want to own LEVERAGED COMPANIES when The World is headed into Great Deoression 2.0. And Citi is LEVERAGED big. They will go down. Their credit card portfolio will pull them under.

What about the Never Say Poor Mega Rich Joobs? Well, Sandy Weil of Ex-Citi fame has no doubt suffered on par with his Muslim Master Alwaleed, with whom he is Great Friends.

This illustrates Point 2: Joobies LOVE MONEY more than they hate Arabs. WWII illustrates my point that Joobers love money more than they hate Nazi's.

But you want to see someone truly in pain? Well, then take fitty cent from a Vegas Jubber, Sheldon Adelson. This motherfucker has had his financial pecker handed to him in the guide of Las Vegas Sands stock going from $140/sh, clear down to penny stock lows in the $2's.

This poor fucker has just been crushed. He is officially Not Very Rich, after being the 3rd richest person in AmeriKKKa just 18 months ago.

This Financial Tsunami knows no boundaries, it is going to make the poor distitute. It'll make the middle class pretty fucking poor. But it is starting to FINALLY take down the Truly Ridiculously Wealthy. The Gates, Buffett's, Alwaleeds, Adelsons, and many, many other Hyper-Rich types are being CRUSHED. Granted, they are still rich as hell, but far less so.

There is a Virginal Hestiancy Among AmeriKKKa's Capitalists, for the first time in our generation. I think they are actually unsure of just how bad it might get for them. Usually, you'll see one or two of them get shellacked in a market bump, but then it's off to the races again.

Not this time. The Inflection Point seems to have been reached between Labor & Capital, Worker & Owner. Capital has been winning the race for well over 3 decades. Labor's relative wealth has fallen. It has paid To Own. I think those days are over. Capital suffered a crippling blow over the past year. It's not been a few noobs who took a hit, it's been the Biggest of The Big, and they are taking hits they've never, EVER seen before.

What does this have to do with Bend? Quite a bit.

Bend media has long said that due to our Capital-heavy population, our outsized proportion of Owners, that we would Never Go Down Hard. How could we? Everyone knows, The Rich NEVER GET POOR.

And this has been true for several decades, especially the past three. Coincidentally, Bend has come up from the depths, and was for a time, the most ridiculously overpriced shithole God ever crapped out. And we've been blessed with such wonders as Volo, the restaurant with the longest consecutive days without a single patron, and other economic bastardizations all over our wonderous city.

THIS is what people thought about Bend: It is overrun with CAPITAL. OWNERS. And owning NEVER goes down. Only workers go down, as well they should. With a town so top heavy with owners, things like a blowjob-fueled wine bar, $35 lunch joints like Merenda, King of Sole $500 shoes, galleries, spas, and olive oil shops lining every block, catering to the VAST CAPITAL population base of Bend, it was a sure thing that Bend would only grow more glorious with age.

Well, you're starting to see the first crack in Capital in our lives. Volo is DEAD EMPTY. NO ONE has ever eaten there. That spa where they feed you beer, suck your cock,& give you a haircut? Even that place is hurting. REI? Probably ready to close. The same is probably true for half The Old Mill. All the ridiculously overpriced crap shops that would supposedly be held up by the fickle power of Ridiculously Rich Capital Consumerists, what's happening to them?

Yeah, they are getting crushed. We're the most Over Retailed, Over Restauranted, and generally Over Serviced city in the U.S. Look at Sunriver Realty: Big Splash building, tons of new yuppy agents, prosperity forever, right? No. Closed down, probably lost more money in the last year than the whole company has made during the bubble.

So much of this town is STILL based on an assumption of Ever Ascending Wealth By Capitalists Into Perpetuity.

Go to Tetherow. I did recently. That's a Great Big Empty out there. Go to preview Pronghorn homes at their downtown showplace. Oh right. Closed. Go to Brasada. No. Actually don't. It's too far & a waste of gas. Which is what everyone thinks once they're out there.

"Fuck, I might as well live in Burns."

Yeah, this general sentiment is true for All Of Central Oregon. This place is Too Far From Cool Stuff. We have Bachelor, sure. But people have stopped that crap. Portlanders are going to Hood. Cali-Bangers are going to Mammoth or Reno.

Bend is fucked. We built a city predicated on the idea that Capital ALWAYS gets WEALTHIER. ALWAYS. Look around: This place is just overrun with $800,000 homes. We're out in the fucking desert, and we have like 2 million $800,000 homes. WTF?

And it's going to get FAR WORSE. We've had the Good Sense to elect the Worst Band of Thieves to ever grace Public Office. From The Source:

At What Cost? Record-breaking contributions raise questions about the role of campaign cash

Written by Daniel Pearson
Wednesday, 19 November 2008


... Critics say COBA is interested only in seeing that local developers and builders are able to continue making as much money as they have over the last several years at the expense of good planning and community sustainability.

“I think what’s happening is, because of the housing crash, the builders and developers in Bend need to make sure that they can continue making the same amount of money they’ve made in the past, and the only way to do that is through the rapid expansion of the city’s urban growth boundary,” said Keith Quick, Deschutes County Organizer for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, which worked on behalf of three of the four losing candidates.

“The urban growth boundary was the key issue this year,” Quick said. “In the Bend City Council race, there was a clear line between four progressive candidates going up against four pro-growth candidates. The pro-growthers believed in expansion, and the other four progressives believed in a more sustainable approach to growth in Bend.”

The most notable difference in campaign spending came in how Eager, Eckman and Greene used their finances for advertising. Each of them had enough funding to spend on televisions ads, as well as newspapers and radio, and that focus made all the difference in the 2008 general election, said Jodie Barram, vice chair of the Bend Urban Area Planning Commission who lost the race for Bend City Council seat one to Eager.

“Advertising is not free by any means,” Barram said. “As non-incumbents, Jeff and I had an uphill battle getting our name recognized. In this race, especially, the difference came down to financing and being able to afford those TV ads. I chose to go with radio and print ads because that’s what I could afford. Jeff was able to afford plenty of TV ads, which got his name and face in front of another audience that I was not able to reach.”

Quick said the TV ads had more of a dubious effect on the outcome of the elections than simply expanding name recognition.

“The real fear about this election from a citizen’s perspective is that not only were Bend’s citizens duped into voting for pro-development candidates, the TV ads made them look like change candidates, or candidates that cared about the environment and the livability of Bend,” Quick said. “They have a lot to prove once they get on the council. I don’t think we will see them supporting livable communities like they said, but we’ll see. The real fear here is that special interests gave so much money to three of the four candidates who won, those special interests stand to gain monetarily from decisions the city council makes. That’s the real scary part here – the special interests, especially the Central Oregon Builders Association, bought those city council seats and now these councilors are going to owe them something. That’s really concerning to the OLCV and it should be concerning to other citizens in Bend who care about keeping the city council an independent body.”

Wow. What a clusterfuck of stupidity.

See, apparently CobaCo is run by dumbfucks who have never read an Economic Textbook. They think opening up the UGB will return us to the Glory Hole Years?

Wow. I say, Let 'Em Open 'Er Up, then. Expand that fucking UGB out to Millican. And you fuckers Just Start Building. Please. Yeah. That should put things right. Prices should stabilize once we have shit shacks lined up as far as the wandering eye can see.

Stupid fucking COBA dumbshits don't know whether to crap or blow goo.

Worst Of All Worlds, folks.

Labor is, as always, going to get fucked in this thing. But for the first time, So Is Capital. That means no Mercato. No more Redmond Waterpark. Yeah, no more Tuscany Pines, and it's ilk (ie Moronic Ideas). And believe it or not, THIS CRAP, this stupid crap, is what we've pinned our economic hopes on.

And to cap it off, we've just elected a slate of WHORES whose puppeteers believe an onslaught of supply is how you raise prices.

$120K medians are on their way. $40/sf for the STD shit, $60/sf for the granite counter crap, and $80 for the inner-circle, rental shit shacks. This towns ass is going to get drilled unmercifully. In 10 years we'll be The Oakland of the high desert.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bend -- A City in Tatters

A short little placeholder again, and I thought I'd post a story from The Bulletin that has a couple of breathtaking stats in it. It essentially confirms what has been said on this blog for YEARS: That Bend is essentially already broke, and cannot afford to upkeep or build STATUTORILY REQUIRED infrastructure. We're required to build it by law, and we can't.

Economic troubles push Bend plans back

By Erin Golden / The Bulletin
Published: November 17. 2008 4:00AM PST


From new roundabouts to sewer treatment upgrades and accessibility improvements, the ongoing economic slowdown is forcing the city of Bend to revise or hold off on plans for many large infrastructure projects.

Over the past year, as revenues from development-related permits plummeted, the city went through three rounds of budget cuts, laying off 44 workers and leaving another 55 positions unfilled. Officials have slashed costs across the board by reducing employee overtime and using more energy-efficient computer systems and vehicles, among other changes. The city has even dipped heavily into reserve funds to keep services running.

But for some projects, especially those with multimillion-dollar price tags, the cuts haven’t been enough.

The city is required by law to keep up with some work, including accessibility improvements and sewer system expansions, but it says other plans for wider roads, updated intersections and even a new City Hall are simply going to have to wait.

“As a result of revenue from the state going down, and on top of that, what our general fund is going through, we’re having to go through some reprioritization exercises,” said City Manager Eric King.

Water and sewer

After years of rapid growth across the city, many systems, from sewer to water to roads, are in need of upgrades and expansions. In some cases, the work is required so the city can stay in compliance with a variety of state and federal regulations.

Public Works Director Paul Rheault said his department recently completed work on one major mandated improvement — an $8 million headworks facility, where sewage is filtered before it reaches the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The city is required to increase the system’s capacity as the population grows.

Construction of the headworks project was supported in part by increased sewer rates, which went up by 14.5 percent in July.

Though Rheault said the new facility will help reduce the stress on the wastewater system, it’s not the only upgrade the city will need over the next few decades. Officials are currently working on a sewer master plan that calls for about $100 million in major pipeline projects that would allow more areas of the city to connect to the existing system. Rheault said the city will probably have to spend another $52 million to update and expand the treatment plant between now and 2030.

Though officials never planned to complete the work in the next few years, they say the budget cuts have pushed the time line even further. Now, City Engineer Michael Magee said the city will probably have to do the work in small sections. He said a project in southeast Bend to build an interceptor, or trunk line, will focus on the most problematic areas, one at a time.

“Typically, if you had the money, you would start at one end of the project to the other and work in phases, start at one end and work your way south to hook people up with the sewer interceptor as you go,” Magee said. “But with limited resources, we have to go at it differently, and look at the bottlenecks.”

The city is also working on a water master plan that would include about $100 million in upgrades to piping and treatment systems. Magee said plans for that work haven’t been narrowed down yet, but like the sewer projects, officials are looking at how to complete the upgrades in phases, rather than all at once.

Rheault said some smaller stormwater system upgrades are still on track, including a plan that would reroute water from flood-prone underpasses to a state-owned drainage area near the Colorado Avenue interchange with U.S. Highway 97. That project is still in the planning phase, and officials have estimated that it could cost around $500,000, money that will come from stormwater fees charged to residents.

Street upgrades and repairs

The building slowdown has created a dramatic drop in revenues generated by transportation system development charges — money that is used to fund a variety of large street projects. Transportation Engineering Manager Nick Arnis said the city expected to bring in between $4 million and $5 million in transportation SDCs this year, but has only received about $550,000 since the fiscal year started in July.

As a result, it might be awhile before a handful of major SDC-funded street improvements can get under way. Among the projects: a $20 million expansion and upgrade of Reed Market Road, which would include a roundabout at Reed Market and Southeast 15th Street, and $14 million in work along Empire Avenue, including a roundabout at Empire and Northeast 18th Street.

Arnis said the city is looking to start with small parts of the projects, some with the help of developers who agreed to chip in as part of their development agreements with the city. He said some of those partnerships have already been formalized for the Reed Market work, which was supposed to have been finished last year but was delayed because of the tight budget.

“I think taking the projects (and) phasing them is going to be really important; finding the partnerships with the state or private developers is going to be really important,” he said.

Arnis said engineers are currently working to get the plans for the Reed Market and Empire projects and others, including a fix for the congested intersection of Cooley Road and U.S. Highway 97 in north Bend, ready so they won’t have to wait to start building when the money becomes available. Arnis said the city is working hard to look for additional grants and private funding options, but it isn’t yet clear how long it will take to find enough funds to complete the majority of the work.

The tight budget situation also means smaller street projects will be tougher to finance.

Street Division Manager Hardy Hanson said his office lost about $50,000 for paving operations in the last round of budget cuts. After three cycles of budget adjustments over the last year, he said the city has about $1 million in its fund for patching and paving roads, down from about $1.5 million before the local economy started to slow down.

The division is funded with money from the city’s general fund, along with state grants and gas taxes. With fewer dollars coming in from all three sources, officials have dipped into the street operations reserve fund, which has dropped from about $1.6 million at the end of the 2006-07 fiscal year to a projected $613,000 at the end of the current fiscal year.

Hanson said those numbers mean the city will only be able to repave most streets once every 36 years. He said the industry standard is to do the work every seven to 10 years — a level the city was working toward before the economic downturn hit and created a hole in the Street Division’s budget. Now, Hanson said the city is spending its limited resources sealing individual cracks and holes in the roads, rather than repaving them altogether for a more lasting fix.

“A lot of what we’re doing is Band-Aids, where before maybe we could do surgical improvements,” Hanson said.

Other projects

Over the next few years, the city must also complete a variety of accessibility improvements.

As a requirement of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Bend needs to make all sidewalks, curb ramps, parking spaces and government buildings compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act by 2014. In addition, the city must bring all of its Bend Area Transit bus stops into compliance with federal regulations by 2012 because of a separate settlement with Disability Rights Oregon, formerly called the Oregon Advocacy Center.

The city has made progress on some of the improvements, installing new handicapped parking spaces downtown and updating some bus stops. But there’s still more work to be done; officials have said there could be more than 1,000 ramps around the city that need to be fixed.

The city set aside $1 million for the work, but King said it won’t be enough. He said officials haven’t narrowed down exactly how they’ll pay for the upgrades but said debt financing is one of the options on the table.

“We’re under those settlement requirements, so we have to do our best to comply with those — we can’t not do them,” King said. “That’s something we’re going to have to figure out how to finance.”

Officials said a variety of other large projects up for consideration over the past couple of years — a new City Hall, a permit center, the Heritage Square downtown concept — probably won’t see the light of day for a while. But King said he wants to keep the plans for those projects up to date for a time when finances aren’t so tight.

“We definitely just aren’t able to move forward as quickly as we’d like. ... But that doesn’t mean that we’re completely abandoning those things,” he said. “We’re still trying to put ourselves in a good position so we’re ready when funding becomes available.”

What's amazing is that these people look at a 80-90% drop in SDC's to $550K.... but, by God, they still got their eyes on a $20 MILLION roundabout on Reed Market. And luckily they had the FORESIGHT to "defer" (ie cancel) all builder SDC charges to fight this housing glut.

Then there are the $250+ MILLION infrastructure required fixes. That's around $3,500 for ever person in Bend. And that's just to get sewer & water upgrades & improvements that we MUST HAVE right now!

And of course NO ONE at City Hall will even acknowledge that we're in the Worst Slowdown in a Generation. No, it'll all be alright. We'll return to the Hyper-Growth Bend of the Past 25 Years, cuz that's all I can remember.

Think again dumbshits. Businesses closing (Cessna, etc) and people LEAVING is going to be the DOMINANT THEME for the next decade, and almost certainly longer. These required fixes will probably go to $5,000 per capita at a time when incomes & profits are imploding.

Again, not to rub salt in the wound, but THIS IS WHAT YOU GET FOR BLOWING THE LARGEST SURPLUS WE WILL EVER RECEIVE AS A TOWN, AND DOUBLING DOWN ON REd OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER...!

It should NOT SURPRISE ANYONE that this has happened. This city's infrastructure is IN TATTERS because we spent every fucking cent we got on PR & MARKETING and RE WELFARE, and NOTHING on infrastructure.

"How could anyone have predicted...?"

Right. That's like asking a slot-jockey if they think they'll lose everything. There's a difference between PREDICTION & MYOPIC OPINION OF THE DELUDED. Of course a gambler THINKS they'll win, that's why they're there. And of course, overall, they NEVER DO. THIS is why no one at City Hall could have predicted this slowdown: THEY'RE STUCK IN A GAMBLER MENTALITY. Always THE NEXT HAND is going to BRING ME BACK. The End Game of this mentality is ALWAYS THE SAME: 100% CRACKER ASS CRACKER BROKE.

This is why almost everyone in City Hall is 100% unqualified to hold their position. "Cut SDC Charges" = DOUBLE DOWN on 12. Whn you're flat ass broke sitting at the blackjack tables, PR & MARKETING ain't going to do SHIT.

But that is what we will do. See, they aren't betting THEIR MONEY. They are betting OUR MONEY. They are betting OUR TOWN. They have NOTHING TO LOSE. They'll just lose their jobs. WE WILL LOSE OUR TOWN.

We're going broke. And it's because NO ONE CARES. COAR & COBA bought City Hall.

Don't think they'll push us RIGHT INTO THE ABYSS?

Where's marge? Why is she GONE? Yeah. Free Speech is the sworn ENEMY of the characters who have BOUGHT & PAID FOR our City Councilor WHORES. RE has tapped into a multi-hundred-million dollar kitty... for LESS THAN PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR. They bought their City Councilor WHORES for next to nothing.

They have zero incentive to save this place, and 100% incentive to enrich themselves as much as possible, before BK-ing this place. And when it goes BK, YOU & I will pay. For DECADES. They are lining their pockets, getting dollars for less than a penny, and you & I are supplying the dollars & taking the pennies.

So I apologize to Buster & BEM regarding their optimism that Bend "can be saved". I don't think it can be saved. We've elected THIEVES to office, and their puppeteers DO NOT CARE about anything but lining their pockets. No COCC expansion. No road improvements. No statutorily required sewage improvements.

We're already in hock for 10-20 years. And with our recent elections and the economic implosion, it's going to get worse. We're down to our last $100 (started with $100 million) at the blackjack tables, and we're going to go into PR & MARKETING OVERDRIVE (asking the dealer for money), and we're claiming that "we couldn't have possibly known THIS was going to happen".

Really? Didn't think you were going to lose? Didn't think the dealer would tell you to FUCK OFF? You're surprised?

Yes, this is exactly what we are being told. And most people are swallowing it whole. No questions asked. Kool-Aid mania still running strong.

WE'LL BE BK WITHIN A YEAR, 80-90% REVENUE REDUCTION, AND NO ONE AT CITY HALL ACKNOWLEDGES ANYTHING BUT A TEMPORARY SLOWDOWN.

THIS is why we are doomed. This town is being 100% DESTROYED BY our elected officials. Why? They are WHORES for local development interests who BOUGHT them for pennies on the dollar. WE ARE DOOMED.