Tuesday, May 21, 2019

'They Were Conned': How Bankers Devastated Thousands Of New York City Taxi Medallion Owners

For the last several years, we reported an increase of suicides by taxi drivers in New York City was the result of insurmountable debts and financial stress of medallion owners. During the halving of medallion prices in the last four years, industry leaders and officials conveniently blamed ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.
But a New York Times report revealed much of financial stress could be linked to industry leaders who artificially drove up prices, creating a huge bubble that would eventually implode.

In the last 12 years, thousands of foreigners poured their life savings into scammy loans and had hundreds of millions of dollars extracted from them by financial institutions.
Bankers, brokers, lawyers, investors, fleet owners, and debt collectors generated huge profits from these business practices. These people became multimillionaires, Wall Street cheered, and medallion brokers bought yachts and waterfront properties.
These predatory practices robbed immigrant families of all their monies, overwhelmed drivers with large debt loads, and collapsed an industry that has been so iconic to New York for more than five decades.

The Times said 950 medallion owners have filed for bankruptcy and thousands more are on the verge of financial ruin.
The Times noted that lending practices were as fraudulent as the subprime mortgage industry pre-summer 2007, that eventually led to the 2008 global economic meltdown.
"The whole thing was like a Ponzi scheme because it totally depended on the value going up," said Haywood Miller, a debt specialist who has consulted for both borrowers and lenders.
"The part that wasn't fair was the guy who's buying is an immigrant, maybe someone who couldn't speak English. They were conned."
The combination of the Federal Reserve's easy money and enthusiastic borrowers helped prices soar from 2002 to 2014. The money was so good that major financial institutions wanted in on the taxi industry after 2008.

The Times even said industry leaders were artificially bidding up medallions to keep the scheme from imploding, moving prices from $200,000 per medallion, to more than $1,000,000 in 2014. During this period of rapid price inflation, driver incomes hardly changed, while Wall Street speculated with thousands of people's lives.

Almost 4,000 drivers bought medallions in those 12 years. These people, mostly foreigners, were excited to achieve the American dream, but the debt-fuelled Ponzi scheme of Wall Street, for the most part, left them all holding the bag.
"Much of the devastation can be traced to a handful of powerful industry leaders who steadily and artificially drove up the price of taxi medallions, creating a bubble that eventually burst. Over more than a decade, they channeled thousands of drivers into reckless loans and extracted hundreds of millions of dollars before the market collapsed."
"The practices were strikingly similar to those behind the housing market crash that led to the 2008 global economic meltdown: Banks and loosely regulated private lenders wrote risky loans and encouraged frequent refinancing; drivers took on debt they could not afford, under terms they often did not understand…Some industry leaders fed the frenzy by purposefully overpaying for medallions in order to inflate prices, The Times discovered.
"As in the housing crash, government officials ignored warning signs and exempted lenders from regulations. The city Taxi and Limousine Commission went the furthest of all, turning into a cheerleader for medallion sales. It was tasked with regulating the industry, but as prices skyrocketed, it sold new medallions and began declaring they were "better than the stock market." …At the market's height, medallion buyers were typically earning about $5,000 a month and paying about $4,500 to their loans," according to the report.
The implosion of the taxi medallion bubble was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme that enabled Wall Street bankers to extract hundreds of millions of dollars from low-income foreigners. The story about Uber and Lyft was just a cover for what really happened.

From: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-20/they-were-conned-how-bankers-devastated-thousands-new-york-city-taxi-medallion

Open Blog - Tuesday

So that's where it is.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce

This story, Tom Wolfe's last for Esquire, appeared in the December 1983 issue.
In 1948 there were seven thousand people in Grinnell, Iowa, including more than one who didn't dare take a drink in his own house without pulling the shades down first. It was against the law to sell liquor in Grinnell, but it was perfectly legal to drink it at home. So it wasn't that. It wasn't even that someone might look in through the window and disapprove. God knew Grinnell had more than its share of White Ribbon teetotalers, but by 1948 alcohol was hardly the mark of Cain it had once been. No, those timid souls with their fingers through the shade loops inside the white frame houses on Main Street and Park Street were thinking of something else altogether.
They happened to live on land originally owned by the Congregational minister who had founded the town in 1854, Josiah Grinnell. Josiah Grinnell had sold off lots with covenants, in perpetuity, stating that anyone who allowed alcohol to be drunk on his property forfeited ownership. In perpetuity! In perpetuity was forever, and 1948 was not even a hundred years later. In 1948 there were people walking around Grinnell who had known Josiah Grinnell personally. They were getting old; Grinnell had died in 1891; but they were still walking around. So... why take a chance!


(by Dr. Louis Arnoux)
Recently, Saudi Aramco, the world largest oil exporter, has acknowledged that Ghawar, the world largest oil field, is in decline. The news went mostly unnoticed except in the specialised media.  OK, so the Saudi have a bit of bother, so what?  In fact, this piece of news is extremely important. Previously the oil world had been led to believe that Ghawar was producing over 5 Million barrels/day (Mb/d).[1] As part of its fund-raising, Aramco has disclosed that it is in fact down to 3.8Mb/d.
GUEST POST: By Dr. Louis Arnoux
The meaning of this news snippet takes a bit of explaining.  What the specialised media did not emphasise is what follows:
When giant oil fields go into decline, they usually decline abruptly. Ghawar’s decline is ominous. It was discovered in 1948 and until recently represented about 50% of the oil crude production of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Ghawar is representative of some 100 to 200 giant oil fields. Most of them are old.  The most recently discovered giants are of a diminutive size compared with those old giants.[2]

Read more: https://srsroccoreport.com/the-end-of-the-oil-giants-and-what-it-means/

Open Blog - Monday

Happy Monday.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Ohio Suicide Rate Jumps 24% From 2008 To 2017 Amid Deindustrialization Wave

America's manufacturing sector was established in Ohio. But decades of deindustrialization have left once-thriving communities across the state in ruins. Ohio's manufacturing jobs were slashed to half by 2016, and median household income fell below the national average.
At the same time, tens of thousands of Ohioans lost their jobs, became depressed under financial pressure, and from 2008 to 2017, the suicide rate in the state jumped 24%, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

Some of the highest rates were located in Appalachian Ohio, the southeastern part of the state, and the suicide rate among men was four times greater than women.

Rates skyrocketed 80% among young millennials (children 14 and younger) and 57% for baby boomers, according to a report published by the 28-organization public-private Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health.
During the period, there were 15,246 suicides across the state, for an average annual rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people, the report says, which equates to more than 520,000 years of life were lost over the decade.

Summit County had 786 suicides from 2008 to 2017, at a rate of 14.51 per 100,000 population. Summit's economy experienced deep deindustrialization over the years, leaving surrounding communities in a state of shock.
Other counties and their suicides and rates were: Stark (591, 15.74), Medina (206, 11.95), Portage (189, 11.71), Cuyahoga (1,461, 11.41) and Wayne (125, 10.92).

Lori Criss, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said the suicide crisis is a significant concern for the State Health Improvement Plan.
"Our department and a number of others have initiatives that address suicide prevention and support families impacted by losing a loved one to suicide," Criss said. "This gives us a chance to really look at those and to grow them in intentional ways to have the impact that we need with specific communities or populations who are at higher risk."
The report shows nine of the 10 Ohio counties with the highest suicide rates are located in the Appalachian region.
Orman Hall, the study's author, explained these areas had experienced economic deprivation through deindustrialization.
Michelle Price, program director at the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, added that these counties had seen incomes collapse for farmers and industrial workers.
Other findings: The highest suicide rates were among white Ohioans; rate increases were more in rural communities than in metropolitan areas, and firearms accounted for half of all suicides.
With a manufacturing recovery nowhere in sight and a deepening trade war, it's likely suicide rates across the state will continue to move higher into 2020. When the next downturn strikes, one-off factors relating to financial asset losses could drive the rate to record highs.

Buying Influence for Liquor Licenses


Queensryche - Jet City Woman (Official Video)

The Great Depression 4 - We have a plan

Open Blog - Weekend

Have a great weekend.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Four for Fridays!

Tenderheart Bear has to attend to some family business up north.  She asked me to fill in for her.  Here are your questions:

1) Do you spend more time on the computer or watching TV?

2) If your vehicle has a flat, can you fix it?

3) Should we go to the moon again (est. cost $1.6 billion)?

4)  Who killed JFK?

I hope you enjoy the questions and have a wonderful week.

Open blog - Friday

Hot damn!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Fresh coat of paint for sculpture Becker commissioned, part of uptown revitalization

RACINE — Uptown's tangled red sculpture is showing its age; some edges are speckled with rust but in some places, particularly inside the artwork, whole stretches are more rust than paint.
The sculpture was commissioned by former Mayor Gary Becker to herald a new era for the neighborhood as an arts district, a vision that quickly fell apart after Becker's arrest in 2009.
Now, Visioning a Greater Racine's revitalization team is reviving the dream of an arts district but on a smaller scale; instead of inviting artists across the country to flock to Uptown, they hope to beautify and revitalize the district through public art that also promotes local "artists, creatives and influencers."
Kristina Campbell, owner of The Branch, 1501 Washington Ave., is spearheading an initiative, along with the local nonprofit Visioning a Greater Racine, to show the sculpture some love.
"It's in pretty rough shape," she said.

Read more: https://journaltimes.com/news/local/fresh-coat-of-paint-for-sculpture-becker-commissioned-part-of/article_ab1ec5a7-5230-516a-a1cc-e1b196e55009.html#tracking-source=home-top-story

Let it rust away.  That way it will more accurately represent Uptown.

Just say NO to GloboHomo

Sent to Rep Robin Vos: 
Just say NO to GloboHomo: 
Globohomo - or the acceptance of "Anything Goes" is an Agenda being 
promoted by S.C Johnson & Co. Which is an unaccountable Corporate 
entity which demands special privileges- such as not paying taxes on 
their City of Racine Operations. Just say NO to Globohomo, Pediophila, 
and outsourcing jobs by saying NO to SC Johnson & Sons. 

10 Weirdest Animal Defense Mechanisms

Open Blog - Thursday

Have a good one.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Flinging Species

From The Shepherd Express:

Herbie: I don’t have insurance either, but a check-up at the doctor’s is a no-win situation. Say you’re feeling kind of OK but it’s time for your regular physical, so you go and the doctor gives you a gold-star clean bill of health. What have you accomplished?
Emil: Fock if I know.
Herbie: You’ve kissed off a couple hours of your precious time, not to mention the big-ass bite your checkbook just took. It’s like putting on a pair of brown shoes in the morning and then asking the first guy you pass on the street to tell you what color your shoes are. He says, “Your shoes are brown, fockstick.” And you say, “Thank you, sir. Here’s a check for $350 bucks.” Well that’s just crazy, I don’t care who you are.
Ernie: You got a point there, Herbie.
Ray: And speaking of fockstick…
Little Jimmy Iodine: Hey, Artie! Over here. Put a load on your keister.
Art: Hey gents, what do you hear, what do you know.
Ernie: I heard Aaron Rodgers was on that “Thrones” TV game show last Sunday.
Ray: I saw it. And like most focking Sundays the last couple years, he was on the losing side.
Julius: And I know the wife is telling me she wants to sign us up for such a thing, some kind of dancer-cize class. You get to dance with the exercise to boot, she says.
Ray: You got to be jerking my beefaroni. Dance and exercise? What the fock, how can dancing possibly be good for you. You ever see these ballerinas? How can possessing the physical stature of a prisoner-of-war possibly be healthy for you’s? Those gals need to eat more, and I don’t mean “dining,” I mean “chowing.” Skip the tutu; put on the feedbag.
Herbie: Dancing is one of those human baggage things we Homo sapiens still lug around from prehistoric times, like appendicitis. Dancing was discovered by the cavemen, who often stepped on sharp objects ’cause they had yet to evolve the necessary brainpower to invent shoes or the flashlight.
Ernie: And exercise can kill a guy, what the fock. Look at all these knobshines keeling over left and right from this jogging malarkey. All exercising does is to put the unnecessary wear and tear on your muscles, your bones and your what-not.
Emil: I’ll bet you’s a buck two-eighty the Neanderthal man never came back home from a day-and-a-focking-half of hardcore hunting and gathering and told the wife to hold supper for a bit ’cause he wanted to put on his shorts and go for a goddamn jog, ain’a?
Art: Any you’s guys see in the papers that some kind of researchers with fossil records are saying the so-called modern humans 40,000 years were porking the Neanderthals, who happened to be a different focking species?
Ray: A different species? Big focking deal. You ever been to Tijuana?
Little Jimmy: You kind of got to feel sorry for those Neanderthals. I don’t know much about them, but it seems they were like the trailer trash of the human line of evolution, then one day all of a sudden they’re scoring some booty from some hot piece of new species and the next thing they know, they’re extinct.
Art: I’d sure like to shake hands with the first ape-type guy who had the good sense to walk about on only two legs. Focking-A, at the time the rest of his gang probably considered it only a cheap parlor gag, but I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and give this genius some kind of reward for having the presence of mind to understand that a couple, three million years in the future, mankind couldn’t be running around on all fours when he would need two of them to pause the remote, light a cigarette, start the car, or point to someone in the audience at a presidential debate.
Little Jimmy: It’s really a shame. I just wish that the video camera would’ve been discovered before the cavemen found the wheel or invented fire so that we’d have an accurate record of this stuff and be able to give credit where credit’s due, ain’a?
(It’s getting late and I know you got to go, but thanks for letting us bend your ear ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.)

From:  https://shepherdexpress.com/advice/art-kumbalek/flinging-species/

$40M Downtown housing, hotel announced

RACINE — A development of about 190 market-rate apartments and a five-story hotel — an investment of more than $40 million — is proposed for a key Downtown redevelopment site.
At his office Tuesday morning, Mayor Cory Mason announced a partnership with Hovde Properties of Madison to build on the former We Energies property at 233 Lake Ave., the southeast corner of Lake Avenue and Gaslight Drive.
The project includes two multistory apartment buildings, a hotel, a green central courtyard and an enclosed parking structure with a total value exceeding $40 million when completed.
Mason said of the plan: “It provides two things that we need more of: market-rate housing and hotel space, so it seems a good fit for the site.”

Read more:  https://journaltimes.com/business/local/m-downtown-housing-hotel-announced/article_c964619a-47fc-5909-85f3-028297f17e07.html#tracking-source=home-top-story