Buy Here Pay Here: The Subprime Auto Loan Scam

Check Cashing/Payday Loans are legal forms of loan sharking encouraged by the rich who love business more than the exploited poor and working class.  Other forms of robbery and exploitation of the working people and poor include rent to own furniture that cost several times what decent furniture costs.  Then you have these scum bag auto dealers with the 500 dollars down and a payment a week forever.  A loan that costs many times the value of the car.

Debt Slavery and loan sharking run by a legalized Mafia

From FireDogLake:

By: David Dayen
Wednesday November 2, 2011

More attention needs to be paid to the LA Times’ excellent series on subprime auto loans. The first installment concerned Buy Here Pay Here used car dealerships, and how they hook low-income borrowers into high-interest loans, then repossess the car when the loans go bad and resell the car to the next mark. This is an endlessly repeating cycle, where the same lemon can be sold and resold multiple times. And if you’re current on your payments or if you worked out what you thought was a modification, well, that’s just an inconvenience.

A year and a half later, Lee fell behind on her payments and filed for bankruptcy. So she was relieved when the dealership called and offered to make her loan more affordable. The sales manager even promised to throw in a free smog check. Lee, 35, drove back to Repossess Auto on a rainy Monday evening, handed the keys to an attendant and sat down with the manager.

Moments later, she said, employees parked four cars tightly around the Ford, blocking it in.

There would be no new deal. Lee’s car was being repossessed. She and her children waited in the rain until a friend could drive them home.

Lee, who described that night as “one of the worst experiences of my life,” had stumbled into the bare-knuckle world of Buy Here Pay Here used-car sales.

The used-car dealers prey on the necessity among even low-income individuals of having a car. They will pay whatever they need to get one, regardless of the terms. And then they get locked into a rate they can’t afford. That’s the whole point for the dealership, which wants to make money off the vehicle again and again. One car has been resold eight separate times, according to the LAT investigation. The BHPH model is so reliant on repossession that they outfit the cars with hidden GPS devices and remote-control ignition blockers.

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Occupy Paris: Calling for Change at the G20 Summit

From Common Dreams:

by Yifat Susskind
Published on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 by

This week marks the beginning of the G20 summit in Paris, where representatives from the 20 richest countries will gather to discuss global economic policy. The G20 has been meeting since the late 1990s to respond to global financial crises. But the policies they espouse—from cutting back on government spending to deregulation—have only led to more poverty, inequality and instability.

Ahead of this week’s meetings, MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, calls on the G20 states to take effective action to address financial crisis. One important step is to stabilize the market by creating a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on currency exchanges and financial transactions. MADRE stands with economic justice advocates worldwide in endorsing the call for such a tax.

In a global economy wracked by speculation and rapid-fire trading, the ‘Robin Hood’ tax would tame the profit-driven speculation that has made our world financial markets so volatile. It would curb short-sighted trading practices that move trillions of dollars each day, generating huge profits for a tiny few without reinvestment in social services, infrastructure and other necessities for the global 99 percent. By taxing these financial transactions, money could be funneled into critical social services such as health care and education.

The practices of traders and speculators in global markets have also turned basic rights like food, water, health care and education into commodities, pushing these resources out of reach for many of the world’s people. For example, this year’s famine in the Horn of Africa is in part the result of rampant speculation on grains—the world’s staple food.

Today, grassroots protests against economic injustice are growing around the world. The Occupy Wall Street movement was born in downtown New York City, but it has links that span geographies and time.

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Biometric Door Locks and Bulletproof Windows: How Occupy Wall Street Is Scaring the Heck out of the 1%

From Alternet:

Are the sustained protests in Manhattan’s Financial District and around the country getting to the wealthy bankers who are being targeted?

By Sarah Jaffe
November 1, 2011

A giant bunch of red balloons bob outside the glass windows of the tower at 200 West Street—the headquarters of mega-investment bank Goldman Sachs. Tied to each balloon is a letter, printed out from the site, being delivered to Goldman in rather spectacular fashion by the activists below, who are holding onto the balloons by a few balls of twine.

A small group of people, including a couple of police officers, huddle nearby. It’s clear they don’t like what’s going on, but they can’t seem to come up with a legal reason to stop it. The protesters tie more letters to more balloons and send them zipping up the string to join the others at the top, and a blonde woman mutters something like, “They want to occupy the boardroom,” into her her walkie-talkie.

Clearly, someone at Goldman Sachs has heard of the site, and while their message might not be getting through, they’re certainly unnerved at the willingness of activists to bring creative protest right to their door.

The response of the country’s financial elites to the protests in Liberty Plaza and around the country seem not all that different from the police and security guards nervously watching outside the Goldman office. They don’t want to overreact and show that the actions are working, but they clearly wish they had a way to shut them down.

It’s been over a month since New York’s financial district found a mini-society growing in one of its parks, a month of impromptu marches, organized bank withdrawals, teach-ins, arrests, and creative actions of all kinds. But aside from the snarled “Get a job!” from angry be-suited passersby, how have the financial elites who are the target of the protests reacted?

Are the occupiers, for lack of a better phrase, getting inside their heads?

A Boom for “Executive Protection”

Forbes magazine sent billionaire investor Jeff Greene, reportedly a Democratic candidate for the Senate in Florida last year, down to report on Occupy Wall Street, and he told them, “Right now it’s like a college sit-in, demonstrating middle-class frustration, but it could eventually lead to violence and that is the scary next step.”

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Chick-fil-A Gave Nearly $2M to Antigay Groups Just in 2009

From The Advocate:

By Neal Broverman

November 1, 2011

The Georgia-based fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has never hid its conservative leanings, but now the full scope of its antigay agenda is coming to light — according to Equality Matters, the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A distributed over $1.7 million to antigay groups in 2009 alone.

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy has said that his company doesn’t carry an “agenda against anyone,” but it’s hard to believe that after considering their “philanthropy.” Some of the groups the corporation has contributed to through WinShape, the side company created in 1984 for corporate giving, include organizations that not only actively work to end marriage equality, but also groups that attempt to “convert” gay people and one that’s considered a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Here are some of WinShape’s contributions, according to tax records from 2009:

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Egg-as-Person Proponent Predicts Initiative 26 Would Ban Birth Control

From In These Times:

By Lindsay Beyerstein
Wednesday Nov 2, 2011

A spokesman for PersonhoodUSA predicted in a radio interview that a proposed amendment to redefine fertilized ova as persons would also ban any form of birth control that kills a fertilized ovum in Mississippi.

PUSA spox Walter Hoye is very confused about human reproduction, but he’s crystal clear about his agenda, as he told Diane Rehm of NPR:

Hoye: Any birth control that ends the life of a human being will be impacted by this measure.

Rehm: So that would then include the IUD [intra-uterine device]. What about the birth control pill?

Hoye: If that falls into the same category, yes.

Rehm: So you’re saying that the birth control pill could be considered as taking the life of a human being?

Hoye: I’m saying that once the egg and the oocyte come together and you have that single-celled embryo, at that point you have human life, you’ve got a human being and we’re taking the life of a human being with some forms of birth control and if birth control falls into that category, yes I am.

The logical follow-up question is whether women with IUDs would be prosecuted as serial killers. If fertilized ova are legally people from the second the sperm meets the egg, that would be the only just response. But that’s stupid. Even Hoye doesn’t believe that women who use IUDs are murderers.

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G-20 leaders detached from reality?

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I get VERY frustrated with the gay community

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:

By Alvin McEwen
November 2, 2011

Reposted with permission

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

There are times when I get extremely frustrated with some who fight for lgbtq equality.

Yesterday, I was reading an excellent piece on Equality Matters (a really good site), which detailed the fact that Fox News was relying on the supposed expertise of religious right “experts” to comment on a situation involving a seven-year-old transgender girl who was allowed in the Girl Scouts.

The piece pinpointed two of the phony experts – Judith Reisman:

Reisman is actually a long-time peddler of anti-LGBT propaganda. She is a full-throated proponent of the claim that gay people are more likely to engage in pedophilia, as well as the myth that the Nazi party was run by gay men. She has railed against the media for failing to acknowledge “that homosexuality is correlated with disorder.” She’s also accused those who support transgender youth of “chemically violating and numbing the nation’s cruelly and unnaturally traumatized youth.”

And the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg:

FRC has been labeled as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Sprigg is a good example of the reasons why. Sprigg is the author of some of FRC’s vilest anti-LGBT propaganda, including a pamphlet that links homosexuality to pedophilia, mental illness, disease, and violence while promoting “ex-gay” therapy. He’s stated that he would prefer to “export” gays and lesbians from the U.S. and condemned anti-bullying initiatives for trying to “indoctrinat[e]” children.

Here is the thing, though.

The piece failed to mention that Reisman is a failed researcher who was given a federal grant of more than $784,000 to study 30 years worth of Playboy magazines. These findings were dismissed as “paranoid pseudoscientific hyperbole.” Or that she wrote a book accusing sex researcher Alfred Kinsey of child abuse. When the Kinsey Institute easily batted down her charges, she sued it for defamation and emotional distress, claiming that it tried to censor her book. Not only was the case dismissed, but it was dismissed with prejudice, which means Reisman could not re-file it.

The piece also failed to mention that Sprigg’s pamphlet in question – The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality – is filled with distortions, cherry-picked work, and quotes taken out of context created to justify homophobia.

This is not a slam on Equality Matters, but rather just an outcry of frustration on the entire lgbtq movement in general. I think that the reason why it has been so difficult for us to expose the right is because we are not thorough enough.

In dealing with religious right groups, the gay community has shown an appalling degree of laziness in demonstrating why these groups and their phony analysts have no credibility.

It is simply not enough to call them hatemongerers. It is simply not enough to say that they are hate groups.

We have yet  to make any consistent effort in educating the public how they rely on lies, junk science, and distortions to make their case. Simply spotlighting their words with no explanation as to the inaccuracy of their statements is totally unacceptable.

How many of us know anything about the 11 researchers who have gone on record over the years complaining about how religious right groups take their work out of context?

How many of us know anything about Paul Cameron and the religious right’s reliance on his discredited research and methods?

There is a serious disconnect here and it’s something which constantly bothers me. The lgbtq community has so much power than we did before. We’ve got magazines. we have webpages. Hell, we even have a television channel.

Would it kill those in charge of gay media to focus at least one iota of attention on what goes into a Family Research Council anti-gay pamphlet or what criteria do these groups use to anoint someone as a “policy expert?”

If I said it once, I’ve said it a million times – if the lgbtq community is going to get any headway with combating religious right groups, the labeling of these groups as bigots without any discussion or knowledge of their techniques of deception  must stop. The lgbt community must roll up its collective sleeves and do the hard work not just to educate those in the mainstream, but also itself.

But I can’t help but wondering are we ever going to at least make an effort?

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