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Back when "Dodd-Frank" was being debated there was a provision I maligned (along with a few others) that exempted car dealers from its provisions -- particularly from those provisions that bore on consumer protection.

We ought to know by now that banksters will exploit any loophole they can find, and when there are none to start with they will create one so as to be able to screw you.  That's what happened here, and the result is harm to everyone, not just those with poor credit.

Rodney Durham stopped working in 1991, declared bankruptcy and lives on Social Security. Nonetheless, Wells Fargo lent him $15,197 to buy a used Mitsubishi sedan.

“I am not sure how I got the loan,” Mr. Durham, age 60, said.

Mr. Durham’s application said that he made $35,000 as a technician at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y., according to a copy of the loan document. But he says he told the dealer he hadn’t worked at the hospital for more than three decades. Now, after months of Wells Fargo pressing him over missed payments, the bank has repossessed his car.

Yeah.  He's broke and couldn't afford the car, especially at the "financed" price.  But that didn't matter.

What matters is that someone can package that crap up, slap a "AAA" rating on it and sell it -- despite knowing this time as last that it is full of "vomit."


Here's the problem -- just like with houses whether your credit sucks doesn't matter.  The "availability" of this insane financing means that there is more demand for vehicles than there would otherwise be.  This drives up prices, so you get screwed out of thousands whether your credit is good or bad.

It used to be that the right economic decision was to buy a lightly-used car, which typically would cost about half of a new one with only a few years and a few tens of thousands of miles on it.  Now such vehicles that cost half of the price of a new one are as much as ten years old.  I see it every day driving past the used car lots, and it's utterly insane what I find as the "ask" on these vehicles -- and that's from big dealers, not the little "used car palaces" that dot the landscape.

Those, especially the "buy here, pay here" places, are even worse.  Those lots typically get their cars at auction houses and fit them with various "payment verification" devices, such as GPS tracking units that can remotely disable the ignition and "phone home" if a payment is missed, making repossession nearly painless and instantaneous.  Then there's the sleazeball tactics that go into sales at those places, including bundling various forms of insurance into the deal price to "protect" the dealer but the sold-on security trust sues the buyer anyway for any deficiency if the vehicle winds up repossessed.

At its core this sort of abuse, however, happens only because we let it, just like it did with subprime housing and the 2/28 and 3/27 loans, serial refinancing and zero-down nonsense -- all of them simply expressions of outrageous and abusive leverage.  

We continue to think there's something for nothing available in the world, and that instant gratification is "good."  The linked article shows flatly outrageous examples; I drove garbage cars for something like a decade when I first became a driver and then an adult out of necessity -- I simply had no money. Among them were a Chevy Vega and an AMC Pacer; those with a bit of memory and age know them to be two of the ugliest and worst vehicles ever made in America, but by God they ran (most of the time) and got me to work and home.  No, they weren't pretty; the former had a crushed passenger door from a wreck before I acquired it and the latter had rotted floorboards and would literally flood when driving through puddled water -- never mind both consumed roughly as much oil as they did gas and neither had a working air conditioner either.  Yeah, that kinda sucked in the summer months, especially the Vega with its black vinyl seats and only one working roll-down window!  But -- not only were the cars cheap the insurance was too, since (having no assets) all I needed was minimum liability coverage; you can't get blood from a stone and damage coverage on a piece of crap is worth zero.

If we're ever going to put a stop to this crap the solution has two components -- first, criminal prosecution for the bandits that put together this garbage exactly as for any other swindler, up and down the line in the bankster industry.

But second, we must stop buying the garbage that these jackasses are selling and stop believing in something for nothing.

It's a hell of a lot harder to sucker someone who isn't begging to be ripped off.

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It was 45 years ago today when I sat in front of a (B&W and tube-powered) television as a young boy and watched a man set foot on the moon live.

We didn't have computers, our telephone had a rotary dial and was on the wall, a mere transistor radio was several times the size (and weight) of today's cell phones, gasoline was well under a buck a gallon, you could see the engine in a car when you opened the hood, car windows were opened with a crank and a watch was a mechanical thing you wound up.  Music was played on vinyl records that turned at 33-1/3 RPMs for albums with about 30 minutes per side or 45s containing a single song a side along with a much larger center hole and, for a few folks (including my parents) they still had a few 78s.  "Text messages" were sent by Western Union and were god-awful expensive, as was a voice telephone call anywhere outside of your local area.  Most people communicated over distance by writing letters long hand and affixing a stamp.

Today most younger people can't even write in cursive any more.

And today, were we to want to, we couldn't go back to the moon; we literally lack the ability to do it right here and now.

Progress?  I'm not so sure.

Yeah, there are many wondrous things we have today that didn't exist then.  But how many of them really enrich our lives and how many turn them into plastic nonsense?  Facebook and its cousins -- really? 

I work with technology every day and have for 30 years.  But many times I wonder exactly why I have, and why I do.  What purpose it truly serves, and whether it really advances anything at all, or whether it's simply another means of covering up this scam or that, placing "feel good" in front of doing, faceless machines in front of time with people -- or even time alone.

Today, perhaps, as we look back at that Prime Time broadcast of the first man to set foot on the moon, perhaps we should contemplate all of that -- with our computer screens turned off.

Goodnight everyone.  

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One week in, this is what we appear to know.  

Please keep in mind that falsification of various records and items, including so-called "photographic evidence", is relatively common.  If you do not have an original digital image it can also be very difficult to detect -- but is usually not impossible.  I have caught a number of faked -- and false claims made from real -- images over the years on The Ticker, including the infamous one of a so-called "camera" over the shoulder of a man that was fired upon by a US Helicopter -- and which, upon closer examination, certainly looked like a RPG and not any camera I've ever seen.  Remember this?


That was "Wikileaks" with a claim that we had fired on an "unarmed" set of dudes.  On examination of their video, however, the above was quite clear.  If you display that to me and I'm in a chopper I'm going to shoot you because that sure looks like an RPG, it's being handled like an RPG, and the sort of picture you're going to take of me with it is the type that makes me explode.  So with that out of the way, let's go down the bullet list....

  • MH17 appears to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile.  The flight was operating at an altitude beyond the range of small, shoulder-fired weapons -- that much is known from public data.  Therefore, if it was hit by a missile the weapon had to be a relatively-sophisticated SAM weapon such as the SA-11.

  • Both the Ukraine and the "rebels" have or had SA-11 variants.  But the Ukraine military allegedly has none that are known in the area where the shot had to come from, simply on the distance from the target that is possible for such a weapon. This does not make it impossible that the Ukraine military fired, but it is highly unlikely.

  • A Ukraine military transport was downed a few days earlier by the separatists, presumably using the same weapon (and maybe literally the same launcher) as it too was flying above the range of shoulder-fired missiles.  This much we know as the separatists took credit for it and have not backed away from that claim.
  • The sky was quite clear at the time of the incident from public footage of the impact itself.  This strongly implies that multiple nations and certainly the US should have satellite footage of the incident.  If such a smoking gun does exist, however, it also almost-certainly came from a classified device (e.g. a spy satellite.)  The assumption has to be made that within the organs of the major nations involved they know, factually, exactly where the missile came from geographically.  Missiles leave a big trail of fire and (for solid-fuel ones) smoke, never mind the explosion on impact.

  • There are multiple reports of a BUK (SA-11) missile battery crossing back into Russia missing either one or two missiles.  There is what facially appears to be solid photographic evidence of said launcher missing said missiles.  There is enough background in such images that their actual location ought to be able to be determined with a high degree of confidence, as well as whether or not the image of the launcher has been tampered with.

  • Ukraine (the nation) does not have control over the territory on which the plane fell, the separatists do.  Therefore any claim that Ukraine's government "must allow {blah-blah-blah}" is nonsense and any nation or other organ speaking such needs to have a boot put up their ass as they are dissembing; the crash site evidence is not under the Ukranian government's control.

  • Those who have control over the crash site either directly or by proxy are the ones who must allow unfettered and unmolested access to it.  They have already failed to do so and further, have tampered with the site (rather than simply securing it.)  This is it not conjecture, it is fact as video evidence of said tampering is all over the world at this point.

  • There are reports that the ATC recordings (and presumably radar tracks as well) have been confiscated by the Ukraine government.  Is this true and if so why, where are they, and how do we know they've been forensically secured and not tampered with?

  • Irrespective of who fired and why (it's nearly-certain that whoever fired the missile they thought they were shooting at a military aircraft and not an airliner) the question remains why the airspace in the vicinity of the known presence of these missiles, especially after one was used to down a military transport, was considered open to civilian transit.  That's ****ing idiotic and the entire International community including the ICAO bears full responsibility for not issuing a strong warning to avoid transit of airspace known to be subject to the use of SAM batteries in a conflict.  The ICAO has tried to duck responsibility claiming it belongs solely to the various nations involved.  Bull****; to remain silent in the face of a known serious hazard is called negligence.  Ask GM how this is working out for them if you need an education on that principle.  It is a fact that misidentification of things flying around does happen, and it is also a fact that a civilian airliner has little to no defense against a SAM battery that is locked onto it; it is a sitting duck.

  • If you wish to argue that the Ukranian government shot this plane down then you are arguing that they did so intentionally since the separatists have had no air assets up in the sky that the government would be legitimately targeting -- in other words, it could not have been hit by mistake.  In effect you're arguing that the government took the plane down as a "false flag" operation and intentionally murdered nearly 300 people.  You better have some damn good evidence to back that one up.

If the weapon system in question was removed to Russia then Putin owns this shoot-down -- period.  That missile system could not cross the border without Russian consent; irrespective of what happened before by allowing it into his territory in an attempt to frustrate investigation he took responsibility for its use.

We'll see how this continues to develop, but this much is certain -- the so-called International Community pays exactly zero attention to closing airspace to civilian flights where it is known that unstable individuals and groups have access to and the knowledge to use highly-effective military weaponry capable of downing civilian aircraft at cruise altitudes.

In this case that hazard did not even quality as a "best guess"; it was a known fact given the very recent downing of a transport with what appears to have been same weapon system.

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I think you should back up your bull**** with a demonstration of your beliefs.

Or you could retract your lie.

EXCLUSIVE: RINCON PENINSULA, Texas -- U.S. Border Patrol agents on the American side of the Rio Grande were forced to take cover Friday night when high-caliber weaponry was fired at them from the Mexican side of the river, sources told

The weapons were fired at the U.S. side of the riverbank in the area of the Rincon Peninsula across the Rio Grande from Reynosa, Mexico, at about 8:30 p.m., sources said. Bullets ricocheted into an area where Border Patrol agents were positioned, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told

The Border Patrol agents believe the rounds are .50 cal too, and given the range involved there, that well might be the case.

Good thing the shooters are pretty bad shots or we'd have some dead agents.

Further, as soon as the shooting stopped a few dozen "people" (note the word invaders is not used) came out on the US side and turned themselves in -- so it appears the intention of the barrage was suppressive fire (that is, to make the agents put their head down so they can't see) while the invaders came across.

Yes, folks, invaders.

What do you call it when an armed force lays down suppressive fire across a border so that their people can come in?  That is an act of war (shooting) and an invasion.

Quit mincing words folks and call this crap what it is.

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The hypocrisy meter is off the scale with this clown.

After the collapse of the regime and the introduction of representative government, the tables were turned on the Sunnis and the Shia. The Shia, who were poorly treated under Saddam Hussein, were easily able to dominate the new, constitutionally-elected Iraqi government.

So we respect the constitutionally-elected government and will of the people, right?


The time is now to put pressure on the Iraqi government to change. Maliki must go. A change in Iraq’s government is our only hope.

Write a Constitution, live to it, and then when we don't like the outcome we'll dictate to you what has to happen anyway.


This is exactly what is wrong with America -- and our government.

We have no right to interfere with a lawfully-elected government.  We can preach and we can set an example, but that's it.

And as for setting an example Mike you could start by respecting the rule of law and demanding that we do it here.  You know, perhaps when it comes to things like our President and Congress in regard to, oh, the border, the 4th Amendment, the 2nd Amendment, you know, those little things?

Yeah, that.

But -- that's not going to happen, is it Mike?

As for Iraq, leave 'em alone.  We thought we were smarter than them more than once -- first with Saddam who was our "Best Buddy" that wound up with us invading their nation twice (after standing him up as our puppet in the first place!) and now you wish to do it again.


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