Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sword, Please

(The bathroom scale just went into storage for I know not how long; one hopes a short time).

Warning: there will be more foul language than usual in today’s post. Not only am I ripshit, but “The King’s Speech” is on. I’d like to take credit for the part where Colin Firth (sigh. I NEVER want to hear an American accent on him) really lets fly, but I don’t think he’s been near me when I’ve missed an exit on the 210.

I just returned from 4 hours of running errands to find a couple of letters from the California Attorney General’s office awaiting me. One was the result  of a complaint regarding a third party debt collector and one was an acknowledgment of a complaint against a third party collector. I take a good look and realize that both of these parties were attempting to collect (illegally) the same old, stale (beyond the Statute of Limitations) debt because as soon as one had put it back to the previous third party collector, those shit weasels had turned around AND SOLD IT AGAIN.

I recently read an article where debtors are now being JAILED through complaints by third party collectors (some of whom are also harassing people IN THE HOSPITAL, telling new mothers that they will not be permitted to leave with their babies unless they settle up outstanding bills, telling other patients that they won’t be treated unless they “go get their checkbooks”. I wish I was kidding).  I’m sure they’re working their way towards the Jabba the Hutt method of dealing with outstanding debt:

Let us compare and contrast this with the news that JP Morgan Chase has lost AT LEAST $2 billion ($2,000,000,000 for you fans of the 0 digit) playing with derivatives, having attempted to drive a cement truck full of nitro glycerine through a small loophole in the Volcker rule against banks trading derivatives. Like the truck on “Mythbusters,” it has blown up in Jamie Dimon’s face.

And yet, he still has his job, a $23 million annual salary and an “invitation” to appear before Congress.
Here’s the difference between the 1% and the 99%: who do you think is going to be made to bear that loss? The board of Chase? No. Dimon? No. The big-ticket customers who can afford to leave at least $10,000 sitting in an account? Hell, no.

That one will be coming around to you and me, friend and probably start by laying off a few thousand employees. I’ve worked with Chase employees (in loss mitigation). They’re decent, hard-working people (who get worked a little too hard but these are the times) who have enough of a burden on their shoulders because the time demanded by the job has been eating into time for themselves and their families. I would wager that the Board of Directors could probably come up with the funds to cover the losses out of their own personal wealth, but it won’t be asked of them.

Meanwhile, I have the law on my side, yet I am being harassed by LVNV Funding (of Evanston, IN) by them ignoring the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and human decency. They sell old debts to Arrow, to Brachfeld Law Group (THAT name is a joke), to Richard J. Boudreau. I complain to the appropriate state agencies and the FTC about these transactions, the buyers apologize to the AGs, put the old debts back to LVNV who sell it to another collector. And the process starts again. Each time they sell it, it’s for about $7 or $8, so the sales and returns aren’t going to trouble anyone. Except me. It’s Whack A Collector.

I’m done playing.

I just sent a complaint to the Indiana Attorney General regarding LVNV Funding and their constant reselling of uncollectible debt that results in harassment.

Third party debt collectors are the scum of the Earth. There are laws, including the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regarding when they can you, when they must stop calling, the fact that they cannot threaten you with jail or harm and various other rules that they ignore because these laws are toothless. I’ve submitted at least a dozen complaints on various companies and they’re all still cheerfully operating. They promise that I’ll “never hear from them again”, but that doesn’t preclude the next guy from having at it. The State Attorneys General are too busy patting themselves on the back over their $25 billion settlement: “Under the deal struck in February, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial pledged to stop the illegal practices that sparked false documentation and "robo-signing," which helped push many homeowners into foreclosure and caused endless headaches for millions of other borrowers.”

General Harris? Fellow AGs? $25 billion is what Countrywide used to fund in ONE MONTH. That’s one company out of twenty. Congratulations: you just put a price tag on ripping off consumers. The next time it happens, they’ll have the fine set aside. This isn’t even a knuckle rap with a rubber ruler.
Fellow 99%-ers, therein lies the difference between the 1% and us. The agencies and forces that are supposed to be serving us are too busy making sweetheart deals with those who would make us serfs to actually protect us. So much for “We the People,” but Citizens United kind of drew a strikeout line through that Constitutional phrase. Money talks and those of us at the bottom of the pyramid; ours has laryngitis.

Way back in the late 1980s, I was a mutual fund accountant for a municipal bond fund. A big one (over $1 billion). It was my job to reconcile the trading activity of the fund manager with the purchase and redemption of shares by the individual investors in the fund. By the way,  I didn’t hate the late Senator Bob Packwood because he sexually harassed his female staffers. I hated him because the shithead said in 1986 that he was going to propose a tax on municipal bond interest as part of Reagan’s tax reforms (which you can thank for complicating the deductibility of IRA contributions. THAT had to be undone in the Clinton Administration.  Capital gains tax rates, however, remained the same or were cut. 1% v. 99%). Municipal bonds and muni bond funds could not be priced for 3 days because of the ensuing panic and its effect on prices (I’ll bet you Peckerwood and his buddies were busy snapping up bargains) . It had a derivatives portfolio from time to time and while it was a fairly small one, those futures had the power to move the fund price by a cent or two in either direction.  On a HUGE squishy muni bond fund, that takes some doing.

Also, way back in the early 1990s, derivatives were the root cause of Orange County, CA (to where I am moving this weekend) filing for bankruptcy protection.

Trading in derivatives (credit default swaps) were part of the worldwide economic collapse in 2008. Former Fed Chairman, Paul Volcker, made a rule: no more derivatives except to hedge against losses on certain investments.

Well, guess who decided that all of Chase’s investments qualified for hedging? And guess who’s been fighting tooth and nail against banking reforms?  Say “Jamie Dimon” once and win twice.

Part of the New Deal was the Glass-Steagall Act, which barred banks from gambling (for that is what derivatives trading is) with customer deposits. From Wikipedia: “The term Glass–Steagall Act, however, is most often used to refer to four provisions of the Banking Act of 1933 that limited commercial bank securities activities and affiliations between commercial banks and securities firms.[2] Starting in the early 1960s federal banking regulators interpreted these provisions to permit commercial banks and especially commercial bank affiliates to engage in an expanding list and volume of securities activities.[3] By the time the affiliation restrictions in the Glass–Steagall Act were repealed through the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 by President Bill Clinton, many commentators argued Glass-Steagall was already “dead.”[4] Most notably, Citibank’s 1998 affiliation with Salomon Smith Barney, one of the largest US securities firms, was permitted under the Federal Reserve Board’s then existing interpretation of the Glass-Steagall Act.[5]

Many commentators have stated that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s repeal of the affiliation restrictions of the Glass-Steagall Act was an important cause of the late-2000s financial crisis.[6][7][8] Some critics of that repeal argue it permitted Wall Street investment banking firms to gamble with their depositors' money that was held in affiliated commercial banks.[9][10][11][12][13][14]”
Less than 9 years after your buddies in the Republican Party repealed the legislation (with help from Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin who then got a lucrative job with Citibank. Party shmarty: they’ll all drop trou and bend over for the almighty dollar), the activities Glass-Steagall prevented for 70 years created a worldwide economic collapse.

You’d think the Jamie Dimons of the world would have learned.

You’d think
You’d think that if the California Attorney General and the FTC had received enough complaints from consumers regarding violations of the FDCPA, they’d start shutting down the third party collectors and enforcing the regulations that these people casually ignore as they go about their “business.” There is substantial evidence that people have been driven to suicide by the heavy-handed tactics.
They’ve just managed to really make me angry. Quietly angry. Quiet anger is dangerous because the energy isn’t dispelled through screaming and violent activity. Mine gets channeled into writing letters, making calls and urging regulatory action/prosecution.

“They task me. I’ll chase them round Perdition’s moon…”

Well, I’m saner than Khan, but I’m just as angry.

Load the Genesis device. From FDCPA's heart, I stab at thee....

Oh, and here's a difference between the Presidential candidates (our current President had a basic middle-class upbringing)...


  1. Ima come back and read this after I get my law degree. I did however understand your sentiments; this is the one disgusting downfall of Capitalism. There is a lack of virtue and integrity for the almighty dollar.

  2. I have a law degree. It's what keeps me from using four letter words when writing to the AGs and communicating with these scum sucking dildos.
    It's the removal of the human factor from capitalism that's the downfall.


Keep it civil.