Securitizing the banksters, with cameras and contracts

Image credit: J D Abolins via Flickr (cc)Just in case there was any doubt, Pam Martens in Counterpunch gives us a report on the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, where feeds from sophisticated spy cameras are integrated to essentially track anyone and everyone on the streets who might interest our supervisors. What’s news here, tho I suppose I already suspected it, is that partners in this operation are not just the NYPD, but also “the same firms under investigation in 50 states for mortgage and foreclosure fraud and widely credited with causing the Nation’s economic collapse.”  Presumably they have added some of the proceeds of their crimes to the $150 million public money that’s been used for this project.
It’s difficult to believe that Chicago doesn’t have something similar.
Meanwhile, and I suppose it’s more relevant to us here, the CTA will be paying up to $58,000/month, plus commission, to Goldman Sachs and other “financial advisors.” The Authority assures us such amounts “are comparatively very small compared to the billions of dollars in much-needed funding CTA would secure” if such commissions are paid. “Funding” more likely means “loans” or “new ways of packaging existing streams of money” rather than any actual additional resources or capture of land value which transit could create.

2014 Business Report

image credit: Ged Carroll via Flickr (cc)

I used to be in the forecasting business; still am in a way.  So here’s a forecast:  Look for financial difficulties in the next few years at Sandisk, Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network, Louisville Arena Authority, and Harmony Oaks housing development in New Orleans. What kind of difficulties and when?

I don’t exactly know.  Sandisk has apparently survived sixteen years of Goldman Sachs help, and the smart parasite does not kill its host too quickly. Maybe not all four; in fact maybe these four have been selected for survival.

Wealth stolen thru privilege

We already know this in general, that government-protected privilege is used to steal wealth from the public.  An outrageous specific example appears to be Goldman Sachs, as profiled in Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi. The text seems to be here and a pdf scan here.

Tho especially aided by a revolving door between GS and regulatory agencies, none of this could happen under a government which sought to eliminate privilege where possible and tax it where it cannot be avoided.   Taibbi doesn’t seem to be aware of this latter point, or maybe it just isn’t as interesting to focus on policy solutions as to discuss evil persons and their organizations.

A rather weak response from Goldman Sachs is reported here, the good news being that

in the wake of the events of the past year or two, Goldman’s partners have pretty much lost their appetite for going into public service.

But as long as privilege thrives, some will find ways to manipulate it to their advantage.

Solar power brings more land speculation

I shouldn’t be surprised to read, in Fortune, that speculators are buying up sites with good potential for solar power generation. The article indicates that these are largely desert areas near major cities of the West, and particularly the Mojave near Los Angeles. Prices have increased from $500 to $10,000 (or more) per acre. Much of the site is government (BLM) land intended as a nature reserve; it’s not (currently) for sale but can be leased (prices not discussed in the article.) Continue reading Solar power brings more land speculation