Time to Snap Out of It, Mr. President

Who will stand up for the people struggling to hold together their lives and livelihoods in the face of massive corporate corruption? If not the President, then who?

Dear President Obama: Your Failures Show A Lack of Heart, and Will. Man Up.

By Abigail Caplovitz Field | October 27, 2011

Dear President Obama,

You’ve failed, abjectly, to address the housing and foreclosure crisis.

What galls me most about your failures are the excuses presented for them. Your apologists explain that your efforts were the best policy politically possible, and that you consistently underestimated the crisis/had bad data. But here’s the thing: you never tried to change the limits of the politically possible, by campaigning for good policy with the communication skills and shrewdness so spectacularly displayed during your election campaign. And you’re supposed to be the smart President; how come you couldn’t even get the problem right?

Read the rest of this letter.

Get the Money Out of Politics. Take Back the U.S.

It’s pretty simple, folks. The vast majority of your elected officials at every level have been bought by special interest groups – people and corporations with enough money to fund the ridiculously expensive campaigns.

And, since the Supreme Court ruled that for the purposes of electioneering, a multi-billion-dollar corporation has the same rights that a person does, it’s even harder to know just which politicians are owned by which corporate interest.

The new reality is, the government of the United States no longer functions for the people. If functions for the corporate fat cats. You no longer live in a republic; you live in an oligarchy. Your vote no longer counts unless you have millions of dollars to back it up.

You think things are bad now, with high unemployment, millions of people losing their homes and most average folks wondering how they will survive the next increase in the price of gas, food, healthcare? Well, if something doesn’t change pretty soon, you haven’t seen anything yet. Time to get informed, get involved and even to get a little mad.

Here’s a dose of reality:

The vehement version …


A quieter version …

It’s time to get the money out of politics in this country before there is no longer a country. Sign the petition.

Go to jail for maple syrup fraud, but not for foreclosure fraud?

Okay, what’s wrong with a country where you can go to jail for five years for faking maple syrup, but no bank executives have gone to jail for faking documents on who-knows-how-many of the millions of foreclosures filed over the past three years?

Senators from New York, Vermont and Maine want to make it a felony to label as “maple syrup” anything other than pure maple syrup.

One of the sponsors of this bill is Charles Schumer, member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs. That’s a group of legislators you might expect would have actually done something useful in regards those very bankers who were taking home big bonuses and racking up billion-dollar profits while lying to customers to cheat them out of their homes.

Even better, Schumer is a member of two bodies that would seem to place him right in the dead center of the plight of homeowners: the subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development and the subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection.

Consumer protection, huh? Well, apparently he’s only interested in protecting consumers of maple syrup, because we know neither his committee nor the Senate as a whole has done a thing for distressed homeowners being cheated by banks and misled by the government’s so-called foreclosure prevention programs.

How do we know this? Because nobody — not Congress, not the President nor any regulatory agency — has done anything substantive for the people or against the banks.

But, hey, who needs a roof over his head or a job or a retirement fund when we can all be sure we have authentic maple syrup?!

Time to Wake Up and Smell the Fraud, People!

Bits and pieces for those of you who still don’t understand how the foreclosure crisis was orchestrated by the big banks and Wall Street. If you can watch these and still say the economic meltdown is all the fault of a bunch of deadbeats who “bought more house than they could afford,” then you might want to go get a scan to see whether you have any functioning brain cells left.


Update 12/30/11: Just in case you didn’t get it yet …

Insane Levels of Leverage by the Too Big to Fail Banks – Not Deadbeat Borrowers – Caused the Financial Crisis

Media Misses the Point on Foreclosure Prevention Program

While I appreciate the coverage that the Phoenix news stations have given the state’s foreclosure woes, I continue to be frustrated by the lack of depth in the reporting.

Take, for example, this news story by Channel 15, the ABC affiliate, on the Save Our Home AZ program, which was launched last September to distribute Arizona’s portion of the “Hardest-Hit Fund” dollars provided to states with the highest foreclosure rates.

When I called about eligibility last December, I was very clearly told that if your loan was owned/guaranteed by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA or VA, you could not receive assistance through Save Our Home AZ. Those agencies own or guarantee the vast majority of mortgage loans in the United States. (Fannie and Freddie together guarantee about 70 percent!)

You also don’t qualify for the program if you had ever refinanced your mortgage loan. And that applies equally whether you prudently refinanced to get out of a risky adjustable-rate mortgage or whether you did a cash-out refi and went on vacation or a big shopping spree.

So, who exactly is this program meant to help? Good question, one I can’t believe Stephanie Hockridge and other reporters aren’t asking. It’s no wonder that only a small amount of the money intended to help Arizonans stave off foreclosure has been distributed so far. (Third quarter 2011 numbers aren’t yet posted on the Arizona Housing Dept. website, but through June 2011, only 78 people had gotten assistance.)

The states got to design these distribution programs themselves to meet the needs of their constituencies, so why not set more reasonable eligibility standards? Why create a program that only a tiny percentage of homeowners can take advantage of in the state that has consistently remained in the top three hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis?

When a program is so clearly designed to fail in its stated purpose, I can’t help but wonder why. The question I’d most like one of these reporters to ask is what happens to any undistributed money at the end of the program? I can’t help but suspect that a percentage of it stays right here in Arizona, not necessarily earmarked to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

A program like this that is more PR hype than actual help to real people is nothing more than a scam – no different from all the fly-by-night businesses offering to help desperate people dodge foreclosure or secure mortgage modifications.

I sure wish one of these reporters would hold some bureaucrats’ feet to the fire and find out why our own state housing agency would provide false hope in such challenging times and squander millions of dollars that are so badly needed by so many good people just trying to hang on to their homes. And why our governor, our attorney general and our legislature haven’t done anything to bring real help to Arizona’s homeowners.

Attorneys General, It’s Time To Act FOR Homeowners!

When will somebody actually stand up for the American homeowners who are being jerked around by the banksters? Which law enforcement department, regulatory agency or lawmaking body will actually take action against the bank executives and Wall Street traders who tanked the economy and have managed to make millions while trashing the middle class?

And I mean TAKE ACTION. Not name-calling (“fat cats”) or speechifying or issuing press releases. I mean prosecution of those who initiated, committed and directed blatant and massive fraud. I mean putting some teeth into no-accountablity, no oversight, no-enforcement, no-recourse, no-appeals, no-hope programs like HAMP.

A year ago, on October 12, 2010, the attorneys general of all 50 states announced they would investigate foreclosure and mortgage fraud at the big banks. The leader of the group, Iowa AG Tom Miller, famously declared, “we will put people in jail.”

So, what’s the status today? Nowhere. Nothing. Nobody has gone to jail – at least, not any bank executives or Wall Street traders. There seems to be some question whether there’s any actual investigation being conducted.

AGs from New York and California have left the group over concerns that banks would be allowed immunity from further prosecution after paying a token amount.

Here in Arizona, which has consistently been one of the top three states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, nothing much seems to be happening since former AG Terry Goddard left office. Guess the current AG, Tom Horne, has other priorities – posting a bunch of generic no-help resources while making it his priority issue to revile as “thugs” a group of high school students exercising their Constitutional rights of free speech and assembly. Not much help there …

As far as I can tell, the only people who have gotten arrested for their role in the massive foreclosure crisis are people who are speaking out against the banks. Indeed, it seems like the only people going to jail in large numbers in this country these days are the folks demonstrating against the corporate take-over of the economy, the government and pretty much anything else bank execs and Wall Street can get their hands on.

P.S. Thanks San Francisco OWS protestors for targeting Wells Fargo Bank headquarters!

Govt., Regulators’ Big Fat Fail

Time to prosecute Wall Street and the banksters!

From 1986 to 1989, the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC), a federal government agency that insured Savings & Loan accounts, closed 296 institutions with total assets of $125 billion.

After the S&L crisis, there were 1,100 prosecutions/800 convictions.

From 2008 through March 2011, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has closed 348 banks with approximately $604.4 billion of assets.

To date there are 0 prosecutions/0 convictions.

A Letter to the #Occup(iers): The principle of Non-contradiction