Banks Targeting LivingLies?

There is an old expression which I may have used on this site before says “you know that you are over the target when you start getting flack.”

In a variety of ways, we have uncovered a number of strategies being employed by the large banks on Wall Street directed at discrediting the discussion on this blog and making it as difficult as possible for us to do business. One of the ways that they do this is by planting articles in various periodicals which make it seem as though the housing crisis is behind us and that the banks are doing everything possible to alleviate the suffering of homeowners who are under the gun of wrongful foreclosures that amount to nothing less than outright theft.

Another way they do it is by posting “comments” on the blog that are designed to take up a lot of space and interfere in serious discussion between the readers. The latest round of spamming from the banks has been pointed out to us by a reader and the way that we are handling this is by eliminating the comments from those people who are clearly interfering in intelligent conversation and bona fide research that appears in the comment section in each blog article. To those whom we suspect are paid spammers from the banks, we are sending the following email:

“We received numerous complaints from other followers of the blog  regarding comments that you have posted. We are now blocking any comments from you and we will be watching for any variations used by you to post comments that are designed to confuse and chase people away from the blog. We are very much aware of the effort of banks to interfere with our operations and we must be extremely careful to stop any activity on the site that appears to be spawned by people who are paid by the banks to discredit the blog. If you wish to appeal this decision please send an email to NeilfGarfield@Hotmail.com.”

As for the attempts to interfere in our business I will not give any details here nor will I state how we are staying one step ahead of the banks who would like to see the blog taken down in the business destroyed. I am no stranger to fighting with these banks. And they are no stranger to losing the fight when the issues finally appear on the radar screen.

For my part I will continue to provide increasing depth, suggestions, strategies and tactics for lawyers to use against these banks. There is no doubt in my mind that these banks will eventually fall despite all attempts by government and central bankers to create the illusion of strength when in fact both the financial condition of the banks and the financial condition of the economy continued to be bankrupt beyond repair.

There is only so far that you can kick the can down the road. Now that I have so much company in this effort in the form of attorneys, government officials, and pro se litigants, it can be fairly said that my efforts have spawned  a cottage industry in which these banks will find themselves the target as real people represented by real lawyers seek money damages and other relief. The outcome of this is very clear to me. There are many economists who have seen and recently made comments based upon their analysis of government issued economic statistics; in particular there are concerned that financial services was at equilibrium with the rest of the economy when it accounted for only 16% of economic activity.

Now at a time when unemployment and underemployment combined with those people who have given up completely may have reached an all-time high, it is apparent to those economists that the alleged growth of our gross domestic product is in large measure due to our willingness to treat the trading of worthless paper as economic activity. The proof is in the pudding. The only way we can say that our gross domestic product is improving at a low rate of 2.5% is by ignoring the fiction of economic activity in the financial sector.

Financial services are now counted in gross domestic product at around 48% versus the 16% when financial services were at equilibrium with the volume of actual production of products and delivery of services. While unemployment grows and while wages continue to stagnate and even decline, we invite a social catastrophe caused by graphic economic inequality supported by fictitious numbers and arrogant policies controlled by those who have received the largest benefit from the largest crime in human history.

Thus the question being answered by this blog and others like it is how long we will listen to government statistics showing an increase in economic activity of 2.5% which is a complete illusion, and when will we start acting on the fact that comparable economic activity has declined by 32%. Think about it.

And by the way, those people who think that they can earn easy money by acting on behalf of the banks should realize that they are extremely expendable and will definitely be thrown under the bus once the plan of action has been disclosed. To the extent that you have any written confirmation of instructions from the banks as to how to interfere with this blog and other discussion sites, I suggest you make copies and have them distributed in different geographic locations. Otherwise, in the event of a lawsuit for interference in our contractual relations with customers and prospective customers, you might end up being the lead defendant.

 

Jeff Merkley, Oregon Senator Takes on the Banks

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Editor’s Notes:  

Hat Tip to Nancie Koerber, whose efforts in Oregon have achieved more traction than virtually any other group in the nation. I endorse this petition. Senator Jeff Merkley’s efforts could have national implications if we the people get on this drive and enforce it through petitions and letters. I have often said in my speaking engagements and in my meetings with politicians, that if they really want to win big, they should capitalize on the one common idea about which all sides of the political spectrum are in agreement: the Banks did this to us and we should stop them. This applies to all politicians — Democrat, Republican, Independent and minor parties. Any politician who fails to grasp this essential truth of the American psyche is putting their political career behind them, not in front of them.

There is a lot of anger out there which has not been focused or directed at any particular result. This petition basically seeks to re-establish the protection of bank deposits from the whims of bankers who want to gamble with what is left of their money. It’s not the same as Glass-Steagal but it seeks the same result.

This is not a theoretical argument. banks were allowed to be created so that people would have a safe place to keep their money and the banks were allowed to lend out a percentage of that money to make a profit and pay expenses. Banking was never intended to be a vehicle for paying $10 million bonuses at the expense of protected pension funds, homeowners and consumers.

Investment\

firms were allowed to exist because they created a marketplace in which access to capital was easier than without that marketplace. The purpose was to fuel an expanding economy. It was never intended that brokerage firms would be a vehicle for draining wealth out of the economy. The very fact that we have that result indicates that the current investment bank infrastructure needs to be revamped.

It’s like driving a car. When you turn the key you expect the car to start. When you step on the accelerator you expect the car to move. But none of that can happen if there is no gas in the tank to drive the engine that turns on when you turn the key and makes the engine work when you press the accelerator. Until Glass-Steagal was repealed, we had the right infrastructure, more or less, for capital creation and access to capital. Then the whole model was turned upside down and the wealth drained from the economy into the investment banks. Now the Banks want to keep it upside down, meaning their goal is no longer to provide capital but to take it, converting our capitalist society into a fascist society. Look up the terms and you’ll see what I mean.

It is all up to you. The Banks have legislators by the throats and law enforcement is all tangled up in politics and “Settlements” that prevent them from acting properly. In the Savings and Loan crisis in the 1980’s, similar behavior landed more than 800 people in jail. This time we have nothing because some of the behavior was made legal. The excuse for not prosecuting fraud, forgery, fabrication and false recording of false documents with false information in them is yet to be explained.

And the remedy for the 5 million foreclosures that have been “closed out” is not yet in public discourse. I intend to make it central to public discourse because the return of property or money to the victims of this heinous economic crime is essential to the recovery of our economy. Right now, the financial services sector accounts for about half of our reported Gross Domestic Product whereas thirty years ago it accounted for 16%. They have tripled their size and influence at the expense of real economic activity, which has been replaced by trading fabricated documents and declaring false profits.

For those of you who like the idea of slavery, keep voting with the politicians who remove restrictions from the banks’ activities. If you think slavery was not a good idea, then sign this petition and start a few of your own. The physical chains of our immoral history allowing and promoting the trading of people as property has been replaced by the trading of people as property through derivatives and other false instruments. The net result is the same. Changing the title from plantation owner to banker does little to expand the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. With an increasing number of people earning less out of our economic growth than any other time in history and replacing earnings with debt, we are now subject to a system of slavery that is enforced by the government.

Below is an email from your U.S. Senator, Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Sen. Merkley created a petition on SignOn.org, the nonprofit site that allows anyone to start their own online petition. If you have concerns or feedback about this petition, click here

Dear Oregon MoveOn member,

Bankers on Wall Street wrecked our economy by taking reckless risks in pursuit of massive paydays. And, as J.P. Morgan has made clear, Wall Street learned nothing and is still gambling.

If you agree that gambling should happen in hedge funds, not in the federally insured banks that families and small businesses depend on, click here to sign my petition: 

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=276552&id=44278-19313702-uxkpvGx&t=2

I successfully fought, with your help, for a ban on high-risk trading by big Wall Street banks. This rule, called the Volcker rule firewall, is meant to ensure that when Wall Street’s bad bets blow up, you and I don’t get burned again. But for the last two years, Wall Street’s legion of lobbyists have been trying to blow holes in that firewall.

Wall Street lobbyists want the Fed to write the J.P. Morgan loophole into law. We can’t let that happen. And with your help, we won’t.

Please add your name to my SignOn.org petition urging Ben Bernanke and the Fed to close down the JP Morgan loophole.

Thanks!

–U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

This petition was created on SignOn.org, the progressive, nonprofit petition site that will never sell your email address and will never promote a petition because someone paid us to. SignOn.org is sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, which is not responsible for the contents of this or other petitions posted on the site

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Whistleblower Bangs BofA for $14.5 million in Mortgage Case

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Editor’s Comment:

Countrywide Financial Inflated Appraisals 

For people in law enforcement this is a time when it gets to be fun going after the big guys.  Being arrogant to the highest degree going into this mortgage mess you can only imagine the ego of the Titans of Wall Street after making trillions of dollars in turning the entire mortgage process on its head and reversing all common sense criteria in underwriting loans.

The rats are leaving the ship by the thousands, whether they want to or not.  There is hardly a day that goes by that some former employee of Countrywide, Bank of America, Chase, Citi or Wells Fargo does not reveal that they were under instructions to violate regulations and law.

The inflation of appraisals of the securities and the inflation of the homes themselves was the key to the success of the Wall Street plan.  This plan was devoted to sucking out as much o the liquidity in the marketplace as they could possibly achieve.  This in itself is a reversal of even the purpose of allowing Wall Street to exist.  Wall Street’s mandate is to provide liquidity in the marketplace and not taking it away.  Instead they took the equivalent of the gross domestic product of several countries combined (including the United States) and converted the proceeds to “trading profits”.

It is good that these whistleblowers are appearing and it’s even good they are making so much money.  This will encourage other whistleblowers and will encourage those attorneys who thought mortgage litigation was beneath them.  As these cases proceed we will see more and more understandable facts emerge that explain the tragic reversal of our financial model and the historic consequences to most of the major countries of the world.

Bank of America Whistleblower Receives $14.5 million in Mortgage Case

By Rick Rothacker

(Reuters) – A former home appraiser will receive $14.5 million as part of a whistleblower lawsuit that accused subprime lender Countrywide Financial of inflating appraisals on government-insured loans, his attorneys said Tuesday.

Kyle Lagow’s lawsuit sparked an investigation that culminated in a $1 billion settlement announced in February between Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and the U.S. Justice Department over allegations of mortgage fraud at Countrywide, his attorneys said in a news release. Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008.

Lagow’s suit was one of five whistleblower complaints that were folded into the $25 billion national mortgage settlement that state and federal officials reached with Bank of America and four other lenders this year. His suit was unsealed in February, but the amount of his settlement had not been disclosed.

Gregory Mackler, a whistleblower who challenged Bank of America’s handling of the government’s HAMP mortgage modification program, has also finalized a settlement, said Shayne Stevenson, an attorney with the Hagens Berman law firm, which represented both whistleblowers. Stevenson declined to comment on Mackler’s settlement amount.

The complaints were brought under a whistleblower provision in the U.S. False Claims Act, which allows private individuals with knowledge of wrongdoing to bring suits on behalf of the government and share in the proceeds of any settlement.

Both Lagow and Mackler lost their jobs after raising concerns about practices at their companies and faced difficult times awaiting settlements, Stevenson said. Lagow, who worked in a Countrywide appraisal unit, filed his suit in 2009; Mackler, who worked at a firm called Urban Lending Solutions, brought his case in 2011.

“These guys are inspirational,” Stevenson said. “They both did the right thing. They should inspire other people to come forward.”

Bank of America declined to comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, which handled the Bank of America settlement, also declined to comment.

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DO You Want It To Slow Down or to Stop

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Someone sent me a story about a guy who did one of those “California” stops at a stop sign, rolling through at a slightly slower speed than he had been going. A policeman stops him and informs the driver he had not made a full stop. The driver replied that he had made a rolling stop which is the same thing — after all he had slowed down because of the stop sign. The police officer invites him out of the car whereupon the policeman commences beating the driver around the head and body and then says to to the driver “Do you want me to slow down or do you want me to stop?”

The story is funny —sort of — because it makes a point. And I would make the same point about the foreclosures. Do we want a slow down in stealing of property away from people through foreclosures, even short-sales and other delays, or do we just want them to stop. The answer for me is that I want them to stop — except in those cases where the loan was between a normal borrower and a normal lender whose name is properly on the paperwork and who actually loaned the money.

Slowing down the pace of foreclosures because of the presence of forgeries, fabrications and fraud is not the answer. Stopping them and reversing the ones that occurred is the answer. And giving HAMP an actual chance to work (or some other mediated settlement) is the rest of the answer.

These “loans” are between parties who have no documentation as to their positions (the investor/lenders and the homeowner/borrowers) and whose presence was unknown to the other because of cloaks and subterfuge by investment bankers. The chain of documentation refers to a loan from an originator who never loaned a dime and never booked the loan as a receivable on their balance sheet in most cases. And so the entire chain of documents leading up the “securitization” chain are empty documents referring to transactions that never occurred and thus could never result ina perfected security interest in the property.

The solution is what homeowners are offering — converting an undocumented unsecured interest into a documented, secured interest reflecting current economic realities and that will provide the investor/lenders with far greater benefits than foreclosure which leads to ghost towns, bull dozing neighborhoods and other societal problems all for the single purpose of justifying taking every penny as fees for banks, servicers and other parties in the chain, which now, under the April 12 Bulletin from the CFPB, are to be considered just as responsible as banks and servicers.

It should be noted that the homeowners are in most instances offering MORE than the home is worth as the principal due on the note and waiving all other litigation rights.

So do we want it slowed down or stopped. Do we want speed or justice. Do we want the common man to be given back a chance at happiness and prosperity or do we want theft of wealth from the common man to be rewarded with amnesty and further subsidies?


WSJ: Home Ownership at 15 Year Low

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Editor’s Comment:

If you read what the realtors are putting out these days you would have the impression that the housing Market is at bottom, that this is the time to buy (all realtors say that all the time) and that the Market has nowhere to go but up. Reality Check: that is exactly what they said in 2011, 2010, 2009, etc. Meanwhile the Market keeps going down because the median income (the ability to pay for housing) of the average person is going down each month. Case/Schiller have proven in an analysis and chart that goes back to the 1880’s that home prices and median income are inextricably linked.

The banks also want you to think the Market has hit bottom and they are journalists and other shills to say so. The faster they get rid of the real estate the less likely they think it will be that the old homeowner will come back and reclaim the property.

But the Wall Street Journal reports that home ownership is at a 15 year low while assets and income at the banks are at an all-time high. 1998 was the last year we saw so few people owning their own home. Take a look at the purported balance sheets of banks then and now. You will understand the figures — the degree to which the banks siphoned money out of the economy. Remember the only reason we let Wall Street exist is that it is supposedly the capitalist engine providing liquidity to consumers and small business owners alike who buy the things that are made.

Before we developed amnesia about why Wall Street exists and it’s job, the financial sector contributed 16% of this nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Now it is up near 50% which means we are reporting revenues and profits based upon derivatives whose value is derived from other derivatives and after a while you finally get to a real transaction where somebody made something and somebody bought something.

This is unsustainable and more reminiscent of the total lack of understanding that French aristocracy demonstrated when starving people from the streets chopped their heads off with the collusion of the merging merchant class. The control of our society by the banks will stop because it is impossible to sustain. What is surprising is that the lopsided figures in our economy don’t produce more outcries and predictions of disaster which undoubtedly will come to pass unless the bankers are put back in their place at 16% of GDP. That means someone in power needs to trim back the TBTF banks by 2/3. It’s a tall order, but somebody needs to do it.

 It is not as hard as it seems. Most of the assets reported on the balance sheets of the TBTF banks are fake anyway.

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