Archive for April 23rd, 2012

The mortgage crisis in a nutshell

| April 23, 2012 | 2 Replies
The mortgage crisis in a nutshell

I invite you to view a brand new 54-minute video (embedded below) titled “Mortgage Crisis in a Nutshell.” The presenter is John Campbell, a St. Louis attorney and educator. I work with John at the Simon Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri. We gained much of our experience in this area of law by litigating numerous suits for mortgage fraud on behalf of homeowners, both individual suits and class actions. Also on behalf of homeowners, we’ve defended many unlawful detainer suits (attempts to evict homeowners). We’ve both become passionate about this work as a result of witnessing firsthand that many homeowners have been victimized by unscrupulous and unrepentant banks.

In this 53-minute video John presents the main aspects of the mortgage crisis that has devastated the U.S. housing market and the economy. Our goal is empower all who seek to better understand what went wrong with the American mortgage system. As you will see when you click on the above link, this video can be watched in chapters:

I. The Big Picture and its Many Parts (:55)
II. Banks Flood the Market with Subprime Mortgages (3:54)
III. Banks, Securitize their Mortgages (10:05)
IV. Banks Cry for a Bailout (13:57)
V. Wall Street Malfeasance (16:54)
VI. Foreclosures, Robo-Signing, Trustees and Conflicts of Interest (18:20)
VII. MERS (“Mortgage Electronic Registration System) (33:45)
VIII. The Mortgage System Used to Work (43:42)
IX. Credits and Further Readings (52:43)

We created this video because we were frustrated by the fact that it is difficult to find websites and other materials describing the modern mortgage system in terms that are accessible to both lawyers and non-lawyers. As a result, many of our friends and acquaintances (those outside of the mortgage law community) don’t understand the inter-relationships among subprime loans, ratings of mortgage-backed securities, MERS, the bailout and robo-signing.

The failure to understand these things is making it easy for the entities that caused this crisis to conduct business as usual. Because this system is so difficult to understand, too many people think the crisis was entirely caused by “irresponsible borrowers.” The result is that our national dialogue is obsessed with the alleged need for less regulation instead of discussing how to change the system to make sure this never again happens.

We’ve used simple terms and basic drawings in order to make an opaque system understandable. Though it is undoubtedly slanted toward our perspective as attorneys who represent homeowners, we’ve worked hard to keep it factual and fair-minded.

We ask only one thing in return for the link to this video. To the extent that you find it helpful to your understanding of the mortgage crisis, please consider forwarding this link to anyone else you know who would benefit from viewing it. Our aim is to spread this video widely through email, list serves, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites other social media.

We certainly invite comments, both at DI and at YouTube. If this video works for you (or if it doesn’t), please let us know. Thank you.

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The doors to the courthouse are locked shut for victims of the U.S.

| April 23, 2012 | Reply
The doors to the courthouse are locked shut for victims of the U.S.

Glenn Greenwald reports an amazing and Kafkaesque statistic:

. . . it shows just how corruptly deferential American federal courts are to the Executive Branch when it comes to Muslims. One of the most amazing statistics of the last decade: not a single War on Terror victim — not one, whether foreign or American — has been permitted to proceed in an American court in an effort to obtain compensation for illegal treatment by the U.S. Government; instead, American courts have unanimously dismissed those cases at the outset, without reaching their substance. Even when everyone knows and admits that the U.S. Government abducted a totally innocent person and shipped him off to Syria to be tortured, as is true for Arar, American federal judges shut the courthouse door in his face, accepting the claims of the Bush and Obama DOJs that to allow the victim to obtain justice for what was done to him would be to risk the disclosure of vital “state secrets.” They accepted this Kafkaesque secrecy claim even after the Government of Canada published to the world a comprehensive report detailing what happened to Arar.

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Facts for Earth Day

| April 23, 2012 | Reply
Facts for Earth Day

A sustainability symposium at the University of North Dakota urges that every day is Earth Day,” indicating that each of the following happen each and every day:

40,000 acres of land, an area about the size of Boise, Idaho will be converted to desert.

200 million tons of topsoil will be lost through erosion from croplands.

50,000 acres of forest will be eliminated.

800 million people will go to bed hungry and awake too weak to lead productive lives.

18,000 children will die from chronic hunger, malnutrition, and related diseases.

The world will spend $3 billion on military expenditures, half by one country.

The population of the world will grow by 211,000 people. A new Akron, Ohio will be added every day.

Of course, it is horrifically inconvenient, across virtually all interest groups and political parties, to mention this last item, which relates to the many of the others in this list, and to virtually every other problem was face. Hence, the need for the Global Population Speakout.

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Chris Hedges discusses our hollowed-out politics

| April 23, 2012 | Reply
Chris Hedges discusses our hollowed-out politics

At Truthdig, Chris Hedges notes that the modern version of politics refuses to publicly discuss specific problems and specific solutions. Instead, we chant words like “destiny,” “progress” and “change.” In the meantime, power continues to be wrested from the people and the politicians they think that they are empowering.

Every election cycle, our self-identified left dutifully lines up like sheep to vote for the corporate wolves who control the Democratic Party. It bleats the tired, false mantra about Ralph Nader being responsible for the 2000 election of George W. Bush and warns us that the corporate technocrat Mitt Romney is, in fact, an extremist.

The extremists, of course, are already in power. They have been in power for several years. They write our legislation. They pick the candidates and fund their campaigns. They dominate the courts. They effectively gut regulations and environmental controls. They suck down billions in government subsidies. They pay no taxes. They determine our energy policy. They loot the U.S. treasury. They rigidly control public debate and information. They wage useless and costly imperial wars for profit. They are behind the stripping away of our most cherished civil liberties. They are implementing government programs to gouge out any money left in the carcass of America. And they know that Romney or Barack Obama, along with the Democratic and the Republican parties, will not stop them.

With the financial crisis continuing the spread across America and Europe, the centers of wealth can be expected to further assert their craving for more wealth, and they will resort to anything. We’ve already seen their tactics:

The most retrograde forces within the corporate state, such as the Koch brothers, will lavish racists, homophobes, demagogues, birthers, creationists and gun-carrying, flag-waving idiots with money once the political center crumbles.

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