Monday, March 7, 2011

Sellouts! F-Word Strikes Again! Social Security & Foreclosure Frauds - Dems Vote Like 'Thugs Without Consequences (Mcintyre and Kissell Stink - NC)

Social Security is starting to draw down the huge reserves it had built up, not because of an increase in retirees (the bulge in retirees hasn't hit yet), but because the share of national income that is subject to the Social Security FICA tax has fallen, from 90% back in the 1980s to just 84% now, as the wealthy have appropriated an increasingly large share of the total national income.
The 'thugs are still lying. At every opportunity. I've entertained for many years (since the days of Richard the Small Hearted) the constant worry that the bastards who run the Rethugs have always been a few political jumps ahead (in venality anyway) of those with integrity and honor. After all, no moral compunctions can stop them from trying to achieve their evil goals of world domination (through any means necessary). But could what's happening in Madison, WI, provide a foretaste of things to come? Dave Lindorff is pretty sure about it. And these actions would begin to correct what has been lost for the last 40+ years of 'thug rule.
For years, the right has been gravely warning of the supposedly looming “bankruptcy” of Social Security and the even more imminent “bankruptcy” of Medicare, as though these twin disasters for the elderly were an actuarial imperative. In fact, both programs are political creations, whose problems have political causes and political solutions. Social Security is starting to draw down the huge reserves it had built up, not because of an increase in retirees (the bulge in retirees hasn't hit yet), but because the share of national income that is subject to the Social Security FICA tax has fallen, from 90% back in the 1980s to just 84% now, as the wealthy have appropriated an increasingly large share of the total national income. If more of the income of the rich were slapped with the FICA tax, to bring the total share of income subject to FICA back to 90%, there would be plenty of money to pay promised benefits into the foreseeable future. The same can be said of Medicare. More taxes on the rich would ensure the funding of that program too. There is no inherent reason why only the first $106,000 of a person’s income should be subject to the FICA tax. It could be the first $200,000, or the first $500,000, and if it were the latter, we could be talking about improving benefits for retirees, or lowering the retirement age, not just preserving current levels. Benefits could be better still if investment income were no longer exempted from a FICA tax (and the Medicare tax). But here’s the big point: Corporate America, and its political lackeys in the Republican and Democratic Parties, know that they are about to confront a dramatically more powerful protagonist in their campaign to kill Social Security and Medicare: the Boomer Retirees. The so-called Senior Lobby is already enormously powerful. That’s why Social Security has so far largely defied concerted efforts by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush to undermine it, and it’s why Republicans and conservative Democrats running for national office always hasten to claim they are not going to threaten Social Security or Medicare, or at least that they won’t threaten “current beneficiaries.” It’s why they call Social Security the “third rail” of American politics: touch it and you die (for those of you unfortunate enough to live where there are no subways, the third rail is the “hot” rail that carries the electricity to power the electric trains). But a Boomer retiree population will be two times the size of the current retiree population. That means that just in terms of the number of potential voters, it will be two times as powerful. But that’s only part of the story. The new generation of retirees are the people who came of political age in the late 1950s during the Civil Rights movement, and the 1960s and ‘70s during the anti-war movement and the feminist movement. We are veterans of both engaged electoral politics (witness that support our generation gave to the insurgent campaigns of Eugene McCarthy, Robert Kennedy and George McGovern, as well as a host of more successful Congressional campaigns), and of powerful and of successful militant street politics. What we showed back then in our youth and our formative young-adult years was that when our interests were on the line, as they were with the draft, or when we saw a gross injustice, as was the case with Jim Crow, we knew how to fight politically. I'm not suggesting that the people born in the decade and a half after World War II are particularly radical, but I am suggesting that when this age cohort gets riled and the right issue or set of issues sets the spark, we've got the spirit and experience to take that struggle to the streets and the halls of Congress. And clearly both our personal interests and our sense of justice are on the line when it comes to the growing attack on Social Security and Medicare. The other thing is we showed in the '60s that we knew how to broaden our struggle to include generations besides our own. . . . My prediction: As the number of Boomers nearing or entering retirement soars, and the number anticipating or signing up for Medicare soars over the next few years, we will see massive national campaigns grow around not just saving these programs but expanding and improving them. With traditional pensions vanishing, and with IRAs and 401(k) plans having been exposed as the shams they are, we are going to see an irresistable demand grow for Social Security benefits to be raised, particularly for poorer retirees, so that all Americans can have a secure old age. And we will see another irresistable political drive to have Medicare not just improved but broadened to cover all Americans, as we Boomers recognize that it makes no sense at all to have a program that only covers the oldest and sickest of Americans, and not the younger and healthier population (our own kids and grandkids!). We will realize that it is in our interest to have all Americans invested fully in supporting a well-funded national Medicare program. And if we don’t get it, we will be ready and willing to do what the public employees of Wisconsin are doing now - or more.
Neil Garfield defines the end of American civilization for any interested historians (What the Banksters Brought):
EDITORIAL COMMENT: It's nice that the media understands that foreclosures are a problem. It's nice that the media recognizes that none of the efforts so far have produced anything other than window dressing for political points. But it isn't nice that the media is controlled by information and spin from Wall Street.

The plain truth is that the 7 million homes that were taken were probably all falsified in some way using mortgages that were false documents with false content and in clear violation of Federal and State lending laws. The next 3 million will be done the same way. And that is the tip of the iceberg.

Besides the 10 million foreclosures they are counting now there are another 70 million mortgage transactions that are equally defective as the ones that were foreclosed. Any refinancing, satisfaction of mortgage, sale or trade that is based upon the validity and veracity of mortgage documentation that was part of the securitization PONZI scheme is as defective as any of the foreclosures.

And it's all happening because the lawyers people consult and the politicians who make laws and policies don't know or don't care about the absurd state of our marketplace. Virtually every transaction is done with credit and virtually every credit transaction is subject to some sort of securitization scheme - a scheme that never actually came into being.

Virtually every transaction that DID occur is "without portfolio." There is no documentation of the transaction despite clear requirements of Federal and state law. What the media doesn't get is that just because you have a document that is dated the same day a transaction took place doesn't mean that document is THE document that memorializes the transaction - even if ONE of the parties on the documentation matches ONE of the parties in the transaction.

The bottom line is that there was a single transaction with lots of intermediaries. The parties were the borrower (the homeowner) and the lender (the investor in MBS). There is no document recording that transaction. The borrower and lender don't know each other and don't even know the existence of each other.

The borrower thought he/she was doing business with the loan originator which was merely acting as a second mortgage broker. The Lender thought he/she was doing business with a Wall Street group that each had liabilities and obligations to the lender making the investment safe. If either the borrower or the lender actually knew the true facts of the transaction, the appraisal fraud, the ratings fraud, and the securitization fraud achieved through insurance, credit default swaps and government bailout would have been undermined.

These were not honest transactions and the the defaults don't exist any more than the notes or mortgages upon which they are predicated. In many cases the lender is still getting paid by the servicer in order to justify outsize servicing fees that allows the servicer and other parties in the foreclosure game to keep the house, screwing both the investor and the homeowner.

If the fraud was not continuing, this mess could be cleaned up. But the media, Wall Street and government keep starting with the wrong premise - that original transaction with the homeowner and the original transaction with the investor were bona fide transactions when in fact they were fraudulent.


The New York Times finally decided to document this fraud (about time, Times!):
Foreclosure Follies

Recent price data show home values at nearly their lowest levels in the postbubble era, and a coming tide of foreclosures means prices will drop further.

Seven million families have lost their homes so far, and another three million foreclosures are expected through 2012.

The ongoing crash is further evidence that the government’s antiforeclosure efforts have fallen short and America’s struggling homeowners need more help.

So what are House Republicans proposing? They want the government to get out of the antiforeclosure business altogether and leave homeowners to fend for themselves. The result would be hundreds of thousands of additional foreclosures and steeper price declines.

House Republicans have introduced bills to eliminate four federal antiforeclosure programs and replace them with — nothing. Here is a list of those programs and ways they could be improved:


No one disputes that HAMP, the Obama administration’s main antiforeclosure plan, is lagging behind its goal to modify troubled loans for three million to four million homeowners. Of the $30 billion intended for the effort, only $1 billion has been spent so far to permanently modify 608,000 loans.

Much of the problem lies with the participating banks. Widespread errors and abuses include the improper delay and denial of modifications, excessive fees, and violations of borrowers’ legal protections. Legislation and regulation that gets tougher on the banks could help fix those problems, including enactment of a transparent process for homeowners to challenge banks’ decisions, stiffer penalties for banks that don’t meet HAMP standards and a streamlined process for converting trial modifications to permanent ones.


This Bush-era program provides money to states, cities and nonprofits to buy and rehabilitate abandoned and foreclosed properties. It helps curb the blight that comes with empty properties and, in the process, preserves the value of nearby homes and the municipalities’ tax base.The problem is there isn’t enough money. Congress appropriated $4 billion in 2008 and $2 billion in 2009; all has been obligated.

House Republicans want to eliminate a third round of financing — $1 billion — promised in the financial reform law. They say the program may provide a perverse incentive for banks to foreclose. That is absurd. Banks foreclose when they deem it in their interest, not because a small federal program entices them.


This $1 billion effort, which has not yet been implemented, would grant loans to homeowners who are unemployed, or who have lost income because of illness. Joblessness is the main reason homeowners fall behind, so alleviating such temporary hardship is crucial to curbing foreclosures. Republicans claim that such loans only encourage indebtedness. The claim is overwrought because the loans are not onerous; they are no-interest and are forgiven in installments over five years for homeowners who remain in the home. A short-term and manageable increase in debt is a prudent way to save one’s home.


Many of the 14 million homeowners who are “underwater” — owe more on the mortgages than the homes are worth — are current in their payments. But because they lack equity, they cannot refinance their loans at lower rates. The Federal Housing Administration option would facilitate the much-needed refinancings by insuring the new loans.

The program, which began last fall, got off to a slow start, mainly because of technical problems that have been resolved. Wells Fargo and GMAC/Ally recently announced pilot F.H.A. programs, and other lenders expect to be on board by midyear. Ending the program would squander an important chance to prevent foreclosures.All of the targeted programs address serious unmet needs. If House Republicans get their way and shut these programs down, all Americans will pay the price.


. . . here's a “problem” with foreclosures that no one seems to be be talking about, HAMP itself . . . pretender lenders are using mods to get distressed homeowners to affirm debts that never existed . . . . banks with no demonstrable right to your mortgage or loan are modifying loans with distressed homeowners which reaffirms the debt in the pretender lenders name.

. . . my lender went bankrupt, and never conveyed anything to anyone on the record . . . . the servicer of my loan came to us when we were behind on payments and said they would modify our loan. we signed away only to later find out the mod said we affirmed and acknowledged our servicer as the lender and holder of our mortgage. the problem is, our servicer was never either one of those and has no evidence they were. they failed to tell us at signing of the mod that our lender of record had been bankrupt for 3 years. the servicer, through MERS, then assigned the loan mod secured by the mortgage , not the original note mind you, to a securtiized trust in 2010 which had a close and cut off date in 2006.

The assignment to the trust clearly says “MERS hereby assigns the mortgage and loan mod secured thereby” to this trust. The day after the assignment, the trust filed for foreclosure. My point is, dont do a mod without a lawyer. It seems to me the servicer obviously scammed us into signing this to create fresh paperwork it then could assign to the trust for foreclosure purposes. i live in a non-judicial state (Massachusetts) where the trust can walk in with the mortgage and loan mod to get a rubber stamp approval to foreclose, even though there are parties in the chain of title who obviously committed fraud. My original lender went bankrupt 4 months after i signed the loan, and they never assigned or conveyed anything to anyone in the land records. In fact, the trust used an “allonge to note” along with the mortgage and mod in their filings to foreclose, something ive never seen before. anyone who looks at the allonge would know its bogus. the person who signed it squiggled initials on the signature line that no one could decipher. My belief is this allonge was fabricated to strengthen the flimsy documentation they had. Why would the original lender need to create an allonge to note when the main reason for the allonge is for space to endorse the document when no more space exists on the original? Coming from the original lender, the note should have had plenty of space for endorsements. With all that being said, I'm hoping someone out there can answer this question: Since I affirmed that my servicer was the lender and holder of my mortgage when they clearly weren't, does the mod create a second debt? isnt my chain of title now flawed because there is a party on record modifying my mortgage and the record is devoid of any evidence the original lender conveyed it to them?

Charlie, on March 6, 2011 at 7:47 am said:

I believe that even the fact that the Media recognizes and acknowledges we have a “problem” with foreclosures it’s part of the well organized plan, ” go out there and make seem as if we all know we have a problem, BUT don’t say the F word no matter what”, the manipulators thieves must be telling the media, because that’s exactly what they are doing. I find it extremely hilarious how they “dance” around the real issue; it is right there!!!!! and yet they choose to look the other way while the stink of the hot steaming pile of s**ht gets right under their noses!! unbelievable!! And that goes for EVERYBODY involved and somehow tied to the ponzy, and the ones that could and should be doing something about it.

And then there's always this serpent that raises its ugly, guileful head whenever the occasion presents itself:

GOP Declares Class War... But There Are Democrats In Congress Who Side With The Republicans Yesterday "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel, the worst possible choice the Democrats could have made to lead the DCCC (even Wasserman-Schultz would have been a thousand ten times better), announced that the DCCC will be channeling massive amounts of contributions into 15 endangered incumbents, most of whom are endangered because they vote with the Republicans on tough bills and have disappointed the party's base.

So, when the DCCC solicits money to "protect" women's choice or to "protect" the environment, they are practicing a politician chicanery that will only lead to further disillusionment, since immense amounts of money goes towards reelecting Democrats who vote with the GOP on these issues.

The worst of the bunch are cronies of Steve Israel's, Blue Dog reactionaries Mike McIntyre (NC), Jim Matheson (UT), Ben Chandler (KY), as well as proto-Blue Dogs Mark Critz (PA), Bill Owens (NY) and Larry Kissell (NC).

Let's look at how these priorities for DCCC resources - money that could and should be going to elect progressives who fight for the values Democrats believe in - have been voting since the 112th Congress convened.

First, their overall ProgressivePunch scores on crucial votes, showing each of them voting far more frequently with Boehner on the issues that matter than with their own party:

Mike McIntyre - 33.33

Jim Matheson - 33.33

Ben Chandler - 34.15

Mark Critz - 34.15

Bill Owens - 31.71

Larry Kissell - 31.71

Eight Republicans, some of whom - like Michael Fitzpatrick and Charlie Bass - are being targeted by the DCCC, voted against Boehner's insane agenda more often than Kissell and Owens!

But let's go right back to the very first vote in the House this year, a vote to pick the Speaker. Generally, all Republicans vote for the Republican leader (in this case Boehner) and all Democrats vote for the Democratic leader (Pelosi)- and indeed all the Republicans rallied around Boehner and elected what is turning out to be the is already looking like the worst Speaker in history.

But close to two dozen Democrats bolted. Blue Dogs Jim Matheson and Mike McIntyre and Kissell (who lied to Democrats and ran as a progressive) voted for uber-reactionary Heath Shuler.

And then McIntyre was one of the 3 Democrats to join Boehner in voting to repeal healthcare reform.

Vote after vote, saw this list of Steve Israel's priorities crossing the aisle and voting with Boehner on all the tough votes, whether it's Matheson and Chandler backing Boehner's intention of ending public financing for presidential elections or Chandler, Critz, Kissell, Matheson, and McIntyre voting with Boehner (and Israel) to extend the PATRIOT Act or Mike McIntyre walking in lockstep with his pal Mike Pence to defund Planned Parenthood.

Israel claimed yesterday that "voters sent a clear message" in November. It's a shame he only heard what teabaggers and Republicans were saying and not what Democrats were saying.

Let's take Larry Kissell as an example. Before he stabbed progressive voters in the back in 2009 and morphed into a conservative, Kissell ran in 2006 and 2008 (as a fire-brand populist and across-the-board progressive). In 2006 he came within a few votes of defeating multimillionaire Bush rubber stamp Robin Hayes (60,926 to 60,597) and won a big victory in crucial Mecklenburg County (10,931- 5,157). In 2008 as part of the Democratic tidal wave - Obama beat McCain in NC-8 with 53% of the vote - Kissell dislodged Hayes in a highly contested rematch, 157,185- 126,634. Enthusiastic, fired-up Democrats and left-leaning independents came out to vote in great numbers and gave Kissell impressive victories in 8 out of the districts 10 counties.Last November saw a very different race. North Carolina Democrats felt let down by Kissell's abysmal voting record and disappointing performance as a congressman. He barely scraped by against a lunatic fringe hate talk radio host, Harold Johnson, 87,394 (53%) to 72,626 (44%), setting off alarm bells at the DCCC. Almost half his 2008 voters stayed home.

Below is a list of the 15 Members on Israel's list, along with their victory percentages in 2008 and in 2010

• Representative Tim Bishop (NY-01)- 58%/50%

• Representative Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA)- 56%/51%

• Representative Russ Carnahan (MO-03)- 66%/49%

• Representative Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY)- 65%/50%

• Representative Gerry Connolly (proto-Blue Dog-VA)- 55%/49%

• Representative Mark Critz (proto-Blue Dog-PA)- 53*/51%

• Representative Gabby Giffords (Blue Dog-AZ)- 55%/49%

• Representative Larry Kissell (proto-Blue Dog-NC)- 55%/53%

• Representative Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)- 63%/51%

• Representative Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC) 69%/54%

• Representative Jerry McNerney (CA)- 55%/48%

• Representative Bill Owens (proto-Blue Dog-NY)- 49%*/48%

• Representative Gary Peters (MI)- 52%/50%

• Representative Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)- 54%/51%

• Representative Tim Walz (MN-01)- 63%/50%

* - indicates special elections to fill open seats funding the DCCC, especially under a Blue Dog and corporate whore like Israel just furthers the bipartisan conservative agenda. The DCCC is not the friend of anyone hoping for progressive governance in this country... quite the contrary. They are very much part of the conservative consensus that keeps us fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and Yemen and Pakistan, while making sure the wealthy become forever wealthier at the expense of the rest of us. A little better than Republicans? Yeah, but very little.


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