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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fraudclosure 201 - the Horse Race vs Governance

What does Tuesday mean. Some of you think that it is going to be a defining moment. Well, I've seen elections for all my life and every one of them are supposed to be a defining moment. Elections are meaningless, if they are not followed by action.

Look at all of the problems this nation is facing. What have we seen in the form of solutions? All we have seen over the last twenty years is a government for sale to the highest bidder. Who is willing to rise above all of that? Who is willing to say NO! to this system of corruption?

I'm into results. I'm tired of the sociopaths' excuses. Some of our leaders go along to get along and others do nothing. It is about balance. See where there is common ground and move those issues forward. That starts you down the road towards positive governance. Then look at the issues where you may not agree and negotiate around the edges and compromise where you can. The issues where there is no agreement can be put on the backburner. We have been doing the opposite of this for years. It seems that our leaders are always looking to focus on disagreements at the expense of progress.

There are many people who say that the Democrats are going to try to ramrod controversial legislation through during this lame duck session. I certainly hope that cooler heads will prevail. The Republicans need to filibuster any bill that does not have the support of the American people and make sure that these issues are dealt with in a proper context come January.

This Fraudclosure issue is definitely at the forefront of what I am addressing. The banks should not be bailed out of this situation and their interests should not be placed ahead of those of the American people. It is time that Justice and common sense prevail!

The Banks have taken on the role of Loan Sharks. You make a late payment and they make your plight worse, it goes beyond penalties into the realm of unnecessary punishment. The penalties do no fit the violation. The Fed lends the banks free hot money and they invest it anywhere, but back into our own nation's system. The money comes from America and should be reinvested in America. Instead, we see Banks that charge exorbitant interest rates and fees on people who are already struggling. Why are we bailing the Banks out?

Gerald Celente of the Trends Research Institute at joined James Corbett of The Corbett Report to discuss the ongoing foreclosure crisis in the American real estate industry. He discusses the criminal mentality that makes these frauds possible and how people can protect themselves by unplugging themselves from the system.

Fraudclosure 102: Multi-tiered Bank Fraud Exposed!

Fraudclosure 101: Bursting the Piñata

A letter to the NC Attorney General involving Fraudclosure

You can help people save their homes!

Real Terrorism: Financial Terrorism -
Time to break the Banksters

2nd wave of the Banking Meltdown is here

How can the United States avoid Bankruptcy?

The Plunge Protection Team and the Ponzi Economy

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fraudclosure 102: Multi-tiered Bank Fraud Exposed!

Already on Craigslist you can find a house that sold 2 years ago for $140,000 AND now trying to sell for $50,000 to $60,000 and they are not selling. I know people who are trying to sell their homes and there are no takers even at substantial discounts. The new home market is dead. The construction industry is dead.

In the past we paid 2% to 5% interest on homes. It was illegal to charge over 18% and anyone that did was considered a loan shark. Today banks are charging as much as 29.9% interest on Credit cards. They fostered predatory lending and sub-prime mortgages by creating balloon mortgages & adjustable interest rates on highly leveraged speculative loan investments. The banks charge outrageous fees that can cause consumers to pay 500%+ per year on money that they have borrowed, but because they call these charges “fees” they are permitted. And the government is complicit by endorsing all of this.

Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.'
A House that was built in the early to mid 1900s for $1,000 to $3,000 was being sold a few years ago for as much as $250,000. The banks knew some of the homes needed major work & were not worth the loan amount, but they loaned large amounts and then sold these notes as derivative instruments on Wall Street. They even wagered on mortgage holders failing to maintain or increase their household income. And it has been obvious that the government allowed this by not maintaining proper oversight procedures.

Maybe we should all walk away from our mortgages. The cost of home maintenance keeps escalating. The values of the homes are depreciating, because of the stagnant real estate market and in real terms because of the depreciation of the dollar. People also are having a hard time affording the bubble prices they originally paid for their mortgage, because of the housing market and the inflated cost of living.

In all, 930,437 homeowners received a foreclosure-related warning between July and September, up nearly 4 percent from the second quarter but down 1 percent from the same period last year, RealtyTrac said (Banks seize a record 288,345 homes in 3Q - Alex Veiga AP - 10/14/2010). The latest tally translates to one in 139 (7/10 of 1 percent) of U.S. homes in foreclosure. Banks have seized more than 816,000 homes through the first nine months of the year and are on pace to seize more than a million - .

1 in 4 homes currently being sold are homes that are in foreclosure (Nearly one in four second-quarter home sales a foreclosure - Reuters - 9/30/2010). Even without the current problems associated with fraud and foreclosure, we are going to see a disastrous depreciation in home prices. The fraudclosure issue only exacerbates the problem. This loss in value of home prices not only hurts mortgage holders, it also hurts people who own property outright, because it translates into negative equity in your home or property. You could see a situation where a home with a value of $200,000 in 2006 could fall to a value of $100,000 or less in the next few years.

The reason we are in this mess is because of the Financial Institutions’ hubris and greed. They used their own appraisers to escalate homes many times over their true intrinsic value. They also used the MERS system to avoid fees and did not follow historical precedent associated with Common law to follow proper procedures to secure and register property and maintain the history of the chain of ownership of properties. This leaves the entire market associated with foreclosures in a state of flux. The banks created truly convoluted schemes by loaning money out for $0 down and/or at initially low adjustable interest rates. They put people into homes that were too large a percentage of their income.

And the Banks keep getting bailed out by the Federal government. They used their appraisers to inflate properties that had a true value of let’s say $70,000 to $125,000. And a variable in the equation allowed the system in which artificial demand was created through speculation through house and property flipping. The client who enters the market wanting (creating demand) a home has to pay the price in this rigged (inflated bubble) market. The mortgage holder pays the mortgage until they can no longer afford it or the property falls so far under water that they no longer desire making the inflated payment in a recessed or depressed economic environment. At this point many homeowners/property owners will choose to walk away from the property.

Banks have made money on the monthly installments, they collected on late fees, and they collected on the derivatives and insurance from the foreclosed properties (Remember those PMI payments), and in the end they own the property. The banks should have to take the loss, because of the fraudulently elaborate structure that they have created. That might be bad for the bankers, but the government has decided to come along and bail out their banker buddies on multiple levels. And the government bailing out the banks leaves the taxpayers holding the bag. So the injured parties, in this system, are average Americans who have lost equity in their home, some who have taken home equity mortgages could end up in foreclosure, and some have already been forced into the foreclosure process, because they can’t afford the exorbitant cost of their mortgage in this imploding economy.

The government has loaned the megabanks trillions at 0% in the name of creating liquidity to take care of the problems associated with the Real Estate implosion. Very little of this free money has made its way to help individuals and small businesses out. They are using the market to make money through an arbitrage scheme called the “Carry Trade.” Carry trades are a form of arbitrage in which money is made if nothing changes against the carry's favor. The banks are borrowing money created by the Federal Reserve in conjunction with the sale of U.S. Treasuries at an artificially low interest rate. The banks then in turn invest the money in developing countries which inherently have higher rates of return associated with the increased risks associated with the returns on investment. This allows the megabanks to take this cheap money and make a substantial rate of return.

Besides the megabanks, this “hot money” has gone to an Automobile company, General Motors, who has been deemed too big to fail and it has gone to insurance company, AIG, who took premiums and invested them in very risky investments. What does this teach? General Motors has taken some of this money and invested it in their factories in China and Brazil. Once again we see harm being done to average Americans in favor of Wall Street and the Banking cartel.

It sure does seem that the Banks are staying afloat by buying time through these “Hot Money” Speculative Investments paid for by American Taxpayers. With so many homes being foreclosed on and the high default rates on short term loans, such as credit cards, that financial institutions are rigging the market at the expense of the middle class who is going broke. The Plunge Protection Team (run by the Fed and the Megabanks) is manipulating the markets to the tune of billions of dollars per day, the same way that they sold bad mortgage notes and played both sides of the fence when the Real Estate market tanked over the last few years. They have been in a no lose situation reflected by the huge bonuses that they continue to receive, while this debacle continues.

The worst part to me is when the wealthy disparage poor people as lazy, dumb, etc. They do this because their silver spooned minds can't understand common folks. Nothing ever trickles down. They tinkle down on us like they own us and we should be glad they allow us to breathe. They are comfortable and they don't understand people who struggle, so they insult, ridicule, and hate. Anyone who struggles is lumped in as a freeloader looking for a handout. The last few years have taught me, sure there are those who abuse the safety net, but the majority of people who are struggling have been pawns to the rich man’s game and this has nothing to do with Donkey or Elephant, because both parties have sold out the middle class through a lack of investment in human capital and endorsing the offshoring of our industry.

The banks are broke and the sooner people wrap their pea-brains around that, the sooner we can get on the road to recovery. The Federal Reserve represents the Financial Institutions interests. Any Americans who do not have ties to the Cartel are at risk of losing everything -- to think otherwise is foolish. They are debasing our currency to the point that it will soon be worthless, if we do not act. This housing debacle is part of the process leading to the destruction of the dollar and subsequently any assets based upon (tied to) our sovereign currency.

Below is a video of Randy Kelton, a Pro se litigant in Texas, who addresses this issue on Alex Jones radio show. For the non-dimwitted, who aren't lip locked to the mainstream media, here is an excellent summary of the Fraudclosure issue and remedies to this situation. This issue is going to have to be dealt with in the near future and the answer isn't to throw more money at the Banksters who go us into this mess to start with.

Fraudclosure 101: Bursting the Piñata

A letter to the NC Attorney General involving Fraudclosure

You can help people save their homes!

Real Terrorism: Financial Terrorism -
Time to break the Banksters

2nd wave of the Banking Meltdown is here

How can the United States avoid Bankruptcy?

The Plunge Protection Team and the Ponzi Economy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seven Days

The national election is in seven days, but honestly I feel no excitement about it. I am registered as a Republican, but I don't feel like I am a part of the party. I don't have the money to buy influence and our local Republican Party is very weak, listless, and has no ideas about what it will take to turn our area around.

The Catawba County Republican Party seems to think that we should all march in lockstep. Well, I don't do dog and pony shows and I think a party is stronger when it has diverse opinions. That isn't to say that there should not be common ground, but I support more than Low Taxes, Gun Rights, and the Right to Life.

I believe that real politics starts close to home and home governance has more of an impact on our daily lives than what is happening in Washington. If we take care of business here, then Washington will have less of an impact on our daily lives. I do not want to be subservient to the whims and fancies of Washington (and Raleigh). Utah and Texas are both States that are as conservative as we are in this area and they are thriving. Look at the Milken numbers or the Forbes numbers. Forbes ranks the area as the 179th Best Place for Business and Careers and the Milken Institute ranks us as the 197th Best Performing City. Both of these studies include the 200 largest metros in the United States. You can believe these studies are biased if you want, but study after study represents us as the bottom of the barrel.

Folks, we have been at the bottom for years. At what point do we start looking at the people who we elect and ask them to step aside and let some people with some fresh ideas come to the fore. This area is a strong Republican area that tends to put the same people back in office based only upon party affiliation. The incumbents all say that they want to bring jobs to the area, but have they been successful? Have they really taken any steps besides showing up for ribbon cuttings?

I'm frustrated to sit back and watch the same people use a Checkers strategy in a world of 3D Chess. I want to know where our State representatives stand on the Real Estate Depression and the Wall Street banking cartel and do they have a grasp of the facts as to how all of this is negatively effecting our State. Have they seen the effect that this is having on Charlotte and how that effects our own area?

I look at the county commission race. The only thing I have heard is about the issue of keeping property taxes low and education -- yeah, I'm against education (haha!). Fact is that keeping property taxes low isn't going to make or break those of us at the bottom of the economic ladder. A 10-cent/ $1,000 rate increase would cost most of us $100 per year, but the people who own most everything around here would be paying tens of thousands more in taxes every year to the county. Do we really want to subsidize the rich folks who aren't putting money back into the community? Maybe this would force them to put some money back into the community, especially when we look at the absentee property owners who allow properties to turn to rubble and refuse to deal with the problem, because they don't see it every day.

I am all for keeping taxes low, but I believe that is just one factor in the equation. It must be balanced with making sure that infrastructure is properly maintained and kept modern. Harry Hipps gets to the heart of the matter when he starts talking about myopic views. I've read some of the political junk mail this political season and most of it says that the candidate wants to help create jobs. Candidates cannot create jobs unless they personally own a business, but they can help to create an environment that will enhance the ability of entrepreneurs to start-up and sustain businesses in our area. I have not heard any fresh ideas about how candidates would foster such an initiative.

So if the candidates want to help create a job friendly environment what do they need to do? They need to look at themselves and ask "What would spur me to start a business in this area?"

Number one, Start-Up Entrepreneurs need capital. No one is realistically talking about millions of dollar; sure it would be nice, but they need the money and facilities to get the ball rolling. Second, they need research facilities, infrastructure, and Human Resources and Capital to support their efforts and help push ideas forward to get ideas off of paper and into the factory or into the public. I think we have taken this mindset forward with the creation of the Manufacturing Solutions Center, but we need capital. Third, we need a community that does not accept the race to the bottom. We need people to demand excellence and fairness and have a willingness to put efforts forward that are not based upon personal preferences, goals, and wealth. This is the reason why we aren't gaining traction, because the vast majority of the people in this area are unwilling to do anything that does not personally benefit them in the short run.

We need politicians with energy, not hum drum boredom. If they are out of ideas, then it is time to bring forth new candidates and it is time that these incumbents do the right thing and let the new blood with fresh ideas take the stage. The parties around here are a joke, because they tell people that they need to wait their turn. That is what has created this Status Quo malignancy that is destroying a once thriving area.

Let's be honest we have one party in control in this area and that party does not really have anything to do with the original nature and intent of the Republican Party. When one looks back to Lincoln does one see a man (and a party) rooted in the Status Quo? When one looks to William McKinley, one sees a GOP party leader (and party) who wanted to protect American Economic Interests via tariffs and restricting "Free Trade." Look at the loss of manufacturing that has decimated this area. What are we supposed to do with this displaced workforce -- Euthanize them?

Yet, we have local leaders who have really made no attempt to fight this "Free for all trade" scheme. We need this to become a priority, because this gets at the crux of what has ruined our local economy. We need our local representatives to take this issue to Raleigh and Washington to create a mandate that Free Trade vs. Fair Trade must be addressed. What we have witnessed is no different than sitting back and watching your home be robbed, while complaining to the thieves. It is one thing to sit in the corner and bemoan the loss of our industry, it is another to take steps towards addressing the situation in a constructive manner that will defend our community's viability. We need to see some action!

This is only personal to the point that I see the lack of political leadership and the negative consequences that it has had on this area. We need some people that will demand facetime in the media to promote our plight. We can no longer afford to wait our turn. I believe that we are going to see a Republican surge next Tuesday, but I don't see anything positive coming from it, because the same ole establishment will remain in place. The (accountability) can will be kicked down the road to 2012, because we don't have the Presidency, we don't have the Governorship, we don't have control of yada, yada, yada...

It is time that the people reject politicians who constantly make excuses. You serve your time. You push your agenda. When you are out of energy and/or ideas, then it is time to do the right thing and step aside for those who can move us forward. Think about the great politicians of our time, did they look to constantly make excuses? It is alright (and necessary) to point where others are wrong, but only when you take action to invoke positive movement. The people can effect change when they choose to participate and hold people accountable for the policies they endorse, whether explicit or implied. The writing is on the wall, people need to realize that time is running out. We are coming to a Hold'em/Fold'em crossroads point in time in this community.

Monday, October 25, 2010

City Pools issue displays Local Officials' Myopic Views

Sprinkle or dunk? No. I’m not trying to start an argument between Catholics and Baptists on baptism, I’m referring to the discussion on the pools in Hickory. It is clear that the citizens want several pools in different parts of the City. I spoke many times about this in my run for City Council. The reasons should be obvious.

The Mayor and numerous City officials have referred to kids cooling off during the hot summer months. With their usual myopia, they ignore the elderly who want to exercise without jarring their skeletal systems or aggravating their arthritis, the disabled who would like activity that doesn’t hurt their backs, serious athletes who want to train for aquatic sports, and other interests besides the youths of our community. A splash pad may be an option for some, but as recent surveys and meetings show, pools are the choice of the community.

I believe the City government does not want to do this because of cost, liability, and the desire to not be responsible for managing the pools. I don’t buy the notion that people would not use the facilities if built. As several people have pointed out, when the pools were open maintenance was shoddy and the paperwork seems to be in shambles. There was no effort put into programs like swimming lessons, synchronized swimming, etc.

Numerous citizens have addressed Council on this issue and the recent Jackson Group survey confirms that this is what the people want. The question is: will City government ramrod their wishes and plans onto the public or are they really listening to the public? This will be a telling moment in the dialogue between the government and the governed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hickory Metro: the 197th Best Performing City (out of 200)

The Milken Institute Statistics of the Best Performing Cities, for the past year, came out last week and I have looked over them. The numbers show that the Hickory metro has once again fallen to one of the 5 worst performing metropolitan areas in the United States. We are now ranked #197 out of the top 200 U.S. metros compared to #185 last year and #191 in 2008. The job growth trend increased some over the last year, but the 1 and 5 year wage trends are still abysmal, ranking at or near the bottom 5% in both categories. Sadly, High-Tech GDP output did not sustain the growth of the previous year, falling from #2 in the rankings to #196.

Here are the rankings and trends since 2003:

Below is a presentation of Hickory's 2010 Milken rankings versus the rest of North Carolina:

What one sees is that the rest of North Carolina's Metro areas are seeing a negative trend, except for areas such as Raleigh-Durham and Fayetteville heavily associated with government and public industry. But, only Greensboro has begun to rival the numbers and trends associated with Hickory. I believe much of that is due directly to the loss of manufacturing capacity related to furniture in association with the real estate bust. People tend to fill new houses with furniture. This has been exacerbated by the offshoring of these jobs to 3rd world markets. Asheville and Winston-Salem have fallen into the bottom half, but they are barely in the bottom half and both decreases in rankings correspond heavily with North Carolina's general slide.

One could also assume that Wilmington and Asheville have seen negative trends in overall statistics, because the deep recession is having a negative impact on tourism, which is a major component of those area's economy.

The national trends show that 9 of the top 20 metros in the nation are in Texas. International trade with Mexico has had a major impact on the Texas economy, due to strategic location and the weakening dollar. On the negative side, out of the bottom 20 metro areas, 11 are in the Michigan-Indiana-Ohio corridor. That is a continuing trend that I have previously addressed, because Hickory is amongst these city's that are at the bottom of the statistics. In every year since 2003, Hickory has ranked in the bottom 15 of these rankings and in all but two of those years Hickory ranked in the bottom ten.

To get a good grasp on these statistics, please take a look at the article Hickory - Time to put the Puzzle together that I put together from statistics from the year before last. We can pretty much see that we are in the same position as we were last year and the year before and the year before and the year before. There have been some steps taken to sow seeds for the future and I have personally seen some attitudes change about the direction of the area, but it is more than obvious that it has not been enough. The Powers that Be are scared to do anything that might be considered too risky and therein lies a BIG problem. That risk aversion is the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

I constantly hear the same old mantra about Conservative Ideas and Values espoused, but that is not enough. Of course, the people at the the top of the food chain want to keep property taxes low, because they own all of the property. What about investing in your community? And why push a yahoo simpleton agenda?

First of all, they are going to have to raise the property tax rate. They can say that it is revenue neutral and that is fine, but there are going to be challenges to assessed property values and if necessary there are going to be lawsuits, because I don't care what the appraisers say, the properties are not realistically worth what they are being appraised at. The population of this area is set to implode, because of the trends we see above.

No jobs + No living wage = Moving somewhere else to survive. That means reduced demand for housing. That means an increase in the amount of available housing on the market. That means a further implosion in Home values, unless the banks want to continue to prop up market prices by holding on to abandoned houses after the people walk away from the outstanding mortgages. And will city officials tolerate the blight associated with these properties not being properly maintained? Believe me, all of this can happen and will happen if we don't do something soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fraudclosure 101: Bursting the Piñata

What have we been hearing since this economic debacle began in September 2008? We have a capital crunch is the story line of Banking and Government interests. At that end of 2008 the recognized deficit of the United States was a little less than $10 trillion, which is bad enough, and now it currently stands at over $13.4 trillion.

OK, so the government was supposedly spending $3.4+ trillion on the Federal level in order to prime the pump and the TARP bailout money was supposed to be a revolving credit line meant to recreate liquidity in the credit markets related to the residential housing crisis and the loans related to the real estate bubble. The government will tell you that TARP has only cost about $30 billion, but the way the books have been cooked, and with the lack of transparency, there is really no way to know what the real cost of that program has been.

Have we seen any real improvement in the real estate market and have these governmental investments improved the economic outlook of our nation? I don't really think that anyone can say that they have. Housing prices are still artificially inflated beyond reality. Most of the people that I know that I've tried to sell property cannot and the only way that they will be able to sell their property is to decrease the asking price of that property. In reality most housing investments are far below the price (value-principal) that they took the loans out at.

The financial lending institutions have been in a win-win, can't lose situation. They're making money off of fees related to the introductory loan, derivative investments related to the loan, any fees related to late payments on the loan, fees from for foreclosure proceedings, and money related to the resale of the foreclosed properties. The lending institution was supposed to have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the person taking out the loan could afford the loan. What has been revealed over the last few weeks related to this issue of fraudulent foreclosures is that the banks not only have not acted in the best interest of their clients (the person who took out the loan), but they have played their client as a dupe and in doing so they have broken the law.

Think back to a few years ago and all of the mortgage companies that came out of the woodwork and aggressively pressed consumers to take out first, second, and third mortgages also known as equity loans. They had people believing that the value of their homes would increase forever. When the bubble burst it led to where we are today. It began the downward spiral that is continuously feeding off of itself. There's a lot of productivity that is no longer a part of our economic engine. With the glut of houses on the market, there is no need for the labor to create the products needed to build houses in the construction industry is at a standstill. And all of the ancillary jobs related to the construction of homes are gone.

The only people who benefited from this bubble or the people at the top of the food chain of the financial institutions. Fraud has been perpetrated on multiple levels. They make their money off of the fees associated with the instruments that are a part of the financial system. The troubled derivative investments associated with housing have been Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) and Credit Default Swaps. What appears to have been the case is that the financial institutions packaged individual loans and sold them as financial instruments on Wall Street. The main problem is that they sold these packaged instruments multiple times to multiple entities. It appears that there's been no accountability, because an individual loan could have been placed into multiple packages. In essence your personal loan could belong to multiple parties. So it is virtually impossible to know who has the title to your loan or who you owe the money to. Therein lies the problem.

If one looks at Credit Default Swaps, they will see that the financial institutions involved in these investments have a vested interest to see that these loans would become nonperforming assets. That means it was in their interests that the client not pay off the loan and subsequently go into default. Once the client went into default, then the financial institution could collect on the credit default swap, which in essence is a form of insurance. Not only that, but then the financial institution has made money off of the initial loan, off of late fees, then off of the credit default swap, and finally off of the resale of the home.

That is what has brought me to this crossroad. I see the hoodoo that has taken place. This scam has been perpetrated at the expense of the American people and for the pleasure of the executives on Wall Street who are continuously being paid billions of dollars in bonuses and in turn buying off our political system and our court system to represent the interests of very few people. As I have further delved into this issue, I realize how rigged and perverted the system is. It is not only the housing industry, but it is every facet of the financial industry and thus the economic system in our country.

If you want to free up capital and bring liquidity back to our financial structure, then you're going to have to rein in the corruption. The wealth has been concentrated at the top of our socioeconomic food chain. The megarich continue to get richer and the disparity in income continues to grow. This was not the intention of our forefathers in this country is not what it once was. We need to bust open the piñata, if you want small businesses to form and be able to have lines of credit and if you want average people to be able to own homes, then you are going to have to bust open this concentration of wealth. It can no longer be ignored.

The best way to do this is to hold the parties who are responsible for these fraudulent loans, fraudulent financial instruments, and the resulting fraudulent foreclosures responsible for their actions. People have been displaced because of this fraud. This has not been a victimless crime. Sure, some people faulted on their loans because of their ineptitude, but the lending institution had a fiduciary responsibility to act in the interests of the person who took out the line. If the lending institution gave a loan to an individual who they knew most likely could never pay back the loan, then they had no business giving the loan to the person in the first place.

Look at all the predatory lending that took place a few years ago. In my opinion, adjustable rate mortgages should be illegal. Mortgage companies aggressively pushed these types of loans. There were many fly-by-night mortgage companies that aggressively marketed second mortgages as a way to tap into the over appraised equity of primary residences. That equity was created by the housing bubble. It was not real equity. People got caught up in the irrational exuberance. Most people don't understand the laws of economics and finance. They get caught up in the hysteria of the upswing created by a bubble market.

Most of the people that were hired as loan officers at these financial institutions did not understand their position of responsibility as a representative in the financial marketplace. They look to themselves as salespeople. They wanted to flip commissions. Anyone who studies finance understands that there are rules and laws that must be adhered to in these circumstances. Everyone from the top to the bottom of these financial institutions abrogated their duties as representatives of the public good. And as a result we are now going to pay the price of these grievances. I think everyone realizes that the "Too Big to Fails" have already failed. It is only a matter of how long we are going to carry out the charade of propping them up and continuing to pay the Executive Bonuses with Governmental dollars.

I really don't care whether you are in default on your mortgage or not. The only way that we can bring the housing market (and frankly our entire economic system) back into balance is to challenge this fraudulent system that overinflated housing values and thus the amount of money we pay for shelter. The excessive amount of money that we are paying for shelter, because of this bubble, is taken away from monies that could be spent elsewhere in this economy. We need to bring balance back to the marketplace and if we stand back and let this corruption go on then this depression will continue to dig deeper until it ravages our country to its core.

Personally, after reading the information that I have, I don't believe that it does any good to renegotiate with the bank under the current environment. The best thing to do is to find all the free resources and reference material that you can and sue the lending institution yorself without hiring a lawyer -- Pro se legal representation in the United States. I know that I'm going to look into this myself and I have already networked with a few people who are interested in pursuing this venture. When you decide that this is worth your time, then you can contact me at

A letter to the NC Attorney General involving Fraudclosure

You can help people save their homes!

Real Terrorism: Financial Terrorism -
Time to break the Banksters

2nd wave of the Banking Meltdown is here

How can the United States avoid Bankruptcy?

The Plunge Protection Team and the Ponzi Economy

A letter to the NC Attorney General involving Fraudclosure

The following letter was made available to me. It was sent to the North Carolina Attorney General by a couple from Hickory. This letter gets to the heart of the matter and goes a long way towards explaining the plight of North Carolina Citizens who have residences with outstanding mortgages. I think that we should all make our concerns known to Attorney General Cooper. In the end, will he represent the interests of the average primary residence mortgage note holder or the Banking Interests involved in the financial and debt lending industry in our State.

October 10, 2010

Roy Cooper
North Carolina Attorney General
9001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001

Subject: Foreclosure Fraud within North Carolina

Dear Attorney Cooper,

First let us commend you on your current efforts to stop the fraudulent foreclosures by banks and mortgage companies occurring within our state. We encourage you to participate in the multi-state task force of attorney generals just beginning to organize to come up with common solutions to this mess recently exposed in various litigation occurring across our country. We do want to ensure you are aware of a broad fraud that is occurring that many of our state's homeowners are exposed to. We're talking about the scam organization that the banking industry put in place in order to rob our state of millions of dollars of recording fees. This organization called Mortgage Electronic Registration Services (MERS) may in fact be the root cause of this mess we are in.

Multitudes of North Carolina homeowners have MERS written into their Deeds of Trust (DOT) as “nominees” for their lenders and “beneficiaries” of the DOT. As numerous Judges have pointed out, MERS specifically disclaims any interest in the obligation, note or DOT. Even the language of the Deed of Trust says MERS is mentioned in name only and that the Lender is someone else. These Judges who have considered the issue have come up with one conclusion, an assignment from a party with no right, title or interest has nothing to assign. The assignment may look good on its face but there still is the problem that nothing was assigned. If MERS was there in name only to permit transfers and other transactions off-record (a detriment to our state) and if the original party named as a Lender is no longer around, then what you have is a gap in the chain of custody and chain of title with respect to the creditors side of the loan. It is all off record which means it is a question of fact as to who owns the loan. The vary presence of MERS makes it a judicial question which means that the non-judicial election should not be available.

So when you put this all together, you end up with the following inescapable conclusions:

1. The naming of MERS as beneficiary in a deed of trust is a nullity.

2. MERS has no right, title or interest in any loan and even if it did, it disclaims any such interest on its own website.

3. The lender might be the REAL beneficiary, but that is a question of fact so the non-judicial foreclosure option should not be available.

4. If the lender was not the creditor, it isn’t the lender because it had no right to title or interest either, legally or equitably.

5. Without a creditor named in the security instrument intended to secure the obligation, the security was never perfected.

6. Without a creditor named in the security instrument intended to secure the obligation, the obligation is unsecured as to legal title.

7. Since the only real creditor is the one who advanced the funds (the investor(s)), they can enforce the obligation by proxy or directly. Whether the note is actually evidence of the obligation and to what extent the terms of the note are enforceable is a question for our courts to determine.

8. The creditor only has a claim if they would suffer loss as a result of the indirect transaction with the borrower. If they or their agents have received payments from any source, those payments must be allocated to the loan account. The extent and measure of said allocation is a question of fact that should be determined by our courts.

9. Once established, the allocation will most likely be applied in the manner set forth in the note, to wit: (a) against payments due (b) against fees and (c) against principal, in that order.

10. Once applied against payments due, the default vanishes unless the allocation is less than the amount due in payments.

11. Once established, the allocation results in a fatal defect in the notice of hearing, the statements sent to the borrower, and the representations made to our Superior Clerk of Courts. Thus at the very least they must vacate all foreclosure proceedings and start over again.

12. If the allocation is less than the amount of payments due, then the investor(s) collectively have a claim for acceleration and to enforce the note, but they have no claim on the deed of trust. By intentionally NOT naming parties who were known at the time of the transaction the security was split from the obligation. The obligation became unsecured.

13. The investors MIGHT have a claim for equitable lien based upon the circumstances that BOTH the borrower and the investor were the victims of fraud. This mess is very convoluted and will have a severe impact to our state. I believe our Clerk of Courts are not equipped to handle these complex issues. Appellate Judge Carl R. Fox of the Wake County Superior Court in the decision of the foreclosure of a Deed of Trust executed by Hannia M. Adams and H. Clayton Adams reaffirmed that “while a power of sale provision is meant to function as a more expeditious and less expensive alternative to a foreclosure by action, In re Foreclosure of Brown, 156 N.C. App. 477, 486, 577 S.E.2d 398, 404 (2003), foreclosure under a power of sale is not favored in the law, and its exercise will be watched with jealousy. In reForeclosure of Goforth Props., Inc., 334 N.C. 369, 375, 432 S.E.2d 855, 859 (1993) (internal quotation marks

Please make proper use of our North Carolina court system in resolving this mess a part of your proposed solution going forward.

You can help people save their homes!

Real Terrorism: Financial Terrorism - The Banksters
Time to break the Banksters

2nd wave of the Banking Meltdown is here

How can the United States avoid Bankruptcy?

The Plunge Protection Team and the Ponzi Economy

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of October 19, 2010

This newsletter is about the Hickory City Council meeting that I attended this past week. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the 10/19/2010 meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.

Invocation by Rev. Karla Woggon of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension

David Eckhelberger a Boy Scout from troop 250 of St. Luke's United Methodist Church introduced his scout troop that attended this city Council meeting as part of a Citizens in the Community Merit Badge process. The troops subsequently introduced themselves and young Eckelberger introduced the scout leaders.

Special Presentations:
A. Presentation of Beautification Awards by the Community Appearance Commission Presented by Leroy Harris, Chair of the Community Appearance Commission - Awards were handed out to various businesses and residences throughout Hickory including the Adopt a Spot (Adelaide Shuford) award to Maria Winkler-Hymans of 6th Street Cir. NW, a landscaping award to Wyke’s Cleaners, a residential landscaping renovation award to Dr. Jerry and Sandy Froedge of 3rd St., NE, a special award To the Salt Block, an award for the disc golf Park at Glenn Hilton Junior Memorial Park on 6th St., NW, a to Brenda Cline of 18th Avenue Court, NW, and to Gary Ekland of 3rd St., NE.

B. Presentation of Proclamation to Mr. Jerry Thomas, Weatherization Coordinator of Blue Ridge Community Action Declaring October 30, 2010 as “National Weatherization Day” in the City of Hickory - The North Carolina weatherization assistance program was established in 1976 to provide a variety of resources through community action agencies. This program was established to help Catawba, Burke, Caldwell, and Alexander counties to help those in need. This program focuses primarily on the elderly, disabled, and families with children. Trained evaluators and staff perform home inspections testing for gas leaks, carbon monoxide, and other health and safety issues for residents who live at or below the federal poverty level. The goal is to keep North Carolina citizens warm in the winter and cool in the summer and safe all year. October 30th is proclaimed as National Weatherization day in the City of Hickory.

C. Presentation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2010 - Brian Starnes of Martin-Starnes Associates first came to the podium for the presentation. He stated that the opinion letter is an "Unqualified Opinion" and that is what is expected from the local Government commission. There were no exceptions in this report to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). There were no findings in internal controls and there were no questions of about dollars that are received from State and Federal funding.

Mr. Starnes stated that in a broad view that the City of Hickory has very good standards when it comes to its accounting practices. He stated that we are in a terrible economy and the Western part of the State is in a much more difficult situation than the rest of the state. Through all of that, the City of Hickory was still able to add to the total fund balance even though revenues were generally less than they were the year before. He stated that the citizens should be proud of the fact that the city tightened its belt and cut spending. The city has not diminished its financial stability.

Mayor Wright stated that he, Ald. Lail, and Ald. Guess along with staff met with the auditors and asked questions and met privately with a member of the audit firm to ask specific questions outside of the influence of the city staff about how the audit went. They were very pleased with the results and not surprised. Mayor Wright praised the staff at all levels.

Deanna Rios, Hickory’s finance director, next came to the podium. This report is based on activities "government wide." Governmental activities include transportation, public safety, and recreation which rely mostly on taxes. Business activities include water, sewer, and sanitation which rely on fees and charges. Net assets reported were $196 million, which is up $4 million over the last year. Ureserved-Unreserved Fund Balance was down over $600,000 from 2009. Ms. Rios stated that we are holding steady in light of this economy, which is a positive. Assets exceeded liabilities by $196 million or $4700 per citizen, governmental fund balances are adequate, but not excessive, the city has $5.09 of current assets for each dollar of current liabilities. The City has $5.78 of total assets for every dollar of total liabilities. Ms. Rios praised city staff for helping in this process.

City Manager Berry stated that Ms. Rios was being very gracious and he praised Ms. Rios and her staff for doing the heavy lifting in this auditing process. The City of Hickory has received an award for its accounting management practices for the past 14 years. Mayor Wright stated that many cities in our State no longer attempt to obtain this award and this says a lot for the City of Hickory's commitment to try and do things right. Brian Starnes added that the checklist involved in this process takes 2 to 3 days to complete. Less than 10% of the units in North Carolina receive this award. Mayor Wright stated that the city of Hickory is proud to use local firms they give something back to the community.

The Hound thinks the city should be commended for its care with city finances. Ms. Rios painted a cut and dried realistic picture. She stated that the numbers show that we are holding steady. The City is in a solid financial position even in a time of diminishing tax revenues. I would personally like to see growth, but I have to concur with what Ald. Patton stated at the end of this meeting, when she stated that the League of Municipalities believes that we will see tough times for the next two years.

The City is going to have to be creative and thrifty with its finances over the next several years. That does not mean that no money should be spent. It means that the city is going to have to be open minded and creative about how it utilizes resources. These times should not punish citizens who are the collateral damage of this negative economic situation.

D. Presentation of the 14th Consecutive Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the City of Hickory by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. (Part of the Process listed above was the recognition of this award for the past year).

VII. Consent Agenda:
A. Request From the City of Hickory for Use of Union Square for the Christmas Tree Lighting in Downtown Event on Friday, November 19, 2010 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

B. Approval to Accept a Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant in the Amount of $7,537.50 to Purchase Twenty-five Vests - The Hickory Police Department desires to accept a Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant to assist in the purchase of twenty-five (25) vests. The grant is a 50% grant and the total cost of the vests will be $15,075.00 with a 50% match from the City in the amount of $7,537.50. Funds are budgeted for the purchase of these vests. Staff recommends approval to accept said grant.

C. Approve Fire Hydrant Grant Application From BCL, LLC Located on Highway 70, SE - BCL, LLC, owners of Paramount Automotive, plan to build a 13,250 square foot showroom and offices on Highway 70 SE. The cost of construction is estimated to be $2,000,000.00 and will employ approximately thirty (30) new employees. The City’s Economic Development Assistance guidelines state that City Council may provide matching grants of up to $5,000.00 for documented costs of additions to public utilities within public rights-of-ways associated with the opening of a new business or expansion of an existing business. BCL, LLC is seeking a grant in the amount of $5,000.00 to install a fire hydrant, driveway bore and approximately 400 feet of 12” pipe at this site. Funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis. Staff recommends approval.

D. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance Through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs - The following applicants are being recommended for approval for assistance under the City’s First-Time Homebuyer’s Assistance Program:
Nou Soua Chang & Mai Thao Down Payment and Closing Costs 3301 Treadwell Lane, SE Up to $10,000
Ying Lee Down Payment and Closing Costs 3295 Treadwell Lane, SE Up to $7,500
Luciana Shawnte Eskridge Down Payment and Closing Costs 531 3rd Street, SW Up to $6,500

Applicant, Shirley Shuford of 507 3rd Street, SE is being recommended for assistance under the City’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program to increase her 2002 loan amount by $4,075.88 for a new heating system. Her current loan amount is $15,924.12 and has een making timely monthly payments. Funds for the above are budgeted through the City of Hickory’s former Rental Rehabilitation Program income received in FY 2009 and/or Program income received through the City’s Community Development Block Grant Fund. The following applicants are being recommended for approval for assistance under the City’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program:
Linda Fraser Amount Not to Exceed $5,000 236 11th Street, SW
Lois Tse Amount Not to Exceed $5,000 339 11th Street Place, SW
Funds for the above are budgeted through the City’s Community Development Department funding received in FY 2009-2010.

E. Budget Ordinance Amendment No. 7
1. To budget $554 of Local Government Revenue in the Police Department Overtime line item. This revenue is payment from Catawba County Mental Health for a portion of an Officers time spent when accompanying involuntary commitment patients.
2. To budget a $1,149 insurance claim check from Penn National Insurance Company in the Police Department Maintenance and Repair of vehicle line item. This payment is for damage sustained to a Police vehicle on 09-20-10.
3. To budget a $586 insurance claim check from Allstate Insurance Company in the Police Department Maintenance and Repair of vehicle line item. This payment is for damage sustained to a Police vehicle on 09-15-10.
4. To appropriate $2,167 of General Fund Balance and budget in the Police Department Departmental Supply line item. This appropriation is necessary to purchase a K-9 Bite Suit and training supplies for the K-9 unit ($1,178) in addition to a tracking system for the investigation division ($989). $2,167 represents a
part of the remaining Police State Reimbursement balances from previous years (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) that have been rolled into Fund Balance at year end, therefore an appropriation is necessary.
5. To appropriate a $2,700 of General Fund Balance and budget in the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library budget. The Lyerly Trust donation was received prior to the end of FY09-10 however the usage for the funds was undecided at that time. Funds rolled into Fund Balance at year end, therefore an appropriation is necessary. Funds will be budgeted in several Library line items to pay for downloadable books, book club and towards construction on the new meeting room.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Final Report on 2007-2010 Brownfield Assessment Grant Program - The 2007-2010 Brownfield Grant cycle has ended. The Planning Department has completed a full inventory and prioritization of sites on a community-wide basis. There have been nine (9) Phase 1 assessments conducted and six (6) Phase 2 assessments. This also includes the performance of two (2) redevelopment plans. This presentation will highlight the completed actions of the assessment grant.

Brian Frasier, the Planning Director for the City of Hickory, came to the podium and made the presentation involving the Brownfield projects and the process involved. Back in the fall of 2007 the City was granted two $200,000 Brownfield assessment grants of non-or suspected contaminated sites in Hickory and it's ETJ. The City has completed environmental site assessments (ESA) on over 125 sites. Nine Phase 1 assessments have been completed, 6 Phase 2 ESA's have been completed, and two redevelopment plans have been completed.

ESA phase 1 grants include the Piedmont Wagon building, the former Hollar hosiery, the former Regal Manufacturing building, the former Lyerly Mill, S&W Chemical, Moretz Mill, the old Hutto’s store, Bumbarger property, and the former St. Stephens elementary school property.

ESA phase 2 property grants were provided to the former Hollar hosiery, the former Regal Manufacturing building, S&W Chemical, Bumbarger property, and the former St. Stephens elementary school property.

Mayor Wright interjected by speaking about the Hutto’s building that is now a Verizon store at the corner of 127 and 29th Ave. next to Walgreens. Paraphrasing, He stated that the owner had said that working on similar projects has shown to be much easier in Hickory than in other communities in this area. In one city they have worked on a similar project for over two years and here in Hickory the project has been streamlined to the point that it only took three weeks to move this project forward.

Redevelopment site planning activities have been completed on the Piedmont Wagon property and the Hollar Hosiery property. This is also known as Phase 3 of the ESA process. The process included aerial photography involving GIS and this process involved artist renderings of before and after graphics of what the properties will look like in the plan for the future on those sites. This has been kept well within the city's budget designated for these projects.

Mr. Frazier went into the various costs related to this project. Basically the costs are small in the initial phase and only becomes more expensive when chemicals have been utilized on the properties that have contaminated sites. The Hutto's property involved a phase 1 assessment that cost $3500 and that helped to jumpstart the property and there were no environmental liability issues involved with that property.

The Bumbarger property involved a phase 1 caused of $3500 and a phase 2 cost of $19,000, because of the history of the surrounding area involving automotive garages and former gasoline stations, and former dry cleaner. Holler Hosiery involved a phase 1 cost of $3800, a phase 2 cost of $35,400, and a redevelopment cost of $20,700. The site will also need some remediation. The main problem with the site is that pesticides were used on the site before.

The Regal Manufacturing building involved a phase 1 cost of $3000 and a phase 2 cost of $30,000. Part of the cost was to remove old drums that contained contaminated soil at no cost to the owners. The Piedmont Wagon building involved a phase 1 cost of $3200 in a phase 2 cost of $24,500. Redevelopment plans came in well under budget at $7200 and there has been a lot of interest in the site for mixed-use development. The former Moretz Mill costs $4500 for a phase 1 assessment. The property owner has cleaned this property up, but because of the economy they have not allowed a phase 2 assessment to be done. Brian stated that he hopes that in the near future that owners will allow a phase 2 assessment to take place, hopefully with the grant next spring, if Hickory is awarded the money.

The old S&W chemical building involved a phase 1 assessment that costs $4500 and the phase 2 assessment costs $35,000. Some supplemental sampling was done at the request of DENA they cost an additional $4200. The site will need some minor remediation. For a site that is as old, the site is relatively clean and it is so that it will become the future site for maintenance and administrative offices for Greenway transit. The city came in $10,000-$12,000 under budget on this project.

Ald. Fox stated that there is a lot of excitement brought forth by this project. Given the down economy, it puts us in a positive position with these properties particularly in areas that need revitalization and it puts us in a positive position. Ald. Patton stated it gives a leg up to the properties that need that redevelopment. As a member of the Brownfields committee, she thinks that this is a wonderful program that helps property owners redevelop properties and have reassurances.

Ald. Seaver asked about what phase 1 and phase 2 involves? Mr. Frazier stated that phase 1 involves the paper trail of where the property is located, who owns and has owned the property, and who is the responsible polluting property. Phase 2 involves testing involving testing for noxious gases, air quality, groundwater monitoring, and soil tests. Any future grants would require applying for a remediation grants to actually clean up the property. Federal guidelines require that a municipal government or quasi-government entity must own the property and have deed in hand at the time of that remediation.

Ald. Seaver asked if a lot of the testing was done in-house? Mr. Frazier stated that the city had farmed out the testing to Hart and Hickman, because the city just does not have that environmental engineering expertise, but the city office received some administrative services and cost reimbursement through this grant. Mr. Frazier stated that working with Hart and Hickman out of Charlotte was a true pleasure and in his over 20 years of experience they were the best consultants that he ever worked with.

The Hound can see that these Brownfield sites have been interwoven into the redevelopment of the troubled areas of this community. It is heartening to see that priorities have been given to several sites that are frankly an embarrassment to this community. I agree with Mr. Frazier that it is good that Code Enforcement cracked down on the former Huffman Hosiery site. Coming down L-R Boulevard it has stood out like a mangled thumb. I know that Houston Harris put a lot of time, energy, and due diligence into the Granary and made that building a success. He had no guarantees and had to shoulder the load. He even met some red tape along the way that cost him some money, when it should not have.

In the end it is up to property owners to take an interest in making sure that their properties are up to code and do not become blighted. It is understandable that there are issues related to the economy, but some of these properties have become an anathema to this community and our heritage.

In many cases, these buildings were built by craftsman utilizing old school construction techniques that have proven to stand the test of time, unlike some modern structures. But, when these foundations and buildings are not taken care of, then like anything else they will deteriorate and structural problems will develop. When this happens and the owner refuses to do anything to care for the property, then it is best to raze the property and create open space.

I do not live in a world of Sunshine and Lollipops. I know that there are interpersonal and business relationships that play a major role in the accountability process when it comes to this issue. Some people in this community have been shown to be considered a little more equal than others when it comes to the accountability issue. I certainly wish that realism would endure in this equation, because it is time to put external forces to the side when it involves the integrity of the decision making process. Put up or shut up time is coming soon, when it comes to moving forward on the redevelopment issue, because eventually you have to understand that people who always find an excuse to not fix their situation are most likely not ever going to ever fix their situation without some extensive prodding and should this community be held hostage to that mindset?

Comments by Council

Ald. Guess's closing statement about the Zahra Baker situation was about how as a leader in the city he is very proud of how the city has treated the situation. He thanked the Police Chief Tom Adkins and the fire department and other city staff for the efforts that they have made during this time. The Mayor added that he appreciated how the city is represented has represented itself during this time and avoided him and speculation and sensationalism.

Google News Sources related to this case

You can help people save their homes!

The following is a message that was sent to me relating to my latest blog posts that involving the Megabank Lenders, their use of the "MERS" (Mortgage Electronic Registration System) system, and how it relates to the exposed crisis and fraud related to foreclosures.
Mr. Shell,

I live in Asheville and have been researching MERS for quit some time. I enjoyed reading your latest blogs. I was wondering if you know of any attorneys in the Western NC area, that actually know about MERS and are willing to represent clients pertaining to MERS? Also, for failure of mortgage services to abide by NC General Statues § 45-93 (Borrower requests for information)?

Can someone help to create a list of contacts (Attorneys and Agencies) who are willing to press this issue. I do not want to limit this to just Western North Carolina. Let us know of anywhere in North Carolina that these services may be available. Please feel free to comment in the comment section below or send me e-mails that will help me relate information to homeowners who might be vulnerable or may want to press this issue. Any and all information related to this topic is welcome.

Please help me put the rubber to the road. I don't want to just talk about this issue. I want to help people who need help saving their home and I want to create a network of connections that will begin to hold Financial Institutions accountable for their malfeasance versus the public. If you have any ideas or information, I plead, please step forward and help. During these times, you don't know what a lifeline this could be for people living on the edge.


Real Terrorism: Financial Terrorism - The Banksters
Time to break the Banksters

2nd wave of the Banking Meltdown is here

How can the United States avoid Bankruptcy?

The Plunge Protection Team and the Ponzi Economy

Monday, October 18, 2010

Real Terrorism: Financial Terrorism - The Banksters

Are you worried about Muslims? Are you worried about Russians? You are willing to have trillions of dollars spent in efforts to thwart these threats?

Yet, you sit back and watch as the Federal Reserve and Megabanks holds us hostage. It has been stated that in mid September 2008 that Henry Paulson and members of the Treasury Department threatened that there would be Martial law unless the TARP Bill was passed in Congress. At the same time, we saw wild gyrations take place in the Stock Market. One such incident occurred when the TARP Bill failed to pass the House the first time and the Stock market went into the tank.

The forces in key positions of the Financial Structure of our country have been pulling strings and colluding with government entities to manipulate the financial markets and by doing so commit fraud, which has cost Americans trillions in real wealth from pension funds and other personal and public financial instruments.

From the New York Times - September 18, 2010 - The Bush administration on Saturday formally proposed a vast bailout of financial institutions in the United States, requesting unfettered authority for the Treasury Department to buy up to $700 billion in distressed mortgage-related assets from the private firms.

Then we saw a change in direction two months later, as reported in the New York Times - November 12, 2008 - Instead, Treasury will step up its program of injecting capital directly into banks and, for the first time, expand it to include financial companies that are not federally regulated banks or thrifts.

You see, the Congress gave the Executive Branch of our Government a blank slate of $700 billion to do with as they saw fit with no checks and balances in place to ensure accountability of money that in the end belongs to the citizens of this nation. The Congress and other members of the Federal government were unwilling to follow Constitutional procedures and Precedence of Law in the administration of governance. This is wrong, because this renders laws and structure meaningless and only empowers special interests who utilize money to consolidate power to elite power brokers.

In the end this creates the oligarchy that so many have spoken of. This is not a conspiracy theory. This is conspiracy fact. When I look at this debacle related to Real Property and mortgages, I see the same forces at work. Their is a rule of law that has formed around the Universal Commercial Code and Common Law that over centuries has laid out ground rules for a transfer of deed on real property. If you have bought a house and paid the slightest bit of attention, then you understand this.

You do not own your house until the mortgage is paid off, but the lender is supposed to physically hold the deed. The banks found that to be inconvenient in the era of securitization where they wanted to package loans into security instruments and sell them as derivatives. Financial Institutions have once again displayed their ineptitude and they are looking for others to remedy problems that they have created.

From a Maine House, a National Foreclosure Freeze
- New York Times - October 14, 2010
Fannie Mae and GMAC, which serviced the loan for Fannie, have now most likely spent more to dislodge Mrs. Bradbury than her house is worth. Yet for all their efforts, they are not only losing this case, but also potentially laying the groundwork for foreclosure challenges nationwide.

“This ammunition will be front and center in thousands of foreclosure cases,” said Don Saunders of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association....

Mr. Cox vowed to a colleague that he would expose GMAC’s process and its limited signing officer, Jeffrey Stephan. A lawyer in another foreclosure case had already deposed Mr. Stephan, but Mr. Cox wanted to take the questioning much further. In June, he got his chance. A few weeks later, he spelled out in a court filing what he had learned from the robo-signer:

“When Stephan says in an affidavit that he has personal knowledge of the facts stated in his affidavits, he doesn’t. When he says that he has custody and control of the loan documents, he doesn’t. When he says that he is attaching ‘a true and accurate’ copy of a note or a mortgage, he has no idea if that is so, because he does not look at the exhibits. When he makes any other statement of fact, he has no idea if it is true. When the notary says that Stephan appeared before him or her, he didn’t.” ......

But Judge Powers went further than that, saying that GMAC had been admonished in a Florida court for using robo-signers four years ago but had persisted. “It is well past the time for such practices to end,” he wrote, adding that GMAC had acted “in bad faith” by submitting Mr. Stephan’s material:

“Filing such a document without significant regard for its accuracy, which the court in ordinary circumstances may never be able to investigate or otherwise verify, is a serious and troubling matter."

HR 3808 was a bill rushed through the House of Representatives and the Senate that would require any Federal or State court to recognize any notarization made by a notary public licensed by a State other than the State where the court is located when such notarization occurs in or affects interstate commerce.

This bill was sponsored by Robert Aderholdt, a Republican from Alabama and quickly passed the Senate without amendment. How many times does that happen and what was Representative Aderholt's intent?

This bill would force a State to accept notary public signatures of other States. That means if others States accept lower standards for Notary Public signings, then another State would be forced to accept those lower standards. If one State has a regulation that accepts electronic Notary Signings, then all other States would be forced to accept any document that comes from that state. This stems from the fact that many of these "Fraudclosure Loans" have been electronically signed and recorded through the "MERS" (Mortgage Electronic Registration System) system.

When it comes to loans, the banks don't mind using laws to come down hard on average citizens to kick them out of their houses instead of working with the people until they can get back on their feet. They don't mind displacing families. They enjoy packaging these loans as securities, leveraging them 10-fold and selling them around the globe. They enjoy the fees they earn every time they package these loans and resell them and the subsequent billions of dollars in bonuses accrued to top executives.

But when the law goes against them, then they want to retroactively change laws to serve whatever context they desire and their own personal interests. The law means nothing to these people and the Congress is complicit in all of this and may as well be the accomplice driving the car away from the bank, because they have helped these Financial Executives rob the Financial System and the American people. For the average person, we expect that throughout life sometimes we will win and sometimes we will lose. For the Banksters, they don't think they should ever lose and thanks to our corrupt government they probably never will.

Time to break the Banksters

2nd wave of the Banking Meltdown is here

How can the United States avoid Bankruptcy?

The Plunge Protection Team and the Ponzi Economy

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Time to break the Banksters

What Is MERS and What Role Does It Have in the Foreclosure Mess? (Hint: It Holds 60% of All Mortgages, But Has ZERO Employees) - (Washington Blog - October 13, 2010)

What is MERS? - Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems or "MERS" - It is the company created and owned by all of the big banks to process title to property in the U.S. Approximately 60% of the nation’s residential mortgages are recorded in the name of MERS.

Why was MERS created in the first place? In the mid-1990s mortgage bankers decided they did not want to pay recording fees for assigning mortgages anymore. This decision was driven by securitization—a process of pooling many mortgages into a trust and selling income from the trust to investors on Wall Street. Securitization, also sometimes called structured finance, usually required several successive mortgage assignments to different companies. To avoid paying county recording fees, mortgage bankers formed a plan to create one shell company that would pretend to own all the mortgages in the country—that way, the mortgage bankers would never have to record assignments since the same company would always “own” all the mortgages.

"At the Root of the Crisis We Find the Largest Financial Swindle in World History", Where "Counterfeit" Mortgages Were "Laundered" by the Banks - (Washingtons Blog - 10/12/2010)

The tidal wave of evidence showing that the giant banks have engaged in fraudulent foreclosure practices is so large that the attorneys general of up to 40 states are launching investigations.

People's homes are being taken when they didn't even hold a mortgage, and the big banks have been using "robo signers" to forge mortgage related documents. Indeed, even president Obama has been hit by robo signers (see this and this).

Its so blatant that foreclosure mills have published price lists for forging documents, including such gems as:
"Create Missing Intervening Assignment" $35
"Cure Defective Assignment" $12.95
"Recreate Entire Collateral File" $95

According to economist Max Wolff:
The securitization process worked by "packag(ing), sell(ing), repack(aging) and resell(ing) mortages making what was a small housing bubble, a gigantic (one) and making what became an American financial problem very much a global" one by selling mortgage bundles worldwide "without full disclosure of the lack of underlying assets or risks."

Buyers accepted them on good faith, failed in their due diligence, and rating agencies were negligent, even criminal, in overvaluing and endorsing junk assets that they knew were high-risk or toxic. "The whole process was corrupt at its core."

Indeed, there was fraud at every step of the mortgage process. The big banks intentionally signed up borrowers with insufficient income and assets, threw out the documentation because it would prove fraud, racked up loan fees and received short-term payments before all of the new borrowers ran out of money, and then laundered the bad loans into securitized instruments to sell to the suckers.

The banks created an intermediary called "MERS" to hold all of the documentation, in at attempt to shield the banks legally. But courts have held that this scheme doesn't fly, and that MERS doesn't have title to foreclose on houses. See this and this (and as Tyler Durden points out, MERS might have infected the commercial real estate market as well.)

Then there's the whole foreclosure scandal, where banks have forged and backdated documentation to try to prove they are entitled to foreclose. This is the part that is in the news right now. But because fraud was committed every step of the way - from mortgage origination and loan applications, to securitization, to MERS to foreclosures - it shows a fraudulent scheme, and not just sloppy paperwork.

The Hound's Take: Wall Street and the financial institutions in our country are who have gotten us into this mess that is an economic depression. We need to look back to the TARP fund and its passage by the Congress in the heat of the moment during the weeks following the wild rides of the stock market in the middle of September 2008.

What was done at that point in time has certainly not remedied the situation that we faced then and still face today. Please look at the Drudge Report where the top news of the day is Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke looking forward to the Federal Reserve purchasing United States Treasury Securities. This will not fix anything. This is monetizing the debt (devaluing the currency). This has never been attempted in this country before and in every country where this has been attempted it has lead to hyperinflation. If this Genie is let out of the bottle, the possibilities of controlling the valuation of our currency will be at serious risk.

What we see today is a serious systemic crisis based upon corruption. We need to go back and correct the mistakes that were made two years ago. That would be the best thing to do. We gave a few individuals way too much power and they have not acted in the American peoples interest. They have acted only in Wall Street's interest. We should not continue down this path of uncertainty. We need to correct the mistakes that have been made.

Let's look at the value of homes. Honestly,if we were evaluating how much a homeowner can sell their house for it is substantially less than what it was a few years ago. What is holding up this redefinition of market values? I believe it is collusion between the financial institutions and the government as a coordinated action. Governments at all levels do not want to see housing values fall, because this will have an effect on tax revenues and banks do not want to lower the value of assets that they have on the books. They don't want to write down these values and don't want to put these toxic assets on the market and accept the losses and purge the system of these assets that were overvalued because of the bubble economy related to real estate.

The bottom line is that the banks are insolvent and the sooner that we come to that conclusion, the sooner we are going to be able to get out of this depression. We need to break up the banks and decentralize the power concentrated on Wall Street through Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo,and Citibank. We need to force these megabanks to be broken up much the same as AT&T was broken up back in the late 1970s.

Most of the actions above, which were unethical, were perpetrated in the name of consolidation, which ultimately led to corruption caused by greed. Greed may be good for those at top of the food chain, but what we have seen is people have their lives ruined so that these scavengers at the top of the financial food chain could get bigger and bigger just for the sake of getting bigger and bigger. These people are narcissistic sociopaths who care nothing about the security of this nation and its people. They are out of control and it is time to reign them in and rectify this situation and make the people of this great nation whole again. There is nothing wrong with accumulating wealth, but when you do it through fraud and at the expense of innocent people, then it is wrong and you should be made to pay back these ill gotten gains. We know what the problems are and we need to fix them and we need the ensure that we never go back down this road again.

2nd wave of the Banking Meltdown is here

How can the United States avoid Bankruptcy?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

2nd wave of Banking Meltdown is here

MSNBC—Oct. 14, 2010—From the Dylan Ratigan Show. People are starting to fight back against mistreatment by mortgage lenders. And the extent of the housing mortgage mess is beginning to come to light.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Game, Set,...Match?

Death of a city - Gary, Indiana

Wall Street swimming in money while Main Street is swimming in Debt - The Sellout of America - Top 35 Financial Institutions will get $144 billion in bonuses - (Wall Street Journal - October 11, 2010)

Dollar fall sparks stability warnings
- (Financial Times - October 14, 2010)- Increasing expectations the Federal Reserve will pump more money into the US economy next month under a policy known as quantitative easing sent the dollar to new lows against the Chinese renminbi, Swiss franc and Australian dollar. It dropped to a 15-year low against the yen and an eight-month low against the euro.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Rant -- Honesty, Integrity, Honor, and Loyalty

I know that nothing is ever been perfect and there have always been problems in our society. Think back to the days of Bonnie and Clyde or John Dillinger. Those were iconic criminal figures of the Economic Depression of the 1930s. Most of us weren't alive then and so we don't really know if these people were looked up to or not, but there have certainly been movies made that glorified what they did -- sort of like a Robin Hood situation.

You have also seen several of these kinds of issues that have always involved politics. I think of Huey Long in Louisiana or Mayor Richard J. Daley in Chicago. These men were kingmakers and played a role in national politics as much as they did on the local scene. These men's legacies were formed around issues that involved corruption and near dictatorial powers. Their strength, it has been stated in so many words, was built on a foundation of unethical activity. The end always justified the means. Even when their personal actions did not overtly support this corruption, the men who they had put in positions of power formed the base which supported such activity.

Whatever happened to integrity? Did it not used to be part of the fabric of our society or is that just a myth. I look at the documents formed by our forefathers and the government that was instituted their by, did not that government bring us the principles of liberty and were they not founded upon personal integrity, self-reliance, and rugged individualism? It just does not seem right that such a magnificent foundation of principles should lead us to where we are today. How have we gotten to this point?

I am by no means perfect. I do not look to judge people by perfection. But, what I see today is a society that is always looking for someone else to solve their problems and the easy way out. We see a society that has given up on the ideals of excellence. Is that how we have gotten to this point?

In my line of work, I see a general lack of courtesy and manners on a daily basis. I see a true lack of respect between people who should be trying to help one another. The customer provides money and the employee provides a service. Both sides need one another and yet so many times they look at one another in an adversarial manner. One cannot exist without the other, but it seems many times that each look down at the other. They are both human, they're both going to make mistakes, and in the end it is the desire of both parties that each get what they want out of the process. How about some courtesy, some patience, some understanding, some respect? This should be true of all forms of business.

However, what we have seen develop is a game of one-upsmanship. Each party feeling that they are superior to the other party. You know it takes all of us to make a great society. If we respected one another's capabilities and tried to lift one another up, instead of building ourselves up by putting others down, then would the world not be a better place?

I am a chef by trade, I love cooking for people who enjoy good wholesome creative food, but honestly I have lost my desire to practice my profession in public. The people of this area limit the ability of top-notch talent to ply their trade, because they enjoy the process of eating and filling their gut with foods that they could just as easily prepare at home. They just don't seem to care about quality. It is about price, speed of service, portion size. I may be being too honest by stating that, but I am giving a generality about what I have witnessed over the last 25 years.

There are some people who do appreciate what I desire to deliver, but they are in the vast minority. Ten years ago this area was much more economically viable, because the companies in the area were more economically dynamic. We had people coming from all parts of the world to our area and those people respected the talents of creative people in this area. That is part of the race to the bottom that has been witnessed in our area. We have a lot to offer, but we don't have a lot to offer it to. We need to expand our horizons to the outside world, not close the area off to that world.

I really don't know how we're going to get out of this mess. There are forces that are working against solving the problems that we see in our area. And there are forces that are putting their futures at stake to try and rectify the inadequacies and negatives that have been perpetuated and put us in the vulnerable position that we are in today.

I spoke with a friend of mine who is in the real estate profession. I was talking to him about the Economic Depression that we're in and I was stating that I can't understand how people don't see that we are in an Economic Depression. He said that he believed that most people understand this, they just don't want to talk about it or deal with it -- they're scared. I asked about the real estate business and was he doing any business? He stated that he showed properties and he talked about properties, but he wasn't doing any business. He said everything is on hold. Life is on hold.

It is like we have stated on this blog before. You're either making positive progress or you are falling behind. Stagnation is falling behind. I do agree that this area has done things which will help "some" when things turn around, but what are we aggressively doing to turn things around? We have to do things to turn our economic prospects around without relying on external forces to come save the day. We are going to have to take some chances. The status quo in a period of malaise only helps to propagate that malaise.

I feel that it is incumbent upon the people of our community to look to themselves as problem solvers. If we look at the major issues that we are facing today, the common thread is that people are desiring unrealistic solutions from third-party sources. Instead of self-reliance as the principal, people are all too willing to accept charity from people who lack accountability. Who am I talking about? The GOVERNMENT.

Our government is a big problem. The people are going to have to demand accountability from the government. The government grows larger and larger and yet their accountability continues to dim. If the people continue to accept their current lot in this downward economic spiral, then they better prepare for the worst.

I do not know what the future holds, because honestly, I don't understand people. Why do people want to wait until a catastrophe arises until they take action. We have already seen a catastrophe take place with our economy and we have seen the inaction of the government and an ambivalence towards solving the problems that we face. Words, words, words... when we need action. And I may not be taking enough action, but I am acting. People can do something (anything) to help.

Integrity is all about being true to oneself and being honest with oneself. If one cannot get to the core of that general principle, then frankly there is nothing that can be done to help that individual. We need leaders, not sociopaths. The term used for those who serve in the government is “Public Servant.” The government as an entity is supposed to serve the people, not the other way around. That is the foundational principle upon which our government is based.

Corruption is at the root of our economic problems. What we see is systemic. Until we choose to call out those people who represent the forces of iniquity, then we will continue to spin our wheels forever. You better start learning and teaching you kids Mandarin. Taking the easy way out is no longer an option. The issues that we face are related to character. It is only about judging people to the extent of what is inherently right and wrong. If we are unwilling to call people out, because of who they are or some entity that they represent, then we are accomplices and enablers of whatever injustice these people are perpetrating.

We must represent and demand honesty, integrity, honor, and loyalty and we should never shrink in espousing these principles.