Truthout – Personally Invested in Mortgage Banks, House Republican Opposes Fix for “Foreclosure-Gate”
Personally Invested in Mortgage Banks, House Republican Opposes Fix for “Foreclosure-Gate”
Saturday 16 October 2010
(Photo: republicanconference / Flickr)
Widespread reports about “robo-signers” — bank officials who would sign foreclosure forms without even reading them — have lead many business reporters to dub the crisis of potentially illegal bank foreclosures as “foreclosure-gate.” For example, a Bank of America official admitted in a bankruptcy case that she signed 7,000 to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month and “typically” did not read them “because of the volume.” Responding to this crisis, many lenders, like Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Ally Financial, have halted foreclosures, while Democratic lawmakers and a cadre of a bipartisan state attorney generals have called for a wider foreclosure moratorium and investigations into the banks’ practices.
Climate Progress – Yale profile of Wunderground.com’s Jeff Masters: “The ignorance and greed that human society is showing [on climate change] will be to our ultimate detriment and possible destruction.”
From Climate Progress:
October 16, 2010
Journalist Julie Halpert has a terrific Yale Forum profile of the prolific uber-meteorologist. Masters, a CP favorite, pulls no punches on global warming. The piece is excerpted below.
From Crooks and Liars:
By Nicole Belle
From the Economist’s View:
Obama said that just as people and companies have had to be cautious about spending, “government should have to tighten its belt as well. … Obama has asked agencies to develop plans for cutting budgets 5 percent.
A leader would explain why the government – private sector equivalence is false in this instance, fight to keep people working instead of caving to the Austerians, and do everything possible to provide more jobs for people, not less (even if, in the end, the fight is lost the political gains from trying to push a jobs program through would, in my opinion, be far greater than the gains from issuing pink slips — the administration needs to show it cares as much about saving jobs as it does about saving big banks). The jobs that are sacrificed will do almost nothing to help with the long-run budget problem, cutting the budget makes things worse in the short-run, and even if there was an argument for this, the political gains are unlikely to materialize. This is very disappointing.
By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org Updated: 15 Oct 2010
Fort Hood soldier ordered to erase video of shootings –In US civilian courts, destruction of evidence can be a crime. 15 Oct 2010 A US soldier who captured a deadly 2009 rampage at Fort Hood with his cell phone camera testified Friday that he was ordered to erase the video by his commanders. The video could have provided key evidence at the trial of Major Nidal Hasan, a US Army psychiatrist who faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. Lead defense attorney John Galligan asked witness Private Lance Aviles if he had taken a video of the shooting with his cell phone and if he deleted the footage at the instruction of his superiors. “Yes, sir,” Aviles replied.
Obama administration subpoenaed in Fort Hood probe 19 Apr 2010 Two U.S. lawmakers subpoenaed the Obama administration on Monday for information sought in a congressional probe of last year’s shooting rampage [false flag] at Fort Hood, Texas, that left 13 soldiers dead and an Army psychiatrist charged with murder. Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, an independent [sociopath], and Susan Collins, the panel’s top Republican, took the action after the departments of Justice and Defense failed to provide the materials by Monday’s deadline.
Switzerland’s Mega Tunnel Sets Record on Friday October 15, @03:05PM
Posted by Soulskill on Friday October 15, @03:05PM
from the what-a-bore dept.
Anonymous Dupaeur writes “Switzerland, co-home of CERN and numerous other world organizations, has come closer to the completion of their recent megaproject: the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which will be the largest railway tunnel made by man. The project is due to be completed in 2017, and will host 200 to 250 trains a day with a significantly larger kinetic energy than the LHC’s beams.” After the completion of today’s work, the tunnel is now 57 kilometers long, surpassing Japan’s 53.9-kilometer Seikan Tunnel. There are a few longer tunnels in existence, such as the 137-kilometer Delaware Aqueduct, but they all move water rather than people.
From In These Times:
This week’s headlines below… But now a different sort of In These Times news: Once in a while we like to brag about our writers, without whom the magazine would be nothing but blank pages. Earlier this month, we received word that Contributing Editor Jessica Pupovac was recognized by the National Women’s Political Caucus for her article ” Silenced in the Barracks: The Pentagon Fails to Protect U.S. Troops from Sexual Abuse.” The feature story won a 2010 Exceptional Merit in Media Award (EMMA), awarded to a select few magazine articles published in 2008 and 2009. Full details of the award are here.
Want to stay up to speed with InTheseTimes.com headlines every day? Follow us on Twitter and become a fan of us on Facebook. Want to help us keep publishing? Join our cause on Facebook, or donate here. Want to work in the nonprofit media world? In These Times is now on the lookout for a Director of Development and Communications and a Development and Communications Assistant.
Excommunicated Over Abortion: A nun’s decision to save a life ends her Catholic career.
GOP Candidates Hand Dems Winning Issue: The Minimum Wage: But what will they do with it?
The Truth About Civil Servants: The shiftless paperpusher fattened on your tax dollars doesn’t really exist.
Waste Land Documentary’s Portrait of Life in Brazilian Dump Comes Up Short: The sensory and sentimental brilliance of the new film about trashpickers, scored by Moby, isn’t equaled in the political/social context arena.
The Rot of D’Souza’s Rant: Historian Barbara Ransby dissects Dinesh D’Souza’s “kooky biological theory of politics,” which posits that President Barack Obama is on an anti-colonialist crusade, which he inherited from his father.
Seeking Fair Contracts: “Underneath all the fine print abstruseness and evasion of state rules is the contractual tyranny that infects the entire financial service economy,” Ralph Nader writes.
Rescued Chilean Miners Greeted as Heroes – but They’re Also Victims: The miners are safe. But let’s not forget why they were in danger in the first place: their company’s inattention to mine safety.
From the FAIR Blog:
10/11/2010 by Peter Hart
This past Sunday’s edition of NBC‘s Meet the Press (10/10/10) featured two guests talking about the midterms, the economy and public sentiment: conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and Time magazine’s Joe Klein.
Klein has been on a road trip through the middle of the country to assess how Americans are feeling (that is, Americans who don’t live in “urban” areas or the “deep South,” as Klein explained).
Trying to explain how voters feel about Washington, Klein provided this anecdote:
They have no idea what the Democrats stand for, except for these big, slovenly pieces of legislation that we’ve seen which inevitably contain ridiculous provisions. One candidate in Nevada, a Republican running for Congress, said that there’s a provision in the healthcare reform bill that small businesses have to set aside areas for breastfeeding women to use their breast pumps. My dad was a small businessman. He didn’t need to be told by the government to do that… He would have just said, “Use my office.”
The idea that businesses easily accommodate working mothers will likely come as a surprise to working mothers–most of whom would probably disagree with the idea that a dedicated place to express breast milk is a “ridiculous provision” in the healthcare law.
Perhaps working mothers should all work for someone like Joe Klein’s father. Since that’s not possible, then maybe laws to protect such workers are necessary after all.
And for the record, there does not appear to be anything in the law that is directed primarily at “small businesses.” If anything, such employers (those with fewer than 50 employees) would seem to be eligible for a “undue hardship” exemption.
After the miners’ rescue Wednesday, talk in Chile turned to mine safety and the conduct of Compañía Minera San Esteban, the corporation that owns the San Jose mines where the miners were trapped. On Thursday, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera publicly addressed safety issues, vowing “fundamental changes in how businesses treat their workers.”
Stories about San Esteban’s horrible record are legion (e.g., here and here). The company has been host to a number of deaths at its mines in recent years, and accusations of safety violations including the charge that it ignored orders to install safety equipment–a condition of its reopening after a previous accident–which might have made an earlier escape possible for some miners.
Moreover, during the debacle, San Esteban, which played no part in the miners’ rescue, pled poverty and claimed it could not pay the trapped miners wages. As London’s Independent reported, San Esteban “says it has no money to continue paying their wages, let alone cope with the lawsuits that will inevitably arise from the ordeal.”
All in all, one might say it wasn’t an episode in which capitalism cloaked itself in glory. That is, unless one is Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page director and “Wonder Land” columnist Daniel Henninger. In his October 14 column, “Capitalism Saved the Miners: The Profit = Innovation Dynamic Was Everywhere at the Mine Rescue Site,” Henninger argued that the miners owed their rescue to a special drill bit developed by a private U.S. company. That was his entire argument.
By: emptywheel Friday October 15, 2010 5:40 am
The NYT has a fascinating story about the $75,000 house that led to the GMAC deposition on robosigning that finally alerted the world to the extent of the fraud behind foreclosures. It’s worth reading for the description of Thomas Cox, a lawyer who volunteers at legal assistance to make right for his years of doing foreclosures, the description of the errors GMAC made even after the court started looking closely, and the detail that GMAC has now spent more on legal fees trying to foreclose on this house than the house itself is worth.
But I’m particularly interested in this:
Entity Pro 26 $ California Chamber of Commerce $3,337,323 Chevron Corporation $2,500,000 Small Business Action Committee $1,350,000 American Beverage Association $750,000 Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. $625,000 ConocoPhillips $525,000 Philip Morris USA Inc. $500,000 MillerCoors $350,000 Occidental Petroleum $250,000 Wine Institute $225,593
The Chamber of Commerce is pretty cool with a dysfunctional government. They don’t want laws to pass, and lord knows they don’t want to have to pay for a damn thing, even when they are responsible for those costs. Take Prop 26, it would require that fees that are related to the industries on which they are imposed be passed by a 2/3 majority. And, as we know, it’s not like any Republicans are going to vote for anything that brings in revenue to the state, no matter how reasonable or tied to the industry.
So these numbers shouldn’t surprise anybody. Who is fighting these measures, members of industries that push their costs off on to the state. Chevron? Yeah, they’re staying out of Prop 23, but they are up to their necks in this one. And look at that, the adult beverage industry seems to be very excited about this measure. Why’s that, do you think? Oh, could it be that the costs associated with drunk driving are also pushed off onto the state?
Prop 26 would be a disaster for the state, but wonderful for these companies bottom lines. We better hope that the voters see through this naked power grab.
UPDATE: I should point out that the Yes on 26 campaign shares an account with No on 25. So, this money is also going to defeat majority vote on budget.
From TaxProf Blog:
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration yesterday released two reports finding recurring problems in the IRS’s oversight of billions in spending: Procurement Audit Results Indicate Problems Continue to Exist After Corrective Actions Were Implemented (2010-10-088): “As of March 15, 2010, the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Office of Procurement was…
Supposedly nobody should panic about the lack of fuel though. Why isn’t clear, but nobody should worry about it. Maybe the new-fangled airplanes don’t really need fuel but run on happy thoughts. BBC:
France is bracing itself for further mass protests over the government’s plan to raise the retirement age.
Thousands of students are expected to join a fifth day of demonstrations in less than six weeks. Unions have called for more than 200 marches nationwide.
Strikes have shut most of France’s oil refineries and depots and the fuel pipeline to Paris’s main airports has been closed.
D. Daniel Sokol – The AZ Judgment: A Green Light for Further Action on Pharma and Intellectual Property
From the Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog:
The AZ Judgment: A Green Light for Further Action on Pharma and IP
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Sean-Paul Brankin (Crowell & Moring) discusses The AZ Judgment: A Green Light for Further Action on Pharma and IP.
Once the darling of Wall Street and the Darth Vadar of the agribiz universe, Monsanto has fallen on hard times. The reason may have to do with the essentially over-hyped nature of GMO technology. Tom Philpott explains.
In this TED talk, product designer Eben Bayer describes a low-energy, fully compostable packaging assembled by a fungus from agricultural waste. Watch the video.
Ali Gharib – The Same Neocons Who Peddled the Al Qaeda-Iraq Connection Are Setting Their Sights on Iran
They lied us into one war, and now they’re trying to get the U.S. into another.
Last September 8, I interviewed President Bush’s National Security Adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. I was pressing her on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s nuclear capabilities. . . .
“We know that he has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon,” she told me. . . .
Dr. Rice then said something that was ominous and made headlines around the world.
“The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
The Countrywide CEO’s punishment for making out like bandit while blowing up the economy? A measly fine
Angelo Mozilo will pay a fine of $67.5 million to settle SEC charges of insider trading and fraud. Most people would consider that a pretty penny, but maybe not Mozilo. Let’s not forget, he raked in around $140 million in 2007, while laying off 12,000 Countrywide workers. He can afford to pay a few traffic tickets.