Focus: the Foreclosure Debacle
Hello, Mr. President, is anyone home? Your Presidency is already in trouble. Many of the people who voted for you are deeply disappointed in your administration. And just two weeks prior to the election, the Republicans are poised to take the House and possibly the Senate. The right has seized populist anger. You and Treasury Secretary Geitner are not helping matters — you bail out the big guys, help them consolidate their vise grip on the financial system. All the while small businesses can’t get loans, people are losing jobs and their homes.
Greed Street: Here is the way that AP writer Michelle Conlin described the crisis: “Allegations of possible mortgage fraud against financial giants GMAC, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America read like a corporate thriller: forged documents, faked Social Security numbers, phantom titles, disappearing paper trails, “robo-signers” and mortgages sliced and diced so many times that nobody really knows who owns them.”
- Joseph R. Mason, a finance professor who holds the Louisiana Bankers Association chair at Louisiana State University, “You borrowed money,” he said. “You are obligated to repay it.” (He has to pay the mortgage for his endowed position). Versus:
- Kathleen Porter, law professor at Harvard, “The misbehavior is clear: they lied to the courts,” she said. “The fact that they are saying no one was harmed, they are missing the point. They did actual harm to the court system, to the rule of law. We don’t say, ‘You can perjure yourself on the stand because the jury will come to the right verdict anyway.’ That’s what they are saying.”
Wow, what an a timely opportunity for the President to seize the thunder and re-energize the base and show that he really cared about middle class families rather than the Wall Street power brokers. All he needs to do is to initiating a moratorium on foreclosures at least until the many state attorney generals complete their investigations of the potential fraud and fakery. But apparently this is not in the offing. We can only wonder whether President Obama would take action if one of the bailed-out banks were to foreclose on the White House. Call the White House and tell him to freeze foreclosures: 202-456-1111. And be really nice to the volunteer who takes your call. There likely to appreciate your message.
Populist Storm Brewing in Boston and it ain’t the Tea Party. Well if President Obama (former community organizer) refuses to issue a moratorium or at least a freeze on foreclosures, the people will have to take matters into their own hands.
City Life /Vida Urbana. A group in Boston is doing just that. Using the link below you can see how City Life has successfully stopped foreclosures and evictions with a 1-2-3 combo aimed at the banks.
Once again Paul Solman PBS News Hour economic correspondent out does himself. We nominate Paul Solman for a Pulitzer. See the video and read the transcript. A must see.
Additional Solman video gives background on current foreclosure debacle (the Big Banks strike again). Today Bank of America announced it would resume foreclosure proceedings.
The Foreclosure Crisis: Part 2: The Too-Big-to-Fail Banks may be in Too-Big Trouble: Great piece on October 19 Market Place: “In light of the foreclosure paperwork fiasco, investors at private funds and mortgage-investment giants are looking to get their money back. And as Bob Moon tells Kai Ryssdal, they may just be able to, thanks to something called a'”put back.’ ” See it here.
And Now for the GOOD News:
Kansas group skeptical on climate change embraces energy conservation and renewable energy. We have been saying for some time that talking about melting glaciers in far off places doesn’t have much sway at the local level — what does? Saving money while cutting fossil fuel use and promoting local businesses and jobs! See story by NY Times reporter, Leslie Kaufman and don’t miss the slide show.
In a related development: Siemens, an electronic and energy company, is building a $50 million wind turbine plant in Hutchinson, Kansas that will create as many as 400 local jobs. According to the Times article, the project has stirred a wave of excitement about wind power; local farmers expect to lease some of their land for turbines and rely on wind power as a stable source of income. Kansas now has more than 1000 MW of wind power — that’s the size of a nuclear power plant! As Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”
Also go to the The Take Charge Challenge site describes a year-long energy conservation competition between six Kansas towns – collectively the project:
- Saved over 6 million kilowatt hours of electricity during the Challenge year (April ’09-April ’10) and take measures that locked in future savings of over 7 million kilowatt hours per year.
- Switched nearly 52,000 incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)
- Saved more than $430,000 and reduced coal use by 1.4 million pounds
- Spurred local economic development by utilizing local businesses and contractors.
- Came together as a community with a common goal.
We particularly like the fact that such local initiatives can create local economic development and jobs!
The project received a boost from Philips Electronics which manufactures highly energy efficient, fluorescent lighting.