I am not sure why so many people are so confused over the concerns of the legal status of robo-signers.

I’ll let Thomas A. Cox, a retired lawyer, describe GMAC’s foreclosure process and the work of its limited signing officer, Jeffrey Stephan in a court filing:

“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.”

Gee, how could anything go wrong in that situation?

Again, this is not about keeping deadbeat borrowers in homes, it is about the Rule of Law.

>

Source:
From a Maine House, a National Foreclosure Freeze
DAVID STREITFELD
NYT, October 14, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/business/15maine.html

Category: Credit, Foreclosures, Legal, Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

68 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Robo-Signers”

  1. Arthur says:

    Do not mistake being a whore for the banks with confusion. You are being to generous to those people.

  2. Expat says:

    Here is where we once again learn that what is written in law is not necessarily practiced.

    To wit, the SEC and its appalling record of prosecuting malfeasance and outright theft. Rather than send anyone to prison (or rarely), the corporation pays a token fine. Even Goldman’s “record” fine was a mere trifle, a simple annoyance that reduced a few bonuses.

    The Rule Of Law will be ignored. No bankers will go to jail. Few, if any, will get fined. Perhaps a few Burger King Kids will be made examples of (Helloooo, Jerome Kerviel). Maybe an originator will lose its license. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

    But in the end, the government will simply call for a do-over. The banks et al will be allowed to reprocess all the paperwork under new guidelines which modify the status of MERS. Token payments will be made to county clerks and a few headline repos will be changed to mods (think single moms and immigrant families…all given a helping hand from Wells Fargo on primetime news).

    Fuck the system.

  3. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    Amen Brother!

  4. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    I forgot to mention why should the g(G)ods on Wall Street care? Or those in Washington?

  5. myopia says:

    I think the point is the banks failed to do due diligence in order to quickly sell a load of crap to investors and as I understand it a lot of those investors were pension funds – i.e. main street investors.

  6. “…Giant agencies extend their contracts to selling national policies, as Hill & Knowlton did in selling the Gulf war to the American public. Although most large news organizations at least rewrite PR materials, many smaller markets “rip and read” prepackaged video news releases. This is a cautionary reminder that much of the consumer and political world is created by for-hire mouthpieces in expensive neckties.”
    Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    This item:
    Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John Stauber

    Trust Us We’re Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future by Sheldon Rampton

    Propaganda by Edward Bernays

    http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-Sludge-Good-You-Relations/dp/1567510604

    http://search.yippy.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&v%3Aproject=clusty&query=Toxic+Sludge+is+Good+for+You

  7. myopia,

    good point, still no word on ~”Who bought this stuff?”, right?

  8. doug says:

    From bloomberg today:
    “U.S. banks and government officials face mounting pressure to address concern that firms mishandled mortgage and foreclosure documents.”

    “mishandled” that is all… nothing to see… move along.
    ..

  9. Darmah says:

    BR, these posts on foreclosures have been among your best; and many of the comments have been equally good. Thank you and keep it up.

    On NPR this morning — it seems the banks are in full mis-/dis- information mode — “We’re not evicting people who deserve to stay in the house,” Dimon declared. Dimon said he was hopeful that it would take three to four weeks for his bank to review the documents and get the foreclosure process back on track. However, he worried that “if it went on for a long period of time, it will have a lot of consequences, most of which would be adverse on everybody.”

    Only towards the end did the NPR report touch on the rule-of-law point and then mainly in passing. I don’t think the media gets it and that’s worrisome. But then they are screwing up on a lot of issues. The media is definitely in follow-the-herd mode on most matters it seems.

  10. Bruman says:

    What are you worried about, Barry? This is America: we have the best rule of law that money can buy!

  11. rktbrkr says:

    Chase pulled out of MERS a couple years ago, that must be an interesting story.

    MERS handles about 2/3 of US mortgages. Probably near 100% in sand states. Home sellers may get a slight premium if they haven’t been processed by MERS, certainly a premium for never having their property go thru FC.

    I wonder what kind of price discount we’ll see for foreclosures sold by the big banks in FL and similar places – even if they can get title insurance

    I spoke with someone who just bought a FL short sale for exactly 1/2 it’s 2006 sales price, it had never been used, a Divosta dev in Bonita springs, never a foreclosure. Banks will be agreeing to any short sale price in places like FL – just to avoid FC paperwork probs

  12. KidDynamite says:

    barry – i’m glad you posed Streitfeld’s article. Let me ask you – what SHOULD happen to the women in that article? and what do you think WILL happen to the woman in the article?

    because of GMAC’s incompetence, she, by her own lawyers’ admission, managed to stay in her house without paying a lot longer than she should have. She bought a house with zero down, and was given another loan to renovate! She’s hardly a victim in any sense of the word – she’s a great stereotype of a beneficiary of bank idiocy – given a loan she probably never should have been given, and allowed to stay for years after she stopped paying – double whammy. Still, GMAC didn’t follow due process when they foreclosed on her. What now?

    I’m completely with you on the rule of law, so what should happen to her now? If the bank can’t produce the note, should she just get to stay in the house? That’s the point that I think a lot of people (myself included) are having trouble coming to grips with. What is the solution? Have someone review the file, look at the documents, and agree that the foreclosure is correct? Same result, right?

  13. DeDude says:

    So it all started in Denmark – to be or not to be.

  14. Mannwich says:

    LOL. Says it all, Barry, doesn’t it? But, hey, don’t worry, we don’t need to follow silly little things like “laws” anymore. They simply get in the way of the “magic” that is “free market capitalism”, or so the delusional libertarian crowd will tell you.

  15. DeDude says:

    “she’s a great stereotype of a beneficiary of bank idiocy”

    No she is a great example of a victim of the banks greed. She should never have been given the impression that this type of living space or “lifestyle” was realistically available for her. They had money to make from this woman so they sold her the lie that even without the ability to save up money (for 20% down) and with no cushion to handle losing a job, she could live her dream. They were the professionals who knew better all the time (but could suck a fat fee out of the deal), she was the naive person who had no previous experience or knowledge about these things and just trusted the professionals who advised her (the way most of us trust our doctors advice).

    She and her kids deserve to stay there as long as this can be dragged out. Why would it be any worse if the little people use the system to suck money out of the big banks than when the big banks use the system to suck money out of the little people.

  16. DeDude says:

    “she’s a great stereotype of a beneficiary of bank idiocy”

    No she is a great example of a victim of the banks greed. She should never have been given the impression that this type of living space or “lifestyle” was realistically available for her. They had money to make from this woman so they sold her the lie that even without the ability to save up money (for 20% down) and with no cushion to handle losing a job, she could live her dream. They were the professionals who knew better all the time (but could suck a fat fee out of the deal), she was the naive person who had no previous experience or knowledge about these things and just trusted the professionals who advised her (the way most of us trust our doctors advice).

    She and her kids deserve to stay there as long as this can be dragged out. Why would it be any worse if the little people use the system to suck money out of the big banks than when the big banks use the system to suck money out of the little people.

  17. bobthehorseman says:

    Laws are for little people. Or was it taxes?

  18. Mannwich says:

    @DeDude: But we are a “blame the victim” culture. It’s a pretty damn viscious culture. We don’t blame the real perpetrators anymore. We blame the weak. The victims.

  19. KidDynamite says:

    I think my point is that I really don’t understand how this case is a great example of the real problems in the foreclosure crisis – it’s not a case of a missing note and an obscured title/ownership situation – it seems to be a very clear case of some seriously gross incompetence by GMAC in filing foreclosure docs – as the article notes:

    “In a ruling late last month, Judge Powers said that GMAC, despite its expensive legal talent and the fact that it got “a second bite of the apple” by filing amended foreclosure papers, still could not get this eviction right.

    Even the amended documents did not bother to include the actual street address of the property it was trying to seize — reason enough, the judge wrote, to reject the request for immediate foreclosure without a trial. ”

    but in the end, if GMAC gets their head out of their a$$ and files the correct paperwork, this women will be, and should be foreclosed on, right?

  20. KidDynamite says:

    DeDude, Mannwhich, although I’d really like someone to answer my question, I’m willing to indulge your off-topic tangent because I can’t believe you guys are going to play the victim card here. Really?

    This “victim” was given the opportunity to have a home she never should have been given, and allowed to stay there LONGER than she ever should have, all because GMAC is grossly incompetent. The alternative is that either 1) sound underwriting standards were implemented and she never was given the mortgage in the first place and she still lived in her trailer. or 2) GMAC filed documents correctly and she got foreclosed on a year ago and was back living in her trailer or worse.

  21. Mannwich says:

    @KD: I was obviously being a tad sarcastic for effect (I guess it worked) but clearly bankers whose JOB it is to lend to CREDIT-WORTHY borrowers who will PAY THE MONEY back hold more responsibility than some intelligence (and maybe even ethics) challenged dimwit that comes along. That’s my point here.

    Of course people who couldn’t (and still can’t) afford these homes should find other living arrangements but here’s the thing – most people, who may not be that bright, still see the banks and other powerful interests getting bailed out by all of us, so they figure, well, why not me? It’s a slippery slope we’re on and the elites have set the example (the wrong one) for all of us. This is a failure of leadership. The Sheeple merely follow whatever our leaders do.

  22. SnowHill Pond says:

    DeDude Says:

    October 15th, 2010 at 10:15 am
    “she’s a great stereotype of a beneficiary of bank idiocy”

    No she is a great example of a victim of the banks greed. She should never have been given the impression that this type of living space or “lifestyle” was realistically available for her. They had money to make from this woman so they sold her the lie that even without the ability to save up money (for 20% down) and with no cushion to handle losing a job, she could live her dream. They were the professionals who knew better all the time (but could suck a fat fee out of the deal), she was the naive person who had no previous experience or knowledge about these things and just trusted the professionals who advised her (the way most of us trust our doctors advice).

    She and her kids deserve to stay there as long as this can be dragged out. Why would it be any worse if the little people use the system to suck money out of the big banks than when the big banks use the system to suck money out of the little people.

    ________________________________________________________________

    If you really think that way and if a lot of our fellow Americans agree with you, then we’ve really lost our way. You can blame the evil bank all you want if that makes you feel better, but in the end, you have to look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I’m an adult, and I screwed up.”

    When more folks start saying “I did this.” instead of “The did this to me.”, we’ll get back on our feet.

    The America that I know isn’t a victim nor is it a freeloader laying claim on a home it had no right to be in in the first place. Jeez…it’s time to grow up.

  23. Mannwich says:

    These “banks” (I use that term loosely) should have been forced into receivership, with executive management fired, and/or criminally charged, investors forced to take losses, and the giant “reset” button should have been pushed so that we can fix the damn mess and start over. Adding layers of paint to cover the mold still means there’s mold there growing underneath.

    If the Sheeple believe that everything is gamed so that powerful interests can always get (and keep) “theirs”, guess what behavior you’re going to get from most everyone else over time? The SAME kind of “gaming” behavior so that they can “get theirs”. Honest hard work is for chumps now. That’s the message.

  24. KidDynamite says:

    Yes Mannwich – it was a tragedy that the banks got bailed out. The bigger tragedy is the moral hazard those bailouts created – not just for the banks – but for EVERYONE! like you said, now everyone expects a bailout, which is sick.

    My point is that this women is in no sense of the word a victim, and that we have no hope as a society until we realize that. Let’s ditch the victim mindset and get back to accountability and responsibility – ahhhh – but we can’t, right? Because the banks weren’t held responsible.. and thus the moral hazard of the bank bailouts reverberates endlessly and we spiral down into a GIMME MINE era of entitlement, victim mindset, and blame.

    side note: as you know, banks don’t make money by lending it to people who can’t pay it back. The banks didn’t worry, of course, because they weren’t really the lenders – they had plenty of people wanting to buy the MBS – who were the real lenders. It’s really hard to blame the ignorant end-lenders – the buyers of the MBS – isn’t it? They were idiots – they lost their money – but they didn’t take advantage of any poor ignorant borrowers! But we’ve been through all of that before, and there’s no need to rehash it.

  25. KidDynamite says:

    Strong clap for SnowHillPond’s 10:36am comment.

    I agree completely. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!

    It sucks that the banks weren’t held responsible – but we can’t compound that error in perpetuity. The more credence we give to the “victim” nonsense, the more we all become sniveling victims who, as Mannwhich noted just above, think “Honest hard work is for chumps now” and lineup for their handouts.

  26. Mannwich says:

    Agreed, KD. The slope is long and pitched now and we’re gaining momentum, the wrong way, as culture and country. Sigh.

  27. Mannwich says:

    @KD: But I would add that if we had real LEADERS setting the tone from the top, this shit would not cease, but it definitely wouldn’t be gaining momentum like this. Incentives matter. People quickly see what kind of behavior is incented (and rewarded) by those who make the rules and they act accordingly.. This is true of any organization, be it a business or country. This is a failure of leadership. Nothing more, nothing less, so constantly harping on the low man on the totem pole is merely going after the “low hanging fruit”. Go after the root cause if you want to solve the problem in earnest. Otherwise, this is all a big wast e of time.

  28. Paul S says:

    I’d like to see both the robo-signers and more importantly the people who directed them go to jail.
    I mean fraud is fraud.

  29. DeDude says:

    @KidDynamit

    If she, her sick husband and their two kids had stayed in the trailer they would not have pumped big monthly payments into that house. The fraud the banksters sell when they do this, is that those monthly (rent) payments are some sort of ownership, when in reality they have just suckered these people into renting something much more expensive than what they would have rented if they had been told that it really is just a fancy rental arrangement.

    Those wasted monthly payments would probably instead have been put into a better truck. With that she could have been able to retain her transportation and greatly improve her job-hunting prospects (in that area there is not a lot of jobs within walking distance). Yes she is better off living there free for two years than being kicked out, but that is not thanks to the bank or the legal system – it was the volunteer that did that for her. Otherwise it would have been six month free living and then the family would have been split up.

  30. DeDude says:

    “When more folks start saying “I did this.” instead of “The did this to me.”, we’ll get back on our feet.”

    So next time one of those poor guys rob you the way that poor people rob (with a baseball bat to the head or a gun in your face), then you will blame yourself, right? I mean if the poor people being rob by a pen (rich peoples preferred weapon) have to blame themselves then its only fair that the rich blame themselves when they get robbed. Funny thing is that what you are really complaining about is that the poor woman has taken up the rich peoples weapon (laws and paper) to suck a little money out of the bank. Why is that so much worse than when the banksters used laws and paper to suck money out of her?

  31. Mannwich says:

    @DeDude: You and I don’t always agree, but this is SPOT ON, IMO:

    “Funny thing is that what you are really complaining about is that the poor woman has taken up the rich peoples weapon (laws and paper) to suck a little money out of the bank. Why is that so much worse than when the banksters used laws and paper to suck money out of her?”

    The powerful have been using these weapons, I mean, tools, at their disposal for years, decades, heck, since the beginning of TIME. And only NOW do some of us get up and arms about this behavior now that the Sheeple wake up to the game after all this time and starts using them too. Where was the outrage before?

  32. DeDude says:

    “Let’s ditch the victim mindset and get back to accountability and responsibility – ahhhh – but we can’t, right? Because the banks weren’t held responsible”

    Yes lets start with accountability all the way at the front end of this mess. Lets place fiduciary duty on the mortgage agents and the loan originators/appraisers/lawyers who got this lady sucked into purchasing a house that she could not afford. Lets hold them responsible and accountable for selling her a lie so they could harvest the upfront fees. Lets demand that they look at her monthly expenses, reserve funds, down payments and income before any of them offer her any false ideas of what joys and comforts they can bring into her life if she just signs on the dotted line.

  33. willid3 says:

    so we have one victim who had a house they couldn’t afford but was allowed to because the bankers (the professionals) skipped out on their jobs? and now we seem to think the bankers are victims also? of their own stupidity. nobody forced them to make the loan they could have rejected it, and should have, but they weren’t in the business to keep that loan, they were only going to sell it to investors (aka suckers), after having their buddies in ratings agencies scams paper over the gaping holes in the ‘asset’. and then bankers also decided (on their own) to cut corners and not keep track of the paper work (even though they were paid to do so). they figured why bother? after all houses only go up, and the note will be sold to other investors (suckers again) soon so wait and maybe do it once a year (only if they have to. seems that they forgot to do it though). and of course all of these short cuts did help fund lots of bonuses and pump up the stock too!
    so if we can find who really owns the note/mortgage/contract, and they can afford to foreclose, they should.
    and of course this happened to not just the houses in foreclosure. even those who are paying are in this boat. when they pay it off, there will be problems with the title.
    and now we know where a major problem with pensions came from. and in some cases this may have shown in some other retirement programs too

  34. KidDynamite says:

    DeDude – your view on this makes me genuinely sad. SnowHillPond already said it better than I can.

    If you don’t understand the difference between being mugged by a criminal with a bat and taking part in a voluntary transaction (based, likely, largely on the BORROWER”S greed) where someone is being kind/ignorant enough to lend you money that you probably shouldn’t be lent – then, well, I can’t help you.

    One note: I did not complain that this woman had taken up the “rich peoples weapon of laws and paper” – I only said that she is no sort of victim.

  35. DeDude says:

    Funny how some people are all supporting the banks when they play victims of this ruthless woman trying to swindle some free living out of them, and then starts crying foul when its pointed out that she actually was victimized by the bank in the first place. I guess we have become so used to corporations victimizing individuals that we accept that as inevitable and normal acceptable business (thanks you corporate media for your daily brainwashing of the sheeple).

  36. KidDynamite says:

    who is supporting the banks? I don’t see anyone in this thread crying a tear for the banks or saying they are victims. GMAC was grossly incompetent. Their incompetence was a boon to the borrower.

  37. DeDude says:

    KidDynamite – you have been brainwashed to think that the way rich people rob poor people is somehow a lesser transgression than the way poor people rob rich people. Morally there is no difference, although the rich people have made laws such that they will not get punished when they rob (the way they can) whereas poor people get thrown in jail when they rob the only way they know how. The idea that somehow the swindle is OK as long as the transaction is “voluntary” is absurd. Is it also OK if the pharmacist hands you a diluted and ineffective cancer drug, because you took it voluntarily. You are a victim of corporate big business brainwashing and that makes me genuinely sad.

  38. Mr.Sparkle says:

    @KD – Should she be foreclosed on? Sure. Will she be foreclosed on eventually? I have no doubt. Should it be done legally and correctly? Yes.

    Perhaps it would be easier to just assert that there are no victims in this story, just a couple of self-deluded predators and now they are fighting it out over the kill. Our society has put certain rules in place for the bout. I applaud this lady for availing herself of the rules to her benefit. The banks would certainly behave no differently. Witness their behaviour in certain legitimate CC fraud charges that they simply deny and push off, hoping that it will just go away until the customer threatens (or brings) suit.

    If you’re in a street-fight, are you going to ask your opponent to not hit you in the face? Would you respect such a request? Of course not.

    Same thing here. The banks brought the fight to ALL of us. Some of the people are fighting back tooth & nail. At least enjoy the show – it’s going to cost all of us in the end anyway.

  39. KidDynamite says:

    Dedude – you can’t rob someone by giving them a loan they can’t pay back. it’s impossible. start there, and maybe you’ll see the error of your “it’s not my fault” ways. The fact that you continue to compare it to a street mugging is embarrassing for you, and an indication that I’m wasting my time by discussing this with you.

    it’s not about rich vs poor, although I see that you’re one of the class warfare populists that would like to fight that battle.

    It’s about personal responsibility – it’s a simple concept we’re really losing sight of.

    If you don’t understand the simple math of paying your mortgage and how it fits into your budget, that’s nobody’s fault but your own. It’s not the bank’s fault. It’s not society’s fault. It’s not the RICH’s fault. It’s your fault.

    Good luck, I’m not going to waste my day on this inanity. As expected, this went off topic at light speed.

    I’ve been brainwashed into one thing: the value that I’m responsible for my own actions – for the contracts I sign and for the decisions I make. I don’t blame people when I fu*k up, and I don’t tolerate other people trying to do that either. I’m guilty of being brainwashed into valuing personal responsibility. I think that’s a great value to have.

  40. KidDynamite says:

    Mr. Sparkle – thanks for answering my original question. I don’t disagree with anything you wrote – some people seem to think that I would, for some reason.

  41. bergsten says:

    My kids, on the cusp of adulthood never heard of the golden rule (other than from us parents). It said, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Apparently, such things just aren’t taught anymore.

    Point being, if you don’t know that one, you probably don’t know this one either: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” The corollary of this is, “any number of wrongs don’t make a right.” For you quants and others of a technical bent, think “inclusive or” — if any bit is a one, the answer is a one.

    The thing that seems to be missed in all of these discussions, is that doing the paperwork wrong is a “wrong,” regardless of whether others associated with the paperwork did something else “wrong.”

    As I think I understand Barry’s argument, the banks did a “wrong” and just because it was discovered in foreclosure proceedings doesn’t make it a “right,” or even a “neutral.”

    Wrong is wrong, period.

    Excusing a lesser wrong because of the commission of a greater wrong introduces a major moral hazard. The expression for this one (which I bet you have heard before is “the ends justify the means.”

  42. Mannwich says:

    Wow KD. “Personal responsiblity”? Get real, man. That’s the weapon the establishment uses to talk the Sheeple into not acting like THEM. Get real with this shit. Seriously.

  43. hue says:

    best 2 graphs in the story:

    “A lot of people say we just want a free ride,” Mrs. Bradbury said. “That’s not it. I’ve worked since I was 14. I’m not lazy. I’m just trying to keep us together. If we lost the house, my family would have to break up.”

    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.

    GMAC received $17B from tarp. this is great use of taxpayers’ fiat money. print on Bernanke.

  44. Mannwich says:

    What I’ve found funny in my lifetime is that people who often prattle on and on the most about “personal responsibility” are the ones who display the least of it in their OWN lives. It’s a device to keep the people in their place. It’s for OTHER people, right?

    Like Mr. Sparkle said, the “rules” or “game” was set up by other people. If you want to play the “game”, at least play it well. In other words, you gotta get into the pig-pen with the rest of the pigs and play THEIR game.

  45. Mr.Sparkle says:

    As for the “personal responsibility” bit, I’m not sure it even comes into play in this story. We have two parties that have seemed to display very little. At best, they were both delusional. At worst, they were both grifters. The truth – as with most things – probably lies somewhere in betweeen.

    In very simple terms, on the one hand we have…

    The Banks – Failed to perform true due diligence, failed in the very basic paperwork. Thirsty for fees, totally inept, or both?

    and on the other hand we have…

    The Borrower – failed to perform any sort of stress-testing of her own finances. Dimwitted, optimistic, opportunistic or all of the above?

    Truly, we’ll never know. Neither of these parties had a gun to their heads when they both signed the contract. Now they are both thrown into the legal ring to smash each other to pieces for our entertainment.

    There’s nothing “moral” in the story at all on either side. Near as I can tell, the law does not consider morality – it considers facts and case law. It will all sort itself out eventually at disproportional expense.

  46. DeDude says:

    KidDynamite – you didn’t respond so let me try again. If the pharmacist gives you a diluted cancer drug charging you the same price and pretending that he is giving you the real (undiluted) drug, did he rob you? I mean if you don’t understand the simple mass spectrometry of checking what he is selling to that’s nobody’s fault but your own, right? Or are you going to claim that illegitimate ways of departing you from your money should only be called robbery if it is done with the help of a weapon (and then we use a “lesser” word for the way rich people do it) ? You are still buying the corporate cool aid trying to make their robberies somewhat more legit than a street robbery, but you have been brainwashed for all your life so I don’t expect you will see the light in one day.

    I am all for personal responsibility and since corporations are persons they should show us some of that too. Indeed, the bigger and more powerful you are the more responsibility should be expected from you (children vs adults, adults vs. corporations). Like anything else expectations of personal responsibilities should be guided by ability. Since corporations have been given personhood, I would love to see the corporate and rich persons stop their class warfare and take on the same kind of personal responsibility and criminal liability that they expect from the poor.

  47. Lollipop says:

    Kid Dynamite, you say “Dedude – you can’t rob someone by giving them a loan they can’t pay back. it’s impossible. start there, and maybe you’ll see the error of your “it’s not my fault” ways. The fact that you continue to compare it to a street mugging is embarrassing for you, and an indication that I’m wasting my time by discussing this with you.”

    In fact you are wrong. It used to be well understood that tricking people into loans they could never repay was a crime. It was considered a form of usury. When we lost the value of thrift, we also forgot about the crime of usury. To quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia, “Lending money at interest gives us the opportunity to exploit the passions or necessities of other men by compelling them to submit to ruinous conditions; men are robbed and left destitute under the pretext of charity.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15235c.htm

  48. Mannwich says:

    @Lolli: I will add and if KD had read “The Big Short”, he would see that lenders were precisely doing just that, sucking people into loans that were at low rates initially but ones that exploded after the first couple of years or in some cases sooner.

    The problem I have with the premise that KD lays out there is that they don’ t put the onus on the more powerful of the two bad actors. Start there and you begin to solve the problem in earnest. Not starting there is a complete waste of time and actually is an act of cowardice, IMO.

  49. DeDude says:

    A couple of word from DeDudes pocket philosophy book:

    When someone departs you from you money in a less than amicable way its robbery, when you do it to someone else it is just business.

    When someone else gets something from the “common pot” they are slackers who lack personal responsibility, when you get something its your well earned and deserved right.

  50. Thor says:

    Hate to say it but I have to agree with DeDude. KD, you have been brainwashed by your profession.

    “Let’s ditch the victim mindset and get back to accountability and responsibility”

    I think we would do well to first start by ditching the contempt so many Americans seem to have for their fellow citizens.

  51. Lollipop says:

    @Mannwich, I agree completely. In any transaction that involves money, the richer party is always the one who holds the most power. They have better information and control over the poorer party. That means that they have the greater responsibility for ensuring that the transaction meets basic standards of morality and justice. Power comes with great responsibility.

  52. KidDynamite says:

    Mannwich – Get real with personal responsibility? Really? I thought you understood that value when you wrote about the “honest hard work is for chumps” mentality – that doesn’t just stem from bailed out banks – that’s the problem when you advocate it spreading to everyone else. Americans are angry that their imprudent neighbors are being bailed out of their bad decisions. Remember the allegory of the ants and the grasshoppers? look it up.

    I read the Big Short, by the way.

    A long time ago I wrote on my blog that I would LOVE to see one of these “confusing” or “tricky” mortgages – PLEASE send an “unintelligible” mortgage to me so that I can read it – I’m begging you. A friend of mine had a negative amortizing adjustable rate interest only mortgage (note – that’s ALL the buzzwords wrapped into one!) that she brought me to look over. An 8th grader could understand it – it lays out the terms of the loan, what the rate is based on, how long the rate is good for, when the rate changes, and what it changes based on.

    If you sign that without understanding it, you weren’t “tricked” or “victimized” – you were greedy or ignorant. And DeDude – that’s why it’s different from your latest inane example – the pharmacist. Of course you cannot be expected to use a mass spectrometer on the drugs he sells you. That’s why the FDA exists. You CAN be expected to read the mortgage document you sign, which clearly lays out your responsibilities. It’s nothing like any of your examples.

  53. batmando says:

    this whole thread discussion by and large has not addressed br’s point , the rule of law, and instead has devolved into a pissing matching over which is the more venal party.

    from the referenced article “From a Maine House, a National Foreclosure Freeze” there is little to go on and just how the bank f-u’ed the documentation. in the event, it was insufficient for the court. on their 2nd go-round, they managed to f-u again, and the court rightfully cut them no slack. that the borrower benefits is not a miscarriage of justice, just a consequence of proper judicial discharge of the facts (as presented) of the case., i.e., the plaintiff f-u’ed.

    br’s concern, as i understand it, is mine, that extra-legal short-cuts (MERS, document forging mills, etc)undertaken by the financial entities whether that be the originators, the securitizers, the trustees or their foreclosing minions (and their subcontractors), not be legitimated ex post facto per my response to agoracom in yesterday’s thread Why “Blank Name” Matters and Trustee Obligations quoting Synthetic Assets:
    “The financial industry functions on the assumption that contracts and activities that are either illegal or unenforceable under current law will – as long as they involve significant bank losses or liabilities – always be made legal retroactively.”

  54. Thor says:

    “Americans are angry that their imprudent neighbors”

    Rick? Rick Santelli, is that you?

    No Kid, Americans are mad because the banks have been raping this country for decades and our government has been aiding and abetting them. This story is about one of those Americans getting fed up and fighting back. You can go on until you’re blue in the face buddy, but the majority of us are glad to see someone stick it to the banks.

    Our loss of personal responsibility started from the top and crept it’s way down, not the other way around. The way to fix this problem is to start at the top. If that means everything needs to come crashing down to make that happen, then so be it.

  55. Mannwich says:

    @KD: I still say if/when the elites (the powerful) set the tone on the right behavior, everyone else will follow. Start with the powerful first and everything else falls into place.

  56. DeDude says:

    “An 8th grader could understand it”

    Pure unadulterated and arrogant BS. You would be hard pressed to get half of the class in an inner city 8’th grade to just read out load all those words. Ask them what the definition of those words are, and you would get more blank stares than wrong answers. You would have a better chance of them making the right interpretation of a quantitative mass spectrometry reading. You have indeed been brainwashed by your profession.

  57. KidDynamite says:

    Thor – You are clearly misreading me. I’m not talking about “sticking it to the banks,” or defending the banks. I fully understand BR’s point about the Rule of Law, and agree. None of this changes the fact that the woman in question in the article in question is not a victim of bank idiocy – she’s a beneficiary. I also believe that anyone has a right to walk away from their mortgage – of course they do – you can walk away and give the collateral back to the bank – that’s part of the deal. All I’m saying is that when you borrow money from a bank to buy a house, you’re not a victim. EVER. (that’s a bold absolute, but it’s true at least 99% of the time, if not 100%)

    I hate to start another horrendous tangent, but your Rick Santelli reference clearly enunciated a point I’ve been pondering a way to make: I’m no Tea-Partier – but it’s a massive movement centered around, in my opinion, exactly that sense of responsibility you laughed off. People are sick and tired of their grasshopper neighbors being bailed out while they work hard and prudently like the ants. I don’t agree with much of the Tea Party philosophy, but I certainly understand that anger.

    ants and grasshoppers, fyi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ant_and_the_Grasshopper

  58. KidDynamite says:

    DeDude – you keep talking about my profession. What is my profession? I have been retired for three years. Before that I had nothing to do remotely with any kind of lending or victimizing people. If you mean that my profession was one where I was responsible for the decisions that I made – then you’re damn right – my profession taught me to take responsibility for my actions and decisions. and to avoid blaming others for my own shortcomings and ignorance. That’s a tremendous core value to have. I would hope that everyone’s profession “brainwashes” them accordingly.

    By the way, DeDude – if you can’t understand the mortgage doc, you shouldn’t sign it, and you don’t deserve to own a home.

  59. Thor says:

    KD – Agree, let’s not go off on tangents. BR has me on probation with my comments, most likely because I often have a hard time staying on topic ;-)

    Suffice it to say – I think we can agree to disagree. You see the Tea Party as ” a massive movement centered around, in my opinion, exactly that sense of responsibility you laughed off.” while I see it as fascism in it’s infancy. You see the woman referenced in this post as someone “shirking her responsibility” while I choose to see her (or what she’s doing at least) partaking in the kind of civil disobedience the Tea Partier should be focusing in today.

  60. KidDynamite says:

    Thor – as a closing comment, let me just say that the woman in this post isn’t “shirking her responsibility” – if I wrote that, it’s not what I meant. She has the obligation to pay, and if she doesn’t pay, she loses the house (once GMAC gets their as$ in gear and follows the legal process, of course). that’s how it works – i don’t fault her for being foreclosed on, and I don’t fault those who walk away. (of course, GMAC has been unable to accurately and legally foreclose on her – that’s another major issue)

    The responsibility I’m talking about is being responsible for your actions and decisions – and not crying VICTIM and blaming the big bad banks for giving her this mortgage in the first place – which is what DeDude is doing.

  61. Thor says:

    KD – Understood. :-)

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think she was a victim either. Everyone in this particular case, from her, to her mortgage broker, to the people at the bank, to the real estate agent who told her she could afford this house in the first place, are morally reprehensible in my opinion.

  62. DeDude says:

    “if you can’t understand the mortgage doc, you shouldn’t sign it, and you don’t deserve to own a home”

    And if you don’t understand the medicine your doctor prescribe (any 8’th grader can go into the medical literature and read it themselves) then you don’t deserve to have the benefits of modern medicine and should just die? Lets not give such “undermenchen” rights to the same kind of life everybody else can have (why should they own homes or even be alive).

    We all hire professionals and rely on their advice (and pay them for). If those professionals are crocked or incompetent and take advantage of our relative ignorance, the blame is on them.

  63. DeDude says:

    The people who sold this house to this woman swindled her into believing that she had a ticket to the American dream. They knew that in reality she did not have the income and savings discipline to become owner of this house. They went ahead and gave it to her anyway because that would give them the opportunity to harvest some quick profits on fees. They knew that for the next X number of years she would hand over large monthly sums to the bank until something happened that would make it impossible for her to keep up with payments. At that point they would be able to harvest a shitload of penalty fees before the house got sold to some other sucker, that could be pulled through and milked by the same process. The only thing that was not included in this scam was the possibility that house prices would not increase sufficiently to cover all of their outlays, penalties and fees. IMO the woman is a victim (of this scam).

  64. Andy T says:

    I wonder if this is how the nation actually devolves into a level of anarchy.

    We have a bunch of people not paying their mortgages who are being correctly evicted from their homes. We have some banks, deluged with foreclosures, who cut corners and rubber stamped the process to get them done quicker. We’re now rightfully pissed at the banks who cut the corners, which caused a “moratarium.”

    None of it takes away from the fact we have a bunch of dead “assets” out there, languishing, with folks living in them rent free. Hell, in some cases, we have families breaking back into their formers homes that have already been sold–families that had stopped paying their mortgage!

    Agree with much of what Kid Dynamite has said here in this thread and nobody actually answered his original question: What should come of the woman and her house?

    It’s interesting that this is the “lead” story on this “foreclosure crisis.” This lady has been living rent free for a long time. Is she really a “victim?” If so, a “victim” of what? Should the bank now be paying her punitive damages because they rightfully foreclosed on her in a sloppy/haphazard manner? WTF kind of crazy shit is this?

    Wonder what made the woman seek legal help in the first place? I feel sorry for her economic situation, but she has actually made out pretty well in terms of paying rent–it’s been free for awhile!

    The whole “situation” in this country is pretty damn bizarre right now.

  65. Andy T says:

    “DeDude Says:
    October 15th, 2010 at 5:04 pm
    The people who sold this house to this woman swindled her into believing that she had a ticket to the American dream.”

    If I didn’t know any better, I would guess you’re being a parody of a classic bleeding heart liberal? Like some kind of extreme caricature from an SNL skit or something. But, having seen how much you’ve written over the several months, I know that you’re probably not joking.

    Pretty wild stuff in this thread….Definitely worthy of a bookmark for posterity.

  66. DeDude says:

    Andy;

    Always happy to provide perspectives and view points that goes beyond “standard chow” from corporate lame-street media.

  67. notakid says:

    KID

    Are not the honest hardworking Americans who are paying and producing a victim of the
    “kind/ignorant” banks(unbelievable , but I will run with your classification)?

    Do you not think that those who are granted by the “state” the rights of the banks have an OVERRIDING DUTY to protect the “system” that the honest hardworking Americans exist in?

    If so, when that has clearly not been the case then the honest hardworking Americans should just “suck it up” and move on, really that’s “IT”?

    You and others don’t seem to make the connection between the actions of the banksters and their cronies to the fact that there are less and less Americans able to remain part of the honest and productive class. The criminal banksters and their cronies have skimmed it all off and killed the system they were SWORN TO PROTECT!

    I am all for the honest and hardworking Americans to take these banks and their cronies to the gallows.

    Failing that then let it all be every man for himself , in other words buyer beware.

  68. zdog says:

    In response to KD’s question about what should happen to the woman. The bank should get their act together, foreclose on her properly, she should move out, find a nice rental she can actually afford and the bank should sell the asset at market value to someone with 20% down and a 720 FICO score.

    On the tangential arguments. Dedude vs. KidDynamite = TKO Rd 3 for DeDude (Pharma Round).

    Corporate Responsibility >= Personal Responsibility. We (persons) give them powers (via incorporation) that we don’t have and in return expect them to follow the laws and behave responsibly with those powers.