by Dr. Ellen Brown
hat tip: webofdebt.com
A landmark ruling in a recent Kansas Supreme Court case may have given millions of distressed homeowners the legal wedge they need to avoid foreclosure. In Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, 2009 Kan. LEXIS 834, the Kansas Supreme Court held that a nominee company called MERS has no right or standing to bring an action for foreclosure. MERS is an acronym for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, a private company that registers mortgages electronically and tracks changes in ownership. The significance of the holding is that if MERS has no standing to foreclose, then nobody has standing to foreclose – on 60 million mortgages. That is the number of American mortgages currently reported to be held by MERS. Over half of all new U.S. residential mortgage loans are registered with MERS and recorded in its name. Holdings of the Kansas Supreme Court are not binding on the rest of the country, but they are dicta of which other courts take note; and the reasoning behind the decision is sound.
Eliminating the “Straw Man” Shielding Lenders and Investors from Liability
The development of “electronic” mortgages managed by MERS went hand in hand with the “securitization” of mortgage loans – chopping them into pieces and selling them off to investors. In the heyday of mortgage securitizations, before investors got wise to their risks, lenders would slice up loans, bundle them into “financial products” called “collateralized debt obligations” (CDOs), ostensibly insure them against default by wrapping them in derivatives called “credit default swaps,” and sell them to pension funds, municipal funds, foreign investment funds, and so forth. There were many secured parties, and the pieces kept changing hands; but MERS supposedly kept track of all these changes electronically. MERS would register and record mortgage loans in its name, and it would bring foreclosure actions in its name. MERS not only facilitated the rapid turnover of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities, but it has served as a sort of “corporate shield” that protects investors from claims by borrowers concerning predatory lending practices. California attorney Timothy McCandless describes the problem like this:
“[MERS] has reduced transparency in the mortgage market in two ways. First, consumers and their counsel can no longer turn to the public recording systems to learn the identity of the holder of their note. Today, county recording systems are increasingly full of one meaningless name, MERS, repeated over and over again. But more importantly, all across the country, MERS now brings foreclosure proceedings in its own name – even though it is not the financial party in interest. This is problematic because MERS is not prepared for or equipped to provide responses to consumers’ discovery requests with respect to predatory lending claims and defenses. In effect, the securitization conduit attempts to use a faceless and seemingly innocent proxy with no knowledge of predatory origination or servicing behavior to do the dirty work of seizing the consumer’s home. . . . So imposing is this opaque corporate wall, that in a “vast” number of foreclosures, MERS actually succeeds in foreclosing without producing the original note – the legal sine qua non of foreclosure – much less documentation that could support predatory lending defenses.”
Yesterday, the Senate State & Local Government & and Veterans Affairs committee heard public testimony for and against SCR-13 in the South Hearing room of the Statehouse. After hearing a number of citizens for and the Deputy Director of the Ohio Environmental Council who gave testimony against the resolution, the committee voted in favor of [...]
by Paul Craig Roberts
hat tip: Global Research
Americans cannot get any truth out of their government about anything, the economy included. Americans are being driven into the ground economically, with one million school children now homeless, while Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke announces that the recession is over.
The spin that masquerades as news is becoming more delusional. Consumer spending is 70% of the US economy. It is the driving force, and it has been shut down. Except for the super rich, there has been no growth in consumer incomes in the 21st century. Statistician John Williams of shadowstats.com reports that real household income has never recovered its pre-2001 peak.
The US economy has been kept going by substituting growth in consumer debt for growth in consumer income. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan encouraged consumer debt with low interest rates. The low interest rates pushed up home prices, enabling Americans to refinance their homes and spend the equity. Credit cards were maxed out in expectations of rising real estate and equity values to pay the accumulated debt. The binge was halted when the real estate and equity bubbles burst.
As consumers no longer can expand their indebtedness and their incomes are not rising, there is no basis for a growing consumer economy. Indeed, statistics indicate that consumers are paying down debt in their efforts to survive financially. In an economy in which the consumer is the driving force, that is bad news.
TOMORROW, Tuesday, September, 22
According to trusted sources of The Liberty Voice, the Resolution for Ohio’s State Sovereignty, SCR-13 has opened the door for public testimony at the South Hearing Room of the Statehouse at 10 a.m. Proponents of both sides are encouraged to attend the hearing and speak up for what they believe.
For those in defense of the US Constitution, the Tenth Amendment sums up the position of those for the resolution:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
By Paul Craig Roberts
hat tip: VDare
The current health care “debate” shows how far gone representative government is in the United States. Members of Congress represent the powerful interest groups that fill their campaign coffers, not the people who vote for them.
The health care bill is not about health care. It is about protecting and increasing the profits of the insurance companies. The main feature of the health care bill is the “individual mandate,” which requires everyone in America to buy health insurance. Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont), a recipient of millions in contributions over his career from the insurance industry, proposes to impose up to a $3,800 fine on Americans who fail to purchase health insurance.
The determination of “our” elected representatives to serve the insurance industry is so compelling that Congress is incapable of recognizing the absurdity of these proposals.
The reason there is a health care crisis in the US is that the cumulative loss of jobs and benefits has swollen the uninsured to approximately 50 million Americans. They cannot afford health insurance any more than employers can afford to provide it.
It is absurd to mandate that people purchase what they cannot afford and to fine them for failing to do so. A person who cannot pay a health insurance premium cannot pay the fine.
These proposals are like solving the homeless problem by requiring the homeless to purchase a house.
By Paul Craig Roberts
September 15, 2009 “Information Clearing House”
An article in the journal, Sociological Inquiry, casts light on the effectiveness of propaganda. Researchers examined why big lies succeed where little lies fail. Governments can get away with mass deceptions, but politicians cannot get away with sexual affairs.
The researchers explain why so many Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, years after it has become obvious that Iraq had nothing to do with the event. Americans developed elaborate rationalizations based on Bush administration propaganda that alleged Iraqi involvement and became deeply attached to their beliefs. Their emotional involvement became wrapped up in their personal identity and sense of morality. They looked for information that supported their beliefs and avoided information that challenged them, regardless of the facts of the matter.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler explained the believability of the Big Lie as compared to the small lie:
“In the simplicity of their minds, people more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have such impudence. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”
What the sociologists and Hitler are telling us is that by the time facts become clear, people are emotionally wedded to the beliefs planted by the propaganda and find it a wrenching experience to free themselves. It is more comfortable, instead, to denounce the truth-tellers than the liars whom the truth-tellers expose.
Corruption permeates the US political system
By John Kozy
Hat tip: Global Research
An immoral economic system compels a society’s moral decline. Because of Congressional devotion to our traditional economic system, American government seems to have enshrined all the disadvantages and none of the advantages of democracy. We have a government based on dissent, in which delay is a common tactic and secrecy is regularly employed, and which enacts imbecilic measures that never produce the results predicted. Is it any wonder, then, that the nation stumbles from one calamity to another? We the People can certainly change things, since, in accordance with our Constitution, it is We the People who are Sovereign. All that is required is a few carefully drawn amendments.
Corruption is a moral failure; it is ubiquitous in societies permeated by immorality. So how are such societies formed?
I have long contended that a society’s morality devolves from the prevailing economic system rather than early childhood teaching or religious beliefs. An economic system that institutionalizes immorality diffuses it throughout society. Empirical evidence for this claim is pervasive; however, providing a demonstration is not easy. The empirical evidence can always be dismissed by claiming that immorality is a personal character fault and not a result of anything systemic. But that dismissal doesn’t explain how huge numbers of people in any society acquire nefarious characters.
By Siv O’Neall
hat tip: dandelionsalad
The War of the Empire has many faces
The ‘war on terror’ has become nameless since our administration changed. But it is the same war, it has the same goals and it is as unwinnable as it always was. But certainly there are other ways of conquering the planet, says Washington. And so they impose the huge industries with their humongous profits on the entire world, corporations like Monsanto, Cargill, Dow, Bunge and others, giants that impose their own laws on world-wide agriculture and their goal is to make us eat only what they profit from.
Through lies and total lack of concern for the final outcome, they insert their hired crooks, their representatives, in top positions everywhere, make deals with corrupt governments all over the world, deals that make farmers the innocent victims of a world-wide scam. The result is disaster for the farmers and the poor people all over the world and enormous power for the Biotech Companies that suck the blood out of the earth and out of the people who used to cultivate it with their own millennia-old and environmentally safe methods.
Monsanto is just about the most callous, the most harmful, the most insidious of the whole gang of predators who are out to get on top of the world – and who are ruining it savagely in the process. They are busy ruining the environment irredeemably and the health of the inhabitants of this threatened world. Global warming doesn’t even have to play out its role, the biotech industry will play the part of the Grim Reaper, mowing down everything that does not add to their profits, ruining people’s health, playing hell with the earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity that has served the planet for millennia in a world that was mostly safe from predators, the kind of sharks that devour their prey without any afterthoughts.