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.”
by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
April 17, 2009
How about a test of your injustice barometer?
You might think that the reckless, avaricious, giant corporations, having shrunk the economy, cost millions of jobs and then demanded that taxpayers be dunned for years into the future for multi-trillion dollar bailouts, would show contrition, regret, or self-restraint of their power over Washington.
Forget it. They’re baaack!
Their greed and power are revving up big time to bring Washington and you the taxpayer, you the parent, you the consumer, you the worker, to your knees.
By Mark Sanford
Governor of South Carolina
America’s states are laboratories of democracy. They are both affected by, and relevant to, the larger national debate. What we’ve found in our own corner of the country is that carrying a substantial debt load limits our options when it comes to running government.
A recent report by the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked us 47th worst in the nation for annual debt service as a percentage of tax revenue. Our state dedicates nearly 11% of its annual tax revenue to paying debt. On top of that, South Carolina has another $20 billion in unfunded, long-term political promises for pensions and other liabilities. The state budget has already been cut four times in recent months as the national economic downturn has impacted South Carolina and driven down tax revenue.
President Barack Obama recently signed a “stimulus” bill that will spend about $2 billion through “programmatic means” in South Carolina. In other words, the federal government will put this money directly into existing funding formulas and programs such as Medicaid. But there is an additional $700 million that I as governor have influence over, and it is the disposition of this money that has drawn the national spotlight to South Carolina.
Sounds like some real truth actually got on the CNBC “Network!”
See original rant here…
The Liberty Voice Transcript Service
C-SPAN January 27, 2009
“I was there when the Secretary [Paulson] and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve came and talked with members of Congress about what was going on. … Here’s the facts. We don’t even talk about these things. … On Thursday [9/18] at about 11 o’clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed the tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to the tune of $550 billion was being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two. … We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account [to reduce panic]. If they had not done that, their estimation was that by 2 o’clock that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system which would have collapsed the entire US economy, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic and political system as we know it.”
Paul Craig Roberts
Is there intelligent life in Washington, D.C.? Not a speck of it.
The U.S. economy is imploding, and Obama is being led by his government of neconservatives and Israeli agents into a quagmire in Afghanistan that will bring the United States into confrontation with Russia and possibly China, American’s largest creditor.
The January payroll job figures reveal that every day last month, 20,000 Americans lost their jobs.
In addition, December’s job losses were revised up by 53,000 jobs from 524,000 to 577,000. The revision brings the two-month job loss to 1,175,000. If this keeps up, Obama’s promised 3 million new jobs will be wiped out by job losses.
How Popular Anger Grew, 1929 and 2009 By Steve Fraser
Obtuse hardly does justice to the social stupidity of our late, unlamented financial overlords. John Thain of Merrill Lynch and Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers, along with an astonishing number of their fraternity brothers, continue to behave like so many intoxicated toreadors waving their capes at an enraged bull, oblivious even when gored.
Their greed and self-indulgence in the face of an economic cataclysm for which they bear heavy responsibility is, unsurprisingly, inciting anger and contempt, as daily news headlines indicate. It is undermining the last shreds of their once exalted social status — and, in that regard, they are evidently fated to relive the experience of their predecessors, those Wall Street “lords of creation” who came crashing to Earth during the last Great Depression.
Ever since the bail-out state went into hyper-drive, popular anger has been simmering. In fact, even before the meltdown gained real traction, a sign at a mass protest outside the New York Stock Exchange advised those inside: “Jump, You F-ckers.”
The Era of American Leadership Is Over
By Paul Craig Roberts
February 02, 2009 “Information Clearinghouse” — -Vast numbers of people in the United States and abroad are hoping that President Obama will end America’s illegal wars, halt America’s support for Israel’s massacre of Lebanese and Palestinians, and punish, instead of reward, the shyster banksters whose fraudulent financial instruments have destroyed economies and imposed massive sufferings on people all over the world. If Obama’s appointments are an indication, all of these hopeful people are going to be disappointed.
James Petras examines Obama’s foreign policy appointments and finds the largest collection of Zionist militarists outside of Avigdor Lieberman’s far right political party in Israel.
Petras concludes that Obama’s “diplomatic” team has Iran in its sights, an hostility that meshes with Israel’s own intent. Not realizing that a member of the press had been mistakenly invited to a selected audience, the Israeli ambassador to Australia said that Israel’s attack on Gaza was a dress rehearsal for a major attack on Iran. Netanyahu, the expected winner of Israel’s March elections, has again declared that Israel will not permit Iran to have a nuclear energy program as it would provide the basis for developing nuclear weapons.
It makes no sense for Israel to baldly state its intention to attack Iran if Israel does not mean it. What if the Iranians believe the Israelis and decide to strike first with their long-range missiles?
Obama’s economic appointments are just as discouraging. Obama chose as his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the man who helped Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, engineer the $700 billion dollar rip off of the US taxpayer, money that was gifted to the crooked banksters who destroyed Americans’ pensions, jobs and health care coverage.
These banksters, and the negligent federal regulators that enabled them, should be put in prison, not handed hundreds of billions of dollars.