Solid proof we’re going to hell in a hand basket. Via CNBC:
Solid proof we’re going to hell in a hand basket. Via CNBC:
An inspiring story from Philadelphia as a homeowner forecloses on (that’s right, forecloses on) a sleazy big bank. Wells Fargo tried to force Patrick Rodgers into paying for an exorbitant home insurance policy, and then broke the law by ignoring Rodgers’ written requests for a response. After the bank refused to pay resultant fines, a judge ordered a sheriff’s sale on its downtown branch. Oh and also: our hero is A VAMPIRE.
Not only is the housing crisis not over, it looks like it’s accelerating, despite claims in Washington and on Wall Street that a recovery is underway. The only reason the number of foreclosure notices stayed just under 3 million in 2010 was that some banks backed off at the end of the year to avoid bad press. Les Christie reports for CNN Money via Yahoo Finance:
Foreclosures were at a record high in 2010, and more than 1 million people lost their homes, even as notices started leveling off during the end year.
In total, there were nearly 2.9 million foreclosure notices filed during the year, according to report released Thursday by RealtyTrac. That was a record high, but just 1.7% above 2009.
It most certainly would have been higher had notices not plunged in November and December as banks halted tens of thousands of foreclosures in the face of the robo-signing scandal.
As millions of Americans know all too well, no matter what Wall Street says, the housing crisis is far from over. Rather than blame the banks though, the Street’s paper of record, the Wall Street Journal, features a series of photographs of religious and spiritual types trying to “cleanse” foreclosed housing stock of bad vibes. Yeah, that’ll do it guys. I’m not sure if I’m more amused or disgusted. Sample photo below, the rest here.
Man, can’t wait for WikiLeaks to release their (alleged) dirt on Bank of America. If that bank does what is reported below, who knows what else the Banksters of America have been involved with. Andrew Martin reports in the NY Times:
TRUCKEE, Calif. — When Mimi Ash arrived at her mountain chalet here for a weekend ski trip, she discovered that someone had broken into the home and changed the locks.
When she finally got into the house, it was empty. All of her possessions were gone: furniture, her son’s ski medals, winter clothes and family photos. Also missing was a wooden box, its top inscribed with the words “Together Forever,” that contained the ashes of her late husband, Robert.
The culprit, Ms. Ash soon learned, was not a burglar but her bank. According to a federal lawsuit filed in October by Ms. Ash, Bank of America had wrongfully foreclosed on her house and thrown out her belongings, without alerting Ms.
The inimitable Matt Taibbi went down to Florida and found that retired judges are rushing through complex cases to speed foreclosures. Guess who the losers are (Hint: it’s not the banks)? From Rolling Stone:
The foreclosure lawyers down in Jacksonville had warned me, but I was skeptical. They told me the state of Florida had created a special super-high-speed housing court with a specific mandate to rubber-stamp the legally dicey foreclosures by corporate mortgage pushers like Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase. This “rocket docket,” as it is called in town, is presided over by retired judges who seem to have no clue about the insanely complex financial instruments they are ruling on — securitized mortgages and labyrinthine derivative deals of a type that didn’t even exist when most of them were active members of the bench. Their stated mission isn’t to decide right and wrong, but to clear cases and blast human beings out of their homes with ultimate velocity.
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA: In all of the economic issues we are dealing with, there is always a “back story, a deeper context” that is usually missing, “disappeared” like those Allende supporters in Chile in the 1970s who wanted to empower workers, not just rescue them when they get buried in a deep hole.
Most deeper issues go uncovered. Luis Campos, Director of the School of Anthropology at Chile’s Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, points out, “more buried than the miners themselves, the demands and the rights of the indigenous population continue to be flouted and unrecognized in our country.”
Many unsafe mines worldwide are still at risk from China to Zambia.
Who woulda thunk—certainly not the 1300 “journalists” on the scene–that this mine disaster had its origins in the era when Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger helped snuff out an emerging popular democracy in the name of protecting what West Palm Beach-based writer and former economic “hit man,” John Perkins, calls the corporatocracy.… Read the rest
The other day, during an interview on Al Jazeera, I was asked if I was frustrated because my warnings and worries about the financial meltdown and foreclosure crisis, first aired in 2006, have been ignored so long.
The excruciating lesson I learned is that it takes time for a problem to turn into an issue and, then, an issue to get attention, to move from the business section to the news section, from the back of the paper to page one. It is always hard to predict which story will grab the attention of a news media that has not paid sufficient attention to these issues for years. What connect for editors are usually a small matter and a symbolic one, a story that’s not just new but dripping with the appearance of injustice or hypocrisy?
Once some truth slips through the cracks, a flood threatens like the toxic sludge undoing parts of Hungary.… Read the rest
Damn, why can’t I find one of these laying around? Ray Sanchez reports on ABC News:
A struggling family facing foreclosure has stumbled upon what is considered to be the Holy Grail of comic books in their basement — a fortuitous find that could fetch upwards of a quarter million dollars at auction.
A copy of Action Comics No. 1, the first in which Superman ever appeared, was discovered as they went about the painful task of packing up a home that had been in the family since at least the 1950s. The couple, who live in the South with their children, asked to remain anonymous.
“The bank was about ready to foreclose,” said Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of ComicConnect.com and Metropolis Comics and Collectibles in New York. “Literally, this family was in tears. The family home was going to be lost and they’re devastated. They can’t figure out a way out of this.
Anyone who thinks the financial crisis and recession are over, check this out, from NPR/AP:
The number of homeowners who missed at least one mortgage payment surged to a record in the first quarter of the year, a sign that the foreclosure crisis is far from over.
More than 10 percent of homeowners had missed at least one mortgage payment in the January-March period, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday. That number was up from 9.5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year and 9.1 percent a year earlier.
Those figures are adjusted for seasonal factors. For example, heating bills and holiday expenses tend to push up mortgage delinquencies near the end of the year. Many of those borrowers become current on their loans again by spring.
Without adjusting for seasonal factors, the delinquency numbers dropped, as they normally do from the winter to spring.
More than 4.6 percent of homeowners were in foreclosure, also a record.