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And who will ultimately own these properties? By and large it will not be individuals. The homes that will be disposed of via public foreclosure auctions will be taken back by the government.
Anyone who has spent time in foreclosure courtrooms over the last several years will recognize that a dramatic shift has occurred in foreclosure courtrooms all across the state. The deck has tilted, the tide has turned and the new legal landscape is simple:
The Banks Win, Get Out of The Homes, Foreclosure Granted
The full magnitude of this profound shift in legal precedent will start to be felt around May or June, as the Final Judgments of Foreclosure that are being granted today are converted into Foreclosure Sales and then into Writs of Possession executed by Sheriffs all across the state. You can forget about proving up fraud and forgery and robosigning. You can forget about securitization audits or evidence and any arguments that the banks engaged in gross and systematic wrongdoing. None of that matters anymore. The legislature has spoken, but worse, the judicial branch is listening…and acting. Advantage banks, hello forced disposition of the homes of hundreds of thousands of Floridians from one end of the state to another.
And no, there has been no single court ruing. There certainly have been landmark rulings along the way, one right after the other, that tear down the walls of a judicial system that took hundreds of years to build. The Rules of Evidence and Procedure, refined and interpreted over decades and embodied in case law no longer have application in foreclosure courts. The substantive laws of real property and commercial paper, also embodied in case law, no longer apply in foreclosure cases.
Our state, our nation, can no longer rely on these things….these interferences in modern banking procedure. These laws. Those that call themselves the leadership of this state and nation have decided that we must get along with rewarding the banks for all their sloppy, illegal and criminal behavior. We must all give way and allow the banks to take back hundreds of thousands of properties.
And who will ultimately own these properties? By and large it will not be individuals. The homes that will be disposed of via public foreclosure auctions will be taken back by the government. They will be purchased by hedge funds and Wall Street investors. They will be purchased by foreign corporations and shadowy, unidentified entities.
Right before us is occurring the largest transfer of private property into institutional and government hands that has ever occurred in this nation’s history. This dramatic shift occurs not primarily because our laws have demanded or even allowed for such. Rather, the shift occurs because the legislative branch has demanded it and the judicial branch is responding to these pressures.
I’m sure this will all work out fine. Just fine.
"The State pays for the blunders of private enterprise... Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social."
Theoretically at least, the United States was, at some points in time and for some people, a nation of laws presided over by a fair and open judicial system and, in the larger context, governed by an elected group of local, state and federal officials who were responsive to those who elected them and who they, in theory at least were accountable to.
This of course is the Norman Rockwell picture of America and ignores the all too real version of America that was, for hundreds of years, experienced by minorities and people of color in this country. Yes, let’s all pause for a moment and acknowledge that, for the longest period in our nation’s history we were a savage and brutal nation who tortured and subjugated millions of our population. And yes, our allegedly fair and open judicial system not just actively participated in this brutal subjugation, in fact our nation’s court system enthusiastically supported such oppression and brutality. Now some of that changed a few years ago when our nation’s courts decided that our grandmothers were full human beings after all and could vote and then a few years before that our nation’s judges made a dramatic and abrupt about face and decided that people of color were….bombshell here….ACTUAL REAL LIFE 100% HUMAN BEINGS!
Well, with that brief retrospective let’s examine the political, social and legal environment of Amerika 2013. Amerika is not a democracy. Amerika is not a republic. Amerika is a fascist corporate oligarchy. Now before you make the mistake of reminding me that sheeple vote for the elected figure heads that ultimately pass the laws that institutionalize the subjugation and corporate terror policies that define the American experience in 2013, let me explain to you how these figures are elected and how the laws they present are passed. On second thought, if you need this explanation stop reading now and turn back to some good old fashioned main stream media, you’re too far gone.
What I want to focus on here is this madness that has swept across this country which features the entirety of the US government apparatus rewarding the criminal banking elite and punishing the voters and citizens that are and remain the targets and victims of this vast criminal enterprise. When Lanny Breuer from the United States Department of Justice announces that it will not prosecute HSBC for going into the drug running and money laundering business with the drug cartels, that’s fascism at work.
When Timothy Geithner announces that it’s official federal government policy to “foam the runways” for the banks and just blow trillions of dollars at them, that’s fascism at work.
When every federal agency and every high ranking federal official articulates official policy that major institutions will not be subject to regulation, but lowly citizens will be punished, that’s fascism at work.
When Aaron Swartz is tortured to death by federal prosecutors, that’s fascism at work.
When Charlie Engle spends time in federal prison while Angelo Mozillo lives in mansions and estates, that’s fascism at work.
When attorneys and activists who dare to speak out are persecuted, punished or worse wind up dead, that’s fascism at work.
These are all manifestations of economic fascism because they demonstrate how the corporate and government interest have become so inextricably linked, so fused together that the host refuses to inflict pain on the parasite, the fusion so complete it becomes difficult to determine which is the host and which is the parasite. The final three examples show how the apparatus attacks when it is threatened or challenged in any way.
The State of Florida has become a fanatasmagophic pitry dish of fascism in recent years, a proposition most clearly on display through the government’s brutal prosecution of these foreclosure wars on this state’s vulnearable population. Most dramatically, we see the attorneys and activists who dared to stand up against these powerful interests being persecuted and ravaged by the very government that should be recognizing and rewarding those who dare to fight and who protect The People. But this of course is not the case at all. Rather than fighting the corporations and serving the people, the vast majority of state government ministries have abandoned all efforts to keep actual families in their homes and are working to ensure the corporations can execute their forced evictions and disposes private property rights with greater speed and even less consideration for any protections of law.
What we do see instead is that corrupting influence of corporate campaign cash and the revolving door from regulator to industry and back again. The investigators investigate, the dossiers are filled with evidence of the crimes committed by the banks and their co conspirators but then in the backrooms and shadowy places, the deals are cut and the masterminds of the cabals walk free. I point specifically here to Florida’s current attorney general who regularly announces partnerships with the very organizations her office should be investigating; those partnerships memorialized in non prosecution and settlement agreements, otherwise known as public bribes.
Remember when attorney general investigators June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards were fired for being a little tough on the targets of their investigations? Remember the promises that while they were fired, “My office is assigning even more investigators to the cause of rooting out foreclosure fraud!” I seem to have missed those investigations. And remember the Office of Inspector General report into the impropriety of firing them? Not surprisingly the OIG found that Republican party darling Bondi did nothing wrong. Using government offices to target and punish both employees that step out of lockstep…that’s just solid black office government, but using those same offices to attack and punish citizens who challenge The Machine….that’s fascism.
Every discussion on this subject bears reminding that the OIG report was released shortly before the federal government announced a multi-million dollar payout to one of the targets because the information the whistleblowers provided was essential in the billion dollar settlement reached by the federal government. In Florida, these same whistleblower were labeled heretics, troublemakers, crackpots. Try reconciling that conflict….I dare ya.
And the Florida Legislature? In the extreme wings of the Republican side, the only legislation proposed that speaks to foreclosure is House Bill 87 and now Senate Bill 1666, the Foreclosure Bill that carries with it, the Mark of The Beast. The articulated purpose of these bills is to, MAKE FORECLOSURES PROCEED MORE QUICKLY! Yes, let’s make the bank’s job easier to complete. Let’s ignore all the fraud and the crimes they have committed. Let’s use precious state resources to install even more unelected and unaccountable Senior Judges. The consideration of this new rapid foreclosure legislation will really heat up right about the time tens of thousands of new foreclosure judgments from around the state are entered in foreclosure star chambers. How can a court possibly consider all the fraud and forgery in these files with only one minute per case….oh wait, that’s what the banks paid for didn’t they? Yes, these courtrooms set up directly with money provided by the banks that profit from them. The arms of government paid to do the dirtiest work of industry….that’s pure fascism.
And while the manifestations of fascism abound all around us, prominently on display in these foreclosure wars I am profoundly confused by what I see happening in Florida’s court system. Let me start with several things that I am absolutely, firmly and undeniably convinced of. First, Florida courts are underfunded to a degree that makes them incapable of fulfilling their sacred obligations under the Florida Constitution. And while the Florida Supreme Court fell just short of making this formal finding in Crist v. Ervin, I am here to tell you that the announcement should have been made. Instead, we are left with what we have today, an entire state court system that functions like a parking meter, with the judicial branch left with going hat and hand to the legislature to beg for enough money to keep the light on each year. Meanwhile, our judges have next to zero staff and exponentially increasing case loads. All across this state there are documented needs for additional judges, but those needs go unfilled because the legislature refuses to fund the state court system properly. This lack of funding is not just improper from a practical sense, its dangerous, it shows a disrespect for this allegedly co-equal branch and the failure to properly fund places improper pressures on this branch that violate due process protections. Did you know that Florida’s judges operate under a quota system where part of their performance is based on how quickly they dispose of cases? It’s quite hard to measure what is “good” judging, but it’s easy enough to report that the Honorable Judge Quickpen, cleared 40% of her foreclosure docket. Which leads us into another area of which I am absolutely, firmly and undeniably convinced of.
Florida’s Elected Judges and Courts Must Be More Responsive to the Voters That Elected Them
Florida’s circuit courts got into this foreclosure mess because foreclosure plaintiffs attorneys stopped exercising control and resposnbility over their bank clients. Instead of the attorneys telling their clients who they needed to follow the law both in their business practices and in the evidence they would present in court, the bank clients told the attorneys to ignore the law and do things their way. That’s how we got robo signing, and the need for verified complaint rule, and widespread document fraud. Well, in much the same way the local judges that I elected are bucking under pressure, handed down from above, marching to orders and imperial directives, rather than speaking boldly and freely for the citizens that vote for them and who they serve. Florida’s Constitution places our judges in our community and places their periodic retention in local voter’s hands. And yet, they are being silenced. Muffled. Suppressed. They are being given quotas and arbitrary performance measures. Not only do these measures lead to bad law, they are fundamentally inconsistent with the core principals of government articulated in Florida’s Constitution. Our local judges must reject quotas and improper pressures. They must fight to preserve their right to speak to those they serve.
Which leads to the next subject of which I am absolutely, firmly and undeniably convinced of. I will be very clear and direct: the widespread implementation of a senior judge system dedicated to disposing of foreclosure cases is a direct and flagrant violation of Florida’s Constitution. Quite simply and most directly, Florida’s Constitution requires that the judges who exercise the profound power of our state’s judicial branch be subjected to the electoral will of the population over which they exercise that power. This important Constitutional check was designed to prevent what we see happening across this state today… judges not subjected to suffrage and who are not directly accountable to the people making dispositive judicial decisions. The reports coming in from the foreclosure star chambers fanned out across the state are terribly disturbing.
The now permanent senior judge regime that we see being implemented across this state illustrates an even larger and far more troubling phenomena….the failure of our state’s judicial branch to maintain its independence, its strength and its integrity. Our state’s judicial branch has whithered under the constant assault of the executive and legislative branches who have choked it with continued reductions in funding, long past the point where the branch cannot function effectively. Our judges, their caseloads expanded long past the point of prudent manageability have seen their staff and court budget cuts. Meanwhile, they are under constant and unrelenting pressure to fulfill arbitrary quotas of “clearing cases”, handed down to them from the Central Government in Tallahassee. And our local judges, even Chief judges are suffering under a gag order imposed on them, by the Central Court again in Tallahassee. Silencing the local leaders that are responsive and responsible to the local population and imposing central control…fascism.
It is in this environment of budget, staff and outside pressures that our local courts are left to deal with the crush of foreclosure cases that choke their dockets. And it is these oustside pressures and influences that produce in our courts the environment of cold indifference necessary execute the Clearing Campaigns with such ruthless indifference. Something has got to change here…perhaps the images of thousands of Floridians evicted from homes at gunpoint will shake people’s consciousness….
Florida courts appear to be working with The Banks to ignore their crimes and reward them with judgments.
I woke this morning to read a just issued court Order which reads like a partisan manifesto against foreclosure defense. This long and detailed order makes many, many findings of fact and bends and twists to fit those facts into many different interpretations of law. The order cites cases from long, long ago and from far, far away. It’s quite incredible to read on order that cites case law from different states…especially when there’s a real deep body of case law from right here in the circuit. And one’s legal analysis radar really start going off when an order is buried deep citing cases from decades ago….just after the turn of the century. No, not this century, but the early 1900′s.
My read of this order gives me very serious concerns about whether defendants in foreclosure will get a fair and impartial shot before the court. But this order is just another example of an alarming…and growing trend….I read in this order, and see in many policies currently being implemented in courts across the state, a real tilt in the balance of foreclosure, with courts deciding that they must
CLEAR THE FORECLOSURE BACKLOG!
And the easiest way to do this is to grant as many foreclosure judgments as possible….as quickly as possible. I am trying to confirm that there is a real deadline to clear cases and report back to the paymasters in Tallahassee no later than June 1. If in fact this is true, it’s most incredible, and most concerning from a Constitutional perspective. If in fact the parties in lawsuits provided money that flows to our allegedly fair and balanced courts….I’m speaking specifically of the $5 million dollars provided by The Banks as part of the AG settlement…and if in fact “our” courts are using this money to fund foreclosure rocket dockets which are resulting in a grossly disproportionate number of foreclosure final judgments, does this not look like those who are benefiting from this new court fury have in fact paid, directly, for the outcome they’re getting?
What if the drug cartels, as part of their plea deals with government attorneys, agreed to pay $5 million in fines. And what if government officials announced they were spending that money specifically on drug courts, hiring special judges and staff. And then what if we found out that these new courts were told, very specifically to,
CLEAR 30% OF THOSE DAMNED DRUG CASES BY JUNE 1!
And then what if, immediately thereafter, tens of thousands of those drug cases were unilaterally set for trial or disposition by the court. And when the prosecutors walked into court they found that nothing they said would prevent the judge from dismissing drug cases, one after the other, en masse? And what if the defense attorneys really didn’t have to do anything…they just stand there letting the court walk them through how the court wanted to help them get their case dismissed…overlooking real problems with their cases that would surely result in at least some convictions?
Well, that’s certainly what foreclosure courtrooms are starting to look like in this state. And that presents very troubling questions about the independence and impartiality of Florida’s entire judicial system.
Consumers had better WAKE UP! And smell the acrid smoke of their faded delusions of security burning right in front of their faces. Consumers…and frankly attorneys…have been living a delusion for far too long, thinking that they were living protected and safe just because their foreclosure cases were not moving. If consumers….or attorneys for that matter…think they’re going to march into courtrooms and scream
FRAUD, ROBOSIGNING, POST DATED ASSIGNMENT
And think that’s going to matter in most courtrooms, they really are delusional. As I said, time to WAKE UP!
Attorneys are starting to get mass Notices of Trial, and I’m certain this is happening to consumers as well. And I’m really concerned about the numbers of consumers who will get these notices and ignore them or worse yet, those who don’t get them at all. Their realization that things have gone really wrong will be the knock at the door from the sheriff that comes to evict them.
(And to those who want to see the order and who want more specifics out of me, remember, I have suffered formal prosecution for daring to exercise my First Amendment rights and threatened with more punishment after being reminded that “there are limits on an attorney’s First Amendment rights” …huh? to this day, I still shake my head at that. I have a very fine line to navigate here on this blog…I frankly think that my only real security is that if they really came after me, I’d really unload and that I’d be far more dangerous if they turned me out and made a real martyr out of me…so they let me dance on this fine line, where I’m too vague to cause real damage…….for now)
We are no longer Americans, that proud and thinking people that meant something in this world. Today we are Amerikans…drugged, dumbed down. Out of touch, out of work and unable to engage in that lost American skill….critical thinking.
The propaganda surrounding the National Mortgage Sellout is just one glaring example. There are many, but this one is so blatant and ugly that it’s breathtaking. So much lies, misinformation and distraction. All presented in glossy color…WITH GRAPHICS! AND PICTURES! All the better to mislead and distract the dopey, gullible public.
And perhaps more disturbing…there’s a tiny footnote to let us all know that none of the lies and propaganda are real…none of the information has been verified….information given to us by companies from a settlement of a case where the banks were perpetrating lies and fraud…NICE!
From Naked Capitalism:
As we and others have written at considerable length, the mortgage settlement was a big exercise in optics. The $26.1 billion number sounds impressive until you compare it to the size of the housing market and the damage done to homeowners. 40% of the value of the settlement can come from junk credits, things the banks would have done anyhow or should be doing in the normal course of business, like razing vacant homes, short sales, and giving homes to charities. And of the remaining part, which was a relatively small amount of actual cash payment ($5.8 billion, but that included over a billion of fines federal regulators rolled into that total), the rest is supposed to be reduction of mortgage principal. Oh, but wait, they can take credit for modifying OTHER PEOPLE’S MORTGAGES, meaning those owned by investors. And they’ve been doing that in more than half the cases. As the Financial Times reported last week:
Investors in US mortgage securities have been forced to absorb large writedowns in response to a deal between leading financial groups and government agencies over the “robosigning” scandal….
The banks – JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial – agreed to forgive billions of dollars worth of distressed borrowers’ mortgage principal in exchange for waivers from potential liability.
On Wednesday, BofA said that 60 per cent of the $4.75bn in first-lien mortgage principal it has thus far agreed to forgive would come from non-government guaranteed loans that were packaged into bonds and sold to investors.
Of JPMorgan’s $3bn in forgiven mortgage debt, slightly less than half has come from investors’ holdings, a person familiar with the matter said. The other three banks either declined to provide numbers or did not respond to requests for comment.
Fannie Mae Master Custodial Agreement…..THE BANKS ARE DEBT COLLECTORS ACTING FOR UNDISCLOSED PRINCIPALS……
At some point in time this nation is going to wake up and realize that we’ve demonized the wrong party for many, many years. The BIG BAD BANKS are just straw parties, standing up there and taking shots from all of us….they’re easy targets, a distraction from the real fact that someone else really is…
THE WIZARD BEHIND THE CURTAIN
In many, many cases, the true Wizard that’s using fraud and robosigning and committing crimes all as part of an effort to throw an Amerikan family into the street is in fact, the federal government itself. Now, I understand it’s not exactly the federal government…it’s those stand in characters, Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie….but it’s time to WAKE UP!
Just read this agreement that makes all this clear:
Custodian does not, pursuant to this Agreement, acquire any ownership interest in any of the
Mortgage Loans or Documents. Custodian may not transfer, pledge or otherwise
hypothecate any Mortgage Loan or any Document.
(b) In performing its duties and responsibilities under this Agreement (including, but not limited
to, in reviewing Documents and data for possible Certification, and in connection with
Document custody at all times upon and after receipt of Documents), Custodian at all times
acts for the sole benefit of Fannie Mae.
All Documents are held solely and exclusively for Fannie Mae. Subject only to that
limitation, Custodian shall make disposition of Documents solely in accordance with
instructions furnished by Fannie Mae in the Guides, the Requirements, or otherwise by notice
from Fannie Mae. Further:
 Custodian specifically acknowledges that Fannie Mae has the right to require Custodian
to release all Documents, or any portion thereof, pursuant to Fannie Mae’s instructions,
without payment to Custodian of any fee or charge, or other thing of value.
 Unless otherwise instructed by Fannie Mae, Custodian may release Documents that are
related to Mortgage Loans that have been removed from the List of Mortgages before
Custodian delivers its Certification. Release in such cases shall be to the party that
Custodian determines to be entitled to the Documents.
 If a Mortgage Loan became an MBS trust asset and title to such Mortgage Loan
thereafter is transferred to Lender, then Custodian may release the Documents that are
related to that Mortgage Loan, provided that Fannie Mae as Trustee (or Fannie Mae’s
successor as Trustee, if any) notifies Custodian that such Mortgage Loan is no longer an
MBS trust asset.
Custodian agrees to indemnify Fannie Mae and hold Fannie Mae harmless for any and all
liabilities, obligations, losses, damages, payments, costs, or expenses of any kind whatsoever
(including reasonable attorneys’ fees), which may be imposed on, incurred by, or asserted
against Fannie Mae as the result of any negligence, malfeasance, wrongful or unreasonable
act or omission by Custodian, in its performance (or nonperformance) of the functions and
duties of Custodian required by this Agreement, the Guides, or the Requirements. Unless
otherwise agreed to in writing by Fannie Mae, the foregoing includes, but is not limited to,
Certification of any Mortgage if the:
 Documents were incomplete,
 Documents did not conform, prima facie and without exception, to the specifications set
forth in the Guides, the Requirements, and any other notice to Custodian that describes
Fannie Mae requirements for specific mortgage loans or mortgage loan types, or
 Mortgage Loan data submitted on the List of Mortgages did not match the terms of those
Documents, without exception.
(b) Lender agrees to indemnify Fannie Mae and hold Fannie Mae harmless for any and all
liabilities, obligations, losses, damages, payments, costs, or expenses of any kind whatsoever
(including reasonable attorneys’ fees) which may be imposed on, incurred by, or asserted
against Fannie Mae as the result of Lender’s selection of Custodian as custodian for
Mortgage Loans in MBS pools, or by reason of Custodian’s custody of the related