This just in:
'Nuch' Trutanich vs. Occupy LA: Jury nullification
“The case against Steve Leaderman should have been easy to prove. Leaderman, 38, was one of the Occupy L.A. protesters who refused to leave City Hall Plaza after the LAPD ordered everyone to disperse on Nov. 30.”
Great news. This subject has been discussed here on several occasions, but to date the trial results have been mixed. The entire premise of prosecuting people that were clearly engaged in constitutionally-protected demonstrations and free speech on trial is flawed. The aggressive efforts by Trutanich nothing more than a demonstration of his puppet status as it pertains to the Central City Association and those that have a vested interest in suppressing the message. Congratulations to Mr. Leaderman and thanks for representing so many others with courage and resolve.
The agreement with 49 states makes some claims that will be difficult to verify, and harder to track. Many of the victims were dispossessed of their homes long ago, and if they do receive a check sometime in the next three years, it certainly won't put them back in their homes. Those homes are either back on the market or already sold, which illustrates why the banks were compelled to resort to illegal tactics in the first place.
If for instance, you bought a car with 20% down and monthly payments that you made for several years before you were unable to continue, the car would be repossessed. That means the lender would have already received most if not all of it's value when it was returned to them. If you consider the interest on the loan, you may have already paid more to the lender than its actual value.
This allows for the new “owner” (the original lender), to sell the car again, this time as used, but also for what becomes all profit since the car was already paid for by the previous owner. Again, the lender asks for 20% down and the new buyers starts the payment process again.
This means that the same property can be recycled, sold over and over again depending on the qualifications of the buyers. The lender then becomes a predator, actively seeking people with enough for a down payment but not enough to actually purchase it, hoping that at some point they will be able to repossess it and repeat the cycle.
This concept is well-known to used car dealerships offering “easy terms” or “no credit needed” knowing that their chances of selling the car several times increases. The lender never actually relinquishes ownership, and in the end, when its value become negligible, it is finally sold for cash ending the cycle. At that point there may be several parties still making payments on it, all of them with bad credit scores because of the experience.
The same thing happens with homes, the millions of foreclosures predicated on shoddy lending practices, illegal foreclosures, and guess what? The banks still own the properties, and those that made payments for years, sometimes decades, become dispossessed. No refund for the payments made. No calculation of the interest on top of it. No consideration of the down payment which another buyer will have to come up with to repeat the cycle.
That is why the settlement agreement is a gesture, but hardly compensation for the losses incurred by the lenders, your friendly neighborhood predatory banksters. Somehow, an alleged payment of $1800 is supposed to make things right. It does. For the mortgage lenders that can now return to executing their business model knowing that they have been absolved of future liability and escape prosecution by making this single payment to the government.
Of course, the power and influence of the banking and financial services sector is all founded on the deposits and investment of their customers. They produce nothing, but they own everything, including your home. So nothing has really changed. This from the LA Times:
“But to underwater homeowners such as Samuel Guzman, whose three-bedroom Westminster home was foreclosed in August, it's all 'too little too late.'”
Opinion LA Times: Processing foreclosures
“But the investigation uncovered many other abuses in the way the banks serviced the loans -- for example, the 'dual tracking' that led one arm of a bank to foreclose on a house while another arm was negotiating a loan modification with the homeowner.”
Richard Green, director of University of Southern California's Lusk Center for Real Estate, believes officials have exaggerated just what kind of impact it will have.
"I really don't see this as being that big a deal,' said Green. 'In reality, the total number of dollars is still small compared to the value of the mortgages that are underwater. To some extent, the numbers reflect losses the lenders would have taken anyway.'"
Good point. The banks would have taken a charge for their own losses regardless of whether they entered into this agreement, so paying the “fine” was obviously the better choice because now they don't have to fear criminal liability. They don't even have to admit guilt.
It should be noted that Ms. Harris has said that her investigation will continue; that sanctions are still possible in the future. But if there is anything in this process, another illustration of this cozy business arrangement between banks and regulators that serves as a deterrent for future abuses, let me know.
Brave New Foundation: Arturo de los Santos saga
Progress where you find it:
“Almost as quickly as a flash mob assembles and disperses, an Oregon bill that proposed making certain tweets illegal has vanished from sight.”
Why can't LA do this? Why can't everyone do this?
“In what may be the most damaging blow to Big Banks since the overwhelming success of Bank Transfer Day in late 2011, the City of Berkeley recently announced its intention to withdraw all financial assets from Wells Fargo.
“On Tuesday night, the City Council voted unanimously to find a more socially-minded institution to hold approximately $300 million in city assets.”
Break-up with your bank: February 14
Asshole watch, comedy fail: CPAC 'comedian' Brad Stine's Carlin impersonation
CPAC paranoia: No 'shenanigans'
“Doors to the Briefing will open at 12:30pm and please be sure to show your blogger credentials as Occupy protestors may try to crash - be ready to catch any shenanigans on camera!”
This is a secret CPAC communication. Don't tell anyone you saw it here, OK?
“A small group of demonstrators staged a silent protest during Mitt Romney's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday. Security guards for the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, where the annual gathering of conservatives is being held, quickly threw the protesters out.”
Thanks to Current.com for the pic. Read the rest here: