Categories
Uncategorized

Toilet Humor

Let’s take a break from bitching about the economy and have a little fun:

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.

Categories
Uncategorized

Foreclosure Ripoff, Part II

This is part 2 of this post.

So what we have here is the banks are writing loans with little regard as to whether or not people can afford to actually pay the loan, securitizing and selling the paper to investors as quickly as possible, all with little accountability or oversight.

In the middle of all this, the Fed lowered the prime rate from 6.5% to 1.0% in the wake of the 9-11 attacks and the financial recession that followed.

This was a situation ripe for disaster. The banks were selling loans as quickly as they could in a feeding frenzy of subprime lending. Every major bank had a subprime lending department. This wasn’t just in mortgages and real property. This was in credit cards as well. As credit became easier to get, more people got credit. The financial boom that began in the mid-90s was a result. Housing prices skyrocketed- nationwide they increased by 124% in just 10 years. In some real estate markets, the rise was MUCH higher. The Fed had to raise rates to compensate. This cause the Adjustable Mortgage Rates to climb, and many of the people with ARMs that they could barely afford to pay at the lower rate began to default when the increasing rates and payments pushed them over the edge.

The house of cards and paper began to collapse in mid-2007. As home loans began defaulting, the insurance companies providing mortgage insurance were among the first to go. Insurance giant AIG fell in September of 2008. Fannie and Freddie Mac went during the same month. By this point, bankruptcy filings had doubled, foreclosures were increasing, and housing prices had fallen 20%. Interest rates began to climb as some banks began to struggle.

As an example, the Middle District of Florida saw about 15,000 bankruptcy filings in 2006. In 2007 that had risen to about 26,000 and in 2008, it rose to 42,500. In 2009, there were nearly 63,000 bankruptcy filings, all in one Federal district. 2010 isn’t shaping up to be any better. The first two months of the year have already seen 9,500 filings.

The government has responded to all of this by borrowing more money and dumping it into the economy. Over $4 trillion since 2006, and half of that has been in the last year. The banks made money by making loans that should not have been made. Then they were ‘bailed out’ by other banks who used funds supplied by our government, and those banks are being funded by more government dollars, and are making even more money by foreclosing on homes that they cannot even prove they own the paper on, and meanwhile the American Public is paying the tab- twice. Once in taxes, and again in losing their savings and their homes.

We as a nation are responding to a crisis that was caused by too much borrowing and spending by borrowing and spending even more. We are essentially paying our Visa with our Mastercard. I fear that we have not seen the end of this financial crisis.

To be continued…

Categories
Uncategorized

The foreclosure ripoff

Last month, I wrote a post about the foreclosure problem here in Florida and across the nation. When the financial problem began, I was a part of the crowd that was drinking the Conservative Kool-Aid and blaming government regulation and interference, with a heaping helping of blaming people for taking out loans they could not afford.

I have since reevaluated that position. There is blame enough for everyone, and the biggest crooks here are in the Nation’s Financial Sector. Let me walk you through this (all names used here with the Exception of MERS are fictional for illustrative purposes, and are not intended to represent real or imagined people or businesses):

First National Federal Bank of Florida makes a loan to the Smith family so they can buy a home. That loan is written down as a “note” and the “note” is secured by a mortgage on the Smith home. The Mortgage states that if the note is not paid, the owner or holder of the note is entitled to force the sale of the home, and the proceeds are used to pay off the note, with the balance of the funds going to the Smiths. The mortgage is recorded at the County Clerk’s office as an official record for about $10.

The bank sells that loan to a trust, where it is securitized, bundled with a few hundred other loans, and resold as an investment to the Franklin Secure Real Estate Investment Trust. The bank has made their money, and their risk is covered. There is no incentive for First National Federal Bank of Florida to make sure that the Smiths can pay the note, because the note will be sold long before the Smiths default. The only real motivation for the bank, is for them to originate as many loans as possible, and sell them quickly before they default. That is how an assistant manager at McDonalds qualifies to buy 5 houses.

The Franklin Secure REIT sells the notes to Richards and Company Investment REIT, who sells them to the Wells and Frederick REIT. The consumer never knows this, because the note is still serviced by the First National Federal Bank of Florida, who takes their payments and forwards them to the owner through a shell company (more on that in a minute).

There are thousands of mortgage transfers made each day in Florida alone, and continually recording these transactions at the County Clerk’s office at $10 a pop is costing banks $600 million a year. They decide that there MUST be an easier way. This is the “way” that they came up with:

So, in 1999 a Corporation called Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems (MERS) was formed. MERS is a shell corporation that is jointly owned by the Nation’s large banks, has no financial stake in the real estate mortgages, but mortgages are all registered to MERS, and the 44 employees of MERS keep track of who actually owns what Mortgage. MERS is the registered holder on over 55 million mortgages. They avoid the $10 fee, and save the banking industry billions. The problem is that they have taken our Nation’s Public records system, and made it so no one knows exactly who owns what, and during all the transferring that went on, the original note is lost. This makes it impossible in many cases for a bank (any bank) to prove they own the note, but that doesn’t stop them from trying.

This allows mortgage fraud on a scale that was unheard of for the thousands of years of property law that existed before MERS came along. Fake assignments, contracts, affidavits, and other evidence has been used to take homes that banks had no right to take.

The reason why I support people fighting this is that since no one knows for sure who owns what, there is a chance that settling with who you think is the owner of your mortgage may result in the REAL holder taking your home when the note IS eventually found, or may result in more than one bank claiming that you owe them money. In one case here in Lee County, Florida, a homeowner was foreclosed upon by two different banks, both of whom claimed to be the owner of the mortgage and note, and both of whom had paperwork and “evidence” to prove it. (The cases are American Home Mortgage Servicing v. Joanne Fredenburg Case 08-CA-050001, and Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. v. Joanne Fredenburg Case 08-CA-051319)

There will be more to follow on this…

Categories
Uncategorized

Congress doesn’t care about the Constitution

Listen. at 44 seconds, “I don’t care about the Constitution.”

When confronted about the statement, he says: “It says that we all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The reply, “That is the Declaration of Independence.”

The congressman: “It doesn’t matter to me. Either one.”

Here is the secret: No one is dying because they can’t be seen at a hospital. There is already a law in place that requires emergency departments to see you whether you can pay or not. It is called EMTALA, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. No one can legally be refused care because they don’t have insurance. The hospitals are not aggressive about pursuing payment, either.

I have patients that have been taken to the emergency room hundreds of times in the past few months, some of them occasionally go to the ER 5-8 times a day. My record is taking the same person to the ER 9 times in one day. That patient has NEVER paid a dime for either the hospital visits or the transport.

Anyone who tells you that this bill is about health or about care is a liar. Wanna see what health care will look like under Obama? Click here and look at what he is doing to the auto industry.

This is about the government controlling every facet of your life. Obama controls the financial sector, manufacturing, and now he has his sights set on health care.

Categories
Uncategorized

Dealing with bullies

This article astounds me. Who ever this Barbara Coloroso is, she is a fool. In her book, this supposed expert claims that you should teach your children to never fight back against a bully. The comments on this thread are even better:

Here is a simple way to stop a kid from bullying your child: File a civil suit against the Parents of the bully(s) File the case under “harassment” and seek monetary damages.

The American answer for everything: sue, sue, sue.

Reading these situations…if they were to take place in the adult workforce – it would called SEXUAL HARASSEMENT.

The female answer for everything: the sexual harassment trump card. If you don’t like something someone does or says, scream harassment. That will usually get them in hot water or fired, and you don’t need to prove anything.

One of the most important things a bullied kid needs to realize is that the way the person treats you shows you what kind of a person he/she is, not what kind of a person you are.

This is akin to saying “sticks and stones,” and that is really no help when you are getting the tar beaten out of you.

When I was a kid, I was picked on a lot. With an IQ of 144, I was in the 99.83th percentile. When I was in the 7th grade, I was tested on math and reading skills and maxed out the test: College Junior. It may have been higher, but the test scale went no higher, so there was no way to tell.

I was picked on and called geek, nerd, etc. Even the teachers sometimes participated. The abuse would sometimes get physical. It was so bad that I would not let my children be placed in a so-called gifted program when they were in school. When the abuse turned physical, there was one thing that stopped it EVERY TIME: I learned to fight back. When the abuse turned physical, I punched the bully in the face. To my parent’s credit, they went to school and defended me against the “zero tolerance” rules that the school had against fighting.

I did the same for my kids. When my son was in the second grade, he came home crying because a fifth grader was beating him up on the recess yard. I went to the school and was told that the teachers can’t be everywhere, and that they couldn’t discipline the bully unless they saw it happen. My son, who was playing Pop Warner football at the time, was told that the kids on the football team were larger and hit harder than this bully did, and the next time it happened, he should fight back.

He told me that the teachers were teaching them that fighting was wrong, and that the policy was that both students were to be disciplined if a fight broke out. I told him that I would take care of the teachers, and that he should never start a fight, but if a person attacks you, you should defend yourself.

Several days later, I was called to the school because my child had beaten the bully pretty badly. The kid went crying to the school office. When I got there, I saw that the child was twice the size of mine. The school wanted to suspend my son. When I asked them if a teacher had seen the fight, they replied that no teacher had actually seen it. I then pointed out to them that they told me that if no one had seen the event, they couldn’t do anything.

“After all,” I said, “teachers can’t be everywhere.” (is that like the saying that the police can’t be everywhere?) I then told them that I would never raise my child to be a dysfunctional adult that knuckles under every time someone attacked them, and I certainly would not teach my child to stand there while someone beat the tar out of them.

The bully never touched my son again. In the same vein, that is why my son received a .45 caliber handgun from his Dad for his 21st birthday. He has a concealed weapons permit, and carries that pistol frequently. The schoolyard bullies of yesterday are the violent criminals of today.

Well, sometimes they get jobs as cops, but that is a story for another day…

Edited to add: All of this “don’t fight back” nonsense forces kids to bottle up their hostility and resentment at being picked on until they snap. I believe these policies are the reason why good kids who are bullied go on shooting sprees. See Columbine. Reminds me of the Pearl Jam song Jeremy.

Categories
Uncategorized

Florida’s foreclosure crisis

Millions of Floridians are losing their homes due to foreclosure. It would be easy to just say “pay your mortgage, deadbeat” as many people have, but things are not as easy to solve as that statement would indicate. Matt Weidner, a Tampa area attorney, has a blog that spends a good deal of time and bandwidth explaining the problem:

The lenders of Florida, and the firms that bought mortgage backed securities, have traded, sold, spindled and mutilated the mortgage notes and mortgages in this state in such a fashion as to make it impossible for anyone to determine or prove who owes what to whom. When confronted in court, many of the lenders and their attorneys are manufacturing the evidence they need to take the home. They have been caught doing this so often that the Florida Supreme Court had to issue rules that apply to these foreclosures in an attempt to curb some of the lies, fraud, and manipulation that is going on.

Reading Mr Weidner’s blog made me truly understand why the mortgage, insurance, and bank failures that caused our current recession occurred. The banks and mortgage lenders have been lying, cheating, and stealing their way to billions in undeserved profits by enticing lawmakers and the courts to game the system in their favor.

Now we come to the reason for this post. As the courts begin to catch on to the fraud being carried out here, the banks are beginning to lose foreclosure cases all over the state. They have responded by getting legislators to introduce a new bill ironically called Florida Consumer Protection and Homeowner Credit Rehabilitation Act. The purpose of this proposed law is to change Florida from a Judicial foreclosure state (requiring a bank to take you to court to in order to take your home, thus allowing you your day in court) to a non-judicial foreclosure state, essentially allowing people using “Operation Repo” style tactics to take your home without you ever getting your day in court.

If you think things are going to improve in our economy anytime in the near future, you are sorely mistaken.

Categories
Uncategorized

Glen Frey

The sailors and pilots,
The soldiers and the law,
The pay offs and the rip offs,
And the things nobody saw.

That song is in my head this morning because of the backdoor deal that convinced anti-abortion senator Stupak that his morals were for sale. Just what is the going price for a senator these days?

$726,409 more or less. That is the total grant money being given to three airports in his district.

I have to ask- why were airport grants included in a healthcare bill? And why didn’t the healthcare bill include- well, healthcare? See, the Dems were so busy passing out the pork, they forgot to include helathcare in the bill.

Categories
Uncategorized

Math fail

Did you know that if you cut off the end of a string and tie it to the other end, you can make the string longer? At least that is the plan in Illinois, where the plan is to save money by going to a four day school schedule, and making up the lost hours by shortening the summer vacation.

Hows that again? What a bunch of douche nozzles.

Categories
Uncategorized

Doubt Global Warming? You should be shot

At least that is what James Cameron thinks:

The “Avatar” director was equally unsparing in his comments about those who don’t accept global warming as fact.

“That’s right,” Cameron said. “I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads.”

Turning more serious, he added: “Anybody that is a global-warming denier at this point in time has got their head so deeply up their ass I’m not sure they could hear me.”

Of course, any person who disagrees with him would be persecuted by the media for daring to suggest that this pompous windbag should be shot. I doubt he even knows which end of the gun gets pointed downrange.

Of course, James Cameron, like the rest of the rich and famous global warming crowd, thinks that being green only applies to the peasants. After all, he wants to fly into space, and launching his ass into space will take tons of CO2 generating rocket fuel. He regularly flies to Japan, Hawaii, and Rome, and then demands that I bicycle to work, and sweat without air conditioning in the Florida summer. Who exactly has his head up his ass? Either he is an elitist douchebag, or a liar.

Mr Cameron- I am a “denier” and I accept your challenge. I will even loan you a gun, since I am sure that your left wing, liberal, douchebag ass doesn’t own one.

I will even make accommodations for your political beliefs. I will let you use a .22 revolver, so you can stay away from those semi-automatic killing machines.

I will use an evil assault rifle.

Rules as follows:

We stand on a football field with our backs to the goal posts. You shoot first. I will let you empty your gun, then it is my turn.

Categories
Uncategorized

Interesting

In an earlier post, I wondered why the Democrats were taking the self-defeating position of trashing their own popularity to make healthcare happen.

Others are beginning to wonder the same. For example, is illegal amnesty going to be used to keep the Democrats in office?

Will Obama simply pack the Supreme Court?

Both? Neither? What does the future hold for our Republic? Whatever it holds, I don’t think it will be good. The debt load we have is unsustainable, and spending money to finance free health care for millions more will not improve it any. We will be nearly $14 trillion in debt by the end of this fiscal year.