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Special Investigation: The Dirty Secret Behind Warren Buffett’s Billions

Wells Fargo banking unit probed for employee fraud: Report
By Brittany De LeaPublished September 06, 2018
FinancialsFOXBusiness
https://www.foxbusiness.com/financials/wells-fargo-banking-unit-probed-for-employee-fraud-report

Warren Buffett on Apple investing in Tesla: It would be a poor idea
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett discusses how he isn’t giving up on Wells Fargo and why it would be a poor idea for Apple to invest in Tesla.

The Department of Justice is probing Wells Fargo’s wholesale banking unit for fraud in the wake of reports that employees adjusted corporate customers’ information on documents without their knowledge or consent, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Workers in the bank’s wholesale unit are said to have added or changed personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses for people associated with its business clients in 2017 and early 2018. At the time, the unit was pressed with regulatory deadlines, including one related to anti-money laundering controls.

The DOJ is said to be investigating whether management influenced employee actions, people familiar with the matter told the Journal, looking to see whether there is a pattern of behavior when it comes to management pressure.

Wells Fargo became aware of the incident in May and told FOX Business at the time that the incident involved internal documents used for internal purposes only, and no customers were negatively impacted.

The bank’s own review revealed that the issue within the wholesale banking unit was spread out among more divisions than it initially thought, according to the Journal.

In a statement on Thursday a spokesperson for the company said “the situation involved a new process and a new required document,” adding that additional training and procedures have since been implemented. The bank reiterated that no customers were negatively impacted.

However, this issue is just the latest that has arisen for the scandal-ridden bank throughout recent months.

Last week, the Journal reported that Wells Fargo fired or suspended at least a dozen employees at its investment bank – Wells Fargo Securities – over allegations these individuals doctored after-hours dinner receipts and charged it to the company in violation of etiquette.

In a statement to FOX Business, a spokesperson for the bank confirmed that they became aware certain employees were not complying with after-hours meal reimbursement policies, and are continuing to investigate the matter.

These incidents come while the bank is trying to rebrand its image, after it was revealed that employees were creating fraudulent accounts for customers without their approval. The company paid a $185 million fine in 2016 as a penalty.

Last month, the Justice Department announced that the bank would pay a civil penalty of more than $2 billion for allegedly misrepresenting the quality of its residential mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Despite all of the bad news, Wells Fargo still has a fan in billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who told FOX Business’ Liz Claman in an interview last month that while the company “had the wrong incentives initially,” he stands by his investment – a 9 percent stake at 452 million shares.

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AJC.COM: Wells Fargo pays $108 million on fraud claim by Atlanta whistleblowers

Wells Fargo pays $108 million on fraud claim by Atlanta whistleblowers

Russell Grantham The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wells Fargo story:

Wells Fargo agreed to pay $108 million to settle claims that it defrauded veteran customers and taxpayers.

Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to pay $108 million to the federal government to settle two metro Atlanta whistleblowers’ allegations that the bank charged fraudulent fees on veterans’ home refinancing loans.

The settlement award, disclosed Friday by an Atlanta firm representing the whistleblowers, is the largest so far to result from the 11-year-old lawsuit. Two former metro Atlanta mortgage brokers sued eight banks or mortgage lenders on behalf of the government. The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Atlanta.

“We’re glad its over, at least as to Wells Fargo,” said one of the two whistleblowers, Victor Bibby. The second is Brian Donnelly.

In 2012, SunTrust Banks, JP Morgan Chase, Countrywide Home Loans and three other major lenders agreed to pay $162 million to settle similar allegations by the whistleblowers.

Another lawsuit is pending against a St. Petersburg, Fla., lender, Mortgage Investors Corp. In 2013, the lender laid off hundreds of employees and stopped making new home loans, blaming tougher regulations under the federal Dodd-Frank Act.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said the bank changed its methods for handling Veterans Administration refinancing loans several years ago to fix the alleged problems and settled the lawsuit to “put the matter behind us.”

The San Francisco bank, which is metro Atlanta’s second largest bank in terms of total deposits, has been bruised lately in a number of legal skirmishes over its practices.

Last year, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other agencies alleged that the bank’s employees broke the law by opening more than 2 million credit card, checking and savings accounts without customers’ knowledge, in order to meet sales quotas and win bonuses.

Last month, Wells Fargo said it would refund customers after admitting that about 570,000 borrowers may have been wrongly pushed into auto insurance policies that they didn’t need.

In the Atlanta whistleblower case, which affected veteran homeowners across the nation, Bibby and Donnelly alleged that Wells Fargo illegally collected lawyers’ fees and closing costs from borrowers who refinanced their mortgages, even though such charges were barred under the VA’s refinancing program.

The bank hid the fees by mislabeling them, according to Atlanta law firm Butler Wooten & Peak, one of three firms that represented the whistleblowers.

The law firm said taxpayers also lost money due to the alleged fraud. Under the VA loan guarantee program, the agency paid Wells Fargo a portion of any loans on which the borrowers defaulted, even though the fraudulent fees would have negated the government loan guarantees.

Friday, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Crystal Drake said, “Today, we are settling this longstanding lawsuit, which did not seek any refunds for individual veterans, in order to put the matter behind us, and to focus on restoring trust in Wells Fargo.”

She said the bank had previously made compensation available to affected veterans.

“More than six years ago,” she added, “when questions about fees on certain Veterans Administration refinance loans were raised, we resolved those concerns by improving our internal controls to ensure that veteran customers only pay appropriate fees on refinances.”

Under the federal whistleblower’s act, known as the Federal False Claims Act, people with knowledge of wrongdoing by a company can sue on behalf of the government, and collect up to 30 percent of any resulting settlement or jury award.

“Ultimately the government decided not to participate” in the lawsuit, Butler Wooten said in a press release.

Jim Butler, with Butler Wooten, said the whistleblowers’ share of the $270 million in total settlements with the seven lenders is still being negotiated with the federal Justice Department.

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

A TRUE MUST READ!

By Paul Craig Roberts – Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals, (Explained to Where Even Sheeple Can Understand!)

A MUST READ FOR EVERY AMERICAN!

From:  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/09/16/police-are-more-dangerous-to-the-public-than-are-criminals-paul-craig-roberts/

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 PCR’s new book, HOW AMERICA WAS LOST, is now available:In Print by Clarity Press and In Ebook Format by Atwell Publishing

 

Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals — Paul Craig Roberts

The goon thug psychopaths no longer only brutalize minorities–it is open season on all of us –the latest victim is a petite young white mother of two small children

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36211.htm

Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals

Paul Craig Roberts

The worse threat every American faces comes from his/her own government.

At the federal level the threat is a seventh war (Syria) in 12 years, leading on to the eighth and ninth (Iran and Lebanon) and then on to nuclear war with Russia and China.

The criminal psychopaths in Washington have squandered trillions of dollars on their wars, killing and dispossessing millions of Muslims while millions of American citizens have been dispossessed of their homes and careers. Now the entire social safety net is on the chopping bloc so that Washington can finance more wars.

At the state and local level every American faces brutal, armed psychopaths known as the police. The “law and order” conservatives and the “compassionate” liberals stand silent while police psychopaths brutalize children and grandmothers, murder double amputees in wheel chairs, break into the wrong homes, murder the family dogs, and terrify the occupants, pointing their automatic assault weapons in the faces of small children.

The American police perform no positive function. They pose a much larger threat to citizens than do the criminals who operate without a police badge. Americans would be safer if the police forces were abolished.

The police have been militarized and largely federalized by the Pentagon and the gestapo Homeland Security. The role of the federal government in equipping state and local police with military weapons, including tanks, and training in their use has essentially removed the police from state and local control. No matter how brutal any police officer, it is rare that any suffer more than a few months suspension, usually with full pay, while a report is concocted that clears them of any wrong doing.

In America today, police murder with impunity. All the psychopaths have to say is, “I thought his wallet was a gun,” or “we had to taser the unconscious guy we found lying on the ground, because he wouldn’t obey our commands to get up.”

There are innumerable cases of 240 pound cop psychopaths beating a 115 pound woman black and blue. Or handcuffing and carting off to jail 6 and 7 year old boys for having a dispute on the school playground.

Many Americans take solace in their erroneous belief that this only happens to minorities who they believe deserve it, but psychopaths use their unaccountable power against everyone. The American police are a brutal criminal gang free of civilian control.

Unaccountable power, which the police have, always attracts psychopaths. You are lucky if you only get bullies, but mainly police forces attract people who enjoy hurting people and tyrannizing them. To inflict harm on the public is why psychopaths join police forces.

Calling the police is a risky thing to do. Often it is the person who calls for help or some innocent person who ends up brutalized or murdered by the police. For example, on September 15 CNN reported a case of a young man who wrecked his car and went to a nearby house for help. The woman, made paranoid by the “war on crime,” imagined that she was in danger and called police. When the police arrived, the young man ran up to them, and the police shot him dead. http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/15/justice/north-carolina-police-shooting/

People who say the solution is better police training are unaware of how the police are trained. Police are trained to perceive the public as the enemy and to use maximum force. I have watched local police forces train. Two or three dozen officers will simultaneously empty their high-capacity magazines at the same target, a minimum of 300 bullets fired at one target. The purpose is to completely destroy whatever is on the receiving end of police fire.

US prosecutors seem to be the equal to police in terms of the psychopaths in their ranks. The United States, “the light unto the world,” not only has the highest percentage of its population in prison of every other country in the world, but also has the largest absolute number of people in prison. The US prison population is much larger in absolute numbers that the prison populations of China and India, countries with four times the US population.

Just try to find a prosecutor who gives a hoot about the innocence or guilt of the accused who is in his clutches. All the prosecutor cares about is his conviction rate. The higher his conviction rate, the greater his success even if every person convicted is innocent. The higher his conviction rate, the more likely he can run for public office.

Many prosecutors, such as Rudy Giuliani, target well known people so that they can gain name recognition via the names of their victims.

The American justice (sic) system serves the political ambitions of prosecutors and the murderous lusts of police psychopaths. It serves the profit motives of the privatized prisons who need high occupancy rates for their balance sheets.

But you can bet your life that the American justice (sic) system does not serve justice.

While writing this article, I googled “police brutality,” and google delivered 4,100,000 results. If a person googles “police brutality videos,” he will discover that there are more videos than could be watched in a lifetime. And these are only those acts of police brutality that are witnessed and caught on camera.

It would take thousands of pages just to compile the information available.

The facts seem to support the case that police in the US commit more crimes and acts of violence against the public than do the criminals who do not wear badges. According to the FBI crime Statisticshttp://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/summary in 2010 there were 1,246,248 violent crimes committed by people without police badges. Keep in mind that the definition of violent crime can be an expansive definition. For example, simply to push someone is considered assault. If two people come to blows in an argument, both have committed assault. However, even with this expansive definition of violent crimes, police assaults are both more numerous and more dangerous, as it is usually a half dozen overweight goon thugs beating and tasering one person.

Reports of police brutality are commonplace, but hardly anything is ever done about them. For example, on September 10, AlterNet reported that Houston, Texas, police routinely beat and murder local citizens.http://www.alternet.org/investigations/cops-are-beating-unarmed-suspect-nearly-every-day-houston?akid=10911.81835.yRJa7d&rd=1&src=newsletter894783&t=9&paging=off

The threat posed to the public by police psychopaths is growing rapidly. Last July 19 the Wall Street Journal reported: “Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment–from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers–American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the US scene: the warrior cop–armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.”

The Wall Street Journal, being an establishment newspaper, has to put it as nicely as possible. The bald fact is that today’s cop in body armor with assault weapons, grenades, and tanks is not there to make arrests of suspected criminals. He is there in anticipation of protests to beat down the public for exercising constitutional rights.

To suppress public protests is also the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security Police, a federal para-military police force that is a new development for the United States. No one in their right mind could possibly think that the vast militarized police have been created because of “the terrorist threat.” Terrorists are so rare that the FBI has to round up demented people and talk them into a plot so that the “terrorist threat” can be kept alive in the public’s mind.

The American public is too brainwashed to be able to defend itself. Consider the factthat cops seldom face any consequence when they murder citizens. We never hear cops called “citizen killer.” But if a citizen kills some overbearing cop bully, the media go ballistic: “Cop killer, cop killer.” The screaming doesn’t stop until the cop killer is executed.

As long as a brainwashed public continues to accept that cop lives are more precious than their own, citizens will continue to be brutalized and murdered by police psychopaths.

I can remember when the police were different. If there was a fight, the police broke it up. If it was a case of people coming to blows over a dispute, charges were not filed. If it was a clear case of assault, unless it was brutal or done with use of a weapon, the police usually left it up to the victim to file charges.

When I lived in England, the police walked their beats armed only with their billysticks.

When and why did it all go wrong? Among the collection of probable causes are the growth or urban populations, the onslaught of heavy immigration on formerly stable and predictable neighborhoods, the war on drugs, and management consultants called in to improve efficiency who focused police on quantitative results, such as the number of arrests, and away from such traditional goals as keeping the peace and investigating reported crimes.

Each step of the way accountability was removed in order to more easily apprehend criminals and drug dealers. The “war on terror” was another step, resulting in the militarization of the police.

The replacement of jury trials with plea bargains meant that police investigations ceased to be tested in court or even to support the plea, usually a fictitious crime reached by negotiation in order to obtain a guilty plea. Police learned that all prosecutors needed was a charge and that little depended on police investigations. Police work became sloppy. It was easier simply to pick up a suspect who had a record of having committed a similar crime.

As justice receded as the goal, the quality of people drawn into police work changed. Idealistic people found that their motivations were not compatible with the process, while bullies and psychopaths were attracted by largely unaccountable power.

Much of the blame can be attributed to “law and order” conservatives. Years ago when New York liberals began to observe the growing high-handed behavior of police, they called for civilian police review boards. Conservatives, such as National Review’s William F. Buckley, went berserk, claiming that any oversight over the police would hamstring the police and cause crime to explode.

The conservatives could see no threat in the police, only in an effort to hold police accountable. As far as I can tell, this is still the mindset.

What we observed in the police response to the Boston Marathon bombing suggests that the situation is irretrievable. One of the country’s largest cities and its suburbs–100 square miles–was tightly locked down with no one permitted to leave their homes, while 10,000 heavily armed police, essentially combat soldiers armed with tanks, forced their way into people’s homes, ordering them out at gunpoint. The excuse given for this unprecedented gestapo police action was a search for one wounded 19-year old kid.

That such a completely unnecessary and unconstitutional event could occur in Boston without the responsible officials being removed from office indicates that “the land of the free” no longer exists. The American population of the past, suspicious of government and jealous of its liberty, has been replaced by a brainwashed and fearful people, who are increasingly referred to as “the sheeple.”

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About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts 

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

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Another Great Article From Living Lies, Telling It Like It Is!

  

LAST CHANCE FOR JUSTICE

Posted on August 19, 2013 by Neil Garfield

“We are still in the death grip of the banks as they attempt to portray themselves as the bulwarks of society even as they continue to rob us of homes, lives, jobs and vitally needed capital which is being channeled into natural resources so that when we commence the gargantuan task of repairing our infrastructure we can no longer afford it and must borrow the money from the thieves who created the gaping hole in our economy threatening the soul of our democracy.” Neil Garfield, livinglies.me

We all know that dozens of people rose to power in Europe and Asia in the 1930′s and 1940′s who turned the world on its head and were responsible for the extermination of tens of millions of people. World War II still haunts us as it projected us into an arms race in which we were the first and only country to kill all the people who lived in two cities in Japan. The losses on both sides of the war were horrendous.
Some of us remember the revelations in 1982 that the United States actively recruited unrepentant Nazi officers and scientists for intelligence and technological advantages in the coming showdown with what was known as the Soviet Union. Amongst the things done for the worst war criminals was safe passage (no prosecution for war crimes) and even new identities created by the United States Department of Justice. Policy was created that diverted richly deserved consequences into rich rewards for knowledge. With WWII in the rear view mirror policy-makers decided to look ahead and prepare for new challenges.

Some of us remember the savings and loans scandals where banks nearly destroyed everything in the U.S. marketplace in the 1970′s and 1980′s. Law enforcement went into high gear, investigated, and pieced together the methods and complex transactions meant to hide the guilt of the main perpetrators in and out of government and the business world. More than 800 people went to jail. Of course, none of the banks had achieved the size that now exists in our financial marketplace.

Increasing the mass of individual financial institutions produced a corresponding capacity for destruction that eclipsed anything imagined by anyone outside of Wall Street. The exponentially increasing threat was ignored as the knowledge of Einstein’s famous equation faded into obscurity. The possibilities for mass destruction of our societies was increasing exponentially as the mass of giant financial service companies grew and the accountability dropped off when they were allowed to incorporate and even sell their shares publicly, replacing a system, hundreds of years old in which partners were ultimately liable for losses they created.

The next generation of world dominators would be able to bring the world to its knees without firing a shot or gassing anyone. Institutions grew as malignancies on steroids and created the illusion of contributing half our gross domestic product while real work, real production and real inventions were constrained to function in a marketplace that had been reduced by 1/3 of its capacity — leaving the banks in control of  $7 trillion per year in what was counted as gross domestic product. Our primary output by far was trading paper based upon dubious and fictitious underlying transactions; if those transactions had existed, the share of GDP attributed to financial services would have remained at a constant 16%. Instead it grew to half of GDP.  The “paradox” of financial services becoming increasingly powerful and generating more revenues than any other sector while the rest of the economy was stagnating was noted by many, but nothing was done. The truth of this “paradox” is that it was a lie — a grand illusion created by the greatest salesmen on Wall Street.

So even minimum wage lost 1/3 of its value adjusted for inflation while salaries, profits and bonuses were conferred upon people deemed as financial geniuses as a natural consequence of believing the myths promulgated by Wall Street with its control over all forms of information, including information from the government.

But calling out Wall Street would mean admitting that the United States had made a wrong turn with horrendous results. No longer the supreme leader in education, medical care, crime, safety, happiness and most of all prospects for social and economic mobility, the United States had become supreme only through its military strength and the appearance of strength in the world of high finance, its currency being the world’s reserve despite the reality of the ailing economy and widening inequality of wealth and opportunity — the attributes of a banana republic.

All of us remember the great crash of 2008-2009. It was as close as could be imagined to a world wide nuclear attack, resulting in the apparent collapse of economies, tens of millions of people being reduced to poverty, tossed out of their homes, sleeping in cars, divorces, murder, riots, suicide and the loss of millions of jobs on a rising scale (over 700,000 per month when Obama took office) that did not stop rising until 2010 and which has yet to be corrected to figures that economists say would mean that our economy is functioning at proper levels. Month after month more than 700,000 people lost their jobs instead of a net gain of 300,000 jobs. It was a reversal of 1 million jobs per month that could clean out the country and every myth about us in less than a year.

The cause lay with misbehavior of the banks — again. This time the destruction was so wide and so deep that all conditions necessary for the collapse of our society and our government were present. Policy makers, law enforcement and regulators decided that it was better to maintain the illusion of business as usual in a last ditch effort to maintain the fabric of our society even if it meant that guilty people would go free and even be rewarded. It was a decision that was probably correct at the time given the available information, but it was a policy based upon an inaccurate description of the disaster written and produced by the banks themselves. Once the true information was discovered the government made another wrong turn — staying the course when the threat of collapse was over. In a sense it was worse than giving Nazi war criminals asylum because at the time they were protected by the Department of Justice their crimes were complete and there existed little opportunity for them to repeat those crimes. It could be fairly stated that they posed no existing threat to safety of the country. Not so for the banks.

Now as all the theft, deceit and arrogance are revealed, the original premise of the DOJ in granting the immunity from prosecution was based upon fraudulent information from the very people to whom they were granting safe passage. We have lost 5 million homes in foreclosure from their past crimes, but we remain in the midst of the commission of crimes — another 5 million illegal, wrongful foreclosures is continuing to wind its way through the courts.

Not one person has been prosecuted, not one statement has been made acknowledging the crimes, the continuing deceit in sworn filings with regulators, and the continuing drain on the economy and our ability to finance and capitalize on innovation to replace the lost productivity in real goods and services.

We are still in the death grip of the banks as they attempt to portray themselves as the bulwarks of society even as they continue to rob us of homes, lives, jobs and vitally needed capital which is being channeled into natural resources so that when we commence the gargantuan task of repairing our infrastructure we can no longer afford it and must borrow the money from the thieves who created the gaping hole in our economy threatening the soul of our democracy. If the crimes were in the rear view mirror one could argue that the policy makers could make decisions to protect our future. But the crimes are not just in the rear view mirror. More crimes lie ahead with the theft of an equal number of millions of homes based on false and wrongful foreclosures deriving their legitimacy from an illusion of debt — an illusion so artfully created that most people still believe the debts exist. Without a very sophisticated knowledge of exotic finance it seems inconceivable that a homeowner could receive the benefits of a loan and at the same time or shortly thereafter have the debt extinguished by third parties who were paid richly for doing so.

Job creation would be unleashed if we had the courage to stop the continuing fraud. It is time for the government to step forward and call them out, stop the virtual genocide and let the chips fall where they might when the paper giants collapse. It’s complicated, but that is your job. Few people lack the understanding that the bankers behind this mess belong in jail. This includes regulators, law enforcement and even judges. but the “secret” tacit message is not to mess with the status quo until we are sure it won’t topple our whole society and economy.

The time is now. If we leave the bankers alone they are highly likely to cause another crash in both financial instruments and economically by hoarding natural resources until the prices are intolerably high and we all end up pleading for payment terms on basic raw materials for the rebuilding of infrastructure. If we leave them alone another 20 million people will be displaced as more than 5 million foreclosures get processed in the next 3-4 years. If we leave them alone, we are allowing a clear and present danger to the future of our society and the prospects for safety and world peace. Don’t blame Wall Street — they are just doing what they were sent to do — make money. You don’t hold the soldier responsible for firing a bullet when he was ordered to do so. But you do blame the policy makers that him or her there. And you stop them when the policy is threatening another crash.

Stop them now, jail the ones who can be prosecuted, and take apart the large banks. IMF economists and central bankers around the world are looking on in horror at the new order of things hoping that when the United States has exhausted all other options, they will finally do the right thing. (see Winston Churchill quote to that effect).

But forget not that the ultimate power of government is in the hands of the people at large and that the regulators and law enforcement and judges are working for us, on our nickle. Action like Occupy Wall Street is required and you can see the growing nature of that movement in a sweep that is entirely missed by those who arrogantly pull the levers of power now. OWS despite criticism is proving the point — it isn’t new leaders that will get us out of this — it is the withdrawal of consent of the governed one by one without political affiliation or worshiping sound sound biting, hate mongering politicians.

People have asked me why I have not until now endorsed the OWS movement. The reason was that I wanted to give them time to see if they could actually accomplish the counter-intuitive result of exercising power without direct involvement in a corrupt political process. They have proven the point and they are likely to be a major force undermining the demagogues and greedy bankers and businesses who care more about their bottom line than their society that gives them the opportunity to earn that bottom line.

New Fraud Evidence Shows Trillions Of Dollars In Mortgages Have No Owner
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/08/13/2460891/new-fraud-evidence-shows-trillions-of-dollars-in-mortgages-have-no-owner/

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Great Story Power of the People!

 

Unleash The Massive Power Of The People Against The Forces That Are Ravaging This Country

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Related Topic(s): Congress; Corporatism; Danger; Democracy; Majority; Power; Progressive; Senate; Transformation;

 

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[[ThePowerful]] From http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Occupy_Davis_-_We_Are_the_99%25.png: Occupy Davis - We Are the 99%25
Occupy Davis – We Are the 99%25 by Wikipedia

America , difficult as it may be for some to accept, is a house of cards, i.e., “a weakened structure that is in danger of collapsing or failing if its foundations continue to erode.” This nation of ours remains in deep turmoil as our nation and our democracy are being ravaged by Corporatists and rogue politicians. There is only one way to combat this dangerous coalition and that is by unleashing the massive power of the American people against it.

What brought us to this sorry state and condition? To begin with, America has become a democracy in name only and government of the people, by the people and for the people of America has been cleverly transferred to the masters of Corporatism. Powerful corporations have now assumed control over this nation and rule it with an iron fist. The tentacles of this giant octopus are wrapped around and are suffocating every important institution in this country.

Far too many Americans are seemingly oblivious to the depth of this dilemma and the precarious state of this nation. For those who doubt and minimize these dangers because they have been conditioned to think that this nation is invincible, all they need do is listen to some of the respected economists who warn that our financial sector can, at any time, be devastated by a monumental collapse of mega-trillion dollars of toxic derivatives that could wreck this economy almost overnight. Congressional oversight and regulation has been so weakened over time that it makes such a catastrophe a real possibility. See this article by Richard Clark to receive an alarming, in-depth analysis of this issue.

Now let’s further examine how this government and the Congress have become the antithesis of how a democracy should function. The principles of our democracy indicate that the passage of legislation should be based on majority rule but that’s not how this Congress and, especially the Senate, functions. And it never will until the use of the poisonous filibuster, by which legislation is routinely obstructed, delayed and destroyed, is brought under control. Congress, as is often said, is the place where good ideas go to die. Try as I might I can think of absolutely nothing of real substance that this Congress has done since America entered the 21st Century.

But it’s more than just the deadly filibuster that is making this Congress dysfunctional. Another contentious issue involves how the people of this country are represented in the Senate. The Founding Fathers made a colossal mistake when they created the Senate and mandated that there would be two senators for every state instead of basing the number on states’ individual populations. Time and again the votes of tiny states have proven to more powerful as those of massive states. For example, the eight least populous states in America have a combined population of 5,876,000 and 16 senators while California and New York with a combined population of almost 57 million have a total of only 4 senators. That condition limits and dilutes the overall power of the people.

Combine this political mistake by the Founding Fathers with the use of the filibuster by the Republicans and you know exactly why this Congress remains in gridlock and critical legislation never gets off the ground. This is concrete evidence of exactly why this country is so badly deteriorating. Both of these contributing factors to congressional incompetence could be altered if the power of the people is unleashed to begin the transformation of this government.

Therefore it’s not difficult to conclude that this Congress, as currently constituted, is entirely incapable of effectively governing this nation and society. Then the really big question becomes: what exactly can be done about it? Well, that’s where the massive power of the people of America comes in because this power represents the one and only way that this grave condition can be alleviated. It all comes down to the fact that the people must be energized and motivated to put an end to this political madness.

That massive power of which I speak is the voting power of nearly 210 million eligible voters in this country. Those who sincerely want to address this country’s myriad of problems have to realize that voter turnout must be dramatically increased and that they must organize a massive movement to accomplish just that. They need to undertake this task at a time when the Republican Party is doing everything in its power to reduce the number of voters through all sorts of devious means because they know that their only chance to win elections is by low turnout.

Here is what must happen. The Center for the Study of the American Electorate, put 2012 voter turnout at 57.5% of all eligible voters in America, This study group estimated 126 million people voted in the 2008 election, meaning that 93 million eligible citizens did not cast ballots. How can this democracy function effectively when so many Americans who have been given the opportunity to vote choose not to? That is inexcusable; every American who could actually vote and does not is contributing directly to the gigantic mess this country is in. They are at the very center of this problem that is allowing our system of government to be corrupted by sleazy, greedy politicians. You would think that progressives and independents would recognize the great danger this poses and would be working tirelessly across America to substantially increase voter turnout.

Sure this could be a great thing for America but to many it’s difficult to picture how that process would actually evolve. So, let’s think of it this way; suppose you buy a house that needs a complete rehab. So where do you start? First, you have to address the rotting foundation, the sewage from leaking pipes and, of course, you will need to bring in the exterminators. You start where the worst damage is being done, spend a lot of time, money and effort to make the necessary repairs and then you move up to the higher levels of the house and finish the job.

So, let’s proceed from that analogy back into the real world and see just how such a monumental endeavor could be progressed in order to cleanse and stabilize our currently corrupted political system:

*In the 2014 national elections: the objective must be to do everything possible to soundly defeat every GOP candidate. We need to get rid of every U.S. Representative and senator that has blocked critically needed gun safety controls, those who consistently obstruct job creation, those who support an agenda of perpetual war, and those who are working to restrict the Constitutional rights and freedoms of the people. In doing this certain Senate Democrats, Mark Begich, AK, Mary Landrieu, LA, Mark Pryor, AR, Heidi Heitkamp, ND and any other Democrats who too often vote against the best interests of the people must also be replaced.

The Republicans in Congress have now crossed the line, they have stabbed the people of America in the back time and again and as appropriate payback this party of control freaks must be dismantled. The voting power of the people, a power that, when ignited nothing can withstand, will do just that and turn this ideologically twisted party into a pile of smoldering ashes.

A very broad coalition of rational-thinking Democrats, progressives, independents, Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, and every other minority group in America, together with the majority of Caucasian Americans, must band together to flush these traitors, be they Republicans or rogue Democrats, out of the Congress and send them into political purgatory.

*If the people would send the Republican Party into political oblivion, it would naturally follow that for the first phase of this governmental transformation, the Democrats would take full control of both houses of the Congress. That could be another problem in the making and so it would be crucial to immediately initiate a movement to create and develop a Progressive Party that would, for all practical purposes, take the place of the defunct GOP and challenge the Democrats on all key issues and problems facing this nation. Such a movement could be formed through the collective efforts of progressives, independents, the Green Party and other similar groups.

*With a new style Congress it would pave the way for making campaign finance reform the #1 priority by enacting legislation that absolutely bans corporations and special interest lobbyists from having any contact with any member of this Congress or associated government agencies. This would completely remove Corporate America from any involvement of any kind with the election process.

*Let the Democratic and Progressive Parties compete for the support of the American people. If the Congress undergoes an overhaul, if the filibuster obstruction is stopped, if the Senate is reconstituted with more senators from populous states and no more than one senator for each of the smallest states, then we can, once again, see democracy in action.

*Open the door for honest, ethical, individuals with vision and passion to lead America out of its current deep morass; presidents who will never allow themselves to be controlled by the proliferators of war and the masters of Corporatism as has been the case since we entered the 21st Century; those who, over a period of time, would transform the Supreme Court into a judicial body that rules on the basis of the constitutionality of issues instead of personal beliefs and ideology.

Without question, many out there may well react to this kind of a plan as far-fetched, naïve, and even deluded thinking because they just can’t see how the mass of the people can be awakened from their lethargy and motivated to do something dramatically different. But that’s what’s been the problem; we keep telling ourselves what we can’t or don’t want to do instead of making up our minds that we can and must not allow our country to be further ravaged by those whose only objective is to advance their own interests at the expense of the people.

But even in the face of the expected opposition by those who embrace the status quo and passively accept and condone what is happening around them, this is a plan that, without a doubt, could be successful if the majority of people can be made to fully understand that they have no choice but to get involved; that time is running out and that it is critically important they concentrate on taking positive actions instead of merely criticizing and complaining. They need to wake up to the realization that they must do everything in their power to save their country. All they need do is to stop sitting on the sidelines and get out to vote.

This can happen and, in fact, it better happen or we are going to see this house of cards in which we live come crashing down upon us.

Michael Payne

 

Heard It Through The Grapevine

 I recently learned that in Forsyth County Georgia, an investigation has begun on the crooked foreclosure mill attorneys in Georgia.  YEA!!!

Wow, there has been continual violations of Georgia’s real property laws ever since Foreclosure Hell began, and should it be proven that these attorneys, signing their names as every bank’s employees, which we know they aren’t maybe the tides will be turning!!!

Land Records, Foreclosures, tax evasion

It is no secret that the foreclosure hell sweeping the country has resulted in a nightmare from hell. 

The land records of the past 300 years is in peril, as is your right to know who owns your Note, and who you are obligated to make your payments to.

There is an important Petition to sign to help your county keep the records in order.  It is one of the only safeguards that you, as a borrower have against the banksters.

Click the link, there are 100,000 signatures needed!

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/mandated-national-land-record-audit.html

New rule allowing Ga. homeowners to halt foreclosures | www.wsbtv.com

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/new-rule-allowing-ga-homeowners-halt-foreclosures/nP4wb/

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. —

A metro Atlanta consumer attorney said he has already been able to halt a dozen foreclosures using a new ruling from the Georgia Court of Appeals.

The latest case involves a Forsyth County home and lending giant Wells Fargo.

“Having to move out of the dream home that my son and I built is the worst thing I could think of,” said homeowner David Stripland.

The recession hit his car dealership around the same time the housing crisis, cutting his home’s value more than 60 percent.

“You can’t sell it, you can’t re-fi, you have to get a modification,” said his wife, Paulette.

The Striplands said the process went on for more than a year. They then received a string of foreclosure notices from Wells Fargo.

“Foreclosure. It’s a shame,” said Paulette through a stream of tears.

The foreclosure has now been halted, after a recent ruling by the state appellate court.

Wells Fargo does not hold the note. It only services the loan. The note holder is not clearly stated.

The Striplands paid forensic auditors who found the loan has been divided up into dozens of securities sold to investors.

“Once these notes are chopped up and turned into bonds, securities, whatever; who really owns it?” asked their attorney, Bob Thompson.

But the Georgia Court of Appeals ruling in a case involving a Cobb County family and servicers Provident Funding, LLC, ruled homeowners have “a right to know” to whom they actually owe the money, lest they be “misled or confused.”

“Even a dog in Georgia has the right to know who’s kicking him,” Emory law professor Frank Alexander told Channel 2’s reporting partners at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“These big banks and Wall Street have to follow the law of the land, just like I do,” said Paulette Stripland.

Channel 2’s Jim Strickland learned just before 5 p.m. Thursday, Wells Fargo had halted the foreclosure.

Thompson said most homeowners in peril should take action on their own.

Call and get it stopped and get yourself some time, because with time most people can work things out,” he said.

It is likely Provident will appeal to the state supreme court.