Mass Social Repudiation of Foreclosures
This blog previously published an article about private citizens and foreclosure defense attorneys who have taken on the role of a modern day Pecora Commission. Citizens across the nation find themselves compelled to fill the law enforcement vacuum left by the lack of investigations, indictments, and convictions for bank-officer-perpetrated real estate fraud, securitization fail, investment fraud, foreclosure fraud, not to mention pervasive financial industry violations of the integrity of the judiciary and citizens’ constitutional property rights.
There is a rapidly growing number of citizens who are educated about the root causes of the man-made financial crisis which led to the current foreclosure and retirement fund/investment crisis. More and more families are defending their homes against fraudulent, or at least, improper foreclosures. More American and international retirement savers are suing banks for massive fraud leading to billions in retirement fund losses. More judges, especially on the federal level, are willing to hear fraud claims against the bailed-out banks.
We have seen weak and useless government policies, like the failed HAMP program. We have seen the foreclosure fraud evaluation process thoroughly corrupted while flowing additional millions to conflicted bank industry consultants. We’ve seen settlements so weak and laughable that, instead of acting as deterrents, they actually incentivize more fraud and abuse. We’ve seen state lawmakers divert millions in settlement funds meant to pay restitution to families harmed by foreclosure fraud. We’ve seen hard working government oversight staff produce reports exposing ongoing foreclosure fraud against millions of American citizens, only to be ignored. We’ve seen dedicated public servants ostracized or fired from their jobs when they blow the whistle on securities fraud, bank modification fraud, and foreclosure fraud, like Neil Barofsky former inspector general of TARP fraud, Lam Pham, fired economist at the Congressional Budget Office, John Kelleher who “resigned” from the Nevada AG’s foreclosure fraud task force, and the two ousted assistant attorneys general in Florida, June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards.
Citizens are taking up the cause; forming working groups, protesting unlawful foreclosures, holding conference calls, forming grassroots coalitions, educating and pressuring politicians and law enforcers, building foreclosure court watches, defending against evictions and disrupting foreclosure auctions. The cause needs more and more citizens to vocalize their opposition to the foreclosure crisis and the resulting damage to families, communities, and property values. Also, more help is needed to continue to expose the resulting depletion of our retirement investment accounts and local tax base from the ongoing fraud and corruption that now seemingly symbolizes Wall Street.
Mass social repudiation to address a persistent injustice can work. Women suffragettes fought for over fifty years, but it worked to give American women the right to vote. In the mid-1900s, it worked to desegregate our public institutions. Just this week, it worked in Spain, when tens of thousands of citizens protested against foreclosures and foreclosure-related suicides. Spain is now hammering out details of a foreclosure moratorium in response to the citizens’ outrage. Will this happen in America? That remains to be seen. Where is the American citizen outrage to our own increasing number of tragic foreclosure-related suicides (see here, here and here)? The Center for Disease Control even published a presentation titled Foreclosures and Economic Related Suicides: Current Analysis.
Grassroots community based groups like the local offshoots of Occupy Our Homes recently launched an ad campaign on national TV to encourage families to shed the shame and stigma that has been tied to those affected by foreclosures. The group plans for their second national day of action on December 6, 2012. The South Floridian Occupy Our Homes group plans to hold two events this year; a foreclosure court watch in the morning and an evening candlelight vigil outside a home in foreclosure. (2011 candlelight vigil slideshow here). You can learn more at OccupyOurHomes.org.
After the bank bail out in 2008, no sustainable, viable solutions have been offered to the victims of the man-made financial crisis. It is no secret that the foreclosure crisis is the expected result of the investment fraud that caused the financial crisis. The financial institutions were bailed out with no protections extended to the American people. Banks continue to receive more and more at the expense of the average person. The Bush White House, followed by the Obama White House both, at best, were operating on the hope that the American people might, possibly, get some trickle down effect from the bail out largess. At worst, they knew they were only “foaming the runway” for the failing banks using the rest of us as the foam. There still is no trickle down and the suffering caused by the crisis and reaction to enable further corruption and harm remains immense. The people are still all too softly voicing their opposition. It remains to be seen how this will turn out.
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