Settlement News: Huh?
Voice of America reported that a settlement had been reached, but someone must have forgotten to tell the rest of the media because news accounts disputing the account continued:
Posted Monday, January 23rd, 2012 at 4:05 pm
“Five major U.S. banks and legal officials from all 50 states have reached a tentative $25 billion settlement in a case alleging that mortgage lenders engaged in deceptive practices when they took control of houses because homeowners could no longer afford to make loan payments.”
An hour later, Wall Street Journal was reporting that not only had a settlement not been reached, but that it wasn't likely to happen this week:
“State and federal officials are 'discussing the details of the progress we have made so far in settlement negotiations, including the terms we must still resolve,' Mr. Miller said in a statement. 'We have not yet reached an agreement with the nation’s five largest servicers, and we won’t reach a settlement any time this week.'”
There may be a very good reason why talks on a settlement have stalled. Since this story was originally reported here on January 7, 2012 http://occupylosangeles.org/?q=node/3735 those we refer to as mainstream media have actually started paying some attention. The article below describes how the scrutiny of this deal has forced those involved to take a closer look at the business model that has been described here so often; the symbiotic relationship between the banks and their alleged regulators that routinely allow criminal activity by financial services CEO's to go unpunished.
Instead, a relatively small fine absolves the guilty parties, tantamount to a commission being paid to government regulators like HUD, SEC and Treasury depending on the transgression. Not only does this not provide a deterrent, one could argue that it creates an incentive because financial services wizards pay the fine with other people's money anyway, then go back to business as usual.
Perhaps the Occupation Movement can claim another small victory, bringing attention to this travesty that has systematically forced millions into poverty:
"'In a world of Occupy Wall Street, activists across this country are going to be looking at this deal very closely,' said Bob Borosage, co-director of Campaign for America's Future. He said there should be no 'sweetheart deal' with major banks and said a $25 billion agreement would be just a slap on the wrist.'"
Indeed, this settlement will be subject to a lot of scrutiny that has never occurred in the past, thanks mostly to the negligence of the mainstream media to make the story prominent.
“No deal has been officially reached among the states, federal agencies and the nation's five largest mortgage servicers. Individual states must decide whether they will join a settlement or pursue independent lawsuits and investigations.”
“State Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris walked away from talks with the banks last year, saying not enough was being offered by the financial institutions for California homeowners.”
The pressure to take a closer look at the agreement came from some occupy-types that descended on a meeting between top law enforcement officials and supported with press releases from unidentified organizations that have seen this as an opportunity to make this settlement stand out in the news:
“Those complaints surfaced again Monday as U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, top Justice Department official Tom Perrelli and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller gathered in Chicago to brief Democratic state attorneys general on the outlines of the agreement and to shore up support. Protesters showed up. Impassioned news releases filled reporters’ inboxes. A conference call with lawmakers and activists was held, urging more investigation and a bigger settlement.”
So the time has come once again to ask for activism in the form of voicing your opinion; a simple task that costs little but may be worth much more in the long run. Here are the contacts you'll need to do it:
And of course you can also contact your local news outlets with your comments on the settlement and what you expect from your representatives. And as long as your at it, their (lack of) coverage.
Watch out for splatter from Republican pissing contest:
“Romney also demanded Gingrich return roughly $1.6 million earned from a contract with Freddie Mac and ridiculed Gingrich's insistence that the work amounted to little more than "strategic" advice, as opposed to lobbying.”
Yeah, OK Mitt. We'll hold our breath that the Newtster will give back his hard-earned lobbying fees derived from one of the blackest holes in the mortgage-securities meltdown, Freddie Mac. And after that, we'll see if any of the CEO's of the major banks give back their eight-figure bonuses. Stand by tweeters. This could be big.
This just in:
Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- “Newt Gingrich’s consulting firm yesterday released a copy of its 2006 contract with Freddie Mac, which covers just one year of his multiple years of service and documents only $300,000 of the $1.6 million he received from the mortgage company.”
From Joe Klein
“I saw this on the evening news and couldn’t quite believe it. At a Santorum town meeting today a woman claims the President is an 'avowed Muslim' and therefore ineligible to be President. Santorum doesn’t correct it. He says that he wants to get rid of Obama, too. Totally disgusting….But also, the woman: where does she get information? What vile, pitiful bigots are out there, voting in these primaries.”
Romney's 'big mess'
“There may be many reasons Romney had troubles in South Carolina — more than 70 percent of primary voters on Saturday wanted someone else — but the fact that he lost so resoundingly to a man with a political and personal journey as turbulent as Newt Gingrich’s suggests a possibility more far-reaching than last weekend’s surprise.”
Banks cannibalizing their own: Layoffs hit Wall Street
“It's hard to tell if the Occupy Wall Street protests had much impact on banks, but banks are doing some de-Occupying within their own ranks.”
Bank of America plans to continue cutting jobs after reporting in its year-end earnings statement that employment fell by 5,874 in the fourth quarter and 3,836 over the year in 2011.
Citizen journalist charged: CIA operatives take note
“The case is unusual because it is an effort by the Obama administration to prosecute a former government official suspected of leaking sensitive information to the news media. Such cases are rare.
“It also stands in contrast to the Justice Department's decision not to seek criminal charges against intelligence officials who violated a court order and destroyed recordings of the harsh interrogation of high value terror suspects.”
Armageddon watch: Sun reacts to proposed settlement agreement
“The radiation storm is the first act of an event that will crescendo Tuesday, when the brunt of the outburst – called a coronal-mass ejection – arrives at Earth . . . The outburst, which occurred at 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Sunday, marks the second major solar eruption in three days.”