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Excerpt: "Foreclosure lawyers told me one other thing about the rocket docket. The hearings, they said, aren't exactly public. 'The judges might give you a hard time about watching,' one lawyer warned. 'They're not exactly anxious for people to know about this stuff.' Inwardly, I laughed at this - it sounded like typical activist paranoia. The notion that a judge would try to prevent any citizen, much less a member of the media, from watching an open civil hearing sounded ridiculous."

April Charney, a lawyer at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in Jacksonville, Florida, says the foreclosure courts do not give borrowers a serious hearing. 'You get a five-minute hearing. It's a factory.' 09/04/10. (photo: Kelly Jordan/NYT)
April Charney, a lawyer at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in Jacksonville, Florida, says the foreclosure courts do not give borrowers a serious hearing. 'You get a five-minute hearing. It's a factory.' 09/04/10. (photo: Kelly Jordan/NYT)

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-9 # Joe M 2010-11-11 02:11
The entire process you outlined is, as you suggest, is disgusting. However, you do have to separate those buyers that are victims, and those that were also enablers - THAT would be the objective may to discuss this situastion.

Further, if you accept the premise that this process is horrifying, then you have to draw the same conclusion as to the way the US Congress passess legislation. "Hurry up and pass the bill so we can have time to read it". SHOCKING RIGHT?

Further, there is no mention of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government run institutions, remember) that are at the heart of this meltdown also. It is imperative to tell the WHOLE story, otherwise you do a dis-service to finding the remedy and solution!
 
 
+13 # steven m 2010-11-11 02:42
There is not 1 banking regulator, or attorney general or politician who should be allowed to keep their job if they have not taken action with regard to this fraud. Unfortunately, I have lost faith in our political system and it's protection of the individual's rights. (equal protection, right to fair trial). Once again, Matt Rabbi has written a powerful article on injustice. (perhaps another Bill Maher appearance should be made to discuss this issue. There needs to be some way to get national attention of the general populous!
 
 
+8 # hussein 2010-11-11 03:13
This is the evil of capitalism, they had people believe in if you work hard crap, many American are to Naive to really get a grip on fact , bottom line there is Zero morality and ethics in capitalism, it is dog eat dog and people are led to the slaughter willingly or unknowingly.
 
 
+9 # warren leming 2010-11-11 04:34
good on ya matt, you seem one of the few journalists in the u.s. ready to look at the horrors wrought by the banks and the greed system and tell the truth... id like to see your words engraved on the walls at the federal reserve.... a system backed by landfill.. you bet... cheers, warren leming
 
 
-15 # Really? 2010-11-11 07:15
First, the disclaimer: I know it's hideous and cruel. I don't like it. There, I've said it. Now segue back to the "mountains of toxic debt underwritten by the U.S. government and the equally toxic derision levied by them crackas over at the Rep Party. Now, how do we gather all this together in an article about the foreclosure mess? We don't, unless you're a muck-racking lefty like Mr Taibbi. The truth is too uncomfortable for people to embrace: The fat cats of the banking/mortgag e industry are sitting on that mountain of toxic debt and could actually cease being fat cats in a nanosecond. Should THAT happen, we immediately go to 25% unemployment. Those of you out there who are deep thinkers can easily make the connection. To say that the situation is ugly is a vast understatement but if we are to have reportage on it, reporters had better stop the inciting to riot routine, get down to brass tacks and do some leg work on behalf of a terrified and confused public.
 
 
+5 # Kathy Soroka 2010-11-11 07:53
thank you.
there are no other words. he's cut through it.
Brilliant expose.
 
 
-18 # lee nason 2010-11-11 09:14
If ANY of the homeowners had been paying their mortgages (or even had tried to pay their mortgages), this sort of kangaroo court would not exist. The alternative is to reward delinquents who are violating their contractual agreements and that is unacceptable to most Americans. Particularly since those who are not paying their mortgages also tend to fail to maintain their properties (not mow the lawn or clean up the weeds and yard trash) which damages the property values for the whole neighborhood.

Obama seems to understand the basic mechanism here while Taibbi, normally a good reporter and always an accurate reporter, seems to be ignoring the other side of this story.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+8 # Dave Zimny 2010-11-11 14:18
Quoting lee nason:
If ANY of the homeowners had been paying their mortgages (or even had tried to pay their mortgages), this sort of kangaroo court would not exist.


Lee: Did you actually read Taibbi's article? His point was precisely that many of these homeowners HAD worked out an arrangement with their mortgage holders, only to have this information lost in a computerized quagmire. Others could have worked out a payment plan, but major banks have strong incentives to foreclose even when a negotiated plan is possible. It's generally a good policy to read the arguments before you comment on them!
 
 
-6 # Really? 2010-11-11 09:28
Well good, everybody's happy now. You all have the miscreants where you want them, in an angry broadside. That'll show them b*****ds. They count on this, you know; people swatting at mosquitos while the real bloodsuckers go to work unhindered.

This must be why you are all the "little people" as Leona H once said.
 
 
+4 # Bob W 2010-11-11 10:04
You know, I can't figure this out. For years people went for those crack-pot mortgage deals: endlessly increasing home values, low interest rate, minimal incomes, no assets, 125% over list loans, no appraisals and now that the chickens have come home to roost, AS WE ALL KNEW THEY WOULD, the renting of clothing and the tearing of hair begins. Then, the same Americans vote more idiots (of all flavors BTW) into office and fail to get tough in any way other than banging the tin cup on the cell bars and they still wonder why mortgage default mills, which are purely end-stage disaster consequences, could POSSIBLY happen. And we are surrounded by profiteering scoundrels. GIGO.
 
 
+7 # George Frankle 2010-11-11 10:22
Taibbi writes good criticism, and colorfully at that. But does anyone remember the quiz show, years ago, called "Truth and Consequences"? What confuses readers is confusing the individual, horrific story of default with the larger issue of national politics. We cannot afford to get bogged down in the symptoms of the disease while ignoring it's roots. Vote for 1 public funding of all elections 2 a flat tax, 3 strict financial regulation and reform, 4 mandatory civics instruction up to the 12th grade.
 
 
-5 # Sammy 2010-11-11 10:52
Nothing's going to change. The mortgage mess is like post hurricane Haiti crawling with newspeople, pundits and glitterati. The only difference is this story has a longer shelf-life because of the nature of the disaster. We'll go on our way just as dumb as we are now only a little closer to the edge of the cliff. At least it's giving people like Taibbi something to do.
 
 
0 # Roy 2010-11-11 14:54
We need CNN or another news channel to pick this up and broadcast it to America. Many people today read very little and television coverage is needed to keep this country informed. Amazon.com removed a pedophile's hand book guide for sale shortly after CNN exposed the book's contents.
 
 
+2 # Activista 2010-11-11 23:00
Housing price went up 300% 2005 - 2007. Banks profits went up 300% 2005 - 2007.
Banks speculated/made loans available to "small people" - selling them 3 x overpriced goods. Then the bubble bursted. There was insurance for banks AIG (US seized control of AIG in an $85 billion) - there was no insurance for the buyer - they must pay mortgage on 300% inflated value + plus all the fines for late fees.
One does not have to have law degree to sense that the banks and their lawyers are FRAUD. These banksters should be in jail - not a mansions.
 
 
0 # soularddave 2010-11-12 02:22
Loan modifications should be the mandated order of the day. However, certain profits, even for doing nothing, trump everything.

All of America loses until this happens.
 
 
+1 # tomo 2010-11-12 21:55
As President-Elect , Obama could have denounced any bank-bailout that didn't include mandatory renegotiation of foreclosures. He didn't want to do this because his sponsors, the banks, didn't want him to. Now Obama has a second chance: he can put the whole force of the Department of Justice behind the investigation of these fraudulent fore-closures. Don't hold your breath, though; he is probably just as obedient to his sponsors now as he was then.
 
 
0 # Sarajane Siegfriedt 2010-11-15 23:48
Anecdotally, 95% of the Countrywide mortgages were fraudulent in their certifications and documents. People were steered and overcharged. Bonds backed by subprime mortgages were based on fraudulent securities representations and warranties. When all 50 Attorneys General initiate a fraud investigation, the presumption of innocence should be on the borrower.

These loans, having been created on a production line, having been securitized on a MERS production line, should be considered one-by-one on their individual situations when it comes to foreclosure court. Each situation is different and the paperwork must be examined.
 
 
0 # Sarajane Siegfriedt 2010-11-15 23:49
So far, the big banks have given up nothing. Their books are inflated. Bank of America is a shell. Investors, as well as borrowers, are uncertain. Remedies? Reverse the Financial Accounting Standards Board rule that allowed banks to postpone recognizing loss of value on their books ("mark to market") until foreclosure. This will motivate loan modifications. Require all interest rates reduced to current rates, making many more loans affordable without refinancing. Require banks to rent to former owners for five years at current market rents, as was done for farmers during the Depression, to alleviate homelessness.
 

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