Archive for home foreclosures

The success of the #Occupy movement: "Invisible suffering was made visible" #OWS

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ows 99 percent

Rebecca Solnit wrote an inspiring op-ed in today's L.A. Times, one I've been waiting for someone to write. If you need a morale boost, please read it in full. Solnit is an author who spent time at Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Oakland and Occupy Wall Street in 2011. A longer version of the op-ed can be found at tomdispatch.com.

In her piece, she traces movements, activist groups, a unique person here and there, and identifies their transformative moments. She identifies milestones and special people who have made a meaningful difference and changed the world because they galvanized others with their mission.

Real change may at first be incremental, halting, and sometimes frustratingly imperceptible to those who aren't really paying attention, but eventually, it takes hold in ways unimagined.

In other words, the efforts can result in achievements that have lasting impact. And that impact can be on the whole wide world, a country, a legislative body, or on the very participants of a movement. And then those participants pay it forward.

[T]he moment that counts is the one where civil society is its own rule, improvising the terms of an ideal society for a day, a month, a season [...]

Almost as soon as Occupy Wall Street appeared in the fall of 2011, the national conversation changed and the brutality and obscenity of Wall Street were suddenly being openly discussed. The suffering of ordinary people crushed by the burden of medical, housing or college debt came out of the shadows.

California passed a homeowner's bill of rights to curtail the viciousness of the banks, and in late 2012, Strike Debt emerged as an Occupy offshoot to address indebtedness in creative and subversive ways. Student debt suddenly became (and remains) a topic of national discussion, and proposals for student loan reform began to gain traction.

Invisible suffering was made visible. And, though Occupy was never primarily about electoral politics, it was nonetheless a significant part of the conversation that got Elizabeth Warren elected senator and prompted a few other politicians to do good things in the cesspit of the capital.

Change often happens when the brutality of the status quo is made visible and therefore intolerable. [...]

Occupy Wall Street allowed those silenced by shame, invisibility or lack of interest from the media to speak up. ... [T]he media and politicians had to change their language to adjust to a series of previously ignored realities.

Part of what gave Occupy its particular beauty was the way the movement defined "we" as the 99%. That phrase (along with that contagious meme "the 1%") entered our language, offering a far more inclusive way of imagining the world.

Occupy is still working behind the scenes. I know this because I communicate regularly with those who are deeply involved, and I see reports of their impressive accomplishments. The tents are now gone, the drums stopped beating... but Occupy's heart didn't.

patience

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Occupy's "public illumination of what was and is wrong in America changed the political dialogue in this country."

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Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Occupy's ironic legacy: limits on protests," Dec. 6

Your dismissive article on the Occupy movement was mean-spirited and wrong.

Occupy's very visible, if inchoate, public illumination of what was and is wrong in America changed the political dialogue in this country. It received media attention, it raised consciousness, and it showed that organizing could make a difference (take a look at labor's recent victory at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles). It also left a legacy of very worthwhile programs, most notably Occupy's Rolling Jubilee program, which asks people to give small donations to a fund so other people can get out of debt and save their homes from foreclosure.

Rolling Jubilee is a beautiful thing. It may be that the first phase of Occupy's mission is over, but in communities all across America, not only does it do good work but its spirit lives.

Allen Levy

Orange

***

It has never been easy to find a balance between cities' responsibilities to protect residents from public disturbance and to respect free speech. However, new rules such as raising fees for permits to hold protests and higher fines for violations are extreme.

Silencing dissent narrows the perspectives on social issues by limiting what less-powerful groups can bring to the negotiating table in their fight for equality and justice.

Berta Graciano-Buchman

Beverly Hills

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VIDEO- President Obama: "We have reached a landmark settlement with the nation's largest banks."

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 Here's the headline:

(Reuters) - The biggest U.S. banks will provide about $25 billion in relief to distressed homeowners, as state and federal officials hold lenders responsible for taking illegal shortcuts during foreclosures and for other deceptive practices.

Here's some perspective via David Dayen's post that is filled with information:

I’ve done the math on this before, and you’re talking about $20,000 (when homes are on average underwater $50,000) for 1 million borrowers (when there are 11 million underwater). If Donovan is correct about 2:1 maybe you’re at $30,000-$40,000. And the banks have three years.

There will be plenty more to say about this once we get all of the facts of the claim. In addition, this will have to go before a federal judge to sign off on the settlement. And we won’t know for many years whether this promise on loan modifications, unlike all the others, will take. But it’s going forward. And now the only hope for accountability and justice for the crimes of the financial crisis lie in some scattered lawsuits grandfathered in and Schneiderman’s RMBS working group. One thing is clear – the banks relieved themselves of a significant portion of liability at a price they believe they can easily handle.

This is so not my area of expertise, but while there are some positives, I'm feeling queasy.

Thom Hartmann just now on his radio show, slightly paraphrased: "They know that without this deal, the banks could drop a billion dollars into the election and wipe out the Democrats."

Thank you, Citizens United.

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VIDEO: Majority of Americans Want Government to Act on Home Foreclosures

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But... but... government is bad!

Via.

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Video- Gingrich Blasts Romney For Profiting Off Of Florida Foreclosures

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Mmmmm, cat fight good. Via.

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VIDEO: Movers, deputies refuse to evict 103-year-old woman

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What next? Sigh. Via WSBTV.com:

ATLANTA, Ga. — A 103-year-old woman and her 83-year-old daughter were just moments from being evicted from their home Tuesday, when sheriff's deputies and the moving company hired by the bank decided not to go through with the action.

H/t: @Watergatesummer, @TUSK81

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Top House Democrat wants hearing on "secret" bank loans from Federal Reserve

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A Bloomberg report  said that said the Fed secretly loaned more than $7 trillion to the  Big Banks at below-market rates, and that the banks "reaped an estimated $13 billion of income"... during a financial crisis... while many Americans who were underwater got nada, zilch, nothing.

And people are still wondering what the Occupy Wall Street movement is about.

The Hill:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (Md.) sent a letter on Monday to panel Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) requesting the committee look into how banks "benefitted from trillions of dollars in previously undisclosed government loans provided at below-market rates."

Many Americans are struggling to understand why banks deserve such preferential treatment while millions of homeowners are being denied assistance and are at increasing risk of foreclosure,” Cummings said. [...]

Information about the loans was withheld from Congress as lawmakers debated and passed the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Cummings said. Banks also failed to disclose the information to their shareholders.

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