Archive for settlement

What I will not write about today

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frustrated24

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

 bush embassies dead smaller

There is no there there. This is nothing but a partisan politics, embarrassing conspiracy theories, and a witch hunt. Now stop wasting our time.

Need a palate cleanser? Me too! Majority In Virginia Supports Stricter Gun Laws. So there.

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk wine classy

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BP still hasn't paid billions of dollars in fines, other payments to Gulf Coast, environmental groups

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suck it bp

If you have an ounce of logic in you, then you know that the longer we wait to repair what BP destroyed, the more difficult it will be to fix their mess. BP accepted criminal liability in the 2010 gulf oil disaster and was supposed to pay a $4-billion fine.

And tests confirmed, and Hurricane Isaac exposed, that globs of oil found on Louisiana beaches after Hurricane Isaac came from the 2010 BP spill. The area is still suffering the consequences of BP's negligence and they should be falling all over themselves to rectify that.

BP has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and environmental crimes, because:

BP we care

USA Today:

Saturday marks the third anniversary of the spill in 2010, but only a small fraction of the billions in fines and other money owed by BP has trickled in for use on restoration projects, environmental groups say.

Local, state and environmental groups are banking on money from several sources

However, BP is proud to use their money to pay people to go on the Tee Vee Machine and say reassuring things like this:

bp adbp ad smaller

And they lavish us with ads like this repeatedly force ads like this down our throats:

Here's what's really going on:

Gulf Coast groups say the region is still struggling.

Environmental groups say an unusually high number of sick dolphins are washing up on shore. They're also finding tar balls on beaches, particularly after big storms.

USA Today has all the gory details.

If you really want to get your blood boiling, read this via the Government Accountability Project:

On April 19, 2013, GAP released Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf: Are Public Health and Environmental Tragedies the New Norm for Oil Spill Cleanups? The report details the devastating long-term effects on human health and the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem stemming from BP and the federal government's widespread use of the dispersant Corexit, in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. [...]

Conclusions from the report strongly suggest that the dispersant Corexit was widely applied in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion because it caused the false impression that the oil disappeared. In reality, the oil/Corexit mixture became less visible, yet much more toxic than the oil alone. Nonetheless, indications are that both BP and the government were pleased with what Corexit accomplished. The report is available here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three

"We will clean this up. We will make this right."

We won't hold our breath.

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BREAKING: BP accepts criminal liability in gulf oil spill, will pay $4-billion fine

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UPDATE:

Via an L.A. Times email alert, this isn't enough to compensate for the loss of human life, sea life, and environmental damage:

Energy giant BP has accepted criminal liability and will pay at least $4 billion in connection with the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the nation's worst environmental disasters.

In an announcement today from its London headquarters, BP confirmed an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve all federal criminal charges and all claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission against the company stemming from the events that began with the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

As part of the agreement, BP said it has agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect in connection with the 11 deaths caused by the rig's explosion. It also agreed to plead guilty to other charges, including one felony count of obstruction of Congress. The agreement is subject to U.S. federal court approval.

For the latest information go to www.latimes.com.

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"Mortgage settlement is great — for politicians and banks"

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Michael Hiltzik has a column in today's L.A. Times about the Big Bank Deal, and he is none too pleased. He breaks it down for us in detail, explaining who the winners are and who the losers are.

For example, he mentions that President Obama and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris were claiming victory.

And then he gets to his (legitimate) concerns:

Then there are the banks. ... If you don't listen too closely, it sounds as if they're putting up the $25 billion. Not so. The only cold cash the banks are paying is a combined $5 billion, including $1.5 billion to compensate borrowers whose homes were foreclosed on from 2008 through the end of last year, with the rest going to the federal and state governments to pay for regulatory programs. [...]

How much of this will translate into an outlay of cash by the five banks? Not much, if any. [...]

What about homeowners? They don't get much, especially in relation to the scale of the housing crisis. ... By the way, loans owned by the government-sponsored firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren't eligible for this relief. Since they own or control the majority of all outstanding mortgages, that's a rather large black hole. [...]

Banks will have to give borrowers complete and accurate information about their loans, suspend foreclosure proceedings once they start working on a loan modification, apply mortgage payments promptly, keep accurate loan records and communicate effectively with borrowers.

I believe the technical term for all this is "big whoop." The provisions mostly require mortgage lenders and servicers to comply with what I would have thought was already the law, which prohibits, you know, criminal fraud. [...]

Most troubling, compliance with the settlement terms will be overseen by an independent monitor who must rely on the banks' own figures.

This is an effective and informative post, so I suggest you give it a read.

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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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Why I love my state: California calls $25-billion mortgage settlement "inadequate"

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I am so grateful to live in a state that isn't completely bonkers. Emphasis on completely. Los Angeles excluded (Yes, I'm from L.A.).

Remind me to send Kamala Harris a thank you card.

Via the L.A. Times:

Calif. Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris' office has called a proposed $25-billion settlement with the nation’s mortgage industry “inadequate.”

"We've reviewed the details of the latest settlement proposal from the banks, and we believe it is inadequate for California,” Shum Preston, a spokesman for Harris, said in a statement. “Our state has been clear about what any multistate settlement must contain: transparency, relief going to the most distressed homeowners and meaningful enforcement that ensures accountability.  At this point, this deal does not suffice for California." [...]

Schneiderman was appointed Tuesday by President Obama as co-chairman of a new investigative effort that will try to coordinate existing federal and state probes into mortgage practices before the financial crisis. Schneiderman promised Wednesday to move aggressively.

A spokesman for Schneiderman said in a statement that the New York attorney general would not sign onto a foreclosure settlement that would limit his ability to carry out investigations of the mortgage crisis.

A thorough investigation is a must, and even $25 billion is, indeed, inadequate.

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Federal Judge Blocks Citigroup's Mortgage Settlement With S.E.C.

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Via an email alert:

A federal judge in New York on Monday threw out a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup over a 2007 mortgage derivatives deal, saying that the S.E.C.’s policy of settling cases by allowing a company to neither admit nor deny the agency’s allegations did not satisfy the law.

The judge, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Federal District Court in Manhattan, ruled that the S.E.C.’s $285 million settlement, announced last month, is “neither fair, nor adequate, nor in the public interest” because it does not provide the court with evidence on which to judge the settlement.

The ruling could throw the S.E.C.’s enforcement efforts into chaos, because a majority of the fraud and other cases that the agency brings against Wall Street firms are settled out of court, most often with a condition that the defendant does not admit that it violated the law while also promising not to deny it.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/business/judge-rejects-sec-accord-with-citi.html?emc=na

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