RISMEDIA, March 30, 2010—I finally broke down and got my first smart phone with a touch screen, the Blackberry Storm 2. Wow, from the original Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone to this.
If I understand this correctly, I believe that with this device I can now script, shoot, edit and distribute a full length feature movie without ever leaving the patio of the Yellow Deli.
Which hadn’t ever occurred to me as something I might want to do, but then I didn’t know that you could. As a matter of fact, I went into this kicking and screaming. Once I adapt to a new cell phone, I don’t want to switch and have to relearn how to make a call. But, what the heck, the thing is free.
Now those of you who have already worn out a couple of sets of thumbs are surely going to ask, “Where has he been?” But, this is truly amazing, and the carrier gave it to me.
It’s got GPS so I can call in an airstrike on my exact coordinates. Which begs the question, does someone want to know where I am? And, could they know from this device what I’m saying, emailing, watching and listening to? You have to admit that it does have a sort of Orwellian aspect to it.
A video camera? My first video camera weighed ten pounds. But, before I digress too far, I didn’t set out to write about the features of smart phones, as much as the possibilities to use these tools to put our country back on the right track. We now have the ability to shine heat and light on some dark places. But, how will we use this remarkable ability?
Is it power to the people or a pacifier? Hey, it works for the kids; just plop them in front of a screen and it doesn’t even have to be entertaining.
Is this a tool of change or another time-burning distraction?
I bring this up because I am suddenly aware of the gap between what we could be doing with what we have available to us and what we actually do, which is not much.
Little by little, the “time-saving convenience” has whittled away our prosperity until these stark truths are impossible to ignore:
–We cannot feed our children, “Almost one in four children in our country lives on the brink of hunger,” said David Beckmann, the President of Bread of the World.
–We cannot protect our children from predators because our governments have been forced to slash budgets.
–We are laying off teachers assuring that the next generation will not receive the quality of education they will need to compete in the emerging economy.
–We are saddling several future generations with a huge debt that will limit their options even further. The young men and women of our military are coming home to a 21% unemployment rate for returning service people.
–Everyday, more and more homeowners are being illegally evicted from their homes without right or even cause. And, they don’t even know what happened to them. What ever your passion or talent, it has a place in the American Foreclosure Resistance Movement. This is affecting children, women, the elderly, minorities, pets and all of the services that our community relies on to be a safe and livable community.
–Slow emergency response times are becoming common place. Pot holes the sizes of Hippopotami are left to widen and deepen. Parks are closing.
We can do better than this. The American Foreclosure Resistance Movement (AFRM) is a step beyond tea and coffee parties to a more focused effort to return the wealth and power to the middle class. We cannot wait to change politicians; we need to act now.
The objectives are two fold: to assist those resisting foreclosure, and to organize a movement to demand that Congress act to stop all foreclosures until the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission finishes its work and issues its report.
Even people who, a year ago, were rabid about dead-beat borrowers are beginning to see that this is way bigger than that. That this will touch them on many levels and that this is the only real solution. Just stop the foreclosures until we sort out a few things.
I believe what we are going to find is that the financial intermediaries have attained all of their wealth through a massive fraud upon everyone. Your loan obligation was satisfied long ago and you don’t owe that money to anyone. It starts with sophisticated predatory lending, phony ratings, and illegal foreclosures, and ends with massive income tax fraud.
And, as long as foreclosures continue, there can be no meaningful recovery on the jobs front.
The law is on our side, but it isn’t being fairly administered. The role of the AFRM is to become a clearing house for information that will prevent illegal foreclosures and provide those already illegally foreclosed with support they need to obtain significant damages.
People from all over the country send me their scenarios, and last week I came across the most egregious example yet of banksters stealing homes. It proves that in a non-judicial foreclosure state such as California, anyone can manufacture documentation and steal someone’s home without them ever missing a payment.
The homeowner documented everything in a 14-page chronology, and contacted every government agency in her 28 month battle to overcome a totally false assertion that she had not paid her property taxes. She paid them and has the receipt. The servicer never provided any evidence that they paid anything. But, that gave them the excuse, without the homeowner’s approval, to establish an impound account to collect additional monthly funds ostensibly to pay property taxes.
Attempts to resolve the matter were continually frustrated by conflicting instructions, lost paper work, missing employees, and mysterious disconnections after critical questions.
Wouldn’t you just know it, even after there was never enough money in the impound account so the homeowner was defaulted and eventually the servicer seized the home.
Along the way, they hired loan modification experts and lawyers who simply didn’t know what to do.
Mortgage servicing fraud is so easy in California because California is a non-judicial state. This foreclosure went right on even though the servicer said it was still attempting to resolve the discrepancy. They received no notice of the sale. This is a crime, and it’s going on in every state. I believe judges look the other way and rubber stamp obviously phony documents.
That is why we need the AFRM.
Our leaders’ answers are to look the other way and respond by giving pretender lenders a ton of money. The numbers boggle the mind, but it really doesn’t matter; it’s the general idea that seems to lack any common sense. But, what have they really done to keep people in their homes? Nothing!
But, I don’t really blame them; we knew who they were when we voted for them. We let them divide us into to camps with bogus ideology while they do nothing but line their pockets and enrich their friends. Don’t get me wrong, there are three people who give me some hope, but they are mostly branded kooks.
Alan Grayson, Marcie Kaptur and Ron Paul, among others want to audit the Fed, and we should support that transparency and let all of congress know that we want that bill to pass.
But, that isn’t going to help the 13 million people who will lose their homes because not enough of us are standing up for each other. Government is organized and deceitful; we are disorganized, apathetic and “disinformed.”
However, we’ve got social networks, the Internet, and access to heaps of information. I think we take this web of connectivity and really do something with it. I know that no one cares about my cat video, but spreading the truth about what really was done to the economy and how we can turn this around is interesting.
Because the law is on our side, we can win. But, we have to fight back. First, in the courts to stop foreclosures until all predatory lending claims can be heard.
If you have a problem or you want to help out, you are welcome. It’s all about spreading the word. If you can help out with a website, we now have a domain name, but we need to get it unparked. Right now it is showing a lot of services that I haven’t evaluated or recommended.
Send information. If someone in your community has something to share, let’s get it out there.
Finally, I want to point out that those who are foreclosed on receive a 1098 that, in other years, would have been taxable as income to the borrower. It reflects the so-called loss that the banks are claiming on the loan. Now, considering that the financial intermediary didn’t loan any money, set the sale price at auction, received TARP funds, and cashed in credit default swaps, isn’t there a strong likelihood of income tax fraud on top of everything else.
If anybody over at the IRS is reading this, I have a question. When a pretender lender issues a 1098 for a loss on a residential mortgage that they do not and have never owned, and they received credit default swaps and tarp funds covering or exceeding that amount, why isn’t that income tax fraud? If I buy a credit default swap saying I won’t hear a peep back from the IRS for at least two weeks, are my winnings taxable?
George W. Mantor is known as “The Real Estate Professor” for his consumer education efforts including a long-running radio program, monthly workshop series, public appearances, and frequent articles.
During a career dating back to 1978, he has amassed experience in new home and resale residential real estate, resort marketing and commercial and investment property.
Prior to starting his own real estate and mortgage brokerage in 1992, he had been Director of Training and Customer Service for Great Western Real Estate. In addition, he has served on virtually every real estate committee, including a term as a Director of the California Association of REALTORS.
George is a nationally respected authority on all areas of real estate and is frequently quoted in a wide range of publications. He is an oft invited guest of Fox Business Network and for many years, he was the host of “Keepin’ It Real…Real talk about the real thing, real estate” on KCEO radio.
The Real Estate Professional includes him in “a directory of the Nation’s outstanding authors, columnists, and speakers. His articles have also recently appeared in Real Estate Finance, The Real Estate Professional, National Real Estate Investor, Broker Agent News, and Realty Times. His blog is http://www.realtown.com/gwmantor/blog.