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Archive for July, 2012

Summary Judgment … for a Homeowner

I’m sorry I haven’t posted much in recent days.  You see, I’ve been really busy procuring summary judgments for some of my clients.  No, not summary judgments of foreclosure (against my clients) … summary judgments in my clients’ favor.  Summary judgments as in … case over … case dismissed … you lose, bank – do not pass go, do not foreclose, and do not collect any money.  Obviously this doesn’t work every time, but as the Orders below reflect, it certainly works sometimes.

What are the arguments?  How have I been able to do this?  Well, take a look at the Orders, all of which are also accessible via public records:

Order Granting Summary Judgment

Order Granting Summary Judgment

Order Granting Summary Judgment

Order Granting Summary Judgment

Order Granting Summary Judgment

Order Granting Summary Judgment

Order Granting Summary Judgment

Essentially, there are two arguments … two ways (at least) I believe homeowners can argue they’re entitled to summary judgment and the outright dismissal of a foreclosure case.

The first is predicated on a topic I’ve posted about many times – a plaintiff’s obligation to prove not just its standing to foreclose, but its standing to foreclose as of the time it filed suit.  There are many recent cases which have illustrated this proposition of law, reversing summary judgments of foreclosure entered for the banks when they failed to prove the requisite standing at inception.  My favorite, though, is McLean v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 79 So. 3d 170 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).  The reason I like McLean so much is because that case makes it clear that the remedy when a foreclosure plaintiff cannot prove standing at the inception of its lawsuit is the outright dismissal of the case – without prejudice and without leave to amend.  In other words, it’s not just that a plaintiff can’t win a foreclosure lawsuit without proving standing at inception; where the plaintiff cannot meet this burden, the defendant must prevail.  In the McLean court’s words:

 if the evidence shows that the note was endorsed to Chase after the lawsuit was filed, then Chase had no standing at the time the complaint was filed, in which case the trial court should dismiss the instant lawsuit and Chase must file a new complaint.

Following McLean, the argument for summary judgment is rather simple.  If the Note attached to the Complaint was not endorsed, and there is no assignment of mortgage in the court file, but an original note with an endorsement and/or an assignment of mortgage shows up later, then the homeowner files a motion for summary judgment asserting this chronology.  If the bank goes to the summary judgment hearing without evidence that it had an endorsed note or an assignment of mortgage before suit was filed, then summary judgment for the homeowner is proper.

But wait, one might argue.  Isn’t it the moving party’s burden at summary judgment to conclusively disprove the non-existence of factual disputes, i.e. to conclusively prove the bank lacked standing when it filed suit?  And isn’t that a high burden?  Yes and yes.  However, if a homeowner proves that the note attached to the Complaint lacked an endorsement, and that there was no assignment of mortgage before the suit was filed, then the homeowner has done just that.  The burden would then shift to the foreclosure plaintiff to present some evidence that it had an endorsed note and/or an assignment at the time the lawsuit was filed.  If it cannot, then the homeowner should prevail.

Sound too good to be true?  Read this and this.  So you’re aware when you’re making these arguments, among the local judges who have granted summary judgment in my clients’ favor on this argument:  Honorable Amy Williams (St. Petersburg), Honorable Lynn Tepper (Dade City) and Honorable Robert Foster (Tampa).  Obviously the facts of each case can vary, but it’s worth noting that these good judges were willing to look beyond the fact that a homeowner was alleged to be in default and strove to uphold the law.

 

The second basis for summary judgment is predicated on the bank’s failure to comply with a condition precedent to the filing of the lawsuit.  A condition precedent is just what it sounds like – something a bank must do prior to filing a lawsuit.  You see, many mortgages in the cases with which I deal (and the majority of mortgages in Florida) have a provision in them, typically in paragraph 22 of the mortgage, which requires the lender provide written notice to the homeowner of any alleged default and an opportunity to cure that default prior to filing suit – what I call a “notice and cure letter.”  This paragraph typically spells out certain provisions which must be set forth in the letter, often like such:

22.  Acceleration; Remedies.  Lender shall give notice to Borrower prior to acceleration following Borrower’s breach of any covenant or agreement in this Security Instrument (but not prior to acceleration under Section 18 unless Applicable Law provides otherwise).  The notice shall specify: (a) the default; (b) the action required to cure the default; (c) a date, not less than 30 days from the date the notice is given to Borrower, by which the default must be cured; and (d) that failure to cure the default on or before the date specified in the notice may result in acceleration of the sums secured by this Security Instrument, foreclosure by judicial proceeding and sale of the property.  The notice shall further inform the Borrower of the right to reinstate after acceleration and the right to assert in the foreclosure proceeding the non-existence of a default or any other defense of Borrower to acceleration and foreclosure.

As a nice touch, paragraph 22 of most mortgages is written in bold, creating a good argument that the parties obviously intended for that provision to carry great weight in the scope of the contract.

So how can a homeowner use this to obtain summary judgment?  Read paragraph 22 closely; there are a variety of ways.  The simplest is when the homeowner shows the “notice and cure” letter required by paragraph 22 was not sent, and the bank can’t prove otherwise.  When that happens, then summary judgment is proper.  Also, if the letter was sent, but it did not say what paragraph 22 required it to say, then summary judgment would also be proper.

To illustrate, take a look at this Order Granting Summary Judgment, where the Court explained that the “notice and cure” letter did not specify what was necessary to cure the default (as the letter indicated that additional monies in unspecified amounts were owed above and beyond that set forth in the letter, leaving the homeowners guessing as to the amounts necessary to cure the default) and the letter did not indicate that failure to cure the default would result in a “foreclosure by judicial proceeding.”  Mind you, those are just a few of the ways a letter could be deficient.  Just off the top of my head, here are a few things I look for when I’m evaluating if a letter complies with paragraph 22:

– Was the letter sent to the homeowner’s correct address?

– Was at least 30 days’ notice provided (bearing in mind that if the notice is sent by mail, the homeowner obviously didn’t receive the letter on the day it was dated, though that may not matter depending on how “notice” is defined in the mortgage)?

– Is there some admissible evidence from the Plaintiff that the letter was actually sent (as opposed to merely being filed in the court file by plaintiff’s counsel)?

– Does the letter specify the amount necessary to cure the default, or does it make reference to additional, unspecified charges as to the amounts owed, leaving the homeowner in the dark as to the total amount he must pay to cure the default?

– Does the letter apprise the homeowner that a “foreclosure by judicial proceeding” may result if the default is not cured, or does it tell the homeowner that it may initiate a legal action?  Many of the letters I’ve seen do the latter, and not the former, and several judges in Florida have found the letter deficient on this basis.  In fact, Judge Amy Williams granted a summary judgment in one of my cases based on this distinction earlier today.

– Does the letter inform the homeowner of the right to reinstate after acceleration?

– Does the letter inform the homeowner of the right to assert in the foreclosure proceeding the non-existence of a default or any other defense to acceleration and foreclosure?

In my view, even if the bank satisfied some or most of these obligations, a homeowner should still prevail in a foreclosure lawsuit if the bank didn’t comply with all of them.  Yes, all of them.

But that’s crazy, you say.  The homeowner is in default, so the bank should win.  This paragraph 22 stuff is so technical – would a judge really care about this?  Fortunately, yes.  This argument may be technical, especially if a letter was sent but it did not contain all of the requisite language.  However, this is what the homeowner and the bank negotiated in their contract when the mortgage was entered.  The fact that the banks drafted these mortgages, and paragraph 22 is usually bolded, make it all the more appropriate to hold the banks to the terms of their own contracts.

Though homeowners need not prove prejudice to prevail on this issue, there was/is a good reason for judges to enforce the terms of paragraph 22.  Quite simply, under the terms of these mortgages, every homeowner is entitled to an opportunity to cure any default before facing foreclosure on his/her home.  That’s the point of the letter, and the point of paragraph 22 – to ensure the homeowner knows about the alleged default and can fix it before facing foreclosure.  Where the letter didn’t comply, the homeowner is deprived of that chance, and that’s simply not fair.

If you feel bad about making this argument, don’t.  Frankly, one of the reasons I love making this argument is because insurance companies have been using it to screw honest homeowners for many years.  You see, when homeowners make a claim for money under an insurance policy, insurance companies often deny coverage – not because there’s no coverage, but because that’s what they do to make money – deny coverage and force the homeowners to go to court.  Then, once facing a lawsuit, insurance companies love to defend that suit by complaining that the homeowner failed to comply with the conditions precedent set forth in the policy, namely submitting to a proof of loss or an EUO (examination under oath).  There are many cases where courts have ruled against homeowners, and in favor of insurance companies, not because insurance company was correct in denying coverage, but because the homeowners didn’t do what they were supposed to do before filing suit.  See Goldman v. State Farm Fire Gen. Ins. Co., 660 So. 2d 300 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995); Edwards v. State Farm Fla. Ins. Co., 64 So. 3d 730 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).  While I hate how insurance companies have been able to do this, I love being able to use this case law in support of my arguments in foreclosure cases.  After all, Florida courts have been requiring parties to comply with conditions precedent in a contract for many years, and have consistently granted summary judgments where they failed to do so.  Though some might argue otherwise, there is no reason to treat foreclosure cases any differently.  Hence, where a bank didn’t comply with the terms of paragraph 22, the court should dismiss the lawsuit for failure to comply with conditions precedent.

Sound too good to be true?  Read this, this, this, this, this, and this.  Among the judges who have granted summary judgment, and/or dismissed a foreclosure lawsuit based on this argument, are Honorable Lynn Tepper (Dade City), Honorable Amy Williams (St. Petersburg), Honorable Robert Foster (Tampa), Honorable James Barton (Tampa), Honorable Donald Evans (Tampa), Honorable John Schaefer (Clearwater), Honorable Walter Schafer (New Port Richey), and Honorable J. Rodgers Padgett (Tampa).  Again, the facts of each case may vary, but you should rest assured that there are good judges in Florida willing to follow the law even if some would argue that dismissing a foreclosure lawsuit where the homeowner hasn’t paid his mortgage is inequitable.

Mark Stopa

www.stayinmyhome.com

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Funny? Or Infuriating?

I find it really funny at first, … then, upon deeper thought, really infuriating.

Mark Stopa

www.stayinmyhome.com

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The Abandonment of Florida

Florida is being abandoned, and I don’t just mean by various “leaders” and persons in positions of power who have failed to take appropriate action to remedy bank fraud and an awful economy.  In fact, this time, I’m not speaking figuratively.  Quite literally, Florida is being abandoned … by its own residents.

I don’t work for the census bureau, and I haven’t had any data to support this, but I’ve felt this phenomenon transpiring for quite some time now.  In recent years, many Florida homeowners have lost their jobs and, in the face of foreclosure and unable to find employment in Florida, chose to pick up with their families and move to some other state.  I don’t begrudge anyone for this – they’re doing what they need to for their families.  However, the volume of people leaving Florida, combined with banks systematically refusing to take title to properties that have been abandoned, has resulted in an incredible amount of vacant homes in our great state.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s proof.

As the article illustrates, Tampa and Orlando are both in the top 10 emptiest cities in the entire United States, with Orlando checking in as the emptiest city in the country.

So what, exactly, does this mean?  In my view, it means that every single Floridian needs to stop and re-think the approach to the foreclosure crisis.  All those people who say “foreclose faster, get the homes on the market” … your approach doesn’t work.  Foreclosing means Florida homeowners vacate our great state, leaving vacant homes in their wake.

With this many vacant homes, it will take Florida years to recover.  Years.  So instead of foreclosing on more people, and making the problem worse, let’s concentrate on keeping all remaining Floridians here, where they belong.

Mark Stopa

www.stayinmyhome.com

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The “Holder” of a Note

The term “holder,” and the phrase “holder of a Note,” has been used many thousands of times in foreclosure lawsuits throughout Florida.  Banks routinely argue they’re the “holder,” so they have the right to foreclose.  But what does it mean to be a “holder”?

Florida Statute 671.201(21) sets forth the definition.  Essentially, there are two requirements to be a holder: (1) the foreclosure plaintiff have possession of the original Note; and (2) the Note contain an endorsement, either in blank or in the name of that plaintiff.

I think the statute is quite clear, and I’ve cited it on countless occasions, yet there are precious few Florida cases which explain what it means to be a “holder.”  That’s why I was pleased to see this decision from Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, which reversed a final judgment of foreclosure because:

Whether the [bank] is entitled to enforce the promissory note remains a disputed issue of material fact.  In Harvey v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., 69 So. 3d 300, 303 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011), we explained that the person entitled to enforce a negotiable instrument such as a note is the “holder of the instrument.”  (quoting 673.3011, Fla. Stat.)  A “holder” is the person in possession of the instrument that is payable to bearer or to an identified person in possession.  671.201(21)(a), Fla. Stat.  “Bearer” means “a person in possession of a negotiable instrument … that is payable to bearer or indorsed in blank.”  671.201(5), Fla. Stat.  The note presented in these proceedings does not appear to have an endorsement in blank.  Instead, the endorsement is to a specific entity, Wells Fargo, which is not the plaintiff in this case.

This is a huge, huge issue in foreclosure defense.  If the Plaintiff does not have possession of the original Note, with an endorsement (either in blank or to it), then Plaintiff is not the holder as a matter of law.  Plaintiff may have some other basis in which to bring a foreclosure, see Fla. Stat. 673.3011, but the traditional and most common allegation is that it is the “holder” of the Note and Mortgage.

If you’re defending a foreclosure, don’t take plaintiff’s word for it that it’s the holder.  Make sure they produce the original Note and that the Note has an endorsement payable to it or in blank.  If not, then the plaintiff will have to establish some other basis for a foreclosure (typically with an assignment of mortgage).

Mark Stopa

www.stayinmyhome.com

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Debt Forgiveness Prompts Economic Recovery … No, Not in America

On August 3, 2010, I argued, here, that we should reduce the principal on every mortgage in America such that no owner-occupied homeowners were underwater.  I believed – and still believe – that forgiving debt for every-day Americans would help America’s economy far more than bailing out the banks.  Unfortunately, my theory has never been put to the test, as virtually every country in the world has followed America’s approach of bailing out the banking industry and refusing to write down principal balances on underwater mortgages.   Virtually every country, that is, but Iceland.

So let’s get this straight … the American government has steadfastly refused to engage in any widespread effort to write down principal on mortgages, instead choosing to help the banks … and our economy remains in the toilet.  How do you think Iceland’s economy is doing, having decided to help homeowners and let the banks fail?

Perhaps not surprisingly, according to this recent article in the New York Times, Iceland is doing just great.  Why, exactly, is that?  Well, I don’t pretend to be an expert on Iceland’s economy, but to quote the article:

During the crisis, Iceland did many things differently from its European counterparts. It let its three largest banks fail, instead of bailing them out. It ensured that domestic depositors got their money back and gave debt relief to struggling homeowners and to businesses facing bankruptcy.

You mean Iceland is doing better when it didn’t bail out the banks and gave debt relief to struggling homeowners?  Really?  You don’t say?  I find this just absolutely impossible to believe.  Do you really mean to say that when a country doesn’t spend billions upon billions bailing out the banks, and instead gives relief to struggling homeowners, that said country’s economy turns around faster?  I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.  Or not.

By the way, how pathetic is it that our country is still suffering through an awful recession, and this is an election year, yet we hear absolutely nothing about even the possibility that any candidate would consider pushing a platform with principal reductions?

Mark Stopa

www.stayinmyhome.com

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I’m Getting Rich, Banker-Style!!!

I figured out how I’m going to get rich, and I’m so confident it’s going to work that I’m posting it on this blog.  Here’s my strategy…

I’m going to go to Office Depot and have them print me a stamp that says:

Pay to the Order of:   Stopa Law Firm

___________________________

Without Recourse, Mark Stopa, Asst. V.P. of Foreclosure Documentation

I’ll stamp this on every “original” promissory note I can find, sign my name on the line, and file foreclosure lawsuits on all of these properties, naming Stopa Law Firm as the Plaintiff.  If anyone tries to question the legitimacy or authenticity of the endorsement, I’ll simply say “judge, the note is self-authenticating, and I’ve filed the original.”  I’ll then shovel in my ill-gotten gains by the millions as hard-working, Florida homeowners get foreclosed, hundreds at a time.  By the time anyone questions my nefarious acts, I’ll have sailed off into the sunset, counting my tens of millions, ala David Stern.

OK, back to reality … Does this even begin to sound reasonable to you?  Do you think I’d seriously entertain this, even for a moment?  Of course not.  It’s not only immoral, it’s illegal … and I’d obviously never do it.  So why am I talking about it?

Well, this is what banks are doing on a regular basis in foreclosure cases throughout Florida.  Instead of procuring the “wet-ink” signatures of agents from the banks that supposedly transferred the notes/mortgages to them, banks are stamping endorsements onto notes, often without the knowledge/consent of the person whose signature the endorsement is supposed to represent.

For example, suppose U.S. Bank transfers a Note/Mortgage to Bank of America.  Typically, the way it’s done (or supposed to be done, at least) is a President, Vice President, or other, high-ranking officer of U.S. Bank signs an endorsement on the original Note and transfers possession of the Note to Bank of America.  Bank of America then goes to court with the original Note, with an endorsement, and sues for foreclosure.

That’s how it’s supposed to work … only that’s not reality.

In the real world, banks like Bank of America don’t have wet-ink signatures on their endorsements.  Instead, they rely on “endorsements” which aren’t signed at all, but are stamped – literally a stamp of someone’s signature … like a stamp you’d buy at Office Depot.

I suppose, in theory, that stamping a signature instead of actually signing the endorsement on a Note could be okay … IF the person whose signature appears is actually the one doing the stamping.  For example, if Michelle Sjolander doesn’t sign a Note herself but stamps her own signature, I suppose that’s okay.  But do you think it actually works that way?  Hell no.

Don’t believe me?  Read this deposition of Michelle Sjolander.  She  acknowledges that she has never actually signed an endorsement and that she doesn’t even know how many stamps with her “signature” exist:

And do you know how many stamps were issued with
11 your name on them?
12 A Not the exact number. But many.
13 Q Could you estimate? Is it more than 10? More than
14 100?
15 A More than — more than 10.
16 Q Less than 50?
17 A I don’t — through the whole years, I can’t even
18 give that answer.
19 Q Okay. And what happens to the stamps? What happens
20 to the old stamps when you execute new stamps?
21 A I collect them and burn them.

Are any endorsements ever what you called wet ink
3 signature where someone actually signs the endorsement?
4 A It is — it is not — not — none of mine have been.
5 Q Okay. How about anyone else’s? Do you have any
6 knowledge if anyone else’s signatures are –
7 MR. TRINZ: Objection.
8 Q BY MS. LUNDERGAN: — physically placed on versus
9 stamping?
10 MR. TRINZ:
Objection. Outside of her knowledge.
11 THE WITNESS: Outside the scope of my business.
12 Q BY MS. LUNDERGAN: Okay. Do you have any knowledge
13 then of that?
14 A No.
15 Q Okay. How long has — you are no longer executing
16 endorsements, but when did you begin executing endorsements or
17 when did they begin using a stamped signature to execute your
18 endorsement?
19 A 2005.
20 Q And how did that arise? Was it something that they
21 asked you to do or was it something that became part of your
22 job position?
23 A Yes. My previous boss had left the company and my
24 stamp was replaced with his.

Nonetheless, the name Michelle Sjolander appears on hundreds, probably thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of endorsements on “original” promissory notes in foreclosure cases.  She hasn’t signed her name, and she didn’t stamp it – but her “signature” is regularly seen on original notes.  Any foreclosure attorney, such as myself, has undoubtedly seen her name dozens of times.

It’s bad enough that she’s not signing or stamping her own name.  But that’s not the worst of it.  Instead, let me ask you this …

Once you realize that Michelle Sjolander isn’t stamping her own name, and that dozens of stamps with her signature exist, what do you think the chances are that someone from the company for whom she works/worked stamped her signature on the original Notes, as opposed to someone from the company prosecuting the foreclosure case?

Personally, I’m convinced that banks often fail to obtain an endorsement from the bank that “transferred” the “original” Note to them, and merely stamp the Note so it looks like they got an endorsement.  Using my example, above, instead of Bank of America getting someone from U.S. Bank to endorse the Note, Bank of America merely stamps an endorsement on the Note itself.

This may well be the next big wave of foreclosure defense.  The argument?

“Yes, judge, I see the note is endorsed in blank.  But the endorsement is not self-authenticating when we have reason to believe it was not signed by the purported endorser, but that the alleged endorsement was stamped by the plaintiff itself.”

It’s really no different than if I started stamping “Pay to the Order of Stopa Law Firm” on a bunch of Notes, signed them, and foreclosed.  Nobody would think that is okay, so why is it overlooked if it’s done by banks?

Mark Stopa

www.stayinmyhome.com

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Success Begins with Showing Up

Woody Allen once said “80 percent of success is just showing up.”  He obviously wasn’t talking about foreclosure lawsuits, but he might as well have been.

Yesterday I attended a mass-motion calendar in Tampa.  As I watched the judge adjudicate one summary judgment motion after another, a clear pattern emerged.

If nobody showed up for the homeowner, a summary judgment was entered and a sale date was set 30 days after.  You don’t show up, you lose.  Case closed.

If a homeowner showed up without an attorney and asserted no defenses, a summary judgment was still entered, but the judge set the sale 120 days out.  In these cases, the homeowners gave the judge no legal reason to deny foreclosure, and had nothing to say as to the merits of the case, but the homeowner’s mere act of showing up caused the judge to feel some compassion.  Typically, the judge encouraged these homeowners to try to take advantage of the time before the sale to work something out with the bank, and while you and I both know that’s very unlikely, hey – when that homeowner presented no defenses at all, getting 3 extra months for doing nothing but showing up is better than nothing.

Finally, if a homeowner showed up through an attorney, the summary judgment was either denied or the hearing was rescheduled for another day.  Of all the cases I observed, not one summary judgment was granted when a lawyer for the defendant appeared in opposition to the motion.

Look … I’ve talked a lot on this blog about legal defenses to foreclosure.  I’ve discussed case law, assessed strategies for defending foreclosure, and tried to articulate the best way to defend cases.  Like Woody Allen said, though, success in foreclosure-world starts with showing up.

Mark Stopa

www.stayinmyhome.com

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Reflections on Independence Day

July 4th is a great day.  For most Americans, it’s a day off from work and a chance to spend time with family, enjoy a barbecue, and watch fireworks.  I wonder, though, how many Americans will know what we’re really celebrating today … and, if we really think about it, whether we should be celebrating at all.

Every year at this time, as I reflect upon the meaning of Independence Day, I find myself drawn to the Language of the Declaration of Independence, especially this portion:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

In the words of our founders, this is what justified the creation of a new government … “a long train of abuses and usurpations…”  These words were written, of course, largely because the King of Britain was passing laws with which we as Americans did not agree, forcing us to pay taxes without our consent, including taxes to fund Britain’s military conquests in other parts of the world.

I love America, and I can’t stress that enough.  However, I can’t help but feel, in many ways, like we’re back where we were in 1776.  For instance …

Why does “our” government encourage banks to foreclose on Americans instead of modifying mortgages (by insuring/guaranteeing payment of mortgages in full, to include default interest at 18% and any bogus fees and costs a bank can include in a foreclosure), then sell those foreclosed homes in bulk and in secret to uber-wealthy, third-party investors?  Does everyone not see how this is a widespread, system that has been designed to help big banks and the .001% to the detriment of everyday Americans?  And why does the media not discuss this story?  “Our” government has created a perverse system where untold number of Americans are being foreclosed, and while it’s the banks doing the foreclosing, it’s often “our” government that foots the bill, takes title to the property, and sells the property to those with an eight-figure net worth.  I can’t be the only one who thinks that’s the sort of stuff that prompted the drafting of the Declaration of Independence in the first place.

This is hardly just an issue of foreclosure …

Why does “our” government think it’s okay that we’re nearly $16 trillion dollars in debt?  That’s nearly $50,000 per person.  Per person!  Apparently, that’s American politics in 2012 – “spend now so as to get elected now, without regard for who foots the bill later, after I’m out of office.”

Why does “our” government think it’s okay to endlessly print money via the Federal Reserve System?  Every time more money is printed, we all become poorer.  If you don’t understand why that’s so, read this.

Why does “our” government keep spending trillions on wars?  What is this accomplishing?  And how can anyone justify it given the state of affairs in America over the past several years?  The iinterplay between wars and the Fed is appalling – we keep printing money to fund wars we don’t need … yet nobody seems to care.

Why has “our” government created a system where bank profits are privatized but losses are socialized?  This chart lends some insight …

Why does “our” government force us to pay for healthcare we might not want?  Look … obviously I’d like for everyone to have health care.  But I don’t view this as a political issue; I see it as an economic one.  “Our” government created Social Security and Medicare, and those programs are essentially bankrupt.  America is trillions in debt and “our” government has no idea how it’s going to fund the Social Security and Medicare programs we already have in place.  Is now really the time to have more spending?

I hate to sound like a downer on a national holiday.  Don’t misunderstand – I’m still going to celebrate today.  After all, it’s Independence Day, and we’re certainly doing better than many other countries in the world.

However, I can’t help but doubt how “independent” … how “free” … we truly are.  And I can’t help but read the words of our forefathers and wonder if the day is coming where we have to declare our independence from “our” government, a government that, in my view, has run completely amuck and is totally divorced from the beliefs and desires of everyday Americans.

Mark Stopa

www.stayinmyhome.com

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