Can’t the banks call off the dogs, if you do the right thing?
Can’t the banks call off the dogs, if you do the right thing?
In testimony before a House Financial Services subcommittee, Phyllis Caldwell, chief of Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office, said her department has pursued “non-monetary remedies” but has not actually imposed any fines on banks for not complying with the administration’s flagship $50 billion foreclosure prevention program.
I have a video explaining how the HAMP program works for consumers. You will see that it is brutal. The main reason it is brutal is the banks do not have to negotiate in good faith. They can simply decide not to agree. The treasury led by our indomitable Phillis Caldwell (twenty years in the banking industry) hasn’t even set up guidelines for the banks to pay back the money they took from the government. So, if the bank voluntarily offered to give the money back, they wouldn’t know how to do it. By the way, it’s almost two years and they still haven’t got the rules in place. Nevertheless, I think their priorities are right where they want them, Consumers second (dead last) and banks first.
Still, Treasury has not yet punished these banks in any significant way. “To date we have not gone back to take back incentives that have already been paid, but we have pursued many of the non-monetary remedies, including further actions and evaluations, and re-evaluations,” Caldwell told Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of the subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, after Waters repeatedly asked her if she had “levied any penalties or sanctions.”
Even in the midst of a growing controversy over allegedly fraudulent foreclosure paperwork, Treasury has not imposed any penalties on banks.
The difference between how the banks are regulated under HAMP as opposed to how the homeowner is regulated is staggering. The HAMP program simply has no rules for recovering federal money paid to banks who refuse to cooperate. On the other hand, the banks can mercilessly stack fees on the homeowner and foreclose on his home after the trial period. Essentially a bank makes money both by getting federal funds from the program and then forcing the homeowner into foreclosure.
What if you could walk through that airport body scanner, pause for the camera, and know that your naked image would never be pored over by human eyes? If it was software, not TSA screeners, who searched you and other passengers for possible explosives?
That’s the vision of Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole. At a Senate hearing yesterday, Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson conjured this future and suggested to Pisole, “It looks like technology can be a solution to the privacy issue.” Pistole responded, “I think so, I’m very hopeful in that regard.”
The lead two paragraphs from an Atlantic Monthly story written by Alexis Madrigal. Mr. Madrigal them goes on to explain why this is probably never going to happen.
While vendors like L-3 and Rapiscan are actively trying to come up with a magic technological solution for the TSA, independent experts on body scanning technology and automated threat detection aren’t nearly as optimistic as the TSA head. Setting aside the question of how much real safety would be afforded by body scanners that use algorithms to detect artfully hidden explosives under someone’s clothes (I’ll leave it to our big guns to debate that point), there are fundamental problems that may make it very difficult to deploy them.
This is an excellent description of how the technology used in scanning works. I heartily recommend it.
There is no magic bullet.
Currently our actions are terrorist driven. Have one terrorist hide an explosive near his genitals and suddenly millions of Americans are having the genitals groped by the unfriendly hand of the government.
Tell me, what are we going to do if a terrorist hides the explosive more internally? Do you really want to meet your friendly TSA employee while he’s putting on the rubber gloves?
Let’s stop the nonsense now.
The federal government has opened criminal investigations into approximately 50 executives and directors of U.S. banks that have collapsed during the financial crisis.
Deputy Inspector General Fred Gibson said Wednesday the inspector general’s office at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has been probing the role of the executives in bank failures around the country.
The criminal investigations are separate from civil lawsuits approved by the FDIC’s board against some 80 bank executives, employees and directors. The FDIC is seeking to recoup about $2 billion in bank losses that the regulator says were the result of negligence or misconduct by executives or directors.
The FDIC has shut down or seized 311 banks since January 2008 at a cost of around $77 billion. The criminal probes were reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.
2008!! What was the hurry? They waited two full years and suddenly woke up morning and thought, “Hey, these banks collapsed. I wonder if something could be wrong?”
Whenever a bank collapses, some alarm bells should go off.
Let me give them some advice, when 100 banks fail, criminality is likely. No, that number is not 311, it’s 100. If you wait until the number is 311, you might appear to be foolish or unwilling to prosecute bank fraud.
A Florida woman claims a debt collector went far beyond the usual phone calls in an attempt to recoup $362 for an unpaid car loan by sending her messages on Facebook — and by telling family on the social networking site to have her call the agency.
Melanie Beacham, who is suing the debt collection agency Mark One LLC in a Florida court, said she never expected to hear from a collection agency on Facebook, which she used to talk to loved ones and post the occasional photo or funny status update.
“I was shocked when I found out these collectors used Facebook to contact my family because they knew exactly where I was,” Beacham, 34, told The Associated Press in an e-mail on Thursday. “I’m angry they caused me so much embarrassment with my family.”
When will it stop? It probably will not. Now, that they have established that they can humiliate people, they’ve struck gold.
The federal government is the only power who can defend us from this kind of abuse. Without 50 state authority, any legislation at the state level is hit or miss.
But the federal government is a protector of large companies in almost all cases. It is little inclined to act in the public’s behalf and barely representative of the people.
You can see from the current controversy over airport scanners how little concerned they get over a public problem. An industry problem causes them to jump to attention and perform. A financial industry problem has them barking like a trained seal.
Where do we go for help?
In a climate of Internet campaigns to shun airport pat-downs and veteran pilots suing over their treatment by government screeners, some airports are considering another way to show dissatisfaction: Ditching TSA agents altogether.
Federal law allows airports to opt for screeners from the private sector instead. The push is being led by a powerful Florida congressman who’s a longtime critic of the Transportation Security Administration and counts among his campaign contributors some of the companies who might take the TSA’s place.
Furor over airline passenger checks has grown as more airports have installed scanners that produce digital images of the body’s contours, and the anger intensified when TSA added a more intrusive style of pat-down recently for those who opt out of the full-body scans. Some travelers are using the Internet to organize protests aimed at the busy travel days next week surrounding Thanksgiving.
Let’s stop routine doses of radiation.
Let’s stop the pointless groping of our genitals.
Let’s stop the pretensions of serving the public while instead encouraging a climate of fear to induce compliance.
The TSA is there to serve the public not to hold us in contempt, not to treat us like hardened criminals in a maximum security prison. (The only thing they are missing is body cavity searches.)
They have never caught a terrorist. Never.