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L.O.V.E. for Barry’s Mortgage Settlement

February 11, 2012

The above is a work by Italian sculptor Maurizio Cattelan which was installed for several days in front of the Milanese stock exchange back in 2010. It is entitled L.O.V.E. This guy was way ahead of the curve figuring out how to Occupy a public square with panache.

This week the Obama administration announced its highly touted mortgage settlement with the largest banks in the nation who had committed fraud on an unprecedented scale. As with most highly touted announcements by the Status Quobama camp, this one sounds good if you only listen to administration talking points but in essence it is another whitewash which will allow the banksters to continue to pillage the public in perpetuity. Many dissenters to the deal this week have pointed to the following post from Yves Smith documenting why this is a raw deal for the public and another boon for the banks – The Top Twelve Reasons Why You Should Hate the Mortgage Settlement.

Now much like the highly touted Dodd-Frank legislation which has amounted to jack shit, the exact details of this one have not been finalized (or even released from what I can tell) and the final product may well turn out even worse than it initially appears once the banks get done pushing their agendas. There are several reasons why this is a horrendous deal and I suggest reading all twelve, but the crux of it is this –

That $26 billion is actually $5 billion of bank money and the rest is your money. The mortgage principal writedowns are guaranteed to come almost entirely from securitized loans, which means from investors, which in turn means taxpayers via Fannie and Freddie, pension funds, insurers, and 401 (k)s. Refis of performing loans also reduce income to those very same investors.

That’s right, the banks will be given credit for writing down loans that they don’t own any longer so it’s really no skin off their backs whatsoever. And the banks already have more than sufficient funds in reserve to pay the $5 billion or so that will come out of their own pockets because they have been borrowing from the Fed at nearly 0% interest and then turning around and lending that same money back to the US government in exchange for Treasury bonds which pay a higher interest rate. And guess who pays the interest on those Treasury bonds? Again, that would be you, the taxpayer.

Now normally before a first mortgage is written down at all, and second mortgages will be wiped out first. But that won’t necessarily be the case here. Why, you ask? Because the banks do own those second mortgages in the form of home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and they would like to be paid in full for those, thank you very much.

More from Smith via Democracy Now! –

Now Barry did announce the creation of a investigative task force (which is largely staffed by bank-friendly insiders) during the recent SOTU address, but really what good is an investigation when a settlement largely letting the banks off the hook has already been reached?

It certainly appears that the fix is in and I would like to take this opportunity to extend my L.O.V.E. as far as possible to the feckless equivocating rat bastards who put this “settlement” together.

Thanks for nothing.

43 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    February 11, 2012 11:46 am

    And if this backdoor bailout isn’t enough to keep the bankers in yachts, there’s always more quantitative easing –

  2. cometman permalink*
    February 11, 2012 12:04 pm

    Update on the local Occupiers –

    The group lost their court battle with the city but I am pretty pleased with the way things turned out.

    The court ruled that the protesters were not simply loitering but were there on free speech grounds for political protest but that public safety ordinances outweighed this and the court ordered them to be evicted. I did get an email from the lawyer involved with the case and evidently the court did say that if the group changed their tactics (ie with an nighttime vigil in the park) and the city still tried to deny their right to be there, the court would revisit their complaint on purely free speech grounds.

    They were initially ordered to leave by this past Monday and many of the structures were removed by protesters Monday morning. One man torched a flag in protest, saying the country isn’t what it used to be and I have to say I agree with both his message and his actions. Not surprisingly, this garnered quite a bit of local press this week.

    The city was very cooperative and not too heavy handed and since several of those in the camp had nowhere else to go, those last few were granted an extension until Friday to vacate. All the shelters in town are filled to capacity so the Occupiers worked with the city to find housing for the homeless protesters.

    So now the encampment is gone but I think the city habdled it very well, especially since I know that several people on the city council were very sympathetic to the overall Occupy movement.

    The Occupiers themselves don’t seem too upset and have largely moved on anyhow. They’ve had office space for two or three months now from which to organize and already plan to rededicate the park this weekend, with more events planned for the near future to keep the movement in the public eye.

    I’m very pleased to see how the local OWSers have evolved over the last few months. Even if nothing else comes of this (which I doubt), at the very least they helped find homes for people who nobody gave a rip about beforehand. As they said in a statement regarding the outcome (and I paraphrase), this collaboration with the city to help the least fortunate is an example of the kind of world they had set out to create in the first place. And personally, I’m very glad I had a chance to help in some small way.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    February 13, 2012 2:39 pm

    Gregoire signed marriage equality into law today, and managed to do so on the day Little Ricky blighted the state with his presence. Love the timing.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 14, 2012 6:00 am

      Ha! I’d like to think that wasn’t entirely a coincidence. Saw some Ricky highlights on Jon Stewart last night where he was blathering on again using his Xtian “logic” – the kind where he is oppressed if he can’t force his religion on others. The scary thing is I think you’re right about him believing he’s a modern Aquinas. I don’t get the impression he’s just pandering like the rest of them – I think he really believes he onto something.

  4. cometman permalink*
    February 15, 2012 5:55 am

    Greeks set Athens on fire, figuratively and literally, in yet another protest of “austerity”.

    Meanwhile the academics notice what the cephaloblog pointed out some time ago, namely that the Greeks just aren’t that into capitalism. We’re talking sociology here, not rocket science, but credit where credit is due ;) –

    Economically speaking, according to Mappa, there was never any collective acceptance of the spirit of capitalism. Economic activity remained tied to Greek history and traditional trade: agriculture, commerce, fishery, banking and tourism, but not industry. It is not that the Greeks are lazy, as Merkel and other might think. But, despite the common – yet false – idea that capitalism is part of human nature and therefore universal, the Greeks, as many others on this planet, do not get its spirit and mechanisms. And Greece’s entrance into the European Union has not changed that.

  5. artemis54 permalink
    February 16, 2012 6:20 am

    Life in a Greek village

    • cometman permalink*
      February 16, 2012 4:47 pm

      I simply don’t understand the “logic” behind selling off any gov asset that has a revenue stream. Wouldn’t those be the ones to keep in order to try to right the ship?!?!?!?! Even if they were sold at a premium (which they aren’t in the ongoing firesale) it’s only going to keep the government out of the red in the short term and then they’ll be right back where they started.

      And I really need to try to contact some of my friends there to get the lowdown. I imagine there are some interesting discussions in the small town I visit which is populated by a few dozen Greeks year round and an influx of regular German tourists…

  6. artemis54 permalink
    February 23, 2012 10:07 am

    Sadldle up!

    Squid can fly to save energy

    • cometman permalink*
      February 24, 2012 5:07 pm

      Neat-O! Never heard of that behavior before.

  7. artemis54 permalink
    February 23, 2012 10:17 am

    Born to be Wild 3D, an IMAX film about Birute Galdikas and her efforts to save orphaned orangutans, will get a special screening in the same jungle where much of it was shot. The intended audience is the orangutans themselves.

  8. cometman permalink*
    February 24, 2012 5:21 pm

    In case you missed it at WITR, I finally picked up Barbour’s The End of Time that you had suggested a while back. Just getting into it but it looks like one I may have to read two or three times to fully grasp but it’s really fascinating.

    Even more fascinating reading it right after this one by Lee Smolin – The Trouble with Physics. I coincidentally happened to buy both books together and upon bringing them home I discovered that Smolin speaks quite highly of Barbour in his own book and also wrote one of the blurbs on the back of Barbour’s book.

    If you really want to understand modern physics, I can’t recommend Smolin’s book highly enough. He does a great job of explaining some of the failings of current theories (and he doesn’t think much of the goddamned “anthropic principle” either!), and I mean “failings” in the falling short of a complete answer sense rather than the theories being “wrong”. He makes a lot of similar points to those Fred Hoyle made in that book of old UDub essays I picked up a while back – huge research departments have their purpose but there should be more allowance made for really independent thinkers like Barbour.

    Side note: one of these days I’ll get back to posting more but I treated myself to several new books recently after finding gainful employment. Between toddler, work, and physics books I haven’t made it to the computer much recently…

  9. triv33 permalink
    February 27, 2012 3:22 pm

    In case you missed it…

    • cometman permalink*
      March 1, 2012 3:10 pm

      I did miss it – thx! I got a couple sockpuppets signed up but I managed to screw up the cometman userid by using a dead email address before reactivating it. Whoops…

      Now I have to give away one of my socks asking jack to resend the password for the cometman account unless of course you’d like to ask him :)

      • triv33 permalink
        March 1, 2012 7:53 pm

        I’m fb friends, I’ll give him a nudge.

      • triv33 permalink
        March 1, 2012 7:56 pm

        would have done it before you blew a sock, but my kid has an ear infection.

        • cometman permalink*
          March 2, 2012 5:53 am

          How do you know that was me? It could have been anybody…. ;)

          No worries triv. Basically I had an ‘attitude adjustment’ and then decided that one was expendable.

          • triv33 permalink
            March 2, 2012 9:00 am

            well, he’s replied. you should have e-mail and be in like flynn.

          • triv33 permalink
            March 2, 2012 2:45 pm

            Oh…and if you ever do make your way over there, you’ll notice my feet have grown cold and I’ve graduated from the school of limericks.

  10. sisdevore permalink
    February 27, 2012 8:52 pm

    Waving hello to the Squidlisphere. Don’t blog much; Shock Doctrine being implemented at place of employ.Still think of you and still thinking.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 1, 2012 3:13 pm

      Always nice when you stop by MissD! Hope your job lightens up a little.

      After a 6 month staycation I finally found new employment myself and happily it is by far the best job I’ve ever had. Nice working for a place with smart people who actually appreciate and reward their employees.

      • sisdevore permalink
        March 1, 2012 6:26 pm

        Wow-there are such places….

        I’ll have to send you an email on my ridiculous predicament….I’m essentially being told to not act like I know the things I know.

        • cometman permalink*
          March 4, 2012 8:44 am

          Do you still have my email address? If not let me know….

  11. artemis54 permalink
    March 1, 2012 1:47 pm

    Today I mourn the utterly senseless death of one of my neighbors, a woman who actually spent her time trying to make the world a better place. And I am sitting by the charged-up phone, waiting to hear the results of my next door neighbor’s emergency multiple bypass surgery – nicer people you will not find.

    But Breitbart? I feel exactly as I would upon discovering that an annoying pile of dog shit on my front step had disappeared.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 1, 2012 3:18 pm

      Sorry to hear about your neighbors. One of mine is getting on in years and had a few trips to the hospital lately. Been bringing her some homemade augolemono soup and cookies of late and hoping she’ll stick around for a while. Been a big fan of hers ever since we moved in and she mentioned the lawn looked better than it had in 15 years under the previous owner. At the time all I did was mow it but it’s always nice to have your work appreciated…

      And yeah I just heard about Breitbart about 15 mins ago. Braindead for many years and now thankfully really dead.

      If a dirt nap is what it takes to get what passes for a professional media in this country to stop paying attention to charlatans like this Breitbart jackass so they can completely pollute the national conversation, so be it. Today was a good start.

    • sisdevore permalink
      March 1, 2012 6:28 pm

      I hear there is also a conspiracy theory that Obama had Bretibart killed.

      I think he just couldn’t handle OWS.

  12. cometman permalink*
    March 1, 2012 4:54 pm

    Some links I’ve been meaning to get around to mentioning-

    Having already taken several blows to the crotch, Greece officially asks the EU “Thank you sir – May I have another?” More here – How Austerity is Reducing Greece to Developing Country Status.

    Looks like Barry’s latest task force is operating as expected as mortgage settlement chief and Iowa AG Tom Miller and HUD officials publicly dis Schneiderman , claiming they sweet talked him into signing another great deal for the banks.

    Amy Goodman on the latest Wikileaks release of confidential Statfor docs – Pursue the Truth, Not Its Messenger.

    The US rampage in Afghanistan continues despite there being scant evidence of “Al Qaeda” in that country, or anywhere else for that matter from what I can tell. Not surprisingly more and more Afghans are now pretty pissed off with Uncle Sugar.

    Nice article with video regarding a longstanding edible forest in Vietnam. Turns out they’re going to start a food forest on beacon Hill in Seattle. Talked to a friend out there and he hadn’t heard about it. Had this crossed your radar yet melvin?

  13. artemis54 permalink
    March 1, 2012 5:27 pm

    Had not heard about Beacon Hill, but that is certainly the spot for it. Notice all the naysayers. Sure there will be idiots, but once say a large persimmon is established, you aren’t going to have people chainsawing it down. Perhaps a few well placed video cameras?

    I have seen the Vietnam video. Here is another in Morocco. In one form or another this is the way it was done for all of human history from the Cascades to Borneo. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that what is now called Tahitian vanilla was a hybrid developed in one of the Maya food forests.

  14. cometman permalink*
    March 4, 2012 9:11 am

    Musical interlude –

    I have been looking for years for a recording of Frank Zappa’s medley of reconstituted Beatles tunes that he played during the tour I saw in the late 80s. I’ve always remembered it vividly – a hilarious attack on the TV preachers of the day who flamed out so spectacularly. That concert I attended when I was 18 went a long way towards shaping the way I look at the world. At the time I’d never listened to Zappa before but I went with an older friend who was a huge fan and was amazed that somebody could be so vocal in absolutely ridiculing subjects I’d always had doubts about but had been afraid to express since most of the adults I knew didn’t express any. Ironically, the guy who took me to the show later became born-again and threw out all his Zappa tapes.

    As far as I know this isn’t on any of his CDs but I ran across it the other day on youtube while looking for something else. The names may be out of date, but substitute Little Ricky or any other contemporary religious hypocritical mountebank for Swaggart and it’s still pretty timely. Enjoy as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds becomes Louisiana Hooker with Herpes-

    And one more of potential interest to the readership here. Primus frontman Les Claypool has always been an avid fisherman and on his latest album which I just picked up he has one about the plight of Pacific NW salmon and those who depend on them for a living. Live version of The Last Salmon Man

    Lyrics (mostly accurate) in case you couldn’t catch them from the vid.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 4, 2012 9:23 am

      OK one more. Overconsumption is one of the main themes of the latest from Primus. One more with a fishy focus –

  15. cometman permalink*
    March 4, 2012 9:28 am


    In what I assume is a pushback against Mormons funding anti-gay initiatives and their practice of baptizing dead people as Mormons when they can’t fight back comes All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay.

    Makes me wish I knew more dead Mormons. With no coffee, dancing, fun, etc. allowed, I’m sure a few would appreciate a rainbow!

    • artemis54 permalink
      March 11, 2012 4:39 pm

      Some great possibilities there for band names.

  16. cometman permalink*
    March 4, 2012 9:39 am

    An excellent squidly short story (read it on your cephaliPad!) from Nature touching on what intelligent creatures might do with our waste – Knowledge.

    Thanks again for pointing out those stories melvin!

    And also from Nature, it looks like the skeptics were correct regarding the recent measurement of FTL neutrinos. In what is sure to garner guffaws among the tech support industry, it appears that nobody checked to make sure the LHC was plugged in properly before calling for help.

  17. cometman permalink*
    March 4, 2012 9:59 am

    Couple on BofA which recently got smacked down for trying to institute a $5 monthly fee on checking accounts. Seems they haven’t learned their lesson (and with Barry and Congress’ constant coddling, really, why should they have?) and are trying to push through even larger fees on their customers.

    From Yves Smith – Bailout Ingrate Bank of America to Impose Monthly Fees on Many “Basic” Checking Account Customers.

    Taibbi reads this as a further sign that BofA is circling the toilet bowl – Bank of America In Trouble?

    I’d say Taibbi could just lose the question mark and make a declarative statement were it not for the fact that Barry’s latest task force seems intent on a further bailout for these ratbastards. When I worked for WAMU, one of my mangers told me that in 2001 WAMU generated enough revenue in bank fees alone to pay all of the company’s operating expenses that year, from wages all the way down to paper clips. What is supposed to be the core source of revenue, ie lending, was just gravy. But know that it’s a bit more difficult to hook the rubes with predatory lending practices, perhaps gouging customers has become much more important for the bottom line.

    Boo fucking hoo.

  18. triv33 permalink
    March 9, 2012 9:57 am

    My dearest friend Bertie has a new post up at Jack’s place ~

    • cometman permalink*
      March 15, 2012 3:28 pm

      Thx! I’ll have to check in there again soon…

  19. artemis54 permalink
    March 11, 2012 4:42 pm

    Who wrote the book of love?

    Maybe we find the answer somewhere in the Mandelbrot Set

    • cometman permalink*
      March 15, 2012 3:34 pm


  20. cometman permalink*
    March 15, 2012 3:52 pm

    I won’t bore our vast readership with the details of too many of the fucked up events that continue apace in this rapidly degenerating nation since I last had a chance to post anything –

    Republicans – still running their ever more retarded campaigns.

    US soldiers – still slaughtering children in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    Ratfucking bankers – still feckless and unrepentant.

    But this one development warrants a bit more attention as nobody seems to be paying it much. In the last week or so, the highest ranking member of the legal profession in this country, AG Eric Holder, has publicly proclaimed that due process doesn’t necessarily mean due judicial process.

    If some junior prosecutor tried to pull that kind of bullshit argument they’d be disbarred in a fucking heartbeat. Difficult to find words to express just how appalling this is. Luckily Stephen Colbert, one of the few I saw even bring it up, had the words. Because “due process” is just a process that you do, and why waste time in a trial when you can just play rock paper scissors to determine guilt or innocence?

    This should be covered non-stop and have people taking to the streets, not just a quick mention and then back to whatever stupid shit some Republican said. I wish I could say it were unbelievable, but it’s just one more nail in the coffin of this joke of a “democracy”.

    Thanks a bunch Barry.

  21. artemis54 permalink
    March 17, 2012 1:19 pm

    For St Pat’s day, a special mic check/gay kiss in combo in honor of little Ricky. Skip straight to 3’35” to avoid possible brain damage.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 25, 2012 9:25 am

      And yet Ricky’s supporters witnessing the event weren’t turned immediately to stone. That must have caused a few synapses to start fizzling.

  22. cometman permalink*
    March 25, 2012 9:49 am

    Started keeping a not tremendously complete written record of the botanical happenings in my yard last year. First entry was the first sighting of buds on the croci which was Mar 28 last year. This year – Mar 18. I think it hit close to 80 here this week. Thinking about putting in a really early crop of peas soon and then another again in May when I normally do to see which one grows better.

    On a related note, this may be the first time ever after many decades that my family doesn’t tap out any trees at all to make maple syrup because of the weather. The sugaring season is going the way of the dodo, and just about as quickly. You need freezing evening temps and warmer days and some snow cover to get the sap running. No snow left in VT and it hasn’t frozen at night for a while. A few decades ago before maple syrup was commercially popular outside NE, my dad remembers that once or twice my grandfather may have skipped a year but it was because he didn’t have enough help to run the operation when all the kids were small or because they hadn’t sold out from a previous year’s bumper crop and figured why bother until they got rid of what they had. But never because it just didn’t freeze. Couple years ago the weather was so warm they made just about the least they ever had. My uncle still uses hand collected buckets to gather the sap but even with those who use more modern methods like pipeline with vacuum for gathering and reverse osmosis before boiling are reporting very poor years.

    Talked to a lot of people recently who seemed very nervous about the weather even though they’re walking around in shorts in mid-March.

  23. triv33 permalink
    July 25, 2012 6:32 am

    Hey! Leaving a note in case you check in…please stop by here:
    I’m not the only one who’d be damn glad to see ya~

  24. cometman permalink*
    July 31, 2012 3:27 pm

    Thanks triv! – I’ll take a look eventually. I probably haven’t even checked in hetre for over a month but I had a feeling somebody might have stopped by today.

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