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Mark Ames: Death By Foreclosure Killings and Staff Sgt. Roger Bales

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By Mark Ames, the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine. Cross posted from Consortium News.

This past Thursday, a Modesto, California, man whose house was in foreclosure shot and killed the Sheriff’s deputy and the locksmith who came to evict him from his condominium unit. Modesto authorities responded by sending 100 police and SWAT snipers to counter-attack, and it ended Waco-style, with the fourplex structure burning to the ground with the shooter inside.

It’s not surprising that this should happen in Modesto: Last year the Central California city’s foreclosure rate was the third worst in the country, with one in every 19 properties filing for foreclosure.  The entire region is ravaged by unemployment, budget cuts, and blight — the only handouts that Modesto is seeing are the surplus military equipment stocks being dumped into the Modesto police department’s growing arsenal.

The shooter who died was 45 years old and he appears to have lost his condominium over a $15,000 home equity loan he took out almost a decade ago, owed to Bank of America. The condo was sold at an auction for just $12,988 to a shady firm, R&T Financial, that doesn’t even have a listed contact number. Too much for the former security guard, who barricaded himself in the condo which had been in the family for decades. He refused to walk out alive.

Prepared for foreclosure violence: Modesto SWAT team in armored truck

These “death by foreclosure” killings have been going on, quietly, around the country ever since the housing swindle first unraveled. Like the story of the 64-year-old Phoenix man whose daughter and grandson were preparing to move in with him after losing their home to foreclosure — only to get a knock on his door surprising him with an eviction notice on the house he’d owned for over 30 years. Bank of America foreclosed on him despite his attempts to work out a fair plan.

We now know that the same banks that had been bailed out over their subprime fraud disaster were, by the time this happened, headlong into another criminal scheme, this time foreclosure fraud. The fraud was effected both illegally and in bad faith on a scale so vast it’s hard not to think that it was carried out by some marauding foreign army.

Anyway, the old man grabbed a .357 and a beer, walked outside into a sea of Phoenix cops and snipers, and fired his gun off until they cut him down in a hail of bullets.

Sometimes the “losers” in this class war make it easier on everyone else by killing themselves and setting themselves on fire as they’re being evicted, as one Ohio couple recently did. Others class war “losers” aren’t as cooperative, like a Florida man who was gunned down by police after he set his foreclosed townhouse on fire last year.

It’s exactly the sort of lopsided class war that Warren Buffett first officially acknowledged in 2006:

“There’s a class war, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Buffett is right to call it a one-way war, in both a metaphorical sense and in a literal sense, given the endless wars being waged for over a decade now, wars that are tied to the class wars at home.

Murdering Afghan Civilians

Nothing illustrates the interlinking between the class war at home and the imperial wars abroad more starkly than the example of Staff Sgt. Roger Bales, the Army sniper accused last month of killing 17 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children.

The Army is trying to pin it all on Sgt. Bales’s supposedly deranged mental state, but their version of events contradicts what the victims and eyewitnesses in the village have been telling the few reporters who have had a chance to actually interview them. They’re saying that they saw several American soldiers participating in the massacre, as well as a helicopter.

Whatever the case, whether alone or with others, most people familiar with the case agree that for some reason, Sgt. Bales “snapped.” Invariably they’re over-psychologizing why he “snapped” — the military has blamed it on everything from his supposedly troubled marriage, to strain or stress, to an alleged alcohol bender.

Less well-known or discussed is what happened to Sgt. Bales on the other front: the class war front. Three days before his shooting rampage, the house where Bales’s wife and two children lived in Tacoma, Washington, was put up for a short sale, $50,000 underwater. This was exactly what Sgt. Bales and his wife feared might happen if the Army forced him into a fourth battlefield deployment.

The last time Sgt. Bales deployed — to Iraq in August 2009 — Bank of America foreclosed on the family’s rental property, a duplex that his wife had bought in 1999 that was also underwater. Within months of BofA taking their duplex, Sgt. Bales’s Humvee hit an IED and flipped over, causing brain and head injuries. On a previous deployment to Iraq, Sgt. Bales had one of his feet partially blown off by a bomb.

Censored US Army article celebrating Sgt. Bales in September 2011

Before being deployed to Afghanistan last year, he and his wife had been assured that the Army wouldn’t force Sgt. Bales, a highly-decorated hero who’d already sacrificed his physical wellbeing and his family’s financial health, back into combat.

Bales and his wife were planning their future as a career military family, on bases far from any combat zone, working up the Army’s pay scale year by year. But then in March 2011, a year before Sgt. Bales’s massacre, they were shocked and hurt by the Army’s decision to deny him his standard promotion to Sgt. First Class, which came with a much-needed pay hike.

(Last year, President Barack Obama’s Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Adm. Michael Mullen, said many of the austerity cuts would fall on soldiers’ pay and benefits rather than slashing weapons programs and force levels, which he called the “relatively easy” thing to do.)

When Sgt. Bales learned he wouldn’t get his promotion, his wife wrote on her blog:

“It is very disappointing after all of the work Bob has done and all the sacrifices he had made for his love of his country, family and friends.”

Kathilyn Bales comforted herself with the assurances they’d been given that at least her husband wouldn’t be sent back into combat again — at least the family would be going together to one of the many non-warzone bases around the world. She wrote:

“Who knows where we will end up. I just hope that we are able to rent out the house so we can keep it. I think we are both still in shock.”

Then came the real shock: the Army sent Sgt. Bales back into the war zone, into Afghanistan. His wife would have to deal with the more than $500,000 in mortgage debts on her own.

It was all timed perfectly: Last December, the month Sgt. Bales was deployed to Afghanistan, one of the subprime loans worth $178,000, taken out in 2006, was timed to “reset” to as high as 10.8 percent interest, and call in its first full payment.

Joe Krumbach, former president of the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association, reviewed this loan and the others sold to Sgt. Bales’s wife while he was in Iraq, and denounced them as “unconscionable.”

He told the Seattle Times, “The margins on these loans are disaster waiting to happen” and admitted that mortgage lenders deliberately targeted military families like the Bales family, swindling them into signing onto far pricier refinancing loans “that benefited lenders and mortgage brokers” at the expense of vulnerable military families, as well as minorities and low-income borrowers.

Another local real estate businessman who specializes in short sales agreed, telling Businessweek that “we set them up.”

“It’s not an unfamiliar story, but it’s sad,” said Richard Eastern, a co-founder of Bellevue, Washington-based Washington Property Solutions, which negotiates short sales. “We’re going to send you off to war but we’re going to foreclose on your home.” He said many lenders offered loans they knew borrowers couldn’t repay. “And it’s not just soldiers, it’s everybody. We set them up.

The extent to which mortgage lenders and banks deliberately preyed on American military families is made clear by this little-known fact: the Tacoma region, home to Fort Lewis-McChord, the largest base in the Western United States and home to 100,000 military personnel and families, suffered one of the worst predatory subprime loan epidemics in the country, an anomaly in the state of Washington. According to Richard Eastern’s firm, roughly half of all home sales in that region are either foreclosures or short sales. As early as 2007, the Wall Street Journalsingled out Tacoma as one of the nation’s worst affected regions from subprime plunder.

Who’s at Fault?

So who did this? Who, in the class war equation, waged and “won” this class war on Sgt. Bales’s family, and so many other military families? What are their names? Where are they now?

As a matter of fact, there is a company name: Paramount Equity Mortgage. And there is a person’s name: Hayes Barnard, the CEO and co-founder of Paramount Equity. He lives in Roseville, California. In many ways, the story of the “winner” in this class war story is the most revealing, and enraging part of all.

Paramount Equity was founded in 2004, and quickly spread across the Western states, issuing some $8 billion in loans. Paramount Equity’s subprime predation really took off in 2006, right after the Bush Administration’s Department of Housing (HUD) and the FHA qualified Paramount Equity government insurance on its mortgages.

Almost immediately, Paramount Equity flooded the Tacoma region’s radio airwaves with deceptive ads hard-selling refinancing loans, featuring the voice of CEO Hayes Barnard promising the lowest rates, the most honest dealing, giving his personal guarantee.

However, a raft of fraud and deception charges followed. In 2008, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions announced it was charging Paramount Equity Mortgage with deceptive lending practices and revoking its license.

Paramount stood accused of charging and collecting unearned fees, charging consumers to buy down interest rates without actually reducing the rate, failing to make required disclosures and making state and federally-required disclosures in a deceptive manner.

“Paramount failed to make proper disclosures in almost every loan we reviewed,” said Deb Bortner, director of DFI’s Division of Consumer Services. “Washington [state] has many licensed mortgage brokers who comply with the law. In today’s market, we simply do not need a mortgage broker engaged in deceptive conduct doing business in this state.”

The state’s charges also singled out Hayes Barnard for “engaging in a deceptive advertising campaign.”

As is so often the case, there’s far too little reported specifics on the actual nature of the fraud and deception. Sometimes you have to look in the comments sections on real estate or legal blogs from the affected region. Like this comment left on a marketing blog posting calling out Paramount Equity’s “lies”:

“I apologize if this is maybe a little off topic. I refinanced with Paramount back in 2004. Come 2009, my loan adjusted and I was left with no choice but to walk away with my 3 kids and stay at home wife. I had to rely on credit cards the last couple of years, even charging a couple mortgage payments.

“We ended up filing ch. 7 and we are now renting and have ZERO (if not worse) credit. Today (Sept. 27, 2011) an auditor came to my door and gave me some info and verified other info regarding B-of-A filing a PMI [private mortgage insurance] claim. Sorry so long winded….

“One of the docs he showed me was of my stated income which was double …  DOUBLE my income at the time. I NEVER would put myself into such a situation and lied. I honestly believe the number was changed and it was burried [sic] in an inch of docs I had to sign and I just didn’t see it.

“I’m not claiming complete innocence, because after all, I DID sign everything and agreed to the loan (which I didn’t know was a negative amortization loan. Hell, I didn’t even know what that meant). Now, we’re stable, but my financial future and creditworthiness is screwed. I barely got a $500 limit credit card at 17%.

“Do I have any type of recourse here? I’m not frivolous, but I am at a loss. In fact … I LOST everything. Thanks in advance.”

These sorts of stories can be found everywhere, and they repeat themselves over and over. And what’s most galling of all is that these plundering crooks preyed on those most vulnerable — military families suffering from the chaos of war, minorities, low-income people — to generate their fast riches, backed with government guarantees.

Getting Off Easy

For all the swindling and destruction, including the “unconscionable” exploding loans Paramount Equity foisted on Sgt. Bales’s wife while he was off fighting in Iraq, the state of Washington settled in 2009 with what can only be described as a wrist-massage: A fine of a mere $392,000, no admission of guilt.

Paramount even got to keep its license to operate. This, despite the incredible admission in the signed consent that “Paramount admits that during the relevant time period, Paramount did not maintain books and records.”

This is what a lopsided class war looks like: The financial fraudsters, the One Percenters, fleece the unsophisticated locals like 19th century Europeans plundering far-away aborigines.

One victim of Paramount commented bitterly on the settlement:

“We have not one, but TWO ugly loans which are breaking us from good ol’ Paramount Equity Mortgage. …. The citizens who signed these toxic documents are suffering EVERY DAY and losing their homes because Matt and Hayes need to make their yacht payment.

“Our financial lives, that took 30 years to build, have been crushed because of the deception that occurred in their office (where no employee appeared to be over 40 years of age) I remember asking at the closing table, ‘Does anyone have gray hair in this building??!!’ It was unnerving. The parking lot looked like a BMW Sales Lot. …

“Soon, I intend to stop crying about our mortgages, as I have been doing over the last THREE YEARS… And Washington State Department of Financial Institutions: SHAME ON YOU. Shame on you.”

Two “ugly loans” from Paramount Equity are what broke Kathilyn and Roger Bales.

The end result: Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity Capital are doing better than ever. In 2009, Hayes Barnard was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Roseville Chamber of Commerce, the wealthy Sacramento suburb where Paramount Equity Mortgage is headquartered. In 2010, the Sacramento Business Journal honored him as one of Sacramento’s “40 under 40” leaders.

Hayes Barnard (l), American Hero

The big payoff came last year, when one of the world’s largest infomercial firms, Guthy-Renker, bought a “significant equity position” in Hayes Barnard’s company. You might know Guthy-Renker as the company that makes all those annoying Tony Robbins infomercials and Susan Lucci skincare infomercials.

Guthy-Renker also owns an equity stake in RealtyTrac, the leading foreclosure intelligence source. That’s good news for Hayes Barnard, because it means he’ll be able to wet his beak on the aftermath of the subprime plunder by getting first dibs on the best foreclosure deals. It’s a win-win for the One Percent.

In this degenerate 21st Century version of America, Hayes Barnard exemplifies everything that the current system rewards. In the anti-meritocracy we live in, the sociopaths and crooks are the “winners.” Being a “winner” means you get quoted adoringly in a Sacramento Business Journal Q&A, spouting out the blackest of unintentional black humor:

“As a younger professional, what is the biggest challenge you face?

“As a young professional, the biggest challenge I face is finding the right balance between raising my three children all under 3 years old, being a supporting husband and leading my team as a CEO of three companies. … Achieving true success is to give, give, give and help as many people as you can while leading for your family, employees and community.”

That’s how the class war “winners” rub it in on the rest of us — especially their victims. How can you function after reading such self-serving drivel, particularly if you’re one of the victims?

As for the “losers” in this class war: Sgt. Roger Bales’s wife and children are ruined. They have no home; they only own debts to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, debts owed for life to the Hayes Barnards of this country. The “winner” — the swindler — is a community hero.

As for Sgt. Bales – whom the Army accuses of “snapping” for no good reason, accusing him of being a drunk, or of mental weakness, incapable of handling his marriage or the stress of combat – he might even be put to death. He now sits in Fort Leavenworth military prison, charged with the murder of 17 Afghan civilians.

The way the One Percenter “winners” see this story, it’s all proof that the system is working perfectly.

As the National Journal reported, “Nearly all of National Journal’s National Security Insiders agree that the military justice system can conduct a fair trial for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.”

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116 comments

    1. Pearl

      Lambert, I see your Jeremiah 12:1 and raise you a Matthew 18:21-35.(Emphasis on verses 32-35.) But I prefer the more colloquial translation– the lolcat translation:

      ( http://www.lolcatbible.com/index.php?title=Main_Page )

      21 Peter had kwestshun. He said to teh Ceiling Cat: “How many tiems do I 4give my bruther if he makes invisible error at me? Seven tiems?”22 Jesus sed to Peter: “No wai, I did not say 7 times. U must forgive ur bruther’s invisible error over nine thousand times!23 So teh Howse in Ceiling is liek a king who wanted all dets made fixed wit the cats working for him.24 Kingcat did so and found Workercat what wuz supposed to pay him over nine thousand munney.25 But Workercat no had nine thousand munney. So Kingcat said “Taek his cheezburger away, and sell it so I can haz munney.”26 Workercat was very sad and said: “No wai, plz! I can haz moar time, and I pays u ur munney, promise!”27 So teh Kingcat was a nice cat and maded teh debt go away.28 But Workercat found anuther cat what had a det of a few munnies to Workercat. (Not many.) Workercat wuz angry at Othercat and said “U pays me or els!”29 So Othercat was very sad and said: “No wai, plz! I can haz moar time, and I pays u ur munney, promise!”30 But Workercat no gived Othercat moar time. He maded Othercat get locked in box until he payded.31 Lots of cats wer looking an saw whut Workercat did. Teh Lookingcats wuz sad and tolded Kingcat whut happened.32 Kingcat made frowny face at Workercat and sed: “Srsly, d00d, u iz bad cat. I maded ur debt go away cos u was sad.33 Y u not maded Othercat’s det go away when he wuz sad?”34 An Kingcat was not happy, and maded Workercat’s det un-go away, and said to Torchurcat: “U can scratch Workercat until he gives me teh munneys he owed.”35 (Jesus talking again) “An mah Daddy in Ceiling, he does same 2 u if u not 4give ur bruther his invisible errors.”

    2. patricia

      Yes. And we have to wait some kind of eternal time to get some kind of answer to that eternal question. Bah

      1. F. Beard

        And we have to wait some kind of eternal time to get some kind of answer to that eternal question. patricia

        Not really. Humans live to 120 years tops.

        And it isn’t as if God is holding out on us on the question of evil; it’s a mystery to Him too:

        Isaiah 5

        1. patricia

          Yeah, well, say humans have been around 200,000 yrs or so. And Isaiah was written somewhere around 6-8th century BCE. Same thing every day for a very long time.

        2. amanasleep

          @F. Beard.

          Is this not a parable about the responsibility of man for his own wickedness? My reading is that the writers of the Old Testament did not consider evil to be mysterious, to God or to anyone else. The point here is that man should not blame God for his wickedness, and more to the point God’s wrath will punish the wicked. There is little preoccupation with the Lord’s short term omniscience.

          Isaiah 5 is God the Father saying “See! This is why we can’t have nice things!”. God the gardner does not care to predict if man will be good or evil: he gives man the tools of goodness and judges what man makes of them.

          Of course, since man is in God’s image it can be argued that man’s wickedness must have been present at the creation, for why would God give man a choice for evil that He Himself did not possess?

          1. F. Beard

            My reading is that the writers of the Old Testament did not consider evil to be mysterious, to God or to anyone else. amanasleep

            “The heart is more deceitful than all else
            And is desperately sick;
            Who can understand it?”

            “I, the LORD, search the heart,
            I test the mind,
            Even to give to each man according to his ways,
            According to the results of his deeds.”
            Jeremiah 17:9-10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

            …for why would God give man a choice for evil that He Himself did not possess? amanasleep

            Don’t forget we were made from dust. Not that dust is necessarily evil but being matter it is subject to quantum randomness, no?

          2. amanasleep

            @F. Beard:

            The entirety of Jeremiah 17 is about how wickedness comes from man, the Lord is just, and will punish wickedness and those who forsake Him, etc.

            “The heart is more deceitful than all else
            And is desperately sick;
            Who can understand it?”

            This passage is the devil’s advocate position. Essentially: “Wickedness can wear the face of justice. Won’t God get fooled and reward the wicked instead of the just?”

            I think Isaiah’s answer is a resounding NO.

            “I, the LORD, search the heart,
            I test the mind,
            Even to give to each man according to his ways,
            According to the results of his deeds.”

            God knows the innermost heart of all, even when the heart does not know itself. I see no place here where God’s knowledge of the heart of man (or its wickedness) is called into question.

            As in the previous passage:

            “Thus says the LORD,
            ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
            And makes flesh his strength,
            And whose heart turns away from the LORD.’”

            “Don’t forget we were made from dust. Not that dust is necessarily evil but being matter it is subject to quantum randomness, no?”

            Quantum theory has no place in theology, IMO. To your point, I would submit that sinfulness may only be the result of instilling the divine spirit into inert matter. For the Greeks this was irrelevant: gods and heroes both were subject to wickedness.

            Perhaps it was this result that God could not see prior to creating man, although I think we all agree that God created the dust too. Do you think that Genesis implies that God did not create “The Waters”?

          3. F. Beard

            I see no place here where God’s knowledge of the heart of man (or its wickedness) is called into question. amanasleep

            “Searching” and “testing” take time implying uncertainty till they are complete.

            As for matter, it is subject to quantum fluctuations even though God made it. Einstein famously said “God does not play dice with the Universe” but what if chaos is a fundamental aspect of reality that cannot be completely banished without banishing free will too?

            Anyway this is deep stuff but I am very much inclined to take the Bible at its Word and not try to explain away such things as God not knowing everything, God changing His mind, God having regrets, etc. And I don’t love God any less with such a view but more. I cannot feel sorry for an Infinite God but the God of the Bible I do sympathize with.

          4. amanasleep

            F. Beard:

            ‘“Searching” and “testing” take time implying uncertainty till they are complete.’

            I guess, but that reads more into than I do. Clearly the import of this passage is to impress upon the faithful that God knows hearts and minds and cannot be fooled. It could easily be argued that the searching and testing is done at every moment, everywhere, for all humanity. In fact this must be so if God is to “give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” No delays for deliberation! This is an automatic process for each person, but also for cities, tribes, and nations.

            “As for matter, it is subject to quantum fluctuations even though God made it. Einstein famously said “God does not play dice with the Universe” but what if chaos is a fundamental aspect of reality that cannot be completely banished without banishing free will too?”

            What if? My take is that there can be no meaningful link between scientific inquiry and the theology of the JudeoChristian tradition, and I am quite convinced that mortals are foolish to attempt to interpret Biblical ontological questions in terms of modern science. The morality of religious texts are their only claims to truth. These truths should need no justification.

            To your point, I do not believe that the bible has a strong stance on chaos itself, or any principled philosophical determinations of the grounds for free will. God has free will, and bequeaths it to his creation. For my own part, I believe that chaos itself is not a fundamental characteristic of the universe. Free will is always possible because Freedom itself must be the most fundamental characteristic of any conceivable universe.

            “Anyway this is deep stuff but I am very much inclined to take the Bible at its Word and not try to explain away such things as God not knowing everything, God changing His mind, God having regrets, etc. And I don’t love God any less with such a view but more. I cannot feel sorry for an Infinite God but the God of the Bible I do sympathize with.”

            Agreed. It is clear to me that the Bible does not make a strong case that God is infallible or even omnipotent. It claims that He is righteous, and that His power and judgement are above all others on earth. I would submit that it also makes a strong claim that He knows implicitly the hearts and minds of all men, and that wickedness will always be punished. Where God has uncertainty is always when dealing with his Chosen, who are by definition faithful to him, whose hearts and minds have not turned away.

            The God of the Old Testament always knows what is Good, but does not always know what is best.

          5. Heretic

            I disagree with you on some points. God is infallible and omnipotent. After all if he can create the universe, He can pretty much do what He wants.

            God made man and woman in His image. Since God is a being infinitely beyond any any of our concepts and we are finite, each man and woman born can only embody a tiny fraction of the divinity that is God. But I believe that some aspects are preserved. I believe that we are all born free; we have the freedom to choose our attitude and our thoughts, and possibly our words and actions, in response to any situation which we live. It is only as we grow older, that we allow ourselves to be conditioned or delusions, that we believe that we are not free to choose, that in fact we are product of our exper

        1. patricia

          I here newz of a Justuscat who ain’t, cuz he talkin’ of fare n such, not only me n only u n not hurtin’ each alike. Yah, I all for dat.

    1. JamesW

      Exactly! This blog poster appears either ignorant of, or purposely fails to mention, that Bales was escaping into the Army to avoid a judgment for securities fraud haning over his head (I think it was over $1 million, BTW).

      A very important fact….

  1. Blunt

    “As the National Journal reported, ‘Nearly all of National Journal’s National Security Insiders agree that the military justice system can conduct a fair trial for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.’ ”

    The problem seems to be that we enjoy talking about “due diligence.” That notion that somehow if you check deeply enough you’ll discover the fly in the ointment (black ointment) or the glitch in the program. Yet, who is to do due diligence and is that the same for Warren Buffett as due diligence would be for a woman employed as a chef at a 5-star NYC restaurant?

    What Mark Ames manages to highlight is that what our country’s ‘leadership’ desires is the ability to make a buck and not be bothered to do anything else.

    The depth of a story isn’t what’s important anymore. We miss connections purposely and dumb down explanations for all sorts of behaviors. Fact is that Sgt. Bales’ story is much more nuanced than any of the MSM are paid to report. In fact they are paid not to report such nuances, such depths. For to report those would be to show once for all that the procedures and policies in place are meant to loot effectively and that “american dreams” are valid only for those who can afford to play in the game.

    Very nicely done, Mark Ames. My only question is in our times are pieces like this “in your face” enough to drive home the fact of kleptocracy?

      1. ambrit

        Dear No Know;
        Consider that military bands originally were meant to keep the troops in time and in step as they marched to their doom. Military courts can do no less!

  2. Klassy!

    15,000 dollar HELOC taken out in 2003– it would be nice if news outlets would report on how much money has been paid on these second mortgages before they went in to “default”.

    1. PL

      Knowing how little unpaid principle remained when these folks lost their lives would be most informative indeed.

      1. Klassy!

        Perhaps the citizenry might get angrier if they realized how much these “deadbeats” have handed over to the banks.

        Hence, you will never find such figures in your newspaper.

        1. Klassy!

          Sorry, I missed a crucial step before anger. The next step is perhaps admitting the lenders are predatory but then blaming it on stupidity of the borrower. In that way, unfounded optimism may be maintained. Then maybe anger.
          Or a new distraction.

  3. Woodrow Wilson

    Morons barricading themselves, they’re helping police in the best way possible by keeping themselves contained.

    When we see some offensive tactics being used as a defense against the banks, lobbyists, and polticians, then it’s time.

    Until then, these are stories of the dumb and stupid.

    1. Kevin

      Not everyone is John Wayne – some people see no hope – calling them dumb and stupid is more a reflection on you then them.

      1. Woodrow Wilson

        “Not everyone is John Wayne” -

        Really? No shit. There’s a lot one person can do that can have a significant impact on them, without firing a shot. Let me know when you are capable of having an adult discussion on the matter.

      2. Moving Out

        ‘The state will never protect those they are at war with.’

        Who would have guessed that the state has now decided homeowners are the enemy? Is this grand scale entrapment?
        First they issue liars loans and draw millions around the bend, they huff n’ puff and work and slave, but they got your signature, and it’s understood they won’t make it. It’s all by design. just like MERS.
        Then the torment begins, with state approval we’ll be your terrorist, we’ll lie, we’ll cheat, we’ll mock the courts, and we’ll get away with it and we’ll kick you to the street and steal what’s left. Obama told you “you knew better”.

    2. patricia

      You, Woodrow Wilson, have obviously never found yourself in such desperation, so backed into a corner, that your reason fails. If you had, you would not be calling desperate others morons, dumb, stupid.

      You are hugely lucky.

      I feel a fleeting wish that you will someday feel profound desperation, in order for you to stop sounding stupid in your massive ignorance. But no, I don’t really want that even for you, because it is a terrible place to be, a place where no one should ever be driven.

    3. Procopius

      Well, I think as more guys come back from their deployments and find they’ve been foreclosed on we might see some improvement in tactics, but maybe not. Too few people are getting the good military training now, and more of them are coming back to work for the Pinkertons, I mean Dyncorp and Xe and the others, the ones who are going to be the Mercenaries when the Oligarchy make their move and come into the open (see Jack London’s book, “The Iron Heel”). Seriously, there’s a reason the police are being given military-grade firepower. The 0.1% know what they’re doing.

      1. Woodrow Wilson

        Dyncorp especially, aka Cerberus Capital Management, they are buying up the munitions AND the manufacturers of the weapons. The lure of $120k tax free salary for a young guy with no job options coming back home is appealing.

        “there’s a reason the police are being given military-grade firepower.” -

        I’ve been out of the game for a few years now, but we trained, all the time. The specialized units even more so, as it was a requirement. We pretty much got nearly anything we asked for, no questions asked.

        Patricia -

        “someday feel profound desperation” -

        Watching people die, through no fault of their own and not being able to do anything about it is enough for me thanks.

      2. Sufferin' Succotash

        Arguably the Oligarchy has already made its move. Armed force wasn’t necessary since there was no militant labor or agrarian opposition as there was in Jack London’s time. Occasional pacification operations a la Modesto are all that is needed from now on.
        We can watch on the teebee.

        1. Nathanael

          Oh, just you wait. The oligarchy is *stupid*.

          They’re stealing the homes of policemen and people in the military. Who’s gonna enforce for them in 10 years?

      3. JamesW

        Exactly, and guys like Bales, who enlisted at an advanced age in the US Army to escape from a judgment for over $1 million in securities fraud haning over his head fit nicely into those comments….

    4. abprosper

      Its quite one thing psychologically to defend ones turf such as it is and quite another to go all Tim McVeigh or Ander Brehvik on the ruling class.

      Most people, good, bad don’t have it in them and its a good thing too or we would not be able to sustain what passes for the civilization we have.

      Also to all those would be revolutionaries, why most of us don’t want to go along for the ride (me included) even if we can find a movement we like and trust

      You see its not about whether you can fight or win but what you’ll do after. Its perfectly possible for some group or another to take down the ruling class, who knows maybe they will.The problem comes when that group tries to govern .

      Th crappy system we have is brittle and despite a lot of them being pig ignorant of a lot of things, they are aware of that. A big enough push back for the US assuming the military doesn’t takeover means mass starvation, infrastructure collapse and ethnic war.A nation with only 3% farmers is in for a rough haul

      I am pretty sure that its an end game for a continent sized nation. No one has broad enough legitimacy to govern, resources to rebuild or the will to do it.

      So yeah maybe we should put and end to this charade, end the empire but excuse me if I tell you to p*SS off as I am not going to to condemn tens or even hundreds of millions to death to pay for a free country . Thats too high a price to pay,

  4. briansays

    i am waiting for and surprised that we have not already started seeing people walking into local bank branches and go postal

  5. Gil Gamesh

    Yes, proof positive: the American Way of Life is far and way the best. Hence, it’s irresistability. And, hence, its ineluctability.

    Surely, Barnard must be on President (to be) Romney’s short list for heading the FHA. They even bear a small physical resemblance, in addition to sharing our amazing values.

  6. RockTrueblood

    Bales is no saint, i.e., don’t forget Bales ripped off an elderly couple back when he was a broker:

    http://news.yahoo.com/afghan-murder-suspect-bales-took-life-savings-says-223934030–abc-news.html

    Robert Bales, the staff sergeant accused of massacring Afghan civilians, enlisted in the U.S. Army at the same time he was trying to avoid answering allegations he defrauded an elderly Ohio couple of their life savings in a stock fraud, according to federal documents reviewed by ABC News.
    “He robbed me of my life savings,” Gary Liebschner of Carroll, Ohio told ABC News.
    Financial regulators found that Bales “engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments,” according to a report on Bales filed in 2003. Bales and his associates were ordered to pay Liebschner $1,274,000 in compensatory and punitive damages but have yet to do so, according to Liebschner.
    “We didn’t know where he was,” Liebschner told ABC News. “We heard the Bahamas, and all kinds of places.”
    Liebschner says he recognized Bales after news reports named him as the American soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a shooting rampage.
    [Related: Lawyer says suspect remembers little]
    Liebschner filed a complaint against Bales in May 2000, claiming Bales took his life savings of $852,000 in AT&T stock and through a series of trades reduced its value to nothing.
    The Ohio retiree recalled Bales as a “smooth talker.” Asked if he regarded Bales as a con man, Liebschner said, “You’ve hit the nail on the head.”
    At the time, Bales worked for an Ohio brokerage firm, MPI.
    According to federal documents, Bales failed to appear at an arbitration hearing to resolve Liebschner’s complaint.

    1. alex

      “Bales and his associates were ordered to pay Liebschner $1,274,000 in compensatory and punitive damages”

      Between that and the fact that he’s being prosecuted for what happened in Afghanistan, it’s obvious that he’s a penny ante operator. Major players would get off scott free for both (probably with an apology and an award from the president).

  7. JTFaraday

    So, let me get this straight. This guy takes out a $15k home equity loan on a family condo on which the original mortgage was paid up decades ago.

    The $15k loan goes into default and a shady collection agency then repossesses the family home that is the collateral underlying the (frankly dopey) loan.

    Then the militarized Modesto police force burns down the collateral (recently purchased by someone else for $12k) along with 3 additional condos and the personal belongings of 3 households.

    I’m appalled.

  8. Eric

    Isn’t this the same Sgt. Roger Bales who was a stock broker in OH and found guilty of misusing 600K of a couples investment. Ordered to repay 1.2 million and instead went to serve our country.??
    If it is the same guy, then things are a little more complicated than laid out in this article, and infact, detracts from the important information otherwise reflected.

    1. Bam_Man

      Absolutely. This guy Bales was/is some piece of work. He and his wife owed $500,000 or some obscene amount on a house they purchased for $150,000. Must have had a nice time spending that.

      It’s instructive to see how these swindlers behave when they themselves wind up being swindled.

      1. Procopius

        Yes, this is a troubling accusation. Hmmm. Eleven years time in service, approximately, so he must have enlisted in 2001 or maybe as early as fall 2000. I don’t know the current career tracks, but it wouldn’t have been unrealistic for him to be eligible for promotion to Sergeant First Class, or, since he was Infantry, more likely Platoon Sergeant (same pay grade but more leadership required). Not enough information about his service record. I also don’t remember enough about the details of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, or whatever its current manifestation is. I thought the banks were forbidden to foreclose on soldiers deployed overseas. There’s something wrong there. Why wasn’t his chain of command taking care of him? Yeah, I look forward to learning more.

        1. PL

          Robert Bales and his wife Karilyn Bales are complicated figures whose disastrous financial decisions are difficult to understand since both appear financially sophisticated. Robert Bales was self-employed as a financial advisor, albeit as a small time operator, before joining the military. Karilyn Bales worked for Washington Mutual as a project manager–yes, that WaMu. They purchased a four bedroom house when Karilyn already owned a duplex, possibly because they wanted an investment property in the rising real estate market, but still a financially risky choice for a young couple just starting a family to make. It is also unclear why Karilyn Bales refinanced both properties for $500,000 in 2006. The typical reason for cash out refinances was to cover other debts. The point I’m making is that it’s hard to view them solely as victims of a predatory lender when their own informed choices may have been a factor too. Some investors gambled on the real estate market and lost.

          1. JamesW

            WaMu?

            They were the ones (Kerry Killinger’s crew) who blacklisted honest appraisers and only hired dishonest appraisers?

            No wonder so many honest people are out of work today.

  9. EmilianoZ

    As always, this post by Mark Ames is essential reading. I’ll take the Pulitzer prize seriously when they award one to Mark Ames and Yves Smith.

  10. circadianwolf

    Bales is not a “hero”; he’s a paid thug who did exactly what he was trained to do: kill.

    Stoller, why did you feel the need to glorify war and militarism and trivialize the deaths of 17 people (not to mention all the others Bales and his comrades have killed without controversy) in order to attack foreclosure fraud?

    1. Moving Out

      It’s not all “black and white” as much as we’d like it to be.
      The stories are tragic anyway you spin them, with the accusatory finger IMHO pointed in the right direction by the author. No one is “innocent” when they set up the guillotines, but the rentiers appear to be looting again having faced zero justice from the Gov’mint they own.

      1. JamesW

        It is indeed black and white, when a guy at an advanced age suddenly decides to enlist — when he has a civil judgment to pay over $1 million for securities fraud.

        Neither a hero nor patriot he…..just another thug, and his wifey worked at another criminal outfit, WaMu!

        1. PL

          I disagree that it’s black and white in terms of blame, rather, it’s shades of gray all around. While the Bales may have made reckless financial decisions, the mortgage company had no business approving them for a $500,000 refi in 2006. Neither the properties’ values nor the borrowers’ incomes supported a loan of that size. In other words the mortgage was designed to fail. Moreover, the borrowers may have been financially desperate for reasons unknown to us. A mortgage company reviewing their credit reports would have known the Bales were candidates for bankruptcy and that extending further credit was merely delaying their inevitable default while making a few fast bucks. The Irish have an apt term for financial predators, a gombeen, as in usurious moneylenders. Seems like a fitting description of Hayes Bernard who is by no means exonerated by anything the Bales may have done.

          1. JamesW

            “..the mortgage company had no business approving them for a $500,000 refi in 2006..”

            Mrs. Bales was a project manager with WaMu (Kerry Killinger’s criminal organization — you have read about them in various government studies, online for a number of years now, on the mortgage meltdown, plus the FCIC report, etc.) therefore, they would have received it….period!

  11. PQS

    Where are the Congressional hearings on this stuff?

    Oh, right, we have to investigate an $800K party and some Secret Service prostitution scandal.

    And everyone in Congress has been bought and paid for by the banks in any case.

  12. patricia

    Of course, a person could be a thug and a victim. And a person could recognize the position of a soldier without believing in war. And a person could be held completely responsible for killing others while also receiving recognition that there were contributing factors. And a person could have stolen from others, then found themselves being stolen from, and not have learned a thing from it. Not one part of any of these things de-mean any other part of any of the others.

    Or is life just a tidy little green lawn framed by new sidewalks and irrigated every morning at 6?

    1. citizendave

      I would say something similar. The specific individuals and circumstances in this story really serve as illustrations of the larger points. If you redact the specifics and concentrate on the substance of the story, you end up with a sordid tale from start to finish. (It would also help to assume that the subject is being offered up as a scapegoat, to personally absorb the blame for the whole system.)

      The long war was unnecessary. The repeated deployments were unfair — I’ve long believed the Army should have rotated the entire Army through the war theaters before sending one combat veteran back there again. And the Army doesn’t treat physical and mental injuries well, usually taking the attitude of “suck it up, or are you a sissy?” For a long time they routinely classified PTSD as a “pre-existing condition” and “personality disorder”, IIRC, and discharged the soldiers without veterans’ medical benefits.

      The predatory lending business adds insult to injury. One is reminded of Dexter, who sought justice through extra-judicial means. Unlike Dexter, this guy lost control.

      Could this story be even more sordid or depraved? Was he neglected with so many other injured veterans at Walter Reed?

      As I was reading the story I began to think that it’s amazing the Internet hasn’t been shut down to prevent us from reading and talking about what’s going on. There is so much wrong, in so many ways. Would that our leader would guide us to restore the rule of law.

  13. rotter

    Sgt. Bales turned his sniper rifle on the wrong people. brainwashed Americans REALLY need to start thinking very hard about what thier real enemies are.

  14. K Ackermann

    You try to work things out with the bank, but they really want that piece of property.

    Maybe it’s for the best, now that it mysteriously smells like formaldehyde in the front yard, and fuel oil in the backyard. terrible carcinogens – the both of them. It could cost a million dollars to clean something like that up, and I’m sure the city wants it cleaned up. If I start feeling sick, I’ll be talking to ya.

    Anyway… here’s the keys.

    1. F. Beard

      Anyway… here’s the keys. K Ackermann

      Wrapped in lead foil?

      But not to worry. The banks are busy destroying the value of land themselves. Ultimately, it is a thriving economy that gives land value.

  15. diptherio

    Let’s not get caught up in the details of this particular (Bales) case, ok? We’re talking about systemic swindling here and the VAST majority of soldiers being affected were never brokers with shady records. Try to step back a little and see the forest. Let’s not get hung up on this particular tree. His case is the hook for the story, but the story is not just about him.

    I won’t be surprised when we witness the first shooting at a bank by one of these returning service members who has figured out who the real enemy is. I only hope they’re smart enough to head to the national headquarters and not the local branch. It will no doubt be tragic, but not unexpected.

    On a related note, one of our occupies in my rural state received an anonymous donation of a battalion tent from some recent Iraq and Afghanistan war returnees. This spring and summer are going to be interesting.

    1. PL

      Foreclosures will unite the left, defaulting homeowners irrespective of where they stand politically, and some returning soldiers on the right who are losing their homes. It’s going to be interesting.

      1. JTFaraday

        What’s interesting is that the smug Property Rights Uber Alles rightwingnuts, whose property rights are being systematically undermined through the institutionalization of predatory loan and foreclosure practices, MERS, MF Global, etc are nowhere to be found.

        I guess that’s the kind of thing that only happens to Other People.

        1. PL

          The property rights people should be carrying the banner but so far they are are nowhere to be seen.

  16. Paul Tioxon

    Killogy

    http://www.amazon.com/On-Killing-Psychological-Learning-Society/dp/0316330116

    Would it surprise you to know that the Army has psychometrics on the exact number of days spent in combat that produce insanity? Would it surprise anyone that Afraquistan has exceeded all previous measurements?

    This type of murderous explosion has been going on for years on and off base. Suicides, murder of spouses and family members, civilian atrocities.

    Howard Unruh, WWII Army Battle of the Bulge Vet and his walk of death in Camden NJ, 1949:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Unruh

    1. Kevin

      Appreciate the link on Unruh. My granfather was in a tank at Battle of the Bulge and came back shattered. I only remember him speaking of it once. Spare parts were worth gold and as a new guy he had to climb into shelled tanks and “clean them out”.

  17. Carpe D.

    ” I apologize if this is maybe a little off topic”

    Yes, Mark, I had a similar experience as well. With me, Countrywide inflated the value of my house(without my knowledge) and snuck it in there. Yes, I signed so I’m responsible, also a little dumb and stupid. Where do I go for the “good” knowledge? Apparently not the banks. They were my guiding light in the first place. Bluntly speaking, It seems that I should seek to learn how to loot effectively so that I can afford to play the “American Dream”. Seriously, What is one person to do? Directed at you Mr. Wilson.

    1. Tim

      They actually made you pay too much for the house!? LoL. Sorry that’s too much for me. That’s the ultimate. They didn’t just screw with rates, terms, ballon payments, they just changed how much you owed!

      How could you miss that whe signing the docs? Did they drag you out of bed at 2am, drug you and have you sign in a room with terrible lighting with the notary tapping annoiningly on the desk rushing you to finish already?

      It just seems shocking to me that any individual would be signing up on a transaction that could ultimately be an order of magnitude larger than their annual income and not even look at the baseline number of how big the loan was? I could hardly trust myself in that kind of situation let alone some business 9which produced the contract I’m signing) who’s only interest is in making a profit off me.

      Our education system needs to have a manditory class on financial fraud and deception in high school given what we are seeing from this mortgage crisis.

    2. Elizabeth

      I had something similar done to me — inflated the value of my (mother’s) house when we refinanced. But I knew about it and signed the mortgage. It was apparently a real appraisal, done in 2005 when the bubble was in full swing. The total we were rolling into the mortgage, both mortgage balance and home improvement loan, was well below that “value.” In fact, I laughed at it. Like, thanks for the compliment, the house isn’t for sale, and we’re comfortable with this fixed-rate mortgage at 5-3/4%. It’s called a 30-year mortgage because we’re going to live there for 30 years and nobody is going to make more than 5-3/4% off us.

  18. MBS Investor

    “Modesto authorities responded by sending 100 police and SWAT snipers to counter-attack, and it ended Waco-style, with the fourplex structure burning to the ground with the shooter inside.”

    This may be a minor point relative to the post, and maybe even sound a little selfish on my part, but if you are trying to forclose, wouldn’t it be better to kill these people without burning the properties down?

    I mean, I know the servicer is fronting the interest payments to me until the forclosed property is sold, and that I do safely get my interest payments for a while. But I’m wondering if the property burns down and doesn’t get sold, how long does it take for the servicer to write down the property and then my interest payments stop?

    Just wondering?

    1. PL

      Long enough for you to file suit against the servicer for breach of contract and, perhaps, the Trustee for breach of fiduciary duty?

    2. Up the Ante

      “.. but if you are trying to forclose, wouldn’t it be better to kill these people without burning the properties down? ”

      Exactly. And you know those snipers want to, they just won’t ‘let them’. Imagine considering yourself a good shot yet Cannot recognize your own relation to the ogres you serve ? Like Breivik believing he’s the epitome of courage in Norway, yet surrendered like a lamb to the SWAT’ies.

      Concept ? Warped attention produces warped results.

      1. MBS Investor

        So…you’re saying I’ve got a bunch of psycho idiots administering my AAA rated mortgage backed securities?

        1. Up the Ante

          Quite possibly. I remember Yves once transferring something a friend of hers told her once about a meth-smoking mortgage writer or something at one of the big banks where production was key.

          You may be the recipient of a ‘friendly fire incident’. You can insert a lol there if you wish.

  19. Peterpaul

    You cannot lose if you do not play the game.

    Withdraw your participation, slowly and in as many areas as possible, by doing some of the following: move monies from banks to local credit unions; shop more at locally owned stores; buy less new items; buy used items and learn to repair them; garden; save monies in silver and gold, not fiat currencies; vote out all incumbents – they’ve all had their turn and been found wanting; etc. etc. etc.

    If enough people do it the powers that be will have to react…

    1. F. Beard

      move monies from banks to local credit unions; Peterpaul

      Not good enough; credit unions are just banks that are owned by their depositors.

      save monies in silver and gold, Peterpaul

      Silver and gold are previous tools of banker oppression. Also, buying PMs merely transfers reserves from your bank to the PM seller’s bank while actual cash withdrawals REMOVE reserves from the banking system. Our problem though is not having a safe place to store cash outside the banking system; the mattress is not a serious option.

      not fiat currencies; Peterpaul

      Fiat is the ONLY ethical money form for government debts though it should not be de jure and de facto legal tender for private debts as it currently is.

        1. F. Beard

          With our morally confused monetary system, I do not judge other people’s investment decisions.

          For example: Many people would just like to save some money risk-free – neither earning interest on it nor losing purchasing power. Yet, because of fractional reserves and the Fed one cannot simply accumulate money without it losing purchasing power. (Not that money should be hoarded – it shouldn’t be past a reasonable amount for short term needs.)

          It’s a mess. We’ve been warned about usury and banking for a long time but many justify them with TINOW. Well, there is.

          1. amanasleep

            F. Beard:

            “For example: Many people would just like to save some money risk-free – neither earning interest on it nor losing purchasing power.”

            The solution to this need not be monetary. Strong Unions and labor rights solve this problem naturally, by ensuring wages keep pace with inflation. The problem is how to keep management from lobbying to erode labor rights in good times.

          2. F. Beard

            Strong Unions and labor rights solve this problem naturally, by ensuring wages keep pace with inflation. amanasleep

            Without the counterfeiting cartel, the banking system, my contention is that the corporations would be largely owned by their workers. Thus there would be far less distinction between “capital” and “labor”.

            And not everyone can belong or desires to belong to a union. Thus they get left behind and resent both capital and labor.

          3. amanasleep

            “Without the counterfeiting cartel, the banking system, my contention is that the corporations would be largely owned by their workers. Thus there would be far less distinction between “capital” and “labor”.”

            Can you elaborate? Assuming Fractional Reserve Banking were done away with, why would companies be more likely to pay their employees in stock than in government fiat?

          4. F. Beard

            why would companies be more likely to pay their employees in stock than in government fiat? amanasleep

            Because the current banking cartel suppresses interest rates. Without it, real interest rates would rise to where corporations would find it increasing attractive to issue more common stock rather than borrow fiat.

            Of course, corporations might try to pay workers with non-voting “store-coupons” but hopefully the workers would scorn such attempts and insist on equity or fiat – nothing less.

          5. amanasleep

            F. Beard:

            “Because the current banking cartel suppresses interest rates. Without it, real interest rates would rise to where corporations would find it increasing attractive to issue more common stock rather than borrow fiat.

            Of course, corporations might try to pay workers with non-voting “store-coupons” but hopefully the workers would scorn such attempts and insist on equity or fiat – nothing less.”

            I find it unconvincing to assert that “hopefully” workers would insist. That leaves them in much the same situation as today. It is natural that a company issuing more common stock would look to market it beyond its own employees, or concentrate it in the hands of a few executives, or make sure it is sold only through approved brokers. I see no mechanism that would ensure that the distribution of the common stock would be more equitable, or that employees would have more rights without asserting them through organized action.

            IMO if we want to encourage greater employee ownership of company stock, we must make it more profitable for companies to issue voting shares to their employees. Only legislation can do that.

          6. F. Beard

            I find it unconvincing to assert that “hopefully” workers would insist. That leaves them in much the same situation as today. amanasleep

            Well, I also advocate a universal bailout of the entire population till ALL debt to the banks is paid off and I support a Minimum Income too. That should make workers far less desperate for jobs.

  20. John Figler

    I serve the banking interests. Like the Pentagon and the banksters, I want you all to focus on the easiest thing of all and focus on what a bad man Bales was. I will not post a comment here that has anything to do with the predatory financial fraud that the banks unleashed on this population while suckering and distracting us with wars overseas, because that’s the sort of worthless f*cking tool that I am. You can tell a troll by the emphasis. ‘Scuse me while I get on my knees and eat my bank-funded PR firm manager’s ass out again.

    (first posted at exiledonline April 17th, 2012 7:28 am)

  21. Mcmike

    If you are a conservative who cheered the militarization of police and rampant expansion of the surveilance/security state post-9/11, then you have only yourself to blame.

    For an ideological group that drones endlessly about “freedom”, the American right hasn’t the slightest clue what it means.

    The elevation of corporate power coupled with the rise of the fascist state created the very totalitarian structure the right claimed to fear, while their eyes were focussed like sheep on muslims and “socialists”.

    The funny part: they will take away your guns eventually.

    1. SidFinster

      But will we still be allowed to wear little American flag pins on our lapels?

      Will we be still be allowed to attach cute American flag stickers to our SUVs?

      Will we still be allowed to chant “USA! USA!”?

      Lets talk about the issues that really matter.

  22. mac

    It seems to me that this article and the comments ae less about the SGT and more about raving about known thugs and criminals. What of the SGT?

  23. Up the Ante

    Zombie frauds foreclosing on soldiers, that should be fixable by a contingent of Marines saying prayers at J.P. Morgan pledging their fealty to fraudbiz, right ?

    Naked emperors defended by bomb-shredded patriots. Stark, in-your-face imagery from the kleptocrats.

  24. Tim

    Honestly, earlier today I commented to myself that all it will take to end all this fraud is one pissed off special ops sniper who gains access to his gear and a nice list of who’s who in this epic fraud to end it all.

    I’m not joking. They start dropping one by one from the top down.
    Bernarke,
    Paulson,
    Geither,
    Eric Holder,
    Top 5 Bank CEOs,
    Mozillo,
    AIG financial products head,
    Haynes,
    rocket docket judges,

    The mainstream media loves scandal and crisis and would dive into this head first and from all angles including polls revealing a shocking percentage of americans approving of this sniper doing the devils work to the people supposedly “doing God’s work.”

    I’m not recommending this to happen, but it is within the realm of possibility.

    It just is an extreme possibility that clarifies what we already know: Fraud does not stop until equal enforcement begins.

    1. SidFinster

      Any student of history knows that revolutions can take place in societies that seem to be rock-stable, and that the pace of revolution happens faster than anyone thinks possible.

      In 2009, nobody predicted the Arab Spring. Yet it happened.

      The other thing with revolutions is that events almost never turn out the way the instigators wanted, especially instigators from the polite, liberal and educated middle classes that were excluded from power under the old regime. In fact, once a revolution starts rolling, it frequently eats those who started it.

      The French Revolution, the English Civil War, the Iranian and the Great October Socialist Revolution all provide adequate edification to anyone who chooses to examine them.

      Progressive and overeducated NC types in those societies often found that once they got their “revolution”, they liked the old regime better.

      1. abprosper

        Sage Advice. Revolutions suck.

        As Tommy Lee Jones put in in Under Siege

        A revolution gets its name by always coming back around in your face. You tried to kill me you son of a b*tch… so welcome to the revolution.

        And if there is an American revolution after the ruling class is deposed I am pretty sure its supporters the supporters on the left of multiculturalism will join them along with pro choice people and a heap of others.

        A US revolution won’t be 1776 all over again , it will be the horrors of tribal war with all the delights of guilt by association, monkey courts and class wide collective punishment.

        The only way that could be avoided is with a previously agreed upon splitting of the union into separate nations.

        Is anyone ready for that ?

        Thanks no, I’d rather try and find a way to fix the current mess …

        1. ambrit

          Dear Fiend;
          And who’s to say that the U.S.A. will endure forever? There was an interesting little book back in the seventies that laid out the proposition that America could quite easily break up into between five and seven self contained, homogeneous regional states. Sure, the North won that War Between the States. It won due to superior industry and manpower. Now do a thought experiment and imagine a new War Between the States. Make it a three way affair, or a four way, and see what fun ensues. History can be a wonderful and enlightening thing. Then remember; you’re living it every day.

      2. Nathanael

        Hey, Sid, I’ve been saying this all along. The revolution is guaranteed to happen in the US if the unsustainable path laid out by the banksters continues. I don’t want a revolution, but it’s gonna happen just like the French Revolution did, unless we get the sociopaths out of power.

  25. Elizabeth

    This is such a shocking and well-written article. Just awful. This Barnard ought to be sent to the Taliban — do you what you want with him, guys, and be just as imaginative as he was about ways to take it up the —.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Paramount Equity was founded in 2004, and quickly spread across the Western states, issuing some $8 billion in loans. Paramount Equity’s subprime predation really took off in 2006, right after the Bush Administration’s Department of Housing (HUD) and the FHA qualified Paramount Equity government insurance on its mortgages.

    ———————-

    Is this an isolated incident, where a newcomer was qualified by HUD and FHA for government insurance only to end up issuing $8 billion in (questionable) loans?

  27. Susan

    think these Americans have had it rough, and were cheated?

    The Afghans whose families were killed have it much, much, much, much worse.

    1. Elizabeth

      That’s what makes this story so sickening. Down the line, the people who get shafted are the Afghans. And some guy with a little mortgage company still gets to strut around like a hometown hero.

    2. ambrit

      And when you consider that it looks pretty much like the Taliban is coming back to power in Afghanistan in the near future, because we thought we could manage “nation building” like a Little League game….

  28. Glenn Condell

    So the hero/soldiers, the troops we must fervently support, the sacred platform upon which the elite have constructed what is sold as New Rome but which looks to others more like the New Reich, even they are just a class of marks for the fraudsters that have succeeded in crowding honesty out of business in particular and life in general, in the land of the free.

    Looking more closely it seems the soldier in question and his wife had engaged in similar deception as a viable form of livelihood (so many others having disappeared), in turn ripping off other unsuspecting victims. Who knows, maybe those victims too had swindled their own prey further downstream.

    And to avoid the punishment due to small fry like him (as opposed to the further rewards showered on the sharks that ate he and his wife) he skedaddled into the imperial army, there to take it all out on a people who had too little to be defrauded of anything, except their lives.

    Talk about dog eat dog. Dog eat dog eat Hajji, while the ‘ceiling cats’ nibble ambrosia and lay their bets (bets they can no longer lose)

    Maybe we don’t have to worry about eating the rich; one day they’ll end up with only each other left on the menu.

  29. Nathanael

    Seriously, what happened to the other three condos which the police BURNED TO THE GROUND? I think there are some major criminal claims against the police about that.

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