Obama Will Not Sign Bill on Affidavits; Had Raised Worries as Free Pass to Banks on Foreclosures

MIrabile dictu, for once Obama isn’t taking every order coming from the banking industry. There is no story up yet, merely a “Breaking News” headline “White House: President Obama will not sign foreclosure bill” and an e-mail alert from the Washington Post:

Amid growing furor over the legitimacy of foreclosure proceedings, a White House official said President Obama will not sign a two-page bill passed by lawmakers without public debate after details emerged that the legislation could loosen standards for foreclosure documents.

By way of background, we posted on this measure two days ago; it appears to have been treated as serious when Reuters picked up the story yesterday.

Before readers get too encouraged, this little measure only would have addressed at most a component of the bank mess (there was some dispute as to how broad the implications of the bill might be; we have been told by folks on the Hill that there was no legal analysis of the bill). So while this step is a potential sign that the era of carte blanche for banks may have ended, it is far too early to be certain.

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  1. Jackrabbit

    Yes, miracles can happen in the weeks before an election.

    Lets see what the final outcome is.

    1. Francois T

      Miracle about which T.S. Eliot famously wrote:

      An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.

  2. CaitlinO

    “while this step is a potential sign that the era of carte blanche for banks may have ended, it is far too early to be certain”

    But one can hope. The genie isn’t going to be put back in the bottle. This time the impact isn’t just focused on minorities, the overextended, the unemployed and dispossessed. Essentially anyone who owns a home that was bought, re-financed or had the mortgage sold since, say, 2002 is facing the prospect that their title is no good. And possibly can’t be made good.

    This one is too big to sweep under the rug.

  3. Sauron

    Wake me when it’s over. He probably only needs better CYA/spin language in it–either that or he’s waiting until the holiday season when no-one notices.

  4. Kevin de Bruxelles

    The key words here seem to be “without public debate”.

    That translates from Obama-speak into English as “after the election”.

  5. mg

    Pocket veto means it can’t be overridden by a 2/3’s congressional vote.

    I must say I have spent a few minutes trying to figure out how the banks benefit from the President not signing this bill. Just a sign o’ times. Cynicism reigns supreme.

  6. Tao Jonesing

    Obama is going to sign the bill into law unchanged after the public debate shows how overblown the public concerns about the bill actually are, and this fact, in turn, will be used to argue that the public concerns regarding the underlying foreclosure fraud mess are as equally unfounded.

    This will happen before the elections because the evil that the banks are doing is distracting the masses from hating each other and focusing all their ire on the banks. The Democrats and Republicans desperately need to get things back to the false frame of left versus right.

    1. Glen

      Go read Denninger on this:


      He has a dead on analysis of how this bill will be used to corrupt the notary laws just like a national law was used to over turn state usury laws and now credit cards can charge 39% interest. (Hint: It’s much cheaper to buy and control a state legislature.)

      If that bill is signed into law, we’re going to get screwed.

      1. Tao Jonesing

        Karl has an interesting theory, but he has no facts to back it up. I’m not saying that his theory is wrong, but at this point he cannot point to any particular state’s notary law that is “ridiculously loose” enough to lead to the consequences he says will occur if he law is passed. He’s right to be suspicious, though.

        Check out Denninger’s interview with Dylan Ratigan. The attorney general of Ohio was on at the beginning of the segment, and she detailed essentially fraudulent activity by the notary public, something that no judge would be able to determine from looking at a document that has been notarized, regardless of where the document was notarized. FYI — the bill was first introduced on October 14, 2009, so it actually took almost a year to get through Congress.


        1. Glen

          OK, I’ll buy that, but given our track record with tilting the playing field to support the banks:

          HAMP (ineffective – just a way for banks to milk more money)
          FASB rules changes
          Investment banks using Fed window
          Bailing out AIG at full value

          And now a potential danger of corrupting property law all to support a bunch of crooked banks?

          How about we just say enough even if it’s a potential danger.

  7. Allen C

    Perhaps this is evidence that more and more folks are reading non-MSM information sources. Was this a bone to the complainers? Likely, based on history. In the end they always seem to bail out and protect their monied constituents.

    What we could use is a control fraud commission with William Black in charge, adequate funding, and adequate power.

  8. R Foreman

    The geniuses in DC have been convinced that the nightmare is all about collapsing banks, when the nightmare is really about not collapsing the banks fast enough.

    They’re a little slow (as in 3 years late) but they’re starting to get it.

  9. Ron

    Apr 27, 2010: This bill passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote. A record of each representative’s position was not kept.
    Sep 27, 2010: This bill passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent. A record of each senator’s position was not kept.

    1. alex

      Voice votes should be banned. If you want to get paid to be in congress at least your votes should be recorded.

      The unanimity in the Senate is disgusting. Who was present? Et tu Sanders, Durbin, Feingold and Franken? Please tell me we’re not that far gone.

  10. propertius

    I’m sure that in the next session, they’ll just conceal the bill as an amendment to the Medicare funding authorization (as they did with the Patriot Act renewal in this Congress).

  11. Nelcisco

    What a mess. I just want all this to just hurry up and end so that I can purchase a foreclosed ranch home in the central coast of California and watch the world crash and burn. I’ve had it with all these hasas that run Wall Street and our government. Fuck ’em all!!!

    1. Lyle

      The critical issue is that the house is in recess until after the election. As a result the clause about pocket vetos comes into effect. Since this bill started in the house and it is in recess, the clause “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a Law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a Law.”(quote from constitution) Since the house did not designate a person to accept returns its a pocket veto

  12. Dagny

    If he doesn’t sign the bill it just becomes law anyway because Congress is still in session. A pocket veto requires that Congress be adjourned.

    I suppose he could be buying time to investigate the issue further and could still veto the bill before the 10 days are up.

  13. Johnny Dugan

    Own a house now? It’s price should be where it was in 2001.
    Wall Street manipulated house prices and this had never been done before. Imagine, if they tried the same shit with Silver , they’d have been thrown in jail long ago. The Democrats who voted against cram down in 2009 stand as an infamous display of how rule of banks is nearly unchallenged. Obama’s failure so far, to do anything to stem the bleeding of debt from millions of American’s remains one of his administrations most prominent failures.

  14. curlydan

    For the first time in a long time, I’ve got to give Obama credit for doing the right thing.

    We owe many thanks to Yves, DDay from firedoglake, and others who raised this flag high. I think it must have had an impact. It didn’t hurt to be a month from an election, either.

    1. curlydan

      The proximity of the election may help one cause (HR3808) but definitely hurt another (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell).

  15. attempter

    Is the whole thing kabuki for November? The Democrats orchestrated this seeming act of brazen Congressional lawlessness (and bamboozled the Republicans in the process) to set up Obama to look good by refusing to sign it? And the coattails of voters falling for that are supposed to help those same congressmen in November?

    Or maybe it’s that plus what everyone said above, enacting it after the election.

    Well, the “progressives” do keep proving that you can fool some of the people all of the time.

    1. Paul Repstock

      Attempter: do you wsh to suggest that Republicans are stupid people?

      My take is that the unnanamous vote was a signal of the importance of the bill and the fact that whoever is orchestrating this Dog and pony show wanted to present a solid united front.

      Where this is not the case there are always a few naysayers or a few just told to vote no, so that there is an appearance of Democracy!

      1. attempter

        On the contrary, I think that as a rule the Reps are far less stupid (and craven) than the Dems, which is why they’re far less interested in showing “united fronts”.

        Unlike the Dems, they want to win.

        Unlike the Dems, they know that the best way to rake in the money and serve their masters is to get and hold power. So when they’re out of power they seek nothing but to get it back. Even the good of the banks’ rigged mortgage schemes takes a back seat to that.

        Nevertheless, in this case it looks like the Dems snookered them. Why would Reps want to help even the banks if the result could be to help the Dems in the election? That’s the way Dems normally operate, not Reps.

        1. Externality

          I think that the bill was supposed to quietly slip through unnoticed. Once news of the bill appeared in the blogosphere, however, the political costs associated with its passage became too high.

          I often think that the Clintonista around Obama have a hard time understanding how the Internet (and Fox News) have changed the world since the Clinton administration. (While the Internet existed in the mid-1990s, it was much, much, less sophisticated.) Fifteen years ago, a bill like this would have quietly passed, unmentioned by the ABC/NBC/CBS/CNN and by the ten or so newspaper chains. Now, when a site like this or Zero Hedge learned of the bill, the news rapidly spread around the world, and the MSM eventually had to cover it.

          1. attempter

            That’s possible, although they never worried about that before. Sure the election’s coming up and things look grim for them, but that’s been the case for a while now, and that never caused them to retreat from their brazen criminality and open contempt before.

            I agree that they wanted to quietly push this through. Just look at the MSM blackout on it. So far as I saw, the NYT is only mentioning it for the first time today, in having to report the pocket veto, and they’re playing down the piece, ghettoizing it in the small-print no-blurb part at the bottom of the business page.

            (In the piece the NYT fraudulently represents it as an inncocent piece of housekeeping that somehow ran into this buzzsaw.)

        2. freepressmyass

          The bill was sponsored by a Republican.
          Co sponsored by one Dem and one Rep.

          It was a sneaky backstabbing vote against the American people, with full blown bipartisan support.
          Damnn thing flew through both houses with unanimous consent.

      1. attempter

        What I mean is that if the Republicans anticipated this kabuki move they wouldn’t have so blithely facilitated it.

        If I were a Republican under those conditions I would’ve suddenly found myself as a stickler for the right process. “We have to fully debate this and vote on it in the proper manner. Our duty to the American people demands no less. And what if that anti-bank socialist Obama tries to pocket veto it? We have to be prepared to come back into session to override that. I want to hear a commitment from my colleagues to do that. Otherwise we’ll know the whole thing’s a big Democratic scam.”

  16. Paul Repstock

    Whoa folks! Don’t paint every announcement in negative colours.

    Remember that ‘Both parties’, voted for the bill..”Bipartisan/Unannomus.

    So basically, with every hand in the government aganst him, the president has said “NO”.

    The interesting part for me will be to see how many, and who, and by what means they attack him for it.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      This is similar to Gov Jan Brewer’s “delay for due consideration” of Arizona’s SB 1070 “Jesus, show me your papers” bill. Of course it was a slam-dunk she was only pretending to deliberate for effect, before she signed it.

      Just as Obama pretended to support the public option and not individual mandates, to chasten BP, repeal DADT, engage in diplomacy with Iran, freeze settlements in Palestine, close GITMO, declassify Abu Ghraib, end torture and rendition, revoke telecom immunity, support serious financial regulation and consumer protection, revise NAFTA, push climate change agreements, etc., etc., —in the end he will reliably do whatever the banksters, generals or AIPAC want him to do.

      I hope to be proven wrong, but this is almost certainly just a feint delay.

  17. alex

    Perchance, is Obama pissed because after he kissed the banks’ butts they’re still giving so much more to R’s than D’s? Obama even kissed both cheeks. Are the banks upset that he didn’t use enough tongue on the right cheek? Is it possible that arrogance and a sense of entitlement will finally have at least some small comeuppance? We peasants gotta have some hope.

    1. John

      Maybe Obama isn’t so spineless after all.

      “I gave you trillions from the Treasury and now you are giving all the campaign money to Republicans? Take a look over here and think again guys.”

      1. freepressmyass

        You kiddin’? Obama’s just stalling till the midterms.
        He’ll sign it.

        Axlerod told CBS today that they didn’t agree with a national moratorium on foreclosures, and the banks just needed to sort of tidy up (my words) the paperwork before they could get back to the business of throwing people out of their homes.

  18. steve schmandt

    Yves, this comment is off topic to this post, but as i read
    a post of yours from a few days ago i cringed about your misuse of slang in describing obama as being weak. Hopefully your slur to the gay community was entirely due to misunderstanding US slang. ‘limp wristed’ is slang for gay and inappropriate for non-homophobes. You wrote:

    “Glenn Greenwald was pilloried for pointing out the at best limp wristed Obama…”

  19. Paul Tioxon

    Well Yves, when things get bad enough, some survival skills are exercised. If the banks can not serve the greater social order, they become dispensable. Maybe the servicing arms, maybe the legal foreclosure mills will be the final bogey man.
    You know, in deer hunter country, in the northern counties of PA, there are guns being drawn and people being shot at. Those gas drilling companies from Texas aren’t used to the people that torched Dixie. Maybe some of you Wall St MBA’s have the spine of real patriots. Who Knew? Congratulations for pressing the rule of law thing into the faces of the Wall St adviser crowd.

    I was beginning to think you were just a fly trap for angry citizens to be used as a neat digital trail for federales. But sometime the unintended consequences may lead to some useful results. So, I guess you need to beef up your internet forensics defeating capacities so you can continue your good work.

    Maybe the democrats will step up and bloody some of the banks to let them know who is boss. Now the president, the speaker and the senate leader are all calling for a halt to investigate this mess. Thank god for mid terms coinciding with this crisis. It’s just amazing. There might just be some substantive incremental movement toward a brighter future.

  20. Gil Mendozza Zuntzes

    hum… ******* T O P AND U R G E N T ************

    To all Seniors in America!!! The Rise of Reverse Mortgages
    Is the Newest RIP-OFF of Our United States Government

  21. readerOfTeaLeaves

    FYI, I went from NC over to the Dylan Ratigan show, and he has a segment today that is informative, and seeks to explain the dynamics of the mortgage fraud to a wide audience. One guest is a Tea Party founder; the other is the Ohio Sec of State.

    For what it’s worth, I’m hugely pleased to see a frank discussion of the rampant fraud in our nation. More, please!

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      It’s heartening to see the NC work spread more widely.
      Not surprised, given the seriousness of the fraud under discussion, that NC is getting DNS attacks. Hope Yves gets some excellent tech resources.

  22. Gil Mendozza Zuntzes

    hum… hum… To all Gullible, Stupid and Crazy Americans’…
    The Mortgage Giants: The FHA… Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
    Still and Are FRAUD Agencies Of Our United States Government,

  23. Bill

    I dread the day Obama was elected . This is THE FIRST RIGHT THING I have seen or heard of him doing . So my guard is up .
    Again there are so many ulterior motives for the man doing so . Whats in it for Obama ? Whats in it for the Demoncrats ? Whats in it for the Banks ? Ultimately , the elephant in the room is the millions of defaults by J6P , defaults caused by myriad reasons . But hold back the house payment , lots o cash goes to the fraud economy . Are any “saving” part of the payment not made ? Doubt it . So why foreclose , let the debtors cash be spent by order of El Dictatore .

  24. A.Lizard

    Hash: SHA1

    IMO, the bill died because it would have made perpretating fraud via electronic document MORE difficult, not less.

    The legislative history was that the bill was introduced at the request of court stenographers who wanted a Federal standard for evaluating the validity of out-of-state e-document notary signatures.

    The bill set a standard that could only be met via the use of public-private key technology, which is the gold standard with respect to digitally authenticating documents. With the right software, a signature can be traced uniquely to its owner and it’s timestamped so when it was signed, and if the document is altered after signing, that also becomes obvious.

    Since when do people who plan to commit fraud try to get good document audit trails required by Federal law? HR3808 is the only example I know of.

    It was supported by the people who should have logically opposed it and opposed by the people who should have logically supported it (i.e. those who think fraud is bad) because people misunderstood:
    (B) in the case of an electronic record, the seal information is securely attached to, or logically associated with, the electronic record so as to render the record tamper-resistant.

    That means a cryptographic signature. Like the one on this posting. These are EASY to authenticate. Just use the right software package, once it’s available, a judge or clerk or attorney can run it and be told instantly whether the document is authentic or fake.

    My guess is that the financial industry was frantically looking for a bill which would require courts to accept ANY out-of-state electronic document as valid.

    You know what generally happens when law is made by Congress about subject like computers and technology.

    I think a whole bunch of lobbyists just learned the lesson that if a bill has a technology component and they didn’t write it, they need to FIND EXPERTS ON THAT TECHNOLOGY BEFORE THEY DECIDE TO SUPPORT THE BILL.
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)


    1. Skippy

      Accept only physically previewed, witnessed, notarised, wet ink legal documentation!!!

      Skippy…electronic seals bah…time stamps bah…try holding a photon or electron accountable in court…shezzz

      1. i on the ball patriot

        Same for voting — paper votes hand counted by real folks!

        Are we ready for the election boycotts yet?

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. attempter

          That’s exactly what I was thinking while reading that – Diebold voting machines.

          But Lizard never met a corruptible and corrupted technology he doesn’t like. Assuming he’s not again talking his book, then he simply utterly fails to comprehend that resiliency is a value in itself, and this means we must reject the cult of pseudo-efficiency-via-technology.

          As we see with those voting machines, which of course are also claimed to reduce fraud but actually facilitate it, this isn’t real efficiency but rather a deeper inefficiency, as it renders us more vulnerable to every kind of failure.

          I do thank Lizard, though, for pointing out something I should have suspected right away but missed in all the excitement – that underlying this bill is another corporate boondoggle, another patent tollbooth somebody wants to force us all through. We can’t have stenographers using non-proprietary working methods, oh no!

          So that explains how the bill arose in the first place, that stupid story about how “stenographers complained to me that their jobs have this hassle, and they need federal relief.”

          That made no sense to me before, but now I get it. These “stenographers” were illegally acting as unlicensed corporate lobbyists!

          1. liberal

            The technology is foolproof, but there are limits to what it can do.

            It’s essentially like a key and a lock that can’t be picked. Problem is if someone steals the key.

          2. A.Lizard

            Abject ignorance about information technology doesn’t make you a better progressive or “purer”, it just makes you a bigger sucker for various narratives the plutonomy wants progressives to push and for a lot of crap technology toys, like the one you’re using to push your uninformed opinions out to the Net with. And an easier surveillance target.

            Bottom line: Progressives were so eager for public recognition from the White House that they are accepting Obama’s veto as a Great Progressive Victory and like you, shouting down anyone asking inconvenient questions like … WHY Obama would veto a bill that passed Congress unanimously… unless he knew that Congress wasn’t going to make the first order of business when they convened next a veto override.

            Why would Obama have that confidence unless he knew the banksters would not support this bill a second time?

            Yeah, right, clap louder.

          3. attempter

            You can prove your good faith and prove me wrong about that part of it any time you want.

            Just get rid of IP “law” and replace it with the equitable Creative Commons paradigm.

            Until then Occam’s Razor will continue to tell me to smell a crook whenever I hear this kind of thing.

          4. i on the ball patriot

            Voting technology is not foolproof.

            Voting technology is proof of fools.

            All technology is deception created to get the needs met of its creator.

            The measure of the fairness of a voting system is the transparency for accountability and equal involvement of all of those who vote in that system. Few understand the voting technology and so the transparency for accountability and the equal involvement in terms of trust is immediately lost and given to the few technocrats and their masters.

            All citizens understand hand counted paper ballots and so all can be equally involved in the transparency for accountability of the process and trust is gained.

            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  25. Skippy

    I would posit that ramifications of this are global, not so much as a finance issue (yes many think money makes the world go around), but as one of authority. How will the nations embroiled in this mess ever have any standing in the international community, when it can be shown that on one hand a high standard of morality and ethics are the foundation stones to its exsitance is broad cast so loudly, and on the other hand wreck such social havoc in the name of enriching so a few…over the many.

    Neoliberal…cough *free market* ideology totality has come home to roost, in the very tree of our Republic Union…can you now feel its droppings…our toil digested for their fattening, released after extracting every molecule of its value, leaving the toxic after thoughts to trickle down upon all but them. Hell they even bet on you standing there and taking it…sigh.

    Skippy…America is but a bird cage, its proud Political and Financial Cocks…display their finery, whilst the Commons provide the material which covers its bottom…at least we have a job..purpose in life, whilst the others regale in their image provided…by their masters well placed mirrors.

  26. Sunny

    ‘The unanimity in the Senate is disgusting. Who was present? Et tu Sanders, Durbin, Feingold and Franken? Please tell me we’re not that far gone.’

    This why I call them ‘REPOCRATS” same(Red or Blue) folks with different hats with TWO missions:

    Get elected and get re-elected.

    We will get TWO choices: Dumb or DUMBER!

  27. Abe, NYC

    Seriously though, what does Obama stand to lose if he pulls the plug on banks?

    Campaign money? – I think not. Apparently banks have been showering that on GOP lately. Orchestrated negative publicity? – hard to imagine. There couldn’t be more of that on the right, and whatever-passes-for-the-left simply cannot follow that course without losing all credibility. Cries of unfair treatment? – laughable. Sticking with gentleman’s agreement? – after this very administration has been repeatedly stabbed in the back by those very gentlemen? – even more laughable.

    I’m definitely NOT saying this is a turning point, Obama has now taken on the banks, etc. That would be most surprising. I’m just trying to understand, from a pragmatic point of view, what it is that still binds Obama to the banks. There are very obvious pros for going against the banks, and there is still some time, if very little. What are the cons? Disappearance of campaign cash in 2012? I find that hard to believe. The best answer seems to be FUD. But really…

  28. i on the ball patriot

    Deception has no better friend than gullibility.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  29. Hugh

    This was a bill that was meant to slide in under the radar. Voice vote in the House, unanimous consent in the Senate, an Obama signature on a Friday afternoon, but it happened to get caught by some, right as bank foreclosure fraud was percolating up even to the generally oblivious MSM, four weeks before an election where the Democrats look to take a beating. Not signing it won’t sway a lot of votes but signing it would likely have pissed a lot people off.

    You also have to consider that foreclosure suspensions are actually in the banks’ interests since they avoid the expenses and liabilities of taking these properties back and banks can continue to keep inflated values for them on their books.

  30. John Drake

    There goes Obama’s revolving door into the financial industry when he’s booted out of office in 2012. Goldman Sachs just painted over his name on the door of his waiting office on the 45th floor…

    1. Abe, NYC

      You mean, a Goldman Sachs office (even if it were possible) is worth more than a second Presidential term? Unlikely, in my humble opinion.

  31. TC

    I am wondering if the President’s pocket veto of HR 3808 intends to precipitate a new phase of crisis that, further consolidates the banking system into fewer hands, as well as solidifies the budding public-private partnership via added bailout arrangements likely to be sold once again as being “necessary for preventing an economic depression.”

    Maybe the President is taking a page out of the Hank Paulson, Chaos For Dummies playbook in an effort to affect the right balance between consolidation and hyperinflation needed to successfully pull off a new swindle whose further objective is to incapacitate Congress and elevate the unitary executive.

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