Virginia Legislature Proves Who Really Rules: Pro Consumer Mortgage Bills Sent to Siberia

What is it going to take to end rule by banksters? If Virginia is any sign, voters may need to adopt a policy of “Leave No Incumbent Standing” until legislators get the message.

The Virginia House effectively sidetracked several pro-consumer mortgage bills, including one that would have given borrowers more time to mount defenses in light of Virginia’s unusually fast foreclosure process, as well as an bill that would have ended the economic justification for MERS by requiring all mortgage transfers to be registered at the local courthouse.

The mechanism for deep-sixing the bills was relegating them to an obscure panel for further study.

From the Associated Press:

A state House subcommittee voted Monday to effectively kill legislation that would have slowed the pace of home mortgage foreclosures in Virginia that is among the fastest in the nation.
With one dissent on an unrecorded show-of-hands vote as the powerful banking lobby looked on, a Commerce and Labor subcommittee sent the bills for more study by an obscure gubernatorial task force.

The action included all House bills addressing what Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, calls “drive-by foreclosures.”

Delegate Bob Marshall’s bill, which was before the 11-member panel, would have extended the foreclosure notice requirement from 14 days to 45. It would also require that loan and property records be recorded in local courthouses.

“What you saw in there was government of the banks, by the banks and for the banks,” Marshall, R-Prince William, said afterward.

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  1. vlade

    I believe what US needs now is someone channeling Saul Alinksy

    I can’t believe there isn’t anyone who can’t do it, but I would believe that there’s any number of those who are not willing to.

    1. attempter

      I believe what US needs now is someone channeling Saul Alinksy

      How about you?

      I don’t say that to be flip – a big part of the problem is the way even people who have rejected existing elites still have that implicitly elitist mindset, that we have to sit around waiting for “leaders”.

      But if we’re going to do anything, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. We’re the team. So I think a basic rule we need to take to heart is, if you have an idea and it’s possible for you to do it yourself, then you should try to do it yourself.

      As a movement organizes, it’ll become easier to express ideas and look for the people best-suited to carry them out. But the only way the movement is going to get started in the first place is for individuals and small groups to start doing.

      So let’s be our own Alinskys.

        1. attempter

          OK, but I bet wherever you are the same thing is true. These are the ultimate totalitarians, and there’s literally nowhere on earth over which they don’t seek total domination. The only options regarding when one will be confronted by them is today or soon.

      1. Ernest Scott in Asheville

        Double Amen. WE have to be the ones to take action. That is not a difficult concept to state or to grasp.
        What is difficult for most Americans is “Risk”.
        They want all things that require taking taking personal risks but they want to pursue it without risk.
        They avoid the risk of backlash at themselves by never personally – individually or collectively and visibly – confronting the authorities behind the problems they cite.
        Blogging or leaving anonymous online comments hardly cuts it, folk.
        Worse, for many people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, they have lived upwards of 2,3,4 decades where the biggest risk they’ve knowingly taken was choosing between which college or community college to attend; which car model to get a loan on; which subdivision to live in; etc.
        The concept of risking their name, their identity and reputation in any act of physical or verbal protest or resistance to any institutionalized authority figure scares the bejesus out of them.
        “What would my boss think?” “What if I’m seen?”.
        Modern America is not France; Americans will not take to the street en masse. They will not physically challenge a system. If it involves anything more than leaving anonymous comments online or voting every 2 or 4 years, they freeze up like Deer in a Headlight.
        The numbers of our co-workers, our neighbors, our dear friends, even our enemies, who behave like this are staggering….is it upwards of 250 million Americans?
        Those who call for change ignore the decades of passivity encoded into the typical American worker, taxpayer and voter.
        We are also slow to admit the remaining 25 million (after excluding small kids and feebled elderly) cannot carry the deadweight of 250 million on their back. And that 25 million includes active adults who I have to admit undertook risks in 2010-2011 – such as all those very visible albeit confrontational TeaPartiers, for example – whose beliefs and causes I do not share. So that 25 million is likely not cohesive.
        But I credit them for taking risks that ur average reader of NakedCapitalism will not take, nor will ur average listener of NPR, average reader of NYT or USAToday, etc.
        Change is highly unlikely.
        Those who clamor for a “Saul Alinksy” are emotionally clamoring for “the Other Guy” to rise to the occasion, and they are clamoring also for some “Other Guy” to lead them, to change them, to inspire them, blah blah. Those are just more responsibilities they do not want to shoulder themselves.

      2. DumpTheBankInfoJulian

        I am doing something today, as a matter of fact.

        JPMorgan is holding a “schmooze-fest” for their clients at their location downtown.

        Me and several others are going to crash their party.

        Should be fun.

        People, we absolutely need to start taking back our world. One little action at a time.

        Oh yeah, end of this week, meeting with Chairman of the
        Financial Institutions Committee at my state legislature.

        We need people to get engaged in fighting this fraud. Come on PEOPLE!!!

  2. ScottS

    Voting out incumbents also has the benefit of making lobbying less effective — the former legislator’s lobbist pals have one less active political connection to bribe. They have to start the process over at the beginning with the new guy.

    1. psychohistorian

      Seeing the Democratic primary being bought for the 37th legislative district in Oregon in this last election by the existing power structure, I think the fetid truth is uglier than you think.

      The puppets are planted and curried at all levels, unfortunately.

      If the people are to retake their government, I believe they need to create a party of folk that represent only people and never corporations over people. While that might fix the House, the Senate is another issue. The public is not properly represented in the Senate by the current structure. Unless or until that structure changes or what we have collapses entirely, we can only watch the increase in societal pain and write passionate textual white noise……

    2. Former Lobbyist

      As a recovering lobbyist (working for the light not the darkness), I can attest to the fact that the only thing voting out the incumbents achieves is increasing the number of new lobbyists.

      The revolving door is a fact of modern American governance at the state and federal level. I wonder how many of those bankster lobbyists watching the committee vote were once legislators sitting on that same committee.

      1. Former Lobbyist

        Why did the word “modern” in my post get turned in to an advert? I’m all for blogs, especially this one, making some coin but I don’t want people reading my comments to get turned off or distracted by embedded ads in my text.

      2. ScottS

        That’s the idea. Glut the “lobbyist” market with has-been politicians. How many lobbyists can the market support? And more lobbyists and fewer connections lowers the appeal of lobbying.

        The idea that the “right” party will eventually be voted into power is silly. Even if they are true believers, they will eventually be tainted by corruption.

        It’s better to have the true believers putting pressure on politicians from the outside. We see how malleable politicians are. We need to show that it’s in their interests to support reform.

        The other arrow in our quiver is to simply ignore them. If they bail out TBTF banks, TAKE ALL OUR MONEY OUT OF THE TBTF BANKS. Demand our pension managers don’t do business with them. Support local merchant banks, credit unions, state banks, etc.

        Don’t like oil subsidies? Vote to raise local taxes on oil, give that tax revenue to useful ventures.

        In short, DO something about it. Write letters, knock on doors, sit in at trials. Politicians do these things because they think no one is watching. They’re only as honest as we force them to be.

  3. killben

    We have been talking and ranting on various sites about what needs to be done but as far as one can see .. Banksters, Geithner, Bernanke and Congress are doing it their way for the last 3 years and expected to continue along merrily for quite some time in future..

    Americans getting are getting used to getting screwed .. with not a whimper .. Continue on Banksters, Geithner, Bernanke and Congress .. they are all yours .. r*&^ them to your hearts content ..

  4. pagar

    One recommendation– instead of saying “powerful banking lobby looked on” list their names and how much they earn controlling the various members of the House. Go into details of how House members are cooperating with the lobbyists.

    1. india

      I concur with “pagar” and most others here. I’m a Virginia resident and sent individual emails to every delegate prior to the committee review. I’ve also sent emails to Del. Marshall before and after the committee vote. He’s essentially being isolated as a “Don Quixote” and none of the Virginia papers with the exception of one article a few weeks ago, have published any form of description of the Bill or supporting comments.

      The unrecorded voice vote apparently has become the standard for not only the state legislatures but the U.S. Congress as well. Slinking in and slinking out, both representatives and lobbyists continue to manipulate what remains of our local and national government.

      There is something so wrong about lobbyists, from any segment, attending committee meetings that, at the least, they should be identified by whomever takes the decision to report the event.

      Delegate Marshall’s office has requested that anyone, whether a Virginia resident or not, who sees the import of this legislation take a moment to write a letter or email to Speaker of The House, Howell or Governor McDonnell. To some degree, the more light shone on this issue by folks outside of Virginia, the more the possibility of it being revived in some measure.

      Yves posted the Bill sometime last week and many comments were offered that reflected the scope of its language and the hope that if it were passed it would become a template for other states. This can’t be allowed to die a silent death. It needs support; Delegate Marshall needs support so that he can continue to try to wrest control from the “moneychangers”.

  5. Sauron

    How much of a threat is voting them out? Won’t they be well rewarded by their corporate masters anyway?

    1. ScottS

      They’ll be on the corporate dole as long as they have connections still active in politics.

      So vote out their connections too.

  6. sherparick

    I live in Virginia and I do plan to do something. I disagree with Delegate Marshall on about everything else, including where the Sun sets I expect, but on this he was surprisingly right and protecting a true property right.

  7. thump

    As Ian Welsh says, if politicians do what big business wants while they’re in office, they’re taken care of even if they’re voted out. If you don’t, they’ll spend a lot of money against you and no one will take care of you later. Loss of incumbency is not necessarily the disincentive you might think.

    1. vlade

      Well, but not losing the incumbency is giving in.
      Moreover, if you believe that a) you can’t get your own candidate b) even a party, you’ve pretty much lost already because you agreed to play by their rules.

      The important part in any power fight is to ignore the other party’s rules wherever possible (so pretty much all “unspoken” ones). The good guys usually lose not because they are stupid per se, but because they let the others to set the rules and don’t challenge it.

      And, before I get accused of fermenting violence, I’d say that ignoring rules you want (as opposed to say laws – that is a bit harder) doesn’t make you evil on its own.

      For example (channeling Alinsky :) ), if someone was able to persuade churches to work with foreclosure cases and start organizing around that, it would be rather hard to attack it on say “deadbeat borrower” basis without implying lack of integrity (*gasp* even fraud!) there…

      Or select a nice, large, conservative charity – but one that is really a charity, not a front for selling con ideas , i.e a think tank – and if you can persuade them that not all foreclosed are work-avoiding do-nothing drug cases (which is why it’s important it’s a real charity, and you can actually evoke human emotions in them, by getting them to talk to real cases), you might find that your case’s legitimacy improves significantly.

      1. Ernest Scott in Asheville

        Your point on not following the Establishment’s Rules is critical. How many people have forgotten how key that is?
        But Vlade, it’s sad-yet-telling that you also felt compelled to toss in the disclaimer that ‘not following rules is not the same as being violent’.
        Truth is, most passive Americans hide behind that belief; their inaction is supposedly justified-to-self because – so they believe- any effective challenge to an authority figure is probably gonna have to be violent …ergo, “Since I’m against violence, I now have an excuse to stay passive and not challenge them”.
        Vlade, your examples of starting points are also good…but that’s the easier part.
        Critical to Social Change is the need to incrementally escalate the pressure being exerted. The initial soft, non-threatening efforts often have a 95% failure rate; where results and change are achieved, it’s where they had to escalate far beyond those non-threatening starting points. And I bet even when I use the word “escalate” it sends shivers across the Passives-Who-Desire-Change-Yet-Fear-Risks (see my earlier comment to ur comment on channeling Saul Alinsky.

        1. vlade

          ‘not following rules is not the same as being violent’ – does not equal that I oppose violence at all costs (“it is better to be violent than incompetent” – guess who said that?). But I do believe that violence is a shortcut which is moreover hard to control once started.

          I agree with the escalation as well, but there’s escalation and there’s escalation. Ultimately, if you fail to persuade reasonable part of your fellow men, your’re just another dictator – and we had plenty of them on both sides, left and right.

          That is also where I believe that “channeling Alinsky” helps. Everything you say about risk-aversivness is true. But it is not specific to Americans, it is a deep part of human nature – something we can see going on for centuries and millenia. As much as we might want it to be different, it will not change overnight, or even in decades.

          It is better for us to study when we can overcome it, and again history shows that the catalyts are leaders – exactly because we are a herd animal (social confirmation is a very strong force!)

          “let everyone be their own Alinsky” is a superindivindualist approach, which is, from practical point, bound to fail (or rather, historically, I can’t remember anything large enough where it worked longer term. It can work a mob, but then it’s often self-defeating or French-revolution like).

          Unity is important in exerting power when you have few other means. Without leadership, achieving the unity is much much harder (and I would even say impossible past certain scale).

  8. mikefromArlington

    This is clearly Obama’s fault, right. I mean, he should just put his cape on and round up all the evil folks.

    1. attempter

      He had laws, a Justice Department, an electoral mandate, and the overwhelming support of the people if he would have smashed the criminals. His sartorial choices would’ve been his own affair.

      But instead he, and those who defend him, chose to have nothing but corruption and an inner viciousness beyond human comprehension.

  9. Fred

    Here are the members of the Civil Law Subcommittee of the Courts of Justice Committee that tabled the proposal discussed above:

    Chairman: Clifford L. Athey, Jr.

    Members: William K. Barlow, William H. Cleaveland, Gregory D. Habeeb, Salvatore R. Iaquinto, Joseph P. Johnson, Jr., Terry G. Kilgore, G. M. (Manoli) Loupassi, Jennifer L. McClellan, Christopher K. Peace, David J. Toscano.$Body/0.21FA

    There was no coverage in local media until after the bill was tabled, which consisted of the bill’s sponsor writing a guest op-ed complaining about the subcommittee’s action.

    But for this blog, I would have never known this bill had been introduced.

  10. Pagar

    “But for this blog, I would have never known this bill had been introduced.”

    That is exactly what the anti consumer lobby wanted.
    There is no excuse for not calling the various media outlets and asking them why this was not made public? The only way to get the news out is to embarrass the media, and support the blogs. We need to do it now.

  11. ScottS

    I had the bright idea to look through pending California legislation on mortgages, and found this:
    (2) Existing law authorizes proof of the execution of an instrument by certain persons and prescribes the form for that proof.
    Existing law prohibits a proof of the execution of any of several types of specified instruments, including a grant deed, mortgage, deed of trust, quitclaim deed, or security agreement.
    This bill would add a power of attorney to the types of
    instruments for which a proof of the execution is prohibited and would further prohibit a proof of the execution for any instrument requiring a notary public to obtain a thumbprint from the party signing the document in the notary public’s journal. The bill would also revise the form of certificate that may be used for proof of execution.

    I can’t quite parse the legalese. Most of the bill seems to be preventing con artists from using any government-looking seal or title to con people out of money.

    But the section I quoted confuses me.

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