Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Best, Most Revealing Reporting on the Foreclosure Crisis

woodleywonderworks (CC-BY)

The Best, Most Revealing Reporting on the Foreclosure Crisis

   by Blair Hickman ProPublica,   Feb. 17, 2012, 1:24 p.m.Answers to homeowners' questions about the Independent Foreclosure Review.The administration's website for the foreclosure prevention program. Provides an FAQ, homeowner examples, and other tools to see whether you might qualify for the program.A list of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies nationwide.Tips for homeowners from the Federal Trade Commission.These rules lay out how mortgage servicers are supposed to conduct the program.A finance and economics blog that provides news and metrics on the state of the housing market.
The housing crisis in the U.S. has been going on nearly five years, with still regular revelations about misdeeds by banks and others. Here's our roundup of standout reporting on the crisis.
Lucrative fees may deter efforts to alter loans, The New York Times, July 2009
Banks and other mortgage servicers have made big bucks on the fees associated with delinquent loans, because of rules that one Federal Reserve Bank of Boston paper called a "perverse incentive to foreclose rather than modify." This piece surveys the homeowners caught in purgatory 2013 and why the servicers seemed to want to keep them there.
Fannie and Freddie's foreclosure barons, Mother Jones, August 2010
One of the first stories to shed light on a "foreclosure mill." A Florida law firm tore through cases as quickly as possible, while frequently signing off on dodgy documents. The firm has since been shut down.
Grave errors as undead rework loans, The Wall Street Journal, July 2010
Homeowner Sarah Larson, a 33-year-old acupuncturist, tried to get a break on her $1,055-a-month mortgage from Bank of America. The bank requested three important documents: bank statements, a utility bill and her death certificate. She replied: "I am not sending a death certificate because I am not deceased. I am currently still living."
Mortgage mess: Shredding the dream, Businessweek, October 2010 How banks' carelessness and underinvestment in back-end infrastructure contributed to paperwork errors and lost promissory notes that many argue worsened the housing crisis.
Ties to insurers could land mortgage servicers in more trouble, American Banker, November 2010
Here's another way that mortgage servicers have profited from struggling homeowners: by forcing them to pay for expensive and unnecessary insurance policies.
The next housing shock, CBS' "60 Minutes," April 2011
This piece investigates the prevalence of "robo-signing," focusing on one company where a number of employees signed one woman's name to thousands of documents because her name was short. None of the major banks agreed to talk to "60 Minutes."

Obama's efforts to aid homeowners, boost housing market fall far short of goals, The Washington Post, October 2011
This in-depth, inside look shows the internal debate behind the Obama administration's stumbling efforts to deal with the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression.
Raging against the foreclosure machine, iWatch News, The Center for Public Integrity, January 2012
From the beginning of the foreclosure mess, struggling homeowners often defaulted due to accounting and paperwork errors by the mortgage servicing industry. Servicers claimed they'd addressed the systemic problem. But as this piece shows, the "veterans of the foreclosure wars" tell a very different story.
A mortgage tornado warning, unheeded, The New York Times, February 2012
Years before the crisis, a wealthy Florida businessman, who had lost his home in a questionable foreclosure, unearthed and compiled a "dossier of improprieties" on Fannie Mae. In retrospect, it looks like a blueprint for today's crisis 2014 and raises several questions about how deep and how far back our mortgage problems go.
We at ProPublica also have long been digging into the administration's stumbling efforts and how Wall Street machinations ultimately super-charged the crisis.
If you have other great foreclosure reporting, email us at MuckReads@ProPublica.org or tweet it with the hashtag #muckreads.

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