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Tag: Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal Unaware of Illegal Foreclosures?

 Wall Street Journal Unaware of Illegal Foreclosures?


Do you suppose that Mary Kissel has no internet access where she works? I’ve been following the story of illegal foreclosures with many web posts for more than four years. There must be hundreds if not thousands of web sites from personal stories to major news outlets detailing the crimes. And there have federal investigations culminating in the much ballyhooed settlement over the robosigning scandal.


I guess it makes one’s ideological prejudices more comfortable to deny unpleasant realities.


I’m not impressed with that quality of comment. It insults the intelligence when a supposed authority doesn’t acknowledge basic facts. I have read several times the Wall Street Journal’s preferred narrative of the housing crisis, that too many people bought “too much” house. That’s an interesting definition of a crisis surrounded by financial industry fraud and law breaking on a breath taking scale.


Mary Kissel’s commentary should cast doubt on the ability of the Wall Street Journal to accurately report on this subject.


James Pilant


Conservative Pundit Claims No Homeowners Have Been Wrongfully Foreclosed




Despite hundreds of thousands of wrongful foreclosures uncovered by investigators, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel claimed that “there hasn’t been a single homeowner who has been identified who was foreclosed on who shouldn’t have been foreclosed on” in a Friday appearance on Fox Business.

via Conservative Pundit Claims No Homeowners Have Been Wrongfully Foreclosed.

From around the web.

From the web site, E Credit Daily.


Two huge settlements with the biggest U.S. banks — dubbed the National Mortgage Settlement and the Independent Foreclosure Review — involved millions of wronged homeowners thrust into foreclosure. But that’s not enough to convince Wall Street Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel.

She was adamant about this mind-boggling claim she made during the October 11 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co.

From the web site, Foreclosure Help SCC.


Did you hear the recent news about a homeowner in West Sacramento effectively using the new California Homeowner Bill of Rights to stop foreclosure on his home?  You can read about it in the Sacramento Bee: “West Sacramento homeowner uses new state law to stop foreclosure (5/23/2013)” The Fair Housing Law Project at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley prepared a summary of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights which homeowners can use when working with their bank or servicer to apply for a loan modification.

Related articles


Robert Dolan and Business Ethics

Robert Dolan and Business Ethics

Robert Dolan Teaches Business Ethics – YouTube

This is a brief video in which Robert Dolan, at that time, Dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, held forth on a number of issues particularly business ethics. He begins the discussion by talking about the slow down in hiring in the financial sector and the effect on the students, moves into a discussion of how business ethics should be ingrained into the courses rather than a set of separate courses, and he ends with a good discussion of executive compensation.
His idea of action-based learning is used at the Ross School of Business and explained in some detail on their web site. I recommend you watch the video and, if an educator, read the web site explanation.
James Pilant
Wall_Street_SignFrom around the web –
From the web site, Stacy Blackman Consulting:
The most commonly asked question–How is Ross going to maintain its competitive advantage with its action-based learning and what is the school’s high-level strategy going forward?–elicited this response:

“While there was some recent debate surrounding whether or not we should abandon our action-based learning as the cornerstone of our brand and pick a ‘new horse,’ the faculty has chosen to ‘feed and care for the horse we’ve got.’ In other words, the school recognizes that we do action-based learning better than any of our competitors and it should prevail as our primary differentiating factor. Moving forward, Ross looks to grow this strategy by taking it abroad.”

Dean Dolan is also committed to boosting Ross’s global footprint via the strategic placement of international offices, starting in India and then China, the MSJ reports. Having offices in Hyderabad, Mumbai or Bangalore will help Ross better source field-based Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP), and offices with local roots will facilitate placement of Ross students in India better than efforts based in the U.S.

From the web site, Big Think:

Question: How does the Ross School integrate real world business problems in the classroom?

Robert Dolan: Well, there’s a number of ways. I guess I’ll start out by talking about the way that we do it is maybe as a little bit distinctive among business schools. I think the signature element of our school, our MBA program in particular, compared to others, is what we call action based learning. 

So right now, for example, all of our 425 first year MBA students would not be found in Ann Arbor.  They would be scattered around the globe in about 90 teams, working on real world problems. So what we’ve done to try to differentiate our students and really provide value added was probably about 10 years ago, slightly before I got to the school, we instituted what we called, this map project, which we call multidisciplinary action projects. So we, since, built that up and really invested in it as our point of differentiation.

And finally from the web site, See Sunshine:
For the second time in three years, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business has been named the No. 1 business school in North America by the Wall Street Journal.The Ross School is one of only two business schools to be ranked in the top four every year since the Wall Street Journal began its rankings in 2001.

“We’re happy the Wall Street Journal has again ranked us as the best MBA program in the country,” said Ross School Dean Robert J. Dolan. “The Journal’s ranking is particularly gratifying as it reflects the sentiment of hiring companies that see our graduates at work every day.”


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A Song For Occupy Wall Street

Nathan Shaffer – Come Back America – YouTube

(Something I found on You Tube – You can buy the music and other works by the artist online.)

Sometimes the music has a message.
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The Average Stock Is Held For 22 Seconds! – The Logical Result of Computer Trading

Michael Hudson

From Michael Hudson

<em>Take any stock in the United States. The average time in which you hold a stock is–it’s gone up from 20 seconds to 22 seconds in the last year. Most trades are computerized. Most trades are short-term. The average foreign currency investment lasts–it’s up now to 30 seconds, up from 28 seconds last month.

What does that mean for you? If you are an actual human being you are competing, when you make a stock purchase, with a supercomputer, like the ones they use to analyze the weather. That is why the amount of time a stock is held is so low – computer trading.

It’s not a level playing field. A more apt comparison might be a gambling house where the table is rigged to favor the owner almost but not quite always every time. You have to have the occasional lucky winner whose stories will keep the others coming in.

An exaggeration?

Okay, how about this from 2009 –

With all of the scrutiny that high-frequency trading is now under in the media and in Congress, the New York Stock Exchange is probably none too thrilled that the Wall Street Journal has uncovered fresh details of NYSE’s giant new datacenter, which the exchange is building in a former New Jersey quarry. The new datacenter will significantly advance the amount of computer-automated trading that already dominates global markets, housing as it will “several football fields of cutting-edge computing equipment for hedge funds and other firms that engage in high-frequency trading,” according to the WSJ. So if you were recently shocked to learn that an estimated 70 percent of stock trading is just computers trading against one another, get ready for that number to go even higher.

Or this –

Fewer and fewer Wall Street traders are human beings. Instead, they’re computersthat execute trades in milliseconds (a millisecond is one thousandth of a second). A forerunner of today’s robotic trading, computerized program trading, was largely responsible for the stock market crash of October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 22.6%.


This kind of computer trading or should I say, Algorithmic trading, isn’t going away. So if you are a mere mortal, you might find your ability to make money on stock a little constricted by non-human competitors.

James Pilant

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Let’s Defy “Common Sense” and Use Our Intelligence

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...

Image via Wikipedia

Paul Krugman is his blog post, Fancy Theorists of the World Unite, has this comment about a Wall Street Journal article –

A number of people have pointed me to this remarkable editorial by Stephen Moore in the WSJ. What’s remarkable isn’t the views; it’s the all-out embrace of anti-intellectualism. It actually denounces “fancy theories” and rejects them because they “defy common sense”.

It has been some time since the 1994 elections when the Republican candidates were coached on what specific wording they should use campaigning. One of the things they were supposed to say was “common sense solutions” and a bunch of things along those lines.

The fact is there is no common sense. We have a common ability to reason as human beings and there is a certain quality of the American people that they in a body often have a pretty good perspective on how things are going. But that’s it. The idea that the ordinary people understand things better than educated and trained people is nonsense and it will never cease to be nonsense no matter how often the phrase, “common sense, ” is bandied about like a club against ideas like second hand smoke or global warming.

The crying need isn’t for more common sense, that’s just not possible. What we do need are larger numbers of Americans willing to learn to think rationally. That means giving up on the ridiculous that you can think from your gut and the bizarre idea that intuition always or often trumps organized thought.

American anti-intellectualism has been well established since the time of Andrew Jackson, but it has never been more dangerous. Powerful lobbies have a vested interest in stopping the flow and power of knowledge. The wish to bind us to some past era where they believe virtue can be found. That time does not and has never existed. If we are unwilling to pay attention to our scientists as they warn us of the destruction of the seas, the depletion of the ozone or the man made heating of the earth, we will pay a terrible price for our devotion to the chimera of “common sense.”

James Pilant

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Rupert Murdoch Pounding Table at Interrogation

Jimmy Kimmel having a little fun at Murdoch’s expense. –

and then he has a little more fun –

Considering the enormity of the crimes being discussed, this is very mild stuff. But I promise you, the news of the last few weeks has left me wanting something different for at least a little while. I am tired of a President, I consider barely competent, and as ideologically free of any principle as any other politician one can name. I am tired of watching a rush toward default as if it were a good political maneuver and not a step into totally unknown consequences ranging from mild economic dislocation to global collapse. This is what our politics have come to. God help us all.

James Pilant

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Do The Banks Have Proof Of Ownership?

Do The Banks Have Proof Of Ownership?

I’m not the only one who has suspicions that the banks might not have the necessary proof of ownership. Read the following from the Wall Street Journal

Under a far gloomier scenario, the problems created by using robo-signers may be irrelevant if, instead of being lost, mortgage documents weren’t ever properly transferred during each step of the securitization process, says Adam Levitin, a professor of law at Georgetown University. If that happens, “the whole system comes to a halt,” he says. Investors could argue in court that they never owned the mortgages backing their money-losing securities.

Banks and their attorneys say such fears are overblown. Procedures for transferring loans into mortgage-backed securities “are sound and based on a well-established body of law governing a multi-trillion dollar secondary mortgage market,” said Tom Deutsch, the executive director of the American Securitization Forum, in a statement Friday.

I love that second paragraph. Here look at the key phrase, “Procedures for transferring loans into mortgage backed securities are sound and based on well established law…” Wow, you’d think the founding fathers were doing it! Well, this vast body of jurisprudence has existed since that grand old year of history, 2002? I doubt if any of it has been tested in court. His statement is more hopeful than true. You see the transfer of property is one of the most important procedures in the law. It’s surrounded over and over again by legal protections many of them requiring specific procedures. Now, you might ask me if during the Go Go years of financial mismanagement, the mid years of the first decade of this century, that the banks and their mortgage creating boiler rooms did all that proper procedure? Not a chance. Not even a little chance.

Some of the mortgage companies were giving out mortgages with NO capital of their own and Wall Street still bought them. If you’re giving people mortgages with not a single cent of your money on the line, how much do you care about good paperwork?

James Pilant

WSJ Writes Balanced, Intelligent Article – End Of World Imminent

Since the purchase of the Wall Street Journal by Rupert Murdoch, I consigned it to the ash heap of history. I was doing my usual research into the crimes and misadventures of the banks in this foreclosure crisis. Suddenly, there was this article. I read through it and decided to post it. Imagine my surprise when I got to the top of the page and found where it came from.

Isn’t this the newspaper that just a few days ago told the world that lying to judges with false affidavits was just a matter of “paperwork?” Aren’t these the guys who honor the basic right of property ownership to the death just as long as an average American doesn’t attempt to assert it?

There is no explaining this. There must be some cognitive dissonance at the Journal. I hope no one on the editorial board dies of shock having seen a fact for the first time.

Well, give this article a read, it’s a good account of the current crisis in mortgage forclosures.

James Pilant

Tom Petters – 3.5 Billion Dollars is not Small Change

Tom Petters – 3.5 Billion Dollars is not Small Change

Generally speaking few people begin a life of crime suddenly and without warning. Usually there are many small crimes and a certain “casualness” toward the accepted standards of society.

Many of the more famous American criminals began as soldiers particularly during the Civil War. It would be interesting to find out the history of an individual who runs financial scams like this one. It might be a useful criminal justice study.

Tom Petters’ trial in Minnesota on hedge fund fraud (Ponzi scheme) begins this week.

James Pilant

Tom Petters – 3.5 Billion Dollars is not Small Change

Let me quote from the Wall Street Journal article:

In high school in Minnesota, he started a business selling stereo equipment to students at a local university, but his parents shut him down after learning he was skipping school. He later dropped out of college to work for an electronic retailer, but he was so broke in 1988 that he had to move in with his brother, Jon.

Add in a divorce, a stint in cocaine rehab, and involvement in multiple breach-of-contract lawsuits with business partners, both as a defendant and plaintiff.

There were plenty of warnings if someone was willing to look. Am I saying that people cannot turn their lives around? Certainly not. But I don’t believe in living with your eyes closed either. jp



From around the web –

From the web site, Chuck Gallagher.


Take the example of Tom Petters of Wayzata, Minnesota, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for running a $3.65 billion Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme, one of the largest ever. Convicted last December on all 20 criminal counts that he faced, including wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering, Petters now faces a long time in prison for his choices.

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