If you have "no place to go," come here!

"... ye have made it a den of thieves."

Oddly, or not, this article comes from Australia, and hasn't appeared in this country at all, except at Occupy and foreclosure sites:

Father Robert Rien, of St Ignatius at Antioch, a Catholic church east of San Francisco, speaks with a crisp buoyant voice that belies his 65 years. When he is angry it fairly crackles. ....

'Jesus went to the temple and he challenged the banking system of his day. He said, 'you are thieves and marauders, you are wrong in what you are doing'.'' On Ash Wednesday this year a group of San Francisco clergy spilled ashes outside a Wells Fargo ATM and called for a foreclosure sabbatical [debt jubilee], invoking the Biblical term for the ancient practice of forgiving debts.

It is hard to exaggerate how poorly America's banks have treated their customers throughout the financial crisis that saw about 4 million homes being foreclosed upon, and Father Rien's voice crackles away as he discusses it.

The banks helped precipitate the financial collapse by selling mortgages to people who could never afford them. When the financial system collapsed they accepted a $US205 billion ($199.2 billion) bailout from taxpayers, but once refinanced they refused to help homeowners by modifying their mortgages....

But it was the outright fraud by America's big banks that finally made Father Rien an activist for the first time since he was ordained 40 years ago.

As the crisis snowballed through 2007 and 2008, parishioners started coming to Father Rien for help, saying they had dutifully filled out and filed mortgage modification applications with the Bank of America, only to be suddenly evicted. Time and again the bank, equipped with their own legal documents, said their customers' paperwork had been lost and their applications were too late.

''I had 24 or 25 families just in my parish saying the same thing; it was untenable.''

When Father Rien approached the Bank of America to plead his parishioners' cases the bank told him he had no connection to the families and no right to speak on their behalf.

He did not know it then but Father Rien was seeing early signs of what became known as the robo-signing scandal, in which four American banks admitted forging signatures on untold thousands of documents to speed up foreclosures.

In February this year they came to a $US26 billion legal settlement over the issue, but Father Rien says they are still failing to help many of their struggling customers.

The priest seems stunned by what he says is the corporate and personal greed that has led to this situation.

''Look at how much money some of these people [in finance] earn; no one needs to be that rich, no one.'' So Father Rien joined PICO (Pacific Institute for Community Organisation [could be worse, though their health policy is horrible]), the faith-based network that launched the bank divestment campaign. ''I am angry,'' he says.

About six hours' drive up the Californian coast, in a suburb of Hollywood that over the past few years has transformed itself from near slum to thriving family neighbourhood, Pastor Ryan Bell found his way into PICO and the divestment campaign for the same reasons. ....

He, too, turns to the gospels to explain his protest, but for him it is the parable of the unforgiving servant that sheds best light on the banks' role in the crisis.

In this story a merciful king forgives the debt of a servant, who later chokes an even more humble servant to extract a debt owed to him. ''The taxpayer is the merciful king,'' says Pastor Bell. ''And the banks are choking my parishioners even though they have had that bailout.''

Pastor Bell has also targeted the Bank of America, which his church had banked with for 50 years. When he closed the church's accounts an executive did get in touch, but declined to help modify mortgages.

An assistant professor of law at Albany Law School, Ray Brescia, echoes the clergymen's frustration.

Two years ago he wrote in The Huffington Post, ''Isn't it high time to admit that mortgage lending in the United States and the foreclosures that have followed are so tainted by fraud, abuse and illegality that a moratorium on all foreclosures, everywhere, is the only just response?'' He described filing of falsified documents to facilitate foreclosures as ''likely the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the courts of this country''. ....

''I can see why people are angry. There is a disconnect between how the government extended the banks a lifeline and then the banks turned around and pulled up the same lifeline that could have been extended to customers that are underwater.''

And so the campaign against the banks goes on.

''This is a season of repentance and looking inward; we ought to be asking our institutions to do that,'' Pastor Bell says.

Fat chance. Anyhow, it's a non-story. Move along, people, move along.

NOTE Quote from Mark 11:11-19.

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Submitted by jawbone on

sold us out to the Big Banksters. So much for the People vs Big Banksters.

David Dayen wrote yesterday that a federal judge signed off on the agreement -- very swiftly and very quietly. Dasn't let the 99 Percenters know what the minions of the One Percent are doing. Dasn't give them time to, well, organize and try to assert their right to justice.

Obama et al did get their "settlement," but it is neither just nor justice. And it does not represent the rights or needs of the people. It does represent the needs and wants of the corporatists.

!!WARNING: Do not click this link if you want to enjoy your weekend!! Made my blood boil.

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Rubber-Stamped by a Federal Judge.

And so it goes, the Obama administration’s continued and effective work to cover up the mortgage fraud the banksters practiced (and still practice) against the public, the nation and the world. There is no accountability for the near destruction of many economies, jobs, and lives.

Oh, and on Market Place Fiday night, a guest analyst said jobs are on track to recover as.early as 2019 or stretch out to 2023. Hey, that’s only, oh, about 12 to 16 years since the Big $h*t Pile Meltdown, and the vast number of under/unemployed, the DISemployed, need only hang on for another 7-8 to 11 years.

Way to go, BO!

bungalowkitchens's picture
Submitted by bungalowkitchens on

but seriously, Hollywood is not a six hour drive UP the coast from Antioch (at least they got the east of San Francisco part correct), it is six hours DOWN the coast.

As for the rest, it does more than make my blood boil- it makes me want to go postal! They are stealing our homes, our land, our sanity, and our lives, and NO ONE IS GOING TO STOP THEM.

Meanwhile, I've just made the third and final payment on my temporary modification from GMAC. They tell me it will take two to eight weeks to reach a decision regarding a permanent modification- which will be just long enough for the paperwork to be more than 90 days old, so new paperwork will have to be submitted.
Not to mention they've already had THREE EFFING MONTHS to review it. But I know they spent those months getting the foreclosure paperwork in order, so that can be filed in record time once they turn me down for the permanent mod. Which I can almost guarantee they will. Even if they don't, I suspect a permanent mod will be littered with various land mines guaranteed to blow up in my face somewhere down the road.

At this point the only solution is debt jubilee. Everybody gets a free house (you, me, Warren Buffett, everybody), everybody's student loan debt, credit card debt, auto loans, everything- it all just disappears. Oh, and a parade of thousands of banksters in orange jumpsuits doing the perp walk. But I want more than that. I want Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein and Michael Carpenter (GMAC CEO) and all the rest of them not only to do serious time in a real prison, I also want them stripped of all their money and assets. When they get out I want them to be destitute, unemployable ex-cons, clinging to the few remaining shreds of the safety net that they shredded, complaining bitterly about their change in fortunes when they were doing "God's work." I want them to get cancer and have no health insurance. I want them to be homeless. I want them to experience the full range of horrors they have visited upon the rest of us.

Oh wait- was that vindictive?