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It's time to flood the White House with calls demanding that the President veto this toxic piece of shit legislation. [Otherwise known as the "Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act"].

"A bill that homeowners advocates warn will make it more difficult to challenge improper foreclosure attempts by big mortgage processors is awaiting President Barack Obama's signature after it quietly zoomed through the Senate last week.

The bill, passed without public debate in a way that even surprised its main sponsor, Republican Representative Robert Aderholt, requires courts to accept as valid document notarizations made out of state, making it harder to challenge the authenticity of foreclosure and other legal documents.

The timing raised eyebrows, coming during a rising furor over improper affidavits and other filings in foreclosure actions by large mortgage processors such as GMAC, JPMorgan and Bank of America.

[More after the jump]

"Questions about improper notarizations have figured prominently in challenges to the validity of these court documents, and led to widespread halts of foreclosure proceedings.

The legislation could protect bank and mortgage processors from liability for false or improperly prepared documents.

The White House said it is reviewing the legislation." It is troubling to me and curious that it passed so quietly," Thomas Cox, a Maine lawyer representing homeowners contesting foreclosures, told Reuters in an interview.

[...]

Cox said the new obligation for courts to recognize notarizations of documents filed by big, out-of-state companies, would make it more difficult and costly to challenge the validity of the documents.

[...]

After languishing for months in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill passed the Senate with lightning speed and with hardly any public awareness of the bill's existence on Sept.27, the day before the Senate recessed for midterm election campaign.

This bill was passed by the Senate -- the Senate where you need 60 votes to take a crap -- by UNANIMOUS consent. A vote that allows all supporters of the bill to remain anonymous.

You sign that legislation, President Obama -- and I'm done with the Democratic party. I will not contribute any money. I will not make phone calls. I will not go door to door. I will not even show up to fucking vote. I am serious. And everyone here who has been enabling this bullshit needs to step up to the plate and make your OPPOSITION to this bill known to the President.

This is unconscionable. And it is -- in a nutshell -- why the Democratic party is about to get boot-stomped in November.

ADDENDUM: Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner posted a very good diary about this on the 5th.

MAJOR UPDATE: The White House has expressed "concerns" about the bill!

"We are reviewing the legislation, but do have concerns," a White House official told HuffPost.

Keep those messages coming! Keep sending up warning flags to the White hosue!

Originally posted to Hesiod on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 05:41 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ever hear of Casey Serin? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Losty

    He foreclosed on 8 properties that he gained with "liar loans" in 2005 and collected tens of thousands of dollars in "sweet cashback".

    http://caseypedia.com

    He is now an advocate for using whatever technical or frivolous technicalities (title transfers, or whatnot) to fight foreclosure:

    http://iamfightingforeclosure.com/

    I suspect that this bill makes such actions harder to pull off.

    I'm not familiar with all the details of this piece of legislation, but it passed in a Democratic-controlled Senate.  This represents the will of the people, more or less.

    I'm a responsible homeowner who pays his mortgage, even during the lean times.  I don't want to reward or subsidize irresponsible ones.

    •  You may not actually own your home. (8+ / 0-)

      Because of MERS.

      http://www.businessweek.com/...

      The opportunity here is to create legislation that helps homeowners by forcing shortsales rather than foreclosures. This will revive the housing market much faster. Or, alternatively, the legislation should force banks to take a fucking haircut on these loans.

      Saying you are a responsible homeowner is missing the point. There are literally millions of people who WERE responsible homeowners who paid their mortgages on time -- but are now screwed because they lost their jobs.

      It is absolutely unconscionable -- and as far as I'm concerned, this whole mess is a Godsend because it allows us to finally fuck the banks over and force them to eat their fucking losses. It will also allow the country to recover from this recession faster because you will be able to clear out inventory or wipe out debt. If ytou do it right. This mess is an oportunity -- and instead we have a bunch of sociopathic assholes in Washington who are doing the bidding of the big banks yet again.

      •  I'm all for the banks to eat their losses (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fossil

        I have a "pox on all their houses" attitude about the whole housing mess.  There was greed to go all around.

        I refused to flip into a bigger McMansion or treat my house like an ATM during the runup of the bubble (I paid $185,000 for my house in '03, it was assessed at $385,000 at the peak of the mania) and I made mortgage prepayments with the purpose of paying off my DEBT (which is what a mortgage is) as quickly as possible.

        If someone is leveraged to the max even during the supposed "good times" then their ability to own the house is not sustainable.  They probably bought at the top of the market thinking they had to jump in before it was "too late".

        I operate with an attitude that I could get laid off any time.  It keeps me on my toes, forces me to carry a zero balance credit card, and makes me prepay my mortgage a little bit extra every month, even if I have to forgo a few luxuries.  I'm also a big fan of having no car payments and I drive a small car (fully paid, 40 mpg).  But, I guess people would consider that a parasitic attitude because I'm not being a good little consumer who buys a brand new $40,000 car every 3 years and who doesn't buy ATVs, big fishing boats, etc.

        Hey, it's our patriotic duty to shop, because George Bush said so after 9/11.

        •  You sound like me, (0+ / 0-)

          I bought my house at the top of the market (or just before peak), but have made payments on it consistently since then. I put 10% down.

          I have no more car payments, and pay for just about everything with a debit card -- not a creedit card. There are a few exceptions to this, such as purchases over the internet, where I would like the security of using a credit card.

          I pay off my cards as often as I can each month. I have an excellent credit rating.

          My house has lost some of it's value, obviously, but I am not underwater. My property taxes have actually gone down, so my monthly payment has been going down as well. (We have a property tax cap in place in my state).

        •  if you get laid off (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Angie in WA State, nippersdad, laker

          you're screwed no matter what anyway.

    •  Everyone's a crook, so this legislation is ok... (13+ / 0-)

      not every person in foreclosure is a con artist and thief, and that is the implication of your comment. Your comment is both ludicrous and viciously propagandistic, this situation is not a result of the poor dragging down the system or of rampant personal fraud by home buyers, it has resulted from incentivizing people to buy into a lie about the value of property and the safety of real estate investments. It is fraud, but not in the main on behalf of consumers, but at the behest of real estate agents, loan originators, mortgage insurers, mortgage bankers, bundlers and securitizers, that all sold this scam throughout the world.

      And now the scam artists want to be let off the hook for their illegal activities and be allowed to remedy their nonexistant paper trails with "affidavits" notarized by computers? No thank you...  

      "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

      by KJG52 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 06:15:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They bought into a lie... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fossil, MGross

        ... anybody with an internet account could have educated themselves about the run-up to the housing bubble.  The housing blogs were quite educational, and they cut through the realtor BS with a hot knife.

        I gave a friend of mine advice in '05 when he wanted to become a real estate speculator: I told him not to do it.  He thinks I am a financial genius now.  I'm not--I'm just a regular guy who surfs the 'net.

        Now the talking heads on TV have the temerity to say that "no one could have seen this happen".  I'm a psychic and a prophet compared to these morons.

        The last 10 years of economic growth was all fake, it was based on American consumers withdrawing trillions of dollars in equity, and in the end, there was a net loss.

        My prognosis for the future is rather dim: we'll see further economic collapse.  The sycophants are all trying to re-inflate the bubble, but to no avail.  The bailout and stimulus are just staving off the inevitable.

        •  The solution is to do the following: (6+ / 0-)
          1. Force short sales rather than foreclosures.
          1. Force banks to take haircuts on the mortgages and eat the losses.

          This will cause a temporary large drop in housing prices and may cause the banks to tighten credit again. But, it will allow the economy to recover properly because you will have a ton of consumer debt wiped off the books.

        •  blue republican (0+ / 0-)

          I am tempted to not take you seriously based on your name but this statement shows you get it:

          My prognosis for the future is rather dim: we'll see further economic collapse.  The sycophants are all trying to re-inflate the bubble, but to no avail.  The bailout and stimulus are just staving off the inevitable.

        •  I was also skeptical; however, I was in (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites, laker

          the minority and several people ignored my advice and just don't talk to me anymore. I doubt both your sincerity and acumen, it wasn't all that apparent in 2005 what was going on and in fact it wasn't until a year later that rumblings started in the main stream financial press, so where did you get all this information that was so readily available to anyone with a computer?

          I find this whole line suspect...

          "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

          by KJG52 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 07:27:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was obvious by 2007 at least... (0+ / 0-)

            ...which was still plenty of time to get out.

          •  I am knowledgeable about the following bubbles (0+ / 0-)

            Perhaps a day later is too late to respond to you, but...

            -there was the video game crash of 1983 (a glut of video game titles had flooded the market)

            the comic book speculation bubble of the early 1990s (XMen #1, Death of Super-Man).  There were 4 comic book shops in my hometown during the height of the bubble, none exist today.

            dotcom boom and bust (19982001)

            I've witnessed these firsthand because these are areas of interest to me.  The insane housing prices in 2005 just screamed BUBBLE to me.

            As well, there were quite a few housing blogs (they were a vocal, cranky minority at first, but they were gaining traction) and I was reading them as early as 2004.

        •  Many foreclosures today from job losses (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Angie in WA State

          fewer and fewer are due to bad lending practices. But investors don't discriminate, they're going after everyone.

          Link

          There's no justification for allowing these practices.

    •  You'd have a point... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, Hesiod

      ...if banks weren't fraudulently foreclosing on properties that are already paid for by owners that never had any kind of dealing with the bank in question. They're going after entire neighborhoods at times.

      -5.38 -4.72 T. "...a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy's victory; it is a prerequisite for our own." Michael Gerson

      by trevzb on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 09:07:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You appear to have (0+ / 0-)

    a serious fair use problem.  

    "We think the truth is bad enough. It obviously is." -- Fishgrease

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 05:52:23 AM PDT

  •  Kind of passed like greased lightning, didn't it? (13+ / 0-)

    None of this "Democrats can only do so much, we take care of it after the election" when banks want something.

  •  if the senate supports anything (3+ / 0-)

    unanimously, it must be bad.

    That audit the fed thing that went 96-0 comes to mind.

  •  Seems like Patrick Leahy (D) and (4+ / 0-)

    Jeff Sessions (R) fast-tracked this POS onto the Senate floor.  Maybe Pres.Obama should cite this as bipartisan cooperation in the Senate.

    GOP found drowned in Grover Norquist's bathtub.

    by JimWilson on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 06:02:39 AM PDT

  •  When Senators move so fast (13+ / 0-)

    they are being commanded by their masters.

    the bill passed the Senate with lightning speed and with hardly any public awareness of the bill's existence

    Campaign contributions come with strings....
    and when many strings are pulled at the same time, our Senate becomes a puppet show.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 06:12:37 AM PDT

  •  Did Feingold, Franken, Sanders signed it ? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fladem, zett, splashoil, clouz22

    If so, are they misguided ?

    Or the critics are misguided ??

    Let's wait and see what the WH will do. I bet Elisabeth Warren is on this.

  •  I swear I'm in an abusive relationship (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashoil, JVolvo, nippersdad, lcarr23

    with the Dem Party.  Each time they do something like
    this I get disgusted and vow to sit on my hands.  Then
    I look at the alternative and say "it's not so bad".
    I guess my time will come during the lame duck session
    with the Tax Cuts Extension and the cat food recommends
    coming down the pike.  That may be the time I formally
    take the D down from behind my name.

  •  I called Senator Menendez's office (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trevzb, Hesiod, nippersdad, cybrestrike

    to find out why he, in effect, voted for this bill. When I told the person who answered the phone that I wanted to talk to someone about HR 3808 they hung up on me.

    I guess Menendez has more votes than he needs lined up for his next election!

  •  Vetoing this would just delay the inevitable. (0+ / 0-)

    It is time to get the forclosures behind us and get the housing market on a path to normality.

  •  Misunderstanding Bill (0+ / 0-)
    "And now the scam artists want to be let off the hook for their illegal activities and be allowed to remedy their nonexistant paper trails with "affidavits" notarized by computers? No thank you..."

    Uh, you might want to read this.  The "affidavits" are not notarized by computers.

    http://activerain.com/...

    Do you understand what a Notary Public does?

    http://www.lawyerintl.com/...
    excerpt
    "A notary public must ensure that the person signing a document to be notarized is who they say they are. Because identities are critical, a notary public may also spend some time verifying the names of the parties involved in the signing.

    One misconception about a notary public is that his or her official signature and/or embossing stamp automatically makes a document 'true and legal'."

    I am not a lawyer but I believe everyone is misunderstanding this bill.

    •  To clarify from the article I posted: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daliscar, cybrestrike, Losty

      "GMAC, JPMorgan and others have halted foreclosure actions in many states after acknowledging that they had filed large numbers of affidavits in which their employees falsely attested that they had personally reviewed records cited to justify the foreclosures."

      That's just the tip of the iceberg of the problem. This bill will actually fuck over America.

      As this article correctly points out -- taking this tool away from homeowners will actually screw them and make the problem worse and prolong it. instead, if you let them keep this tool -- it will force banks to make deals on the mortgages.

      •  No, it won't (0+ / 0-)
        All a notary public does is verify that the person who signs the document is who they say they are.  The notary does not verify the legality or validity of the document itself. If the document is false or fraudulent, it will still be false or fraudlent.  IANAL but I think you misunderstand this bill.  Read the article I posted regarding what a notary public does.  
        •  You are missing the point. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          trevzb, cybrestrike

          Homeowners are using these deficient documents to block foreclosures. Fuck the banks.

        •  A fraudulent notarization... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hesiod

          ...means the signatures are NOT validated and the document, by extension, is stripped of whatever validity it might have had in the first place.

          You can't run a document mill with robo-signers and notaries rubberstamping 2,500 documents a day and expect the documentation to be watertight in court.

          -5.38 -4.72 T. "...a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy's victory; it is a prerequisite for our own." Michael Gerson

          by trevzb on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 09:01:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  So I am a notary and a lawyer (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trevzb, nippersdad, cybrestrike

      and the origin of this bill had nothing to do with the recent problems around mortgages. It has to do with having depositions in one state getting recognized in another state.  From CNBC:

      In recent depositions in several foreclosure cases, GMAC and other mortgage processors' employees have testified that they signed large numbers of affidavits without ever appearing before the individuals who notarized them.

      The bill was first sponsored by Aderholt in 2006.

      He told Reuters in an interview that he proposed it because a court stenographer in his district had asked for it due to problems with getting courts in other states to accept depositions notarized in Alabama.

      Aderholt said organizations of court stenographers supported the bill, but said he wasn't aware of any backing by banks or other business groups.

      So there may actually be an innocent origin to this bill.  But passing it now just plain stinks.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 07:30:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Right...not notarized by computers... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hesiod

      ...just 2,500 per day by supposed witnesses to all these signatures. These aren't notaries, they're corporate paper pushers working in an industry set up to provide fictional documentation for court proceedings where the original documentation was destroyed or lost during the mayhem of the mortgage securitization process.

      -5.38 -4.72 T. "...a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy's victory; it is a prerequisite for our own." Michael Gerson

      by trevzb on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:58:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a massive Debt crisis. The Ancients... (4+ / 0-)

    ...knew this well. The Romans and the Greeks had to deal with this on several occasions. Most famnously, they always led to a re-organization of civil society to take some degree of power away from the landed oligarchs.

    Debt-slavery in the early Roman Republic was an absolute menace.

  •  What's objectionable about this? (0+ / 0-)

    Why shouldn't notaries be recognized across state lines?  It's still illegal to falsely notarize something or otherwise commit fraud.

    •  timing and the way it was passed (0+ / 0-)

      A bill passed in secret that addresses mortgages during a time of massive mortgage fraud is suspect.

      •  Did you not read this comment (0+ / 0-)

        "So I am a notary and a lawyer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by: nippersdad, cybrestrike
        and the origin of this bill had nothing to do with the recent problems around mortgages. It has to do with having depositions in one state getting recognized in another state.  From CNBC:

        In recent depositions in several foreclosure cases, GMAC and other mortgage processors' employees have testified that they signed large numbers of affidavits without ever appearing before the individuals who notarized them.

        The bill was first sponsored by Aderholt in 2006.

        He told Reuters in an interview that he proposed it because a court stenographer in his district had asked for it due to problems with getting courts in other states to accept depositions notarized in Alabama.

        Aderholt said organizations of court stenographers supported the bill, but said he wasn't aware of any backing by banks or other business groups."

        The bill wasn't passed in secret.  This bill is a non-issue.  You guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

        •  it was in secrecy, and why is that? (0+ / 0-)
        •  It has a new meaning now. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brooklyns finest

          Read the text of the statute (I posted a link to it above under "Unanimous consent").

          The objection is to the authorization of electronic signatures across state lines. I have no problem with notarized documents being recognized that are notirazied by actual people who do what they are supposed to do (verify and witness that the person signing the document is who they say they are).

          I do have a problem with blanketly validating eletronically "sign" documents in a situation where tens of thousands of them may not be valid.

          Yes, you could still go after fraudluent affidavits by probintg tehir are invalid. But, this bill would make it exponentially harder to prove that.

          Right now, the homeowners can use thise as leverage to get a better deal or refinance or short sale, etc. If it's taken away, they are basically screwed.

        •  That's right...that's how it started. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hesiod, brooklyns finest

          Then in languished in Senate committee for months and was not expected to see the light of day. Then, suddenly, a couple of weeks ago when several large financial institutions were being investigated for illegal notarization practices, it became urgent for Patrick Leahy and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to see it through the Senate, and they did.

          A lot of people were hoping nobody noticed, but somebody did, and here we are.

          -5.38 -4.72 T. "...a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy's victory; it is a prerequisite for our own." Michael Gerson

          by trevzb on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:55:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Bingo (0+ / 0-)

      Exactly.  A notarized document does not mean the document is legal, factual, valid or credible.  It just means that the person who signed the document has been verified by a notary public.

      •  And... (0+ / 0-)

        ...if the notarization is illegal, there is no such verification of the signatures, which are also fraudulent, making the entire fictional document fraudulent.

        Gotta have the documentation to initiate foreclosure in 23 states.

        -5.38 -4.72 T. "...a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy's victory; it is a prerequisite for our own." Michael Gerson

        by trevzb on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:52:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Again, you are missing the point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brooklyns finest

        Right now, a person can challenge the validity of an electronically notarized document in a significant number of states. Thus, this gives them leverage in a bankruptcy proceeding, and forces the bank to cut them a deal.

        If this bill passes, that tool is taken away and tehy will be forced to literally prove through a lengthy and expensive discovery process that the thing is fraudulent.

    •  It seems innocuous enough... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hesiod, brooklyns finest

      ...that's the kind of things Federal law does, make things uniform across state lines and so on.

      The problem is that there are tens of thousands of fraudulent notarizations attached to fictional foreclosure documentation, the very documentation that gives banks the right to foreclose on certain properties. The fact that several large banks are under investigation for illegal notarization practices in certain states with lax notary laws means that they'd very much like those lax laws to apply to all 50 states, otherwise they're screwed.

      This started out innocently enough, as an effort to help the court stenographers in Alabama; but because of what it does, it was targeted for swift passage in the Senate, where it had languished in committee for months. Suddenly, Pat Leahy and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions needed to see this thing through, and it passed the Senate in one day by Unanimous Consent.

      Banks see it as beneficial to them, obviously, and it could have much further-reaching implications than the world of court stenography in Alabama.

      -5.38 -4.72 T. "...a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy's victory; it is a prerequisite for our own." Michael Gerson

      by trevzb on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:52:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Dream Today (0+ / 0-)

    Is for democratic house and senate members who opposed 3808 to out the democrats that did.

    Does Obama know his signing this bill will destroy the democratic party?

    People who owe money know it. (In the case, they may not actually know who they owe it to.) And for the most part, want to pay it back in an affordable manner, with fair terms both parties can agree to.

    People who lend money seem more jaded, like the guy dissed by the prom date. So he had the limo splash mud on her dress.

    Even PBS, which finally addressed this mess, had people more upset that housing inventory was clogging. Rather than illegal fraud was about to be legalized. But then, who is a major underwriter of the NewsHour...

  •  Why is a document notarized in the first place? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklyns finest

    To ensure the authenticity of the signatures that appear on the document.

    Why would you want to authenticate the signatures?

    One example:

    Deeds prepared in the course of real estate transactions are commonly notarized so that both parties have an added level of security that the transaction will hold up if ever legally challenged, or if one party attempts to escape the terms of the transaction at a later date.

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