Burglary or Good Business?

From the NY Times:

In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks

When Mimi Ash arrived at her mountain chalet here for a weekend ski trip, she discovered that someone had broken into the home and changed the locks.

When she finally got into the house, it was empty. All of her possessions were gone: furniture, her son’s ski medals, winter clothes and family photos. Also missing was a wooden box, its top inscribed with the words “Together Forever,” that contained the ashes of her late husband, Robert.

The culprit, Ms. Ash soon learned, was not a burglar but her bank. According to a federal lawsuit filed in October by Ms. Ash, Bank of America had wrongfully foreclosed on her house and thrown out her belongings, without alerting Ms. Ash beforehand.

In an era when millions of homes have received foreclosure notices nationwide, lawsuits detailing bank break-ins like the one at Ms. Ash’s house keep surfacing. And in the wake of the scandal involving shoddy, sometimes illegal paperwork that has buffeted the nation’s biggest banks in recent months, critics say these situations reinforce their claims that the foreclosure process is fundamentally flawed.

“Every day, smaller wrongs happen to people trying to save their homes: being charged the wrong amount of money, being wrongly denied a loan modification, being asked to hand over documents four or five times,” said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

Identifying the number of homeowners who were locked out illegally is difficult. But banks and their representatives insist that situations like Ms. Ash’s represent just a tiny percentage of foreclosures.

Many of the incidents that have become public appear to have been caused by confusion over whether a house is abandoned, in which case a bank may have the right to break in and make sure the property is secure.

Some of the cases appear to be mistakes involving homeowners who were up to date on their mortgage — or had paid off their home — but who still became targets of a bank.

This entry was posted in Foreclosures, National Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to Burglary or Good Business?

  1. grim says:

    From the Philly Inquirer:

    Pennsylvania and New Jersey will each lose a seat in Congress

    Pennsylvania and New Jersey each will lose a seat in Congress as a result of slow population growth over the last decade.

    The losses, announced Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, reflect the decades-long shift of political clout from the Northeast and Midwest to faster-growing areas of the West and South.

    In other words, Florida’s and Texas’ gain are Pennsylvania’s and New Jersey’s loss.

    With 435 seats in the House of Representatives to be apportioned on the basis of the 2010 census, Pennsylvania’s share will drop from 19 seats to 18 and New Jersey’s from 13 to 12.

    Texas will gain the most seats, four. It will rank second only to California, which retains 53 seats.

    The Lone Star State will have twice the House delegation it had in 1920. Pennsylvania, which has lost more seats than any other big state, will have half what it had 90 years ago.

  2. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Sales of U.S. Previously Owned Homes Probably Rose in November

    Sales of existing homes probably rose in November as the industry that triggered the worst recession in seven decades struggled to recover, economists said before a report today.

    Purchases increased to a 4.75 million annual rate, up 7.1 percent from October, according to the median of 70 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Another report may show the U.S. economy expanded at a faster pace in the third quarter than previously estimated.

    Lower prices and mortgage rates have made houses more affordable, which may keep supporting demand after the end of a government tax credit caused the industry to slump. At the same time, unemployment hovering near 10 percent is a reminder it will take years for housing to regain pre-recession levels.

    “The earliest I see sound improvement is 2012,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. Even so, she said, “we’re going to see some gradual improvement in the demand measures for housing.”

  3. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Thousands of life sciences jobs lost in N.J.

    The pharmaceutical and medical device industries in New Jersey lost 4,900 jobs last year as business pressures led to a dramatic wave of consolidation that cost the state two venerable drug makers, according to the latest economic impact report by the industry’s trade group.

    The severe job losses did not diminish the industry’s impact on the state economy, which reached a record level of $29.2 billion. The industry’s economic impact is calculated based on such things as payroll, vendor spending and capital spending. In 2008, the industry’s economic impact amounted to $28.6 billion.

    The Healthcare Institute of New Jersey, which works on behalf of the prescription drug and medical device makers, started doing the study in 1997 to provide a snapshot of one of the key drivers of the state economy. The latest report was completed by Deloitte.

    The stature of the state’s pharmaceutical industry changed dramatically in 2009 when acquisitions erased two large drug makers. Pfizer paid $68 billion to bring Madison-based Wyeth into its folds and Merck merged with Schering-Plough in a transaction valued at $41.1 billion.

    Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant which had its U.S. offices in Nutley, also diminished its footprint in the state last year when it moved its headquarters to South San Francisco. The Nutley campus now serves predominantly as a research facility.

    Steve Issenman, senior vice president of the healthcare institute, said the industry’s significance to the economy inspite of the hemorrhaging of jobs should serve as a “wake-up call’’ to state lawmakers to take steps to keep New Jersey competitive.

  4. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Carr Miller Accused of $40 Million Ponzi Scheme

    Carr Miller Capital LLC, a New Jersey investment firm, was accused in a lawsuit by state Attorney General Paula Dow of using a Ponzi scheme to defraud investors of more than $40 million.

    The firm and its principals used $13.5 million in investor money for cars, luxury vacations and a skybox to watch the New Jersey Devils hockey team at the Prudential Center in Newark, Dow said today in an e-mailed statement. They also put $16 million into hedge funds, real estate, film production companies and an oil and natural gas venture without telling investors, she said.

    The state yesterday barred Marlton-based Carr Miller from the securities industry, along with three principals: Everett Charles Ford Miller, 41; Brian Patrick Carr, 39; and his cousin, Ryan Jude Carr, 34. A state judge froze assets held by Miller and his companies, and appointed a receiver.

    “These defendants operated a Ponzi scheme for their own enrichment at the expense of investors,” Dow said. “Instead of investing funds to produce high rates of return as promised, we allege that the defendants spent investors’ hard-earned money on personal luxuries and indulgences.”

  5. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Hovnanian reports $132 mln quarterly net loss

    Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. reported another big quarterly net loss late Tuesday as the home builder struggles to compete with a real-estate market awash in foreclosed properties.

    Hovnanian shares fell 2.5% to $4.25 in after-hours trading.

    “The combination of a lackluster job market and high foreclosure activity is clearly having a dampening effect on the housing market,” Chief Executive Ara Hovnanian said in a statement.

  6. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    The great bank heist of 2010

    This was the year America finally took on the power and greed of the Wall Street banks.

    And the banks won.

    They dodged the bullet of real reform, probably for all time. They bounced back to post huge profits, helped by legal theft from the middle class. They completed their takeover of both political parties — and bought themselves a new Congress even more pliable than the old one.

    Middle-class America is flattened, devastated and broke. The bankers that caused it all have escaped punishment. They’re raking in huge profits. Oh, and the tax cuts just got extended for high earners, too!

    Game over.

    Of all the signs of Wall Street’s gloating and arrogance this year, which one stands out the most?

    The image of the president of the republic, traveling to New York to reassure them that they wouldn’t suffer too much from new regulations?

    Or maybe billionaire Steve Schwarzman, the private-equity oligarch at Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) , complaining that any attempt to make him pay actual income tax on his income was akin to “when Hitler invaded Poland.”

    Not France. Not Belgium. Poland.

    In the aftermath, he grudgingly issued a partial retraction.

    Consider the Dodd-Frank reform act — all 2,300 pages of it. Sure, it fills in a few regulatory gaps, ends a couple of the more gratuitous abuses. You have to throw a few scraps to the masses.

    But most of the reforms are meaningless. New rule books and committees. Bah. They’re like half-built fences. Anyone can just walk around them.

    As for the new consumer finance watchdog? The agency that’s supposed to stand up to the banks will be housed… within the Federal Reserve. Literally, it will be a tenant of the banking system.

    Champions of the “reforms” say this won’t really matter. But if that’s the case, why did Wall Street fight so hard to make sure it happened?

    There are no coincidences in Washington.

    Most Americans don’t realize it, but this talk of a “grassroots” and “anti-establishment” election was a bunch of hooey. What really happened was that Wall Street has just bought itself a new, even more compliant Congress.

    The new Republicans are already fawning over the bankers. They’re promising to stop the restrictions on (ahem) “financial innovation.” Congressman Spencer Bachus — the next chairman of the House Financial Services Committee — actually said “Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.” Let the good times roll!

    It was the greatest heist in history. The bankers pulled it off under everyone’s nose.

  7. The banksters rob us while the gubmint wages war against us.

    And I’m the nut for suggesting we defend ourselves.

  8. starjerk.com says:

    Interesting and useful information Burglary or Good Business?. I just wanna tell U “Thanks”. Thanks!

  9. Mike says:

    Number 3 Mr. Issenman, A wake up call!!?? Now!!?? 2010? I believe that call came 20 years ago.

  10. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “The combination of a lackluster job market and high foreclosure activity is clearly having a dampening effect on the housing market,” Chief Executive Ara Hovnanian said in a statement.

    Ara,

    You marked the top when you broke ground in Red Bank. It was my last signal to get out of Dodge.

  11. Shore Guy says:

    Which set of lyrics seems more correct:

    The banks faught

  12. Shore Guy says:

    So much for hitting backszpace.

    So, which lyrics seems more on point:

    The banks fought the law and the banks won.

    Or

    The banks bought the law and the banks won.

  13. chicagofinance says:

    Hoo-boy:

    Hot 97 radio bosses indefinitely suspended DJ Cipha Sounds Tuesday as dozens of Haitian community leaders stepped up their calls for his resignation.

    Activists and elected officials gathered outside the radio station on Hudson St. to voice their anger at the DJ’s on-air claim he is HIV-negative because he does not “mess with Haitian girls.”

    Cipha Sounds later apologized to listeners, calling it a “tasteless joke,” and the station said he will begin sensitivity training focused on the Haitian community.

    “Cipha made an immediate public apology and recognizes his insensitivity and the negative impact his comments have on all Haitians,” said Alex Cameron, SVP/Market Manager of Emmis-New York.

    Haitian-Americans said an apology was not enough.

  14. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “It was the greatest heist in history. The bankers pulled it off under everyone’s nose.”

    [6],

    Yes, it was the greatest heist. However, many saw how this game plan was structured. This site, called it play by play; from Hank on his knees, $2 Bear, and bye-bye Lehman. The masters devised their ultimate goal, robbing the vault, then worked backwards to accomplish the feat.

    It’s all on this site. The archives are filled with gems.

  15. Shore Guy says:

    . The archives are filled with gems

    No. I think they have all been pawned .

  16. Shore Guy says:

    Happy (whatever holiday you celebrate or choose to not celebrate) to all.

  17. make money says:

    I have a feeling I know who’s behind this. Anyone else with me?

    A dominant position controlling 80-90 percent of stock warrants on London Metal Exchange copper slipped to 50-80 percent, latest data showed on Wednesday.

    A dominant position controlling 80-90 percent of stock warrants and cash contracts on London Metal Exchange copper remained unchanged and compares with a level above 90 percent seen on Dec. 14.

    Industrial metals markets have since the middle of November been watching the dominant position, the holder of which the LME has not identified, and which gives holders access to the metal used in power and construction.

    There are also large or dominant positions on aluminium alloy, primary aluminium, nickel, lead, and zinc.

  18. Yikes says:

    what i want to know is who the loser is, scouring foot fetish videos on the web, says, ‘wait, that looks like the coach’s wife’

    sick world, man

  19. BC (15)-

    The next step in this Mexican telenova will be the execution of BAC…assisted by the gubmint’s psy-ops division (aka Wikileaks). The Goldman Sack and the vampire Dimon will then simultaneously loot the corpse for cash and pin billions in losses onto it before tossing the remains into the same vortex that ate Bear and Lehman.

  20. chi (16)-

    Surprised the Sheraton Tirana doesn’t offer hourly rates.

  21. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “I have a feeling I know who’s behind this. Anyone else with me?”

    Make [19],

    Lamar & Bunker or Duke & Duke?

  22. yo'me says:

    However history judges the 535 men and women in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate the past two years, one thing is certain: The 111th Congress made more law affecting more Americans since the “Great Society” legislation of the 1960s.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-22/no-congress-since-1960s-makes-most-laws-for-americans-as-111th.html

  23. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Lamar 7

    A large dog or 2 and some 00 buckshot. Remember, you feared for your life and would like to go the hospital, you have chest pains.

  24. make money says:

    Chifi,

    Let me know if you ever want to visit the motherland. I should be abel to get you in a 3BD room apartment at a good spot only condition is you have to visit Ulqin for a week too.

  25. make money says:

    Wanta,
    Duke & Duke..I think!

  26. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    You know, you can’t just go around and shoot people in the kneecaps with a double-barreled shotgun ’cause you pissed at ’em.
    ….Why not?
    ‘Cause it’s called assault with a deadly weapon, you get 20 years for that shit.
    ….: Listen, do you have any better ideas?
    Yeah. You know, it occurs to me that the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people.

  27. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    When are the banks going to be charged with conspiracy to B&E???? They are oaying the guys who are doing it illegally. Perhaps the legal beagles can correct me here, but since the banks are paying the guys and hiring them to do the job aren’t they equally as liable criminally?

    How about we see some criminal charges followed by some civil judgments against the bank employee’s signing off on the order to B&E the homes.

  28. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    another prescient quote:

    Pay up, Mortimer. I’ve won the bet.
    ……Here, one dollar.
    [chuckling] We took a perfectly useless psychopath like Blankfein, and turned him into a successful executive. And during the same time, we turned an honest, hard-working man into a violently, deranged, would-be killer!

  29. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL!!!!!

  30. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    If i understand the current situation correctly, then i should be able to forge a few loan documents, take them to a court and get someone thrown out of their home (by hiring dubious characters to B&E the home), which i can then promptly turn around and sell!!!!

    How long before some talented con artists pull that off if they haven’t already ( not including the con artists that are the major banks)

  31. JJ says:

    Any time you meet a payment. – Good Times.
    Any time you need a friend. – Good Times.
    Any time you’re out from under.
    Not getting hassled, not getting hustled.
    Keepin’ your head above water,
    Making a wave when you can.

    Temporary lay offs. – Good Times.
    Easy credit rip offs. – Good Times.
    Scratchin’ and surviving. – Good Times.
    Hangin in a chow line – Good Times.
    Ain’t we lucky we got ‘em – Good Times.

    CLOSING THEME LYRICS

    Mmmmmm
    Just lookin’ out of the window.
    Watchin’ the asphalt grow.
    Thinkin’ how it all looks hand-me-down.
    Good Times, yeah, yeah Good Times

    Keepin’ your head above water
    Makin’ a wave when you can

    Temporary lay offs. – Good Times.
    Easy credit rip offs. – Good Times.
    Ain’t we lucky we got ’em – Good Times.

  32. Mikeinwaiting says:

    By Steve Goldstein

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Sales of existing homes rose 5.6% to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 4.68 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday, a figure that was pretty close to the MarketWatch-compiled economist poll of 4.66 million. Even so, sales were still 27.9% below prior-year levels and below the 5.26 million in June when a homebuyer tax credit existed. In November 2009, activity was sparked by anticipation – incorrect, as it turned out – that the tax credit was due to expire. Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist, said current sales are back to levels before the existence of the tax credit but said they won’t be “sustainable” until they get back to 2000 levels of about 5.2 million. The median price edged up 0.4% to $170,600

  33. Painhrtz says:

    Chi fi 14 So ciphar?! made a public service announcement and gets railed for it. Guess the truth hurts.

  34. Lawrence Yun can kiss my white ass.

  35. Mike says:

    JJ Number 33 I had a crush on your sister Thelma

  36. JJ says:

    Me too, forget Jlow that is the original booty. Also don’t know how James kept his hands off that hot neighbor.
    Mike says:
    December 22, 2010 at 10:19 am

    JJ Number 33 I had a crush on your sister Thelma

  37. JJ says:

    http://www.thelmaofgoodtimes.com/

    you can buy a personal 7 minute phone call from her for $13 bucks. just make sure your pants are down when you start the call cause 7 minutes ain’t too long

  38. make money says:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703581204576033922530128988.html

    JJ,

    Woody is my type of Manager. Real time data gathering is straight out the Walmart playbook. Good stuff, I must admit. If there was a roof there those registers could really ring now that we have all this info available.

  39. chicagofinance says:

    can I smell them?

  40. Sterling Grey Matters says:

    As a solution to the burglary referenced in the lead article I suggest that an appropriate remedy would be to invoke Hammurabi’s code. If the defendant is found guilty, an individual is selected at random from a pool consisting of executives from the bank/mortgage holder/servicer who were involved in the offense. The judge issues an order to remove and dispose of the personal property found in the selected offender’s residence. If this potential penalty doesn’t sharpen the focus of the organizations responsible for these administrative oversights at the very least the victims of these egregious errors would be able to stare straight through the vengeful eye of ancient justice.

  41. JJ says:

    I have front row seats in the Meadowlands to the biggest train wreck in years.

    Woody is a good businessman. He actually walks around parking lot before every game greeting tailgators too and lets everyone get pictures with him.

    what article does not tell you is the season tickets are coded with something that if you are at a register it picks it up, it then cross references the POS with the season ticket holder to see who the good season ticket holders are. Also we are scanned in on way in with our tickets. Also of interest the they have tracking devices for kids for free on game day that pinpoints their exact location. If you lose your kid in a crowd of 82,500 you just text security your seat number and they track kid immediately and bring him/her to seat. Also does not mention stadium has facial recognition software, for big events like superbowl it scans stands for felons, known terroists so they can pull them from seats. Very 1984 big brother in stadium. I can even text a seat number to security for someone cursing or fighting and they come right away so no need to confront the idiot. My wife loved it when we went together. Women and Children I noticed are way up in attendence since old stadium. But hey new stadium even has an indoor playground for kids a retail store and an indoor bar so if kids are acting up or it is pouring the wife and kids won’t force you to leave.

    Only problem is upper deck is a nightmare, also very expensive PSLs have unsold spots and corporate types who come late and leave early. Giants have same exact problem. Overall the roof is no big deal for me, only 8 games and I don’t mind the rain as long as it is warm. Freezing rain is my only nightmare.

  42. JJ says:

    Rex or Michelle?
    chicagofinance says:
    December 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

    can I smell them?

  43. Sterling Grey Matters says:

    #29 – Cat
    re: #43 – I should read all posts before responding. I hate when I merely proffer a point posited in a previous post. I’ll take comfort in the fact that solutions can be arrived at independently.

  44. Mike says:

    JJ Number 38 yeah she was DYNOMITE too!

  45. Graydon M. Ellery, III says:

    24 “However history judges the 535 men and women in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate the past two years, one thing is certain: The 111th Congress made more law affecting more Americans since the “Great Society” legislation of the 1960s.”

    Don’t forget the unprecedent power grab by Administrative decree. This week alone, FCC decided to take control of and ability to regulate the Internet (the astroturf campaign had been funded Soros and his buddies) and HHS imposed price controls on health care. Both measures were rejected by Congress, but when you have Imperial Government, you can just rule by decree.

    Chavez issued similar decree this week on Internet regulation this week, following successful examples from Russia, Myanmar and China.

  46. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Gray,

    Your idea works as well. It has some flair to it, i like it! Do you get the option of “first rights” to the executive’s spouse/GF as well?

  47. Sterling Grey Matters says:

    #49 – Cat
    Like a modern Prima Noctis – ala Braveheart – that does seem a little harsh considering that this was merely a property crime. And not to bring logic into it but we can’t assume that the aggrieved are of a certain gender or persuasion or that banker’s signifothers are uniformly any great “prize”. Okay maybe as an option – and it would give new meaning to a “Bernanke Put.”

    Or how about good ol’ fashioned public humiliation, instead? Maybe use the pillory with nearby baskets of rotten vegetables or a dunking in winter? Or a tar and feathering? Oh wait – I do still believe in the Bill of Rights – d*mn you Eighth Amendment – curses, foiled again. Real justice can be so difficult.

    On a separate note…

    Looking good, Billy Ray.
    Feeling good, Louis!

  48. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Gray,

    In the end its all just mental m@sterbation anyway. Its not like the rule of law has had any meaning in the last decade or so.

  49. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    nice:

    WASHINGTON — Top policymakers at the Federal Reserve are fighting efforts to rein in widely reported bank abuses, sparking an inter-agency feud with the FDIC and the Treasury Department. The Fed, along with the more bank-friendly Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is resisting moves to craft rules cracking down on banks that charge illegal fees and carry out improper foreclosures. The FDIC supports such rules, according to an FDIC official involved in the dispute.

  50. JJ says:

    Hey does anyone want to open a foot fetish bar with me? Gotta be a real money maker, thing how cheap, just make everyone go barefoot and have a “shoecheck” girl.

  51. Anon E. Moose says:

    SGM [50];

    How exactly do you shame or embarass a sociopath?

  52. make (40)-

    Too bad Woody couldn’t “real time” how many drugs and drinks were going into his kid’s system.

  53. jj (44)-

    Wow. And all these years, I thought the Jets’ team cheer was “show your t!ts”.

    “I can even text a seat number to security for someone cursing or fighting and they come right away so no need to confront the idiot. My wife loved it when we went together. Women and Children I noticed are way up in attendence since old stadium.”

  54. Al Mossberg says:

    Just another day in the gulag. I think I’ll treat myself to some afternoon suds.

  55. Al Mossberg says:

    One of the best quotes I have read all day regarding Obamacare, “The affect on the availability of medical care will be staggering, as will the rationing of medical care, which will mean all older people and those with chronic problems will be allowed to die, as all useless eaters will be removed from society. What you are going to see will be horrible.”

    Doomish to say the least.

  56. Al Mossberg says:

    This is why I hate public education and believe it should be abolished.
    John D. Rockefeller’s 1906 General Education Bulletin:
    “”In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen — of whom we have an ample supply. The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.”

  57. Diane says:

    From my old hometown newspaper:

    http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/local/west-volusia/2010/12/12/deltonas-foreclosure-crisis.html

    He compared the banks’ position in the current state of affairs to a leading diamond dealer.
    “It’s like De Beers. They have got a lot of diamonds, but they don’t put much out on the market, because they’d be losing a lot,” he said.

    Even with the efforts, a home behind the Davisons’ — “a beautiful house with granite countertops” — sold for just $36,000, Karen Davison said.

  58. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Al gore/Mossberg

    I guess you got yourself an early Xmas gift?

  59. Sterling Grey Matters says:

    #54 – Moose
    Shame or embarrass – I’m not sure that’s the desired outcome – punishment is what is sought after in cases of criminal wrongdoing. Public humiliation won’t necessarily change the behavior of a true sociopath but it might serve to make the random bank executive think twice before hiring another robosigner.

    But both you and I know that this is not a real “solution” to the burglary that took place in the lead article.

    On the other hand here’s a possibility –
    How about branding their forehead with the letter B?

  60. Anon E. Moose says:

    SGM [62];

    That was my point. You suggested, if tounge-in-cheeck, punishment by public humiliation. My response observes that bankers typically rise to their positions by being willing to do what other are not, and with complete disregard for social norms that inhibit most people from doing precisely what they did. This character trait — in the extreme — is sociopathy. If the subject of public humiliation actively disregards the concerns of those around him, ‘shunning’ seems no punishment at all, with or without a scarlet “B”.

    Once upon a time in America, an individual’s freedom was highly regarded as one of the most valuable things to be taken by way of punishment. Not cruel or unusual at all, but stern punishment nonetheless. These days, many people would regard prison as simply “three free hots and a cot” and not too bad a deal. As RR said, freedom is not passed down in the bloodline, and is never more than one generation from extinction.

  61. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Moose

    Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy,
    forget in time that men have died to win them.”
    – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded
    state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is
    much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight,
    nothing which is more important than his own personal safety,
    is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made
    and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
    – John Stewart Mill

    “Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings – – give us that precious jewel, and you may take everything else. Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”
    – Patrick Henry

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the
    animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your
    counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your
    chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”
    –Samuel Adams

    “The human race is in the best condition when it has the greatest degree of liberty.”
    – Dante Aligheri

    If this nation truly believed in liberty and its founding traditions any longer, then those who are now deified and held up as shining examples of success, from politicians from both parties to psychopathic executives, would be run from there their positions and from the very nation with the points of swords close behind.

  62. Sterling Grey Matters says:

    #63 Moose –
    You offer a lot to contemplate if I’m permitted to read the subtext. I’m sure that I don’t need to remind you how complicated and interconnected this world is but I’m not sure that I can paint with such broad strokes with regard to bankers. It really depends on what you mean by banker. I hope we can agree that a simple S&L structure can play an important part in making credit available to a local community. Where do you draw the line on commerce? Are you anti-money? Do you think that we should go back to a barter system? I do like the notion of harkening back to a simpler time (which for some folk might be the 1980’s; for others the 1880’s) but I don’t reckon that it’s possible. It’s just too idealized. And I don’t rail against wealth or the wealthy in particular. But I think there is an argument that should be made for greater institutional responsibility that goes along with personal or individual responsibility. With respect to “three free hots and a cot” all I can say is that I’m thankful that I had better opportunities throughout my life that didn’t lead me to that unenviable conclusion about my prospects. (It sounds like I’m beginning an exposition wherein I’ll cite reference to Jean Valjean from Les Miserables.)

  63. Sterling Grey Matters says:

    #63 Moose –

    Of course we could just burn them!!!
    ——————————————————————————
    BEDEVERE: What also floats in water?

    VILLAGER #1: Bread!

    VILLAGER #2: Apples!

    VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!

    VILLAGER #1: Cider!

    VILLAGER #2: Uhhh, gravy!

    VILLAGER #1: Cherries!

    VILLAGER #2: Mud!

    VILLAGER #3: Churches — churches!

    VILLAGER #2: Lead — lead!

    ARTHUR: A duck.

    CROWD: Oooh.

    BEDEVERE: Exactly! So, logically…,

    VILLAGER #1: If… she.. weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood.

    BEDEVERE: And therefore–?

    VILLAGER #1: A witch!

    CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch!

    BEDEVERE: We shall use my largest scales!

    [yelling]

    BEDEVERE: Right, remove the supports!

    [whop]

    [creak]

    CROWD: A witch! A witch!

    WITCH: It’s a fair cop.

    CROWD: Burn her! Burn her!

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