The Cardinal Crisis
October 2010. World transits continue to revolve, showing the direction and inclinations of global events of late.
After the first phase of the Cardinal Crisis of 2010 briefly relaxes, the earth continues to feel the effects of what are changing times.
The major planets taking part through October, November, and December are those of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto.
The transit of Venus and Mars through tropical Scorpio along with the historic conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in Pisces signals the nature, the earth's climate and weather among other mundane matters.
Saturn has recently emerged from the far side of the Sun and can now be seen rising ahead of the Sun in tropical Libra and sidereal Virgo.
I continue to urge people worldwide to be keen on the climate and weather, and to mind their actions and behavior on the high seas.
I had forecasted accidents, along with increasingly heavy rains, and floods throughout the world for 2010, and my forecasts continue to be born out.
2010 will have been known as an historic year of weather as we continue to witness ever widening floods around the globe, such as these recent events:
Downpours Leave Eastern Australia Flooded
Hurricane Paula Becomes A Category 2 Storm
Torrential Rains, Accidents on the High Seas
Indonesian Flood Toll Rises
Floods Claims Lives In Vietnam
Hungary town evacuated on fears of new toxic sludge flood
Torrential Rains Causes Floods That Force Evacuation of 130,000+ In China
Hurricane Otto Threatens Floods & Mudslides in Caribbean
Casualties From Floods In Bangladesh After 3 Straight Days Of Rains
200 Rescued from Burning Passenger Ferry Off Coast of Germany
Torrential Rains Take Lives In Algeria
I urge people to mind the weather and climate conditions into this second half of the astrological year of 2010 and into the first half of 2011. There's much more precipitation on the way.
The planetary conjunctions relative to the Earth continue to incline our climate towards heavier than normal precipitation, floods, mudslides, along with extremes of weather, from above-normal temperatures to below-normal-than average cold temperatures - as we will see with the emergence of La Nina.
In this edition of Global Astrology, we look at Venus Retrograde, and the potential implications as the planet shifts from evening star to morning star cycle by the end of October.
We go to Hungary, where an ecological disaster is in the making, while we examine the growing Robo-Signer foreclosure scandal brewing in the United States.
I give my astrometeorological climate & health forecast once again ahead of what I forecast to be a powerful La Nina in the northern hemisphere for winter 2011.
We also look at why bank analyst Meredith Whitney says more economic pain is ahead in the wake of the real estate collapse.
For several years I had been warning anyone who would listen that a historic and challenging time was ahead just prior to the opening of the next decade - the 2010s.
Mundane world transits confirmed to me, long ago, that this period of time would coalesce into a new era, amid massive levels of corruption, violence, religious intolerance, and ignorance.
Yet, I am also a practical optimist, and know that with knowledge of the inclinations of the planets and stars, that good people worldwide would begin to make their comeback. This has already started, as forecasted, and there is much, much more to come.
But first, we look to Venus' transit in Libra/Scorpio, and her retrograde, which adds its own flavor to the combination of global transits which incline and shape events on the Earth.
By Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S
A song from the year 1978 went, "Love is like oxygen, you get too much you get too high, not enough and you're gonna die...Love gets you high."
This is typically the general social tone of Venus' retrograde October 8, at 13-degrees tropical Scorpio, and back to 27-degrees Libra before Venus stations direct on November 18, 2010.
For the non-astrologically-minded, a retrograde motion of a planet signifies important events, and decisions which have to be made under a period of review, and readjustments.
Retrogrades are also transitional cycles which can either allow people to make their changes under review, or, retrogrades can interfere with the status quo enough to cause barriers, delays, and frustrations to surface and mount.
Venus' retrograde period from early October to mid-November 2010 is a cycle of emotional and life-altering adjustments to changing conditions.
The conditions, under this retrograde, tend to be caused by neglecting the past, not repairing, or maintaining systems, relationships, ignoring to upgrade and fortify.
While in Scorpio, we find transiting Mars, conjoined to Venus in early October, highlighting personal relationships, old and new, while calling into question the interpersonal needs of coming change.
Venus' major transit is that of a cycle shift. For the past ten months Venus has been in evening star position, setting after the Sun.
On October 28-29, 2010, Venus begins to rise ahead of the Sun in world locations.
click on graphic to enlarge
This is the start of a "morning star" phase, with Venus rising, and shining brighter just ahead of the Sun's rise.
In mundane astrology, we apply these rising and setting cycles to note the opening of different kinds of eras, so to speak.
The morning star cycle, generally, is one of looking forward - to the near future. This is the best application of Venus direct, and in the opening phases of her morning star cycle.
By early November 2010, Venus will be rising higher in the morning skies. After turning direct in motion Nov. 18, Venus will re-enter tropical Scorpio on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010, 7:03 p.m., EST.
Venus will then transit again the same 13 degrees of tropical Scorpio it did during its retrograde.
This points to the month of December being significant in the world: when Venus transits Scorpio, when, by Dec. 31, 2010, the transiting Moon conjoins Venus as they form a water trine to Jupiter and Uranus in Pisces on New Years' Eve, and squares Neptune-Chiron conjoined in Aquarius.
Venus travel between October and Dec. 31, 2010 further confirms the transitions taking place in the lives of many people worldwide. The idea for this cycle of time is to settle the past while positively looking forward to the future.
Aspirations, professional and personal planning should always take into account the bigger picture in the world, but not give sway to fear, or neglect of those things that can be solved with honesty and common sense.
The dysfunctional inclinations of Venus' retrograde and transit in Scorpio are those that affect people who have imbalance within them.
The inclinations will bring this to the surface, and this will be reflected in the news as unusual events, mainly involving women. Look for these types of incidents, and you will find Venus' inclinations by malefic transit involved.
Venus rules the social mentality of the world, and as so, signals a shift in times which are indeed changing.
The bank crisis since 2007 has altered the lives of tens of millions of people, and, in so doing, as also altered the social clime.
Before, and during major world transitions, it is important to remember the inclinations of the planets.
The major conjunctions of late are Venus-Mars along with Jupiter-Uranus. The ruler of the autumn season is Mercury, and the ruler of the coming winter season for the northern hemisphere is Saturn.
Saturn's transit in Libra has returned to the position the planet held in 1981-82, and so the social climate will adjust to the exalted status Saturn holds in tropical Libra.
The social climate has changed with Saturn's inclinations in Libra, so it is essential to adjust accordingly by improving your good manners and social etiquette.
Objectivity by balanced emotion serves people best during the Saturn transit in Libra, and Venus' retrograde in October and November 2010.
Over emotionalism, fear, bad manners, political correctness, cynicism, and failure to communicate - lose after it is all said and done in 2010.
On a social and personal level, let's not forget how to handle emotions. Venus' retrograde in Scorpio, and tropical Libra can incline less aware persons to act out with projections onto others, usually based on jealousy or want.
The idea behind directing Venus' inclinations during retrograde is not to focus on what one wants so much as to focus more on what one lacks within oneself, and then to work objectively towards keeping in mind that Venus is about shift planetary phase during its transit in tropical Scorpio and sidereal Libra.
The transit of Venus in Scorpio through early January 2011, with the retrograde phase (Oct. 8-Nov. 18) will have opened yet another new chapter in the lives of many people so by the time March 2011 has arrived most people will know that a new time is at hand.
- Think, repose, and review personal relationships
- Avoid drama at all costs
- Don't believe everything your hear
- Observe emotional dysfunction in others from a distance
- Finish up the work of the last 10 months thru October
- Work on personal improvement
- Prepare for Venus as morning star over the next 10 months to August 2011
The past cannot be salvaged, but the ever-present is a key to the future.
What can be accomplished as much as it could has already gone by. Rather, use the next several weeks of October to patiently look forward, and attend to your medium-and-long-range goals without wasting time - for that is the stuff which life is made of according to Benjamin Franklin.
The months of October, November and December 2010 will be highlighted by world events based mainly on fear, corruption, control issues, and the lack of honesty that has been rampant for far too long during the last decade or more.
As we look forward, people who are able to come to terms with the events of the last decade but whom do not miss a beat when it comes to renewing their lives for the near future will do best.
Yet, we must remember how the transpersonal inclinations on the world affect nations, and the consciousness of the planet.
I have been writing about the effects of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction to the fixed star Scheat, and the concerns I've had about disasters that affect the world; mainly because of the climate.
I had forecasted 2010 to be a very wet year, and it has turned out to be one the wettest years in memory for several nations.
The deluges of heavy rains, flash floods and saturation of topsoil has led to disasters from Asia, to North and South America to Europe.
We have not seen the last of 2010's heavy rains and floods, and I once again continue to advise everyone to be keen on the climate and weather - be prepared, not scared.
Mars, transiting in Scorpio, is the color of deep red, and maroon. Scorpio, is a fixed water sign, known as a fertile sign, but, under its negative octaves is also one of the "toxic" signs of the Zodiac and can represent death by poisons on a mundane scale.
Mars, ruler of Scorpio in classical astrology, joined by Venus, shows the combinatorial aspects by water, to the major Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Pisces associated with the heavy rains, and flooding around the world.
I continue to warn about increasing levels of precipitation under the present and near future planetary configurations relative to the Earth.
Here, the transpersonal inclinations of multiple errors: failure to apply knowledge of proper climate preparation, and the lack of foresight has shown itself once again - this time from the European nation of Hungary:
October 7, 2010 - KOLONTAR, Hungary – Red sludge flowed into the Danube River on Thursday, threatening a half-dozen nations along one of Europe's key waterways.
Monitors took samples every few hour to measure damage from the toxic spill and emergency officials declared one Hungarian tributary dead.
As cleanup crews gathered deer carcasses and other wildlife from the villages in southwestern Hungary flooded by the industrial waste, environmental groups warned of long-term damage to the farming region's topsoil.
Conflicting information swirled about the dangers posed by the ankle-deep muck coating the most seriously hit areas after the collapse of a waste-storage reservoir at a nearby alumina plant Monday.
The Hungarian Academy of Sciences maintained that while the material was a continued hazard, its heavy metal concentrations were not considered dangerous to the environment.
"The academy can say whatever it wants," fumed Barbara Szalai Szita, who lives in Devecser, one of the hardest-hit villages.
"All I know is that if I spend 30 minutes outside I get a foul taste in my mouth and my tongue feels strange."
Hungary's environment minister, Zoltan Illes, said the henna-colored sludge covering a 16-square-mile swathe of countryside does have "a high content of heavy metals," some of which can cause cancer.
He warned of possible environmental hazards, particularly if it were to enter the groundwater system.
With rain giving way to dry, warmer weather over the past two days, the caustic mud is increasingly turning to airborne dust, which can cause respiratory problems, Illes added.
"If that would dry out then ... wind can blow ... that heavy metal contamination through the respiratory system," he said.
Amid the conflicting reports, officials had one piece of encouraging news: The mighty Danube was apparently absorbing the slurry with little immediate harm beyond sporadic sightings of dead fish.
The red sludge, a waste product of aluminum production, reached the western branch of the Danube early Thursday and was flowing into its broad main stretch by noon. By evening, it was moving southward toward Serbia and Romania.
At monitoring stations in Croatia, Serbia and Romania, officials were taking river samples every few hours, though experts hoped the river's huge water volume would blunt the impact of the spill.
Hungarian rescue agency spokesman Tibor Dobson said the pH content of the sludge entering the Danube had been reduced to the point where it was unlikely to cause further environmental damage.
The waste, which had tested at a highly alkaline pH level of 13 soon after the spill — similar to lye or bleach — was under 10 by Thursday.
A neutral pH level for water is 7, with normal readings ranging from 6.5 to 8.5.
Each pH number is 10 times the previous level, so a pH of 13 is 1,000 times more alkaline than a pH of 10.
The tributaries feeding the Danube from the area around the spill were not so fortunate. The Marcal River, stained ochre and devoid of fish and other aquatic life, was declared a dead zone.
The Danube River In Europe
click on map graphic to enlarge
"Life in the Marcal River has been extinguished," Dobson said of the waterway, which is fed by streams around the accident site and carried the waste into the Raba River, which then flows into the Danube.
He said emergency crews were pouring plaster and acetic acid — vinegar — into the area where the Raba and Danube meet to lower the sludge's pH value.
"The main effort is now being concentrated on the Raba and the Danube," he said. "That's what has to be saved."
An AP television crew watching cleanup efforts at the confluence of the Raba and the Danube said neither river showed visible signs of pollution.
An environmental group that monitors threats to the Danube said the breached reservoir was on a 2006 watch list of some 100 industrial sites that were at risk for accidents that could contaminate the 1,775-mile-long river.
The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River coordinates conservation efforts in the nations bordering the waterway and its tributaries.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, visiting the village of Kolontar, where homes and fields were coated with sludge, described the reservoir break as a disaster unprecedented in Hungary.
"If this had happened at night then everyone here would have died," he told the MTI news agency.
"This is so irresponsible that it is impossible to find words."
Soldiers, emergency workers and volunteers dressed in mud-splattered protective gear kept shoveling out the muck Thursday, a process officials said could take months.
The long-term effects on the agricultural region were devastating, officials said. Some 2,000 acres of topsoil will have to be dug up and replaced because the highly alkaline sludge had killed off all the nutrients and organisms needed to keep the soil healthy, according to Illes, the environment minister.
It is still not known what caused a section of the reservoir to collapse, unleashing a torrent of some 35 million cubic feet (1 million cubic meters) of sludge that killed at least four people and left three missing.
More than 150 people were treated for burns and other injuries, and 11 remained in serious condition Thursday.
However, meteorologists at AccuWeather.com suggested unusually high precipitation might have been a factor, saying spring and summer rainfall in areas of central Europe from Poland to southern Hungary was more than 200 percent above normal.
The walls holding back the sludge may have been weakened by the rain, contributing to the breach that released the spill, the agency said.
MAL Rt., the Hungarian Aluminum Production and Trade Company, which owns the Ajkai Timfoldgyar plant where the spill occurred, has rejected criticism it should have taken more precautions at the reservoir.
However, Hungary's National Investigation Office, which is investigating the spill, said it planned to look into whether on-the-job carelessness was a factor.
The huge reservoir, more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) long and 1,500 feet (450 meters) wide, was no longer leaking by Thursday and a triple-tiered protective wall was being built around its damaged section.
Guards were posted to give an early warning in case of any new emergency.
That did not calm the fears of villagers who lived through the disaster, many of whom said they planned to leave.
Etel Stampf was in her backyard when the first waves of the flood hit her home in Kolontar.
She climbed on the roof of her pigsty to survive, but the flooding was so high that one of her legs was badly burned as it dangled in the caustic water.
"If I don't die now, I never will," the 76-year-old woman recalled thinking as she clung to the fragile structure.
"We worked so hard for years to have something for ourselves and now it's all gone," Stampf said.
"I don't want to stay here.
Ten years from now there will be nothing left of this town."
By Pablo Gorondi, George Jahn & Bela Szandelszky
Hundreds of people had to be evacuated after a gigantic sludge reservoir burst Monday at a metals plant in Ajka, a town 100 miles southwest of Budapest.
[See -> live video which captures the onslaught and aftermath.]
At least four people were killed, three are still missing and 120 were injured as the unstoppable torrent inundated homes, swept cars off roads and disgorged an estimated 35 million cubic feet of toxic waste.
It was still not known Wednesday why part of the reservoir failed.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said authorities were caught off guard by the disaster since the plant and reservoir had been inspected only two weeks earlier and no irregularities had been found.
The red torrent has already reached the Marcal River but it was not clear Wednesday how far down the river it had spread.
Emergency workers were pouring 1,000 tons of plaster into the water to try to bind the sludge and keep it from flowing into the Danube, 45 miles away.
The Hungarian Water Regulation Authority estimated Tuesday it would take the sludge about five days to reach the Danube.
There was no stopping the avalanche of toxic red sludge: It smashed through the door of Kati Holczer's house, trapping the mother and her toddler in a sea of caustic waste.
She saved her 3-year-old son, Bence, by placing him on a sofa that was floating in the muck.
Then she called her husband Balazs, who was working in Austria, to say goodbye.
"We're going to die," she told him, chest-deep in the acrid mud.
After the terror came the pain: Holczer and her two rescuers were among dozens of villagers suffering from deep chemical burns following Monday's spill.
Their fox terrier Mazli — his name means "Luck" in Hungarian — lay dead in the yard Wednesday, still chained to a stake. Luca, their Labrador, was swept away by the 9-foot-high wave of toxic waste that poured from a breached reservoir at a nearby alumina factory.
The ecological catastrophe that is threatening the Danube River — one of Europe's main waterways — has left a trail of shattered lives.
On Wednesday, furious villagers, their shoes splattered with the caustic red mud, crowded around an official of the company blamed for the disaster and demanded compensation for destroyed homes, fields and livelihoods.
A woman cleans her store's floor infected with the toxic red sludge which overwhelmed several towns, including the flooded village of Devecser, 150 km (93 miles) west of Budapest October 11, 2010.
photo: Bernadett Szab/Reuters
Authorities have ordered a criminal inquiry into the accident, which killed at least four people, injured 120 and left three people missing.
After bursting from the reservoir and flooding three villages Monday, the sludge — a waste product of aluminum production that can contain heavy metals — ended up in the Marcal River, part of the tributary system feeding the Danube, some 45 miles to the north.
Hundreds of people were evacuated.
Local streams were swollen Wednesday and tinted ocher by the sludge, and residents said they were empty of fish.
Imre Szakacs, head of the county crisis management committee, told the state-run MTI news agency the lye-like slurry was expected to reach the Danube by the weekend or early next week. Chemical analysis of the sludge were ongoing Wednesday.
However, Kolontar Mayor Karoly Tili told The Associated Press the material was not radioactive as feared. "We can say for sure that according to the measurements there is no radioactivity," he said.
Still, concerns grew about damage to marine life in the region and beyond. South of Hungary, the 1,775-mile Danube flows through Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova before emptying into the Black Sea.
Hungary's National Rescue Service said engineers considered diverting the Marcal River into nearby fields but decided not to, fearing the damage would be too great.
Workers were extracting sludge from the river and using plaster and acid to try to neutralize it. Initial measurements showed the sludge was extremely alkaline, with a pH value of 13, the agency said.
The European Union said it feared the toxic flood could turn into an ecological disaster and urged Hungarian authorities to focus on keeping the sludge from reaching the Danube.
"It is important that we do .... everything possible that it would not endanger the Danube," EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik told the AP in Brussels.
"We have to do this very moment everything possible ... (to) limit the extent of the damage."
"This is a serious environmental problem," EU spokesman Joe Hennon said. "We are concerned, not just for the environment in Hungary, but this could potentially cross borders."
Greenpeace was more even emphatic.
The sludge spill is "one of the top three environmental disasters in Europe in the last 20 or 30 years," said Herwit Schuster, a spokesman for Greenpeace International.
Angry villagers gathered outside the mayor's office in Kolontar late Wednesday had more immediate concerns, as they berated a senior official of MAL Rt., the Hungarian Aluminum Production and Trade Company that owns the Ajkai Timfoldgyar plant, demanding compensation.
Local officials said 34 homes in the village were unlivable. However, furious residents said the disaster had destroyed the whole community by making their real estate valueless.
"The whole settlement should be bulldozed into the ground," bellowed Janos Potza, straining to be heard above his neighbors. "There's no point for anyone to go back home."
"Those who can, will move out of Kolontar.
From now on, this is a dead town," fumed Beata Gasko Monek.
Visibly shaken, Jozsef Deak, the company's operations manager, said it would not shy away from taking responsibility if found guilty. He spoke from the passenger seat of a police cruiser, using its speaker system as villagers crowded around.
Two days after the red torrent disgorged an estimated 35 million cubic feet (1 million cubic meters) of toxic waste.
It was not known why part of the reservoir collapsed.
National Police Chief Jozsef Hatala was heading the investigation into the spill because of its importance and complexity, police spokeswoman Monika Benyi said. Investigators would look into whether on-the-job carelessness was a factor, she said.
The huge reservoir, more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) long and 1,500 feet (450 meters) wide, was no longer leaking Wednesday and a triple-tiered protective wall was being built around its damaged section.
Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said guards have been posted at the site to give an early warning in case of any new emergency.
Greenpeace workers took sludge samples on Tuesday and were having them tested to determine whether they contain heavy metals.
Red sludge is a by-product of the refining of bauxite into alumina, the basic material for manufacturing aluminum.
Treated sludge is often stored in ponds where the water eventually evaporates, leaving behind a dried red clay-like soil.
Hungarian company officials have insisted the sludge is not considered hazardous waste according to EU standards.
The company has also rejected criticism that it should have taken more precautions at the reservoir.
In Hungary's hardest-hit towns, emergency workers and construction crews in respirators and other Hazmat gear worked Wednesday to clear roads and homes coated by thick red sludge and caustic muddy water.
In Kolontar, a military construction crew assembled a pontoon bridge across a toxic stream so residents could briefly return to their homes and retrieve some belongings.
In sharp contrast to the emergency workers, villagers salvaged possessions with little more than rubber gloves for protection.
Women with pants coated in red mud cleared the muck away from their homes with snow shovels.
The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube, which manages the river and its tributaries, said that sludge spill could trigger long-term damaging effects for both wildlife and humans.
"It is a very serious accident and has potential implications for other countries," Philip Weller, the group's executive secretary, said from Brussels.
Weller said the commission's early warning alarm system was triggered by the spill, which means factories and towns along the Danube may have to shut down their water intake systems.
He said large fish in the Danube could ingest any heavy metals carried downstream, potentially endangering people who eat them.
Alumina plants are scattered around the world, with the 12 largest concentrated in Australia, Brazil and China. The plant in Hungary ranks 53rd in the world in production, according to industry statistics.
The United States has three facilities similar to the one in Hungary. However, regulation and waste storage practices make it unlikely that a similar spill could occur, industry officials and regulators said.
The three U.S. facilities are in Texas and Louisiana, along the Gulf Coast, allowing the plants to take advantage of the hot weather in treating the waste, said Charles Johnson, of the Aluminum Association, a Washington-based lobbying group.
The Sofia Echo
October 11, 2010 - Hungary -- A European civil protection team of five experts from France, Belgium, Sweden, Austria and Germany will arrive in Hungary on October 11 2010 to support the Hungarian authorities in their efforts to combat the pollution caused by the break of a sludge depository in the city of Ajka, the European Commission said.
The experts will be brought directly to the place of accident together with a Commission liaison officer, who arrived in Hungary on October 9.
On October 7, the Hungarian government issued a request for assistance to the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Center (MIC).
Hungarian authorities asked for a small team of three to five experts with strong field experience in preventing/mitigating damage from alkali sludge on flora and fauna, and decontamination of agricultural land.
According to the European Commission, EU member states participating in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism responded quickly to this call with an impressive number of offers – more than 40 experts were offered by 10 member states.
The EU experts will contribute to the assessment of the impacts of the alkali sludge on the environment, in particular on agricultural land, water - including underground waters - and flora and fauna.
Advise on the possibilities of prevention, mitigation and reduction of negative environmental impacts caused by alkali sludge; provide expert opinion on the optimal solution of decontamination of sludge in urban and agricultural area; and assess further needs, anticipate risks and suggest solutions with regard to the rehabilitation of nature, the agricultural and urban land affected.
Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner responsible for Crisis Response said, "The quick selection of this team, and the generous offers of member states, clearly shows that European solidarity is working.
In their hour of need, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Hungarian authorities in their efforts to help the victims of this crisis and to reduce the damage to the environment."
On October 10, the BBC reported that Hungarian work crews were racing against time to build an emergency dam as cracks widened at a burst reservoir that spilled toxic sludge.
The wall of the reservoir could collapse within a day or a week, environment state secretary Zoltan Illes said.
A new wall is being built to protect villages already devastated by the flood of industrial waste on October 4.
Environmental protection group WWF said on October 9 that the wall of the toxic sludge reservoir that burst in western Hungary had been leaking for months, VOANews.com said.
WWF said that the disaster that flooded several towns with toxic waste could have been avoided.
The Swiss-based organization said aerial pictures taken in June and published on its website "clearly" showed toxic mud leaking from the sludge reservoir.
Due to the torrential rains to this point in time, it is wise to look for and identify potential sinkholes which can collapse at any moment with the additional precipitation that is sure to come.
The Cardinal Crisis
"Say it ain't So Joe!"
By Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S
For years, after reviewing world transits related to the economy, I had been warning anyone who would listen that there was a rat's nest of corruption in the real estate, banking, and mortgage markets.
Few listened, but my fears were confirmed in the summer of 2007 with the first signs of the emerging banking crisis that led to the near collapse a year later in September 2008.
As millions of Americans have been foreclosed on, details are now emerging that the foreclosure market has been rife with corruption, as forecasted.
But what all the bad guys and gals running the real estate market into the ground did not count on were global transits.
Anyone who cared to read my mundane forecast and warning a few months back about the cardinal transits, how they could be used against those who have come close to destroying what once was a health economy and society.
If they cared to attend to astrological forecasts, these people would also have remembered what I said about all the years of massive financial corruption being revealed by the motions of the planets.
This is just the beginning of what homeowners are about to discover what really has been done to them.
Middle-class families assaulted by scum who pose as financial professionals; destroying families, parents, children, schools and whole communities - all for the sake of the almighty Benjamin.
Well, that scum, without knowing it, did not also mind that Benjamin Franklin was a mundane astrologer. That face on the $100 bill should tell you something about why planetary transits must be minded.
Money starts with the letter "M."
In the Alphabet, there are 25 more letters left. The alphabet used in English is the "Latin" or "Roman" alphabet. The English alphabet contains 26 letters. Except for the use of accents and di-critical marks, these are the same in other Western European languages.
That means money isn't everything.
For it is Time that is the stuff that life is made of.
The scum in the financial industry long forgot this.
They say "time is money."
Only fools believe that.
This is a reminder to those who think first and only about money - especially in this global economy.
I warned about the global effects of the Cardinal inclinations, of the motions especially of the outer planets, the conjunction of Jupiter & Uranus, the transit of Saturn, and the motions of Neptune and Chiron.
So, this scum, those hedge funds, investment bankers and lender companies whom have been forging foreclosure papers - signing off like "robo" crack addicts on millions of "apparent defaults" in a frontal assault on hard working people - are about to face the wrath of the American people - attorney generals, homeowners, parents, renters, spouses - and just about every elderly person out there, as forecasted here on Global Astrology.
Forging notarized documents in the United States is illegal and is subject to severe penalty.
For all the money the banks have stolen, and all the houses repossessed and individual rights denied perfunctorily under the guise of forgery of notarized documents?
Even to the extent of forgery of the notary seal itself - "Robo-signed," of course, by lawyers who should have known better because that leads to disciplinary action and being disbarred.
If you think there are too many lawyers out there to begin with, well, this thing is about to shorten a few "legal careers" in the months and years ahead.
These guys and gals running the banks, and their servicers - are, quite literally - seemingly outside of their own minds. You couldn't make this stuff up and actually believe it.
But there it is nonetheless.
One would think, yes, even innocently believe, that these very high-priced pinheads would have had the time to actually read the U.S. Constitution?
Being a native Philadelphian, and knowing the constitution of this great nation was written in my hometown, it was very helpful to have learned early in life to read the thing don't you think?
But, it appears that hedge fund billionaires like John Paulson not only ignores the U.S. Constitution, but also astrological transits.
This is impossible, of course, in reality, but the financial market of the last 12 years has been anything but real.
Still, why would Paulson, who has been highlighted here on Global Astrology before, suddenly freak out about the "Robo-signer" scandal making the rounds in Washington D.C.?
It seems, from one insider, that my astrological forecast is coming true here as well on the matter. There is so much more to come.
I reminded that this would be so earlier this year, repeatedly to those who were listening to my forecasts on the economy and the truths behind the Bank Crisis, hedge fund moguls, and corrupted investment bankers:
From Naked Capitalism
On the U.S. Constitution, and the foreclosure scandal related, See -> this view from Reggie Middleton's BoomBustBlog
With Saturn in Libra, not knowing the U.S. Constitution could be fatal to your mental and emotional and financial health, as well as your physical interment.
The United States has an $11 trillion residential mortgage market.
I warned that the American people would fight back. This is just the start of what I've been forecasting about the coming impact of world transits.
You bad guys and gals deserve it. Everything that is surely coming your way, as promised, and as forecasted.
It is very wise to mind astrological transits; however, we find many in the financial community have not.
The Robo-signer foreclosure scandal is bigger than is being let on in these early days, however in the weeks to come, wait until you hear about the mortgage bond scandal.
Here's where investment banks lied to their investors in many, if not most of these bond deals.
What a freaking mess.
You should see the astrological transits, but they give me a migraine headache every time I read them. I have seen enough, let me tell you, and you will see and hear it all too.
Some advice: pull out your barf bags, there's more to come...
Check out the transits of a key firm - Clayton Holdings - this is a company hired by brand investment banks — Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, everyone it seems - to test mortgage pools they bought from originators.
The coming mortgage bond scandal is what awaits and will overwhelm banks exposed to their own past stupidity and greed.
This is not fiction. It is the real thing.
Check out the Huffington Post on Clayton Holdings.
We have already see what banks and their servicers have done to the millions of families already foreclosed on, who shake with anger and say they are going to fight back against these schemes that defrauded them out of their homes and communities.
See the links below to get a taste of what is to come:
Office of Attorney General of Florida Subpoena
The MBS Mess From the Beginning: The Deal Documents
Congress' Letter To Fannie Mae
It is the obvious destination of all things to begin with; so it should not come as a shock to people around the world that a huge generational scam has been perpetuated on the rest of the globe.
That illusion has come to an end, and opens, by the inclinations of the planets, a new era, on the heels of the start of the second decade of the 21st century.
I have stated before, based on my mundane forecasts, that big banks, and their servicers, have been heading down a path to nowhere, as they continue their corrupt practices
which has brought what should be the healthy, normal economy of the people - that's called business - to a virtual standstill.
As transiting Jupiter retrogrades in Pisces and conjoins Uranus in these final waning months of 2010, there remains one last chance for those who created the mess to come clean.
But time runs short, and these guys are not as bright as they believe, as world transits will clearly show us in the months and years ahead - in all its ugly aftermath.
According to analyst Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics...
As reported by Business Insider
For those who thought I was being too harsh in my prior forecasts several years ago about widespread corruption in real estate, housing, banking, and financial services and mortgage companies...
... Consider these events just coming to light:
Bank Of America Stops Its Foreclosures In America?
By Alan Zibel
October 1, 2010 - WASHINGTON – Bank of America is delaying foreclosures in 23 states as it examines whether it rushed the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners without reading the documents.
The move adds the nation's largest bank to a growing list of mortgage companies whose employees signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them.
Bank of America isn't able to estimate how many homeowners' cases will be affected, Dan Frahm, a spokesman for the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, said Friday. He said the bank plans to resubmit corrected documents within several weeks.
Two other companies, Ally Financial Inc.'s GMAC Mortgage unit and JPMorgan Chase, have halted tens of thousands of foreclosure cases after similar problems became public.
The document problems could cause thousands of homeowners to contest foreclosures that are in the works or have been completed.
If the problems turn up at other lenders, a foreclosure crisis that's already likely to drag on for several more years could persist even longer.
Analysts caution that most homeowners facing foreclosure are still likely to lose their homes.
State attorneys general, who enforce foreclosure laws, are stepping up pressure on the industry.
On Friday, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal asked a state court to freeze all home foreclosures for 60 days. Doing so "should stop a foreclosure steamroller based on defective documents," he said.
And California Attorney General Jerry Brown called on JP MorganChase to suspend foreclosures unless it could show it complied with a state consumer protection law.
Reggie Middleton, one of the few American independent investment researchers to sound off early warnings about the banking & real estate crisis, presents a revealing and scary graphic of JP Morgan Chase's exposure to notional derivatives.
Click on graphic to enlarge
The law requires lenders to contact borrowers at risk of foreclosure to determine whether they qualify for mortgage assistance.
In Florida, the state attorney general is investigating four law firms, two with ties to GMAC, for allegedly providing fraudulent documents in foreclosure cases.
The Ohio attorney general this week asked judges to review GMAC foreclosure cases.
Mark Paustenbach, a Treasury Department spokesman, said the Treasury has asked federal regulators "to look into these troubling developments."
A document obtained Friday by the Associated Press showed a Bank of America official acknowledging in a legal proceeding that she signed up to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month and typically didn't read them.
The official, Renee Hertzler, said in a February deposition that she signed 7,000 to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month.
"I typically don't read them because of the volume that we sign," Hertzler said.
She also acknowledged identifying herself as a representative of a different bank, Bank of New York Mellon, that she didn't work for.
Bank of New York Mellon served as a trustee for the investors holding the homeowner's loan.
Hertzler could not be reached for comment.
A lawyer for the homeowner in the case, James O'Connor of Fitchburg, Mass., said such problems are rampant throughout the industry.
"We have had thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of foreclosures around the country by entities that did not have the right to foreclose," O'Connor said.
The disclosure comes two days after JPMorgan said it would temporarily stop foreclosing on more than 50,000 homes so it could review documents that might contain errors.
Last week, GMAC halted certain evictions and sales of foreclosed homes in 23 states to review those cases after finding procedural errors in some foreclosure affidavits.
Consumer advocates say the problems are widespread across the lending industry.
"The general level of sloppiness is pervasive around the industry," said Diane Thompson, counsel at the National Consumer Law Center.
Vickee Adams, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo & Co., said Wells' "policies, procedures and practices satisfy us that the affidavits we sign are accurate."
Mark Rodgers, a spokesman for Citigroup Inc., said the bank "reviews document handling processes in our foreclosure group on an ongoing basis, and we have strong training to ensure that appropriate employees are fully aware of the proper procedures."
Mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Friday they're directing companies they work with that collect loan payments to follow proper procedures.
In some states, lenders can foreclose quickly on delinquent mortgage borrowers. By contrast, the 23 states in which Bank of America is delaying foreclosures use a lengthy court process.
They require documents to verify information on the mortgage, including who owns it.
Those states are:
Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin.
See - Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray talks about the state's lawsuit against Ally Financial Inc. Ohio's suit alleges that Ally's GMAC mortgage unit violated state consumer law and committed fraud by filing false affidavits in foreclosure proceedings.
California Democrats Call For Federal Probe As Public Fury Grows
October 6, 2010 -- Backed by a 20-page memo of constituents' horror tales, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the rest of California's Democratic delegation have asked the Department of Justice, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) -- that is, law enforcement and the two big bank regulators -- to investigate whether the banks have broken the law in "their handling of mortgage delinquencies, mortgage modifications and foreclosures."
Coming on the heels of the so-called Robo-signer mortgage document fraud scandal, the letter suggests "systemic problems exist in the ways many financial institutions have dealt with homeowners."
It then flatly states the "excuses we have heard from financial institutions are simply not credible three years into this crisis."
Interestingly, the memo with the examples of constituents' nightmares suggests the Representatives believe the banks could be acting in bad faith; fully 18 of the 20 pages of problems are under the title "Communication Issues or Bad Faith Dealings with Bank."
The OCC Calls for a "Self-Assessment"
So what does the letter mean, beyond politics?
Members of Congress aren't shy about asking for investigations, and their requests aren't always answered.
After all, Justice and the OCC are Executive Branch agencies, and the Fed is independent. As of now, all Justice will say is "we will review the letter," and the Fed gave essentially the same no comment: "We will be responding to the letter."
Neither institution gave a time frame for its response.
Instead of commenting on the Representatives' letter, the OCC said it didn't wait to be asked to take action on the robo-signing scandal.
Press Officer Dean Debuck said after the story broke several days ago, the agency responded:
"We have directed the seven largest national bank servicers to do an assessment of their foreclosure management process, including file review, affidavit processing and signatures to ensure that the process is fully compliant with all applicable state law.
We are maintaining close contact to ensure the self-assessments are completed in a comprehensive and timely manner.
We will require that each bank report to us the findings of the internal assessment including detail on any deficiencies and any harm to customers.
The seven servicers referred to are Bank of America (BAC), Citibank (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), HSBC (HBC), PNC (PNC), Wells Fargo (WFC) and U.S. Bank (USB).As self-assessments are completed, we will conduct follow-up reviews to validate the adequacy of the self-assessment and corrective actions taken."
Ally Bank isn't within the OCC's jurisdiction because it isn't a national bank. The OCC expects the self-assessment process to take a matter of weeks.
While the agency deserves credit for being proactive, the significance of its move will be known only when it becomes apparent how rigorous its scrutiny of the banks' "self-assessments" is.
It's hard to imagine the banks doing a really thorough job here.
Given the scale of the economic/real estate market/foreclosure crisis the U.S. is in, the bank problems revealed in the robo-signer scandal and the fact that 31 Representatives -- including the Speaker of the House and powerful committee chairs -- made the request, it seems impossible that Justice and the Fed won't investigate.
Luckily for troubled homeowners, the state attorneys general aren't waiting. Several have already launched investigations, including most recently Texas, according to Bloomberg.
Merely "Procedural Errors"?
One of the must frustrating parts of the robo-signer story so far is the way in which that banks suggest the problem is technical, that the documents are essentially truthful and resolving the problem will take only a few weeks.
For example, Bloomberg's piece includes Ally Bank's characterization of the issue as "procedural errors."
And it has this quote from JPMorgan Chase:
"We believe the accuracy of the factual loan information contained in the affidavits was not affected by whether or not the signer had personal knowledge of the precise details. . . . The affidavits were prepared by appropriate personnel with knowledge of the relevant facts."
What that statement says to me is:
'We believe the laws and rules that apply to every other litigant don't apply to us. We can place efficiency in carrying out our foreclosure program above pesky technicalities like making sure we don't lie to courts.'
Justice, the state attorneys general and judges across the nation had better not let the banks' spin stand.
Even if every robo-signed document were true -- and they're not all true -- the robo-signers and the banks employing them have systematically created and submitted to courts hundreds of thousands of sworn documents that aren't accurate.
The U.S. justice system just can't look the other way at that.
After all, the government is prosecuting Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds for allegedly lying about their steroid use.
But in the banks' case, there's no "allegedly" about it.
The documents swear what they swear, were submitted to courts as proof in cases, and now, on a mass scale, have been acknowledged to be at least partly false.
If investigations -- and, yes, prosecutions -- don't flow from the robo-signer scandal, it can only be an example of the "scope-severity paradox," in which crimes with a few victims are taken more seriously than a mass atrocity, the phenomenon that led Josef Stalin to say "one death is a tragedy; one million a statistic."
And again, the spin that the problematic documents are merely technical issues and haven't caused any problems in foreclosure cases is particularly ludicrous when you consider how many foreclosures are being derailed for non-document issues.
For example, the Miami Herald Tribune reported that in a single day, Florida judge "Hang-em High Harry" Rapkin dismissed 61 foreclosure actions for elementary errors.
Among the mistakes: Banks' attorneys filed motions to win cases that had been dismissed or previously won.
In some cases, attorneys didn't show up at all for the hearing.
That's not a confidence-inspiring performance.
And the document problem is very widespread.
The chief judge of one of Florida's judicial districts, Lee E. Haworth, found that 20% of the foreclosures filed in that district had "deficient" documents, the The New York Times reported. The Times piece also included three examples of bad documents submitted in foreclosures that had jeopardized the foreclosures.
So come on Justice and the Fed, join the OCC in taking action. Get the truth out -- and prosecute those who deserve it.
It's 'Uh-Oh' Time...
Lawyers Peter Ticktin, left, and Josh Bleil, of The Ticktin Law Group, are shown here October 12, 2010 with stacks of sworn depositions from 150 "Robo-signers. They allege that the court documents reveal a massive industry-wide scheme by banks and their servicers to defraud American homeowners in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
photo: Lynne Sladky/AP
In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in "foreclosure expert" jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.
In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was.
Some couldn't define the word "affidavit."
Others didn't know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property.
Most troubling, several said they knew they were lying when they signed the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers' accusations about document fraud.
"The mortgage servicers hired people who would never question authority," said Peter Ticktin, a Deerfield Beach, Fla., lawyer who is defending 3,000 homeowners in foreclosure cases.
As part of his work, Ticktin gathered 150 depositions from bank employees who say they signed foreclosure affidavits without reviewing the documents or ever laying eyes on them -- earning them the name "Robo-Signers."
The deposed employees worked for the mortgage service divisions of banks such as Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, as well as for mortgage servicers like Litton Loan Servicing, a division of Goldman Sachs.
Ticktin said he would make the testimony available to state and federal agencies that are investigating financial institutions for allegations of possible mortgage fraud.
This comes on the eve of an expected announcement Wednesday from 40 state attorneys general that they will launch a collective probe into the mortgage industry.
"This was an industry-wide scheme designed to defraud homeowners," Ticktin said.
The depositions paint a surreal picture of foreclosure experts who didn't understand even the most elementary aspects of the mortgage or foreclosure process -- even though they were entrusted as the records custodians of homeowners' loans.
In one deposition taken in Houston, a foreclosure supervisor with Litton Loan couldn't define basic terms like promissory note, mortgagee, lien, receiver, jurisdiction, circuit court, plaintiff's assignor or defendant.
She testified that she didn't know why a spouse might claim interest in a property, what the required conditions were for a bank to foreclose or who the holder of the mortgage note was.
"I don't know the ins and outs of the loan, I just sign documents," she said at one point.
Until now, only a handful of depositions from robo-signers have come to light.
But the sheer volume of the new depositions will make it more difficult for financial institutions to argue that robo-signing was an aberrant practice in a handful of rogue back offices.
Judges are unlikely to look favorably on a bank that claims paperwork flaws don't matter because the borrower was in default on the loan, said Kendall Coffey, a former Miami U.S. attorney and author of the book "Foreclosures."
click graphic to enlarge
"There has to be a cornerstone of integrity to the process," Coffey said.
Bank of America responded to Tiktin's depositions by re-affirming that an internal review has shown that its foreclosures have been accurate. "This review will ensure we have a full understanding of any potential issues and quickly address them," Bank of America spokesman Dan Frahm said.
Frahm added that, on average, the bank's foreclosure customers have not made a payment in more than 18 months.
JP Morgan Chase spokesman Thomas Kelly said the bank has requested that courts not enter into any judgments until the bank had reviewed its procedures.
But Kelly added that the bank believes that all the underlying facts of the cases involved in the document fraud allegations are true.
Litton Loan Servicing did not respond to a request for comment.
Even before the foreclosure scandal broke, the housing market was in the midst of an ugly detoxification.
Now the escalating crisis is likely to prolong the housing depression for at least another few years.
The allegations are opening the entire chain of foreclosure proceedings to legal challenge. Some foreclosures could be overturned. Others could be deemed illegal.
For a housing recovery to occur, all the foreclosed properties -- which could account for 40 percent of all residential sales by 2012 -- need to be re-scrutinized by the banks and resold on the market.
Now, with so much inventory under a legal threat, the process will become severely delayed.
"This just adds more uncertainty to the whole mortgage process, so buyers are asking themselves: do I want to buy a home in this environment?" says Cris deRitis, director of credit analytics at Moody's Analytics.
"We need to fix these issues before the economy can recover."
Though some have chalked up the foreclosure debacle to an overblown case of paperwork bungling, the underlying legal issues are far more serious.
Yes, swearing that you've reviewed documents you've never seen is a legal offense.
But at the center of the foreclosure scandal looms something much larger: the question of who actually owns the loans and who has the right to foreclose upon them.
The paperwork issues being raised by lawyers and attorneys generals have the potential to blight not just the titles of foreclosed properties but also those belonging to homeowners who have never missed a mortgage payment.
So far, JP Morgan Chase, PNC Financial and Litton Loan Servicing have stopped some foreclosure proceedings in 23 states.
Bank of America and GMAC, recently renamed Ally, have extended their moratoriums to all 50 states.
Wells Fargo and Citigroup have said they are continuing with foreclosures, adding that they are confident in their documents and processes.
But Citigroup has now backpedaled some on that assertion.
The bank sent out a press release Tuesday that it was no longer using the law firm of "foreclosure king" David Stern, now under investigation by the Florida attorney general's office.
"Pending the outcome of the AG's investigation, Citi is not referring new matters to this firm," the bank said in an e-mailed statement.
Late last week, in an interview with the Florida attorney general, a former senior paralegal in Stern's firm described a boiler-room atmosphere in which employees were pressured to forge signatures, backdate documents, swap Social Security numbers, inflate billings and pass around notary stamps as if they were salt.
Stern's lawyer, Jeffrey Tew, did not respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, the public outrage continues to mount.
In what is perhaps a sign of things to come, a Simi Valley, Calif., couple and their nine children broke into their foreclosed home over the weekend and moved back in, according to television station KABC of Simi Valley.
The couple, Jim and Danielle Earl, say they were working with the bank to catch up on payments until they discovered a $25,000 difference between what they owed and what the bank said they owed.
The family was evicted from their Spanish-style two-story in July. The home has been sold, and the new owner was due to move in soon.
The Earls and their attorney now allege that they were victims of fraudulent paperwork.
Robo-Signed Documents Show Citibank & Well Fargo Also Committed Foreclosure Fraud?
Pictured from left: Hear, See, and Speak no evil.
By Abigail Field
Documents submitted to a court are supposed to be true as submitted.
As an attorney, if I file with a court a document in which I swore that I personally verified the information contained within the document is true, but I didn't actually do that, I'd get in real trouble.
It's simple: That's fraud in the eyes of the court.
GMAC, JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and One West Bank employees routinely sign hundreds of documents without verifying what they're signing.
Those documents are then submitted to courts as if the documents were true, to enable the banks to foreclose on delinquent properties.
Wells Fargo (WFC) and Citigroup's (C) CitiMortgage told The New York Times their employees do not engage in similar practices. Yet, new evidence I've found shows they have.
At deadline, I was still awaiting a response from CitMortgage.
Confusion at Wells Fargo?
For example, in one case I reviewed, Herman John Kennerty of Wells Fargo gave a deposition describing the department he oversees for Wells Fargo.
It's a department dedicated to simply signing documents. Kennerty testified that he signs 50 to 150 documents a day, verifying only the date on each.
Although the foreclosure in that case was upheld, Wells Fargo did not dispute Kennerty's signing practices.
What else might Kennerty want to verify?
Well, in one document he signed that I've reviewed, he supposedly transferred the mortgage from Washington Mutual Bank FA to Wells Fargo on July 12, 2010.
But that's impossible because Washington Mutual Bank FA changed its name in 2004, and by any name WaMu ceased to exist in 2008, when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took it over.
Making the document even less comprehensible, the debtor had declared bankruptcy a month earlier, according to consumer bankruptcy attorney Linda Tirelli, who represents the debtor.
Why would Wells Fargo want a mortgage from someone in bankruptcy?
Finally, Tirelli points out that the papers Wells Fargo filed included a different transfer of the mortgage dated three days before the debtor took out the loan.
The documents are a mess, yet Kennerty signed them regardless.
Wells Fargo flatly stands behind its practices:
"Wells Fargo policies, procedures and practices satisfy us that the affidavits we sign are accurate. We audit, monitor and review our affidavits under controlled standards on a daily basis. We will stand by our affidavits and, if we find an error, we will take the appropriate corrective action.
Wells offered no explanation of the document Kennerty signed in Tirelli's case.As a standard business practice we continually review, reinforce and strengthen our policies and procedures."
Legal Nonsense at Citi Mortgage?
In a similar example, one M. Matthews signed a number of documents that CitiMortgage has used to try to foreclose on properties.
While Matthews may or may not sign hundreds of documents a day -- I have not yet found a deposition in which he swears that he does -- he certainly does not seem to verify the contents of the documents he's signing.
For example, he signed a document supposedly transferring a mortgage from Lehman Brothers to Citi in 2009.
It's hard to see how that's possible because Lehman had already ceased to exist. When confronted with its nonsensical filing, Citigroup decided not to foreclose.
Instead, it gave the homeowner a meaningful mortgage modification -- $15,000 principal reduction, plus a 30-year fixed mortgage at 3%.
Tirelli, who represented the debtor in this case, too, notes that she sees bad documents in the vast majority of cases, and she keeps files of "robo-signed" documents.
I want to note that in both the WaMu and Lehman Brothers documents, the signers were officially representing an entity called MERS, which was acting as the "nominee" of WaMu and the "nominee" of Lehman Brothers.
But that doesn't change the problems with the documents as filed.
MERS can't continue to be the nominee of an entity that doesn't exist.
Moreover, MERS can't assign something it doesn't have, and MERS itself doesn't own the underlying note or mortgage.
Wells Fargo and CitiMortgage aren't the only big banks to apparently misrepresent their practices in the media.
JPMorgan Chase told The New York Times that it had not withdrawn any documents in a pending case.
However, Chase has in fact withdrawn robo-signed documents in a case Tirelli is currently defending.
Chase now faces possible sanctions in the case.
Why are the big, sophisticated banks submitting such problematic documents to the courts?
The key reason is that sometimes when a bank wants to foreclose, it has to prove it actually has the right to foreclose -- that it owns the note and accompanying mortgage.
That's especially difficult in an environment where a massive number of foreclosures must be started and completed in a timely manner.
Bankruptcy attorney O. Max Gardner explains that the time pressures to get these foreclosures done is overwhelming:
One major foreclosure company, Lender Processing Services, actually rates attorneys on how quickly they complete each part of the foreclosure process for its mortgage-servicer clients.
Giving lawyers green, yellow or red labels to reflect their "Attorney Performance Rate."
If an attorney fails to keep pace and lands in the red long enough, that attorney won't get any more business from LPS, or rather, from the banks LPS works for.
So rather than take the time to generate the correct documentation, it seems the banks cut corners.
Yet these are not small nicks off the end of the corners, despite protests from the banks that the documents are essentially true, just signed badly.
Documents like those cited in this article -- which are common -- falsify the chain of title for the underlying properties.
Clean title is so crucial for real estate deals that they won't close if a seller can't give good title.
In fact, one major title insurer, Old Republic National Title Insurance, will no longer insure titles for GMAC foreclosures because of the document problem.
The stock market is weighing in, too, as shares of title insurers have taken a hit.
The chain-of-title problems has other practical consequences. Banks sometimes don't know which properties they can foreclose on.
For example, banks have foreclosed on homes bought with cash. Two banks have tried to foreclose on the same property.
And so on. The "mistakes" have been many.
Beyond the title problem is the fundamental issue of the integrity of the court system. When attorneys file false documents, it's called a fraud on the court for a reason: Courts can't function when lawyers do that.
The Bright Light of Bankruptcies?
According to attorneys who assist clients facing foreclosure, bad documents have been turning up for years.
So why is the practice only coming to light now? Because most people facing foreclosure don't have attorneys to check the documents. Most don't even contest the foreclosure.
Bankruptcy court is where most of the fraud comes out because in bankruptcy, to prove the bank is owed money and that its claim is "secured" -- meaning it should get paid first -- a bank has to prove it has the right to foreclose.
It has to produce the necessary documents.
Indeed, the reason that the banks are halting foreclosures in only 23 states is that in those states, judges are involved in the foreclosure process, meaning somebody might actually start looking at the documents.
Not all debtors in bankruptcy have attorneys, and not all those attorneys know what to look for. But enough attorneys have caught on to the bank's practices that robo-signer fraud is finally getting exposure on the same scale as it's being committed.
Caveats All Around?
Title companies take note: It's increasingly obvious that GMAC's foreclosure problems are the tip of the iceberg.
The title you insured on the resale of any foreclosed property -- particularly on mortgages that were included in securitizations -- might be clouded.
Better double-check those documents.
Purchasers of foreclosed properties: I hope you bought title insurance. And you might want to get your lawyer to look at the foreclosure file.
Homeowners facing foreclosure: Make sure you or your attorney scrutinizes bank documents carefully because if anything is amiss, you may be able to get a meaningful modification of your mortgage instead of losing your home.
Banks submitting these documents: You could face big sanctions if courts notice you make the same kind of bad filings over and over.
Attorneys submitting these documents: If state bar associations start paying attention, you could risk your professional license on the robo-signed dotted line.
[For an example, check out what "foreclosure king" David J. Stern is about to experience. The allegations are the latest leveled against the firm of the multimillionaire attorney, who has amassed a fortune foreclosing on the homes of struggling families on behalf of lenders.]
Seems all those 'deals' behind the scenes to "robo-Sign" (at $6,000-$12,000 a pop) tens and tens of thousands of foreclosures therefore destroying families and whole communities is another boom-to-bust scandal of the sort that started the mess of commercial and residential real estate.
Toto pulled back that curtain once again.
For more, see - > Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies: 101.
For several months I have written about the climate and weather as well forecasting the long-range changes to come for the second half of 2010 and first half of 2011.
My forecast included an increase in floods throughout the world which continues to this very day in various regions globally.
So we have seen this forecast come true in the world's weather events.
In addition, 2010 has been a major year of volcanic eruptions. The ash plumes from the active volcanoes ride high into the earth's atmosphere, and these particles can and do interfere with sunlight levels and atmospheric conditions of our planet.
The climate is about to become colder, wetter and stormier during winter, and this will last into the first month after spring 2011 in the northern hemisphere.
Along with the climate shift, there are health concerns. I have already warned of whopping cough spreading in a prior 2010 edition of Global Astrology.
I continue to urge people reading this to be aware that transits into winter, February through March and April 2011 feature a series of public health emergencies mainly due to the colder and wetter climate.
For 36 years I have been observing the weather, and astronomical transits as one, and have always connected the climate to the motions of the celestial bodies, and to the health of the public.
It is my estimation that winter will feel longer than usual in the northern hemisphere this year. The real brunt of full winter begins around February 5, 2011 and continues through March and April 2011.
The flu season usually peaks in February, but from calculations, it will peak in March through mid-April, so it is important to start your health schedule now to avoid contracting the mutated flu virus that will arrive this winter.
The reduction of sunlight, along with the arrival of La Nina - a colder and wetter climate is on tap for various regions. This means changing your diet to prepare to handle and survive the powerful flu season just ahead.
- First, Improve your Diet
- Build your immunity to sickness, colds, flu with daily dosage of Colloidal Silver
- Wash your Hands Frequently
- Transmission By Air, Water & Touch
- Taking Care of the Sick Spouse, Child, Relative, Friend, Lover
- Remember to keep your head & feet dry
- Remember to keep your mouth & ears clean.
Sierra Trading Post
[From 2009] Flu season is in full swing and this year we’re fighting not only the seasonal flu but H1N1, too. So is there anything you can do (besides getting vaccinated) to prevent the flu(s)?
While there’s no way to be 100% protected against the flu (even with the vaccine, although that certainly helps) there are several things you can do to build your immunity and give your body a fighting chance.
Tips to Stay Healthy During Flu Season
1. Get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough sleep breaks down your immunity and makes your body susceptible to germs, bacteria and viruses, including the flu.
2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Your body’s natural defenses need proper nutrition to function at optimal levels. Cut back on processed foods and replace with whole grains and 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
3. Drink plenty of water. Staying properly hydrated not only maintains your body’s strength and vitality but flushes your system of toxins and germs.
4. Add immune boosting foods to your diet. Yogurt, black or green tea, mushrooms, garlic and fatty fish like salmon or mackerel are all reported to strengthen your body’s natural defenses.
5. Wash your hands, cover your mouth. The oldest advice in the book is some of the best when it comes to protecting yourself from the flu. Wash often.
6. Regularly disinfect your office. Wipe your keyboard, desk and phone down with disinfectant regularly to avoid the millions of germs that lurk there unknowingly.
7. Maintain your distance. Keeping at least 5 feet between yourself and a coughing or sneezing friend or co-worker will help diffuse a germy situation. And now is not the time to be sharing chap sticks, drinks or anything else with anyone.
8. Get your Vitamin D. The easiest way to ensure you’re getting your Vitamin D is to get at least 15 minutes of sunlight on your face and/or body each day. If that’s not a possibility, consider a supplement. Vitamin D is essential to immunity.
9. Get your exercise. Working out is one of the most powerful ways to strengthen and condition your body, mind… and immunity. Try to work out for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week to increase blood and nutrient flow and decrease stress hormones that inhibit immunity.
10. Socialize. Locking yourself away for the winter might decrease your chances of catching a cold or the flu but socializing is important to keep spirits up and emotions balanced – both are things that strengthen immunity.
Know the symptoms of the flu and H1N1 flu – and seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know shows signs.
Consider this September 29, 2010 report from Chicago:
No Longer Pandemic, H1N1 Still Hangs On In New Flu Season
by William Mullen
This year there is no H1N1 pandemic. It was officially declared over by the World Health Organization a few weeks ago.
But H1N1 flu is still floating around, as are two seasonal strains -- H3N2 and Type B -- expected to be prevalent in the U.S. this autumn and winter.
All three have the potential to unleash local epidemics that can hospitalize or even kill some sufferers, and all are included in this year's vaccine -- meaning people don't have to get a separate H1N1 shot.
It's too soon to know whether consumers will have the same concerns about the seasonal flu shot that they had over last year's stand-alone H1N1 vaccine.
"There is a saying in medicine that if you have seen one flu season, you have seen one flu season," said William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University specialist in preventive medicine who advises the CDC on immunization.
"It is a very unpredictable disease from one year to the next," he said. "The psychology behind public acceptance of being vaccinated is very unpredictable from year to year also."
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this year has simplified its recommendations of who should be vaccinated to include all Americans 6 months old or older. Last year it said the seasonal vaccination should be considered optional for healthy people between 18 and 64.
Also this year for the first time, seniors are being offered a "super shot" called Fluzone High-Dose to boost their immune systems. It is four times more potent than the normal flu shot because it contains four times the flu-fighting antigens of the standard vaccine.
The souped-up formulation for seniors has the approval of the federal Food and Drug Administration, which is monitoring it closely this season to determine its efficacy.
The CDC in its vaccination guidelines has left the option open for seniors to try it or not without making a recommendation either way.
Schaffner noted that the high-dose formula has a slightly higher percentage of recipients reporting minor side effects, including soreness in the area of the injection and getting a slight fever that is gone within 24 hours.
"Because it is four times as strong, there is a little more 'Ouch!' that comes with the high-dose formula with a few recipients," Schaffner said.
Federal officials say in general, this year's vaccine is so plentiful that everybody who wants it should be able to get it in a timely manner.
Vaccine manufacturers have geared up to produce between 160 million and 165 million seasonal flu vaccine doses and began delivering them in August.
Chicago and suburban hospitals, clinics and retail pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have begun administering them several weeks earlier than in past years.
"Flu is a very serious disease," said Dr. Julie Morita, Chicago's deputy health commissioner, pointing out it hospitalizes hundreds of thousands of people every year and on average causes 24,000 deaths nationally. "Our best defense against it is getting vaccinated."
A year ago last April, H1N1 dramatically appeared on the world stage as the first worldwide pandemic flu in 40 years, a serious threat because pandemic flu is particularly lethal to children and young adults.
Researchers developed a separate vaccine for H1N1, which meant people needed to be vaccinated separately for H1N1 and for seasonal flu. Because of production problems, supplies of the H1N1 vaccine were limited last October and November, just as the virus peaked, causing a noisy public clamor for the shots.
For seasonal flu, every year health authorities make an educated guess to formulate a "cocktail" vaccine to fight off the three flu strains they believe pose the biggest risk to sickening large numbers of people.
The flu season strikes first in Southern Hemisphere nations, peaking in May, June and July, offering early insight into whether seasonal vaccine in the U.S. is accurately formulated before the flu moves north and peaks in November, December and January.
Some years the formulation goes after the wrong flu strains. The vaccine formulation for this year seems to be accurate, judging from what happened in the Southern Hemisphere, Schaffner said.
"We anticipate this will be a conventional flu season, whatever that is," he said.
Since 1976, the numbers of deaths each year from seasonal flu range from 3,000 to 49,000.
Last year more than 12,700 died, most of them from H1N1 rather than seasonal flu.
Last year many people, including some health care workers, refused to take the H1N1 vaccine, claiming it was an experimental vaccine rushed into production without adequate testing for safety and possible adverse side effects, even though it was made in the same way as seasonal vaccines, which have a sterling safety record over several decades.
A total of 125.5 million H1N1 doses were administered between August 2009 and January, Schaffner said, and "it behaved exactly as the way seasonal vaccine behaves, a consummately safe vaccine."
With that track record, designers of this year's seasonal vaccine thought even those who refused the H1N1 vaccine last year would accept it this year and included it as one of the seasonal vaccine's three targeted viruses.
Schaffner said so far there is no indication of whether last year's doubters will accept it.
For those who were vaccinated for H1N1 last year, being re-vaccinated for it this year will cause no harm, according to CDC guidelines.
While CDC guidelines urge everybody 6 months and older to be vaccinated, it continues to emphasize that certain groups of people are more vulnerable to flu than the general population and especially urges people in those categories to be vaccinated.
- All people age 65 and older.
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2. Any child under 9 who has never been vaccinated for flu needs two vaccinations to achieve sufficient immunity.
- Pregnant women.
- All people with long-term health conditions such as asthma, obesity, diabetes or with neurological, kidney, liver or heart and lung diseases.
- People with weakened immune systems due to disease or medications.
- American Indian/Alaska natives.
- Beyond infants younger than 6 months, the major exclusion from receiving the vaccine is people with severe egg allergies, because the vaccine is cultured in chicken eggs.
"This year goes back to normal," said Melanie Arnold, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health.
"Doctors offices and local health departments order the vaccine, and typically there is a charge for it. Some insurance companies will cover the cost of the vaccination, but people should consult their plans."
Most health departments urge people to consult their doctor for a flu vaccination, but the shots are now widely available outside doctors offices and clinics.
The shot costs about $30 in retail outlets, most of which accept many insurance plans for payment.
The Cardinal Crisis
"The similarities between the states and the banks are extreme to the extent that states have been spending dramatically and are leveraged dramatically," Meredith Whitney said. "Municipal debt has doubled since 2000, spending has grown way faster than revenues."
Whitney also offered another warning about banks, saying a sharp drop-off in trading revenue and a double-dip in housing would hammer at fourth-quarter earnings...
Whitney reiterated her call that some 80,000 financial services jobs will be lost this year, based on an expected 25 percent sequential decline in equity trading and "low single-digit" returns on equity.The Housing Crash not yet realized its full impact on budgets in the most vulnerable states
On top of that, she said housing numbers will begin to worsen. The monthly Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller housing report earlier in the day signaled that home prices were flattening but stabilizing; Whitney said that reading is going to get progressively worse.
"This quarter is going to be unique for the banks because this will be the last quarter when they can dodge the credit bullet," she said. "We think October, after the banks report, you'll see a really ugly Case-Shiller number, which means the fourth quarter is going to be very tough for banks."
It's the Bank Crisis all over again - and it's time to stop ignoring it.
By Shawn Tully
September 28, 2010 -- Meredith Whitney, the superstar analyst who famously forecast disaster for America's big banks before the credit crisis struck, is now warning about another looming threat: The wreckage from over-stretched state budgets.
Today, Whitney is releasing a 600-page report, colorfully entitled "The Tragedy of the Commons," that rates the financial condition of America's 15 largest states, measured by their GDP.
Whitney claims that the study is the most comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the states' murky patterns of spending, revenues and benefits programs ever assembled by the government, foundations, or another research firm.
What Whitney found reminds her of the poor disclosure and arcane accounting rules that hid the fragile condition of the banks and mono-line insurers that she unmasked.
"The states represent the new systemic risk to financial markets," says Whitney.
"I see a lack of transparency and an abundance of complacency on the part of investors and politicians, just as we saw before the banks imploded."
The study represents a departure for Whitney, whose boutique research firm specializes in providing its clients, including hedge funds, big institutions and banks, with proprietary research on the financial condition of consumers, ranging from projections on credit card defaults to regional employment trends.
So why the mega-work on the states? "It's not that my clients requested it," says Whitney.
"I was just so shocked by what I was seeing that I couldn't stop.
Any long-term strategic plan needs to take account of the dangerous, mostly overlooked problems in the state finances." Whitney describes the reports as "her favorite child."
The title, "The Tragedy of the Commons," comes from a parable about greedy farmers who let their sheep gobble up all the grass in a pasture, leaving the land barren and unfarmable––reflecting the spending frenzy that promises to decimate the prospects for many of America's largest, and formerly most prosperous, states.
Bigger economies, lower ratings
In the report, Whitney rates the fifteen states on four criteria, their economy, fiscal health, housing, and taxes.
For each category, she assigns a rating of one, two or three for best, neutral or negative.
Only two states get positive overall ratings: Texas and Virginia. Eight are either negative, or rated neutral, with a negative bias.
The rub is that those are typically the states with the biggest economies: California, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois (all negative) and Florida, Georgia, and New York (neutral, negative bias).
Worst performing states
2. New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio (tie)
5. New York
Best performing states
4. North Carolina
Best Neutral states:
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts
Put simply, the study warns that the giant gap between states' spending and their tax revenues, estimated at $192 billion or 27% of their total budgets for the 2010 fiscal year, presents two dangers that investors are seriously underestimating.
First, municipalities could start defaulting on their bonds guaranteed by the cities and towns themselves, an exceedingly rare event over the past three, mostly prosperous, decades.
"People keep saying it can't happen, just as they said national housing prices could never go down," says Whitney. "Now, it's a real danger."
The reason: the municipalities receive one-third of their revenue from the states.
If the states hold back that money for their own stricken budgets, towns and cities won't have the funds to make their interest payments.
"It has to happen," says Whitney, "The states will secure their own shortfalls, and leave the cities to fend for themselves."
It's all about inter-dependency, she says, with the federal government aiding the states, and the states funding the last and most vulnerable link, the municipalities.
Housing fallout continues
Second, Whitney sees the budget shortfalls as a far stronger leash on both employment growth and overall expansion than investors realize.
The common thread between the banking and looming state financial crises, she says, is housing.
"The entire financial system was over-leveraged to real estate," says Whitney. "So were the states."
During the boom years from 2000 to 2008, the states that grew the fastest were the ones where housing prices grew fastest, and where construction flourished, including California, Florida, New York, and New Jersey.
In Florida, almost 30% of income growth came from real estate, an astoundingly high figure. Tax revenues soared during the real estate frenzy, and spending soared along with them.
Now, revenues have collapsed with housing prices, and spending is proving far stickier. The legacy: Today's gigantic deficits.
Then, as housing prices fell, the states that grew the fastest and outperformed in the strong years, are now posting the worst economic performance - for the obvious reasons that they face the biggest mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates, as well as high unemployment due to the collapse in construction and mortgage lending.
click on graphic to enlarge
The "haves," says Whitney, have suddenly evolved into the "have-nots."
The problem is that the states that benefited disproportionately from housing are generally the biggest economies, so their woes have become a dead weight on overall economic growth.
"Other states such as Nebraska, even with larger ones like Texas, aren't large enough in total to offset the weak growth in the states that depended on real estate," says Whitney.
What investors are missing, says Whitney, is that growth in those states is destined to remain feeble because of the drastic measures needed to redeem their finances.
By law, almost all states are required to balance their budgets. Right now, the Obama stimulus package is making up over $60 billion of the $192 billion shortfall for fiscal 2010.
But that money is slated to disappear next year. States are already raising taxes, or planning to -- voters in Washington will soon vote on a referendum to levy an income tax.
The biggest source of funds to fill the still-giant gaps is especially worrisome: Raiding pension and healthcare funds.
States from California to New York are shifting contributions needed to pay workers' benefits in the future toward funding current expenses.
The housing collapse will leave a different legacy by forcing big tax increases, and cutbacks in benefits including a rise in retirement ages.
Millionaires who provide a huge share of the revenues will leave the high tax states, leaving the poor who need most of the services.
"The scary thing," says Whitney, "is that no one wants to talk about it."
"When you get the data and mechanics together the situation is as basic as it was for banks or consumers."
"The Tragedy of the Commons" should get people talking, and the daunting scale of the numbers should get them outraged.
See and hear an interview with Whitney here on real estate.
By Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S
As readers of Global Astrology know, my mundane forecasts continue to highlight what I have stated would be historic times as a result of the Cardinal Transits.
The positions of the planets relative to the Earth, in this era, clearly shows major transitions taking place throughout the world.
Mundane Astrology can help to see through to the other side when we observe global events and how they impact us, our communities, and loved ones.
My mundane view remains the same: during the next 9-10 years, the world will encounter the inclinations of the waning Saturn-Pluto cycle begun in 1982. We are in the 28th year of this 38th year cycle.
So, the next 10 years reflects, in my mundane view, a bear market overall. However, unlike bear markets of the past, this coming age is transitional with added levels of untold amounts of "debt," that threatens international, national, and regional social stability and ultimately, world peace.
One of the most important things to remember is to be of good cheer despite it all. In economic times such as these, many people fall into the trap of actually being "depressed," - which, of course, is not good for business or social life whatsoever.
Many people who believed they were doing very well over the last 10-15 years have little time to get over the shock, according to my calculations. Since 2005, the signs were there that times would change, though few believed it.
Yet, the best thing one can do is to find a way using astrology to chart out a course that
So, those people who will do best in this climate over the next decade are those who are positive, patient, practical, prudent, and of course, cheerful.
No matter the times, we must always remember that we are human, and by definition, we can surprise even ourselves when we intend to accomplish good things.
Christmas 2010 will kind of suck just in case anyone wants to know ahead of time. The transits start off good, but the Moon enters Virgo on Christmas morning, and kinds of puts it in everyone's face that there's still a very deep recession hand.
Christmas 2010 economy will be the lowest rated season since the 1970s, and possibly the 1940s, according to global transits. Though spending will rise, the great majority of shoppers will be bargain hunting, so retailers expect to focus on this market solely to break even.
After that, a series of further layoffs arrive in January and February, so by March under-employed and unemployed numbers are worse.
Housing prices will continue to fall precipitously, and this will force yet another round of stimulus into the economy to prevent a further deflation.
What follows in the spring of 2011 I will leave to another edition of Global Astrology.
Back to Christmas - The retailers, generally already know this, so there are going to be ways to make your Christmas a lot better this year by bargain shopping, which I expect nearly 99% of the people will be doing this year.
I have thoughts on remaining 1-percent of the plutocracy (see the end of this edition below for that one.)
Mundane Strategies & Thoughts
The end of summer and the start of the fall season months of October, November and December show a time of repose, resting, and serious review of life's purpose for many people.
Try not to rush through everything too fast, but do complete the work, so by May 2011, you will have the time to be ready to start new careers and new lives.
The general idea from now to then is to assess your plans for the future in this time line, but to wait until May 2011 to make things happen.
Try not to rush, but do think, plan and work steadily, without emotional depression, dramas, or head games. There simply is not the time nor effort to waste energy on petty matters.
Serious times demand serious attitudes.
December 2010 is a heady month, and big on world news. We are commonly entering the last phase of the late 20th century, so to speak, as the world opens towards the second decade of the 21st century.
Planetary positions of note show that the transiting lunar nodes are reducing out of the Capricorn/Cancer axis and onto the Sagittarius/Gemini axis by March 3, 2011.
During the months from October to February, the shifts into the new decade become more apparent into March and April 2011.
Times are changing. The best way is to adapt and to be strategic about the kind of life you want to live within the context of what you know about the next 10 years.
From October 2010 through to April 2011, I would advise these general things to emerge out of this transitional cycle:
Above all - think, and act in concert with good forces to make things better here on Earth.
This is done individually and in groups. Positive thinking, and the force of good thoughts creates healthy events to later emerge.
The more good hands on deck - the better.