Friday, December 24, 2010

Welcome to the Kleptocracy

Again from the NYTimes: agents operating on behalf of banks are breaking and entering homes, even those which have been wrongly foreclosed, nominally to change locks and secure the property, but also in fact to perform freelance burglaries.  According to the Times' story:

 "When Mimi Ash arrived at her mountain chalet here for a weekend ski trip, she discovered that someone had broken into the home and changed the locks....All her possessions were gone...The culprit, Ms Ash soon learned, was not a burglar, but her bank."
Ms Ash has since filed a federal lawsuit, alleging wrongful foreclosure.  Bankers tend to play innocent about this stuff, saying "mistakes happen."  Yeah right.  Somehow I grew up with this quaint notion that a man's home is his castle.  In 1763, William Pitt gave memorable expression to this principle, in a speech to the English Parliament.

"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the crown. It may be frail—its roof may shake—the wind may blow through it—the storm may enter, the rain may enter—but the King of England cannot enter—all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement." 

Admittedly one is dealing here with the power of entry (or not)  by a civil agent rather than a private; yet it seems to me that the violation of the sanctity of the threshhold ruptures (in either case) a septum not easily repaired.

More paranoid individuals (and I count myself among their number) may wish to hear Yves Smith on foreclosures, and how securitization makes foreclosure the most profitable option for mortgage servicers, and the extent to which some errors leading to foreclosure have likely been initiated as intentional frauds, to promote exactly that end.

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