British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, speaking in the House of Commons may as well have been speaking about the latest scam (read: swindle), barreling down the tracks when on July 14, 1856, he said the following:
"There is a power in the world we seldom mention in the House of Commons.... I mean the secret societies... It is useless to deny because it is impossible to conceal, that a great part of Europe - the whole of Italy and France and a great portion of Germany, to say nothing of other countries - is covered with a network of these societies, just as the superfices of the earth is now covered with railroads. And what are their objects? They do not attempt to conceal them. They do not want constitutional government; they do not want ameliorated institutions... they want to change the tenure of the land, to drive out the present owners of the soil and to put to an end ecclesiastical establishments. Some of them may go even further..."
This was not the only time or occasion on which Disreali offered statements on secret societies, but in this case, he may well have been better advised to save his remarks until after he had read the following article on the latest in digital-record-mania from The Huffington Post:
Yes, that's right: in an age where books are increasingly digitized to the extent that the author's formatting, and ultimately textual intentions can potentially be altered at the flip of a switch, in an age where High frequency trading algorithms constitute the bulk of market transactions on securities and commodities markets in the West, and which can, again, cause sudden and massive "crashes" and "re-upticks" in a matter of mere minutes, when banksters have been caught in dubious if not outright fraudulent activity, insider trading, market and price fixing and a whole host of other things, in an age that saw the recent denial of original paper by the Federal Reserve which successfully lobbied Congress pass a law allowing them to keep your original paper records and cancelled checks (and you to receive only a copy), we're now being asked to "trust" the whole system to maintain clear records of one's very mortgages, titles, deeds, and so on.
As Matt Taibi of Rolling Stonepointed out back in January:Imagine that! You pay your mortgage payments dutifully right up until the last payment, and, voila, some malicious bankster working for J.D. Swag, Barings, and Goldsacks presses a button, deletes all references to past payments, deletes all clear references to title, throws your account into delinquency and foreclosure, throws you and your family on to the street, takes your home, sells it, and repeats the scam. And there are, in the digital zoo, all sorts of variations on the theme. They may, for example, show clear record of payment, but since the title was never clear nor the real deed ever registered with a local government agency, they can still throw you out for delinquency, foreclose the house, and deny any equity.Sound nightmarish? Too impossible? Well, maybe....But here's where the high octane speculation of the day comes in, and it's a double-barreled shotgun sort of speculation, with the shotgun being loaded with rock salt. Consider the following statement:
For those of you wondering why so many localities are broke, here's one small factor in the revenue drain. Counties typically charge a small fee for mortgage registration, roughly $30. But with MERS, ... you don't need to pay the fee every time there's an ownership transfer. Multiply that by 67 million mortgages and you're talking about billions in lost fees for local governments (some estimates place the total at about $200 billion).
In short, MERS enabled the industry to throw mortgages around in their chimp-like poop-flinging frenzy without keeping any kind of paperwork or paying any fees. This has left the sanctity of the land records in every registry of deeds a veritable shambles.
"This isn't just affecting homeowners in foreclosure," says Jeff Greenberg the founder of Landtegrity, "MERS has polluted the majority of the land records in this country. Everyone should be concerned, especially people who are paying their mortgage and expect to own their home some day." (Emphasis added)
"Some notable registrars have already signed the petition and left their comments on the site. Southern Essex County, Mass., Register of Deeds John O'Brien estimates the loss of revenue to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts could be as high as $200 million, and to the nation, possibly in the billions. A couple of years ago, O'Brien audited the records in his own registry and discovered that 75 percent of the assignments in the registry are fraudulent." (emphasis added)
Seventy five percent of registrations in one county are fraudulent!? If that is the case, then multiply that on the national scale, and it becomes a clear tangle to determine just who rightfully has the tenure of most of the nation's property. So what might all this fraud and title obfuscation be designed to accomplish?
One clue, suggested by former Assistant Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Catherine Austin Fitts, is that the sheer scale of the fraud is part of a system deliberately designed to harvest the economy, down to the local level, county by county, of vast amounts of money to be shunted into the black budget. And if that's the case, then would such people hesitate to press a button, alter a few lines of code, to obfuscate the trail of possession of title, especially if, say, the system was done in the name of "national security"? Not a chance. In fact, what the digitization suggests is that by eliminating the paper trail, the system can be made much more efficient. The second thing it suggests is that perhaps we are looking at another clue in the puzzle of the mysterious deaths of so many bankers, one of whom, Mr. Talley, you'll recall, was involved precisely in the mortgage title business. (And for the legal cognoscenti, this conjures all sorts of connections to traditions and concepts associated with the writ quo warranto, and, no, for American attorneys, I do not mean its modern perversion into a matter of tort law. Have fun... but it does suggest those county registrars of deeds might have more power than they imagine.)
So to conclude my two-part rant: digital isn't better, or safer, especially in the hands of a corporate world run amok and drunk with its own power and greed. Trust your reading - and your financial documents - to such a process, and to such people? I think not, for it's the Stalin-era Soviet Encyclopedia, changeable now at the push of a button, mercantalist-capitalist style.
See you on the flip side...