Us Versus Them, We Don’t Count

I’ve been reading all this information on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. I’ve tried to generate some interest. Glenn Greenwald has devoted not just one or two posts but a whole week to this gentleman and his plight. Wrongful prosecution, freedom of the press –  the posts go on and on. I’m sorry, maybe I’m missing the bigger picture, but can Julian Assange put food on my table? Fixing this one man’s plight does little for me.

Now fixing the plight of Christopher Marconi, Tom Williams, Warren Nyerges or Rachel Keyser, this is what I’m talking about. Each one of these people are facing foreclosure. Each for a different reasons. Each one is wrongfully being thrown out of their house. Each one tells a story about America and what we have become. Either you or I could be one of these good Americans but for the grace of God. There was a time, at least I think there was, when the little man mattered. I don’t think we matter today. Our job is simply to pay the bills so that others can reap the benefits of our society and our economy.

Rachel Keyser bought a home in 2004. She did not go for one of those adjustable-rate mortgages that were being pawned off on America during this timeframe. Instead, she had saved money as Americans are supposed to. She put down $100,000 on this house and her payments were within our budget. Then Countrywide, with whom she bought her original mortgage, asked her to refinance. It turned out to be a con artist who worked for Countrywide. He convinced her to refinance her house and the payments went to him and not to Countrywide. She lost over $65,000. Countrywide was bailed out by Bank of America. In the old days, banks would stand up for their customers. Bank of America would’ve reviewed her paperwork and apologized profusely. They would’ve figured out a way to refinance her house back to her old mortgage. Unfortunately that was not done in this case. The state of New Hampshire has recognized this scam and Rachel has hired a lawyer. In telephone recordings and in documents, Bank of America has promised to work with her, yet they also tried to foreclose on her. Why? She doesn’t matter.

Christopher Marconi is a hard-working American. He pays his bills, including his mortgage. One day there was a foreclosure notice nailed to his front door, a foreclosure notice for a house he’d never owned and never seen. The foreclosure was on a mortgage he never had. Why do these mistakes happen? Christopher doesn’t matter. Making money to feed the machine is all that matters.

Tom Williams also got a foreclosure notice. This time, GMAC, at least did some of their homework. They were actually foreclosing on a house that he owned and had paid the mortgage on. GMAC was asking for $276,000 immediately, in spite of the fact that Tom Williams had never missed a mortgage payment. His loan wasn’t do until 2032. Tom doesn’t matter.

The most egregious case which has received some national attention is that of Warren Nyerges. Bank of America was foreclosing on him, which in itself is is not unusual. Bank of America forecloses on thousands of Americans every month. Yet Warren was different. He is one of those rare Americans who actually pays for things in cash. He bought his house in cash. He doesn’t have a checking account. He has never had a mortgage on this house. After multiple calls to the bank and numerous trips to a local branch, Warren finally had to file a lawsuit. Warren’s problem is he just wants things to be fair. He’s filed a second motion seeking $2500 from Bank of America for his time and expenses. He does not understand the game. The game is about money, large sums of money. The game is about pools of mortgages and not about individuals. If Warren wants to get the attention of Bank of America, he needs to sue them for $200 million. Bank of America did release a nauseating statement which stated, “Bank of America sincerely apologizes to Mr. Nyerges for this inconvenience. We are currently researching the matter and are stopping the foreclosure. We are still in the process of identifying the root cause that created this issue.”

Rick Santelli really crystallized this feeling more than anyone has before or since. These folks on Wall Street in these huge financial behemoths believe that they are the water carriers, that they are important and we are not. Just look at these four cases. Yes, I will admit that these are highly selected cases which have received some national press; nonetheless, you don’t see any of these individuals being treated as Americans. They are commodities to be bought and sold. Even worse, these Americans are standing in the way of commodities – home mortgages. Until we can get back to treating each other with dignity and respect and understand that money isn’t everything, these kinds of atrocities will continue. The Rick Santelli’s of the world are wrong. The world doesn’t revolve around you. You aren’t more important or better than the rest of us. You are simply more arrogant. That’s it.