Acton Institute Powerblog

Class Warriors for Big Government

Share this article:
Join the Discussion:

My commentary this week addresses the demonstrations in New York and in other cities against free enterprise and business. One of the main points I make in this piece is that “lost in the debate is the fundamental purpose of American government and the importance of virtue and a benevolent society.” Here is the list of demands by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. It is in essence a laundry list of devastating economic schemes and handouts. Additionally, the demands are counter to America’s founding principles. The commentary is printed below:

Class Warriors for Big Government

By Ray Nothstine

Acting as unofficial scorekeeper, Sojourners Founder and CEO Jim Wallis recently declared, “There really is a class war going on, and the upper class is winning.” However, many of the class warfare protesters who are taking to the streets to “occupy” Wall Street and American cities are the disgruntled children of well-to-do parents. A quick sampling of video clips from the protests shows students from elite universities like Harvard, George Washington, and Columbia. Such protestors are driven less by genuine economic hardship than by misguided animus toward the market system that has enabled the wealth from which they have benefited.

One such protestor, Robert Stephens, launched into a tantrum about a bank seizing his well-educated parents’ $500,000 home. The claim turned out to be bogus, but he managed to convince sympathetic media outlets that he was the victim of abuse and scorn at the hand of free enterprise. Stephens, a student at the prestigious George Washington School of Law in Washington, is just one of many out-of-touch protestors pointing simplistically to the market as the culprit in the current economic downturn while ignoring other sources of financial dysfunction, such as the crony capitalism of government subsidies to business or government fiscal irresponsibility.

Struggling to make ends meet, most Americans lack the time to tune into protestors who are just as distant from their problems as Washington bureaucratic elites. Ronald Reagan offered these poignant words as he called on his own political party in the 1970s to shed its big-business country club image and to embrace the factory worker, the farmer, and the cop on the beat:

Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business, frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by the self-anointed elite.

Excessive taxation, regulation, and centralization of power always save their most vicious bite for the middle class. They are the hardest hit, not the super wealthy, some of whom call for higher taxes and are fawned over by a bloated government with an insatiable appetite for revenue. If there is any class conflict, it will come from the taxpaying class as it tries to tame the avarice of the political class. Most Americans are not very sympathetic to radical protestors because they still believe in an American Dream of limitless potential and opportunity.

While some protestors call for more government—or even the use of force—to restore their version of social justice and utopian economic schemes, lost in the debate is the fundamental purpose of American government and the importance of virtue and a benevolent society.

This nation’s founders adopted a system of government emphasizing a separation of powers and federalism to protect private property and the harmony of the Republic. Protestors calling for a dismantling of these ideas, whether it is through the confiscation of another’s property or through massive, centralized power seem alien to most Americans. During his inauguration another American President, Bill Clinton, aptly declared, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”

The virtues and values that have shaped our Republic offer the best for America. One of the wealthiest men of America’s founding era was John Hancock. Yet the man who once quipped, “They [the Crown] have no right to put their hands in my pocket,” was no miser. Often a political foe of the founder known for his oversized signature on the Declaration of Independence, American President John Adams nonetheless wrote, “If benevolence, charity, generosity were ever personified in North America, they were in John Hancock.” Hancock supported churches, city improvements, the arts, assisted widows, and paid for the education of orphans. However, a much greater compliment was bestowed upon him. He was widely known for treating those of modest means with the same respect as those with wealth and power.

History too shows the consequences of regimes that wished to redistribute the wealth of others and make denunciations about greed, especially wrapped within a materialistic, secular worldview. That was class warfare, too, and it ended in blood and wretched poverty.

Ray Nothstine is opinion editor of the the North State Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, he was managing editor of Acton Institute's Religion & Liberty quarterly. In 2005 Ray graduated with a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Mississippi in Oxford.


  • Anonymous

    Shame on you for taking Fox News as unbiased and truthful for the list of what the protesters want.  First, they aren’t even organized.  Where is their website, a list of leadership, or something official?  Last I read in the Catechism, gossip, detraction and calumny were still sins and we were to put the most positive spin on what we hear until we have proof otherwise.  There are things like “Catholics for Choice”, and “Dignity”.

    What is also lost is we all have had our pockets picked – the wall street “banksters” took a high risk gamble with money entrusted to them and lost their bet.  Instead of going bankrupt and losing their jobs (simple common justice), or being investigated, charged with, and if the evidence warranted, convicted of fraud – or things like perjury or obstruction of justice for “robosigning”, they were given huge taxpayer bailouts – money taken from people like me, you, and the protesters, so they could pay themselves billions of dollars in bonuses.

    If you will not call wall street elites using the government to loot the common people and give them cash worse than any “welfare queen” – isn’t corruption, injustice, and evil of grave magnitude, I don’t know where your conscience is.

    At least socialists have laudable goals – helping the poor – although their methods are counterproductive and hurtful.

    Corporate socialism, corporatism, giving handouts to billionaires, and ignoring serious, gross, and continuing frauds, is what exactly?

    That is the core message of OccupyWallStreet.  Merely equal justice.  If we aren’t letting the banks go bankrupt, or even throwing out their leaders, and aren’t indicting them for fraud on the courts, how can you then raise any single criticism when the protesters are being peppersprayed, beaten, and otherwise assaulted and arrested.  Name one person from a TARP bank responsible for the massive housing frauds that has even been arrested or charged.

      • Anonymous

        A proposed list in a Forum post with a lot of comments very critical of the proposals.  Dylan Ratigan has covered it and is symathetic and has a very much shorter list and it isn’t the same.  I could post a really stupid comment here – would that be considered the “official” position of the Acton institute?  I think not.  I trust neither MSNBC nor Fox.

        The OFFICIAL statement from their HOME PAGE, if any is:

        “Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement
        with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one
        thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants”.

        They are saying they will not tolerate the GREED and CORRUPTION of the 1%.  Why should I, you, or we?  They don’t mention honest entrepreneurship, investing, business, or the rest.

        • Roger McKinney

          If that is truly their position (why should I trust you or anyone else?), then they advertise their ignorance and their arrogance. No person lives without the sin of greed in their life. The protestors suffer from it as much as the 1%.
          But greed did not cause the crisis. That is nothing but ignorant mainstream media economics. Loose monetary policy by the Fed and efforts by the federal government to force banks to loan to people who couldn’t afford houses are the main causes.
          I agree with the protestors that government is corrupt. But they want to give the government more power, which it will sell to the highest bidder and become even more corrupt.
          The solution is to reduce government control over the economy. Only then will politicians lack any power to sell to corporations. Giving them more power only makes them more corrupt.

          • Anonymous

            We all suffer from all the sins, but for some it is merely temptation.  Others act and have remorse.  Still others act without remorse.  If you see no difference between a walmart greeter that a mortgage broker shoved some papers at and Bernie Madoff there is something wrong.

            Loose monetary policy was the temptation.  The pop-up mortgage brokers were not forced to make mortgages to anyone, they specifically were set up to create liars loans.  Nor were any forced to be securitized in wall street to create a machine to produce the toxic junk from the liars loans.  Those who couldn’t afford the houses weren’t threatened if they didn’t sign up for a liars loan (which is also greed).  Often they did not lie but the brokers changed the paperwork.  The shortsellers, whom are often accused of greed bet against it and their wealth was legitimate as they spotted the market inefficiency.  Some caused by government.  They paid themselves huge bonuses out of these fraudulent mortgages – but when they collapsed, none of it was clawed back.  Nor afterward as they continue to collapse.

            I cannot get you to review the evidence of what wall street did, but if you did you would see it went far beyond legitimate bad bets.  It was outright fraud.  If I lie or grossly misrepresent something, it is fraud.  If I’m a trustee, and required to file documents and don’t, I’m guilty of a crime (I forget the technical name).

            Just because there was loose monetary policy and pressure on some banks to make imprudent loans, doesn’t mitigate, much less absolve, the rest of the criminal fraud machine that was allowed to continually issue these loans.  If you just look you would be able to see it.  Not everyone is honest.  And when you reward fraud lavishly, you tend to get lots of it.

            I see nowhere in Christendom that simply being a businessman, on a board, or CEO, CFO, president or whatever gives absolution or an indulgence.  Somehow you are trying to say they cannot be greedy, or cannot give in if tempted, or only give in to such a trivial extent that no societal damage can be done even by the most egregious acts.  Many are legal.  Many are not.  The former still need to be condemned.  Using leverage to take a viable company private, then paying one huge dividend, then it falls into bankruptcy (sunbeam)?  That is greed.  But the latter needs to be prosecuted.

            You missed my many notes about submitting fraudulent documents to the courts.  Is government to have no power?  Should I be able to march into the courthouse with no less forgeries and come out with the sheriff to throw you out of your house (cases of paid off houses being foreclosed on exist).  Is that too much or too little government power?

            You don’t see my posts on the other forums from the left where I make your exact point – increasing GOVERNMENT power will simply increase corruption.  There is no evidence the thousands of laws which are being ignored now and were ignored during the housing crisis (complain about SarbOx, but the banksters are prima facie guilty of violations, but no prosecutions, no clawbacks of bonuses).

            My point is always to empower INDIVIDUALS to bring suit when they are defrauded, or their contracts are broken, or when they are otherwise hurt.  We need a rule of law.  Property rights, not enforced by the highest bidder.  The judge’s gavel is not that of an auctioneer.  And for the severe cases that destroy society itself – criminal penalties.  Or is it up to you and your insurance company and maybe you would begrudge civil proceedings and not the police and courts to prosecute me if I break into your house, steal the easily removed valuables, then burn it down to hide evidence?  Criminals can be very entrepreneurial.

            Is your idea of reducing government power one such that it cannot even enforce contracts or prosecute theft, larceny, forgery and fraud?

            Or is the singular competence of government to be the referee to insure life, liberty, and property rights?  And provide a civil system for torts and contracts and such?  No more.  But no less.

            I do not think the economy will function if I cannot insure contracts are honored, that items for sale aren’t stolen property, and that representations are true.  Or that someone who was dishonest or even evil would not fear me would at least refrain from violating my rights out of fear of the police.

          • Roger McKinney

            monetary policy was the temptation.”


            The whole
            point of loose monetary policy is to increase the temptation until someone
            succumbs to it. The Federal Reserve kept reducing interest rates until
            virtually zero in order to encourage as much borrowing as possible. A bank borrowing
            at 0% from the Fed and loaning at 5% to people buying houses is not greed; it’s
            just good business.


            pop-up mortgage brokers were not forced to make mortgages to anyone…”


            If you
            understood a tiny fraction of the massive regulation of mortgage brokers by the
            government you would never use a term like “pop-up.” It’s impossible for
            mortgage brokers to simply “pop up”. Regulations make it very expensive and
            time consuming to start a mortgage lending firm.


            And if
            you knew anything about the decades long effort by Congress to force banks to
            lend to people who couldn’t afford to make the house payments, you would know
            that the federal government did all it could to force banks and mortgage
            companies to make the loans that failed. You see greed; I see government
            intervention forcing banks to make imprudent loans.


            the 1990’s banks did not loan to people who couldn’t make their payments. But
            the federal government considered that discrimination and passed more laws and
            regulations and provided incentives to force banks to make bad loans. And the
            Fed kept interest rates low in order to make that possible. When the financial
            industry understood how many bad loans were in the system, it collapsed.


            “It was
            outright fraud. “


            course fraud happened. But it did not cause the crisis. Fraud should be
            prosecuted and it is. But the majority of home loans during the bubble did not
            involve fraud.


            point is always to empower INDIVIDUALS to bring suit when they are defrauded,
            or their contracts are broken,”


            I don’t
            know where you’re getting that. I see no one preventing individuals from
            bringing suit when defrauded. Ask any lawyer if there is a shortage of law

          • Anonymous

            Name three mortgage company executives that have been prosecuted.  Mozillo is one.  I can’t think of another.

            “But the majority of home loans during the bubble did not involve fraud”.

            Not if you define 51%, or probably even 70% as a majority.

            Just google “robosigning”.  That is fraud on the court.  None of that has been prosecuted.  When the NY judges told the attorneys need to personally certify documents all of a sudden foreclosures stopped.  cold.

            The majority of home loans involved securitization, typically under New York trust law, some new jersey or Delaware or others.  There are STRICT requirements for the trust to get the tax advantages and bankruptcy remoteness.  These were violated wholesale.  A sample by a ratings agency found over 50% technically failed.  And these same laws say you can’t fix them – you have typically 90 days and the door is closed.  If the paperwork isn’t in the trust, there is no requirement for payment nor ability for the trust to foreclose.  To foreclose you typically have to file paperwork with the county clerk.  This was rarely done (over 50% – that’s a majority).  There were dozens of kinds and cases across the spectrum.

            When these trusts were sold – sometimes to very conservative pension funds, they would have very clear representations that there were no alt-a, liars loans, in effect saying these were typical 20% down mortgages.  THIS WAS IN THE PROSPECTUS!  So not only wasn’t the paperwork done, when the trusts opened the information up, the mortgages which were contributing on autopilot were not of the high quality but of the worst kinds.  There were so few truly prime loans that this is probably a majority and is fraud.  Yes, suits are going through courts.  The Attorney’s Generals of all the states are looking into it, but have been for years.  They don’t want hundreds of thousands ! of individual suits, but the banks won’t settle except for pennies on the dollar and with immunity.  The CA AG bowed out.  These are criminal acts.  NV finally filed charges.  We’ll see how far and fast these go.  The root fraud happened years ago.

          • Roger McKinney

            three mortgage company executives that have been prosecuted.”

            three that are guilty. And even if indicted and prosecuted, you may find that
            they are innocent.

            google “robosigning”. 

            is a problem but isn’t necessarily fraud. It was deemed necessary in order to
            securitize loans in large numbers. The law will probably change to smooth the

             Keep in
            mind that banks only foreclose on people who aren’t paying their mortgage. So
            while the banks have violated some technical provisions, homeowners who don’t
            pay are violating their contract.

             Much of
            this is very technical and the legality of it is uncertain. But you are
            engaging in trail by media: if the media accuses someone, you find him guilty.
            The media is often very ignorant on these matters. I once was on a jury trial
            and was sequestered for a week. When I caught of with the media’s coverage of
            the trial I found it wrong in almost every aspect.

            media accuses, but the courts decide guilt. And before the courts decide,
            prosecutors have to indict. In spite of the media’s hysteria, I’m confident
            that the courts will find little in the way of fraud in the home loan industry.

          • Anonymous

            Robosigning is fraud on the court.  If I sign an affadavit or alter a document or forge a signature it is a crime. 

            Banks have foreclosed on people who have completely paid off mortgages.  That is part of the robosigning fraud.  The paperwork is so shoddy and unchecked they don’t even know who owes or who doesn’t.  You aren’t looking so you don’t see.  There are cases like this every few days.

            “Isn’t necessarily fraud” is a bit like saying everyday driving going 100 mph on a road isn’t necessarily speeding.  No state has a speed limit allowing it.

            When the law is explained to me, and what is shown and has been submitted to the courts, I can say the law was broken.  There are clear cases where there have been statements under oath, public documents, and the rest where it is clear that the law was broken.

            The major media (apparently like here) is ignoring or covering up as badly as they don’t cover Ron Paul.  I do read EVERYTHING.  From the right and left.  From those I agree with but especially those I don’t.  Sometimes they have a point.  Sometimes they present clear evidence.  I’m also into finance.  I trusted nothing but I did investigate.  And those saying fraud are right on that one point.  Those saying it are usually wrong on the prescription and economics, but not on the law or documents.

            And it isn’t even very technical.  It is black and white in most cases.  There is a reason mortgages have a lot of details – it is a big investment.  And those details must be followed.  These aren’t new laws, they go back years.  They aren’t picky regulations, but to insure that the title to the properties are clean.  They are not now.  Many foreclosed homes can’t be financed because no title insurance company will touch them.  If someone without the right to foreclose manages to kick the current occupant out, it doesn’t mean they now have clean title to the house.  That is just one of the problems of the robosigning.  You can’t make a fraudulent document legal.  Well, you can if you are as or more corrupt than the politicians.

            I doubt if a lawyer, accountant, and Austrian economist took you through it line by line through the law and documents and showed exactly where the law was broken and where the fraud occurred that you would accept it.  You have already declared them innocent.  You probably don’t think anything was wrong with Vernon or Lincoln Savings and Loan back in the late 1980’s.  I could describe the identical things.  But you wont’ see.  You won’t hear.  They are bankers.  Thus they are angels.  They are without sin.  The right wing media says so.

            You can be guilty of a crime, but if it isn’t discovered, or the prosecutor decides not to bring the case to trial, you won’t be found guilty.

            I too am confident that the corruption runs so deep and that conservatives and libertarians are blinded as badly as the liberals and only toe the party line that the courts will find little in the way of fraud in the home loan industry.  Not because it isn’t there.  But because there are too many like you who won’t look AT THE ACTUAL EVIDENCE, DOCUMENTS, and LAW, will tell the politicians to excuse the most egregious evils which they say they can’t see (with their eyes closed) and beat up on prosecutors even when there is red-handed clear glaring neon-sign evidence of fraud.

          • Roger McKinney

            Why do we need courts, then? You have tried and convicted people just through the media reports, which amount to little more than gossip.

            Robosigning was a techinical violation. There was no intent to defraud and no fraud took place. That’s why judges are giving mortgage companies time to correct it.

            Yes, there was fraud. Some loan officers lied, or encouraged borrowers to lie on documents when applying for a loan. Those should be prosecuted.

            I’m glad you’re not a judge. All anyone has to do is make an accusation and you find them guilty immediately.

            ” too am confident that the corruption runs so deep…”

            Based on media gossip. Only a trial in court can determine innocence or guilt.

            ” courts will find little in the way of fraud in the home loan industry. 
            Not because it isn’t there.  But because there are too many like you
            who won’t look AT THE ACTUAL EVIDENCE, DOCUMENTS, and LAW…”

            So courts and prosecutors don’t ever look at evidence and documents? What good are they then? Let’s save the money we spend on them and let the media try do the work of the courts then.

            You don’t think the media can be biased? For over 300 years the media has blamed every single economic depression on greed and corruption. They do that because they are too  lazy to learn any economics and because gullible people love it!

            It simply isn’t true. The Austrian business cycle theory is the best theory of the causes of depressions and financial crises. Please read about it.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t see why you think we need courts since they are innocent despite information presented in actual courts (yes, I have read them, many of the actual papers all the way up and down the chain are on scribd or elsewhere on the web), testimony, records, actual prospectus text.

            There was and is intent to defraud with robosigining – what was asserted was that ownership was transferred in an earlier year and it didn’t happen.  Many states as a MATTER OF LAW REQUIRE WET INK SIGNATURES.  On the original documents  The UCC has very specific languages about allonges.  All that is fraud and it did take place.  You might not want to think of it as fraud, but it is.  Legally.  By definition.  By correcting it it means resubmit the correct records.  However many mortgage originators don’t have them and cannot find them and cannot easily correct them – they are supposed to be in the MBS trusts, but aren’t, and the law is equally clear that the door shut 3-4 years ago for putting the mortages into the trusts.  I can’t make you read them although they are legal documents, nor it seems can I make you accept when the law says it requires an actual physical signature in ink instead of a stamp or photocopy, that it needs a physical wet ink signature.

            Dismissing the law does not change it, and unlike things like marijuana, the laws require things to be done in a certain way to prevent fraud.  I also haven’t said who specifically is responsible, but that is you have an investigation.  Was it some low-level person?  Or did the CEO and CFO know?  SarbOx is not a technicality either (I detest it, but again, it is the law – if they wish to go to jail in an act of civil disobedience over SarbOx I can reconsider, but they filed fraudulent financials – if what they stated was correct, they would not have needed bailouts).  The whole MBS/Mortgage market and Fannie and Freddie is one huge crime scene.  We need CSI in the form of forensic accountants, not cheerleaders for the criminal activity.

            You only think robosigning is trivial because you don’t know exactly where in the process – as in due process – that true records are required to prevent fraud.  You cannot robosign for the same reason you cannot introduce hearsay as testimony.  To take someone’s home in failure of payment for debt should require due process.  It does require it if the mortgage and note have been separated and no one knows who actually has standing to foreclose.  Having standing is not a trivial thing.  If you owe me money, and I transfer the IOU, I can’t sue you for nonpayment, the person I gave the IOU to has that right.  If I sue, and you repay or I collect, you still owe the holder of the IOU.  That is why titles are a mess now.

            And filing a false notarization or signature on an affadavit or other court document is fraud and/or perjury.  Notarization means you witnessed the signature and that the date is accurate.  You try it on some of your legal documents and see what happens to you.

            None of these documents are “media gossip”.  Documents presented in court aren’t “media gossip”.  Documents with alterations that caused dismissals aren’t “media gossip”.  You may want it to be but it isn’t.

            I am also glad you are not a judge or a prosecutor.  If someone took out a gun and shot me right in front of your eyes with a copy of the event recorded on videotape and I was seriously hurt, you wouldn’t charge the shooter or dismiss all the evidence. – you would claim faulty memory and would refuse to view the video or accept the testimony of other witnesses.

            But that is the corrupt system.  Criminals can get away with crime if they are never charged, nor if charged ever convicted.  Honest prosecutors and courts look at documents.  And there are a handful.  But not very many.  And the federal government has and is overriding the state attempts at doing their job.

            I now am starting to believe you think Bernie Madoff would have paid up on every investment if the government just left him alone another 10 years when they had hard evidence it was a ponzi scheme in the very early 2000s.

            There is no unbiased media.  Fox news treats the Koch brothers and bankers as canonized saints, and MSNBC thinks the same of radical liberals.  That is why I read EVERYTHING and base my decisions on the evidence.  And some media outlets don’t spin, they simply present what happened and is happening.  I believe no one without verification.  You believe Fox news as if it was Gospel.  Because Fox News says there was no fraud, there cannot be fraud.  But what if Fox is merely spinning to the right?

            I did not say the Austrian theory of the business cycle was at all wrong and I completely understand it.  That does not mean during the boom phase that everything is done legally by everyone.

            They are completely separate issues.  There was a housing bubble.  But during that bubble illegalities occurred.   Reality has taken care of the bubble.  Corrupt government and business with chearleaders like you have taken taxpayer money and given it to those who make the bubble worse with their frauds.

            The Fed printing money itself is a fraud, morally if not technically legally.  But you can’t convince many people that the Fed is a fraud.  Just as I can’t convince you that nontrivial, nontechnical violations of law, contract, equity, and justice occurred concurrently.

          • Roger McKinney

            I haven’t declared anyone innocent. On the other hand, you
            have condemned thousands of people as guilty merely on the basis of gossip and
            want to punish them without a trial. And from what you have written you won’t
            even accept the conclusions of a trial because you already know they’re guilty.

            Whom did Robsigning harm? A very few number of people have
            been foreclosed on by mistake and those have been harmed. Other than that no
            harm was done by robosigning, so I don’t consider it fraud. You have a
            Pharisaical interpretation of the law instead of trying to get at the spirit of
            the law.

            If a bank tries to foreclose and can’t because of
            robosigning, then the bank suffers the loss, not the home owner.

            I tend to focus on the spirit/intent of law; you focus on
            the letter.

            “is why
            I read EVERYTHING and base my decisions on the evidence. “

            I hate
            to bust your bubble, but the media doesn’t present evidence. That only happens
            in court. What the media provides is gossip.

            I want criminals prosecuted as much as anyone. But I don’t think the media should be allowed to prosecute them. Only the courts should do it so I don’t accuse anyone of fraud until a prosecutor indicts them and the court finds them guilty.

            At the same time, such crime happens in good and bad times and had nothing at all to do with causing the recent crisis.

          • Anonymous

            When you say no one was harmed, no one committed fraud you declare them innocent.  I have not declared a specific person guilty, but I am pointing to a crime scene and someone did it.

            The media doesn’t present evidence, so there is no evidence that the Fed created the bubble until bernanke is tried in a court of law?

            If a bank forecloses, and the robosigning manages to push through the wrong thing through, the title is clouded.  Sometimes they have foreclosed on a paid off house, the wrong house, or one where cash was paid for.  The foreclosure only went through because the robosigning created fraudulent documents.



            “As a national provider of property title searches, AFX Title is seeing
            an increasing number of files where the chain of title has obvious gaps
            in the recorded mortgage assignments. According to Pelligrinelli, the
            issue is serious. “When running searches for clients, we are
            noticing that a significant number of previously foreclosed properties
            have unconnected chain of assignments in the mortgage history. This
            could represent a title defect which could technically affect ownership
            rights for future owner.”

   has plenty of legal documents online and linked.  You CAN READ THE ORIGNAL SOURCE MATERIAL.  THE ACTUAL COURT DOCUMENTS.  But you won’t.  Because you are convinced that they don’t exist.  These aren’t media articles (I give up – I could take you into a county courthouse, ask the clerk for a certified copy of the document that was the problem and the judge’s opinion stating it and you would call the certified legal document “media”).

            I can ACCUSE people of fraud if I have a reason to believe they committed fraud based on available evidence.  Police do it all the time – have you heard of probable cause?  Should we not arrest anyone until they are convicted?  How would that work?

            You cannot accuse anyone of anything if you wait for a conviction.  Accusation is based on evidence.  Conviction has a higher standard.  I can only point at the crime scene, and list those who were there, and the laws broken, and say someone it should be investigated as a crime scene and the guilty identified.  But I have no difficulty accusing people of fraud when I have their sworn statements (yes, they exist) that they have committed it – not directly, but by stating something as personal factual knowledge that they are testifying to be true that cannot be true and not by any technicality.

            But I also indicated you wouldn’t accuse anyone of speeding even if you saw them and clocked them going 100MPH yourself because they wouldn’t yet have been convicted of speeding.

            And I can’t seem to convince you I do not listen to any media, nor have respect for any.  I do my own research.  And when there is a convincing conclusion I am bound by it.  Truth.  There was either fraud or not fraud.  The government you yourself describe as corrupted will not investigate it nor convict anyone except in very narrow circumstances, usually when forced when someone won’t roll over.  When that has happened the door into this world opens and records are exposed.  But it exposed these aren’t isolated, the fraud is pervasive.

          • Roger McKinney

            I did not write that no one was harmed and no one committed fraud.

            So you think you have the investigative powers of federal prosecutor?

            “the government you yourself describe as corrupted will not investigate it
            nor convict anyone except in very narrow circumstances,”

            So you have set yourself up as the sole judge, jury, prosecutor and executioner?

          • Roger McKinney

            “I can ACCUSE people of fraud if I have a reason to believe they committed fraud based on available evidence. ”

            You can also be guilty of bearing false witness against your neighbor.

    • Roger McKinney

      “First, they aren’t even organized.  Where is their website, a list of leadership, or something official?”

      So then how do you know what their position is? Seems to me your projecting.

      • Anonymous

        I watched more of the coverage from all sides, not just the right wing.  As I posted below:

        The OFFICIAL statement from their HOME PAGE is:

        “Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement
        with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one
        we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer
        tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the
        revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the
        use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants”.

        I think my summary was far closer than yours.

        Do you want to encourage, laud, and celebrate “the greed and corruption of the 1%”?  They do specifically mean wall street welfare queens and their government puppets.  The ones that came to get the bailouts – with strings, but are evading the strings (like real mortgage modifications, there are a half-dozen horror stories about the banks saying we can’t help you till you are in arrears, then they immediately start foreclosure and ignore or evade the modifications).

        They aren’t marching on factories, hospitals, or community credit unions.  They are diverse enough, but if you cannot see the corruption of inflating a housing bubble with government help FNM and FRE were part of it – while creating fraudulent transfers (many of the MBS aren’t valid as the mortgages didn’t actually get transferred in – no rule of law – fixed by frauds on the courts), then when the whole thing blows up and the taxpayers have to bail them out, but they not only suffer no penalty, they pay themselves billions in bonuses while continuing to commit the same frauds your conscience is dead.

        But perhaps it is not.  Then you – if you are so wise and persuasive – ought to talk to the marchers and help focus their proper outrage specifically on the greed and corruption.  I would agree that all too often things end up finding the wrong targets.  But derision is not an argument.  Insults aren’t persuasion.

        Unless you are part of the greedy (as in the cardinal sin of that name) or corrupt 1%, why don’t you condemn the greed and corruption of the fraudulently wealthy who are smart enough to know evil instead or in addition to those with little wealth or instruction?  The corresponding works of mercy are to admonish sinners and educate the ignorant.

        Ponzi and Madoff are no part of a free market, but neither were any of the recipients of TARP funds or the Federal Reserve cleanup – they didin’t buy the little guy’s mortgages so they could keep their houses until something could be worked out, they bought the toxic worthless debt of the otherwise bankrupt.

        I trust you would have no problem condemning a “1%er” member of a motorcycle gang (1%er derives from someone saying 1% spoil it for the other 99%).  But you probably don’t consider crystal meth a valuable service in an underground but free market.  Yet if tens of thousands of people lose their money in a ponzi scheme, endorsed by the government, but as poisonous and destructive if not more than methamphetamine – more foreclosures have been bulldozed than meth labs – but these 1%ers wear expensive suits and ride in limousines and private jets, do you condemn them?

        • Roger McKinney

          I oppose all greed, including that greed which demands
          someone else pay for their education and healthcare.

          The protestors are late to the game. The Tea Party formed
          first in opposition to the bank bailouts several years ago and is much more
          coherent in its demands.

          The bail outs were a stupid response to the crisis, but
          greedy bankers did not cause the crisis. Bankers benefited from the bail outs,
          but that’s because people like you and the protestors gave bureaucrats the
          power to do so. And, BTW, they were following mainstream economic advice from
          the top economists in the world. Mainstream econ theory is the main culprit in
          the crisis. That’s why more people are learning “Austrian” economics from advocates
          like Ron Paul.

          No. I’m not going to NYC to educate the protestors because I
          know they don’t want to hear the truth; they want to promote their socialist
          agenda. I’m not in the habit of casting pearls before swine.

          • Anonymous

            If the wall street investment banks didn’t securitize loans (as I say below in response to another post, look at the MECHANISM of what happened, not just the rhetoric), there would have been either no crisis or a very much smaller one.

            I have no idea why you think I would ever give any bureaucrat – actually the Federal Reserve and treasury secretary power for an unconstitutional bailout.  (FYI – I supported Ron Paul since the 1980s and am of the Austrian school – I’ve read all of Mises and most of Hayek and others long ago, and support hard money).

            You don’t see the debates I get into with the Theokeynesians.  Some are so dense that they seem to think no one has to grow wheat or bake, but if government just spends we will all have bread.

            But I detest Theoaustrians worse – heretics are worse than pagans.

            I am for the constitutional sized government advocated by Ron Paul.  Always have been.  I’m against the foreign wars and drug wars.  Always have been.

            Ron Paul and I are for the “Rule of Law”.  Part of that is you need to obey it, do acts of civil disobedience (I don’t think you are arguing the banksters were imitating MLKjr), or suffer the penalties for violating it.

            Even a constitutional sized government – at the state level – has laws against fraud.  And should prosecute people when they violate it.  And throw people in jail for contempt when they send a forgery into court.

            Just because the government is sinning and sinful in the extreme does not mean that everyone running a bank or investment firm can do and has done no wrong.  One person’s evil doesn’t excuse another person’s evil.

            If I tempt you, and you give into temptation and cause hurt, you and your falling was as much if not more of a cause of that hurt than my tempting you.  We are not to cooperate with evil.

            The government may have caused (but not forced) the bankers to give into greed, but give into greed they did.  And they did many illegal (in addition to immoral) things.  And are getting away with those violations.

            The bankers would be calling for smaller government if they weren’t granted defacto immunity from the big government laws on the books.  People at Enron were tried for fraud.  The bankers did the same thing even under stricter rules.  Nothing happened.

            That is the corruption.  They can break the law in a very public way and avoid even being investigated.  Even if they were not the “cause”, they broke the law as it was on the books and still is.

            I have read nowhere in anything Mises, Hayek, Hazlitt, or the rest of the orthodox austrian school writings that robbery, theft, larceny, fraud, extortion, perjury, piracy, and the rest of evils that destroy a society’s trust at its foundations ought not be considered crimes and violations punished by a governmental authority.

            But perhaps you can enlighten me.

          • Roger McKinney

            “If the
            wall street investment banks didn’t securitize loans … there would have been
            either no crisis or a very much smaller one.”

            that’s not true. We have enjoyed over 60 such crises since 1790, some worse,
            some not so bad. In every case they were caused by bank credit expansion. If
            you understand Austrian economics as you claim, you would know this. Without
            the securitized loans the crisis would have appeared in another industry, but
            it would have happened.

            keep in mind that Greenspan, the IMF, and every major economist in the world
            applauded the securitization of home loans as a good means to reduce risk to

            of those loans was all legal and above board and encouraged by the top
            mainstream economic minds.  

            course fraud needs to be prosecuted. But the real evidence for fraud, as opposed
            to the dishonest tactics of the mainstream media who portray exceptions as the
            rule, is quite limited. And it is being prosecuted, but it takes time to gather
            evidence and go through the process.

            For the
            most part, bankers were trying to obey the laws that forced them to make loans
            to people who couldn’t make the payments.

  • Pingback: Unions Go Shoe Shopping | @ActonInstitute PowerBlog()

  • Warren

    Keith Olbermann reports on a “formal” declaration from the Occupy Wall St. collective in a video posted last night. The charges made in this declaration are very different from the demands mentioned here and elsewhere on Acton’s website. I think these accusations are very sweeping and very harsh, but I’m curious what Acton staff and fellows think? Here’s the link:

  • Eli Horowitz