Archive for the ‘Government Out of Control’ Category
- A 95-year-old church choir leader, Daisy Dolsey, thought she had paid her $639.47 property tax bill. But the District of Columbia still listed her as owing $44.79 — which turned out to be an error. She lost her $300,000 home because of this $44.79 erroneous tax delinquency while she was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s.
- 76-year-old Bernie Coleman, a retired Marine, lost his home over a $134 property tax bill he owed to the local Washington, D.C. government. The aging Coleman was struggling with dementia, so had no knowledge of this tax bill.
- A 48-year-old math teacher almost lost his home because the tax office had erroneously credited his correct $1,400 tax payment to another taxpayer. He had to go to court to get his home back.
According to the Post, of more than 200 homeowners in the District of Columbia who lost their homes to tax-lien foreclosures in recent years, one in three owed less than $1,000 in taxes.
Here’s what’s happening.
Tax delinquencies are being sold to predatory collection companies and hedge funds — many of them run by former executives for J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America who know how to use the rules to foreclose quickly on your home.
The goal of these tax-lien foreclosure investors and hedge funds is NOT to collect the tax, but to make it impossible for you to pay your tax so these investors can quickly foreclose on your home to make a huge killing.
The way they do this is they buy tax delinquency liens from the government (often a modest delinquency that you might not even know about) and they immediately tack on interest, penalties, and attorneys fees.
Tacking on the attorney fees they supposedly spend to collect the alleged tax delinquency is the real kicker.
These attorney fees typically run about $300 per hour. So your $44 tax bill can quickly mushroom into a $5,000 or even $10,000 three-alarm fire.
Remember, these tax-lien foreclosure investors are not trying to solve your tax problem. They don’t care about the $44 you owe the government. What they want to do is quickly to turn your $44 tax problem into an unmanageable $10,000 crisis (by piling on attorney fees) so they can quickly foreclose on your $300,000 home (as happened to Daisy Dolsey).
So your $300,000 home is stolen legally over a $44 tax issue — that might be an error by your municipal government’s tax office.
The victims of this legalized theft are typically the elderly and the infirm who might be suffering from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. This can also easily happen to soldiers returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan — especially if they’ve been wounded and are hospitalized or are suffering from PTSD.
But it can happen to almost anyone.
THE WASHINGTON POST reports that . . .
- A 58-year-old bank employee almost lost her house in 2010 because the tax office mistakenly sent bills and notices to a wooded lot across from a strip shopping center in Virginia.
- A 69-year-old hat designer was given the wrong payoff amount and had to go to court to save her home.
According to the Post, one in five District of Columbia tax liens was sold to tax-lien foreclosure investors . . . BY MISTAKE! The DC tax office is so disorganized and dysfunctional that tax payments are routinely credited to the wrong taxpayers, or not credited at all.
Files of taxpayers with alleged tax delinquencies (many of them erroneous) are then sold to these predatory foreclosure investors.
The District of Columbia describes how this horrifying tax-lien auction program works here >>>
What’s happening in the District of Columbia is especially egregious. But we’re seeing the same trend in other municipalities — where local governments are strapped for money and are looking for every and any way to collect boatloads of quick cash. The biggest pot of cash you likely have is in your home.
You can’t hide your home in your mattress. You can’t move your home overseas. Your home is a big fat target for local governments and clever tax-lien foreclosure investors.
So, if you think of your home as a pretty “safe” investment,” think again.
Your home is a big fat stationary target — up for grabs.
Tax-lien foreclosure investing has become a huge multi-billion-dollar business in America.
As detailed by CNN, one of the leading buyers of tax liens in the so-called Fortress Investment Group — a $53 BILLION “alternative investments” hedge fund. ”Several times a year, municipalities in 28 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, auction off scores of property tax liens, also called certificates, to investors,” reports CNN.
These tax-lien auctions have become like Piranha feeding frenzies for tax-lien foreclosure investors.
This is how your $44 tax bill can end up in the hands of these predators, then quickly mushroom to a $5,000 or $10,000 delinquency after attorneys fees are tacked on. You must then either pay, or lose your home. These predators hope you can’t pay your bill, so they can scoop up your home. It’s an evil business.
These people are experts on the rules and laws. They’ve argued thousands of tax-lien foreclosure cases in court. They know how to game the system.
These predators, of course, know that most Americans can’t afford to pay lawyers $300 per hour to fight these sharks in court.
Could your home soon be seized by parking ticket investors over parking tickets you haven’t paid that you might not even know about — that you might not even owe?
This is one reason why America is quickly becoming like a Third World country.
Who will want to buy property if it can be seized over an erroneous $44 tax bill?
“Crony Capitalism” Has Become an Enormous Threat to Liberty
I used to be a big supporter of privatization — the contracting out of government functions to private companies as a way to save money because the private sector is so much more efficient than government. Clearly the government must use private companies. The government is incapable of building fighter planes or making computers — can’t innovate or make much of anything.
The Soviet Union found that out.
But privatization and public-private sector partnership are fraught with peril. I’m starting to see public-private partnerships — “crony capitalism” — as a huge threat to liberty.
More and more, we are seeing government partnering with the more efficient private sector to shake down, abuse, and even imprison the American people.
With the explosion of private prison companies (which contribute truckloads of cash to the campaigns of judges running for judgeships) is it any surprise that one of every hundred Americans is now in jail or prison? Is it any wonder that we have more Americans per capita in prison than any other country in the world — more than Cuba, more than the Soviet Union under Stalin?
Google and the big Internet and mobile device companies have now been coopted by the NSA, the CSA, and law enforcement agencies to track and spy on the activities of every American, including monitoring your bank account (another quick source of cash for the government). We now learn that the federal government is tracking 80 percent of all credit card transactions. The government is collecting and storing all your emails, cell phone conversations, and Internet searches.
What we are seeing is the rapid evolution of government (at all levels) into an ultra-efficient mafia operation. But I much prefer the real mafia — the old fashioned Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky types. These guys only required 10 to 20 percent of your business as the price for protection.
You heard President Obama’s hysterical press conference yesterday about “catastrophic” spending cuts imposed by the sequester.
Note that federal spending still goes up every year under the sequester, even while household incomes continue to decline.
January posted the sharpest decline in personal incomes for Americans in 20 years, and the worst decline in after-tax incomes since 1959. American households have lost nearly $5,000 in annual income under Obama. But the federal government continues to grow and spend more regardless.
The federal government is now borrowing 46 cents out of every dollar it spends. If Obama were really concerned about the “children,” as he always claims, he’d be concerned about the mountain of debt he’s piling onto their backs.
Every baby born today in America owes $55,000 on the national debt debt. This number doubles every seven years at the current rate of spending.
If Republicans in Congress cave on this modest spending restraint mechanism known as the sequester, there really is no hope for the country.
Here was Obama’s presser on the sequester . . .
It will be real interesting to see how well he gets along with his fellow inmates.
NY DAILY NEWS: A former NYPD narcotics detective snared in a corruption scandal testified it was common practice to fabricate drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas.
The bombshell testimony from Stephen Anderson is the first public account of the twisted culture behind the false arrests in the Brooklyn South and Queens narc squads, which led to the arrests of eight cops and a massive shakeup.
Anderson, testifying under a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, was busted for planting cocaine, a practice known as “flaking,” on four men in a Queens bar in 2008 to help out fellow cop Henry Tavarez, whose buy-and-bust activity had been low.
“Tavarez was … was worried about getting sent back [to patrol] and, you know, the supervisors getting on his case,” he recounted at the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny.
“I had decided to give him [Tavarez] the drugs to help him out so that he could say he had a buy,” Anderson testified last week in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
NEW YORK TIMES: The 1,100 full- and part-time employees who were abruptly laid off two weeks ago aren’t the only ones whose paychecks have been affected by the sudden and dramatic failure of bankrupt solar energy company, Solyndra Inc.
Because for its brief lifespan, Solyndra proved to be pretty good for the lobbying community.
According to records filed with the Clerk of the House and a search of disclosure forms compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Solyndra spent nearly $1.9 million on lobbying activities over a period of 43 months from 2008 to 2011.
About $1 million of that was earned by the company’s two in-house lobbyists, Joseph Pasetti and Victoria Sanville, over an 18-month period from 2010 until this year. But Solyndra has also had several big-name lobbying shops on its payroll, including established powerhouses Dutko Worldwide and Holland and Knight, which began representing the then-fledgling company in 2008.
Remember disgraced, disbarred North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong? His successor appears to be just as lawless.
NEWS OBSERVER: The final witness in the trial of Frankie Washington was his prosecutor, Tracey Cline.
Cline had pursued charges against Washington for more than four years, accusing the handyman of burglary, robbery, kidnapping, assault and an attempted sex offense in a frightening West Durham home invasion.
At the trial in late February 2007, Cline was in the witness box, an unusual spot for a longtime assistant district attorney. Washington’s attorney, preparing for an appeal, wanted to question her about forensic tests on the evidence – a winter hat, a bandana, a pistol-grip shotgun and a stolen purse.
Crucial testing of the purse and the hat had taken years, delaying Washington’s trial. The attorney, Lawrence Campbell, had complained for years about those delays. Now, he wanted Cline to tell the jury what happened.
Cline repeated what she had told a judge in a previous hearing: The state crime lab was responsible for the long delays.
But records tell a different story. Cline had not submitted the evidence to the lab for more than three years. It was Cline’s job to ensure that the evidence, along with a judge’s order to test it, were sent to the lab.
When the evidence was finally tested, none of it matched Washington.
Update on what Michael Nifong is up to
NEW YORK TIMES: The disgraced former prosecutor who led the debunked Duke lacrosse rape case filed for bankruptcy, citing more than $180 million in liabilities — the majority from the threat of two pending lawsuits. The prosecutor, Michael B. Nifong, reported $243,898 in assets of real and personal property to United States Bankruptcy Court. The filing came the same day that Mr. Nifong and other defendants were required to respond to a sweeping federal lawsuit filed in October by the three exonerated players whom he had falsely accused of rape.
DJ PANGBURN-D&T: A 42-year old Illinois man named Michael Allison is facing 75 years in prison for recording video of police. This, of course, just days after the 1st District Court of Appeals upheld the right to record police actions in public in Glik v. Cunniffe.
Michael Allison recorded video of Illinois police visiting his mother’s home to investigate his unregistered vehicles. Allison recorded the police without their consent while they fined him and impounded his vehicles. Now he faces 75 years in prison for these videos as well as those recorded at a court proceeding related to the case.
And Allison is being prosecuted under archaic laws governing eavesdropping on police. Each of the five counts of eavesdropping would bring him 15 years, as it is a class-one felony in Illinois, which puts Allison’s actions in league with rape.
Of course, police are free to videotape citizens at will.
This has all happened amidst a trend of citizens armed with smart phones recording video and audio of police arrests and encounters. Rochester, New York citizen Emily Good was arrested for videotaping a police arrest outside her home, even though she was on her property (because the officer Mario Masic felt threatened). And, of course, OpenWatch released CopRecorder and OpenWatch Recorder to monitor police encounters.
Cop threatens to shoot motorist in the face during routine traffic stop
Watch cop assault 14-year-old skateboarder for calling him “Dude”
My son calls me “dude” sometimes. But I don’t take it as an insult. It’s just the way kids talk these days. Sometimes I will say: “Pete, probably best not to get in the habit of calling adults ‘dude.’ They might think you’re being disrespectful.”
He’ll then say, “Oh, yeah, sorry Dad. I guess it’s just a habit because that’s what everyone my age calls each other.”
Good thing we had video of this
Without camcorders, we never would have learned about the Rodney King beating
YOUR FRIENDLY GOVERNMENT: Man in critical condition after cops beat him into a coma for riding a bicycle without a light
KRISTV: It’s news no one wants to hear; a family member is in the hospital on life support unable to speak and even worse there are few answers about how it all happened.
That’s exactly what one Aransas Pass family says they are going through.
Martin Garcia Ortiz is in critical condition after an incident allegedly involving Aransas Pass police back on August 10th.
The family and their attorneys say they believe a rogue police officer may be to blame for Ortiz’s severe injuries.
“We want to find out what happened to my uncle. We want him to hurry up and talk to see what he can tell us,” said Victoria Hernandez, Ortiz’s niece.
48-year-old Martin Garcia Ortiz is a life long Aransas Pass resident, though for the past few weeks he’s been at Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi.
On August 10th, Ortiz’s family says he was riding his bicycle home and just a few blocks away something happened to put him in critical condition.
Just before midnight, the family’s attorneys say they believe police tried stopping Ortiz for not having a headlight on his bike. Then, the situation took a dramatic turn when one officer allegedly knocked Ortiz to the ground.
“Either with his vehicle or with his person pushed him over on his bicycle. He fell over to the street,” said Stephen Carriganan, attorney for the family.
Attorneys say Ortiz was knocked from his bike along Cleveland Street. The allegations are only more shocking from there.
They say they believe when Ortiz was already on the ground bleeding the officer got out and punched or kicked him causing even more injuries.
Attorneys say they have evidence that supports their claims, but are holding off on revealing their sources.
We contacted Aransas Pass police department for comment but our calls weren’t returned.
It’s not clear if the officers involved received disciplinary action, but it appears they’re still on duty in the city.
Police are charging Ortiz with public intoxication and resisting arrest.
The family’s attorneys report the police department has told them the dash-cam video from the police unit was- for some reason- unable to record the incident.
Attorneys also say the department hasn’t given them a complete copy of the incident report.
“I can find very little justification. If what we believe is true; if they pushed or ran this guy of the road, whatever they did with their car or their persons. I’d be very surprised if there is any justification for that in a report,” said Chris Gayle, an attorney for the family.
Now, the family and attorneys say they are faced with a lot of unanswered questions about exactly what went on that night, but they’re hopeful they will find the truth.
SALEM KATU: A woman fighting a terminal form of bone cancer is trying to raise money to help pay bills with a few weekend garage sales, but the city of Salem says she’s breaking the law and is shutting her down.
Jan Cline had no idea, but the city of Salem has a clear law that states a person can only have three yard sales a year.
Cline has been selling her stuff in the backyard for a few weekends and said she thought she’d be fine by keeping the sale out of everyone’s way.
“It’s a struggle,” Cline says. “It’s a struggle for me because I’m very independent, used to taking care of myself.”
She’s run businesses and supported herself for years but this summer she was diagnosed with bone cancer.
“It’s a bone marrow cancer that eats through the bones and causes holes in the bones so that just by walking I can break a bone,” she says.
In one day she lost her independence, her ability to work and earn an income that could pay for all those medical bills.
So she decided to sell what she owned. The sale was bringing in several hundred dollars each weekend until one neighbor complained and she got a visit from the city.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry. Rules are rules.’”
Actually, there are no spending cuts at all, ever, period
This chart shows why federal spending never goes down under any plan.
The Ryan plan boasts $6.2 trillion in savings over 10 years. So that takes the projected national debt in 2021 from about $28 trillion all the way down to $22 trillion.
So we get a $22 trillion debt under the Ryan Plan . . . 10 years from now — instead of the $28 trillion debt Obama wants to give us.
Doesn’t sound like much of a plan to me.
And this is Paul Ryan’s chart.
So there’s really not a whole lot of difference between the Ryan budget plan and Obama’s spendaholism. Yet Dems, such as Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, call Ryan’s plan economic terrorism against the elderly and the poor.
The best we can say about the Ryan plan is that it’s a little bit less worse than the Obama budget.
So . . . not so good.
I like Paul Ryan. He’s a really smart dude. But we can do better than this.
Back to the drawing board.