Pam Martens covers all things Wall Street, and if you want to stay in a permanent state of despair about the country generally, and economic fairness specifically, you should read it religiously. She has been covering the Senate hearings on the foreclosure “settlement” and you won’t believe this:
Not to put too fine a point on it, it appears that the banks engineered a deal where they get to decide who they scammed, and then they get to call one dollar 500 dollars. (I wonder if I can repay my own mortgage using that kind of accounting?) For that matter, if they can find a million dollar mortgage out there they can convert a dollar into a thousand dollars. Plus, and why is this no surprise, they can get this rosy outcome by comforting the most comfortable among those they scammed (or decide that they scammed, and they are incentivized to decide they scammed the rich) while ignoring the most strained. What a great country.
A consumer-rights leader and expert sends the following comment:
Sharing with permission a real day-brightener I just got after sending a conclusion of engagement letter:
I guess that that particular salutation is appropriate on more than one level, given that we are "breaking up."
I have a pretty good vocabulary, but words fail me when I attempt to convey my deep appreciation for your help. During the holiday season you gave E____ and me the greatest gift one can bestow on another...hope. We felt lost and beleaguered, set upon by what we felt would be the first of many debt collection wolves who would pick us clean for the rest of our lives. E_____'s finding you was serendipitous; your calm reassurance and competence gave us the hope that there was a way out of our difficulties that would give us a life and allow us to move on. I cannot ever thank you enough for that.
You would be surprised what kind of connections one makes, even out here in the sticks. Now that I am in a high-level position, I am suddenly and regularly finding myself in meetings with politicians, police chiefs, and all manner of other people from all over the state, including Salem. Our program is state-funded, so I will have plenty of contact with folks out your way. Believe me, they will hear your name whenever I can get a chance to work it into a conversation.
You can always feel free to use my name as a consumer reference. I would be happy to endorse you as a counselor that anyone with problems like ours would be fortunate to have on their side.
E_____ has been giving debt collectors your name and the calls have slowed down. She may be consulting you for further advice on what to do in her situation.
I wish you all the best going forward, John, and I hope that you can realize, even in a small way, how very much you have helped us.
As I announced a while back, I recently found a programming maestro with the technical chops to help me realize a long-held goal of making the Oregon Administrative Rules readily accessible to anyone in Oregon who wanted to use them. The "official" copy available online is formatted so badly (using tiny type and no indenting) that it positively defeats a user who isn't willing to copy the entire chapter and spend hours reformatting it so that the layout doesn't cause you to misread it.
Thanks to Maestro's mad coding skillz, you now have free “one click” access to a properly formatted, very readable copy of every Oregon Administrative Rule chapter.
Need bigger text for reading ease? Just click on the + sign in the upper right corner.
Want more text per screen? Just click the - sign.
\Want to take it offline entirely, or import to a document? Just use your mouse or keyboard commands to copy and paste the full text of any chapter where you need it, or you can click again to go directly to the appropriate subsection, highlight just the text you need, and copy and paste to your document.
At last---a clear, readable, well-formatted version of the complete set of the Oregon Admin Rules now online
OregonAdminRules.org is a free public service to Oregon attorneys and all Oregonians, provided by a partnership of
* John Gear Law Office LLC, John@JohnGearLaw.com
* Hanson & Walgenkim, LLC, Hansonwalgenkim.com
* 855ZipDebt.com, Consumer Bankruptcy law, and
* Lawptimize, a legal productivity apps foundry.
OregonAdminRules.org was inspired by the refreshing ease and error-reducing readability of OregonLaws.org. Now the Oregon Admin Rules, which are often at least as important to the public and practitioners as statutes, are available in a readily accessible, readable form as well.
Tremendous editorial by the SF Chronicle.
A real breath of fresh air and truthtelling about the chains that pre-dispute arbitration clauses create. Funny, businesses love to spin about how great arbitration is, but they don't want you to be able to choose or decline it.
What is it that they know that makes them think that, if you have a choice, you won't choose arbitration?
The federal student loan system has become so bloated and rife with abuse of borrowers by debt collectors that I'm forced to conclude that the only people who should borrow to pay for schooling are those who could afford to pay for the schooling without borrowing if they chose.
This story tells the tale, a ruthless firm that gets nice contracts to squeeze student-loan debtors, complete with morals that make the Sopranos enforcers look like choirboys.
"A system committed to having a death penalty is a system that forces the state to pretend to have attained a standard of perfection and fairness that is absurdly far from the reality of the legal system in America today. Thus, having death in the system freezes everything because, if our system is so good today that it can be just to kill people with it, then it needs no improvement--and, in fact, all improvements in procedure and research into sources of error only call into question the claim to existing perfection, and thus the moral claim for the existing death sentences and past executions. And that means that having death locks us into a terribly flawed system that actively resists evidence of systematic errors and necessary improvements. And it turns what should be a quest for justice into a war to justify the status quo against all evidence of its many failings." -- John Gear, attorney at law
I could give many more reasons, but one of the ones that people least understand is how insanely expensive it is to maintain the machinery of capital punishment. Life without opportunity for parole (but WITH the opportunity to correct a mistake if new evidence is discovered!) is much, much less expensive than the capital punishment system. So while the moral reasons against death penalty laws are compelling, the practical financial reasons are strong too -- we can't afford to maintain the death penalty. That's partly why former Chief Justices Paul DeMuniz and Edwin Peterson (a former death penalty supporter) have come out against it.