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Hooray for Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen. Yesterday, this rather obscure public official had the guts to file a lawsuit against a goodly part of the American banking industry.  Here’s a link to the press release (also reproduced below) and other relevant documents.

Guilford County Sues To Clean Up Banks’ “Mess” at the Register of Deeds

Guilford County, ex rel. Jeff L. Thigpen, Guilford County Register of Deeds, filed suit today against LPS/DocX, MERSCORP, MERS, Inc., and numerous banks, loan servicers, and foreclosure specialists seeking to clean up the “mess” Defendants created in the County’s property records registry.   

“Our office uncovered an abundance of falsified, forged, and fraudulently executed mortgage documents,” said Thigpen.  “But our investigation only found the tip of the iceberg.  We need the banks to clean up their mess.”    Read More

Whenever I think about health care reform, I am reminded of the song from the film Marry Poppins that goes “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” You would think from the way Conservatives are always blathering on about the moral fiber of America breaking down because no one takes responsibility for their actions anymore, they could use a spoon full of fiber rather than sugar. They warn about the dangers of the “nanny state”, and “socialist ideas.” At the end of the day, so the conservatives say, it’s a matter of personal responsibility and personal choice.

I couldn’t agree more. It really comes down to the choice between a thick glass of Metamucil or a smooth glass of sweet tea. Which would you prefer?

Having everyone take responsibility for their own health care started as a Republican idea. And by and large, Americans agree. But a new poll out yesterday showed many Americans still have  a long way to go in understanding what the new healthcare actually does, particularly on the “individual mandate” portion and in the face of continued right-wing attacks on health reform. Read More

This week’s argument in the North Carolina Supreme Court over the scandalously lax practices of major banks when it comes to foreclosing on people’s houses provides a powerful reminder of this simple truth:

The “genius” of the market frequently amounts to human beings acting greedily, lazily and immorally (and getting rewarded for it). Obviously, this can occur in government and nonprofit settings too.

This is not to say that market capitalism can’t accomplish amazing things; it’s a remarkably powerful (and frequently positive) force for the creation of wealth. But, utlimately, it is just that — a tool that human society should harness and use — not, as the market fundamentalists contend,  some kind of divine creation to which we should all bow down.

Strong consumer protection laws are one important way to make market forces work for the many. Let’s hope, as the Charlotte Observer editorial board argues this morning, that this case and others like it spur Congress to act accordingly.    

 

In the days leading up to September 17th, a couple of friends in New York City mentioned something vague about a plan for social justice activists taking action in the city. I didn’t think much of it at the time, or even on the 17th and 18th—I just kept working hard on the issues most pressing here in North Carolina. Then, time passed, the action continued, the weekend came, the numbers in New York City’s financial district swelled, and I saw those videos of peaceful protesters being kettled and pepper-sprayed on a sidewalk September 24th.

At that moment, something changed for me.

I had just witnessed first-hand the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s September 6th arrests of undocumented students and their supporters at an “Undocumented and Unafraid” Rally. At that point, I realized OccupyWallStreet might be related to my life in North Carolina, and I needed to understand more. Read More

Jill Hudgins, a freelance writer living in Durham, published an important opinion piece in the News & Observer today about finding insurance through Inclusive Health.

Here’s how she begins:

DURHAM — While Republicans rant and rave about the evils of “Obamacare,” many individuals are already benefiting from the reforms. I’m one of them.

I’ve been branded with the scarlet letter “P” for pre-existing condition, denied coverage for years. Thanks to a new program called the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), I’m now a card-carrying member of the insured.

You should read the entire article to see how Obamacare is providing benefits to people with pre-existing conditions.