Sometimes the contrast between the content of different news stories is almost unbearable. For example, compare the story of the poor Chilean miners, who have been trapped since the beginning of August in a chamber in a copper mine, [Here] with the ongoing story of fraud, greed and illegal manipulation with U.S. homeowner mortgages. [Here]
First to Chile: The latest reports are that the trapped miners' possible rescue might be as soon as Saturday or Sunday, depending upon how quickly the drilling bits and shafts can reach them and whether the engineers will take the extra precaution of encasing the tunnel with steel tubing.
There are three shafts called Plan A, B and C. We are told that plan B looks most hopeful. The 33 miners have received food and water and other necessities through a small shaft that has already been dug. When they finally reach safety, one by one, they will be examined at a field hospital that awaits them and then they will be helicoptered to a major hospital. They will be allowed to be greeted by one or two close relatives at the rescue site, but the remaining family members will await them at the larger medical facility.
The miners’ tragedy appears to be accompanied by extraordinary national support and calm. Chile has had its unfair share of human tragedy during the Pinochet years, but has responded to this ongoing drama with calm, dignity and great competence.
On the other hand, here in the United States the unending stories of foreclosed mortgages across the country are pictures of homeowner heartache, economic ruin, fraud, greed, and a feeble federal governmental response that can only by characterized as too little, too late. On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others have called on the Justice Department to investigate fraudulent filings of deed and documents. Some large banks, such a JPMorgan Chase, have voluntarily suspended foreclosures, pending their own internal investigation of their documentation.
Some states, such as Connecticut and Texas, have suspended foreclosures, pending investigations of the banks’ paperwork and procedures. [Here] Huffpost has run a story, describing how some banks have sent contractors to change the locks of some homes that were only in the process of foreclosure. In one case in Florida, JPMorgan Chase had the locks on a Florida house changed while the poor homeowner, three months in arrears, locked herself in her bathroom and called the police, thinking that she was being robbed. Other folks in the same situation found not only the locks on their homes changed, but also possessions missing.
On Wednesday the President used a pocket veto procedure (allowing a bill, passed by both houses, to expire by withholding the President’s signature). The White House nixed a law that was hastily rushed through the Senate without public debate and with only a voice vote. (The bill had previously passed the House last Spring.) The bill would have made it mandatory for courts in one state to accept the documentation signed in another state about foreclosures, even though that documentation might be faulty. [Here]
Both of these situations are a study in contrasts, aren’t they? One offers hope and the other reeks of greed and no guilt.