An effort is under way in the Senate to renew legislation that spares underwater homeowners from having to pay income tax on mortgage debt forgiven by a lender, one of the chief supporters of the tax-relief provision told a group of politically active REALTORS® during NAR’s Federal Policy Conference in Washington.

“I can’t make sense of anyone having to pay tax on income they never see,” Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said at NAR’s Federal Policy Conference.
Speaking on Feb. 5, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said he is working with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to again extend a provision that Congress renewed for 2014, which lapsed on December 31. The Heller legislation, the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, would exempt forgiven mortgage debt from taxation through the end of 2016.

via Push to Renew Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Gains Steam in Senate.

Push to Renew Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Gains Steam in Senate

Timebanking is mutual credit, where whenever somebody provides a service to a member in a timebank, they get credit, which they can redeem for that same amount of time to get something they need from someone else in the network. It’s fluid and flexible. Timebanking doesn’t have to involve a direct exchange between two people, and it doesn’t have to happen in the same span of time.

The impacts are pretty profound. Matching people up based on who needs what and who can provide what is a different approach to an economy. It’s an understanding that everybody has needs and everybody has assets. Also, you don’t have to wait to have money to pay for a service you need.

via Time Banks: A Tool for Restorative Justice and Community Strength.

Time Banks: A Tool for Restorative Justice and Community Strength

Posted in Foreclosure Defense

The Anatomy of a PCA – Stopa Law Firm Stopa Law Firm

Handling appeals on behalf of homeowners is an enjoyable and important aspect of my foreclosure defense practice.  You see, it’s one thing to go into court and make good arguments; it’s another for that judge to know you can prosecute an appeal (and win) if the judge doesn’t follow the law.  Just the other day, for instance, I cited a published appellate decision to a trial judge.  I was the counsel in that appeal, she was the judge, and her ruling was reversed.  Being able to do that is invaluable.

Anyway, this post isn’t being written to brag.  If anything, it’s precisely the opposite.

Handling appeals is hard.  Really hard.  No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose some that you’re convinced you should have won.  That’s frustrating enough, but it’s 10 times worse when you lose via a “PCA.”  That’s when an appellate court does not write a written opinion, but simply issues a “Per Curiam Affirmed” decision which approves the lower court’s ruling without explanation.

Read more -> The Anatomy of a PCA – Stopa Law Firm Stopa Law Firm.

When one is in litigation, one expects to be heard.  There are two opposing arguments.  Each party’s argument has its own validity requiring validation from the court.  Whether or not your arguments are correct is beside the point.  You just want your opinion heard,  A PCA is basically the court telling you that your argument does not matter enough to them to write why the court believes you are wrong.  That is why when a party receives a PCA without opinion it is difficult to accept.  There is no closure.  There is no reasoning as to why your arguments are wrong.  The PCA is disrespectful.  It leaves a party feeling helpless and insignificant.

For a better understanding of the advserse psychological ramifications of a PCA without written opinion, read Amy D. Ronner and Bruce J. Winick, Silencing the Appellant’s Voice: The Antitherapeutic Per Curiam Affirmance, 24 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 499 (2000)

NEP’s Bill Black on The Real News Network discussing his recent testimony in Ireland for a banking inquiry and the challenges the country faces in acknowledging its financial crisis.

Click here to view video -> Irish-Style Banking Inquiry into the 2008 Financial Crisis – New Economic Perspectives

VIDEO: Irish-Style Banking Inquiry into the 2008 Financial Crisis – New Economic Perspectives

Posted in Aging, Financial


Wall Street never runs out of ideas on ways to scam consumers. Let’s see, we have the mortgage loan scam, student loan scam, the auto loan scam, the credit card scam. In the 1980s it was the viatical settlements where life insurance policies for terminally ill AIDS patients were being traded. Then there was a period of time when corporations thought they could take out life insurance policies (COLI – Corporate Owned Life Insurance) on their employees.  That did not go so well for Winn-Dixie, Wal-Mart or The Dow Chemical Company.   Banks, and this should be no surprise, also got in on the game with BOLIs (Bank Owned Life Insurance).  The OCC stepped in and  put a kibosh on that.

Now I am learning about the STOLI or in some circles, IOLI. Well, actually, STOLIs slowly began back in 2004 and exploded on the marketplace in 2010. The explosion of the STOLI coincides with the implosion of the real estate market. See the connection? It’s like Wall Street jumped from the fryer into the frying pan.  What has happened is that when insurance companies discovered the fraud, they filed lawsuits trying to have the STOLIs declared void ab initio.  There are hundreds of lawsuits out there and some are making it to the appellate court level. Continue reading “STOLI”