From a NYT opinion piece by Joe Nocera, "What the Costumes Reveal"—

On Friday, the law firm of Steven J. Baum threw a Halloween party. The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

The party is the firm’s big annual bash. Employees wear Halloween costumes to the office, where they party until around noon, and then return to work, still in costume. I can’t tell you how people dressed for this year’s party, but I can tell you about last year’s.

That’s because a former employee of Steven J. Baum recently sent me snapshots of last year’s party. In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.

I'm not one to incite illegal activity, but christ, guys: if there were ever a house that deserved T-P-ing on Halloween? This firm's headquarters is it. May not be justice, but it's a start.

Read the rest, and see all the photos, here. (via Chris Hayes)

Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: xeni@boingboing.net.

253 Responses to “Top US foreclosure law firm threw Halloween party where staff dressed as foreclosed-upon Americans”

  1. ernunnos says:

    I know there’s no shortage of lamp posts. Is the problem a shortage of hemp rope?

    • Stefan Jones says:

      “Is the problem a shortage of hemp rope? “

      If hemp were legalized we’d all be so rich there wouldn’t be a need for foreclosures! Also, we’d have hovercars. Made out of hemp.
      [/snark]

      Hang them? Nah, that’s not ironically appropriate enough. Losing their homes and being last on line for food boxes would be more like it.

    • Ah, that day is coming and coming fast.  The funny thing is, these smarmy little punks cannot see it coming down the tracks like a loaded freight train out of control.

    • Kerry Walker says:

      That is just unbelievable, but somehow it just doesn’t surprise me….read, The Dawn of Intelligence by Kerry Craig Walker

  2. Really disgraceful and disgusting.

  3. Mari Lwyd says:

    I had some knee jerk things to say previously.

    This party is pathetic on their part.
    Allowing the shameless mockery of a less fortunate group by criminals is pathetic on ours.

  4. slobit75 says:

    This is the kind of shit we could do without in our country…..

  5. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    In the NYT no less.  This is pretty damning.  The partiers also ridiculed a lawyer who had fought against their shady foreclosure practices.
    Mitt Romney wants foreclosures to run their course.  I hope this isn’t the course he had in mind.
    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_10/romney_rejects_foreclosure_rel032890.php

    • ernunnos says:

      I think foreclosures would be better for a lot of people. Get out from under debt slavery and being house poor. This whole crisis started in 2007, it’s already 2011, anyone who got foreclosed on early in the game is close to having that event roll off their credit record! But the foreclosures need to be by-the-book. Bankers and real estate lawyers aren’t out there tilling the soil, growing things, making things, building things, moving things from one place to another. Making sure every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed isn’t some distraction from their job, it is their job. Much of this crisis results from the fact that they figured out how not to do that job, and still get paid for it. From failing to do due diligence in initially issuing the loans, to failing to properly transfer title. It’s their own laziness that’s made it hard for them to foreclose. Which keeps people in limbo, paying too much for a house they’re underwater on, unable to move on. (Unless they’ve taken the initiative and just walked away.) So no sympathy. The louder they whine about how hard their job is, the more I want to see them swing.

      • Robert Bangs says:

        The problem with just accepting the foreclosure is that, depending on the contract, the foreclosed homeowner may still be stuck with the difference between what was owed and what the bank gets for the property.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          In California, you’re not liable for the difference if the mortgage (trust deed) was the purchase instrument. In other words, if you completely refinanced, rather than taking a second mortgage, you could be liable.

  6. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    Ah the American Dream… if you can crush someone beneath you, your higher up so your better.
    Don’t let anyone move up, always keep them down, and ignore the people 1 step up from you doing the same thing to you.
    Your better than the people below you and you can always move up… except we are lying about that.
    You will toil and scrape to move up… and your failure will make us laugh.
    Dance monkeys… dance…. we are bored having enough money to buy and sell you 10000 times over…
    Now fight over the scraps like they matter.

  7. slobit75 says:

    What’s that I’m feeling??? Oh the bad karma that will eventually come down on these people…..

  8. Remy Porter says:

    I recall that during the Great Depression, the well-to-do would have parties where they sat around in rags and ate beans cooked in the can and pretended that they were homeless in the hearts of their gigantic mansions.

    Some things never change.

  9. Can I get the job of wiping the chicken poo off the eggs at Michelle Bachmann’s Marie-Antoinette-inspired pretend chicken farm? Or should I accept the offer of dairy maid at Rick Perry’s pretend cattle ranch? Decisions, decisions…

  10. Guest says:

    Part of me feels that living near Buffalo is punishment enough.

  11. octolover says:

    may i play devil’s advocate here for a bit?

    these people in the pictures are individuals with jobs — not necessarily jobs they love, but jobs they do, and even if the function of their jobs puts others at a “disadvantage” (i use that word loosely because i really don’t have much pity for those who insist on buying what they cannot afford, but i digress), it’s not as if they themselves make the rules or that they themselves are “the 1%.”  in fact, they’re probably just office drones like lots of other folks out there.

    i can relate to them, because i once worked for the in-house financer of auto loans for a certain nationwide chain that sells used cars.  i was part of a small team called “special collections,” and we were the most hated of the hated.  were you so behind on your car loan that we’d repossessed your car, sold it at auction, applied the auction’s proceeds to your loan, and *still* owed us money?  i was the individual you dealt with.  i was the one who tried to get money out of you even though you no longer had a car, and i was the one who explained to you time after time after time how it was possible that you still owed money and that what we were doing was not only legal but that we were in the right.

    it was a rough job.  we all had rough jobs, full of abuse both from the customers and from our bosses.  and as with any job — especially the rough ones — we found humor in and bonded because of our day-to-day misadventures.

    we shared anecdotes about the wacky places people would try to hide their vehicles to keep the repo men guessing; we swapped stories about the financial irresponsibility evident in our customer’s credit bureaus; we had an interdepartmental competition in which we put on a skit about fred sanford (of sanford and sons) getting his truck repossessed (complete with the smallest two of us driving a power-wheels tow truck).  it’s how we kept our sanity and made a shitty job less shitty and even fun sometimes. 

    i could totally have seen halloween devolving into something like this had we not had a supervisor who was against any halloween anything “for spiritual reasons” and we had to comply to her superstitious nonsense (but that’s another story).

    so maybe instead of getting so self-righteous and calling for hangings, just consider that these are just working schmucks like the rest of us who are just trying to make their jobs a bit more likable, like the rest of us 99%?

    • Guest says:

      No. I would never make fun of homeless people for my employers amusement. Fuck your apologies. This is abominable behavior, evil.

      Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are the three legs of the stool we all sit on.

      Who are any of us to take one of those legs out from under any other among us.

      Who are any of us to so clearly enjoy it?

      • octolover says:

        no.  i wasn’t apologizing for them, i was empathizing with people who have a shitty job to do and criticizing calls for violence against individuals we know nothing about other than their place of employment.  fuck your misinterpretation of my post.  for all the things going on on this planet, to call even such mean-spirited dress-up “abominable” and “evil” emphasizes your limited viewpoint.

        • DrunkenOrangetree says:

          If they had a shitty job to do, fine. But, they’re not sitting in a bar numbing what’s left of their soul; they are revelling in their moral vacuity.

        • Daniel Stephens says:

          “to call even such mean-spirited dress-up “abominable” and “evil” emphasizes your limited viewpoint.”

          Well said!

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          We know more about them than “their place of employment”.  Can you not view the photos or something?  Ghouls.

        • Whether their jobs are shit or not, that gives them 0 right to dress up like the people whose lives they’re ruining.
          They had an OPTION to go to this party.
          They had an OPTION to be a douchebag and dress like the homeless and foreclosed-on people.
          They had an OPTION not to be total and absolute, tactless, abominable, ridiculously cold and crude bastards.

          They CHOSE not to take that OPTION, and instead, decided to get a very rude, harsh jab in, and kick people who were already down.
          There is no honor in that kind of bullshit. I really hope that sometime in the future, these people’s “haha look at me guys” turns into “holy crap, talk about irony.”

          There’s a special place in hell for people like that. And if you agree with this sort of conduct, there’s one for you too.
          There is no excuse, period, for being this heartless. Period.

        • When you side with the devil, you should be prepared to be treated like one as well. It’s the most you can expect to deserve.

        • Greg Gross says:

          Sorry but it IS both abominable and evil. But I’m feeling charitable, unlike those employees. So would you settle for “callous?”

        • Andymurph says:

          You “empathise” with people who feel better about their shitty jobs by mocking those the throw out of their homes? Sicko

        • word2thewyz says:

          that might be a little more believable if the only empathy you offer weren’t for the people who make fun of the homeless. instead, you sound like a modern-day Marie Antoinette .

        • Stephanie Buday says:

          Many of us have worked in customer service jobs that were difficult and draining. I’ve never seen such callousness towards other human beings at any of my high stress jobs. It’s unprofessional. It’s sick. No one truly knows the actual reason why someone got behind in their payments. When they signed the dotted line they could have had a great job and the ability to pay. Many people lost their job in the recession and were never able to find work afterward. Through no fault of their own, they lost their homes, their cars and their way of life. I do understand that people at high level stress jobs commiserate with each other, but this Halloween party is crossing the line. They are adults and do not need a supervisor to tell them this is wrong and unprofessional.

        • Robert_Cratchit says:

          Perhaps Marie Antoinette never really said “If the poor have no bread then let them eat cake.” but that is what she is famous for.  These people not only chose to mock and abuse the people from whose ruined lives they profit, they memorialized it in photographs on the internet.  Depraved indifference is one term that comes to mind. 

    • SedanChair says:

      It doesn’t matter that these people aren’t part of the 1%. In fact, that makes their cruelty even more craven and inexcusable.

    • Trying to make a job a little bit less miserable with some shared levity is not evil. Predicating said levity on the misfortunes of the poor people you had a part in *making* miserable is just… heartless. Fine, have a Halloween party, booze it up, make bad decisions in front of your coworkers if it helps you get through another year. It’s fine to get into some well-meaning joking around between coworkers about a particularly nutty customer you just had on the phone. But to make a whole party around the theme of people who are homeless when it’s part of your job to force them out of their homes is wrong. A person’s life goes on pretty much as it did before, with some inconveniences, if their Chevy is repossessed. Without their home? Not so much. It’s like the employees of a tobacco company having a “lung cancer” party. Look! Dave is doing a shot through his super realistic tracheotomy tube! It’s funny because our company helped people make bad choices and then they suffered from them!

      Your jokes about some tool who got behind on his truck payments are one thing, but the housing crisis didn’t just make people homeless though foreclosure, it was a huge factor in a global economic catastrophe that has put thousands on the street worldwide. I won’t say that these people in these pictures are evil but their actions are completely thoughtless, tasteless, insensitive and wrong. And if they didn’t see it as wrong, it says more about the culture they live and work in than about them as people. 

      • octolover says:

        thanks for the thoughtful reply –  very good points, and i am fully aware that losing a car isn’t nearly the same as losing a home.  i fully agree that it’s “thoughtless, tasteless, [and] insensitive;” but as i mentioned, such sick humor abounds in workplaces like that.

        part of the problem for me, i suppose, is that i have a lot of difficulty emphasizing with a lot of those losing their homes — i’m talking about the ones who thought that through the magic of whatever mortgage was trendy at the time, they could get into a mcmansion with a low income and somehow everything would turn out okay.  it ain’t rocket science.  they, to me, are just as much a tool as the person who buys a car that’s too costly for them.  noone made them take out those loans, noone made the lung cancer patient smoke (though i do pity the ones who are older, who started before they knew how bad smoking really was, but again, i digress), noone made bob from accouting buy the ferrari to compensate for his teeny peeny.  personal responsibility for the lose…

        • John Delaney says:

          The key to emphasizing with others is to share the highlighter.

        •  Well… yes. But I would also point out that the folks in these photos wouldn’t have a job if not for profiting from others’ lack of “personal responsibility.” I come from a family that, thankfully, has always held personal responsibility as a value. We didn’t max out our credit cards, we didn’t get underwater on our home or auto loans, I was fortunate to be educated from an early age on how credit works and how it can be kind of like any human innovation: used for both good and evil. I was incredibly lucky to come from a family like mine.

          My husband, to my eternal fascination and consternation, does not come from a family like that. His parents have foreclosed on mortgages, been evicted, defaulted on credit cards. They’re the kinds of people whose stuff gets auctioned off from storage units. Yes, the responsibility of knowing what they were getting into was theirs. Yes, they should have known better. But there are lots of people out there who profit handsomely from the ignorance of people like my in-laws. And like most predators, they know the habits of their prey and know exactly where the weak spots are.

          • capnmarrrrk says:

            “But there are lots of people out there who profit handsomely from the ignorance of people like my in-laws. And like most predators, they know the habits of their prey and know exactly where the weak spots are.” This.

            A lot of people are saying, “They shouldn’t have bought houses they couldn’t afford.”

            Nobody seems to discussion the Science of Persuasion http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:B7a33GmDse8J:socialcommercetoday.com/downloads/CialdiniSciAmerican.pdf+the+science+of+persuasion&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESg3CcQeyXqpDhhCz1KuEZFQqhwkjx4GAQ55VT2BEL0AtdK7xxZrLsnJeTYMQzJ5faU1kPd4QDrYqy4SofxcJnTn76ZWDA0ljxIbj3IxuiGXTZDxPkV9K2bvHuJ3CK6p7wjUYEXo&sig=AHIEtbStJwqBR_CzDpWrJ9XBHK8ck6T8Jg . A good sales team knows exactly which buttons push in order to bypass the “rational” part of the brain to not only get you to buy, but to make you think it was your idea all along. It is a rare person, who can be hit by a barrage of techniques and still walk away.

          • And what blows me away is that my in-laws get at least one credit card or refi offer everyday in the mail, along with all of the collections notices…

          • There’s a reason for that. When you can bet and profit on people failing, you want them to fail. So, you go for the most easily screwed.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            CapnMarrrrk,

            If you mask a link to a pdf with a URL shortener again, I will have to beat you to death. You have been warned.

            URL shorteners don’t allow people to see where they’re going when they click a link. And pdfs still cause problems for a lot of browsers.

          • capnmarrrrk says:

            Oooh very sorry about that. I didn’t know.

          • DonBoy2 says:

            we didn’t get underwater on our home or auto loans

            I wish we all had the strength of character to never have the entire real estate market collapse around us and then, not entirely coincidentally, also lose our jobs.

          • SexBobOmb says:

            “I wish we all had the strength of character to never have the entire real estate market collapse around us and then, not entirely coincidentally, also lose our jobs.”

            Well done.  This states a problematic mentality perfectly.  People are mistaking basic luck with superior character.

          • It wasn’t a matter of strength of character. If you reread what I wrote, I frequently use the words “fortunate” and “luck.” 

          • NancyBeyond says:

            Good for you cassandra schoon.  However, tell me what would happen if you and your husband lost your jobs tomorrow?  Would you be able to maintain your “personal responsiblity” for your mortgages and bills?  And would you accept unemployment from the government?  Hmmm?  You can say what you want.  The people who are being foreclosed on are, for the most part, the middle class who had the good jobs and were being responsible in paying their bills and mortgage.  This law firm should be ashamed of themselves.  It needs to be put all over the Internet to stay away from these people… let them lose their jobs and see how it feels to be foreclosed on.  No, it has never happened to me.  I do try to be responsible for my bills but I also know that I could be one of the 14 million unemployed tomorrow.  You are no better than the people from this law firm.  Shame on you for your prejudice and bigotry!  I work with people every day who are desperately trying to find a job and hold on to their homes.  They are taking as much “personal responsiblity” for their lives as they can.  Just like someone else on here said – bad karma will be coming your way – along with Steven J. Baum law firm!

          • Nancy, before you call me a bigot or wish me bad karma, you might try going back through the thread and see what I wrote earlier:

            “Of course people should not have gotten into mortgages they couldn’t afford, but much savvier people *really* wanted them to so they could profit from the ignorance of others. Any reasonable person with an understanding of finance would have told the people from Countrywide to go eff themselves. But reasonable people with an understanding of finance were not the target market of these products. Preying on the poor and uninformed is bad enough, but having a party that showcases their misery is just… tragic.”

            I am making zero excuses for these people. I understand that there are a lot of people who were plenty responsible and still got effed by the douches in the party pics here. But Citi and Chase sold mortgages to people they knew *full well* would lose in the game. Bigot is a strong word and one I don’t take lightly, even on the Internet. You might read a person’s full opinion before you cast that aspersion someone’s way.

          • NancyBeyond says:

            You are absolutely right Cassandra and I do apologize.  I never should have used that word.  I hate that word myself. 

            You would think that those who got mortgages knew what they were getting into.  The sad part is that mortgages were bought and sold as part of a package.  I know I have had the rug pulled out from under me when my mortgage company sold my loan to someone else.  I ended up with a late payment until the payment caught up to the right company.

            I agree that there are MANY people who knew better than to get into a mortgage.  Our world changes all of the time and employment is at will.  Everyone knows this.  So yes – those who bought a house hedging their bets that they would maintain their standard of living – well, they lost.

            I don’t wish you bad karma but all of the best.  I hope everything stays positive for both of us!  I myself am blessed to have a great job where I can work from home.  No complaints from this end.

          • Robert_Cratchit says:

            One trip to the emergency room will fix that for you.

        • blueelm says:

          And you assume these are *the ones* and justify your shallow understanding with that. Around here there was an absolute push made to get people in our older black neighborhood to refinance. A lot of these people had paid off their houses back in the 80s at the latest. Freaking sales reps would not stop calling, always promising they could help you get some work done and that you didn’t know it but your credit was ruined (joke was on them with me). Most of the people they were calling though didn’t know their credit ratings (which probably weren’t that bad) because it wasn’t easy to get that information at that time,  and they got royally screwed on things like 10k remodeling loans that spiraled due to hidden costs so much that family members had to move in with them to keep grandma from being homeless. But hey, don’t let that get to you. I mean it’s really all just about not feeling bad for people, right?

          Also, yeah I’ve had terrible jobs, and I’ve had a job where I was pressured to stick with the status quo which I found unethical. You know what I did? I quit. I got another job. It was great. Guess what, people with marketable job skills can join another firm a lot more easily than a homeless 68 year old black woman who worked as a seamstress most of her life with ruined credit can. So yeah, poor lawyers and admins. They have to be callous assholes who revel in exploiting people to survive: bullshit. They are there because they *like* it or because they don’t care enough to leave since there’s good money in it. That’s it. 

          My parents on the other hand stupidly refinanced, and then they divorced making things worse. You know what though? They’re not foreclosed on. So please stop trying to make this a moral lesson. It’s not . It was a catastrophic predatory robbery of the US economy, that is continually excused by moralists because it’s easier to target a group of people you don’t like (especially when a massive and diverse group of people got screwed in the first place) than to admit just how fucked up things are.

        • Mark says:

          The melting of the real estate bubble had nothing to do with people who cant afford it buying McMansions. The Lehman brothers collapse and the beginning of the end was the result of leveraged (40 to 1) speculation by Lehmans and other big banks including AIG while Goldman Sachs was betting against them. The foreclosures happened after the meltdown of the too big to fails. The decline in home values, the huge spike in unemployment, all had to do with the complete disappearance of Capital due to the meltdown. Those who bought homes with mortgages would have been fine had the real estate bubble continued. The same thing that precipitated the too big to fails being bailed out forced people into foreclosure. You have a lot of gall blaming the people who bought into the American dream of home ownership only to be screwed by the bankers who popped the real estate bubble on them. These people are the victims of the biggest scam in the history of the world. The bubble fueled by cheap and easy money popped when that money was withdrawn, on purpose and with greed and malice. Figure it out. It aint that hard. The facts are available. Your self righteousness is typical of the ignorant responses to this fiasco.

          • Sheila S. Stickland says:

            As “Octolover” said earlier “it ain’t rocket science” however he was disagreeing with your well thought out point of view.

        • Sheila S. Stickland says:

          I have no idea who you are and I thank God for that, you do seem to “Digress” quite a lot.  It sounds to me as if you are trying to compensate for something with you outlook that the people who lost their homes where uneducated.  That is evident by your remark “it ain’t rocket science”.

        • nails says:

          “part of the problem for me, i suppose, is that i have a lot of difficulty emphasizing with a lot of those losing their homes — i’m talking about the ones who thought that through the magic of whatever mortgage was trendy at the time, they could get into a mcmansion with a low income and somehow everything would turn out okay.  it ain’t rocket science.  they, to me, are just as much a tool as the person who buys a car that’s too costly for them.”

          If you believe this to be accurately representative of even a *moderate* percentage of the foreclosures active today, and if you’re not connecting the dots with the state of our economy as a whole, then you are sorely lacking in knowledge about what happened in the US housing market between 1994 and 2008.

          Should you at some point in the future become interested in learning about the topic, begin by running “us mortgage toxicity” in Google.

          I’ll keep my hopes low.

        • Robert_Cratchit says:

          You can’t even write “sympathy.”  You seem to have no difficulty “emphasizing.”

    • JoAnn says:

      sorry Octolover but there was a reason you were the “most hated of the hated.”    When it comes to jobs where you are daily, and in every detail, effing over your fellow human beings rationalization goes only so far.  You could have quit…yes, if this was a few years ago no matter where you were you could have, found yourself a different job while you still had that one.   Basic human decency and morality –of any sort, religious or otherwise– cries out that you do so.  (and, yes,  been there so I DO know it’s not easy)   There are certain jobs that remove you from the category of  “just working schmucks like the rest of us.”   Yours was one.  

      • mr_frakypants says:

        It is often said that the world needs garbage collectors. This is true. We shouldn’t look down on them, as they provide a vital service that is often distasteful to accomplish.

        What you apparently fail to get is that octolover performed the job of an economic garbage collector. It has to be done. A sustainable society simply cannot let people borrow money then essentially eat it. There must be recovery efforts.

        Please note that I’m not calling the people who took out those loans economic garbage. The unbalanced credit on the books is the garbage which if it piles up begins to stink, and eventually things become unlivable. I think that it’s quite moral for someone to make it their job to contribute to society by performing a very necessary function that they know will bring upon them the opprobrium of the ignorant.

    • Ryan says:

      Yeah and I’m a law school grad who had good enough grades to work for any # of scumbag ops.  Didn’t choose to do so and my paycheck reflects this every 2 weeks.  Life presents you with choices > you exercise free will in making those choices > you live with the consequences of those choices, be they gentle ridicule, as seen here.   Or the guillotine, as I am sure some would prefer.

    • RJ says:

      Contributing to homelessness, then extending a middle finger at the homeless and laughing like hell about it is not okay. Yes, people can be swindled into all kinds of awful loan agreements because hey hey, what do ya know, most people aren’t loan specialists or bankers. The phrase “predatory lending” exists to describe such crooked practices.

      If you worked collections for such scammers, then yeah, I bet your job DID suck pretty hard. I’ve had similar jobs in the past, too. You know what I (and a lot of other people) did? Quit the stupid job, find something else to do and enjoy the improved mental and physical health. There are plenty of jobs that don’t require you to be a misanthropist in order to earn your pay.

    • Joe Keenan says:

      This makes you an apologist for disgusting behavior and your “devil’s advocate” positioning is a shallow excuse for the mockery being played out here. This makes you just as bad as those being depicted in the photos. For the record, I was a credit manager for a family owned appliance/electronics stores  in Sioux City Iowa for several years. I didn’t collect third party debt via mail or the phone. I had to go to people’s homes to collect money or product. I saw the worst in people and I saw the best. Perhaps because I had to talk to these people face-to-face and didn’t hide behind the anonymity of mail or a phone, I saw my clients/customers as people not to be mocked but to be worked with and given the respect due them for trying during rough times. I had my share of “deadbeats”, but most folks were hard-working people who had hit an unfortunate bump in their life and when given some room to work with, took that opportunity to try to succeed. These people partying it up in Buffalo could be venting some of the frustration of working with abuse they get hurled at them; but that is part of the job and if you can’t handle that without mocking people as seen in the posted photos, then get another job  or at least grow-up and act like an adult. They may be like the rest of us “working schmucks” in that their income falls in the 99%, but I would have to categorize them as being just “schmucks”. They remind me of the trustees in prison movies who do the dirty work for the warden…but are still behind bars.

    • Marc Mielke says:

      If they no longer have their car and their credit rating is already in the shitter, what possible reason would they have to pay you?

    • Bryan B says:

      There are a hundreds of ways to make work more “likeable” that don’t promote a total lack of compassion. They really have no excuse.

    • John Wall says:

      Sorry, even the devil wouldn’t advocate for this kind of douchebaggery.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      we found humor in and bonded because of our day-to-day misadventures.

      Yeah, like when I worked in the hospital and we dressed up as patients for Halloween and wandered around moaning, “Oww, I’m dying of cancer” and “I’m in agony.”

      Oh, wait.  We never did that.

    • dragonfrog says:

      Did your company deliberately set people up with usurious loans they knew they’d default on?  Did it buy bad debt off other car dealerships, repossess cars without doing even ten minutes of research into whether that was the right car and not the neighbour’s, or whether the car’s current owner even had a loan at all, much less one that was in default, much less one held by your company?

      If so, then F you – you don’t get to play the “I was just doing a shitty but legitimate job” card – you were knowingly committing crimes, even if you were getting paid poorly for it as an office drone.

      If not, then I feel for you in your shitty job, but you should rethink your apologia for the employees of foreclosure mills – they’re not doing what you did; they’re doing the equivalent of what I described above, knowingly committing crimes.

      Regardless of their pay scale, they are criminals mocking their victims.

    • Guest says:

      Hmmm…. so if a citizen feels badly about a war, they are in the right to spit on soldiers? It is the same thing! There are other healthier ways to keep your sanity than insulting and humiliating the people you helped ruin. Just because something is “legal” doesn’t make it right. They chose to work for this company; they chose to dress up like that, they chose to insult and humiliate fellow American citizens and human beings. They are clearly evil people who are pieces of shit. 

    • Brian LaMere says:

      The “just doing their job” argument is pathetic.  Same thing could be said for Nazi soldiers working at camps, after all.  Yeah yeah, I just Godwin’d myself, but whatever – if you participate in something, you are responsible.  They empower the activity by lending their abilities to it.

    • jayson says:

      Octolover: Sounds like this is a case where the “devil” in “devil’s advocate” is incredibly apt.

      You are actually a bad human being. You could have gotten another job. You were “only following orders,” I suppose?

      Any abuse you got from customers, you deserved. The credit and banking system in this country is set up so that once a person gets on the wrong side of it, they continue a downward spiral that is all but impossible to escape. The worse your credit, the more it costs to do anything, and so the worse your credit gets.

      Drug dealers use the same kind of logic you just used. They blame their customers for being scumbags, and they say that if they didn’t sell the drugs, someone else would.

      Sorry, but you’re not a good person, no matter what you try to tell yourself. You played your part in a larger circle of evil. Just because you were a cog in the machine, doesn’t make it any better. I hope that someday you learn to have empathy for your fellow human being, and turn into someone good.

      Don’t expect any sympathy for what you did, though.

    • Al Griffin says:

      It appears the firm in question is a law firm, with attorneys dressed in costumes (maybe a few legal assistants) and not a bunch of self-righteous tote the note used car salesmen making their job “better” by making fun of someone else lower on the food chain.

      Not that attorneys are any better or worse than anyone else in our society. I would hope that anyone,  not a grade school dropout and having attained the age of majority , could muster a modicum of professionalism and not act like an asshole and then explain that they are proud of it.

      Have a good day. (_o_)

    • 2mnekatz says:

      What you don’t understand is that many people got in over their heads over houses because the loans were bad.  The loans were bad and the banks making the loans knew they would fail but loaned anyway.  You need to see “Inside Job”. 
      I know it is better for you to always have a “them” to point at, and feel that this would never happen to you, because you feel that you are financially responsible, but the fact is that many people in America have fallen prey to unscrupulous lenders.

    • Stephanie Austin says:

      I’m sorry, but are you seriously saying that making themselves feel better by making fun of those they’ve taken literally everything from is in any way justifiable? Especially on the incredibly ridiculous grounds that they (supposedly) don’t like their crap ass jobs, and so that makes taunting the homeless somehow okay? Please, tell me you’re joking.

    • Sheila S. Stickland says:

      You may be able to relate however,  some of the people were hard working American’s that  lost their home to foreclosure including Military families.  They are not just working schmucks like the rest of us, they did not have to participate is such a disgusting in your face event.  So you are the one being self-righteous because you have decided that everyone who lost their home to foreclosure insisted on living beyond their means.

    • Rick Ladd says:

      As you, I’ve always worked hard to mock those less fortunate than I so I could make my job “a bit more likeable”. Yours is no doubt a deep intellect accompanied by a warm and empathetic soul. Your minor digression shows the degree of your empathy as well, because we all know everyone who bought homes they later lost were greedy; the banks and other players had nothing to do with it. They were just innocent bystanders unwittingly enabling the greed of these foolish wannabe home owners. Bravo, octolover. Bully for you! I’m sure the company you worked for never sold someone a car they knew could not afford it. After all, that’s not their job now, is it?

    • Steve Kelch says:

      Sounds like your boss is the smartest of the lot and chose ‘something spiritual’ to keep you all from celebrating an imagined catharsis unconsciously designed to make yourselves all feel better about the uncomfortable position you’re in. Don’t play devils advocate here. These might be good people with a hard job, but the breach of etiquette and understanding they have displayed here concerning the people they interact with on a daily basis deserves to be exposed and corrected, as the market should. They shouldn’t be fired, necessarily, but they should feel ashamed.

    • Jack says:

      Very poor justification for the callous disregard of others misfortunes. If this is what it takes to keep your sanity, I hope your karma puts you in a line waiting for food. No telling what you could justify with your double talk.

    • Guy Heckman says:

      But as a human being if you are in that kind of job, and yes I understand it is a job, to ridicule the homeless situation of  the very people you are putting out of a home tells me a lot about the pictured individuals’ character and more importantly indicative of the culture of that company.

      Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel overly sympathetic toward individuals who lost their homes because they incurred too much debt, but I’m not about to go mocking them. No forgetting that this business in particular has been named in lawsuits for foreclosing on people who were keeping up on their payments.

      It’s not self-righteous to call out bad behavior. So yes these “working schmucks” deserve all the ridicule and repercussions that get heaped on them, just like many of the people foreclosed on deserved to lose their home.

    • Scott Chambers says:

      i accept your premise but keep the photo evidence …
      actually … just burn the photo evidence. 
      what the rest of us 98.98% don’t know won’t hurt us … but it makes that .02% look insensitive when we see it flaunted on the interweb.

    • Wade Sims says:

      It’s somewhat interesting that you talk about repo men who sit around, talk, and find humor in the misfortune of others as a coping mechanism.  I would highly suggest you see the movie Repo Men and then see how you personally respond when those dystopian “working schmucks” start guffawing over the different ways people start screaming and crying before their organs are removed.  Some jobs are unfortunate.  Some unfortunate jobs, when carried to an extreme, are evil.  I would say this mockery crosses a pretty clear line.

    • Glen Werline says:

      Still living in your glory days of old, eh? I’m sure if you shared this story with any bank or investment firm, you’d be fast-tracked to CFO in no time. Promise that you’ll retell this fabulous story over Thanksgiving dinner… like right before the “house girl” brings out the pumpkin pies. And if I may be so bold as to suggests, you could then break-out in an impromptu soft-shoe number singing  about how repossession is our God given right.

    • aristosthenes says:

      Many former guards at Dachau and Auschwitz used a similar line of reasoning – “just doin’ my lousy job”. Your actions are not on the same order of magnitude for heinousness as theirs, but the message is the same. You want us to feel sorry for you because you did bad things to people, and your excuse is that you didn’t enjoy it. I wish you a lifetime of sleepless nights seeing the faces of those you antagonized.

    • word2thewyz says:

      Your analogy falls short when you consider the fact that repossessing a car doesn’t necessarily render an entire family homeless. And the fact that 25% of homeowners even now are underwater points to systemic failures that should give pause to anyone who would write them all off as deadbeats. even if these people weren’t part of the1% and were merely resorting to gallows humour to help cope with their shitty jobs, the fact that such behaviour was tolerated by the people in charge speaks volumes.

    • jewelsbyanita says:

      sorry, I don’t agree….we all have jobs to do but we can have compassion for those in trouble instead of disdain.  It’s because of excuses such as your that injustices continue….they made fun of blacks, too!

    • Buckethead says:

      And concentration camp guards were family men who were just doing a job , like the rest of us.

    • George_Gregg says:

      No doubt, the staff at Abu Ghraib and Bergen-Belsen had similar problems coping with their shitty jobs but oddly enough I don’t feel any sympathy for them – or you – either.

    • DaneIlario says:

      I sympathize with them being ‘working stiffs’…but who says you are obligated to follow along with something so disgraceful?

    • marnia says:

      ” i really don’t have much pity for those who insist on buying what they cannot afford”???  not everybody, in fact the overwhelming majority of people who were screwed over in the housing crisis/mismanagement fiasco were people who could afford their homes.  many people lost their jobs, and homes have also lost value.  my father retired from a power plant after 30 years making 80k a year, my stepmom was a nurse for more than 30 years, she retired making close to 120k/year.  when she became ill with alzheimer’s, she had to quit working.  my dad had been working as a truck driver and when my stepmother was too ill to be left alone my dad had to make a tough choice- quit work and sell the home they still owed over 100k on, which before all this economic stuff going on and my stepmom’s illness they could afford the house.  he ended up only getting 88,9k for the house.  citimortgage as you recall was one of the banks that happily took our taxes as a “bailout” then couldn’t bail my parents out/give back.  my father’s pension from the job he put 3o years into was reduced, so were his insurance benefits.  he ended up coming 12k out of pocket for my stepmother’s end of life care.  my family did everything they were supposed to, and they, like many others who did the same, have lost considerably.  so maybe you should think before you speak/type.  so, these “office drones” should know better.  they still have minds of their own and they, as well as their employers should be delt with like china would have dealt with the scumsuckers not 10 years ago- LET THEM HANG.   what are YOU going as for halloween?  a retarded kid?  0r maybe you should be a holocaust victim?  maybe they shouldn’t have chosen to be part of a persecuted group( kind of like the middle class?)

    • spoken like a true lawyer….is a little compassion to much to ask for???

    • gessiegail says:

      lousy excuse for making fun of the people they victimize daily!!

  12. Scot Taylor says:

    Lately I find myself repeating this more and more frequently with less and less ironic intent: “…a bunch of mindless jerks who will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.”

  13. michael b says:

    I wish that karma did actually work, but have realized in my later years that it is largely bullshit.  In the end, the strong win, those with the most control those with the least, and to quote David Lee Roth: “The meek shall inherit shit”.  Is that fatalism?  Sure, it’s also reality.

    • David Tillett says:

      If you believe in Karma you may then consider reincarnation as a reality.  Maybe Karma doesn’t just apply to one short miniscule lifetime…food for thought.

    • Nancy says:

      michael-Karma may be BULL#$%&, but God’s justice is NOT! I have seen it too many times. As far as David Lee Roth-Seriously, if I’m going to quote ANYBODY, it wouldn’t be some BURN OUT!!! These people will get theirs; I only hope that those without homes are there to witness it. TALK ABOUT BAD TASTE!  

  14. Moribund Cadaver says:

    Despite some attempts at apologies for these people’s apparent behavior, I find it more likely that they have, at some level, rationalized that they’re just better than people who they facilitate forclosure on. America is a country of tremendous self righteousness and privilege, where it’s practically ingrained into folks to think that every evil that befalls a person is because they were weak and failed at the American Game.

    It’s the lie everyone tells themselves, to push away the fear that they, themselves, may be screwed over next in the greatest circus show on Earth.

    • snowmentality says:

      America is a country of tremendous self righteousness and privilege, where it’s practically ingrained into folks to think that every evil that befalls a person is because they were weak and failed at the American Game.

      For example, octolover saying that everyone who gets foreclosed on deserves it because they “bought what they couldn’t afford.”

      Yeah! Those bastards deserve to be homeless because they didn’t foresee that they’d lose their job and not be able to find a new one for a year! They should’ve taken some personal responsibility and been born richer!

      /sarcasm

      • And they should have known what the terms of that ARM or credit card would have been, even though nobody in America is required to know how compound interest works and the poorest among us are lucky if they graduate high school with an understanding of multiplication tables.

        Of course people should not have gotten into mortgages they couldn’t afford, but much savvier people *really* wanted them to so they could profit from the ignorance of others. Any reasonable person with an understanding of finance would have told the people from Countrywide to go eff themselves. But reasonable people with an understanding of finance were not the target market of these products. Preying on the poor and uninformed is bad enough, but having a party that showcases their misery is just… tragic.

        • ROSSINDETROIT says:

          “And they should have known what the terms of that ARM or credit card would have been, even though nobody in America is required to know how compound interest works and the poorest among us are lucky if they graduate high school with an understanding of multiplication tables.”
          I got 3 mortgages in the last 11 years.  Every time, the lender assumed I wanted an ARM and pushed it hard when I demanded Conventional.  I’m a pessimist and know how these things can turn out.  But a lot of people, especially those close to the budget break-even point, jumped at ‘saving’ several hundred $$/month on their payment initially with an ARM.  And they ended up screwed.  The lenders know the risks but they made higher fees from riskier loans so that’s what they talked people into.

        • Daniel Stephens says:

          Yes it was tragic, and this is what many people, both conservative and liberal, agree that we should defend against.  But we should also remove the perversions of our system which predicated the whole crisis in the first place.

        • Sheila S. Stickland says:

          You said that all very well, Cassandra!  It has all been tragic for the country.

      • Daniel Stephens says:

        There is a tremendous amount of generalization in this post, and is likely a perception that is merely a function of a narrow lens.  Yes, what you talk about exists, but the generalization is inconsistent with objectivity.

    • word2thewyz says:

      Havent you heard? We’re exceptional!

  15. Mordicai says:

    At least the French Revolution got “let them eat cake.”  Our plutocrats are all “the cake is a lie.”  Great.

  16. Lagged2Death says:

    But remember, it’s not class warfare unless the people who look homeless are really homeless.

  17. Rephlex says:

    The article doesn’t mention the prize for best costume.
    First place winner gets to take the express elevator to hell instead of using the escalator.

  18. capnmarrrrk says:

    GandhiGandhiGandhi Vader, VADER! Shit…fuck GandhiGandhiGandhiGandhi

  19. octolover says:

    i didn’t say that “everyone who gets foreclosed on deserves it,” but you cannot deny that many are suffering the consequences of their own poorly made decisions. and i am in NO way privileged.

    hint: i didn’t get foreclosed on because i rent, because i didn’t buy a house, because i knew i couldn’t afford one.

    • Amy L Sacks says:

      I think homelessness is a punishment way out of proportion to the original “sin”, frankly.  But whatever helps you and the Baum Babies sleep at night, I guess.

    • travtastic says:

      Well, yes. That’s the kind of trite crap that only comes out of someone’s mouth when they have a point to make.

      Let’s have a little fun! It’s like Mad Libs, I’ll change your sentence around a little bit:

      i didn’t say that ‘all black people are car thieves and drug dealers’, but you cannot deny that many are in jail because of the consequences of their own poorly made decisions.

      So, is that statement just as true as yours? Definitely! But regardless, why does it even bear mentioning, unless you have a specific bone to pick here?

    • EH says:

      i didn’t say that “everyone who gets foreclosed on deserves it,” but you cannot deny that many are suffering the consequences of their own poorly made decisions

      Oh, well in that case, here’s a little historical support for your position: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st3rYBNrA6E

    • Sheila S. Stickland says:

      Now I understand you didn’t get foreclosed on because you rent and you knew you could not afford a house.  That’s a tactful way of saying I messed up my credit a long time ago and I cannot qualify for a mortgage.

    • Robert_Cratchit says:

      You  know your place in the herd.  You will never be the victim of circumstances-hit by a car, get cancer from poisoned water, air or food, never get sick from environmental contamination or workplace poisons like asbestos.  You know that if something bad happens to you it is your own fault and blaming the job creators (who never intended to profit handsomely through fraud or criminality) would be anathema. 
      At the office party you will enjoy mocking your victims because it gives you a warm feeling of superiority.  You are on the winning team!  God himself is with you!  You are a perfect servant.

    • So they deserve it because they’re not you?

      I’ve heard similar arguments before…I don’t think you factor in psychology enough. See, many of these people don’t think about their finances the way bankers and mortgage people in the industry think. These people thought you’d not give them money that they couldn’t pay back…because that would be stupid. Against the bank’s own best interest, yeah? (Most don’t know about how mortgages are traded like commodities to be bet against.) They were told by lenders that sure, you can afford it. Just. Sign. Here.

      Then they lose their jobs, or they were mislead from the beginning. See, when I hear people say “personal responsibility,” these people didn’t take money from the bank. The bank OKAYED THE LOAN. Knowing they were a high risk. Why aren’t the banks taking responsibility for giving the loans out? Oh…they did? Because it sure looks like they didn’t suffer after taking *bailout money* to keep from going bankrupt.

      So why did they not have any responsibility in actually okaying the loan?

      When my kid comes up to me and asks permission to do something stupid, and I say, “Okay, go ahead!” It’s really stupid for me to turn around and blame my kid for what I enabled him to do!

      People keep acting like these people having their homes foreclosed were entirely their fault. Why in hell do you have to go through credit checks and tax papers and such to get the mortgage in the first place? Was it just a dog and pony show? They went through the assessment, okayed the loan…then it’s the customer’s entire fault for being a credit risk.

      Um…duh.

  20. Toffer99 says:

    The website for these scum has a section “Giving Back” where they list their charities: http://mbaum.com/SJB/givingback.jsp
    The irony hurts.

  21. DavidK44 says:

    Hanlon’s Razor applies here:  “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”   
    Ignorance is a lot more common than evil.

    • word2thewyz says:

      Ignorance is the root of most evil.

    • Robert_Cratchit says:

      At least that’s what evil people try to tell you.

    • Ryan Johnson says:

      You’re using that quote wrong. The quote is meant to apply to a single person’s actions. It means that people often seem to act mean but they are too stupid to realize their own actions are the problem.
      So your quote actually applies to the people who work for these dumb agencies. The employees often don’t think for a single moment about how their actions affect others, because they “just work here”.

  22. Amy L Sacks says:

    In other news, the Onion closed its doors today.  Publishers were quoted as saying, “Well, what’s the point?”

  23. demidan says:

    Just wondering what the % of  “People” at said firm are identified as “Christians”?

  24. Cowicide says:

    This sort of behavior reminds me of the Enron party videos where they boasted of the fruits of their crimes and even had G.W. Bush guest star on them.  It was sickening, and the public outrage may have helped to bring down Bush almost as soon as his “presidency” started, but by ignoring all the threats and allowing 9/11 to happen through ineptitude (or otherwise) that whole Enron thing really “blew over” and Bush ended up with high ratings from a scared shitless American public that forgot all about Bush’s corrupt ties to the company that ripped off countless Americans.

    Meanwhile, some republicans who have the memory capacity of a slug, are just so very upset with Solyndra energy… but, they’ve seemed to have forgotten all about Enron energy and how they blew that gargantuan scandal off.  How quaint.

    http://www.spike.com/video-clips/ccnr83/the-george-bushes-support-enron

    Folks, if you are tired of this kind of shit, then hang these assholes in the form of donations to the very cause they all truly FEAR and DESPISE.

    Show these corporatist assholes how much you love them.  Every dollar that comes in scares the shit out these assholes more and more… and every dollar is a vote that says you want to invest in the American people, you want to invest in each other.

    http://occupywallst.org/donate/

  25. Benjamin Terry says:

    A problem with the “Blame Game” is that it demands a good guy and a bad guy.  Good guys were all done wrong.  Bad guys are all predators.  Then, basically, the prescription is for the bad guy to have some morals and a soul, possibly a revelation they receive after hearing the outrage directed at them, then “BAM!”, problem fixed.  

    • Cowicide says:

      A problem with the “Blame Game” is that it demands a good guy and a bad guy.

      The problem with speaking in black & white absolutes is that you end up sounding like an apologist for these assholes.

  26. oliver schmieding says:

    further investigations revealed that, about 25 years ago, and by a somewhat freaky coincidence, the parents of all employees involved in above mentioned caper bought a hungarian book called “perfect parenting: educate for empathy” written by this gentleman:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6D1YI-41ao&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL2A8F6C624DFEE575

  27. May says:

    I’m tired of hearing from some of you about all of the people who shouldn’t have bought home they couldn’t afford!  Yes, that is true for SOME, but the majority…..I don’t think so.  I am one of those people who bought a home then lost my job not even one year later.  When I bought my home, I could afford it!  I am one of the lucky few who did find another job, but I almost lost my home in the interim (I’m single, by the way.  No 2nd income in my household).  My new job pays me about $10,000 less per year but I’m at least employed and able to (BARELY) make ends meet.   Please stop blaming the home owners for buying a home they couldn’t afford.  This has more to do with income going down, or away all together, the the price of EVERYTHING rising, and I am speaking from experience.

    And no, I didn’t buy a foreclosed home.  I got a good deal on it, but only because of the market…not from someone elses misfortune.  Please don’t tell me that I should have waited to buy a home until the economy stablized….that is exactly part of the problem and part of the reason that the economy isn’t turning around.

    This party by this firm disgusts me! 

  28. SexBobOmb says:

    True story.  Before the bubble burst, a family of four purchased a home at exactly $300,000.00 .  In the Seattle area, this did not buy much of a home.  The family, being very careful, scrimped and saved to put 1/3rd of the price, $100,000.00 as a down payment.  The family owned their one used car outright.  They did not have any credit cards, and paid cash for everything in that modest home. 

    Several years later, the house is worth less than $200,000.00 thanks to Wall Street.  Basically, the hundred grand they used as a down payment might as well have been flushed down the toilet.  Cuts to health coverage due to the economy caused a significant out of pocket expense.  So when terminal cancer came calling for the main bread winner his income stopped, and out of pocket expenses came to $140,000.00, which the newly single mother of two, also now unemployed because of the economy, not through any fault of her own, is responsible for. 

    This family didn’t buy a house they couldn’t afford.  This family didn’t ask for reductions in health coverage.  They didn’t ask for cancer, death, layoffs, any of it. 

    She’s on food stamps and whatever assistance she can find, trying to stall foreclosure as long as possible, because the waiting list for section 8 housing isn’t even taking new applicants.

    If Wall Street hadn’t crashed the market, her home would be worth enough that she could sell it for at least the $100K amount over mortgage they’d put into it, and pay for an apartment, and, oh, I dunno, maybe some clothes for her kids.  If Wall Street hadn’t crashed the market, her health insurance would have remained decent, and that $140K debt would be marginal.  If Wall Street hadn’t crashed the market, she’d have a job, continue to pay her taxes, and support her kids all on her own.

    What exactly did this family do to deserve this?  Anyone who dares to even imply any wrongdoing is as disgusting as the monsters featured in the article.

    • Spocko says:

      This is an excellent story to make a point. I’ve read dozens of them at Occupytheboardroom.org. One of the other issues is the cost of illness. That health insurance is tied to a job now seems bizarre to me after looking at Canada’s methods of health care.

      People were told, and recent history backed them up, that housing prices always rose.  So people could use their home as an asset. As a long time renter I never had that to fall back on. People who bought homes could. Now they can’t anymore, they can’t even get out the money they put into it.

      • SarahKH says:

        I may moan about the NHS, I may tear it a new hole on occasion.  But I feel entitled to do that as I live in England, pay NI and such.  I just can’t wrap my head around the US medical system.  You can get free treatment at an ER (Casualty from my understanding) but if you’ve not got insurance and need an overnight stay/tests your SOL… it’s very odd. 

        Of more concern is, collectively, America seems to think not having a universal healthcare system is somehow a good thing.  Which just boggles my mind. 

        • That’s of concern to me, too… but moreover, I’m concerned with the whole lot of things that America seems to think of as “good things,” like scientific ignorance, lack of sex/contraception education, constant surveillance, denial of climate change, desperately unhealthy food and exercise habits and Katy Perry to name a few. 

        • Amy L Sacks says:

          Don’t even get me started.  I’m still furious with my own (now-ex) Union for sitting by when we had a Single-Payer measure on the state ballots and letting it be killed by torrents of money from the insurance industry.  They warned us that voting it down was the best plan.  Their rationale was that Single-Payer would “compete” with their own benefits system.  WTF?!

          That was eight years ago.  I never forgave our “leadership” for their short-sightedness and stupidity.  And I never will.

    • aristosthenes says:

      Might I suggest one correction? Your description of Wall Street “crashing the market” could leave the impression that what happened was an unfortunate, unavoidable accident. Like a deer running in front of a car. But what they did was knowingly gamble with the rent money – not their own, EVERYONE’S, and they lost. And then they got rewarded and received huge bonuses. So a stronger description is in order, something like “raped the economy”.

  29. old democrat says:

    I assume NYT actually checked facts on this? It’s so wierd, it sounds like a hoax.

  30. DrunkenOrangetree says:

    Why did the fucking banks lend money to people who couldn’t afford it? And note that we bailed out the banks.

  31. millie fink says:

    “The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.”

    Tom Waits

  32. Lars Fosdal says:

    May these people be struck with three generations of misfortune.

  33. Art says:

    Unbelievable insensitivity on the firm’s part!  Simply deplorable!

    All fun and games- until it happens to one of them.

  34. Jay Converse says:

    Christ, what assholes.

  35. SteveKiwi says:

    Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
    I’ve seen lots of funny men;
    Some will rob you with a six-gun,
    And some with a fountain pen.

    And as through your life you travel,
    Yes, as through your life you roam,
    You won’t never see an outlaw
    Drive a family from their home.

    Pretty Boy Floyd – Woody Guthrie

  36. This story just provides more names for Madame Defarge to encode in her knitting, which grows more  furious by the nanosecond.

  37. lorq says:

    What interests me about this behavior isn’t just its vile callousness in relation to homeless, foreclosed-upon Americans, but that it seems to be a self-degrading activity on the part of the staff itself.  It feels like a cross between junior-high-school-level viciousness (where the adolescent just slings shit everywhere, because they have no clear or focused sense of who or what it is they’re objecting to), frat-party shenanigans (which express a sullen, passive-aggressive, half-assed reaction to, again, a woolly-headed idea of moral authority), and a “Girls Gone Wild” video (where again there’s a willful participation in one’s own degradation, either for monetary or dimly-apprehended emotional gain [see the funny spin on this in the show "Arrested Development," which features the video series "Girls With Low Self-Esteem"]).  In any case, the whole constellation of behaviors — degrading others and oneself, as well as lamely rationalizing it with sophistry, as we see on this thread — is intrinsic to the culture of this sector of the economy.  Some version of *all* of this is basically what gets you to work on time in the morning.

  38. 10xor01 says:

    If there were ever a house that deserved T-P-ing on Halloween

    Did you mean to say “ever a house that deserved being burnt to the ground on Halloween?”

  39. machinestate says:

    great timing.  the 99%’ers have their agenda, they have their numbers, now they can focus on the real targets, the real parasites like these scum, the former minerals mgmt service, certain bankers, most of the bohemian grove folks, people with control over money, and without consciences.  

  40. machinestate says:

    the imagery of violence here sickens me however, this is not becoming of “the left”.  We are certainly just as armed & militarized as “the right”, it’s just we don’t talk about it as much.  And we do not threaten or incite violence. Save it for tea party shit and other dick-wagging gatherings.

    • k55f says:

      Don’t you dare buy into their divide and conquer fantasy scheme.
      This is not a “Left” or “Right” issue, this is a Obscenely Rich vs. Everyone Else issue. The calls for violence will come, and  if the economy doesn’t turn, will become actions.
      I, in no way, condone taking CEOs and Banksters out and lining them against the nearest wall and shooting them. Sidenote:Rope is cheaper than bullets, and you can reuse it again and again.
      We need to enforce the rule of law on everyone, reinstate Glass-Seagal, hire more SEC agents, and actively prosecute financial criminals. Otherwise the people will.

      • machinestate says:

        how utterly fucking constitutional
        i at least agree on increased regulation, and undoing alot of finance law, starting precisely with glass-steagall and on up through the nixon shock and possibly later still, to undo the damage and start the world’s first truely free free market economy

        • machinestate says:

           and its not just rich people that are the problem.  And of course it’s not a left-right issue, but it has to be craftfully defined in those terms so people will understand and realize this eventuality for themselves – it’s not something you can be told and ever understand if you are a hard-leaning partisan.
           The problem is not just the rich, it’s the people who control the rich peoples’ money, just like how they control what little money the rest of us will ever get. 

  41. When did adults start dressing up for Halloween?  More to the point, why do most costumes have no connection whatsoever with Halloween!?  You know, skeletons, witches and typical scary stuff that we all associate with Halloween???  

    And now this. What has this got to do with Halloween?  

    I just blinked and the world went mad or something.

  42. fnc says:

    In response to those who think like octo… The issue here is not just that irresponsible people do irresponsible things and deserve to be punished, it’s that people who are presumably responsible enough to know when making a loan is inadvisable did it anyway.

    A lot of those people who got in over their head on a mortgage should not have had the -chance- to get in over their heads because the people giving out those loans were supposed to be smarter than to do so. But they weren’t, they were greedy and *gasp* irresponsible with other peoples’ money and now we’re ALL dealing with the cascade effects, and some of the people dealing with the cascade of effects ARE responsible people who did not get into anything over their heads so you can shut the fuck up about ‘who deserves what’. We all know who deserves what here, but they are conveniently isolated from the effects of their irresponsibility by the very money they TOOK by lying to people about the size of the loan they could afford or by lying about the viability of the bundled securities full of what they knew were junk loans sold to people who managed pension funds.  Oh, and do you know who now gets to pick up the cost of keeping those people whose pension funds dried up because the people managing them were lied to?  You and me buddy. Despite your infallible belief that only poor people have to deal with the effects of their bad decision making, the truth is that lying and theft produces effects that cascade in all directions through a society. In other words it’s a big shit sandwich now and anybody whose not rich enough to lock themselves away from the rest of the mess they’ve made gets to take a bite.

  43. tlc220 says:

    1st place in the douchebag race.

  44. I don’t find this story funny… it is disgusting..

  45. Michael Champion says:

    Typical for the new America! Why is everyone so upset?

  46. Jesse G says:

    I won’t buy a foreclosed home, no matter how cheap I can get it.  Ever.  Getting a “Great deal” due to someone else’s misfortune is just more bad karma than I need in my life.

    It’s pity we couldn’t make this a movement.  If people refused to buy foreclosed homes, banks would be stuck with them.  (Which is fitting because they’re the ones that wanted them so desperately.)

    Banks would be FAR less likely to kick people out of their homes if they knew they were going to find it to be nearly impossible to liquidate, they might feel like working WITH the homeowners just a little more.

    • I understand your intent, but I will freely admit that I did buy a foreclosed home. My husband was unemployed, we were paying rent and barely making ends meet. We’d been looking at houses for a while, assuming we’d buy once he got a job again, and I found this one that I could afford on just my own salary, standard mortgage, and the payments would be less than the rent we were paying at the time. We looked into it. The house had been used as a rental, and changed ownership a few times in the past 5 years. It had been standing vacant for more than a year.  It needed work, which we did ourselves, and now we have a home we can afford to stay in. I feel sorry for whoever the landlord/landlady was who lost their rental property,  but there’s nothing I can do about it.
      Leaving foreclosures on the market might teach banks a lesson (eventually), but it also lowers the property values for surrounding houses in the neighborhood, exacerbating the problem.

      • Milze says:

        This is a disgusting act committed by  “professionals”….This is the kind of shit that pisses Americans the fuck off….Fuck

        Steven J. Baum, P.C  of Buffalo, NY and the rest of his “kleptomaniacs!”

      • Amy L Sacks says:

        I hear you, PA.

        In ’99, as a single person with a pretty good job, I purchased a house that was in the process of being foreclosed on.  It was at the absolute ceiling of what I felt I could afford in the way of mortgages.  None of the other houses I looked at were as promising.  The sad thing is: one of the two lenders basically wasted two months of everyone’s time throwing up multiple roadblocks and trying to scuttle the sale.  Even though the first lender, the then-current owner, both real estate agents and myself all wanted to just do the transaction and get on with our lives.  No, the second lender decided that since they were never going to get their money back, they had the right to screw around with everyone else involved.

        In the end, I did get the place, because my agent was enraged enough to tell the second lender that she’d take a cashier’s check to the property auction if she had to.  They backed down at the last minute, thankfully.

        I warned everyone I knew after that to not get near a house going into foreclosure unless they really enjoyed endless games of stare-down.  If I’d known about the hassle at the beginning, I probably wouldn’t have tried it. :/

  47. catherinecc says:

    > Leaving foreclosures on the market might teach banks a lesson
    (eventually), but it also lowers the property values for surrounding
    houses in the neighborhood, exacerbating the problem.

    Actually, an empty house lowering property values is just providing a factor of realism. Property values are still inflated. Although people like to engage in make believe and pretend that the cost of housing has nothing to do with incomes of people who live in an area, it still does. We can drag out 50 year mortgages and other financial bullshit, but the truth of the matter is that this http://blogs.reuters.com/david-cay-johnston/2011/10/19/first-look-at-us-pay-data-its-awful/ is our reality.

  48. Clevelandchick says:

    Laugh now you idiots.  I know lawyers who can’t find work now.  When you can’t even get a job slingin espresso at Starbucks after you’re laid off in the next “crash”  don’t expect anyone like yourself to give a crap about you. 

  49. Peter Gatliff says:

    Time to start importing from France.  French Guillotines on Chevy flat bed trucks.

    • Guest says:

      I’ll bring a chair and some knitting, making hats, socks and fingerless gloves for all those homeless men unable to get a bed in the shelters, or too frightened to sleep in them.

  50. Guest says:

    ‘The credit and banking system in this country is set up so that once a person gets on the wrong side of it, they continue a downward spiral that is all but impossible to escape. ‘

    I’ve heard the same said of our justice system.  David Simon used words to that effect in his book, ‘Homocide’.

  51. Mark Havens says:

    You can leave a review on their Google Maps business listing: http://maps.google.com/maps/place?q=Steven+J.+Baum+900+merchants&hl=en&cid=5491444169972358467

  52. Work_Watch_Buy_Repeat says:

    Once we, as an American society, learn to be outraged at how the moneyed shot-calling elite gets fatter at the expense of everyone else, we may get the blinding insight that the bottom 6 billion humans in the world feel precisely the same way about US.

  53. librtee_dot_com says:

    Here is the fundamental problem with our whole economic system:

    Through fractional reserve lending, new money is created when new debt is created.

    This is the primary way money is created. I go to the bank, borrow $100,000 to buy a house, and quite simply $100,000 is typed in to my account. Money that never existed before. $100,000 has been added to the money supply. This is the primary way money is created – sometimes, it is government borrowing $100,000,000,000 of newly created money, which it (absurdly) must pay interest on.

    So, now I must pay interest on that $100,000.

    But, only $100,000 will be added to the money supply. The money to pay the interest wasn’t created? Thus, there simply isn’t enough money in the money supply for everyone to pay their debts plus the interest.

    This is an inexorable, fundamental, systematic problem. It is THE problem, that is at the root of many things. It is what OWS should be focusing on.

    The end result, of course, is that everyone can’t pay back all of the debts and interest. It’s literally impossible. So, through foreclosure, the banks end up owning vast amounts of real property – land, the one commodity on this planet that is absolutely finite and irreplaceable.

    Something fundamental needs to change. More than a robin hood tax, more than a few new regulations. If OWS is going to be anything other than an abject failure, they need to understand MONEY, and demand, with blood if necessary, fundamental reforms in how the whole system works.

  54. Peter Booth says:

    this is your world people. get used to it. We lost our revolution, when we decided to renounce violence, and embrace the protest sign. Those people in charge just point and laugh at us, while their minions, the police, douse us with pepper spray. 

  55. onebadunixninja says:

    Octolover…you’re a dirtbag.  You’re not playing ‘devil’s advocate’…you actually believe the shit you say. I humbly suggest you add ‘compassion’ to your holiday wish list. There is no reason to belittle anyone in order to make yourself feel better about your job. If you don’t like your job, then do something else. Otherwise, leave work at work and find some other way to enrich your life outside the lines.

    I used to approve auto loans for those that had poor credit. Not once did I make fun of them, but instead recognized that life happens and sometimes if affects your credit…but those circumstances  and their impact do not necessarily define a person’s character.

  56. librtee_dot_com says:

    Here’s the explanation.

    All human beings are born with a conscience, a sense of compassion for other people. It is ingrained into the human species.

    And yet, over and over, people are seen to do awful things to other humans. How is this possible?

    In almost every instance, other than pure revenge, the agressors are taught that the victims are somehow sub-human, that they are different from them, that they are deserving of nothing but scorn because they are lesser beings. The Soviets endlessly propagandized against the ‘Bourgeois’, the Nazi papers were filled with inhuman caricatures of Jews…even today, Israeli soldiers first assignments are generally as guards in Palestianian prison camps. Many Israelis, at 18, have never had any contact with Palestinians. So, their first experience of Palestinian humans is to see them as prisoners, as animals in cages, subhumans unable to make decisions for themselves.

    The pattern is repeated over and over.

    So, if you are a rapacious bastard running a ‘law firm’ which is in the business of screwing over poor people and unfairly kicking them out of their houses..how do you get anyone to work for you? How do you get them to keep coming in and not be overwhelmed by the sheer awfulness of the consequences of their actions?

    Simple. You build up a whole company culture around the idea of depriving the foreclosed of their humanity. You constantly repeat, in ways large and small, the idea that the victims are unworthy, filthy, crazy, subhumans…etc. etc. That they DESERVE it because they didn’t have the smarts to go through law school like all the fine office workers around you. etc.

    I strongly suspect that this ‘party,’ clearly planned from the top, is far from a unique incident. 

  57. Kristofer Peterson says:

    Here’s the real truth.  The American Dream is having someone worse off to look down on.

    and that sucks.

  58. Brenda Coxe says:

    My daughter’s friend lost their home AFTER modification and without notification prior to the foreclosure. Needless to say they are suing the mortgage company. There need to be rules to prevent these kinds of things from happening.  If these companies can’t prove they actually SERVED the homeowner or co-owner they should not be allowed to foreclose.

  59. Tim Johnson says:

    …”appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners”…

    Why are people worried about offending the banks?  I don’t think that these pictures show a lack of compassion toward the banks at all.

  60. “…if there were ever a house that deserved T-P-ing on Halloween? This firm’s headquarters is it…”

    HQ? No – that’s the same mistake OWS is making. You need to set thousands of people in front of these people’s HOMES. That might, you know, bring the message HOME to them.

  61. apeman2502 says:

      My guess is these sons of bitches never had a broken jaw or went out and played with other kids after school. Extensive labor therapy is indicated. No more caviar. No more Dom Perrignon. Just labor therapy with security by the kids of people who lost their homes and farms with a few payments of fiat currency due and died of broken hearts… OHHH, I can dream can’t I?

  62. Mister44 says:

    This needs some humor blown into it. It is simply begging for one of those “We’re a culture, not a costume” spoofs.

  63. a.s. conn says:

    Foreclosures are a necessary part of mortgages as are repossessions a part of car purchases. The sick part of this is that the “firm” who “represents” the foreclosers has sullied the reputations even further of the big banks who lend on both houses and cars. In the process that law firm and its banking customers have turned human customers into commodity consumers. This is but one cause of the flight from “banks” to credit unions. 

    Sadly, banks don’t need retail consumers to suvive perhaps with the exception of mortgage lending, retail contracts on automobiles, and the odd HELOC if they actually still do that. And the Bank of America debit card fee to cover its other wise dwindling fees is just transparent nonsense. They are augmenting the otherwise nice little profit they have been growing in the absence of tellers. 

    In summary, banks have done far less for far fewer customers over the past 20 years. They will not do more even at gun point (look at the opportunity they had to rewrite millions of mortgages in the last 2 years). Yet many more banks will soon fail and as they do, they will go down holding on to their principals that they must protect their profits, even it means going out of business. If there was one thing I learned in business during my nearly 40 years of it was this: 10% of something is generally always more profitable than 0% of nothing. (this was the polite versio)And the law firm’s named partners that started me writing tonight should be dragged in front of their State Bar disciplinary committee and asked, politely, what in God’s name possessed them to voluntarily surrender their licenses to practice law: In my opinion, the named partners should be suspended and the attorneys who are the “perps” of the totally tasteless party, disbarred.  All rights reserved – A.S.Conn, LLC – ®2008-2011© – no copying or distribution without the express permission of the owner

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      In summary, banks have done far less for far fewer customers over the past 20 years.

      I know dozens of people who were foreclosed, since I live in one of the hardest hit counties in the US. Many of my friends contacted their lenders and tried to set something up that would allow them to keep their houses and keep paying their mortgages. Universally, they were told that they wouldn’t even speak to them until they were three months in arrears and it’s all done by formula with no possibility of human intervention. The stupidity of the banks might actually be more stupendous than the greed.

  64. Nick Wood says:

    You should have seen the bash at NATO HQ yesterday. Hilary Clinton didn’t even need a costume.

  65. Antinous / Moderator says:

    COMMENT POLICY

    I’ll just leave this here.  Our language standards are minimal, but we do have some. Sadly, the blink tag doesn’t work, but you get the idea.

  66. Uh-oh.   New Yorkers don’t deal nicely with getting screwed.  I should know, I grew up in Strong Guyland! 

    This is NOT going to end well.

  67. bytefyre says:

    This reminds me of when in grade 12 math we learned about mortgages and plotted amortization examples on graphs and everyone was shocked about how hard  we’d be fucked by the bank if we ever took out a mortgage. Even the teacher admitted that a mortgages is a shit deal if you compare the amount of work the bank actually does to the amount of money a homeowner pays said bank. 

    • Lili says:

      Bytefrye that is also a part of the problem now. Kids no longer have proper budgeting classes in school. These kids are being taught to “Trust the experts because they know best.”

      Parents wake up. Your kid will be one of Baums or one of the good ones that eliminate the Baums.

      New York is going to eat these chicks alive come Monday morning.

  68. Anyone able to name the three women in the photos?

  69. Carl Gauthier says:

    What an absolute bunch of f*ckin losers!!! Totally discusting!

  70. nosehat says:

    To quote Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket):

    11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.

    source

  71. deliciouspineapples says:

    Aw man.

    Is it really that hard to act like a grown up?  We used to have grown ups in charge of this sort of thing. You’ve got a law degree. You work at a large law firm. This suggests you are capable of acting with a certain degree of maturity for whole days at a time at the very least. This in turn suggest that  you have some goddamn grasp of the idea that you are NO LONGER IN COLLEGE AND THIS SHIT WON’T FLY.

    You have an ugly job that unfortunately needs doing. There is no need to be an asshole about it. 

  72. Man, the shills and plants have infiltrated every venue for rational communication on the internet.
    It’s really beginning to stink in here – anyone else smell it!?

  73. For those who are going on about “leftists threatening murder,” let me show you why you are OH SO MUCH BETTER!

    “A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum — and had posteda YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices. “She was a thorn in their side,” said my source.”

    Because nothing says “we don’t condone murder” like a coffin with a picture representing a courtroom opponent.

  74. Genre Slur says:

    Awesome. It’s becoming more difficult to satirize the Americans these days — they keep raising the bar of absurdity faster than most cynical imaginations can deal with. Dorothy Parker/Ambrose Bierce would have given up at this point. Paul Verhoven would still try — though he’s Dutch I think…

  75. Robert Bangs says:

    Fuck occupy wall st., occupy the hamptons!

  76. penguinchris says:

    Someone left a comment that listed the office address, but Antinous presumably removed it (wise move).

    I grew in my parents’ house which is less than two miles (in a straight line) to the south east of their office. When I’m at my parents’ house I drive by that office park quite frequently, on the way to the grocery store. Probably a good thing that I’m not living there anymore or I might be tempted to slip a strongly-worded note under their door.

    Speaking of it being a good thing I’m not living there anymore…

    I’m told that the biggest industries in the Buffalo area these days (this office is actually in some of the nicer suburbs, not the economically ravished city of Buffalo itself) are collections – and call centers. Naturally I GTFO as quick as I could (not that I’ve been able to find a job elsewhere).

    The girl in the left photo actually looks quite familiar… not to the point where I could remember her name (probably from high school), but if someone told me who it was I’d go “aha.”

  77. Karl says:

    “trash a bank if you got real balls” – Dead Kennedy’s (1981)

    hoping for, and asserting a “moral capitalism” is boring (that’s always the tired compromise of the Left). the game was over from the start, and being surprised by these stupid images of tools working for oligarch’s, or the OWS in general, are things that should have been happening constantly for the past 400 years. most non-white people around the world would say, “hey thanks for showing up now, in 2011.” the Black Panthers are saying the same thing after being assassinated or imprisoned trying to find some autonomy.

  78. thomaslkuo says:

    It’s the utter lack of respect for money that put Americans in this place in the first place, overextending themselves thinking the job won’t go away, and when it does you can’t pay the mortgage.  We are still in fear of a double dip recession, and already the savings rate is going away again in the U.S.  What’s it going to take to make American’s realize that what we have is going away, and we are not going to enjoy the growth of the post WWII era.  Stop trying to fix the world, and start fixing the U.S.

  79. Kimmo says:

    TP? Molotovs would be more like it.

  80. Since when did we start making excuses for our lack of responsibility? Why does it always have to be something/someone else who is at fault and not the individual? Personal responsibility is now replaced with other crap excuses. There is no fate, no luck, no monster in the closet, no cosmic design…only bad decisions. Your present and future is based on the decisions you made. If you are hurting now, chances are, you could trace this back to a decision you made that set you on this course.

    Today times are hard. But isn’t that part of your responsibility to expect that there will be hard times in the future? If I planned my life based on the fact that everyday was going to be “blue skies and rainbows” then surely I will would be in the same situation as many of the poor and unfortunate folks that we are so quick to make excuses for.

    The party was in bad taste.  We are dangerously treading on class warfare in America and stunts like this do nothing but stir up the hornet’s nest. Everyone loves to knock America as greedy, blah blah blah. There are winners and losers. In today’s perception, everyone who wins is greedy and doesn’t deserve it. Everyone who loses is a poor soul victimized. Forget the fact that they shouldn’t have been in the damn game to begin with. It wasn’t their fault. The big bad meanies came out and forced them with mind tricks and got them into this situation.

    Ignorance and Stupidity is universal across the globe and is the most expensive commodities that we have…

    • “Since when did we start making excuses for our lack of responsibility?”
      Octolover, for example! But I completely agree with you – those assholes are entirely responsible for their bad decission of dressing up like this and effectively mocking their victims. There’s no one else to blame for this.

      But seriously. There aren’t winners and losers. Right now, there are losers and cheaters.

    • DrunkenOrangetree says:

      So we should enable the greedy banksters who sold loans to people who couldn’t afford to repay them. And those bad loans trashed the economy.  And we should cover the banksters bad loans because, after all, we have to have winners and losers.

      How absolutely stupid.

  81. The._.Joker says:

    MM:

    “If you are hurting now, chances are, you could trace this back to a decision you made that set you on this course”

    Very true indeed, if we take it out of the context of the rest of your post, which I don’t terribly agree with.

    I invented a never ending card game, the only way to win it is if the other player decides to lose. It’s very instuctive to see players realise what they must do to win or end the game. To end the game, one player has to decide not to play, he must gather all the best cards and not use them against the other players. The only way to end the game is to decide to lose, so that the other person can win.

    We don’t make the world as we find it, but we sure make the world as we leave it.

    MM:

    “There are winners and losers.”

    For you to win big, another must lose big.

    I pity these poor schmucks as much as the victims of their foreclosures, both are trapped in an embrace much like that of the jailed and the jailer.

    • Well said…

      I like your analogy of the card game. However, shouldn’t everyone understand what it takes to win? The consequences of their choices? What I am about to say would be taken by the angry and confused as being heartless, but should we always strive to do our best and win in life? Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. My point was that we should be prepared for the ups and downs. Minimize the risk of our involvement in life. Is the world a better place if we taught everyone that to end the game you must lose? Maybe I am taking your analogy incorrectly and I apologize.

      I know there is a growing consensus (the popular consensus or lack of original thought) that there should be a level playing field. No emphasis on winners or losers. But what would the world be like? It sounds very complicated to maintain and be accountable. and the rules of the game could be easily exploited. Even in Utopia societies where there are no winners or losers, there are people who still game the system and make out big. The idiot that responded to me is one clear example of emotional.

      I guess when people are on the winning side they don’t bitch as much. I was out and about on a drive from LA to Seattle. At almost every rest stop I went to (at least the ones that were not closed by the State), I saw some form of hardship. I gave as much money as I could to them. I also found that  conversation and empathy went a long way. Proud people who are down on their luck do not want our pity. They want respect. They slipped and fell on their asses as they were caught unprepared.

      One car had an entire family just living there in the rest stop. A couple with two young girls…They were not bitter, nor were they calling for the heads of greedy winners. They simply needed some assistance to get them going again. I was actually moved by their attitudes and sadden that I could not do more as I am limited in my means.

      I find it interesting to read all the hate that this story has generated. I could not however, see too many people rushing to the aid of these poor unfortunate souls. The true sadness is the exploitation of these people to express our own minor problems with the system. Elections have consequences, so do our own actions.

      Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he will feed himself for life. Teach a person what it takes to succeed and they will be prosperous.

      • Amy L Sacks says:

        I can’t even begin to describe to you fed up I am with the damn “Fishing” metaphor.  The wealthy in this country own the “rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans.”  They decide who can access them, what fees we will pay, and whether or not we can have the proper “fishing” equipment.

        Handing  me some cut-rate “How To Fish instruction manual” and lobbing condescending sermons at me may make you feel like Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and MLK all rolled into one.  However, it doesn’t really do jack for me except remind me how much I hate oligarchs, their apologists, and listening to clueless, saccharine sermons (like there’s really any other kind).

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he will feed himself for life.

        Teach everyone to fish and the oceans will be empty in a couple of decades.

        You might want to stop deriving your moral prescriptions from what you see through a microscope.

      • DrunkenOrangetree says:

        Screw that. Hit a man with a fish and he really learns a lesson.  That stink really sinks it in. Oh, but you know about this already. Cause you stink.

      • estragon_nyc says:

        “Teach a person what it takes to succeed and they will be prosperous.”

        I have a longstanding policy of not mocking someone’s religious beliefs no matter how ridiculous they may be, but that doesn’t preclude pointing out when someone is making a statement of religious faith and trying to pass it off as fact.  The idea that prosperity can always be achieved simply by doing all the right things is blind faith, not reality, every bit as much as if people were discussing Darwin and you popped up to say “But evolution is false, the Bible tells me so!”  

        I understand why you need to tell yourself this fable.  The need to tell yourself being poor can’t happen to you: you’re good, and those people deserved it!  There’s no way anything you did could have been wrong or unfair or cruel!  If it helps you get through the day and fight back the horrible dread, go ahead and tell yourself that virtue is always rewarded in the end and all punishments are deserved.  If you find out otherwise, it will be harder for you, but there will be people who understand and can help.

        I know that there’s probably no such person as “Michael Miller” — just another troll — and that after 230+ comments no one will see this.  But I really had to get it off my chest.

  82. Ernest Adams says:

    Here’s my comment… Only in America….

  83. Ed Como says:

    OK, here’s the deal. I am poor, and except for a brief time at the end of the Clinton Administration, always was and at this stage in my life do not see that changing. I have never owned a house, never had the credit to get a mortgage. That I suppose is my good fortune as I have never been put out of my homes. All that said, this crisis was not caused just by uninformed buyers or greedy bankers or even lax regulation. It took a combination of all three to start the downward spiral. Any time there is misfortune there will be vultures waiting on the sidelines to gorge themselves on the corpse of the boom.
    I really have no idea how many empty, foreclosed houses there are but I do have an idea on what to do with them. The Feds, while not solely responsible for this problem, had a major role in it. So, lets set up a plan (God LHAO) to force the banks to not just sell but rent these houses. There are many more folks out there who maybe can’t buy but CAN qualify to rent. The banks get some return on investment and the foreclosed upon homeowner gets first dibs on renting, thus being able to stay in the home and have a chance to work on their relationship with the bank or mortgage company and eventually even be able to own the house again.
    I know this is pie in the sky and calls for more “Big Government” but maybe in a perverse sort of way the banks (and remember, they are run by people, they’re not just big glass towers) will realize that owning all this empty, unused real estate is costing more than the property is worth. Even if it’s just rent and maybe 1/2 or 3/4 of the previous income, at least it will cover taxes and maintenance.
    Call me a dreamer or a fool, I may be both. Some people over extended themselves, others had reasonable loans they could afford but lost their income for whatever reason. Whatever the cause, the foreclosure stampede is quickly bringing down our economy and eventually our entire way of life. It’s past time to rise up and change it. (By the way Mr. President, where is the change? All I have is 35c.)

  84. Sean Wilkerson says:

    Stay classy. Can’t wait until anonymous gets a hold of these guys.

  85. michaelrivero says:

    Money-junkies, like any other addicts, have no souls. The people who work for them eventually lose theirs as well.

    These people did not need Halloween costumes. They are already monsters, living off of the pain and suffering of others and laughing about it all.

  86. Davey Peacock says:

    Halloween in of itself, is a tacky holiday,, but these people are being in exceptionally BAD TASTE , and uncaring .

  87. Helpfulhippy says:

      As a famous nitwit said, “you don’t have to be a rocket surgeon” to understand that some people are never going to get into the sharp knife drawer. To those tough guys that suggest that the mortage frauds perped on us all are the responsibility of the poor suckers that got punked into signing, shut up.
       We’ve all been taught to trust our government, trust our bankers, trust everybody we’re told to trust. So when folks not as intellectually gifted as we, are sucked into signing a document that they don’t understand and can’t afford, are then shuffled into financial devices known to be worthless and sold as being valuable, who should be most severly punished? So far the American government have not levelled a single criminal referral, concerning a single financial crime regarding one of the biggest financial crimes in the history of man! 
       The time must come when the people we entrust to uphold the law must be shown that their options are serving the people, or serving time. There are days when I can empathize with Diogenes of Sinope.

  88. Davey Peacock says:

    There really is no acceptable time to MOCK HOMELESS PEOPLE.

  89. Davey Peacock says:

    Very POOR TASTE by  foreclosure  people  = FAIL

  90. Okay, come the revolution the first against the wall will be the Marketing Department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, but these assholes will be right behind them.

  91. Davey Peacock says:

    Jesus said  There would always be poor people…. He DIDN’T say Mock them though.

  92. Modusoperandi says:

    Okay. I’ve had quite enough of this! Wh0 forgot to turn the Stanford prison experiment off?

  93. Davey Peacock says:

    People become “homeless” for more than just financial reasons. Some fought in wars and were injured, some have suffered ill health or mental breakdown. No matter what the reason,, As an adult, dressing up in in rags with  grocery cart SOLELY to MOCK the plight of a homeless person, is just wrong.

  94. acanadianeh says:

    Being Canadian we mostly avoided the issues the US had in the last few years.  We dissallowed our elected officials from selling our banking system to the highest bidders and therefor kept stricter regulations in terms of what they were allowed to do.  I hope a country that saw Dubya get into power twice is not surprised by some of the stuff that is going on there.  Bush got in twice, a warmongering braindead fop like that was given the reigns of the most powerful nation in the world and look what happened.  Am I surprised about what the people in the pictures above are doing, sorry but NO.  For generations the American cultural has been eroding to a point where you now are on the brink of becoming mindless consumers treated like cattle by your government and that 1% that own said government.  You have the ability…take your lives back!!!!!!!

  95. sophistrie says:

    I’m trying to decide if I have the energy to go back and make a Venn diagram of the overlap between the people in this thread that are (rightly) pointing out how cruel and offensive it is to mock those who have been victimised and oppressed by the system, and those who went balls-to-the-wall on Tuesday to defend their right to dress up as minorities.

  96. Back in the 1910′s to 1930′s, there were occasional “Poverty Balls” held by the well-to-do, where they would dress up as the impoverished.  Ballrooms would be decorated like mines or, according to one report, a slaughterhouse.
     
    The difference between those and the Baum office party is that the Poverty Balls generally included poverty relief as part of their purpose, either making a collection from the attendees or using part of the ticket costs for the poor.  So, while pretty tasteless, they at least paid lip-service and some financial service towards the disadvantaged.
     
    From the scattered Google references (there seems to be little in-depth information), my impression is that the charity balls held by the wealthy were mostly in the 1910′s, the 1920′s versions were held by churches, and in the 1930′s they started to lose their public-service goals and turned into fraternity parties.  Here’s a photo of a Poverty Ball held at Hofstra University in 1936.

  97. musician1 says:

    It’s Halloween.  We all dress up as something we’re not.  Growing up, we did homeless people often because it required no costume, just some creativity.  Cheap and easy and we were not rich.  I find it amusing that everything one does these days in this country is somehow perceived as evil or taking advantage of people, or racist.  Get over it already.  It’s not like all the homeless witnessed this, and, to boot, this was a year ago!  Old news.  And Wall Street did not rape this economy, your benevolent government did by making rules they had to follow which tied their hands, bailouts they were required to take even if they didn’t need them, and, for God’s sake, they have paid it all back.  Take your gripes, perhaps legitimate ones, and march at the White House, where all of this was created.  They are the ones stifling this economy.  They are the ones spending money that has yet to be printed.  They are the ones that will cause your kids and grandkids to have a massive debt on their hands, like none you can imagine.  They are the ones keeping oil production at bay, causing higher and higher prices for foreign oil.  They are the ones requiring so much from companies that they cannot be innovative, will not take risks, and cannot hire, and thereby must go to other countries to produce.  Those Halloween costumes are the least of our worries.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Growing up, we did homeless people often because it required no costume, just some creativity.

      You really don’t see the difference between dressing as a hobo when you’re a child and dressing as a homeless person when you work for the firm that put them on the street? You might want to consider a visit to the Wizard of Oz.

  98. Jim Hahn says:

    Why is this Op-Ed showing up in the NYT (arguably a mouth-piece for the CIA):
     
    Those pictures are damning and inciteful. Do the-powers-that-be want civil unrest in the U.S. to usher in additional communist policies? These protests are BAD news for our country. Why are these protests getting so much media attention? Ron Paul can’t even get his name mentioned in the major media outlets.

  99. This is 1 of the most amazingly tasteless actions I’ve ever seen & I lived in the 90s.

  100. gary1961 says:

    Lawyers are pure bootom feeders and when they get real good at their craft, they become politicians . I doubt many lawyers make it to Heaven !

  101. Pat Burneson says:

    Imagine the number of these types of bums out of a job had the bail out actually gone toward what it really needed to go to. Home loans.

  102. HB says:

    Pulp summed it up in their hit song Common People

    She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge,
    she studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s College,
    that’s where I,
    caught her eye.
    She told me that her Dad was loaded,
    I said “In that case I’ll have a rum and coca-cola.”
    She said “Fine.”
    and in thirty seconds time she said,

    “I want to live like common people,
    I want to do whatever common people do,
    I want to sleep with common people,
    I want to sleep with common people,
    like you.”

    Well what else could I do -
    I said “I’ll see what I can do.”
    I took her to a supermarket,
    I don’t know why but I had to start it somewhere,
    so it started there.
    I said pretend you’ve got no money,
    she just laughed and said,
    “Oh you’re so funny.”
    I said “yeah?
    Well I can’t see anyone else smiling in here.
    Are you sure you want to live like common people,
    you want to see whatever common people see,
    you want to sleep with common people,
    you want to sleep with common people,
    like me.”
    But she didn’t understand,
    she just smiled and held my hand.
    Rent a flat above a shop,
    cut your hair and get a job.
    Smoke some fags and play some pool,
    pretend you never went to school.
    But still you’ll never get it right,
    cos when you’re laid in bed at night,
    watching roaches climb the wall,
    if you call your Dad he could stop it all.

    You’ll never live like common people,
    you’ll never do what common people do,
    you’ll never fail like common people,
    you’ll never watch your life slide out of view,
    and dance and drink and screw,
    because there’s nothing else to do.

    Sing along with the common people,
    sing along and it might just get you through,
    laugh along with the common people,
    laugh along even though they’re laughing at you,
    and the stupid things that you do.
    Because you think that poor is cool.

    I want to live with common people,
    I want to live with common people etc…

  103. I was there… i wasn’t dressed up but i apologise for this to all the angry people here. we were all drunk and lost our inhibitions somewhat… and weren’t really expecting it to become public. Lots of people do things they aren’t proud of and this was one of them i think. I was an intern at the time…

    • Dan Harris says:

      Hi Sam,
      I’m guessing that the 3rd party squatter was “allegedly served” by Pillar Processing? You know Pillar, the one who is owned by Baum, and no longer allowed to provide evidence in many courts due to their lack of ethics.

      I’m also guessing that the puke holding the sign doesn’t subscribe to the laws of karma, perhaps the next time she looks towards the sky and ask God Why Me?, she should remember her lack of care and concern for her fellow man/woman.

    • Amy L Sacks says:

      I’m pretty sure the people who approved of, and decided to participate in, this repugnant “celebration, weren’t drunk until after it was underway.

      The demon rum –which actually turns some of us into happy rather than mean drunks– is still no excuse for this crap, though.

      Though if you wanted to tell me that working for an amoral waste of oxygen like Baum
      could turn once-average people into raging alcoholics, I
      might buy it.

  104. Ruby Rynne says:

    I apologise if somebody already made this point and I just missed it, but doesn’t it strike anyone else as odd that you can be kicked out of your home for not paying an imaginary debt of imaginary currency? The banks didn’t HAVE the money they ‘lent’ you, it only came into being as a book-keeping entry (on the asset side for the bank) at the moment you signed the loan contract. Not only does this make the contract void (due to lack of ‘consideration’) but the mere idea that you are ‘obliged’ to repay to the bank money that they never actually lent you, but you have to pay interest on that money (that they never had or lent you) and if you don’t you get kicked out on the street.

    Somebody PLEASE explain to me how in h*ll this is anything other than completely insane.

  105. michaelgillman says:

    I hope they all lose their jobs, and eventually their homes are all repossessed. Karmas a bitch.

  106. ShootyMcBang says:

    I bought a home during the upswing of the housing boom. The mortgage broker assisted me in the process of lying my ass off on the application to qualify for the loan. Got the loan, turned the house over 3 years later and made a tidy 60K+ net gain. I was fortunate. My mortgage was passed around like a two bit hooker at a biker extravaganza. I am sure it was packaged up and sold as an investment to some greedy piece of phlegm. So when millions of these type of mortgages started to fail the shitsucking lenders had their asses covered by the taxpayers. Why? The lenders should have suffered the same fate as the home buyers. For those that don’t believe that karma balances the scales of justice, it is simply because you are never present to witness the balancing of the scales. Not because the scales don’t get balanced.

  107. gotredeemed says:

    Apropos for these wicked times. I heard Lindsey Williams  on YouTube say that the Elite have a Think Tank regarding 2012. Next year will bring some supernatural event, they’re just not sure what exactly. The jist was that we should all prepare to meet our Maker. 
    Luke 16:19 – 31

    19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
    20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
    21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.    
    22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.
    23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
    24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
    25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
    26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
    27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,
    28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
    29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
    30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
    31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

  108. dh says:

    wow!   maybe here soon they’ll have a taste of their own medicine…     out on the streets where they belong

  109. jooberdoober says:

    Dirty, stinking bottom feeders. May they burn in hell.

  110. ninetynine says:

    All I have to say is the word “depraved” comes to mind about these ‘Baum’ employees who must have been having so much fun at their party and put a lot of time and thought into their costumes.

  111. gessiegail says:

    The Baum employees who agreed to dress up as the people they are victimizing are just ‘white trash’ I was taught.  “Whatever ye do unto the least of mine, ye do unto me”.  Obviously the employees who work at Baum couldn’t believe in a higher power or they would be shuddering in their boots to think they won’t have to answer for this insult to all of mankind.

  112. Bottle Imp says:

    You know, I had a whole rant about how this was still news and you’re just being glib, but fuck it. Yes. This is still news, yes, even in October 2011. If you have a problem with that, please step back and absorb the concept that the 24 hour cycle is the nature of our news, but not what makes it our news. Old things can still be news. It does not have to radically re-orient your view of how callous and shitty people in that situation can be to be news. Even if we are all that cynical already, it is still news.

  113. apeman2502 says:

    Do they still have their front teeth?  That would be news. A fiat currency system where it is physically impossible for everyone to pay off their debts, so they relish and roll in the sorrow and misery of the economic disenfranchised who lose their homes and farms and all proof of their conscientious hard work and dedication. Tenacity and social loyalty and contribution be damned! Right mother fuckers?

  114. Sheila S. Stickland says:

    Please find another word to use to describe the people in the photo’s!

  115. Amy L Sacks says:

    … I don’t think you commenters have ever been in the situation of having a career that you have to make hard decisions…

    You think wrong.  You know what else forces hard decisions?  Having your every attempt at a “career” scuttled because your state has one of the shittiest job markets in the nation.  Being told repeatedly that you are surplus goods and unwanted by the people in charge?  Boy, you’d better believe that brings one’s coping mechanisms to the forefront!

    Stop condescending.  It helps no one.  And to reiterate: If you honestly think that being stuck on the streets is the proper “reward” for having been the target of career conmen– oh, I’m sorry.  I meant to say for MAKING BAD DECISIONS then you have no soul or conscience.  Sadly, those are not things you can buy with the monetary fruits of your own self-evident genius.  I suppose that’s bad for you, but it’s way worse for those of us who have to listen daily to such drivel.  The worst part of it is, every single one of you professional finger-waggers thinks you’re handing us some priceless pearl of wisdom that we’ve never seen before.

  116. Mark Dow says:

    It’s like they are using Halloween as an excuse to dress up as a lynch mob.

  117. DrunkenOrangetree says:

    LOL. Your sympathy would be touching if it weren’t in the service of absolute heartlessness.

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