Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Watching the Movie “Inside Job” with Members of an Illinois Chapter of MoveOn: Reliving the US mortgage bloodbath Plus -- Sarah Palin States to Eric Bolling That She Would Do What She Could If Tapped At A Brokered Convention

Guest post by KatieAnnieOakley

I received an email early last week by the progressive group MoveOn regarding a screening of the movie “Inside Job” near my home. I hadn’t seen it yet, and having worked in the mortgage industry in various capacities, I knew I HAD to see it.

This Academy Award-winning movie (Best Documentary, 2010) describes the meteoric rise and fall of the Wall Street banks that created The Great Recession. “'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia.

Prior to the beginning of the meeting I introduced myself to the homeowner. I told her I was interested in the organization, and that I also wanted to write a post for our blog; I’d use no names and / or other identifying information. She said she’d check with the out-going MoveOn representative and co-host for the afternoon, Nadia BlancDaley.

After we all mingled and imbibed in the pot-luck goodies for a bit we settled ourselves into our seats, and the meeting began.  We were introduced to the out-going Move On representative and local Democratic Kane County Board candidate running unopposed for the 14th District from South Elgin, Nadia BlancDaley. She is a charming, knowledgeable and persuasive speaker.  She thanked us all for coming, then spoke briefly about the movie. She asked the group if it was okay with them if I were to blog about my experience. I spoke up and said that I would not use names (other than Nadia’s, as she was an official Democratic candidate and MoveOn rep) or any other identifying information. Everyone in attendance agreed.  

Nadia spoke for a few minutes about how sad it was, and what a commentary on society today that some of us felt a sense of fear when coming together at meeting like this, that some might fear exposure or infiltrators (if you read my last blog post, it’s a real concern in this day and age – but then again, InMyLife and I were the crashers!).  We all agreed the tactics of the far-right have frightened many into silence. We can’t allow that to continue! 

We had brief self-introductions of those in attendance: 28 people came together to view the movie and to discuss a shared sense of purpose and concern. A few mentioned politicians having once attained power, seeming to forget who they were representing (that was Joe Walsh’s quote, almost word-for-word).  Many expressed concerns for the environment and education. Some were there because of concerns regarding Social Security (“not an entitlement - we paid for it!”) but most shared deep concern for social justice and income inequality and the Citizens United decision. Information distortion and suppression from the far right seemed to be the biggest concerns. 

I was most interested in seeing how progressive reality sat against right-wing myth. We were all, for the most part over 40 years old; there were a couple of 30-somethings, and a couple of 20-somethings. In attendance were four to five retirees, two real estate investing couples, and quite a few small-business owners. There were three present or former teachers / education administrators and there was even a Baptist pastor!  So much for the “every liberal is an atheist” stereotype!  Full Disclosure: There was ONE atheist in attendance. And there was one African American and one person of Latino descent. Bottom-line: we were not a bunch of lazy, unemployed people looking for handouts, or a bunch of young rebellious-types; and none of us were waiting for checks from George Soros. It was a balanced cross-section of middle class society. Everyone was well groomed and well behaved.

There was discussion about the Occupy Movement. I asked the group: “Show of hands: how many of you have not just talked the talk, but walked the walk? I mean, actually have gone to an OWS site and picketed, carried signs?”  14 hands shot up. I learned there are TWO Occupy sites nearby, one in Aurora and one in Elgin… but we all agreed, you wouldn’t read about it in our local, right-leaning newspapers. I suddenly felt my cheeks burn: these people were doing what I was only paying lip-service to: they were fighting the good fight, with civility and dignity. I needed to get involved… 

The movie began. I’m not going to go into a deep discussion about the movie; it WAS outstanding, it WAS everything I thought it would be.  What I will talk about was how it affected me. At certain points in the movie, my stomach became upset: this was personal for me. I lived it, breathed it every day. It brought back so many memories, because I worked in the mortgage industry then.

We peons in the mortgage industry were raising alarms back in 2003; this cannot sustain itself. A new type of buyer was finding themselves seated at my desk: the kind that was being exploited for profit. I used to be at work from 10 to 12 hours many days, closing loans I *knew* didn’t have a prayer of being paid back. 

We couldn’t close them fast enough. I burned through three assistants in less than 2 years time. It. Was. Insanity. I would speak to Mortgage Funders and Underwriters who were as exhausted, exasperated and frustrated as me; they too were looking for other jobs. And like me, they also had many sleepless nights… and a deep sense of guilt for being a part of the impending debacle. 

There was absolutely no motivation for the lenders / mortgage brokers to stop: they didn’t hold the Note, so they had no “skin in the game.” It’s always worked this way, but now it was all about “Churning.”  Their profits came from lending fees: the more loans written, the more money was made. When they wrote the worst loans, commonly known as “sub-prime” (those with the highest chances of Default), they’d charge usuriously high fees, knowing they could roll those fees into the loan and STILL not be required to hold the Note in-house. These “Liar Loans” were sold in bundled securities by the lender to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to free their lending capital to create new loans and begin the cycle anew. If you want to see just how many different types of fees can be charged, see this very simplistic list of fees collected by each and every entity having anything to do with your mortgage loan.  Whether you buy OR sell a home, they all get a cut. Many lenders charged fees I had never heard of previously. Bear in mind, not all named fees are collected on all loans. The list is not all-inclusive, and each and every loan and entity is unique in its own way. Bottom line: It was a mortgage blood bath. 

The movie concluded; about six people left right after the movie ended. The rest stayed for the freshly brewed coffee and lively discussion. We talked about usage of the term “Progressive” vs other terms (I feel it’s a positive term, since liberal is a word used by the right to demonize us); a local film-maker / Precinct Chairperson was there; the discussion was upbeat and friendly. There were some differences in opinion on HOW change should take place, but all agreed the status quo can’t continue.

My cheeks are still blushing from the realization that I need to get involved. In fact, we ALL need to get involved, in whatever way we can! 

From MoveOn:  “Last weekend, thousands of individuals came together to learn about Wall Street’s abuse of power. ‘Inside Job’ is a powerful reminder that we need to take ACTION for the 99% to match Wall Street’s power. Want to get more involved with other MoveOn members in your community? MoveOn Councils are local teams of committed members who organize in their community and build leadership among MoveOn members. Click here to locate or join a council near you!” 


Note from Kathleen:

Thank you for the very informative post, KAO. 

In addition I have included the trailer for the film and would encourage Politicalgates readers to watch not just the trailer but also the entire film so you can educate yourself further about the issues surrounding the financial meltdown of 2008. 


Please re-tweet:!/politicalgates/status/169876121591087104



What is the quickest, cheapest and easiest way for Sarah Palin to become the GOP nominee for President? It's simple --- accept the nomination from a brokered convention. How unconventional of her!

Here is the conversation between Palin and Eric Bolling: 

BOLLING: Governor, a lot of people are saying it can't happen. I don't necessarily agree with them. If one of the nominees, one of the GOPers, doesn't get enough delegates, it could go the a brokered convention.
If it does get to that and someone said, Governor, would you be interested, would you be interested?

PALIN: Well, for one, I think that it could get to that. And I -- you know, if it had to -- if it had to be kind of closed up today, the whole nominating process, then we would be looking at a brokered convention.
I mean nobody is quite there yet. So I think that months from now, if that's the case, then, you know, all bets are off as to who it will be willing to offer themselves up in the name of service to their country. I would -- I would do whatever I could to help.

BOLLING: That's -- that's fantastic.

It's the nightmare scenario. And it could happen. But we should be cautious -- Palin may just mean that she would help and stand behind whoever was nominated. However earlier, Bolling did tweet the following which implies that Palin may well re-consider:
Bolling's interview with Sarah takes place in just over an hour at 10pm eastern time on Fox Business News so we will soon know whether or not this is all just another Palin tease in a bid to gain more contributions to SarahPac.

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