We Speak on Democracy Now About the Mortgage Settlement

Hope you don’t mind the spate of posts with my various media appearances on the mortgage settlement. This was my first time on Democracy Now and they do do their homework. A producer ran out to me when I was on deck to ask if the total deal was $25 or $26 billion. I said all the Administration messaging was $26 billion, but the numbers seemed to add up to more like $25 billion, so they must be rounding up on the subtotals. He came back and said they couldn’t make it add up to $26 billion and so would report it as $25 billion.

Here’s the segment:

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  1. Agitated Vandal

    “the OCC agrees to hold in abeyance imposition of such penalties provided the servicers make payments and take other actions under the federal-state settlement with a value equal to at least the penalty amounts that each servicer acknowledges that the OCC could impose…” ….

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, I’ve been behind writing up the additional ugly bits that are coming out. The damages that ought to be paid just keep rolling into new promises to do better. Please.

      1. JamesW

        Are those people, myself among them, who continue to repeat that the banksters are guilty of almost endless felonies (filing false affidavits reframed as “robo-signing”) and thousands or millions of tax law violations from acting out of the REMIC tax exemption regs, and thousands or millions of violations of the Uniform Commericial Code (civil, but on that level it rolls into criminal as it can be defined as a criminal conspiracy) too extravagant?

        Or are the aforementioned simply the tip of the iceberg?

        1. Doctor Brian Oblivion

          Well even if the message didn’t sink in to the slumbering beast yet doesn’t mean that those of us still angry about the unrestrained looting should give up spreading the message and explaining to others the gravity of what took place.

          It should be obvious that the same ideology and incentives and systems are in place for a similar and more serious episode to occur in the not so distant future.

          The last orgy of systemwide fraud eclipsed the S&L crisis. If the next is to be larger and more destructive it’s critical for more of the public to be made aware of the substance of the last financial collapse.

          While people will be suffering the effects of this one for years to come, understanding why it happened is critical if they are to have any hope of responding to the next one before it destroys what still remains of our society.

          1. Blurtman

            Please remember that the majority of servicers are owned by the banks who get inside information that allows them to maximize trading strategies. It has been alleged that the banks manipulate foreclosures to benefit their trading positions.

            Also, it has been alleged that the banks did nit assign the mortgages to trusts so that they could use the mortgages as collateral in the repo market, i.e., lending out what they did not own.

            Clearly Obama is a stooge of the banking industry.

            Please vote for William K. Black for President.

      2. gepay

        I applaud the work Yves has done. Yet I find this settlement to sadly be another example of the system being broken. It has broken in a manner such that efforts to reform the system are wasted – Have you read Don Quixote?
        Instead of reform, efforts at salvage would be more pertinent. What still works with the system and should be saved from the coming wreckage (or re instituted). Occupy is quite correct – the 1% are lost in their greed and they just don’t care anymore. Before jet planes, electronic communications, computers, and airconditioning, they had some loyalty to the countries they lived in. That time is past. Rule of law no longer applies. The system is broken.

        1. aletheia33

          the work yves has done, and others have done and we must all continue to do, as the above commenter points out, is continue to teach everyone who remains unaware that the system is broken about that fact. when enough people realize the extent they’ve been lied to and the extent to which, in reality, the system cannot control them (because it IS broken), they will cease participating in it, whether by choice or out of no choice.

          it’s anyone’s guess what scenario emerges as this occurs. so, i believe, we must also all do what we can to try to prevent social breakdown of the rightwing-led, violent, fascist kind. because, to this viewer anyway, that’s what it appears most of the u.s. population is most likely to be most susceptible to, as serious, collective fear escalates in our society.

          before it’s too late, we must try to encourage people, as they are going to have to fall back on themselves, to do so in a common-sense way.

          we can build social capital in our immediate community. get to know our neighbors as well as we can. work to foster a good feeling of cooperation, transcending political disagreements, that will resist the onslaught of the unknown and of fear. people pooling their skills and resources will survive okay.

          if things just keep getting worse, that is a cause for doing more to help and to contribute to a new basis for trust (though we may not live to see it), not for giving up and doing nothing.

  2. JamesW

    First, one must be effusive on the brilliant, brilliant, brilliant mini-dissertation given by the remarkable Ms. Smith on Democracy Now!, a show which stands out today, although back in the context of the 1960s they would have been considered average — but where’s the media today?

    But in a later frame we are assaulted with the typical myth-media blight of NY Times’ shill, (“the award-winning”) Charles Duhigg, who makes the following fictitious statements:

    “..Apple’s a large corporation and doesn’t lie…”


    “..bad capitalism practises have been ameliorated throughout the west…”

    Where to begin? Does Duhigg mean America doesn’t have any sweatshops (although admittedly Foxconn is the worst of the worst) in major cities such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles?

    Apple’s record on tax evasion and tax avoidance would surely suggest Apple has a history of lying, most definitely on the legal record!

    I love Juan Gonzalez who appears on Democracy Now!, from time to time, but like Seymour Hersh, he has a problem with grashing the macro picture.

    He’s a tremendous investigative reporter, but then he remarks on racism in hiring in the “media” industry — what “media” can that be?

    Only several like-minded corporations control the bulk of said “media” today in America, which is why Ms. Smith’s brilliant mini-dissertation on this bankster bailout is truly a gem for those fortunate to have heard her!

    And to go overboard where the professional Ms. Smith might be too reticent to go: thanks to HAVA (the Help America Vote Act) passed during the previous administration, centralizing the control of state elections in the hands of the various state attorneys general, the disbursement of those bankster bailout funds will go to them and how they see fit to disburse them, or what they do with said funds until they are disbursed, could affect future elections.

    Boxes within boxes, they say!

    1. oldsoul

      Thank you. RE: The election connection-that was deep. I also heard rumors that the AGs were being threatened with the withholding of federal law enforcement funds if they didn’t go along with the settlement, making it impossible to continue the investigations and bring the prosecutions in this, the greatest financial crime in world history. Was the choice: sign on and get a whole lot of much needed cash for your state or find your budgets diminished? Could such a threat have ever been suggested to, of all people, lawyers who are elected to be the chief law enforcement officers of their states without it threat being exposed? I fear that the answer is yes. Something–akin to a threat– is also constraining the judiciary from stopping foreclosures based on forged documents in their tracks and sanctioning the offending banks and their law firms. We know that Congress, in response to the electorate, refused to pass the bailout in 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaG9d_4zij8 Congress was called back to vote on the bailout again and it passed. We all know now that the use of the 700 billion TARP bailout was misrepresented by Hank Paulson to Congress to have the US buy mortgage backed securities which were in danger of defaulting and within days the bailout funds were purportedly spent to buy preferred stock in the banks, which most banks claim they paid back. You could pay your debt, too, if you could borrow directly from the Federal Reserve Bank at .09 percent interest, put the funds out overnight at ever 1 percent. Where does the Fed get the money to lend? By the sale of US bonds at slightly higher interest to the pension funds, local and foreign governments, private investors, the Social Security Trust Fund, etc. and guaranteed by our taxes. Boxes within boxes indeed. When are the citizens going to wake up and realize that we cannot afford to have a private banking cartel create money or tell us what money and debt even is? This “settlement” tells us that money is whatever the banks tell us it is, as long as we keep paying the debts of the banks.

  3. ericmcsquare


    I have a question with regard to the 3 billion credit you mentioned that can be received for “Forgiveness”.

    In PA when the property goes to sheriff’s sale and the bank is the highest bidder the property is deeded to the “attorney on the writ” with a value listed as between $1,000.00-$3,000.00 (depending on advertising costs). There are strict timelines if the bank wants to pursue a deficency action. It is next to impossible for the bank to comply with such timelines so the value of the property almost always remains as listed on the sheriff’s deed as the above referenced paultry sum (in a deficency action you actually have to submit a formal appraisal of the property).

    Do you know if the banks will receive “Forgiveness” credit for the difference between the Judgment that the bank takes pursuant to the note (typically around 200K) and the amount listed on the sheriff’s deed (i.e. the banks could get a credit of close to 199K-197K for just being the highest bidder at the sheriff’s sale)?

    If the banks were to engage in such accounting shenanigans with regard to the “Forgiveness” credit, the 3 billion would be “satisfied” in a little under 6 months from solely PA sheriff sales (there were 3,727 foreclosures begun in PA last month according to RealtyTrac assuming that is a typical month and 70% eventually go to sheriff sale and are purchased by the bank with a average judgment amount of 200K).

    1. oldsoul

      Money is whatever the banks say it is. Debt is what the people have to pay for the use of bank money.

  4. jpmist

    “We cheated you, we’re sorry. We fired those responsible and it won’t happen again.”

    Anybody read this yet? Anywhere? Anyone? . . . Bueller?

    Sad that we didn’t even get the “neither admit nor deny” boilerplate. . .

        1. Nathanael

          Dangerous game they’re playing. They’re trying to give themselves the state of impunity which the nobility held immediately before the French Revolution — one where the old pretense of feudal obligations to those beneath them was gone.

          That worked out great for Louis XIII and XIV, not so well for Louis XVI….

          Things go faster these days. I don’t think they have a lifetime before it will come down on their heads.

      1. Fiver

        I think Obama cares, but only in a very narrow sense – he still craves the respect, even admiration, of those he KNOWS know that he’s totally betrayed the public interest. In the second clip he has a furtive look that to me flashes his discomfiture with being raked by all the well-informed eyes of “equals” he cannot easily deceive. Remember when he announced he’d “got” bin Laden? His face and manner was that of a man trying to keep a foot on every rock in the creek. You see that look all the time – it’s the guilt of someone who has rationalized away every value he was taught to hold dear.

        1. oldsoul

          The people deserve the truth, not furtive looks into which sorrow and pain are kindly imputed by a compassionate public. Ask Seal Team Six who they killed in Abbottabad? Oops! Sorry we can’t. They died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on August 6, 2012.
          Let’s see the SEC and IRS files from the Enron investigation? They were destroyed and vaporized into the foot-print collapse of World Trade Center Building in the late afternoon of 9/11m hours after WTC Buildings 1 and 2 imploded from being hit by planes. No plane hit Building 7. Most people don’t even know Building 7 collapsed on 9/11.
          Honest people can handle the truth, no matter where it leads.
          Obama has chosen which side he supports and it is not the people who elected him. What you described is the look of a liar trying not to get caught.
          The feds co-opted the rights of the people of the states to have their elected officials investigate of countless felonies committed in their jurisdictions so quickly after the State of the Union Address that the sell out must have been in the works for months. It was just a question of what language to use. Hmmm. I choose Populist Rhetoric for $200.00, Alex.
          Folding the OCC consent decrees into the state settlment is a stroke of evil genius, if that happened. I cannot wait to see the language of the settlement agreement.
          But where is the actual settlement agreement? Why are we just getting press releases? Where is the complaint against the banks that the federal court in D.C. is supposed to approve? What will it say? Stay tuned for a delicious piece of fiction, far less inventive than 18 Muslim men simultaneously highjacked 4 planes and flew 3 of them into buildings in the most protected airspace in the world without interception. No wonder people were scared into giving up their rights, if they believed that could ever happen. Of course it couldn’t have happened that way anymore than a lone Muslim could have conveniently concealed defective exposives in his underwear on Christmas
          Day (PR effect anyone?) just as Rapiscan is prepared to role out its pricey total body naked image scanners.
          Although all this may seem dangerous to say in public, and I apologize to all who think that they are not already being carnivored for visiting this site (we are, you know) but learning and sharing the truth has never had a higher price that what it costs today.
          I find nothing more shocking on earth than the statement that that foreclosures could have been arranged to manipulate bank trading positions. It is all the same. Is it any harder to believe that your husband/wife/child/friend was killed on 9/11 to get the Patriot Act passed and start 2 wars than that your family is thrown out of their home to improve a bank’s market share? My nation died on 9/11 and I want to see it resurrected.
          People of good will and conscience unite. Truth is stronger than power or the powerful would not go to such great lengths to conceal the truth.

      1. MichaelC

        No need to keep FT out of your life.

        Google the headline and you can access the story for free.

        Plus Alphaville, which is a great blog, is free

  5. Javagold

    how can this even begin to help as it doesnt include the Fannie and Freddie fraudsters who have their dirty hands on most of the mortgages (even though the homeowners had nothing to do with F&F being involved in their mortgage)

    once again for OBAMA (4 million HAMP)the numbers just do not add up !!

    dont know how many people will see this show, but it was a great job by all…..nice and relaxed pace and easy to follow

  6. Susan the other

    You were very articulate as usual, Yves. But I’m depressed. I’m still hungry and somebody dragged the carcass away. There has been a sea change, I think, and I’d like someone to put the fine points on it. The EU just agreed to put a collar and tether on the over-the-counter derivatives market which includes contracts done by all the same nefarious banks, the same big 3 in Schneiderman’s suit. So exposing naked CDSs, to my muddled thinking, means there really will not be any more fast trading in MBSs anyway. And the banks know they are left with winding down and mopping up and their heart’s just not going to be in it. They will inevitably say, Wait, everything is different now, we cannot be held responsible for the new rules. So probably the brave new mortgage industry will indeed be backed by the Federal Reserve. In which case foreclosure should be off the table immediately.

  7. tawal

    How can it be $25B, I totaled the spread sheet you put up yesterday. It was over $39B. CA alone is getting $18B according to Kamala Harris. Not saying $39B is the appropriate figure; me thinks $1T is much closer.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You can see the other two official handouts on the same post refer to a $25 billion settlement.

      The reason for the disparity is the 50% credit for mods on securitized loans being expected to lead to bigger total amounts of mods, which is why some of the messaging is has been “$40 billion deal”

    2. LucyLulu

      Yes, comparatively speaking, Ms. Harris did very well for California. Not only did she obtain roughly half of the entire settlement, but she got a guarantee of getting it all paid out the first year. Ms. Bondi did pretty well for Florida too, at $8.4B, for somebody who was allegedly philosophically opposed to writedowns.

  8. LucyLulu

    Great job, Yves, summarizing the issues in terms that lay people can understand. Now we must get you on networks with more viewers so the word can get to more people. Fox News would be perfect…… but somehow I don’t think they’d be interested.

  9. Doctor Brian Oblivion

    Bravo. It’s a pity that no attempt is made to inform the public about national decisions to be made before horrible solutions are imposed on those digital cable and dish infotainment systems which have hundreds of channels with mostly nothing on. A schoolhouse rock for adults or something… anything… TV news is too much about presentation than substance and reinforcing mythology rather than confronting any semblance of reality.

    What’s on is little more than propaganda and advertising, hundreds of channels of pure public relations programming used for little more than reinforcing brand name identification and a sense of inevitability and futility. Turning of the TV a decade ago was possibly the smartest move I ever made. Reading more about finance and the economy over the last year might have been the second.

    Thanks so much for Naked Capitalism!

  10. LucyLulu

    Spoke yesterday with an associate of my attorney general yesterday and had a most frustrating conversation. She kept referring me to the press release for answers to my questions, which were not answered in the press release. She said their office had no more information. I asked if they hadn’t signed the agreement, and if so, had not read it first.

    One of the many interesting tidbits she did share however (and I am unsure how reliable her info was) was that no investor owned modifications of loans would occur without first obtaining consent of the investors. (She seemed to think my concerns arose from being an investor, I gave up on attempting to explain my motivations.) I tried to nail down how this consent would be obtained, she was reluctant to provide details, just to say how consents from shareholders are normally obtained.

    I also asked if their office had any intention of pursuing the claims not covered by the agreement, e.g. securitization, criminal, MERS. Her answer was pursuing those types of claims were not the mission of the AG’s office, but belonged to the NC Banking Commission and OCC. WTF? I pointed out that $10 million had been set aside for the AG office to pursue financial crimes. So what will this money be used for then? I also asked if they had pursued any claims up to this point and got the standard (can’t divulge that information due to confidentiality issues). BS. I wasn’t asking for any details, only if ANY mortgage related claims had been pursued against ANY of the parties released by the suit.

    Another thing…….. I asked if there would be any monitoring of compliance with new servicing standards by her office, and if not by them, by whom. I relayed that consent decrees had already been signed while ‘forged documents’ (she bristled with that phrase, I think) were continuing to be submitted up to the present date. She said that yes, compliance would be monitored, that somebody, yet to be determined, would be nationally appointed by the agreement for the role.

    Mostly, she wanted to get me off the phone. I don’t think she liked me. I don’t know why, I was really very nice to her. Gee, I thought I let her off easy.

      1. Aquifer

        It depends on the state – in some all parties to the conversation have to know about the taping, in some only one party does …. i do believe in NY only one party does ..

    1. EH

      I like to ask if there’s anything I said that would cause them to treat a citizen that way. When you approach these people from a customer-service perspective, they tend to sit up a bit straighter. “How do you spell your name?” is a good signal to them.

    2. Susan the other

      Aggressive questioning over the phone is easy to fluff off while you are on the phone, but not so easy to fluff off when the questions sink in. I’ve had that same vacuous phone conversation experience many times, and after a polite interval, I do manage to get somewhere. But I am relentless.

      1. LucyLulu

        I think I did pretty well in pinning her down. The bigger problem I think was that she didn’t know a lot of the answers to my questions. It was kinda scary for somebody allegedly directly involved. For example, I said that there had been a report that only “a couple of servicers” would be involved in writing down investor owned loans. When I asked if this was true and which servicers they were, she said that was one of the things that had yet to be determined. I can’t believe that would not have been nailed down before the servicers signed the agreement.

        Which reminds me, she also reported that the servicers would not be choosing which loans got modified. That would be assigned to a yet to be determined third party.

    3. LucyLulu

      Clarification on above: I omitted that she also listed local DA’s as being somebody who could pursue suits against the financial firms. I want to make sure I am accurate in relaying what I was told, and upon re-reading noticed my error. Sorry.

      1. PL

        D.A. as in District Attorney as in criminal action? It’s hard to envision criminal actions being filed. I think she was throwing out a non-viable alternative to make it seem like other options are still available.

    4. aletheia33

      don’t know what state you’re in l.l., but i’m beginning to suspect that more than one ag’s office really don’t fully grasp what they’ve signed. the ins and outs of the details are sure not easy to follow, let alone master. do all our state ag offices, at this point, really have enough expertise among their personnel to do that? have some of them just swallowed the story they’ve been fed, only to regurgitate it for their public now? how much craven incomptence, how much ignorance, how much sellout, how much both, how much pure fear. i’d love to see a breakdown state by state.

      how did the final fix get in? arm twisting by the whole top echelon of the democratic party? threats of losing one’s office, or threats of apocalyptic financial meltdown (henry-paulson-2008 style)? or promises of the kind one can’t ignore? or which, to whom? i want to know more.

      not that yves hasn’t done enough–she tells the most truth around, as far as i can tell. good work yves, answering goodman’s questions with your inimitable direct clarity (and dazzling smile). sail on.

    5. oldsoul

      What an entertaining exchange. Thank you for sharing.
      It reminds me of when I called the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago in April of 2011 (when the consent decrees were enterd.) I inquired whether or not the Fed was going to investigate fraudulent documents being created after the consent decree by one of the “regulated” banks (the consent decrees referred to conduct between 2008 and 2010, as I clearly recall.) I informed the attorney I spoke to that my clients all had forged and fabricated documents from the time period under investigation and that forged documents were still being produced in 2011. I was told that my clients were free to send in their documents for “review” but they would never hear back from the Fed. Regulatory matters are confidential, she explained. I told her that I learned what I needed to know and that there was no reason for my clients to waste their time submitting their evidence to the Fed. I note that we have now extended the time period in which the forgeries and false documents have been allowed to be created to include 2011, after the banks declared that they were no longer engaging in the criminal practice since “they” discovered it in September, 2010.
      What will they do for an encore? Extend the permission commit crimes for another year and then another . . . If the federal court enforcement action is deemed a confidential regulatory matter, this will never stop until the people make it stop.
      Judges, by and large, haven’t wanted to hear about the forgeries and frauds and are hostile and abusive to the homeowners and their attorneys. The same courts are solicitous of the most absurd arguments by bank lawyers.
      Now please think about this–you are a judge, sworn to uphold the constitution and laws, fully compensated for sitting in law and equity and elected or appointed for your supposed wisdom and integrity, but you don’t want to “hear it.” Should you have that position?
      Apply this to the AG settlement. You are elected and sworn to uphold the constitution and laws as the chief law enforcement officer of your state. (I won’t even talk about US AG Eric Holder, he has a special case of conflict of interest, coming from the law firm of Covington and Burling which gave MERS advice on its business model and is believed to represent a number of these banks. Banks always spread retainers around to conflict the big law firms which have the resources to question their conduct. But back to the state AG analysis . . . ) Someone offers your office a huge windfall for looking the other way while the bankers steal the homes of families in your state. If you are in Wisconsin, you say–absolutely. We can use that money to “plug a hole” in in the state budget. The @$25M is all but @$5M of the cash settlement to be distributed to Wisconsin, according to the AG’s own calculation available from the Milwaukee Journal. http://www.jsonline.com/business/walker-van-hollen-chunk-of-mortgage-relief-going-to-state-budget-uj45185-139070349.htm. Yves Smith recommended that we check which states used the pre-prepared press release posted on this site in blank. Did Wisconsin use the pre-prepared news release? Absolutely. Why? Having done virtually no investigation into the forgery, fraudulent foreclosure scheme and the MERS clouds on Wisconsin land titles, the AG and governor probably thought this was just a windfall for the state. See the comments on the settlement at “Think Progress.” Most Wisconsin progressives think this is a federal bailout for the states.
      But there are real judges and real AGs in the nation. These need to be supported, even when they falter. Eric Schneiderman (NY) may still do some good, Kamala Harris (CA) has a generally good website up to try to assist the people who elected her to office–no pre-prepared press releases on either state’s site.

  11. AccruedDisinterest

    A grave and highly technical question from that FT piece; You said, “Nobody wants to hear namby pamby.” But isn’t the correct phrase, mamby pamby?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        EH, the use of “namby pamby” by Yves is fine in the U.S., but maybe not in your neck of the woods. Regional expressions abound in the U.S.

  12. craazyman

    I made the mistake of thinking about Mr. Schneiderman’s name as symbolism and now my head keeps singing “Schnei-der-man, Schne-der-man, does whatever a Schneider can”.

    I admit it’s ridiculous, but I can’t control it.

    And we all know Spiderman was a New York hero who trapped the crooks in his web.

    I understand the cynicism and it makes a lot of sense. Blockheads like me usually watch the NFL and not intelligent talk shows, so this is an uphill climb to get through to those of us who are basically dumb and lazy. Even the smart and energetic people are an uphill climb, because they’re making the money from the fraud, if not aiding and abetting it themselves. It’s a curse of humanity. The Saints had hard lives (before Drew Brees, just kdding).

    Me, personally, I’ll give the Schneiderman and his super-hero buddies about a year to see if anything really happens. It probably won’t, but there’s a theoretical chance we might be totally shocked. But probly not. And if not, then I’ll just write him off as another Rhinoceros and think “Damn, Yves was just so right it’s scary.”

  13. Aquifer

    It was a great piece, but there is just one thing i wish you could have included – you said that a good chunk of the money would come not from the bank held mortgages but from the “investor” held MBS. Most of the folks who watch shows like DN I think rather equate “investors” with Wall Street types and may not be terribly sympathetic; if it were mentioned that these “investors” include pension funds, I think it would have really hit home with folks that “hey, as taxpayers we bailed ’em out, and now our pension funds are being penalized as well for the benefit of these banks!” That’s when folks really get pissed – it is not bad enough that homeowner’s are screwed qua homeowner’s, but they are getting screwed again as pensioners …

    1. Aquifer

      I think that observation would have perked up Amy’s and Juan’s ears as well – the idea that worker’s pension funds would be taking a hit so the banks wouldn’t have to …

      1. Aquifer

        This point #2 in Yves “12 Things to Hate …” really got my attention and i suspect would that of many of us, like myself who need to have things “dumbed down” re stuff like this, which includes a good chunk of the general public, methinks. So I hope she will emphasize it in her media appearances … We need to be outraged and this will help give us an added incentive to be so ….

        “2. That $26 billion is actually $5 billion of bank money and the rest is your money. The mortgage principal writedowns are guaranteed to come almost entirely from securitized loans, which means from investors, which in turn means taxpayers via Fannie and Freddie, pension funds, insurers, and 401 (k)s. Refis of performing loans also reduce income to those very same investors.”

        1. bhikshuni

          It would make a good bumper sticker:

          “1% Bailout: $26 billion is actually $5 billion of bank money and the rest is your money. ”

          Meanwhile public is still using their BoA atms etc without blinking an eye, and giving bankster’s Obama 50+% approval ratings.

          Still I am grateful for Yves and NC readers! Now if the financial wizards out might kindly advise the rest of us how to find alternative financial management than rewarding this corruption. How do we protect ourselves going forward (since no one else will help us)??

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Aquifer, as George Carlin preached: “And now they want your PENSIONS, your Social Security.” The *plan* continues to play out.

  14. Skye

    “Hope you don’t mind the spate of posts with my various media appearances on the mortgage settlement”

    Not at all – I like the videos, sometimes it’s much easier to catch up on the main points vs reading a long post

  15. Elizabeth

    I’m kind of disappointed with this performance, Yves. The focus should be on what we traded away for this “relief” — no meaningful further investigation, no real litigation with teeth, and some obscure slap on the wrist for MERS, which will, I guess, operate under business as usual. I’ll try to listen to it again, to try to understand, but it’s not really clear. Sorry, but that’s how I see it.

    1. Elizabeth

      It gets better toward the end, especially with the memorable sound bites (“parking ticket”) and the comments on Schneiderman’s MERS lawsuit. I love the comment, here and on the show, that the cost of doing dirty business — which will continue — is now acknowledged to be $2,000 per (rare) homeowner, but it comes well into the interview. It just sickens me that the Obama Administration gets to sell this as some kind of Democrat-style entitlement program (at a mere $2K per “welfare queen,” big deal against losing a $100,000 house), against that obvious fact. Next up on Fox News: Republicans predictably bash it as some sort of free ride for deadbeats, all conveniently depicted as immigrants and African-Americans. And it’s all beside the point, which only you, Yves Smith, have adequately explained. It’s just too bad it doesn’t come in a memorable one-two punch at the beginning, before the audience snoozes off, “Democracy Now” style.

  16. Francois T

    Bottom Line: In this country, when it comes to the financial industry, there is no possible redress in justice possible for those of us who aren’t from the rentier class.

    Conclusion: Justice will have to be achieved by other means. I just hope it won’t come to something like this.

  17. Conscience of a Conservative

    Great point about the money going directly to the a.g.’s it’s the best argument i heard on why they are supporting. It’s not that we have gov’t selling out mainstreet to the banks that’s so worrying(that’s always been occuring), it’s that they are doing it to such a scale that’s never been seen.

  18. Crazy Horse

    Yves, I’d like to insert a contrarian point of view:

    The KEY issue in this outrageous settlement is not how little it benefits homeowners, but the fact that it puts the official stamp upon the demise of any pretense that we are a nation where the rule of law is operative. Following close upon the John Corzine/JP Morgan theft ignored and unpunished by Justice, it leaves little doubt that laws are only to punish the serfs and keep the prison industry prospering.

    You are one of the most informed and erudite experts in the country when it comes to explaining how this scam has gone down. As a result of your presentation on Democracy Now, viewers clearly understand that most of the 25B is actually just numbers being moved around by accountants and little will actually help homeowners or trigger a recovery in the housing market.

    The theme of how this settlement benefits banks, the massive criminal liability that it papers over, and the Obama/Schneiderman cover up (10 investigators indeed!) got pushed back to a footnote from the perspective of an uninformed viewer.

    As a guest speaker you can’t control the direction of questions, but you can decide what to say. Behave like a politician and answer any question with what you want to say whether or not it relates to the question! Hammer away on the criminal fraud theme just like Bill Black! Don’t be nice, be outraged!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t disagree, and that WAS in my 12 point post (see the last one) but I didn’t think that would resonate this strongly with the Democracy Now audience.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        You are correct. A heavy hand re the subversion of the rule of law would have been out of place in the interview, but you subtly set the stage for what’s coming.

        1. Crazy Horse

          If not the Democracy Now audience, when should issues of justice be brought to the forefront? Fine tuning what you say to match what each audience wants (as determined by your professional propaganda experts) is Obama and the Romney cyborg’s game.

  19. albertchampion

    it will have to end up as “something like this”. there is really no other end game, is there?

    the rule of law has been eradicated. and the legal system so corrupted and enriched surreptitiously that i cannot see it walking back to some era with some higher level of justice. can you?

    if you can, please inform us as to how that can happen peacefully.

    i think it goes without saying that the usa has been re-enserfed. what should the usa citizenry call itself, nouveau kulaks?

    the amerikan gestapos[ss, fbi, dea, dhs to hame a few] have federalized all the local law enforcement entities. i am thinking that this is what himmler did after march, 1933.

    the us populace owns the largest arsenal of weapons extant, i think. when do you think it will dawn on the populace that it has an enemy, the state, and that redress can only be secured by insurrection?

    the ballot box since electronification is no longer an honest arbiter, even if an anti-enserfement candidate was to be able to find a way onto the ballot.

    so, what is your vision of the endgame for this republic? a rotating dictatorship amongst politicians? or will jamie dimon just coronate himself and end the quandary?

    1. Nathanael

      I suspect the rule of law will be reinstated sometime after the revolution.

      The current kleptocracy is not remotely sustainable. The question is what comes afterwards when it collapses. We must try to push a peaceful, respectful, democratic alternative, since others will be pushing fascism, theocracy, or plain old military dictatorship.

  20. albertchampion

    also, though somewhat off the topic here, how will the irs be treating mf global account holders who were ripped off?

  21. LeonovaBalletRusse

    YVES, I just saw the interview, and I must say: Movie Star! You looked beautiful, and your intelligence and articulate speech shone like the sun. How refreshing it is to see someone who can speak so well extemporaneously, with such insight and knowledge. You provide a splendid example of what human beings can do, if they are not on a handler short leash, and must stick to the script. You spoke brilliantly, making so proud of you. Thank you.

    You embarked on a fine successful career as public critic of corruption of our democracy and of capitalism with ECONNED, under the name of YVES SMITH. You continued under this name, as founder and engine of Naked Capitalism. Thus you are among those in history who gave themselves a New Name, and pursued a new lives as persons *self-made*. The name YVES SMITH is YOU now, as it were. For this reason, you might want to consider changing your name legally, by court order (as I did in 1979 when I officially began my “Vita Nova”), so that the following miracle can come to pass:

    BILL BLACK/YVES SMITH 2012: JUSTICE for the People NOW
    Chris Hedges: Secretary of State

    *YVES SMITH* has the ring of truth and integrity. Everybody knows it matches the woman who bears it. “Walk forth.”

  22. Doug Terpstra

    You are in your element here, Yves, comfortable and crystal clear in distilling complex issues. To be sure, Amy Goodman also contributes great chemistry.

    From Obama “… and some measure of justice for those that have already been victims of abusive practices.”

    Speech translation: “Those stripped of property and rendered homeless through massive criminal fraud will recieve up to $2,000 in compensation—reimbursing the equivalent of one or two mortgage payements, from the pockets of taxpayers and bond investors—while the arch-villains will be given full amnesty, pay almost nothing themselves, and retain full authority and autonomy to continue their crimes unbridled.”

    Some measure of justice, indeed. The man is a living breathing POS obscenity, truly repugnant. No wonder I can’t watch him anymore but for limited glimpses in contexts like this. He churns the stomach and triggers an involuntary gag reflex. This whitewashed bailout was imminently predictable, given the country’s ownership, but it’s no less infuriating to witness.

  23. albertchampion

    still, what are you going to do about it?

    suck it up and let your right to a stake in this country be stolen?

    you know, the issues are very clear now…the usg has decided to enserf the populace. and they have determined that they can get away with it because there has been no uprising.

    will the populace of the usa march themselves to the fema camps in preference to contesting the seizure of the country by the gangsters?

    that is the issue, now, i think.

    my bet is that the populace marches to a more significant level of incarceration.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Thanks for those crucial links. Obama the Flim-Flam man, as Eric Holder sticks to him like glue in every photo op, looking very much like a gangster. What does Holder have on Obama, one must ask? Does he get his orders from Chicago, where they specialize in dead fish and horse’s heads in beds?

    2. LucyLulu

      When I spoke to the NC attorney general’s office on Thursday, the same thought occurred to me more than once……. that the deal wasn’t finalized yet. Which was why she seemed so vague on any details that weren’t included in the press release. I thought her statement re: it hadn’t been decided yet which of the servicers would be writing down investor-owned loans and which ones would not was a very strange response. I didn’t get the feeling she didn’t want to answer some of my questions (or she would have said she wasn’t ‘allowed’ to divulge the info), I got the impression she really didn’t know the answers.
      On questions unrelated to the term sheet, she seemed knowledgeable.

    1. albertchampion

      candidly, whatever yves reports is irrelevant.

      it is tantamount to a koan: a tree falling in the forest with no one listening.

      one can analyze all this thievery forever, but none of that analysis will cause any reduction in the enslavement of the citizenry by the obombya regime and his friends, the banksters.

      and that is the bottom line, isn’t it?

      and there is no legal mechanism now to reverse that gangsterism: the rule of law has been assassinated.

      hasn’t it?

      as i wrote some days ago, a republic if you can keep it.

      what do you think it will take now to keep it?

      waiting for a more benign bunch of gangsters to rule the usa?

      can you, your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren ad infinitum wait that long?

      or better still, will you wait that long?

      so, i ask you again, is there any remedy short of insurrection?

  24. Gene

    Does anyone know how the settlement is going to affect an FHA loan supposedly “owned” by Ginnie Mae? I ask this vis a vis Yves’ comments about Fannie and Freddie not being mandated.


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