UPDATE 11/18/11: Due to the violence, rapes, police provocations, unsanitary conditions, and communist rhetoric that I have heard and read from OWS movements around the country in recent days, I can no longer support Occupy Wall Street. While my original thesis about the banks remains, it is clear that the leaders of the Occupy Wall Street movement no longer care about my interests; nor do they care about protesting peacefully. Just because some police officers have attacked protesters does not mean protesters can start fighting back or attacking businesses. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
I have a friend from Haiti who lived through some revolutions; he said these protests remind him of how those revolutions started. I am against revolution. I support doing away with the derivatives market. I support electing representatives that care about the people, not special interests. I love the United States of America.
And now, my original post:
It all started with Glenn Beck.
You see, I’d recently started following some folks on Twitter who kept talking about #Sept17, #USDOR, and #OccupyWallStreet. I looked up US Day of Rage, and learned that the people behind the protest wanted to make it illegal for corporations to donate to political candidates, and change the rules so that a citizen could only donate $1 per political candidate for elections. Talk about campaign finance reform!
It seemed cool, and I liked the tweets from people like @ghostpickles. Still, I wanted to hear what the other side had to say … you know, to be “Fair and balanced.”
So, I googled “US Day of Rage Glenn Beck” and came up with a Blaze article that offered a, uh, different point of view.
Quite frankly, it felt like I was reading The New Frontiersman.
Basically, I learned that SEIU’s Stephen Lerner was involved in organizing the Day of Rage protest at Wall Street. SEIU is a kind of buzzword on right-wing radio. It makes Homer Simpson froth at the mouth.
They quoted Lerner as saying:
So, a bunch of us around the country are thinking about who would be a really good company to hate? We decided that would be JP Morgan Chase. …. And so we’re going to roll out over the next couple of months what will hopefully be an exciting campaign about JP Morgan Chase that is really about challenge the power of Wall Street.
JP Morgan Chase. Once I read who he was protesting, I was sold.
You see, I attempted to get a loan modification from JP Morgan Chase. Like many people in this country, I filled out applications, waited, was told to fill out applications again, waited some more, made some good-faith payments upon the request of the bank, filled out the same applications one more time, wash-rinse-repeat. This went on for over a year.
Finally, I found a message board that claimed to have Jamie Dimon’s (Chase’s CEO) email address. I sent an email explaining my situation, and actually heard back from someone in “The executive office.” One thing led to another, and my case was assigned to someone who promised to help me.
At this point, you might be wondering why I was behind on my mortgage payments. My son has a Combined Immune Deficiency and is in need of a bone marrow transplant. He is on many medications that keep him relatively healthy in the short run while we wait for a donor match. Full story here.
So between medications and traveling to see doctors in Miami, Durham, Bethesda, and New York; and with my wife being a full-time care-taker for my son, we fell behind on our mortgage payment.
You would think reducing our principal and interest rate, given the real estate market and our unique situation, would be a no-brainer for the folks at Chase. Think again.
Back in June of this year, I finally received a loan modification offer. The principal on my loan was INCREASED, and I was asked to pay $5,000 up front, for legal fees.
I was angry. Shocked. Run over. To paraphrase my partner here at the DailySkew, Damian Hospital, “How could I stand up to a machine so strong?”
The Chase rep from the “Executive Office” blamed the government. “We can only do what the Treasury tells us we’re allowed to do.”
Yeah, right. Wanna know why I think they didn’t help me? Because they were afraid that by helping my family, going outside whatever “Rules” they were “Forced” to live with, they would set a dangerous precedent. You know, Odin forbid if Chase actually, I don’t know, MODIFIED LOANS FOR NEEDY FAMILIES! LOL
So, getting back to Lerner from SEIU, and his organizing a protest against JP Morgan Chase: yes. I wholeheartedly support protesting that bank, and all the other banks on Wall Street.
Why am I telling you this? Because I kept hearing the MSM and wanna-be-right-wingers today say that, “Oh, these people don’t know why they’re protesting … they don’t have a reason,” or “Their demands are murky.”
Well, protesters and MSM, if you need a reason for #OccupyWallStreet, let me be the reason. Let my son, Simon D., be the reason. Let my family be the reason. Let all the families that have lost their homes to foreclosure since 2006 be the reason.
As for the demands, here’s a list:
- Give the foreclosed homes not auctioned off back to the families that were kicked out, for $1
- Modify all mortgage loans to 75% of the current market value
- Cut a check for all the families that were foreclosed on since 2006 and their home has already been sold off
Sound crazy? Well, when you consider that banks like JP Morgan Chase are collecting PMI on foreclosed homes, whether they modify the loan or not, I think my demands are quite reasonable.
Let me say that again: banks like Chase are collecting the FULL VALUE OF THE MORTGAGE through PMI insurance. They have ZERO FINANCIAL INCENTIVE to modify our loans because they are already covered by insurance.
Is it any wonder that AIG, holder of many of these PMI policies, was bailed out by the government?
I have zero sympathy for the banks. They were bailed out by the Government with the TARP program, AND they collect insurance on the back end by AIG. If you or I tried to do this, they’d throw us in jail.
I have zero faith in politicians. They might pay us lip service, and claim they are protecting our interests, but in the case of the mortgage crisis, they have not. They did not create an incentive for the banks to provide loan modifications for people. The government FAILED US.
So, I support the protests. If I can find time and make it up to New York one of these days, I’ll show my support.
For now, if any of you protesters want to talk or leave a message, just call the DailySkew hotline at 716-791-7539. I’ll take the best calls and include it in the Podcast, and I may create a site for each of the calls, if time allows. I support your efforts, and if there is any way I can help get your message across, let me know.