September 18, 2009

If you want to understand ACORN ...

read Tom Wolfe's 1970 classic Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.

The big innovation in racial shakedown rackets since then, however, has been getting into the business of being pre-emptively co-opted by corporations.

Say that you are Vice President of Predatory Securitizing at an Orange County lender and you've come up with a great idea: you want to give subprime liar loans with exploding teaser interest rates to illegal immigrants, then bundle them up ("secretizing") and sell these mortgage-backed securities to naive foreigners.

But, you don't want regulators getting sniffy about your new strategy and accusing you of Predatory Lending. So, you find a leftwing community organizing group to conduct pseudo-negotiations with. They start out denouncing you for predatory lending but end up signing a deal with you that says that in the name of fighting the financial industry's despicable and tragic history of racist redlining, you pledge to lend billions to Hispanic undocumented workers. (In return, you cut the lefties in for a little piece of the action, but you don't have to give them much because they have so many competitors -- the National Community Redevelopment Alliance lists 600 member organizations.) Then you wave that agreement in front of the noses of any regulators who start asking questions: "Look, capitalists and leftists have come together to fight racism and nativism! What, are you, some kind of nativist racist?"

My vague impression is that perhaps the most professionally cynical leftist group in this racket is The Greenlining Institute, which repeatedly publicly endorsed the ethics of Roland Arnall's Ameriquest subprime boiler room operation in return for donations. ACORN, in contrast, is more anarchic and unprofessional, as the recent tapes show. But, parts of ACORN has played this game too, as Michelle Malkin points out using the example of the 2005 arrangement between Citigroup and ACORN to give loans to illegal immigrants.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

39 comments:

Noumenon said...

Steve, I just wanted to say that I don't understand this "Who? Whom?" thing you keep using. I googled site:isteve.blogspot.com and found out it was Lenin, so I googled Lenin who whom and found a Time article saying it means history is about who will triumph over whom... That doesn't make any sense.

Just wanted to let you know one of your little verbal shortcuts doesn't make sense to the casual reader (Stuff White People Like is an example of one that does).

dearieme said...

("secretizing")? u too?

Dutch Boy said...

Noumenenon: No casual readers allowed at this blogspot!

Patrick said...

Michelle Malkin was on CSPAN in July talking about her new book about the Obama Administration, "Culture of Corruption." She ripped Obama and his friends new assholes.

Then she received a question from a caller asking if she was concerned about the dual-citizenship allegedly held by Rahm Emmanuel. Malkin morphed from a tigress to a mouse and replied meekly, "No, I'm not concerned about that at all."

If Rahm Emmanuel's name was Manny Gomez and he held both Mexican and American citizenships, she would have attacked him vigorously. Michelle Malkin may spout strong words about illegal immigration, but at her core, she is an Israel-Firster piece of garbage.

Anonymous said...

What a post. It distills so much of what happened to your 401K down to its essence (the housing bubble), and gave you the nuts and bolts of how it happened.



What is really a shame is that diversity drives up housing prices, making everybody a little poorer, so they have to get more leveraged to buy an acceptable house in an area of town that they feel safe in. The two groups above, the lenders and the ACORN's, by wanting as many illegals here as possible, have made almost all of America poorer with their malfeasance.


Even the gated communities get more expensive as demand goes up for them, so the corporate "royals" end up paying more for their own homes than what they otherwise would have. I wonder if they consider that when they think about how much money they save having that Honduran day maid. If their $950K home would have only cost $850K in an America that was still 85% white, was the Honduran maid and getting the yard cut for 10 bucks less per week -really- worth it?




Yes, I know.......a pox on me, and camel's fleas, and syphillis, and I'll be the meanest guy in hell, etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

my interpretation of who:whom is "who has the right do do what to whom."

basically, "who has power, and whom can they control."

is that right?

Pat Shuff said...

600 laundry machines for funneling Treasury funds into campaigns although laundry machinery isn't exactly restricted to either side of aisle. Campaign finance reform in the wake of the Abramoff scandal for example, making lobbyist sponsored fund raisers illegal but with enough loopholes to render the reform an honor system. Nobody is going to make an issue of the dirty laundry on the other side of aisle in whiteWashing(by the)Ton, DC.

Anonymous said...

Diversity is weakness.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to a 2003 article in City Journal that makes pretty much the same point you are making about ACORN and the banks. (I did a Google search and it doesn't look like you've linked to it in previous posts).

Mr. Anon said...

"Noumenon said...

I googled site:isteve.blogspot.com and found out it was Lenin, so I googled Lenin who whom and found a Time article saying it means history is about who will triumph over whom... That doesn't make any sense."

Huh?

From WHOM shall be taken, and WHO shall do the taking.

Got it!?

Fellow Traveller said...

It struck me when I read Wolfe's piece the other day (before you linked to it) that he described a sort of unintended consequences scenario: the City Hall bureaucrats wanted to be seen doing something about ghetto violence, they needed to find leaders in the local community and the young street dudes saw an opening for themselves in that capacity. It worked as a top down meets bottom up process outcome.

Whereas it seems to me that you've described in contrast a wholly top down plan: two groups at the top (leftist political activists and bankers) teamed up to offer a 'solution' that probably only benefited each of them. You don't really have an even semi-organized group at the bottom meeting them half way.

Vilko said...

It means who KILLS whom, right?

Let's! said...

Not to mention that the capitalists believe this stuff. Been to a marketing convention lately?

Attractive, 110-IQ types (smart enough to look up and repeat statistics but not to analyze them or put them in context) raving about "Hispanic buying power," "18-24," "brand loyalty of the future."

You leave these sessions thinking that a NAM's dollar is worth five times as much as a white or Asian's dollar.

Henry Canaday said...

One of the reasons it is hard to disentangle the causes of the financial collapse is that banks are like sheep. Sheep ranchers say that the hardest part of raising sheep is that sheep want to commit suicide. Actually, sheep are just too dumb to know how to live longer.

Bankers are a like that, but because they are very smart. Given the very small equity owners put in, relative to loan volume, owners can earn very high returns by making risky loans at slightly higher interest rates. If equity owners have diversified their investments, they can maximize the expected value of their total investment by accepting significant risk of their bank equity being wiping out. So active regulation, alert to changes in investment risk, is the public’s only real protection. When regulators are operating under political incentives that point in the same direction as the bankers’ financial incentives, we may have to pick up a lot of dead sheep.

Anecdotal data point: Has anyone seen a heterosexual white male working in their local bank lately? I haven’t. One of my DC banks now has two black vice presidents, a collection of Hispanic and South Asian tellers, one knock-out gorgeous white female teller, a Polish lady lawyer studying for her bar exam, and the gay guy who works at the center desk. Now all of these people are very friendly and competent, so far as I can see, and the bank is not one of those that got in trouble with mortgage-backed securities. So I guess I am grateful that this bank paid their diversity Danegeld by diverse hiring and then worked hard to get the right diverse staff, rather than by making dumb loans. But it does make you wonder how strong and omnipresent the pressure for diversity in the banking business is.

My other bank, similarly deserted by white heterosexual males, is Citibank.

tommy said...

A little bit about Arnall from Wikipedia:

He became the billionaire owner of ACC Capital Holdings, the parent company of Ameriquest, which was once one of the United States's largest and most aggressive sub-prime lenders. In early 2006, the company announced a $325 million settlement with state attorneys general and law enforcement agencies and financial regulators in 49 states and the District of Columbia over allegations of predatory lending practices. Predatory and illegal practices Ameriquest was accused of included misrepresenting and failing to disclose loan terms, charging excessive loan origination fees and inflating appraisals to qualify borrowers for loans.[...]

Arnall and his wife, Dawn, were longtime, generous political contributors, giving to both parties, according to Federal Election Commission records. Arnall had two children with his first wife Sally, Daniel and Michelle.[...]

In 1977, Arnall helped found the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights organization, and the Museum of Tolerance. He served for 16 years on the California State University board of trustees.[...]

Since 2002, Arnall had given campaign contributions to California politicians including Arnold Schwarzenegger.[...]

In the 2003-2005 period, Arnall and his wife raised more than $12 million for George W. Bush's political efforts, including $5 million for the Progress for America Voter Fund, a self-proclaimed "conservative issue advocacy organization dedicated to keeping the issue record straight." In 2004 he was one of the top 10 donors to the Republican Party.[...]

On May 9th, SHMAIS.com (Lubavitch News Website) reported that Chabad of California was to be the beneficiary of an $18,000,000.00 donation from the estate of Roland Arnall. According to their source, before his passing, he made arrangements for Rabbi Shlomo Cunin to receive the donation, and a short while later sent in a down payment of $180,000.00


I don't if Ameriquest's shady lending practices were good for the Jews, but it appears they were certainly good for many Republican politicians, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the Lubavitchers.

tommy said...

The big lesson from Ameriquest: never trust a guy who bears a striking resemblance to Jacques Chirac.

TGGP said...

You can read Mau-Mauing the flak catchers online.

Anonymous said...

"My other bank, similarly deserted by white heterosexual males, is Citibank."

The hetero ex-bank employees are now independent loan brokers.
Now they only have to deal with the women running the bank loan depts by phone and email.

Anonymous said...

It means who KILLS whom, right?

Yeah, I always figured that it meant who sends whom to the Lubyanka or to the Gulag.

Or who starves whom in the Ukraine.

Or who shoots whom in the Katyn Forest.

Etc etc etc.

Anonymous said...

You leave these sessions thinking that a NAM's dollar is worth five times as much as a white or Asian's dollar.

Actually...

Oh, never mind.

Former Goldman Drone said...

"Not to mention that the capitalists believe this stuff. Been to a marketing convention lately?

Attractive, 110-IQ types (smart enough to look up and repeat statistics but not to analyze them or put them in context) raving about "Hispanic buying power," "18-24," "brand loyalty of the future.""


Google "Hispanization of the United States" and "Goldman Sachs".

sj71 said...

Broadly, 'Who will f***/stick it to whom', who will prevail.

OT, update on my favorite character from The Obamas.

Anonymous said...

OT:

Eager Students Fall Prey to Apartheid’s Legacy in S. Africa

"Seniors here at Kwamfundo high school sang freedom songs and protested outside the staff room last year because their accounting teacher chronically failed to show up for class."

"“We kept waiting, and there was no action,” said Masixole Mabetshe, who failed the exams and who now, out of work, passes the days watching TV."

"Finally the students’ frustration turned riotous. They threw bricks, punched two teachers and stabbed one in the head with scissors, witnesses said."

Moral of the story - it's all white people's fault!

"“If you say 3 times 3, they will say 6,” said Patrine Makhele, a math teacher at Kwamfundo here in this overwhelmingly black township, echoing the complaint of colleagues who say children get to high school not knowing their multiplication tables."

The article goes on to say that this is a legacy of apartheid as well. If tomorrow the earth opened up and swallowed Johannesburg whole, I'm sure the NYT would also call that the legacy of apartheid.

Which reminds me - a year or two ago there was some talk of the NYT possibly closing down due to bankruptcy. I never believed it. It's not in the business of making money. Money's not the point here - propaganda is. Does "The People's Daily" make any money? Do the people who run China care?

Truth said...

"If their $950K home would have only cost $850K in an America that was still 85% white, was the Honduran maid and getting the yard cut for 10 bucks less per week -really- worth it?"

Maybe, but in an 85% white America, a $950K home would cost $1.25M because:

The population would be static or declining and there would be no reason to build it.

Most of the labor positions would be staffed by whites who demanded $22 dollars an hour to swing a hammer...if you could even find white people who wanted to work 10 hours a day in the sun.

The above point would cause ALL manufacturing to be outsourced instead of most of it today, which would lead to a ridiculously high unemployment level amongst whites born without the advantages. Look at that of Germany.

Companies would be competing for the dollar of much more conservative buyers who were more likely to put their money in the bank than buy things, which would lead to negative GDP growth.

There would be a much higher percentage of large families which lowered the necessity of large homes.

Etc...etc...etc.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I just wanted to say that I don't understand this "Who? Whom?" thing you keep using.

Think of Tops & Bottoms (in the Turkish prison sense).

Svigor said...

my interpretation of who:whom is "who has the right do do what to whom."

basically, "who has power, and whom can they control."

is that right?


The way I use it is broader; it means, on any given question, "who? Whom?" It's the most consistent rule I can find for liberalism AKA the dominant position.

E.g., Is racism bad? Depends on who and whom. Is aristocracy bad? Depends on who and whom (old WASP aristocracy bad; new Jewish or Irish aristocracy (Kennedys) good). What is civil behavior? Depends on who and whom (leftists can do whatever they want; everyone else must behave like Ward Cleaver). Is centralized power bad? Depends on who and whom (traditional, non-suicidal white folks? Bad. Commies? Good). Are ethno-nationalism and ethnocentrism good or bad? Depends on who and whom (if you're Jewish or non-white, they get a pass; if they're European, they get the pillory). Should the press erect a culture of critique and speak truth to power? Depends on who and whom (Bush yes, Obama no).

I could go on like this at book-length. It's a far more consistent description of the ruling party's behavior than anything they ostensibly believe.

I don't know how close this is to the "official" definition and I don't care, because it works.

Svigor said...

Who/whom is another way of pointing out that, the longer you look, the more apparent our ruling class' lack of principle.

Svigor said...

It means who KILLS whom, right?

Vilko gets it. One can fill in a wide variety of verbs in place of "KILLS."

Phrased as an answer, who/whom becomes, "it depends."

Think of Tops & Bottoms (in the Turkish prison sense).

Another great, erm, analogy. In down low/prison culture, you're only a homo if you're on the bottom.

Anonymous said...

-Companies would be competing for the dollar of much more conservative buyers who were more likely to put their money in the bank than buy things, which would lead to negative GDP growth.-

Luckily, our culture of saving nothing and spending lots of money (which we don't have or borrowed) has kept the economy in great shape!

Anonymous said...

Interesting quote from that City Journal article:

"True, back when the now-defunct savings-and-loan industry provided most of the nation’s mortgages at rates capped by law, S&Ls often avoided lending in inner-city neighborhoods, where the risks of default were higher than usual, because they couldn’t charge increased interest to compensate them for the increased risk. But today, lenders can adjust the interest rates they charge borrowers according to the riskiness of the loan, so that they can make a profit by lending in the inner city. Today too, hundreds of individual mortgages are packaged together and sold to investors as “mortgage-backed securities,” whose overall default rate is much easier to predict than the default probability of any individual mortgage. Thanks to these innovations, the capital available to inner-city borrowers is now plentiful."

Things were so simple in 2003, weren't they?

Anonymous said...

"Maybe, but in an 85% white America, a $950K home would cost $1.25M because:

The population would be static or declining and there would be no reason to build it."

Ah, I see. So decreasing demand leads to increasing prices? Did you learn that in Bizarro Economics 101?

David said...

There appears to be lingering confusion over the locution "Who/Whom." Here is some more help with understanding this essential concept.

Who sticks it to whom.

Who's ox is gored. (deliberate spelling here as always)

Who is on top of whom.

Who has the power, using it on whom.

Who has the gold (or the guns) is he who makes the rules for whomever hasn't.

In other words, to hell with principles, we're in the saddle and what are you going to do about it?

Or, as a grinning black co-worker once phrased it to me: "There is no justice. There is only JUST-US."

I hope this helps with understanding "Who/Whom."

Truth said...

"Luckily, our culture of saving nothing and spending lots of money (which we don't have or borrowed) has kept the economy in great shape!"

I don't know if that was meant to be sarcasm, but that's exactly what it has done. The future however (and no one knows when "the future" begins) is a totally different story.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe, but in an 85% white America, a $950K home would cost $1.25M because:

The population would be static or declining and there would be no reason to build it."

Uh, lemme see if I got this straight. With fewer people wanting to buy something, the price will go up?

How does that work? I have been to OLD NAVY and when the stuff doesn't sell, they lower the price.

Likewise when houses don't sell, prices go down.

That is how we sold our last house. We reduced the price. Really, I am not making this up.

David said...

Oh no, must make another comment.

> that's exactly what it has done. [...] no one knows when "the future" begins <

Rather present-oriented, aren't you, Truth?

No one knows when the future begins. My gawd. Classic.

headache said...

Or, as a grinning black co-worker once phrased it to me: "There is no justice. There is only JUST-US."


Then why were all the blacks and liberals crying over Rhodesia and Apartheid, and why were the whites down there expected to oblige or face a nuking? Surely by the measure of your black co-worker the whites down there were doing the right thing for themselves?

Truth said...

"Uh, lemme see if I got this straight. With fewer people wanting to buy something, the price will go up?"

Exactly, because lack of business leads that small fish to get eaten by the big fish. They correspondingly get to set the market prices...which will of course be higher.

"Likewise when houses don't sell, prices go down."


I was not talking about houses that are already built, that is why I factored in labor costs.

Mr. Anon said...

"David said...

"No one knows when the future begins." My gawd. Classic.

That actually is a nice little aphorism.

David said...

> That actually is a nice little aphorism. <

It really is. I said it was classic.

But it was being used to justify an extreme present orientation, on the order of that described by Alice Rosenbaum ("Ayn Rand") as: "The goods are here. [So let's grab 'em.]"

Truth's soulmate in this issue seems to be Lord Keynes, who shrugged, "In the long run, we'll all be dead."

Seriously, the future never does begin. Deep, man!