ABC brilliant last night: "Mortgage Meltdown" and Imran Khan

14 Oct

Last night Auntie indulged herself in a repeat, as well she might. Mortgage Meltdown was first broadcast on Four Corners in September 2007.

PAUL BARRY: Mark Seiffert is a housing activist in Cleveland Ohio, the foreclosure capital of the United States. The hundreds of people who file into his offices every week are not rich and are not speculators, but they’ve been persuaded to take out expensive subprime loans they can’t pay back and should never have got into.

WOMAN (speaking to counsellor): … Mortgage started in September at an adjustable rate, which is almost $300 more than I was paying. When my husband lost his job …

PAUL BARRY: Now their city is now seeing a tidal wave of evictions and foreclosures.

MARK SEIFFERT, HOUSING ACTIVIST, CLEVELAND OHIO: It’s devastating. I mean, you know we’ve had, in Cleveland there’s supposedly about 80,000 property units, buildings. Ten thousand of those are vacant as of today. And we’re seeing foreclosures increasing by more than 300 per cent over the last couple of years.

And it’s no longer an inner city, minority, poor person type issue, it’s, you know, we see men, women, black white, it’s married, single, wealthy, middle income, lower income, fixed income. There is no, you know, status quo. I mean fire fighters, architects, TV reporters. It’s everybody. And it’s, you know, the crisis is just beginning.


PAUL BARRY: But bad as the problems clearly are for California and for Cleveland, how on earth have they spread so far as to shake the world?

The answer lies here on Wall St, because it was the big banks and brokers here who put up the massive amounts of money that fuelled the huge lending surge and the dodgy loans then came back here to be parcelled up into mortgage backed securities and collateralised debt obligations and sold to investors all around the world, with everyone picking up fat fees along the way.

SATYAJIT DAS, AUTHOR, ‘TRADERS, GUNS AND MONEY’:A German banker recently said to me with a very Germanic accent, “Why is somebody not paying their mortgage in Luneville, West Virginia,” and this is a real town by the way, “going to affect me?”

And the reason is very simple. Because of the web of transactions in global finance now and capital flows, people from all round the world have invested in the US.

PAUL BARRY: Satyajit Das is a world expert on hedge funds and credit markets and an adviser to banks around the world.

Based here in Australia he has long been warning how easily a crisis like this could develop.

SATYAJIT DAS, AUTHOR, ‘TRADERS, GUNS AND MONEY’:To give you an idea of global capital flows, 85 per cent of capital flows from Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East is in to the US. And a good chunk of that has gone into the subprime mortgage area, or the mortgage area in general.

PAUL BARRY (to Satyajit Das): So the money comes from overseas and it then gets lent out to people in Cleveland, Ohio?

SATYAJIT DAS, AUTHOR, ‘TRADERS, GUNS AND MONEY’:That’s absolutely correct.

PAUL BARRY (to Satyajit Das): Right.

SATYAJIT DAS, AUTHOR, ‘TRADERS, GUNS AND MONEY’:That’s absolutely correct.

PAUL BARRY (to Satyajit Das): So when the people in Cleveland, Ohio, stop paying, the wave comes back again outwards?

SATYAJIT DAS, AUTHOR, ‘TRADERS, GUNS AND MONEY’:It’s like the old saying about chaos theory: the flapping of the wings of a butterfly in the Amazon causes a Caribbean hurricane. And that’s what we’re seeing now.

Do read/watch. Yes, well worth repeating!

Then on Enough Rope we had an interview with the rather wonderful Pakistani cricketer turned politician Imran Khan.

ANDREW DENTON: I’d like to talk a bit about that, in fact to help people I’ve got a little map here just to give some sense of where this all is in the world. Here’s Pakistan, here’s Afghanistan and this is the tribal area and this is the Patan region where you went in the early ‘90’s because that’s where your ancestors are from?

IMRAN KHAN: That’s right. Now the Patan’s live all over…

ANDREW DENTON: All over yes…

IMRAN KHAN: They live on this rim of Afghanistan. And all this is also Patan. But this is the tribal area where it’s a very, it’s a rugged mountainous area where they’ve always lived independently and it’s part of Pakistan but only 40 Laws of Pakistan apply there. I mean there’s no Pakistan Police there, there’s no Civil Service there. They run them themselves, so it’s called the tribal area of Pakistan.

ANDREW DENTON: And why it’s relevant to what we’re going to talk about later is this is allegedly the area where Osama bin Laden is, certainly where a lot of the insurgents in Pakistan and Afghanistan are based. When you went there, to trace your ancestry, there’s a culture of the Paten, the way of the Paten, can you explain what that is?

IMRAN KHAN: I mean no one knows where Osama Bin Laden lives. I mean you know it’s just an assumption. That he lives there, but I mean the mountains in Afghanistan they’re equally unexplored and rugged and he could be anywhere. It is the most rugged area, it’s mountain area but it’s very difficult to find anyone there. I mean and that and then the border of Afghanistan is two and a half thousand kilometres, and every month about 150,000 people cross over to Afghanistan and come back, because there is no border.

ANDREW DENTON: I’d like to show some photos from your journey there this was in ’92 and what you discovered is that pretty much everyone, all the men in the region had a rifle usually a Kalashnikov is that right?

IMRAN KHAN: Look every super power that has come there starting from Darius who was a Persian when Persians were super powers, to Alexander, to the Mongolians, to the Mongols who were a super power, to the British, to the Russians, every super power has when they’ve got stuck there. Because every man is a warrior, every man is armed even now every man carries a gun. The important thing to understand is that which I’ve actually tried to explain to the American Senators and Politicians, basically what they’re asking Pakistan to do, what they were in the beginning, that there was something like 800 to 1200 Al Qaeda supposedly in that tribal area, to get them they had basically they’re pushing about a million armed men towards them. Now to get 800 to 1200 people, it is the most moronic policy that they’re alienating a million men who are potential recruits to Al Qaeda.

Again, brilliant stuff. I recommend everyone, especially perhaps our friends in the USA, read these wonderful programs.

And then there was Kevin Bloody Wilson. What can I say, except that he did disarm me? I ought to disapprove… 😉

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Posted by on October 14, 2008 in America, Australia, Australia and Australian, challenge, current affairs, globalisation/corporations, Islam, South Asian, terrorism, USA


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