Why #OccupyWallStreet Doesn’t Support Obama: His “Nothing to See Here” Stance on Bank Looting

Despite the efforts of some liberal pundits and organizers (and by extension, the Democratic party hackocracy) to lay claim to OccupyWallStreet, the nascent movement is having none of it. Participants are critical of the President’s bank-coddling ways and Obama gave a remarkably bald-face confirmation of their dim views.

As Dave Dayen recounts, Obama was cornered into explaining why his Administration has been soft of bank malfeasance. His defense amounted to “They’re savvy businessmen”: “Banks are in the business of making money, and they find loopholes.”

Is breaking IRS rules a “loophole”? How about making repeated false certifications in SEC filings? Or as Dayen points out, fabricating documents? Or making wrongful foreclosures, aka stealing houses?

The Administration’s strategy for maintaining this posture is by being anti-investigation and anti-transparency. As we’ve discussed, the stress tests were a sham. The foreclosure task force didn’t even try to look serious, it was a mere 8 week investigation and of 2800 cases chosen for review (in no scientific manner), only 100 were foreclosures. The US Trustee’s office found a level of servicing errors more than 10 times that asserted by banks and happily parroted by Federal banking regulators. We expect readers could add to this list just as readily as we can.

There are plenty of grounds for legal action. Contrary to the Obama/Geithner position, this is a target rich environment. And some of the violations were persistent and deliberate enough that they might well raise to the level of being criminal. This is a mere illustrative tally:

1. Violation of REMIC (real estate mortgage conduit) rules, which are IRS provisions which allow mortgage backed securities to be treated as pass-through entities. As we’ve indicated, the violations were clear cut and are easily documented. Moreover, when the senior enforcement officer in the IRS was alerted last year, she was keenly interested. But the word that came back was the the question had gone to the White House, and the answer was to nix going after these violations: “We are not going to use tax as a tool of policy.” So this is not a case of creative use of “loopholes,” this is prima facie evidence of an Administration policy of protecting the banks.

2. Consumer fraud under HAMP. Catherine Masto of Nevada has already delineated this case in her second amended complaint against numerous Bank of America entities (in fact, the evidently clueless President could find a raft of other litigation ideas in her filing). All the servicers engaged in similar egregious conduct.

3. Securities fraud by mortgage trustees and serivcers. While the statute of limitations for securities fraud for the sale of toxic mortgage securities in the runup to the crisis has now passed, securitization trustees and servicers are making false certifications in periodic SEC filings. In layperson terms, the trustee certifies that everything is kosher with the trust assets. As readers well know, in many cases the custodians do not have the notes or they were not conveyed to the trust as stipulated in the pooling and servicing agreement (as in they were not properly endorsed through the chain of title).

Now of course, pursuing this sort of litigation would blow up the mortgage industrial complex. But it represents a powerful weapon to bring unrepentant bankers to heel.

4. Widespread risk management failures as Sarbanes-Oxley violations. As we’ve discussed, Sarbox provides a fairly low risk path to criminal prosecutions. And we believe the SEC has been incorrectly deterred by an adverse ruling in the early stages of its case against Angelo Mozilo. In that case, the judge (with no explanation of his ruling) barred the SEC from claiming SEC violations (which this case did) and double dipping by adding a Sarbox charge (securities fraud statutes parallel Sarbox language; indeed, that was one of the complaints re Sarbox, that many of its provisions were already represented in existing law). That’s far more significant than it appears. As we argued in an earlier post, the language in Section 302 (civil violations) tracks the language in Section 906 (criminal violations). A win on a Section 302 case would thus set up what would appear to be a slam dunk criminal case.

But Sarbox also contains language not present in existing securities statutes that would allow for criminal prosecution for exactly the sort of behavior that caused the crisis, namely, inadequate risk management (we discuss at length in ECONNED how risk management is kept politically weak by design and serves too often as a fig leaf for management). As we noted earlier:

Since Sarbanes Oxley became law in 2002, Sections 302, 404, and 906 of that act have required these executives to establish and maintain adequate systems of internal control within their companies. In addition, they must regularly test such controls to see that they are adequate and report their findings to shareholders (through SEC reports on Form 10-Q and 10-K) and their independent accountants. “Knowingly” making false section 906 certifications is subject to fines of up to $1 million and imprisonment of up to ten years; “willful” violators face fines of up to $5 million and jail time of up to 20 years.

The responsible officers must certify that, among other things, they:

(A) are responsible for establishing and maintaining internal controls;
(B) have designed such internal controls to ensure that material information relating to the issuer and its consolidated subsidiaries is made known to such officers by others within those entities, particularly during the period in which the periodic reports are being prepared;
(C) have evaluated the effectiveness of the issuer’s internal controls as of a date within 90 days prior to the report; and
(D) have presented in the report their conclusions about the effectiveness of their internal controls based on their evaluation as of that date;

These officers must also have disclosed to the issuer’s auditors and the audit committee of the board of directors (or persons fulfilling the equivalent function):

(A) all significant deficiencies in the design or operation of internal controls which could adversely affect the issuer’s ability to record, process, summarize, and report financial
data and have identified for the issuer’s auditors any material weaknesses in internal controls; and
(B) any fraud, whether or not material, that involves management or other employees who have a significant role in the issuer’s internal controls

The premise of this requirement was to give assurance to investors as to (i) the integrity of the company’s financial reports and (ii) there were no big risks that the company was taking that it had not disclosed to investors.

This section puts those signing the certifications, which is at a minimum the CEO and the CFO, on the hook for both the adequacy of internal controls around financial reporting (to be precise) and the accuracy of reporting to public investors about them. Internal controls for a bank with major trading operations would include financial reporting and risk management.

It’s almost certain that you can’t have an adequate system of internal controls if you all of a sudden drop multi-billion dollar loss bombs on investors out of nowhere. Banks are not supposed to gamble with depositors’ and investors’ money like an out-of-luck punter at a racetrack. It’s pretty clear many of the banks who went to the wall or had to be bailed out because they were too big to fail, and I’ll toss AIG in here as well, had no idea they were betting the farm every day with the risks they were taking.

As readers know, it isn’t that there is no case against the major banks, it’s that the Administration is determined not to make it. The fact that New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who has been in office less than a year and has only a dozen attorneys on his staff, has filed as many cases as he has on the banking front (and remember, this is one of many beats he is expected to cover) is a stinging repudiation to the Administration. As we’ve indicated, there is evidence of an active press campaign to promote Iowa state AG Tom Miller, the head of whatever is left of the “50 state” attorney general negotiations (and increasingly take down Schneiderman).

This truly embarrassing article from The Daily Beast is the latest example. There isn’t the slightest effort to understand why the failure of the formerly 50 state AGs to investigate means that the idea that there is a possibility of a worthwhile settlement for states and consumers is pure unadulterated horseshit. And so the author imputes bad motives to Schneiderman, when in fact there is a credible case that Miller was trying to curry favor with the Administration (he was fawning over the Treasury’s Michael Barr in Congressional hearings, and it was widely believed he was angling to become the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).

As much as I disagree with the overall story line of Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men (that the naive Obama was done a dirty by his economics team, in particular Geithner), many of the vignettes are relevant. For instance, the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance, frustrated with its inability to understand how Wall Street had changed, called imprisoned insider trader Dennis Levine to see if he might be able to shed some light. Representative Ed Markey recounted that Levine had said it had become a game, with the banks engaging in behavior that was “subtly fraudulent.” They used lawyers to help steer a path that would make it hard to prosecute them, and also focused on activities where the returns more than offset the risks.

What did Levine recommend?

You need to send out a slew of indictments, all at once, and on 3 PM on a sunny day, have Federal Marshalls perp-walk three hundred Wall Street executives out of their offices in handcuffs and out on the street, with lots of cameras rolling. Everyone else would say, “If that happened to me, my mother would be ashamed.”

Pretty much everyone who is not part of the problem instinctively knows that needed to happen. Yet Obama and other members of the elite keep trying to placate the protestors by acknowledging that they have legitimate concerns while refusing to take needed corrective steps.

The disproportionate media reaction to what even as of this week are still fairly small scale demonstrations reveals an acute and well warranted sense of vulnerability among the elites. The word “entitlement” has become inadequate to capture the preening self-regard, the obliviousness to the damage that high-flying finance has inflicted on the real economy. There is ample evidence of widespread opposition to the looting of the banking industry, going back to the 99 to 1 opposition in calls to Congress on the TARP (it fell to a mere 4:1 when the industry realized what was happening and mobilized employees to weigh in).

The officialdom has chosen to mistake sullen resignation of citizens in the face of the bailouts and brazen continued looting as complacency. But the ruling classes recognize, too late, that OccupyWallStreet is a spark on perilously dry tinder. Efforts by police to contain the demonstrators keep backfiring, giving them legitimacy, free PR, and eliciting considerable sympathy.

Ironically, the banks and their state backers seem almost hopelessly locked into strategies that will continue to fail. And if they escalate, that action has the potential to be the sort of galvanizing event that they fear most. The nightmare of the elites that may well be visited upon them is one day doors all over the US will open and hordes of the heretofore discenfranchised 99% to walk to their town squares and show by the mere force of turning up united against known enemies that they can and will prevail.

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158 comments

  1. psychohistorian

    I was at the Occupy Portland (OR) today and, as I said in another comment earlier, the message that I kept getting from folks that I talked to about the seemingly wide ranging problems we face was the words from a Blues song from the 30’s I heard this past weekend…

    You may call me crazy but at least I know right from wrong.

    The Occupy everywhere folks just need to keep saying what they are saying and sooner or later some enlightened leadership will get the message.

    You don’t know what is happening, do you, Mr Jones……….

    1. Lyman Alpha Blob

      Unfortunately, enlightened leaders aren’t what this country does any more and we aren’t likely to see such creature any time soon especially since the Citizen’s United decision.

      I attended a OWS rally in my city yesterday and lots of supportive people stopped by asking me questions as if I knew who was in charge. Had to tell them that nobody really is and it’s up to them to decide if they want to stand with the rest of us for a while.

      We’re going to have to do this ourselves. hopefully the end result will be something like what Motorhead envisioned in a recent video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O02Gnzn5JDY&feature=player_embedded

  2. CB

    I’m not a bank(er), so there are lots of loopholes I can’t use, but……. I’d love to loophole my taxes. Is that possible? Little, ordinary citizen me, tax loopholer? Whaddaya think?

    1. rd

      I’m working on it.

      A couple of theories that I am using:

      1. My knowledge and intellect is capital. Therefore when I am working for my employer, the pay I am receiving is really not “wages and salary”. Instead, it is “return on capital that had been left in the firm for an extended period of time at risk”. Therefore, my pay is really “carried interest” and should be taxed as capital gains with no FICA taxes.

      2. We can grow hydroponic gardens in our apartments and homes. That makes us a “farm” that entitles us to all sorts of tax cuts and subsidies.

      3. That annual cruise now becomes our primary residence, so we don’t actually don’t live in any country, state or city and don’t owe them income taxes. (It’s a loophole as long as you don’t get caught).

      If the government won’t go along with these interpretations, then I will simply refuse to do any work since it won’t be worth my while.

      1. CB

        A friend and I were thinking about starting a camera store under the aegis of a religious tax exemption: we were going to call it the Church of the Graven Image.

        1. Downpuppy

          I assume y’all are joking, but for the record : The IRS has heard all these before & isn’t laughing.

          Laws still apply to little people.

          1. rd

            You are correct. The concept of human capital being taxed as capital gains only applies to hedge fundies etc. who can afford to own their own politician.

        2. ambrit

          Hey Folks;
          From family experience; just ask any tradesman who locks up the work truck in the yard at night if the family dog is or is not a ‘burglar alarm’ for company expense purposes.

    2. jpmist

      I think you’re on to something. Since the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are now people, we need to equalize the tax rules so actual human people can deduct their cars, homes, debt service and medical insurance from their income the same as corporations do.

      Kramer explains it all for you here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCZRqH7sRyA

      1. Randomhell

        To jpmist:

        Don’t forget that Corporations can deduct any expenses related to producing revenues. So, as an individual, I need to eat in order to work…can I deduct my food? Businesses can even deduct “Entertainment Expenses” to a certain extent. Maybe that $10 movie ticket wouldn’t look so bad if I could deduct 30% off my taxes.

        You get the idea.

  3. jake chase

    The sad truth is that this government has a see no evil approach to corporate and bank predation, thinks all these legal rules are just for punishing little people. Is BHO the reincarnation of Leonia Helmsley? His mantra seems to be regulate people and free corporations. I thought that was what Republicans did? When will all these knee jerk Democrat supporters understand who they really elected? My best guess is sometime in 2013.

    1. Bev

      Everyone should support Dennis Kucinich.

      Please Protesters, Ralliers and the Kids, Adults, Grandparents

      this is a Worthy Goal.

      Make Posters, T-shirts, etc
      for Wall Street, The FED, Everywhere.

      Support
      Dennis Kucinich

      The NEED Act
      to Help Us All
      The National Emergency Employment Defense Act

      …….

      Dennis Kucinich’s Bill, H.R. 6550, the National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act of 2010, provides the superior fix to that almost un-fixable of our national financial systems, the private, debt-based money system of money creation using bank-credits and consumer-debts, known as fractional reserve banking.

      The Kucinich Bill – available here –

      http://kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/NEED_ACT.pdf

      puts an end to the entire private fractional reserve
banking system, replacing it with one of government-issue of the nation’s circulating media, without issuing any debt.

      ,,,,,,,,

      http://www.monetary.org/news


      How the Economists Facilitated the Crisis and How HR 6550* Solves it


      snip

      …Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced the National Emergency Employment Defense Act (“NEED,” HR 6550*) which contains all the monetary reform provisions of The American Monetary Act- see the brochure at http://www.monetary.org.

      It is much more than regulation; it fundamentally reforms our private CREDIT/DEBT system now wrecking our nation and harming all humanity, and replaces it with a government MONEY system.


      The Act achieves reform with 3 basic provisions. All three are necessary; doing one or two of them wouldn’t work and could cause more damage.

      In brief:


      First the Federal Reserve gets incorporated into the U.S. Treasury where all new money is created by our government – what people think happens now.


      Second, It ends the fractional reserve system. Banks no longer have the accounting privilege of creating our money supply. All their previously issued credit is converted into U.S. Money through an elegant and gentle accounting change. The banks are held accountable for this conversion and from that point operate the way people think they do now – as intermediaries between depositors and borrowers.


      Third, new money is introduced by the government spending it into circulation for infrastructure, starting with the $2.2 trillion the engineers tell us is needed to properly maintain our infrastructure over the next 5 years. Infrastructure will include the necessary human infrastructure of health care and education.


      Banks are encouraged to continue lending as profit making companies, but are no longer allowed to create our money supply through their loan making activity.


      Thus, The NEED Act nationalizes the money system, not the banking system. Banking is absolutely not a proper function of government, but providing the nation’s money supply is a key function of government. No one else can do it properly. Talk of nationalizing the banking business really acts like a poison pill to block real reform. Same for talk of the states going into the banking business keeping the fractional reserve system in place, and allowing the banks to continue creating what we use for money! That would reform nothing and actually endorses the fractional reserve system! It is a farcical diversion, misleading some good people away from real monetary reform at the only time reform is possible – during a crisis. All serious Monetary reformers understand that banks can not be allowed to create our money supply.


      Despite prejudice against government, most people are surprised to learn that history shows government has a far superior record in controlling the money system than private controllers have. And yes that includes the continental currency, the Greenbacks and even the German Hyperinflation; which by the way took place under a completely privatized German central bank, with all governmental influence removed! These facts, though not taught in your econ classes, are discussed at length in my book The Lost Science of Money available here.
 http://www.monetary.org/

      1. Bev

        Pardon me, I forgot to attribute the source of one of the above quotes, and it comes from Naked Capitalism…

        from:
        http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/01/state-banks-or-if-you-cant-regulate-tbtf-banks-why-not-compete-instead.html

        joebhed from http://www.economicstability.org/
        http://www.economicstability.org/joes-monetary-literacy-course
        says:
        January 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm

        Yves,
        Great that you’re talking about monetary alternatives – something outside the normal financialist’s scope of discussion.

        The best thing that can come of a well-thought out state banking proposal is the education of the state populous regarding things monetary and how the monetary powers are set up, and the potential for state benefits.

        The worst thing about any move to direct state banking is IF it removes from the same state population the proper understanding of the need for and potential for federal banking and monetary reform.

        Dennis Kucinich’s Bill, H.R. 6550, the National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act of 2010, provides the superior fix to that almost un-fixable of our national financial systems, the private, debt-based money system of money creation using bank-credits and consumer-debts, known as fractional reserve banking.

        The Kucinich Bill – available here –

        http://kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/NEED_ACT.pdf

        puts an end to the entire private fractional reserve
banking system, replacing it with one of government-issue of the nation’s circulating media, without issuing any debt.

        When its complete, even the state banks will have to switch over to a full-reserve based lending system. But no problem there.

        ……

        http://www.monetary.org/american-money-scene-5-august-16-2009/2009/08

        Why States Going into the Banking Business Would be a Distraction, not a Solution to their Fiscal Problem
        by Jamie Walton, AMI researcher

        “We may not be able to stop them, but we can join them. We the people need to play the bankers’ game ourselves.”1 – that was written by one of the promoters of the notion that the state governments should go into the fractional reserve banking business to beat Wall Street at its own game and solve their fiscal problems.
        snip

        So what is the solution?

        It’s the monetary system which must be changed to end the fiscal crisis, and State governments cannot do this – it’s a matter for the Federal Government.

        Under present constitutional and legal conventions, the only institutions that can create money without debt are national treasuries and/or central banks. State governments within a federal nation cannot do this – the problem can only be solved at the national level.
        snip

        We have a big problem in our economy and society today: too much debt. Banking cannot solve this problem because banking produces debt, which is the problem. It’s incredible that even now the delusion of borrowing ourselves out of debt is still seen as a solution, by anyone, let alone so-called reformers. We’re in a deep hole because we listened to cheerleaders yelling “keep on digging” without thinking. We cannot afford to keep doing this any more.

        Proposing to get governments involved in banking is the complete opposite of a solution, because it keeps the problem in place.

        As American Monetary Institute Chapter Leader, Dick Distelhorst, says:

        “We don’t want to put the government into the banking business – we want to get the banks out of the money creation business!” – Dick Distelhorst

        The correct solution to the crisis was presented in Stephen Zarlenga’s speech at the U.S. Treasury in December, 2003, titled “Solution to the States’ fiscal crisis” (read it at http://www.monetary.org). That solution has become the proposed American Monetary Act.
        snip

        Historical experience has taught us what we need to do:

        1. Put the Federal Reserve System into the U.S. Treasury.

        2. Stop the banking system creating any part of the money supply.

        3. Create new money as needed by spending it on public infrastructure, including human infrastructure, e.g. education and health care.

        These 3 elements must all be done together, and are all in draft legislative form as the proposed American Monetary Act (read it here: http://www.monetary.org/amacolorpamphlet.pdf).

        The correct action is for Congress to fulfil its constitutional responsibilities to furnish the nation with its money by making the American Monetary Act law.

        The correct action for the States is to insist on this Federal action!

        Genuine monetary reform is the solution to the nation’s fiscal problems, and that can only be achieved at the national level.
        snip

        Jamie R. Walton

      2. nonclassical

        “Kucinich for President” sign sits in our window..
        (But Russell Feingold would be great too..)

      3. Bev

        Dennis Kucinich’s NEED Act, the National Emergency Employment Defense Act, is changed from 2010 H.R. 6550 to currently 2011 H.R. 2990.

        What a Worthy Goal
        The NEED Act
        For Jobs
        For Money that Is NOT DEBT
        To Help Everyone

  4. YankeeFrank

    Just left a couple of long comments at the daily beast at the bottom of that hit job by Gary Rivlin schooling him in reality. We’ll see how long they stay there. What a tool.

    I’ll copy them in here for posterity:

    Comment 1

    Excuse me but Schneiderman is the only one doing a REAL investigation. Tom Miller has taken more money from Wall Street this past year in bribes, er I mean campaign contributions, than he has in his entire career to date. Coincidence? The American people are not fools sir. Miller and the feds want to give the TBTF banksters a get out of jail free card for a mere pittance — $20 billion? Are you kidding me? That is the amount BofA is liable for on one or two deals they are currently being sued for, not to mention the other hundreds of billions of worthless toxic crap they sold as AAA, as well as their failure to properly transfer the mortgages to the trusts (making the securities they sold effectively “non-mortgage backed” securities, and meaning the trusts have no standing to sue for foreclosure), and massive document forging and other frauds upon the courts in their full court press foreclosure strategy. And that is BofA alone. You sir are either extremely ill-informed or a shill for the wall street banks. Either way you have no business writing anything about these issues. The daily beast should be ashamed. Things are changing my friend… your pals may be going to jail sooner than you think…

    Comment 2

    I’d like to add something more. You seem to believe that getting $20 billion or so would do a lot for homeowners. It won’t. In order to fix the mess that has caused 4 million foreclosures so far with 4.5 million more in the pipeline currently, would take HUNDREDS of billions, not 20. Further, the robosigning is only one of many crimes the banks have committed here. As far as we know right now, aside from control frauds in the origination of mortgages, the packaging of them and selling them as AAA securities, and robosigning, there is also the inconvenient fact that the mortgages were never properly assigned to the trusts, creating horrible chain of title issues and other problems that will linger possibly for decades. On top of that, the mortgages were never properly filed with the county registers, thereby evading potentially billions in fees to the counties. To be clear, we know of these crimes, but we HAVE NO IDEA how extensive or deep the crimes go, nor if there are other crimes we don’t even know about yet. Without a full and impartial investigation we will never know and the banks will walk away with another slap on the wrist, while homeowners continue to suffer and lose their homes in the greatest crime in history. Additionally, the release the banks want would give them a pass on many of these crimes, and the quid for that pro quo will merely force the banks to follow EXISTING LAW which they are currently flouting with impunity. Why will they start to follow the law after the agreement when they aren’t now? You and those you interview are either hugely misinformed or completely disingenuous. The upshot is this “deal” will let the banks off the hook for crimes we barely know the depth of while doing almost nothing to help homeowners in trouble.

  5. lambert strether

    “While the statute of limitations for securities fraud for the sale of toxic mortgage securities in the runup to the crisis has now passed…”

    Mission accomplished!! Great job by Obama, yet are the banksters grateful?! No, they are not.

        1. rotter

          Ohhhhhhhhh the IRONY of it!

          {{suffers attack of the vapors, later that day after some smelling salts}}

          AND some of them are using ….bank accounts

          {{faints again, later, later that day}}

          Have they no shame? Of course the proves that the wal st protesters are wrong and coporate heros and their faithful mouthpieces in washington are utterly and completely vindicated! at long last, america is safe for billionaires again. maybe we’ll even be able to elect a white male protestant to the white house some day!.release the dogs.

        2. Anonymous Jones

          You don’t get to be the biggest public company in the world by market cap for being awesome. You do it by ruthlessly extracting as much money as possible from your customers. You develop a network externality, you game the system and the rules, and then you exert your monopoly pricing power. Business 101. This is not news. Except to the ignorant.

  6. groobiecat

    Yves,

    Great piece (as usual).

    I just posted this at ThinkProgress, and it’s really important. As I feared last week, the Tea Party is trying to co-opt the #OWS movement. I posted the differences between the two on my blog several days ago, and have been fighting them off like wack-a-mole zombies at the occupywallst.org website forum for days now. But it’s now official:

    They’re trying to co-opt #OWS in predictable borg-like, anti-democratic fashion. This was twittered this am by #OWS:

    THIS IS NOT OUR SITE AND IT REEKS OF EVIL: http://www.occupyparty.org #ows #astroturfing

    I was afraid of this–they’re trying to conflate #OWS with TP idiocy
    (I tried to begin to separate the two in my own post here:
    http://groobiecat.blogspot.com/2011/10/tea-party-vs-occupywallstreet-party.html — sorry for semi-spam, but this is kind of important, IMO)

    Peace and power to the (real) people!

    Groobiecat

    1. earnyermoney

      No need to post Yves’ content at ThinkProgress. They have shills monitoring this site. ThinkProgress is one of those Democratic party hackocracy mentioned in the first paragraph.

      1. groobiecat

        You misunderstand. I didn’t re-post Yves’ ‘content at ThinkProgress, I posted my own content at ThinkProgress. And that Hackocracy, as you call it, actually produces some of the best anti-conservative data of anyone web site around, for my money.

        Using an epithet to refer to it is your right, but they’re giving the left the bullet points need every day to fight the Cold Civil Political War going on in this country. I’m a fan, but you’re not. Okay.

        1. Pepe

          The Center for American Progress, which runs Think Progress is Podesta’s baby. They’re pretty much captive to the Dem party, no? Clintonista to the core. More faux-progressive than progressive.

      1. rotter

        Thats great except they risk becoming an exotic and wonderful, but very rare species of “long haried effeminate eletist” remeber those magical unicorns?
        Nothing against long haired magical unicorns ive been one all my life, and “liberal” organization like Move on SHOULD “fuck off”. However, id like to know, are any of us special enough? Id like to be “free” too, but i feel that as long as about 95% of us arent free, i cant be, until we all are.

        1. JTFaraday

          I think it is interesting that various political organizations with names and agendas–XYZ union, MoveOn, Anti-Conservative Bloggers R Us, DC Pundits Inc., DC Policy Intellectuals Inc., Democratic Party Inc–all want to interpret or attach themselves to these new popular movements which have themselves, to date, voluntarily identified with NONE of these established groups.

          If Anti-Conservative Bloggers R US–one very large establishment group– wants the new popular movements to repudiate the Tea Party, I see no reason not to suggest in turn that the new popular movements ought to repudiate the entire filthy F-ing business.

          This is no great loss in the minds of most of the country.

      2. groobiecat

        Right, and we know this isn’t a poseur troll because…? Ironically, the truth of the matter is that if you polled the #OWS demographic, you’d find that very few ever supported a republican. If you polled the Unions (and how are they not democratic shills or otherwise completely democratic?), you’d find similar numbers.

        The truth of the matter–and the biggest worst kept secret–is that the #OWS demands could be defined as much more democratic” and much less “non partisan” than they’d ever admit. Calling for regulations? That’s, um, not exactly Tea Party fodder. Getting money out of the political system? Can you say Russ Feingold? Good jobs for all? NGOs aren’t going to do this. Fairer tax system? Not terribly Eric Cantor-esque.

        The unions who spoke this week aren’t non-partisan, and to say that MoveOn is trying to co-opt #OWS ignores that everyone else–including the Unions–is too. Fine to say F*CK OFF to MoveOn, which is a pretty watered down org, but if you’re going to reach out to everyone, are they somehow not included in that group? If not, why not? Seems a bit, erm, *partisan* to me…

        1. JTFaraday

          You clearly have an anti-Republican ax to grind.

          That’s fine as far as it goes–I have no love of Rick Perry– but given that the history of “Anti-Conservative Blogs R Us” is to stump for the plutocratic D-Party, while auditioning for a pundit job at the American Prospect and promoting the eternal return of the same… I really don’t care.

          It’s possible they’re a troll, but they risked arrest getting 120 photos of the protests, so unless they have iron clad Wall Street Journal press credentials to wave in Tony Baloney’s face or are Andrew Ross Sorkin in disguise, they’re no more a troll than you are.

          (Your faith in those hallowed D-Partisans is very touching, by the way).

        2. Bev

          http://www.monetary.org/how-the-economists-facilitated-the-crisis-and-how-hr-6550-solves-it/2011/06

          How the Economists Facilitated the Crisis and How HR 6550*(Now HR 2990) Solves it

          snip

          The crisis gives a rare opportunity for reform. There’s no denying that the present “Economics” regime has been a key cause of the pain, suffering, illness and even death inflicted on America’s less affluent; and of the worldwide economic destruction we see. My observations are admittedly from an outsider and there should be a value for you from that perspective, but this was well expressed by Economist Jamie Galbraith in testimony to the Senate Crime subcommittee on May 4th, 2010:

          “I write to you from a disgraced profession. Economic theory, as widely taught since the 1980s, failed miserably to understand the forces behind the financial crisis.”

          With rare exceptions, those in control of the World’s monetary/economic agenda and the theories supporting it have helped bring the world to its knees. Shouldn’t they (and their theories) be held accountable? The challenge will be for “youngsters” like yourselves, to bring your chosen profession to its senses.

          False “monetary” beliefs (some call them theories) have misdirected public policy decisions for decades, with devastating effect! Errors of Concept, methodology and factual errors led to disastrous outcomes for our nation and have the potential to gradually take America down into an unprecedented abyss of lawlessness and deprivation. Consider the present insane calls for austerity.

          snip

          The Act achieves reform with 3 basic provisions. All three are necessary; doing one or two of them wouldn’t work and could cause more damage.

          In brief:

          First the Federal Reserve gets incorporated into the U.S. Treasury where all new money is created by our government – what people think happens now.

          Second, It ends the fractional reserve system. Banks no longer have the accounting privilege of creating our money supply. All their previously issued credit is converted into U.S. Money through an elegant and gentle accounting change. The banks are held accountable for this conversion and from that point operate the way people think they do now – as intermediaries between depositors and borrowers.

          Third, new money is introduced by the government spending it into circulation for infrastructure, starting with the $2.2 trillion the engineers tell us is needed to properly maintain our infrastructure over the next 5 years. Infrastructure will include the necessary human infrastructure of health care and education.

          snip

          Perhaps you will consider Prof. Kaoru Yamaguchi’s Systems Dynamics study of the American Monetary Act? He examined it with the most advanced computer systemology and found that:

          It pays off the national debt

          It provides the funds for infrastructure (solving the unemployment problem)

          It does this without causing inflation. You can read his results at http://www.monetary.org

          snip

          Sincerely,

          Stephen Zarlenga
          Ami

          ……..

          The coalition against this reform in our money system was identified by Kevin Phillips:
          



          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Phillips_%28political_commentator%29



          Formerly a Republican Party strategist, Phillips has become disaffected with his former party over the last two decades, and is now one of its most scathing critics.
          


          American Theocracy (2006)

          

Allen Dwight Callahan[1] states the book’s theme is that the Republican Party (GOP), religious fundamentalism, petroleum, and borrowed money are an “Unholy Alliance.”[2] The last chapter, in a nod to his first major work, is titled “The Erring Republican Majority.” American Theocracy “presents a nightmarish vision of ideological extremism, catastrophic fiscal irresponsibility, rampant greed and dangerous shortsightedness.”


          ………

          The above descriptions help focus us on the better road to choose, for the kids and the future:

          Dennis Kucinich’s NEED Act

          Support all Politicians who support Dennis Kucinich in his Worthy and Brave Goal
          to Help Us All
          with Money that Is Money, and NOT DEBT.

  7. F. Beard

    “Banks are in the business of making money, Obama

    Literally. The rest of us have to earn the money the bankers create. And they charge us interest for that “money from thin-air” to add injury to insult. And the interest does not even exist in aggregate to add a sadistic twist to the knife.

    and they find loopholes.” Obama

    Indeed. The ability to create money must present a near irresistible temptation. But why don’t market forces punish over-leverage? Because the banks have a counterfeiter-of-last-resort, the Fed, to borrow from? Because of government deposit insurance? Because the government borrows its own money from the bank? Because the banks are not truly in the free market?

    Banking is the equivalent of an Asian land war. Government should have nothing to do with it other than to punish fraud and insolvency. Both should be punished with enthusiastic zeal.

        1. Cody Willard

          Proverbs 8:32-36
          New American Standard Bible (NASB)
          32 “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
          Thanks F Beard. I was hoping you were going to link to a blog or something where you write. The verses you linked to are great though. Thanks.

          For blessed are they who keep my ways.
          33 “Heed instruction and be wise,
          And do not neglect it.
          34 “Blessed is the man who listens to me,
          Watching daily at my gates,
          Waiting at my doorposts.
          35 “For he who finds me finds life
          And obtains favor from the LORD.
          36 “But he who [a]sins against me injures himself;
          All those who hate me love death.”

        2. Cody Willard

          Thanks F Beard. I was hoping you were going to link to a blog or something where you write. The verses you linked to are great though. Thanks.

          Proverbs 8:32-36
          New American Standard Bible (NASB)
          32 “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
          For blessed are they who keep my ways.
          33 “Heed instruction and be wise,
          And do not neglect it.
          34 “Blessed is the man who listens to me,
          Watching daily at my gates,
          Waiting at my doorposts.
          35 “For he who finds me finds life
          And obtains favor from the LORD.
          36 “But he who [a]sins against me injures himself;
          All those who hate me love death.”

    1. groobiecat

      Yeah, “Amen!” except for a couple of inconvenient facts:

      A) Government *wasn’t* involved in banks providing mortgages with zero down and no way to pay it back. That was pure laissez faire capitalism. Thanks Mr. Greenspan!

      B) If Credit Default Swaps had been properly regulated–and both Dems and Repubs are responsible for this one–there’d have been no AIG bailout in the first place. Letting increasing worthless securities be forever traded without any transparency whatsoever as to their actual worth? Also completely laissez faire.

      Who should regulate other than the government? I’m open to solutions, but government off our backs wholesale doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Your approach was tried, and didn’t work. In fact, it didn’t work so well that it led to the the worst economic meltdown in 80 years…

      1. mk

        “Who should regulate other than the government?” – so when government hires banksters’ lobbyists as regulators, you don’t see any problem with that? You’re not familiar with the revolving door between corporations and the government?

        interesting…

      2. F. Beard

        A) Government *wasn’t* involved in banks providing mortgages with zero down and no way to pay it back. That was pure laissez faire capitalism. Thanks Mr. Greenspan! groobiecat [bold added]

        Say what? What would Mr. Greenspan have to do with “pure laissez faire capitalism”? Do you think a government privileged central bank is “pure laissez faire capitalism”?

        … but government off our backs wholesale doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. groobiecat

        Where did you pull that from? Your own imagination?

        Your approach was tried, and didn’t work. groobiecat

        My approach would be to end ALL government privilege for the banks. To my knowledge that has NEVER been tried. Even during the “free banking” era in the US the banks had implicit support by the US Government since the US Government accepted gold and silver for taxes. The US Government should recognize no other money but its own inexpensive fiat as money.

        In fact, it didn’t work so well that it led to the the worst economic meltdown in 80 years… groobiecat

        Which was enabled by the Fed as you yourself admitted. But a central bank has NOTHING to do with a genuine free market.

        You are attacking a straw-man of your own imagination that has little to do with what I advocate.

    2. Ted Carter

      Here, Here!!!

      The fact that the entities were too big to fail, should not protect those in high positions responsible for the behaviour.

      Every one of the executives involved should be marched out hanging their heads in shame, at present they are thumbing their noses at the nation and laughing all the way to the bank.

  8. LucyLulu

    It’s interesting to hear all the messages and motives that the pundits, media figures, and politicians attribute to the Wall Street protesters, and how few seem to understand. Leftists, alternate Tea Party, anti-capitalists, rich kids living off mom and dad, the bored and disgruntled, the raise taxes on the rich protestors, surely others can add to the list. Perhaps it is the lack of structure and concrete message that allows people to perceive the purpose through their own prejudices. I haven’t been there but I saw the initial call to arms by Anonymous and I’ve seen quite a few protestors interviewed and they all seem to be crystal clear. “We are the 99%” sums it up beautifully.

    1. F. Beard

      “We are the 99%” sums it up beautifully. LucyLulu

      Yes it does. But how to convey that it will eventually be 99.9999% unless something is done?

    2. McKillop

      At the “Dissident Voice” website (Oct 7,20ll), you will find an editorial cartoon created by Jonik, entitled “Corporate Strikes”.
      !000 words and all!

  9. Jim A

    It will be interesting to see how the Democratic esstablishment’s efforts to co-opt the OWS movement will compare with the Republican establisment’s efforts to co-opt the Tea Party movement. It’s a mirror image really.

    1. CB

      Interesting point. But the establishment Dems won’t buckle the way Republicans have: they’ll blow hot air and deliver nothing of substance. Maybe a little decorative stitching around the edges of status quo.

      A long time coming, but maybe the walls of this crudely built cesspool are beginning to collapse on the diggers.

      1. noe

        I disagree. I think the Dems will fall all over themselves to get to the left of the movement. ONCE it becomes glaringly evident that the 99% have the power to co opt the elections.

        And I think this is the equivalent of the Tea party of the left.

        I drove across Colorado yesterday – the place is littered with right wing talk radio – and the right is still trying to blame O for the demonstrations. Limbaugh – I hate him but listened to hear his take – was comparing it to Wag the Dog… it looks like a revolution, sounds like one, but is really O trying to keep his job.

        What a tool. Tying this to O won’t be easy, because those kids feel betrayed. My own 25 year old is extremely unhappy with him – she was yelling “yes we can” along with him and put up signs in our business during the election.

        She says she won’t vote again. She believes the whole thing is a monstrous lie. She wants Dylan Ratigan for president.

    2. nonclassical

      I’m thinking of a “NAKED CAPITALISM” sign for Seattle OWS..

      “FIND OUT WHAT BANKS HAVE DONE!!=YOU’VE BEEN ECONned!”

      ..because it’s still a mystery to most folks, and the entire story hasn’t been told imo..(what did those banks do
      with $$$$ they BORROWED against phoney “securitized mortgages”=colluded to monopolize (speculation) commodities and derivatives-futures markets…

      which is the reason they wanted more and more “secutities” to borrow against..

    3. groobiecat

      Yeah, there are no non-partisans. It doesn’t matter what you call youself. Unit A thinks: All taxes, government, social programs, regulation, exaltation of the individual over the masses = bad! Unit B thinks: egalitarianism, government has a role in social programs, regulation of bad behavior, exaltation of the common weal over the individual = good. The latter still resonates with the democratic party, and for anyone under any illusions, the Unions aren’t exactly non-partisan actors…

      the Tea Party wasn’t a “third party”–it became the far right wing of the republican party, and it’s represented by the crazies like Bachmann and Beck.

      But you raise a good point; how will #OWS deal with it’s “natural parents.” Perhaps it actually becomes the real third party…

      1. JTFaraday

        “and for anyone under any illusions, the Unions aren’t exactly non-partisan actors…”

        Yeah, and they’re touching faith in the D-Party is a huge problem for them.

        They should change that.

  10. Martin Finnucane

    Being lost in pelagic America, and being not-so-young (or thin) to boot, I was caught off-guard by the appearance of #OWS. Can yall tell me: have movement people (or however we characterize them) been using the term “neoliberalism”? My understanding is that in Latin America and East Asia (and maybe elsewhere – in Libya and Egypt soon, I’m guessing), when popular movements name their enemy, they use that term. If #OWS can speak in the same terms, there is the potential of the development mutually reinforcing international networks. There are important things going on in Chile and Greece right now that we need to be in on.

    Name your enemy. In doing that, much of this NPR-ish “but what do they want?” guff will go away.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Now that you mention NPR, they are the worst propagandists for the banks of any of the faux-progressive news outlets. Their spokescasters, or whatever they are, are so incredibly snide when it comes to anything but the wall street party line its disgusting. They are honestly worse than the NY Times, with the exception of Sorkin of course.

      1. PQS

        Agreed. I stopped listening to them a few years ago, much to my regret. I recall being riveted by their coverage of the Rwandan genocide. When I quit them for good it was because of their stupid and breathless coverage of “Octomom.”

        How far they have fallen. But there’s Amy Goodman to fill in the gaps!

    2. Christophe

      There is truly nothing as uniting as a common enemy. That common enemy – bankers, politicians, corporations, tyrants, oligarchy, global elite, whatever you call it – is what has united the diversity of people who have gathered throughout this year to protest, despite the endless fear mongering and threats by police states.

      Finding the right name for the enemy will determine whether the #occupy movement can enduringly encompass the interests of the 99%. Fortunately, the formulation of a brilliant identity statement, “We are the 99%,” has bought the movement considerable time to hone in on the most deserving (and galvanizing) enemy.

  11. beowulf

    That IRS / REMIC story is very interesting, political tampering with IRS is quite illegal.
    Paging Darrell Issa…

    1. LucyLulu

      Darrell Issa, not interested. Too many rich people, probably himself included, would get slammed with the tax penalty. There are certain limits of obstructionism that even politicians won’t go beyond.

  12. Mondo

    Ultimately, I assume that Obama is still interested in becoming reelected. He will drop the banks only after the polls conducted by his advisers clearly indicate that support from the 99% will carry him through even after losing much of his campaign contributions from the big guys. So, how do the 99% convey that message to him ?

    1. nonclassical

      Obama has already lost-no “public option”, refusal to rescind Bush taxcuts, ridiculous conservadems placed on various committees, refusal to DO “transparency, oversight, accountability” of Bush-Cheney war crimes or economic malfeasance, assassination of U.S. citizen, failure to get out of Iraq-Afganistan, continued war machine subsidies,
      failure to close Guantanamo, deal cut with Bush-Cheney (Wikileaks) to NOT hold accountable…

      he’s GONE, and deserves to be…

      Senate and Congress are what are important, and getting rid of fundamentalists in both parties there…

  13. Namazu

    Competing for latest example is yesterday’s press conference. From the transcript (WaPo):

    Jake Tapper?

    QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

    Just to follow up on Jackie’s (ph) question, one of the reasons why so many of the people at the Occupy Wall Street protests are so angry is because, as you say, so many people on Wall Street did not follow the rules.

    QUESTION: But your administration hasn’t really been very aggressive in prosecuting — in fact, I don’t think any Wall Street executives have gone to jail, despite the rampant corruption and malfeasance that did take place.

    So I was wondering if you could comment on that.

    And then just as a separate question, as you’re watching the Solyndra and Fast and Furious controversies play out, I’m wondering if it gives you any pause about any of the decision-making going on in your administration. Some of the e-mails that Democrats put out indicating that people at the Office of Management and Budget were concerned about the Department of Energy, some of the e-mails going on with the attorney general saying he didn’t know about the details of Fast and Furious.

    Are you worried at all about how this is — how your administration is running?

    OBAMA: Well, first on the issue of — on the issue of prosecutions on Wall Street, one of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehmans and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless. That’s exactly why we needed to pass Dodd-Frank, to prohibit some of these practices.

    You know, the financial sector is very creative, and they are always looking for ways to make money.

    OBAMA: That’s their job. And if there are loopholes and rules that can be bent and arbitrage to be had, they will take advantage of it.

    So, you know, without commenting on particular prosecutions — obviously that’s not my job; that’s the attorney general’s job — you know, I think part of people’s frustrations, part of my frustration was a lot of practices that should not have been allowed weren’t necessarily against the law, but they had a huge destructive impact.

    And that’s why it was important for us to put in place financial rules that protect the American people from reckless decision-making and irresponsible behavior.

    1. JCC

      I say this at the obvious risk of being “politically incorrect”, but it would appear that Presidential Press Conferences have degraded into classic Minstrel Shows with our President being the star Song and Dance Man. Like a lot of others I had some faith in this guy when I voted for him… too bad for us, I guess.

      1. noe

        Obama is still auditioning for the Gandhi lead – he just doesn’t have the touch. IF this were Bill Clinton – he’d be out there yelling Round em up and Head em out! about the bankers… who cares if it’s the Attorney General’s job???

        The President has lost his support because we all know he sucks Wall St weiner.

        I don’t think he can be saved. He just sees himself as some saintly Solomon. He’s delusional.

        1. JTFaraday

          Well, Obama has clearly taken his cues from corporate America:

          Threaten to fire your subordinates for insubordination, then throw them under the bus not doing something they would have been doing had they not been threatened with insubordination, while holding your hands up going “Not my job!”

          Call off “the election.” Impeach him now.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      OBAMA: the buck stops at the AG’s desk; “obviously that’s not my job”. Priceless.

  14. Paul in TO

    As an outsider, it’s fascinating to observe the reaction to the occupiers and compare it to the reaction to the tea partiers. While it’s true that the Tea Party is more organized and slightly more coherent, they are effectively two sides to the same coin. They are protest movements — although one is conservative and one anarchic — that are saying the status quo is unacceptable. European history anyone?

    One can look and listen to both and conclude which movement to support, but the truly interesting thing is to observe the reaction of Americans to them. The left has absolutely ridiculed and dismissed the Tea Party for well over a year, but seem to embrace the exact same problematic symptoms in the occupiers. The right is the mirror opposite.

    Both seem oblivious to the comparison. How does one get out of this end-game? Who amongst the leaders is Marius and who is Sula?

    I suspect this will just be ignored, but if it’s not I will have it condescendingly explained to me why I am wrong and that one movement (fill in the blank) is legitimate and the other is not.

    1. Eureka Springs

      First, The TP was funded by the likes of the Koch Bros. and later the Health Industrial Complex… as an authoritarian following top down entity. Then it died a slow but certain death everywhere except in the MSM as its usefulness waned. It could be resurrected no doubt.

      I’m reading big labor may be funding the Occupados… but for now it does not appear to be top down… only time will tell if that’s true and if it remains representative of people and perseveres.

      1. Paul in TO

        It looks like Soros ultimately provides funding for the occupiers. Is there really a difference? other than your own biases?

        1. Valissa

          I have never seen any fundamental difference whatsoever between the Koch boys and Soros. Cosmetic differences only, despite Soros support for INET.

          Soros was the big money guy that brought us Obama. He supported Obama back in Chicago, helped him get elected as Senator and got him that spotlight position in the 2004 Dem convention, and then lined up Obama support from Wall Street for the 2008 election. That Soros is funding OWS makes me very uneasy and does not bode well for the future of the movement. Sigh…

          1. Valissa

            Wunsacon, I responded in the wrong place (see below a bit). So what that Soros said that… why do you believe him? Sound like either CYA or misdirection.

          2. bs breath

            It does not appear, I’m reading, it looks like. If shit was green you’d be a golf course. The people who pay you sub-minimum piecework rates to be embarrassingly full of crap, don’t they even require links? Even EU today can do better than that.

          3. Valissa

            bs breath – I have provided such links in the past, but will happily provide them again.

            Money Chooses Sides http://nymag.com/news/politics/30634/

            Make sure to take a good look at the photo.

            George Soros Interview: A Very Good Crisis http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,28124,25211027-5018057,00.html

            [NOTE: this excerpt is from my own archives, as the original article is no longer available at The Australian]

            That new engagement on the policy front coincides with a remarkable improvement in the political environment for Soros, who spent $US25 million in a failed effort to help Democrat John Kerry defeat George W. Bush in 2004. Some Wall Street donors jumped onto Barack Obama’s bandwagon just before last November’s election, when he was comfortably leading John McCain in the opinion polls. Others can boast that they backed Obama before he stitched up the Democratic nomination in May and there are a few who can even say that they were on board before he won the Iowa Democratic caucuses in January.

            Soros held a fundraiser for Obama at his New York home and donated the maximum legal amount in June – June 2004, that is, before Obama had even been elected to the US Senate. Two years later he urged Obama to run for president, and when he did become a candidate Soros organised a meeting with other financiers in Soros’s own Wall Street office. The result is that after being a political outcast under the Bush administration and having little influence under Bill Clinton, Soros is confident that “at least I will get a hearing” in Washington. And he will use it to advocate radical regulatory and financial reform to rein in financiers like himself.

            Here is Donna Brazile basically admitting the Obama plan was born early on…

            Why Americans Hate Democrats—A Dialogue, Tapping into the “Obama” factor. http://www.slate.com/id/2109328/

          4. Valissa

            One more point…. once upon a time I thought Soros was one of the “good guys” in the big money world. Once upon a time I thought Obama was very impressive and wouldn’t he make a great president someday. In both cases my opinions changed over time as I discovered some facts about them. Fortunately I figured out who the real Obama was before Nov 2008 so was smart enough not to vote for him.

          5. bs breath

            There, that’s better. But what’s your point? Have you actually found people here who do not despise Democrats? You might have more fun at hullabaloo, where there are still some Dem party dupes. And as far as Soros goes, resistance is futile, he’s smarter than you, he’s richer than you, he took down Soviet totalitarianism and now he’s going to take down American totalitarianism with his superior capitalist skilz. What’samatter, don’t you believe in capitalism? Soros doesn’t belong to the party, it belongs to him. The GOP too, remember, he bought Bush with that big stake in Harken energy (read Family of Secrets)? Only difference is, Bush was not competent enough to be of use so Soros discarded him. However you’re barking up the wrong tree on OWS. OWS doesn’t need Soros’ help, it is sustained by classic pinko internationalism from below, which is invisible to you if you’re too patriotic.

        2. Eureka Springs

          As I said, time (and more information) will tell. The little baggers could have persevered, but they didn’t without money and top down leadership, including the FOX bullhorn. OWS may or may not do the same. I never saw baggers utterly reject their leaders on anything… demanding accountability/justice above all else.

          I see OWS already doing so on many levels as everyone (MoveOn etc.) tries to get in on/co-opt the bandwagon.

        3. Valissa

          Wunsacon – why do you believe him? I don’t. I see no reason to believe anything a member of the power elite says to the media. My reading of history shows that when people in money & power positions speak publicly, regardless of politics, there is always an agenda. Skepticism is always the wisest position.

        4. reprobate

          Soros providing funding for OWS? Who gave you this right wing talking point claptrap? This is an organic effort and doesn’t even have clear leadership. And what pray tell does “funding” pay for? Porta potties? Hand made signs?

      2. noe

        You are making the same mistake as the Gopers. The Koch brothers may have tried to co opt the Tea baggers.. but this is a grass roots bottom up organization.

        I am surrounded by Tea Party family and Friends. I have been all over Townhall and Free Republic, and other conservative websites hollering about prosecution of Wall St ALONG WITH REGULARS.

        Tea Party types HATE Wall St – are pure Main ST if self employed. I have said from the beginning that the Tea Party has much in common with the OWS movement.

        The difference is cultural. The Tea Party is xenophobic, homophobic, and hates academic liberal types.

        Tea Baggers ARE the 99% but don’t want Doo Dah Parades in their neighborhoods! But the left just doesn’t get it.

        Tea Baggers aren’t for off shoring – the conversation about Steve Jobs on one conservative website said he gave NOTHING to charity, send jobs off shore and bought robots to replace his suicidal Chinese Work force! He was a creative monster, but a monster none the less.

      3. nonclassical

        Actually…the “first TP” was during 20’s great depression..
        read “Wall Street-A History”, by Geisst-it’s all been done before…

    2. Drinksforall

      The Tea party thinks Gov’t is the enemy and the problem; OWS believes Gov’t can be the answer and wants action from it in the form of regulation (and indictments) of Banks, tax reform that doesn’t heavily favor the elites,and a sense of some financial certainty for everyone.

        1. noe

          Every time a lemonade stand is shut down the Democrats are revealed for what they are.

          Every time the US vetoes rights for Palestinians, we know who owns the GOP.

          Every time a school teacher retires at 55 and their neighbors can’t pay their property taxes… the Dems look bad.

          Every time the GOP blocks cuts to the Defense Budget, they must come up with some scary false flag operation for their xenophobic base to justify a corrupt allegiance to the Military Industrial complex.

          Then their are the the Tea Party OWS twins. One is gay, the other straight and afraid of MTV.

      1. JTFaraday

        “OWS believes Gov’t can be the answer”

        Honestly, I haven’t seen them expressing any kind of faith in government. I have seen them express the idea that the US government is captured by moneyed interests.

        They call their own website “Occupy Wall Street: NYC Protest for American Revolution.”

        And it keeps growing. You do the math.

    3. Jim Haygood

      ‘The left has absolutely ridiculed and dismissed the Tea Party for well over a year, but seem to embrace the exact same problematic symptoms in the [Wall Street] occupiers. The right is the mirror opposite.’

      Excellent meme — the dysfunctional couple of OWS and the Tea Party, as a distorted parody of the dysfunctional ruling duopoly of Democrats and Republicans.

      Difference being that OWS and Tea Party include some real people, whereas the armor-plated Depublicrat juggernaut is a corpgov creation that clanks on regardless of what anybody thinks, crushing grass-roots participation under its heavy steel treads.

      1. Paul in TO

        That difference I actually agree with completely — and therein lies the problem. While I was focusing on the reaction of the self-proclaimed elite, real people have real principles that they really believe in. Once roused to action, they’re far more difficult to calm or to buy off.

        The problem is that those principles differ from each other and building a consensus thereafter is highly complex. Hense the crowd that wants revenge against those who caused “this” (whatever their “this” is) must actually prevail over those who are in opposition. Again, I fear that we are forcing an endgame to overthrow a co-existence that was always more fragile than the vast majority believed. To go to “war” without having a clue whether or not you will win is not wise.

        1. Mark P.

          Yes. I think you’re largely correct.

          We are seeing the collapse of at least part of a global system. There are all sorts of scenarios, but WWI was another such collapse of a world-system.

          Not to be a doomer — I think nuclear weapons mitigate strongly against interstate war — but the potentials for global disorder and widespread suffering should not be ignored.

        2. super390

          Welcome to Weimar. If you don’t at least try to fight, the Right will surely win because it already has the gun nuts on its side. Germany would have done us all a great service by having a civil war in 1933 instead of uniting behind the ideological side that is always backed by the cops and property owners.

      2. Valissa

        Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who is the fairest of them all?

        OWS and the Tea Party… grim brothers separated at birth, adopted out to different families… will they ever recognize their fate?

        1. noe

          One is gay. And if he doesn’t stay in the closet, his twin will never speak to him again.

          Sorry… but it is FACT.

  15. aletheia33

    “The nightmare of the elites that may well be visited upon them is one day doors all over the US will open and hordes of the heretofore disenfranchised 99% [will] walk to their town squares and show by the mere force of turning up united against known enemies that they can and will prevail.”

    yves, your last few paragraphs in this piece are superb, ending with this resounding “common sense.”

    it inspires me to add that if 99% of the population does become fully disenfranchised from the system, then sooner or later they will realize that if they want to get out from under their financial oppression they need simply stop cooperating and form their own alternative financial system. this has happened before and could easily happen again, as commenters here have often pointed out. any small town (or big city, for that matter) can issue its own scrip. life goes on, and people do not really need to starve or huddle outdoors in the cold.

    even regarding credit checks by employers (which seems to me one of the strongest incentives to keep trying to stay in the credit system), if your whole town is bankrupt because no one can pay their property taxes, the town’s enterprises are failing because no one can buy anything, people are depending on home-grown gardens for food, and the like, the general understanding of the meaning of “credit history” will change.

    when trust, at the most basic level (credit and money) has broken down in society, can it ever be effectively restored without the willing collaboration of the 99%? this is one reason #OWS is so brilliant–while there are many problems that need to be fixed, one can suggest (as they are doing), that since what has been created is basically a huge mess, we could consign the whole phony edifice built by greed and pusillanimity to the scrap heap and go back to the drawing board.

    and maybe a point just comes when “someone has to do it.” these kids at #OWS, who like to clean up after themselves, feed the hungry, clothe the wet, provide free books for those who seek to educate themselves, and send out their own message rather than try to figure out a way to seduce a corrupt media into doing it for them, eschewing violent means, seem like the kind of people who might be employable for that kind of job.

    predicting no outcome, but to this onlooker, the nature of their action goes deeper than any dissent seen on our soil for a very long time. if one doesn’t engage directly with the basic problem of the pervasive decay of trust–as they are doing–there will be no building of a better status quo when the present one has dissolved.

  16. Valissa

    Is the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement being hijacked by newcomers? http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2011/1007/Is-the-Occupy-Wall-Street-movement-being-hijacked-by-newcomers

    Well, DUH… of course the Dems are trying to co-opt it, just like the Repubs have mostly co-opted the Tea Party, which started out as a liberterian-ish revolt against the bank bailout, joined by many independents, some paleocons and some disaffected Dems. In the beginning the Tea partiers made a point of saying they weren’t going to focus on cultural issues, but on the bank bailout issue and related financial shenanigans. Well… we know what happened to them… almost completely co-opted by Republican operatives to the point where they are pretty much indistinguishable from traditional Republican positions.

    Will the OWS folks be savvy enough to push the Dem support away and try to keep the movement populist but not affiliated with any political party?

    Here’s a few interesting quotes from the article:

    Political scientists, sociologists and historians – as well as public relations specialists – are coming forward to offer their views and comments about the pluses and minuses of merging interests with other groups, some traditional, others not. Partly because the movement has coalesced so quickly and captured growing media coverage, it faces both uncommon promise and peril as it tries to turn the corner and sustain itself for the longer term. The next two weeks are crucial in deciding its identity and structure, say a host of experts who study grass-roots political movements. …

    “I think this is going to get dragged down by all these splinter groups,” says David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision LLC, a public affairs polling and branding consulting firm. “Their great appeal at the beginning was that they had people from left, right, and middle involved. But now we have the president mentioning them at a major press conference, and others like [former Wisconsin Democratic senator] Russ Feingold, and the movement is beginning to look like a liberal response to the tea party, rather than a genuine apolitical move.” …

    Turning to history for lessons, Mr. Johnson says America’s populist movement was co-opted and overtaken by the Democrats in the late 1880s, thus losing its message, and the progressive movement was similarly overtaken by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

    Here’s the most pathetic statement in the article, ugh!

    “What they may accomplish is moving Obama more toward his liberal base, which is where he has been tacking since just after Labor Day,” says Villanova University political scientist Lara Brown, author of “Jockeying for the American Presidency.” “And if they do that, then yes, you may see more Democrats, liberals, progressives – including union members and minorities – becoming reengaged and more enthusiastic about a second Obama term.”

    I believe that represents a liberal establishment fantasy, which I surely hope does not come to pass.

    OWS needs to stay un-affiliated.

    1. Neo-Realist

      I’m wondering if instead of initially pushing the dems away from the OWS movement, the movement reads the riot act to the dems and say push for criminal prosecutions of bankers, restore glass-steagall as well as not only banking reforms but strong job creating centric policies and if not, then step off.

  17. Paul Tioxon

    The level of stupidity seems to be spreading as quick as the Occupation Movement. On HuffPost, some reporter was trying to gin up a racial controversy, based on experts. The president of a historically Black College, an African American Female was trotted out to attack the OW people as not representative of Black or Brown skinned minorities who are really facing the worst effects of the economic crash.

    Of course, if you watch MSNBC, or almost any coverage of NYC or Philadelphia or Washington DC or LA, you will see many African Americans on the street, some with signs, some in their Union T-Shirts, especially the CWA women, veterans of many a Verizon Job Action. The blindness of the political elites, such as University Presidents, even when an African American Female, is never more evident when class issues come to the foreground. Of course Herman Cain is going to join with his militant right wing fellow travelers in denouncing the Occupation as un-American. Of course an elite college president, worried that her students will be the next to start tripping the light proletariat, and leave the carefully crafted racial nest for the big, bad world, is playing the race card.

    Everything will be thrown against this movement because it is not the astro turf plastic tea party fabrication, sponsored by Fox News. Of course, it will be misinterpreted by the earnest, distorted by the those who have no idea of what they are dealing with, and so are just afraid and want to blunt each and every person who gets any message out over the air waves on TV or in print.

    But I would not get too over worked as to who is hijacking what. This is politico time, and the analysis is not easy or going to be easily swallowed. The fact is, organized labor is involved and is THE network of political power with street action experience. Already, they are serving as a shield providing media spotlight and legal support which will hopefully, blunt the worst police responses. Most of the other networks of power have no street capacity, so the new comers, the Occupation, already have created political force just by acting. Forming coalitions, with labor, neighborhood groups, community issue organizations that reflect their concerns with corporate responsibility and civil rights, like free speech and assembly, are not too hard to work with. These tentative coalitions, and sympathetic supporters are evident and not being rejected out of hand. A lot of pre planning has gone on well before people who spend their time ignoring what is not big enough to notice, stood up and took notice. Just watch and wait and be happy there there is direct action going on. Coalition building is the next step and if the people who have their whole lives ahead of them are willing to take the risk of being leaders, I am more than willing to support them and share what I can, and what I have learned if they ask for anything.

  18. ep3

    “with the banks engaging in behavior that was “subtly fraudulent.” They used lawyers to help steer a path that would make it hard to prosecute them, and also focused on activities where the returns more than offset the risks.”

    isn’t attempt to avoid the law also considered breaking the law? like in tax, if you knowingly don’t report a 1099, you can be prosecuted for tax fraud, even if you admit guilt and pay the tax even when they send you the first series of paperwork.

  19. Blurtman

    March, 19, 2009, on the Jay Leno Show, a mere 2.5 months into his term, in the absence of any formal investigation, Obama declares that no crimes were committed by Wall Street. That was the message he was coached to deliver, and that message has not changed.

  20. Wizard of Oz

    Yves, would you consider to come down to Zuccotti Park (OWS HQ) and speak to some of this? You’d get a warm welcome!

  21. whatsup

    Levine’s recommendation about what it would really take to effect change is right on the ball. I would take it even further:

    If the intent is to change how “the system” works, a key factor to changing human behavior within that system would be the re-institution of shame. However, current attempts at “shaming” high profile individuals (CEOs in this context) are weak and ineffectual, because they are inherently tolerant of criticism.

    This is why the idea of protesting on Wall St. is kind of lame. Who cares if an office building gets surrounded by chanting people? Their car service will just go in and out via the garage, protected by security.

    However, it would be an entirely different matter if there were a systematic effort to identify and publish information regarding their families, children and peers. If the intention is to intimidate them into reconsidering their behavior, then what better way than to publish home addresses and photographs of their precious children/grandchildren, while also identifying where they go to school, what play groups they attend, etc.? Even sociopathic executives and politicians would, out of pure self-interest, respond to such pressure.

    On a smaller scale this is already happening to individual police officers who are identified as engaging in heavy-handed brutality (fairly or unfairly, who knows), but that is small potatoes.

    Targeting the families of Wall St. executives is arguably justified as their families are the ones who benefit from their activity. I am not endorsing this but pointing out that it would simply be logical if the goal is to change human behavior via any effective means, including intimidation (which “the system” seems to have no problem justifying — ie. police on horseback).

    Protesting at an office building or corporate HQ is a joke, as ineffectual as smashing up a Starbucks. But it’ll be an entirely different thing if their children have to be pulled out of “the best schools” because their presence is disruptive and potentially putting other kids there at risk, and if their gated community or condo association begins to put pressure on them to get out.

    This would in a sense be a reverse Facebook or LinkedIn social network — with the goal of shaming not only the individual but their colleagues and the companies their relatives and friends work for. Shame serves a human social function but has fallen into disuse because we don’t live in little villages anymore. So there is a need for new ways to effectively ostracize individuals from their network, weakening their ability to wreak havoc within that system, and also create the pressure that is needed to disincentivize sociopathic behavior.

    This may seem radical, but historically it really isn’t; just consider what happened to the Romanovs as one example. The elite should take heed and take action to preserve their own interests, by considering such efforts as self-regulating, before letting it get to that point.

    1. noe

      I just read something about that the other day. They said people in towns like Tahoe and Aspen should post the addresses of the 2nd and 3rd homes of some of these executives.

      since everybody knows who owns what in those places.

      And the author went on to say – the police in those small communities are unable to protect from, well, what ever is done with that information.

      I can attest that everybody in Vail knows who lives where on the mountain. I like the fear factor in this idea.

      1. Darren Kenworthy

        Please leave terrorism to the (police state) experts. The ends and means must be in consonance.

    2. Joe Rebholz

      ” … a systematic effort to identify and publish information regarding their families, children and peers…”

      This is a threat of violence. Any revolution that resorts to violence or threats of violence against others guilty or not will not be a revolution at all because even if it were somehow to “succeed”, the result would be just more of the same as we have now. Any revolution of our systems must get rid of violence as one of its goals. So it can’t use violence or threats of violence in its methods.

    3. Joe Rebholz

      ” … If the intention is to intimidate them into reconsidering their behavior …”

      Intimidation is not a very effective way to help someone change his mind. Yes, sometimes you can get people to go through the motions of doing whatever it is you want them to do. But they really havn’t absorbed the new idea and will easily go back to their old behavior. Also intimidation often results in increasing resolve to persist in the behavior. So far OCW has not been intimidated by use of force and threats of violence.

    4. Joe Rebholz

      “sociopathic behavior”

      Threatening someone’s family or possibly inviting some nut to shoot a person by publishing their address is sociopathic. It doss not matter how evil you think that person is. And you used the word “target”. It is almost impossible to talk in our present culture without using the memes of violence and war.

      1. whatsup

        Hello, I agree with you that these actions are unwarranted at this time. I do somewhat disagree as to whether or not threats and intimidation are effective or not in terms of controlling human behavior (see: Mexican cartels), even if not winning people’s hearts and minds.

        But I agree with you, ideally, shame itself would lead to self-regulation via ostracism, without risking people’s lives or property, but that is something that the “elite” have so far been completely unwilling to do, except in popular cases like Bernie Madoff. They continue to rationalize and present themselves as free-market geniuses who are “the best and brightest” — there is not even the slightest whiff of shame.

        Anyway, what I’m describing is already happening on a small scale, and unless something changes, it is just a matter of time before that scary “internet hate machine” begins to pick up full steam. In the NY Times Dealbook blog there was a recent article where Andrew Ross Sorkin describes a CEO asking if this could become a personal safety issue, and Sorkin concludes that Occupy Wall St. is not that brutal, “at least not yet”. They do not need to worry about OWS so much as they should worry about the combination of Anonymous + mentally unstable individuals (I heard there might be a few of them on the internet).

        Before things get to that point, it would be in their own best interest to display some level of contrition and accountability (whether its resignations or seppuku or just giving back their bonuses and admitting “sorry, we screwed up”, for pete’s sake), but based on how they’ve carried themselves so far, that sure doesn’t seem likely to happen.

    5. super390

      Since you are wink-wink inciting the assassination of women and children in a land full of armed nuts, what you are doing is no different than Sarah Palin’s website putting crosshairs on Gabrielle Giffords’ face and then playing the victim when you are blamed for the shooting. Which is pretty damn cowardly.

      Not that I actually object to what you are suggesting. It simply must be saved for the time when the Right finally must resort to mass systematic murder. The Right has been working to overthrow democracy for decades, and we have hardly begun to see how far they intend to go. At some point in the future, far-right states will secede, or the Right will collude with the military to overthrow the government, or the corporations will so thoroughly privatize everything that its mercenaries will literally become the police in a nation split into feudal fiefdoms.

      At that point, violent revolution is justified, and we should insist that every life taken from a ghetto kid by Blackwater or the Christian US Air Force is equal in value to the life of the kid of one of the billionaire sponsors of the regime.

      However, it will take years of preparation and escalating cycles of retaliation to organize this level of resistance and get enough gun nuts on our side. Don’t worry, things will get worse.

  22. lizinsarasota

    Hey everyone, get involved and get busy. It’s one thing to blog from the comfort of your home, it’s another to get out and organize and march, to make signs and make calls. It’s bottom up, grassroots efforts that will carry the day.
    We are organizing a foreclosure defense event here in Sarasota next week, and we’ve managed to corral legal rock stars! This is the kind of thing that regular citizens can accomplish.

    For immediate release.

    Foreclosure Event Hosts Two Most-Famous Florida Attorneys

    Sarasota.
    April Charney, nationally-known foreclosure defense attorney from Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, hero to many as the Mother Theresa of foreclosure defense, has joined the all-star lineup of speakers at the “Save Your Home” event. Ms. Charney has characterized banks as “court interlopers [who] might as well be wearing a ski mask and carrying an Uzi for as much right as they have to force homeowners out of their homes”: fighting words that have given hope to tens of thousands of frightened Florida homeowners facing foreclosure.
    “Save Your Home” is a FREE day-long foreclosure defense workshop to be held on Saturday, October 15, at the Unity Church of Sarasota, 3023 Proctor Road, from 9-5.
    Ms. Charney joins Mr. Henry P. Trawick, Jr., iconic author of Trawick’s Florida Practice and Procedure. Mr. Trawick’s speech is titled “The Foreclosure Mess.” Matt Weidner, prominent Tampa foreclosure defense attorney and Lisa Epstein, widely-quoted citizen/advocate and owner of ForeclosureHamlet.com will round out the speakers. Numerous local attorneys will also be on hand to answer questions about the latest news and foreclosure defense strategies, and to discuss proposed changes to mortgage/foreclosure laws in the 2011-2012 session of the Florida legislature.
    There will be a free screening of the Academy Award-winning movie, Inside Job, at 7 p.m.
    The event is being sponsored by The Mortgage Justice Group, an organization of citizens helping citizens in foreclosure. For additional information, please call the Mortgage Justice Group at (941) 504-4873 or email mortgagejustice1@yahoo.com.

  23. whatsup

    I just reviewed the “official” list of demands from OWS and find it absurd that their own declaration totally ignores what would seem to be the most obvious demand that “the people” could all truly get behind: it is evident that due to incompetence and/or negligence, we call for the immediate resignation of the CEOs of the top 6 banks, with waivers of severance packages and clawbacks of bonuses.

    If the OWS would just focus on that (and also perhaps Levine’s idea of mass perp-walks), rather than calling for racial/gender equality and raising the minimum wage to $20… then they’d have a chance of actually making a difference.

    1. Susan the other

      $20/hr is much too low. There should be a minimum “wage” for everyone of at least $50/hr. If you are employed you should make no less. If you are unemployed you should have no less. If you are old and retired you can get by with less, but only with good medical – which everyone should have also. I keep obsessing with money for all. One of the thoughts that keeps me awake at night, literally, is that if there were money for, sufficient money for all, no one would be so craven as to accumulate money like the banksters and do it by slitting everyone else’s throat. And fewer people would devastate the earth’s resources simply for the sake of accumulating “money”. Maybe the solution to this stage of capitalism (for lack of a better description) is that since we can no longer rely on growth, we must now rely on good will. It makes me think we humans might be in the home stretch of the full circle.

      1. Joe Rebholz

        ” … One of the thoughts that keeps me awake at night, literally, is that if there were money for, sufficient money for all, no one would be so craven as to accumulate money like the banksters and do it by slitting everyone else’s throat. And fewer people would devastate the earth’s resources simply for the sake of accumulating “money”…”

        And there would be fewer incentives for corruption, stealing, and robbing, especially if the resulting system were more stable and predictable, so even the middle class people would not have to scramble so much to save for retirement.

        What you imagine is surely possible. The present system easily creates all the money it wants for wars and to bailout the rich.

  24. brian

    have voted for a democrat for president every election since 1972
    not in 2012
    likely skip the race
    not just the incompetance
    the corruption regarding sweeping wall street crimes under the rug is as bad as nixon and watergate

  25. Bravo

    Just this morning on CNBC, Neel Kashkari defended the TARP program with an analogy. The analogy went like this: a big house in the neighborhood was burning (let’s say from a massive explosion), so the authorities had no choice but to put out the fire for fear of it burning down the entire neighborhood. Fair enough. The fire was put out at the big house sure enough, but the rescue was grossly incomplete and addressed damage to the big house only. And now the Fed and the government have spent three years rebuilding the big house, while the owners of the big house fight tooth and nail to make sure new regulations are not put in place that would prevent their spoiled kids from playing with the kinds of financial weapons of mass destruction that caused the explosion in the first place. All the while, the owners of the little houses who suffered substantial collateral damage in the explosion, have been left to fend for themselves with regard to repair of their dwellings, much less surviving the resulting job losses that ensued. The owners of that big house are now sitting pretty again…….getting their big house rebuilt and making big money again for both themselves and the 1% whose money they invest. Meanwhile, all the current administration can muster is their support for a token offering to the little house owners via the AG settlement talks.

    Where both the Bush and Obama administrations fell short, in my humble opinion, was not having the foresight to see what the explosion was going to bring about in terms of decimation of neighborhood housing values. There could and should have been a requirement that no institution were to be released from TARP and its compensation limitations, until the fallout could be assessed and the underwater mortgages-to-come, written down via mortgage modification to collateral valuation levels at a date certain in the future. The future of our economy would have been much brighter today. But since only the Big House owner holds both parties captive in Washington, it certainly came as no surprise that the rebuilding of the big house came with few strings attached and a lack of consideration for the collateral damage done to the little house owners. Mightn’t that be part of the message that the talking heads are trying to discern from the Occupy Wall Street crowd?

  26. brian

    from jesses cafe

    Is the first principle of the US the maximizing of profit? By what measures, and to whom? Or is it something else again.

    This is the question that the protesters of Occupy Wall Street are asking. People of the status quo say, ‘What do they want? What is their solution?’ No, it is they who are asking the question of those comfortable people in power. If they have any statement to make, it is ‘The Emperor has no clothes.’

    And since the modern day Emperors do not wish to answer the people plainly and honestly, having only their tired old lies, they become uncomfortable and afraid. Instead they ignore, ridicule, and silence the question, offering new lies and scapegoats, claiming all is well. And it is, at least for them.

    If the people are ignored and abused long enough they will stop asking questions and begin to make their demands, and then it will be too late.

    Economics is a discredited science at the moment. A few practitioners sold its soul and honor to a small group of wealthy ideologues while the great majority remained silent. But certainly no more discredited than the doctors who served the policies of euthanasia or the Russian abuse of psychiatric wards. And when the destroyers appear on the horizon, the mechanical sciences and their industrialists are generally seen swimming out to meet the boats.

    But a caution is that those who promoted false theories for power and money in the service of crony capitalism are still at work, and the results are more difficult to see than piles of dead bodies, or rooms full of broken individuals.

    As Satyajit Das puts it in his most recent book interviews:

    “The best and brightest went into finance because… it paid better than every other profession. So we had this whole generation of people — who would have been great scientists, great doctors, great creators of other things — attracted to a business which ultimately only provided, to a substantial degree, toxic waste. And that is the tragedy of our time. … It was this diversion of enormous amounts of talent.”

    1. craazyman

      this one always gets me like a f*cking hemmorhoid

      Mr. Das is a terrific analyst and I appreciate his posts here about the eurozone (although he sometimes needs an editor). But who among us is pefect? Not me. :)(

      But this “best and brightest” meme makes makes my logos nauseous (how do you spell naushiss. I can’t spell).

      really. they can count and some of them can spell. that’s a good start. but can they create? can they feel? can they SEE? can they give? can they nourish? can they love? can they empathize? can they conquer their demons? can the make sense out of chaos? can the find order in infinity? can they dream and bring it back and make it real?

      best and brightest? Puh-leeze. Maybe. But not because they can count and spell.

      This is the tyranny of the mathematical mind and the reason why Blake despised Newtonian reductionism. (Although to be fair, Newton was a genius).

      It always makes me feel like a hemmorhoid on the butt of my mind when I see “best and brighest” like that. :() – Mr. Monkey

  27. abelenkpe

    The administration refuses to go after banks when it is foolish to ignore. But do we really think a republican administration would behave differently? Which of course only illustrates that there isn’t much difference between the two parties. Until there is a viable third choice it’s a vote between kinda sucks and total lunatic fringe.

  28. Stevie b.

    Yves – brilliant post – thank you! It’s time the PTB had their comeuppance – let’s hope we don’t need to go through yet more of this QE economic murder of the prudent/retired before the elites are brought to account.

  29. Damian

    Obama is probably the biggest con artist to occupy the white house in history

    he is a disaster – and now potentially four more years – everyone will be in the poor house as he gives the banks everything they want and a free ride from prosecution

    he is ALL talk and his actions are all in fovor of the rich and the people who pay him – Dimon et al

    the democrats made a huge mistake they should have given the election to McCain then there would have been continuity with the republicans control of the disaster and in 2010 they would have a super majority in the house and senate and then take the while house in 2012

    they split the responsibility so no one has a clear picture of the republican ruin of the country

    we not be out of this for 16 more years

    the only solution is at the convention with a write in for elizabeth warren

    1. rotter

      wow, it almost seems like it was planned that way, but who could have done that???? hmmmmmm……….

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Aw shucks, that sucks. I guess we’ll have to keep searching for a new messiah then.

        Sheesh, if Lizzy is too dizzy to understand that the war on drugs is every bit as futile as the war on terror — BY DESIGN — then she should lose to Scott Brown. Brown was the Democrats’ coal-mine canary; if they can’t easily trounce the GOP in Ted Kennedy’s district, they’re surely toast. Well done, BHO!

        Of course, the instant Warren announced her intention to run, her credibility vanished. Who with good intent would ever run for the Roman Senate, the most corrupt and ineffectual-by-design political circus on the planet?

        The futility of searching for “better elites” like Warren is what makes OWC’s occupation so strong: it is “horizontal and deeply democratic” as Naomi Klein noted. It is not leader-focused, but rather founded on broad and simple immutable principles, self-evident truths much like the first American Revolution and the first American Civil War . . . not easily co-opted by false messiahs and propagandists.

  30. Schofield

    Obama’s hypocritical behavior very much mirrors that of the UK’s Tony Blair who since leaving office now hires himself out mainly to banks and I’m sure we will see Obama do the same. The “Ninety-Niners” on Wall Street and elsewhere should avoid any connection with Obama or the Democratic Party. They are mostly phoneys. In time a new party will emerge. A genuine “Partnership” party committed to a democratic capitalism. All alliances, however, of such a party will need to be very carefully judged indeed.

  31. Francois T

    It must be beyond embarrassing to be Barack Obama. Having to lie publicly in front of the nation just to shill for those who have accelerated the decline of this nation while becoming so filthy rich by crime and fraud, must be humiliating beyond belief for anyone who has a conscience.

    …Wait! Did I write “conscience”?

    My bad!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Decades ago there were some rather cruel jokes about Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller (both radical mastectomy survivors) having only one breast between them.

      With Barack O’Bomber and Windsock Joe Biden, it’s no flipping joke: two men without a conscience between them.

      Fire up the drones, boys — we’ve got babies to kill!

  32. Doug Terpstra

    “Despite the efforts of some liberal pundits and organizers (and by extension, the Democratic party hackocracy) to lay claim to OccupyWallStreet, the nascent movement is having none of it.”

    Indeed, the Democratic Party “hackocracy” will not hesitate to hop out in front of the “parade”, and the seduction-assault attempt will be especially compelling as OWS gains traction and momentum in prime campaign time. But it won’t work: the movement will unequivocally reject it because it arose principally in response to the manifest, manifold failures of the captured Dem Party and egregious betrayals of Obama. They could never accept a neoliberal Trojan horse like Obama as icon or leader, let alone mascot. His imperial vestments, like his salesman’s credibility and charm, are now long gone.

    Naomi Klein addressed the gathering at Liberty Square last night:

    We all know, or at least sense, that the world is upside down: we act as if there is no end to what is actually finite — fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful—the financial resources to build the kind of society we need.

    The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society—while at the same time, respect the real limits to what the earth can take.

    […]

    I am talking about changing the underlying values that govern our society. That is hard to fit into a single media-friendly demand, and it’s also hard to figure out how to do it. But it is no less urgent for being difficult.

    That is what I see happening in this square. In the way you are feeding each other, keeping each other warm, sharing information freely and proving health care, meditation classes and empowerment training. My favorite sign here says, “I care about you.” In a culture that trains people to avoid each other’s gaze, to say, “Let them die,” that is a deeply radical statement.

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/10/07-0

    1. psychohistorian

      Thanks for the comment. I agree.

      To take it a bit further let me say that we should make it a requirement of grade school that you learn sharing or never move on.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      Since we are all getting so political, I have to ask, why you and Yves has such a hard on for the Democrats, Obama etc.? And I know you are all smart enough to dispense with the red neck stupidity of Hank Williams Jr by calling Obama Hitler, a fascist, fascism has taken over etc. Money and Power have always been joined at the hip, so stop the bullshit and tell us all, just who do you support? I voted for Obama, and unless he murders his family in rage filled Thanksgiving dinner argument over who gets the last biscuit in the White House, I will vote for him again. I do this for a simple reason, he and the Dems at least provide me some room upon which to stand. It is a miserly small space, but big enough for me to have a life. And a comfortable American life is a sumptuous dream for over half of the world. The Republicans have denounced the OWS as a MOB, UN-AMERICAN. So, no threat there of impure coopting. Hmm?

      In Philadelphia, the Communist Party is credited with funding them, they should be shipped tractor trailers of deodorant and bars of soap and razor blades to shave with, hippie punching etc. and unending mindless insults about mental status publishing unblushingly by the local Inky at Philly.com. The right wing and the Reps hate their fucking guts, the police mace them and mass arrest them in NYC. In Philadelphia, the Mayor came out at one in the morning to talk with the campers and have photos taken by the protesters with him.

      So, Doug, I am sincerely not getting who you support. If not the Dems or The Reps, is it the Greens or some other group. I believe you have to vote and not just rant how the world is not a pure and perfect place. How Obama did not live up to his billing, his actual promises and how he lied and when he was telling the truth how he failed by not fighting hard enough. I know that and common sense tells most people over the age of 15 that the world is not pure and perfect, that politicians lie, and that I am not getting my fair share of anything.

      But at least I know where I am not getting murdered, attacked, vilified, denounced, suppressed. I can not see how with the Reps unleashing every conceivable disestablishment of the Federal, State and local governments, in every office they have won in the past few years, from mindless tax cuts leading to mindless austerity ginned up by revenue destroying tax cuts to union bashing, voter ID laws suppressing voters, to immigrant round up laws, abortion limiting defunding, is not seen as a more immediate and serious threat to political liberty, economic recovery. Not to mention, The Paul Ryan, “If I had a hammer, I’d hammer Social Security to Death” budget. If Obama going to George Will’s house and agreeing in conversation out loud that Social Security needs reform, Medicare needs to be controlled in its growth is all of the proof you need that he is some sort of Trojan Horse of the New Deal Apocalypse, than you need to stay away from supermarket checkout lines, because they will send your mind into a tailspin of gossip masquerading as trenchant political analysis.

      Is it possible, that you might have to choose between two poor choices, but one is still immeasurably better than the other. Or if not, promote one that is. And I don’t mean fairy tale politics about Dennis Kucinich running for president. Or I don’t know, Ralph Nader, maybe. But really, as screwed up as the world is, even before 2007, without meaningful coalition politics coming back, other than in the from of well meaning essays in The Nation, if the OWS movement does not grow and then attract other networks of power, from labor, from environmentalists, from feminists, from MoveOn, FDL, rich liberals who want to see structural changes in the power sharing equation, unless the leadership provided by these young people and the people they have immediately attracted does not build a powerful coalition that can demand changes point by point and get it passed into law, what is it that you want? People who are not pure and holy will be working with them, if they get big enough to have critical mass to gain political power to effect change. And one of those working with them might even be Obama.

      1. sgt_doom

        Since we are all getting so political, I have to ask, why you and Yves has such a hard on for the Democrats, Obama etc.?”

        Aaaahhhh….possibly because President Obama’s appointments are fundamentally the very same neocon appointments as George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan?

        And they behave the same way. (Among Obama’s appointments are the #1 jobs offshoring specialist, Diana Farrell, the #2 jobs offshorer, GE’s CEO, Jeff Immelt, and the #1 promoter of jobs offshoring, Jim Kolbe — President Reagan’s congressional point man on jobs offshoring.)

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Did you get the let’s get past the bullshit doom? As compared to what? FDR sold out every poor rural worker, every Black sharecropper, every domestic servant with his White New Deal, which only helped people, to this day, get a minimum wage, with agricultural workers waivers, restaurant workers waivers, domestics waivers. FDR sold out the entire 99% of the South. So please, when you get out of your head with fantasies about perfect ideals in this blood soaked world, and this unending corruption, please tell me again, what is the problem with Obama, as compared to something other than the free floating Platonic World Of Ideals that exists in the world of Naked Capitalist analysis of the no prosecuting DoJ.

          Please, everyone, take a ticket and get in line. We still want to prosecute Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, and we are standing behind Native American lawsuits waiting for the rule of law to kick in for them for treaties passed by Congress, signed by presidents that are breached. Then there is the reparations for slavery. And don’t get me started on the Irish bill for building the Rail Roads from the East Coast. There is a long line of people waiting for justice, the rule of law and some sanity. Please, you broken stock traders whose world just blew up in the last 4 years, get to the back of the line, other people have been waiting for the perfect world to dock at the pier. In the mean time, just so I don’t drown, who should I hang onto for help? Warren Buffet?

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Paul Tioxin: “I voted for Obama, and unless he murders his family in rage filled Thanksgiving dinner argument over who gets the last biscuit in the White House, I will vote for him again.”

        Who can argue with such a high standard? As long as you have your “miserly small space . . . and [your] comfortable American life . . . a sumptuous dream for over half of the world” then my answer could not possibly have any relevance for you. If the price of a global military empire, drone killings, torture, war crimes, occupations, Gitmo, Patriot Act detentions, Manning’s confinement, 15% of Americans without health care, 15% on food stamps, 20% unemployment, etc. buys you some marginal comfort for a while longer, what could I possibly say to persuade you otherwise?

        (Sorry for the late non-answer but weather in Phoenix is finally too glorious to remain cooped in the cave.)

        Frankly, I don’t know who I could vote for at this point in the charade we call democracy. But Obama? Please. Anybody but! And I just can’t fathom the “less than perfect, lesser-evil” defense at this point, especially for anyone paying attention to Yves’ reports and current events. It’s a fascinating to witness the various dynamics in play as the veal-pen liberals tenaciously cling to Obama — avoiding painful cognitive dissonance, validating their confirmation bias, and clinging to racial and political-tribal loyalties. In most cases, I suppose it’s basic narrow self-interest. As long as they’re not coming for me or my stack right now, I’m not sticking my neck out.

        By any objective measure of outcomes, how could ANY GOP president possibly have achieved more regressive, militaristic, anti-constitutional results than Obama in just two and a half years since the disaster of GWB had the GOP all but dead and cremated? Could McCain have delivered a captive market to health-racket death-panel pirates without even a fragment of a public option? Would or could McCain have escalated and started new wars (Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya) without congressional consent after the Bush fiascos? Would McCain have immunized torturers and Wall Street crimes under a quiescent Dem Congress? Could he have so easily authored and stacked the cat food commission that put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block? Could he have rigged the deficit-terrorist stalemate that wrought the unconstitutional cat food super politburo about to shred the safety net? Kept Gitmo open, made the “Patriot ” Act worse, sponsored a coup in Honduras, fellated Netanyahu so publicly, kept the Bush tax cuts, protected Wall Street bonuses, proposed three new rigged-trade deals without any changes to NAFTA, etc? Maybe McCain could have done many of these, but certainly not all.

        Obama’ abysmal record would be enviable for any Republican. It’s why the Republican field is so thin and on the outer fringe, IMO, and why Obama is expecting a cool billion from Wall Street fat cats in his war chest next year. No GOP candidate could ever destroy the middle class and world peace as effectively as Obama has as an undercover agent, a Trojan horse, wolf in sheep’s clothing, false prophet, or father of lies disguised as an angel of light.

        The above are but a fraction of Obama’s betrayals and broken promises. Anyone motivated by more than clinging to a miserly bit of comfort should study the nearly 300 scandals of this administration compiled by Hugh. But beware, it’s like swallowing Morpheus’s red pill. You can’t go back to complacency and quiet desperation.

        http://obamascandalslist.blogspot.com/2009/10/table-of-contents.html

  33. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I think it’s possible to occupy a place, any place, and have a tea party at the same time.

  34. ECON

    Once the mass of Amuricans are able to see how they have been gamed and robbed of what material wealth accrued over the last 30 years and continued through to the present Obama regime, it will be recognized for what it is —corruption and criminal behaviour by Wall Street banks and their governments at all levels. Empires are brought down on less.

  35. ThingsComeUndone

    I think you forgot banks giving home loans with higher interest rates to minorities and low education people. Also selling home loans bonds on homes they had no title for ( I maybe wrong you might have mentioned it I am not a lawyer).

  36. sgt_doom

    Awesome blog post, Madam Yves!

    But one more item should be applicable:

    Article 3 (and probably more articles) of the Uniform Commercial Code

    Should be good for even more penalties and jail time.

    Back in the day of the S&L meltdown, over 1,000 banksters were convicted and jailed.

  37. Mark P.

    Michael Hudson’s latest —

    [1] Obama’s Good Cop/ Bad Cop deal with the Republicans
    October 7, 2011
    By Michael Hudson
    Don’t Let Him Get Away With It: Occupy Wall St

    http://michael-hudson.com/2011/10/obamas-look-over-there/

    ‘…President Obama’s policies have not been the voice of reason. They are even further to the right than George W. Bush could have achieved. At least a Republican president would have confronted a Democratic Congress blocking the kind of program that Mr. Obama has rammed through….

    ‘…President Obama signaled this long in advance, at the outset of his administration when he appointed his Deficit Reduction Commission, headed by former Republican Sen. Simpson and Rubinomics advisor to the Clinton administration Bowles. They were to recommend how to cut federal social spending while giving even more money away to Wall Street. He confirmed suspicions of a sellout by reappointing bank lobbyist Tim Geithner to the Treasury, and tunnel-visioned Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve Board.

    Yet on Wednesday, October 4, the president tried to represent the OccupyWallStreet movement as supportive for his efforts. He pretended to endorse a pro-consumer regulator to limit bank fraud, as if he had not dumped Elizabeth Warren on the advice of Mr. Geithner – who seems to be settling into the role of bagman for campaign contributors from Wall Street.

    ‘Can President Obama get away with it? Can he jump in front of the parade and represent himself as a friend of labor and consumers while his appointees support Wall Street and his Committee of 13 is waiting in the wings to perform its designated function of guillotining Social Security?’

    [2] Occupy Wall St – Systemic Change Please
    October 7, 2011
    By Michael Hudson

    http://michael-hudson.com/2011/10/occupy-wall-st-systemic-change-please/

    Real News video

  38. avgJohn

    I know others have mentioned it already, by I would like to stress it here anyway. Maybe the first order of business for this movement should be to formally agree to disagree about many of our own special issues and agendas, so we do not break the fragile alliance that represents the 99% as a single voice opposed to the corrupt, elite apparatus of government, Wall Street and the msm.

    Maybe it could be in the form of a simple written charter. Let’s all promise to get along for the sake of cleaning up our government and political system.

    I think this movement holds the promise of the “hope and change” all of us have been waiting for, putting America back on track and the people back in charge of our own government.

    At the same time I could see some charismatic, smooth talking “leaders” stepping forward, assuming to much power, getting off message, pushing their own agendas, resulting in this entire movement exploding, with all of it’s pent up energy spent fighting each other instead of the 1%. In other words, let’s be careful about smooth talking, ego-centric, leaders stepping forward to be the “new” 1%.

    If that happens, things could get real ugly for a lot of people, probably all of us. Ugly and probably extremely violent, with the military and police taking sides, regional conflicts in our own country, and a possible brutal civil war ensuing.

    So if we can define a set of objectives that everyone can get behind, agree to disagree about our own personal issues and value sets, at least for sake of advancing our cause against corrupt government, it will best serve all of us in the end.

    We can go back to being dogs and cats after this corrupt regime falls, but for now let’s all be foxes about this, and let’s promise to see this through, together as a single voice.

  39. PeterB

    Unless and until T. Geithner is fired from Treasury and replaced with someone who will act forcefully against the banks, nothing will change. It’s to Obama’s everlasting doom that he trusted this critical appointment to someone so manifestly conflicted and wrong for the job.

  40. Nathanael

    I assume you specifically only listed the federal crimes.

    There are also a long, long list of obvious state crimes. The federal government agencies seem to have been pressuring the state governments to let the banksters go on their state crimes as well.

    Thank goodness Schneiderman and a few of his colleagues are refusing to join the coverup.

  41. Daniel Daugherty

    “Despite the efforts of some liberal pundits and organizers (and by extension, the Democratic party hackocracy) to lay claim to OccupyWallStreet, the nascent movement is having none of it.”

    Organizing for America immediately infiltrated Coffee Party meetings. They sent TWO representatives to our small Asheville, NC, gathering and tried to hijack our agenda by talking about Obama’s accomplishments and how we needed to “give him time” and how he “needs our support.” Our group produced a resolution that the root of most problems is money in politics. The OfA guys, therefore, said our grassroots donations to the Democrat party would help combat the influence of corporate money.

  42. falsities

    this is a farce of a group of people who now see them selfs in a class they once never even gave the time of day, now that it’s in their backyard they react, u can’t make this shit up a upper middle class revolution lol.

  43. Short Sales in Michigan

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