Bill Black in concert at #OccupyLA

“I’m coming with a message of hope, actually. In the Savings and Loan crisis, which was 1/70th the size of this crisis, our agency made over 10,000 criminal referrals, and that resulted in the conviction on felony grounds of over 1000 elites in what were designated as major cases.”

Maybe Eric Holder should give Bill Black a call, find out how it’s done?

NOTE From November 9, but no stale. Readers, do any of you have links to other teach-ins from Occupations?

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Bev

      Ellen Brown’s state bank solution keeps in place our current problem of DEBT based money.

      Better than that is Money that is Money, Not Money that is DEBT:

      Dennis Kucinich’s NEED Act HR 2990

      112th CONGRESS

      1st Session

      H. R. 2990

      To create a full employment economy as a matter of national economic defense; to provide for public investment in capital infrastructure; to provide for reducing the cost of public investment; to retire public debt; to stabilize the Social Security retirement system; to restore the authority of Congress to create and regulate money, modernize and provide stability for the monetary system of the United States; and for other public purposes.


      September 21, 2011

      Mr. KUCINICH (for himself and Mr. CONYERS) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services

      A BILL

      To create a full employment economy as a matter of national economic defense; to provide for public investment in capital infrastructure; to provide for reducing the cost of public investment; to retire public debt; to stabilize the Social Security retirement system; to restore the authority of Congress to create and regulate money, modernize and provide stability for the monetary system of the United States; and for other public purposes.

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


      This Act may be cited as the `National Emergency Employment Defense Act of 2011′.


      (a) Findings- The Congress finds as follows:

      (1) Nearly 14,000,000 Americans are currently unemployed, another 12,000,000 estimated Americans are underemployed, wages are stagnant and millions of Americans are being asked to take pay cuts.



      Dennis Kucinich’s the NEED Act, HR 2990.

      Email this Webpage to all of your Contacts and Print the Following:

      (1) A half page Flyer announcing the HR 2990
      which should be handed to everyone at a demonstration.

      (2) A full page flyer describing HR 2990,
      a hard-hitting piece that should be handed to the same people at a demonstration.

      (3) The Need for Monetary Reform,
      a one page (double-sided) sheet for those who want to know more. It’s exactly 800 words and you can reprint it easily, even get it into newspapers.

      (4) A fact sheet on HR 2990
      describing what the bill does to stabilize America’s financial situation, including the creation of 7 million of jobs.

      (5) Our 32 page booklet,
      which includes some history, our answers to the 20 most frequently asked questions, the American Monetary Act, and much more. Copy and photocopy the one attached, or get preprinted ones from us at 10 copies for $30.

      Follow The Dick Distelhorst Plan to Advocate for Monetary Reform!

      What do the Occupiers want? Mainly Economic Justice!

      To get economic justice, you must have monetary justice and the AMI has been working at gaining monetary justice since 1996. We have made progress. Our research results, The Lost Science of Money by Stephen Zarlenga demonstrate that decades of research and centuries of experience shows that three things are absolutely needed:

      The present form of the Federal Reserve System must be ended – it must become a part of our government – what people mistakenly think it is now! In the Treasury Department is best.

      The accounting privilege that banks now have to create what we use for money out of debt, must stop once and for all. What’s called fractional reserve banking must be decisively ended.

      The Congress must understand and be empowered to create new money and spend it into circulation as money, not debt. For example the $2.2 trillion dollars the Engineers tell us is needed for infrastructure over the next 5 years. As the system progresses, health care and education, and grants to the states are made.

      Materials for reaching local officials and civic organizations

      1. F. Beard

        I agree that Ellen Brown is not radical enough.

        Also, government money should ONLY be spent into existence, NOT lent into existence. Government should neither borrow nor lend money.

  1. Economic Maverick

    Here’s Stiglitz at #OWS New York in the fairly early stages of the movement

    I did a financial literacy teach-in at Occ DC, but there is no video, and I don’t believe it deserves to be on the same level at Black and Stiglitz! :)

    But, I’d like to give this plug of an interview i did in New York last week, profiling the sustainable energy creation by a good Texan rancher who is pro-Occupy! I am NOT being interviewed, I am the camera person asking the questions

    1. LucyLulu

      About ten or so years ago there was a benevolent group that sought to bring the Internet to the jungles of southeastern Asia. Unfortunately, there was no electricity or alternate sources of power. They ended up having small Linux boxes built that were similarly powered by bicycles. I found that fascinating, and since I was teaching intro computing at a community college at the time, it made for a good story when students started complaining life was too difficult.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        This sounds like an excellent *grass roots* enterprise. Let’s get the bikes, the boxes, and do likewise.

        Are any of the *famously altruistic* NGO’s ready to *invest* in such enterprises in every State, to encourage local businesses that might aid and abet *We the People*’s freedom from Tyranny of the 1%?

        Just thought I’d ask.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I was peripherally involved in another such campaign for Africa. The Internet was the answer, or would have been, had there been the internet. What happened, instead, was the cell phone.

  2. G3

    Slavoj Zizek at OWS :

    Lots of gems. Sample :
    Let me tell you a wonderful, old joke from Communist times. A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew his mail would be read by censors, so he told his friends: “Let’s establish a code. If a letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true what I say. If it is written in red ink, it is false.” After a month, his friends get the first letter. Everything is in blue. It says, this letter: “Everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theatres show good films from the west. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.” This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom— war on terror and so on—falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here. You are giving all of us red ink.

    1. just me

      Thanks for the link, I enjoyed reading it:

      Maybe we need to set our priorities straight here. We don’t want higher standard of living. We want better standard of living. The only sense in which we are Communists is that we care for the commons. The commons of nature. The commons of what is privatized by intellectual property. The commons of biogenetics. For this, and only for this, we should fight. Communism failed absolutely, but the problems of the commons are here. …

      Includes photo captioned “Free training included how to undo a handcuff”

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Thanks, G3. Her last point: no inheritance of parents’ wealth & property. Such inheritance AND property put into *Trusts* in order to *keep the money/property/wealth* in the DYNASTY is the cornerstone of the Monopoly of the 1%.

      The *insider* transfer of wealth/property among Dynasty DNA sets in perpetuity is the bed-rock issue. Without this, the power of dynasties and the *Tyranny of the 1%* would perish.

  3. aletheia33

    new school/nation forum 11/10/11 with naomi klein, william greider, Occupier patrick bruner, et al. couldn’t figure out the order of the videos but it didn’t matter. was able to listen while doing other things. have to say, moore made me laugh, always a welcome tonic, and all the other speakers are strong. klein is excited about tar sands postponement the day before and mentions bill mckibben’s assertion to her that the occupy movement “helped” make that happen.

  4. Psychoanalystus

    I think the OWS is the stake through the heart of capitalism and the American empire. Both would have vanished eventually anyway, but OWS is allowing the whole world and the whole of USA to see the pure evil that this country and what it stands for truly is, and thus immensely accelerating their demise.

    Images such as the ones from UC Davis are shattering to pieces any disillusionment the apologists of this country might still hold. So I think the collapse of the American empire and capitalism is likely to occur very quickly. A year or two from now we will look back, all these banksters, Koch brothers, Fox News and CNN commentators, and brain-dead policemen thoroughly rounded up and securely in prison, a new socialist government in place, and this whole American Dream nightmare safely behind us forever. Either that, or this whole nation will descend into the hell of Fascism and military dictatorship in the most brutal and Orwelian fashion ever imagined or unimagened. However, one thing is certain: the status quo is over.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’d argue that there’s no such thing as pure evil or good in this world. However, the students talking down the police, who had their weapons raised, with the people’s mic, is about as pure an example of good as I’ve seen in some time.

  5. Psychoanalystus

    I think a good next step would be to start coordinated action in order to begin bringing down transnational corporations one at a time. Examples are:

    Start buying silver in order to bring down JP Morgan, courtesy of all its shorts on the metal.

    Stop buying products made by Coca Cola (even if you have to switch to Pepsi)

    Stop buying American-made automobiles.

    With coordinated action we can bring down these monsters one at a time.

      1. Psychoanalystus

        Why not just get a Toyota or Honda, made in Japan. They are infinitely superior quality, anyway.

        1. Buzz Meeks

          Brilliant move- help 376,600 living wage union employees loose their jobs. Help kill the mid-west and northeast subcontractor and other parts vendors and help their employees loose their jobs.

          Remember the radiation spewed all over Japan back in the spring? Still want to buy a new Japanese made vehicle?

          I have gotten incredible service out of my last small Chevy pickup-366,000 miles with regular maintenance. A friend, after spending an afternoon in my new GMC Canyon told he now regrets buying his latest Toyota pickup. Wishes he would have bought a Colorado/ Canyon.

          Pick up on Occupy strategy and start buying local.

        2. different clue

          What . . . are Daimler or Volkswagen any less of a transnational monster than GM or Ford? Stop buying American automobiles? Sounds like something a EuroSnob intellectual would say. I gather you live in Europe.
          Do you have stock in European car companies? Are you
          “talking your book”?

          Since I live in Michigan, I’ll repeat your own suggestion back at you as seen through my end of the telescope. Stop buying European cars. Only buy Ford/GM/Chrysler-Fiat cars. And only if they are made by Union Labor in a Right To Organize state.

          1. different clue

            As I reread your comment I note the detail that the car brands in detail you suggest buying are Toyota and Honda.
            So perhaps it is shares of Toyota and Honda which you own and the “your book” you are talking is your shares in Toyota and Honda? The basic principle still applies.

  6. LucyLulu

    It appears that the pushback against OWS may get ratcheted up. This story about CLGC’s, a large financial lobbying firm, pitch to American Bankers Assoc. was broken this morning on MSNBC. Huffington Post is running it now as well.

    CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead.

    According to the memo, if Democrats embrace OWS, “This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street. … It has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.”

    The memo also suggests that Democratic victories in 2012 should not be the ABA’s biggest concern. “… (T)he bigger concern,” the memo says, “should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies.”

    More at:

    1. Psychoanalystus

      What is most disheartening is that recent polls indicate support for OWS is dropping, and negative perception about the movement is increasing. The corporate mass media may win, in the end. The US population may, after all, be brainwashed beyond redemption, and the country may well need to die a slow and prolonged death similar to the death of the Roman Empire. OWS may very well be the last best hope for America. Regardless, the world has moved on past the United States of America. Obummer may be in Asia signing military treaties as if this country may still have a role to play in the region, but those nations know that they are signing with a zombie nation that will soon drown in its own cesspool of corruption and violence.

      Abroad America is a country that kills and maims women and children for profit, and at home preys on its weak, sick, and helpless. A country where 55 million lack health insurance, where one in 4 children live in poverty, and where 3 million people are incarcerated for years and years in a predatory and out of control so-called “justice system”. Any nation that begins to canibalize its own population like that does not survive very long.

  7. TraderGreg

    The Obama administration is the most corrupt administration in history of United States – no one of importance will get prosecuted.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          I was addressing the commenters above who were getting *disheartened* and seemed to be getting cold feet, ready to accept that Obama’s administration is so corrupt that we must accept *business as usual*. Faint hearts never won victory over the 1% at any time.

          The route of *honorable* civil disobedience at UC Davis notwithstanding, the *Second Amendment* zealots will replace *red ink* with blood. Which is preferable, in this event? wholesale slaughter or the guillitone for *some*?

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