Tag Archive | "Protest on wall Street"

Occupy Wall Street And Conspiracy Theories

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Occupy Wall Street And Conspiracy Theories

Posted on 21 February 2012 by daytons

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Regardless of what side of the fence you stand on, there is no denying that the Occupy Wall Street protests have sparked a keen sense of intrigue not seen in American in quite sometime — maybe as far back as the Vietnam War. But the intrigue surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement has also stirred a hornets’ nest of conspiracy theories. Even in its early stages, the protests were met with apprehension and doubt over its true purpose. Now, with the movement in full swing, the theories abound.

Here are the most interesting and/or most whispered conspiracy theories surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement so far:

1. It is Backed and Funded by George Soros
How did Occupy Wall Street form so quickly and so efficiently? Is liberal money man George Soros behind the protests? Soros says he merely sympathizes with protesters.

2. Obama 2012
Critics allege that Occupy Wall Street is just mouthing the talking points of the Obama administration, leading some conservatives to believe that the protest is just part of the re-elect Obama campaign. Despite the rumors spurred by Republican heavy-hitters like Rush Limbaugh and Herman Cain, many of the protesters staunchly oppose the current administration.

3. Facebook Filtering
Several YouTube videos and forum postings show alleged evidence of Facebook censoring posts and updates about Occupy Wall Street protests. Facebook has yet to respond to the allegations, but Facebook is a free service with the rights to remove content at their discretion.

4. Yahoo! Email
Was Yahoo censoring emails about the Occupy Wall Street protests? Think Progress seems to think so. Yahoo apologized for the error and chalked it up to a “false positive” spam filter.

5. Police Brutality
A New York Observer article suggests that protesters might be playing up police brutality to garner support for their movement. Protesters, however, insist that the police are using unjustified force and have even contacted criminal attorneys to advocate on their behalf. This theory has only been bolstered by a controversial image of a woman being maced for refusing to leave the sidewalk. That image is what the Occupy Wall Street movement has used most often so far to back up its claims.

 

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2012-01-29_Oakland

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Occupy Oakland : Epicenter of an Economic crisis

Posted on 29 January 2012 by admin

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Oakland saw 300 people arrested on Saturday Jan 28 2011. If 300 people are arrested in America, there is something terribly wrong with the society. Its a big thing for the US demonstrations compared to other countries. It does not happens every day or every decade. This kind of violence and mayhem is unseen and unfamiliar for most Americans in this country.

The very fiber of American society is broken up after 5 brutal years of a hard economic times and the policies that have failed, along with  a rampant financial crisis solely created by a handful of people on Wall Street under the basic human elements of greed and avarice in a  direct  man made assault on our economic system.

Oakland , California is the epicenter of the West Coast economic hard times. An area located 20 miles from San Francisco hard hit by double digit unemployment numbers , massive foreclosures, budget deficits at the state and local levels and has churned its the citizens into the darkest abyss yet seen anywhere else. Give this an added bonus of a simple minded and an inexperienced Mayor, who barely understands the needs of her populace and citizenry, and you have  a riot and street fights, and an all around break down of law and order, at a level  not seen since Vietnam war.

The anger and frustration with economic hardships has seen  non stop demonstrations since last year.  Authorities though have broken the back of it with heavy handed tactics but the face of it known as Occupy Oakland still continues to be a momentous force. The river of discontent runs much deeper though and on every street corner and  neighborhood.  Thousands suffer in silence and shame, not lifting their heads and not coming out publicly, in abject humiliation. Unable to find work, unable to support themselves and unable to sustain themselves.

Saturday saw the worst of this expression, where people took to the streets. This was nothing short of an urban warfare of modern times.

The Police had experience, co-ordination and agility and an upper hand, the demonstrators had youth and vigor and the ability to face the odds, and they dared to challenge the authority. They ultimately broke into the very heart of  governance, the City Hall and  rampaged through it, burning an American flag , and decrying the authority.

The future of Oakland looks dim. The street frustrations are not going to ebb away anytime soon, as some inexperienced politician’s have hoped for or have assumed by dismantling their camps in late November from major US cities. These protests are are going to continue well into the election year and turning heads and I don’t know how the votes will fall for the incumbents this time. This movement will not fade away- unless jobs are created, and people are given means to live again. Nothing works when it gets this bad, nothing at all in fact.

 

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2011-12-11_shut_down

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Occupy Wall Street Plans Massive Port Blockade

Posted on 11 December 2011 by admin

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By Dantanner

 

Occupy Wall street is gearing up for a massive port blockades from Alaska to Seattle Washington, to Oakland, CA, Los Angeles and San Diego on Dec 12, 2011. The call for action has gone out to massive number of protesters who have been evicted from these cities last 4 weeks. In a major show of force the protesters want to strike back by crippling the trade arteries of West Coast USA and also including port city of Houston Texas where a similar protest is planned.

FinanceMoz has confirmed these actions in the weeks preceding today and the chatter is abuzz on all Social Media platform. There will be live feeds and action all through out the day.

Because of the massive nature of ports and spread out routes it will be fairly impossible to block all the routes and stop the flow of commerce on Monday December 12, 2011. Some of the large ports like Los Angeles and Oakland will perhaps the see the most action. The area at Los Angeles port is so massive, that it may not be possible to cover all the grounds and there will be routes open and available for the traffic from and to the ports.

Some of the Unions have refused to participate in the blockade including Longshoreman Union, but they promised not to cross the picket lines. The Teamster Union is on board with Occupy Wall Street and the the situation remains fluid with nonconforming reports on Social Media.

Oakland perhaps will be the center stage and a hotbed of activity as you remember its lay out and easy access from 7th Street Bart Station is just a mile or so where protesters can easily walk and stage a blockade. Oakland port was blocked shut on November 2, 2011 with massive number of protesters streaming into the gates.

“The objective of the day is to shut down the port through mass action,” said Mike King who acts as a media liaison for Occupy Oakland. “The Occupy movement is attacking the 1 percent at their point of profit.” The Police on the other hand is not disclosing any tactics and how they will counter the blockade attempts. There is has been no confirmed responses from any Police Departments even late Sunday evening.

The Occupy wall Street protesters have been lately evicted from every city and they plan to come back in greater numbers and complete a major event to vindicate those actions. By closing the trading arteries of West Coast they intend to send a chilling message to the people in power and specially local politicians who have used heavy handed tactics to suppress them. The battle is far from over as success of the movement depends on making definite changes to the systems in place.

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2011-12-09_Foreclosure

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Occupy Wall street Disrupts Foreclosures

Posted on 09 December 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

On Tuesday, demonstrators from Occupy New Orleans and Survivors Village — “a community group of former St. Bernard public housing residents and their allies” — disrupted a foreclosure auction taking place in New Orleans.

The demonstrators used a mic check to denounce the auction taking place, calling it immoral. “The sale of blighted property is the city’s attempt to remove poor homeowners who have already suffered tremendously from economic and natural disaster. Blight has become an excuse to gentrify,” they said. “Charging poor homeowners outrageous fees in order to steal their homes is an underhanded way to keep people displaced.” Watch the demonstrators disrupt the auction:

Bridging The Gulf explains what happened after the disruption began: “The sale was scheduled to begin at noon. At approximately 1:45 pm, after several potential buyers had already left, the police arrived and threatened the nonviolent protestors with arrest. Before declaring that the remainder of their protest would be silent, the protestors announced their intention to physically defend any properties sold: ‘We will be in court. We will be in the streets. We will be in the houses–defending them, boarding them up, and occupying them.’”

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Bernie Sander’s OCCUPIED Constitutional Amendment To Ban Corporate Money

Posted on 08 December 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

 

Last month, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) stood up for the 99 Percent by introducing the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment, which would overturn the Citizens United decision, re-establishing the right of Congress and the states to regulate campaign finance laws, and to effectively outlaw the ability of for-profit corporations to contribute to campaign spending. “Americans of all stripes agree that for far too long, corporations have occupied Washington and drowned out the voices of the people,” said Deutch in a statement introducing the amendment. “It is time to return the nation’s capital and our democracy to the people.”

Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a Senate version of Deutch’s amendment. “There comes a time when an issue is so important that the only way to address it is by a constitutional amendment,” said Sanders in a statement provided to ThinkProgress. “I am thrilled that Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced the Saving American Democracy Amendment, a companion bill to H.J. Res 90, my legislation in the House,” said Deutch. “The dominance of corporations in Washington has imperiled the economic security of the American people and left our citizens profoundly disenchanted with our democracy. I look forward to working with Senator Sanders to save American democracy by banning all corporate spending in our elections and cracking down on secret front groups using anonymous corporate cash to undermine the public interest.”

Indeed, the 2010 midterm elections saw nearly $4 billion in campaign spending, breaking all records. If there is ever a time to get corporate special interest money out of our democracy, it is now. Deutch and Sanders are demonstrating real leadership by introducing their amendment.

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2011-12-06__Vet_facing_foreclosure

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Vet Facing Foreclosure

Posted on 06 December 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

 

Today, 99 Percenters all over the country will be taking part in a day of action being dubbed “Occupy Our Homes.” The goal of these actions is to stop home foreclosures and stand up for people who want to work with banks to stay in their houses with their families.

One of the homes the 99 Percent will be trying to save is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There, veteran Bobby Hull is facing eviction from the home he has lived in since he was a child. After running into health problems where he was in and out of surgery, he was unable to make payments to his bank, US Bank. Hull went through a mortgage modification program, and the bank at first refused the program’s offers and then finally approved one modification program and didn’t tell him until two months after.

Now, he’s facing a possible eviction from the home that’s been in his family’s possession since 1968. He wants to work, and he wants to keep his home. But US Bank refuses to work with him. But he’s not afraid. “I’ve served my time in Vietnam and I’m not afraid to fight again,” he says. Today, Occupy Minneapolis will be standing with him to help keep his home in his posession.

Filmmakers Peter Leeman and Kyle Kehrwald made a short film about Hull’s plight. Watch it:

 

 

“We need to protect our country, whether it’s from foreign or domestic,” says Hull. “And I think right now our fight is domestic.” If you are in the Minneapolis area and want to help defend Hull’s home, find details on how to help at this Facebook page here.

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2011-12-03_jackson_Browne2

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Jackson Browne sings at Occupy Wall Street.

Posted on 03 December 2011 by admin

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By Dantanner

Singer Jackson Browne has a new song devoted to Occupy Wall street, “ Which side are you on..” an old civil rights theme song. He performed December 1 at Zuccotti Park backed by Dawes and few other friends.

The impromptu concert without amplifiers was an open air acoustic event surrounded by admirers and fans alike. Jackson Browne said “Somebody asked me the name of that song, and I thought, well, I’m actually not sure what the title is. Maybe ‘Which Side Are You On?’ That’s, of course, the title of an old Civil Rights marching song that I grew up singing when I was 16, 17 years old.” He added “ It’s really hard to write a song about issues.”

Jackson Browne has long inspired and supported political causes, and has many songs devoted to them. He is a well known performing artist championing causes for the people and society. His lyrics tell stories about struggles of life, carry messages and champions the causes.

Its not surprising for Jackson Browne to come forward and support Occupy Wall Street with an appropriate theme song that may rock the nation for many years. When asked he further added “I used to see France get shutdown by unions and students who would bring the country to a halt just to address their concerns and I would wonder what it was going to take to bring that kind of pressure to bear in the United States – and I think what we’re seeing is just the beginning of that.”

Here is the video, please watch :

Video courtesy Rollingstone Magazine

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2011-11-27_Occupy_LA

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Occupy Los Angeles Defiant as eviction looms

Posted on 27 November 2011 by admin

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By Dan Tanner

Recent visit to Occupy Los Angles suggests a defiant mood against the City that has served an eviction notice on the Occupiers. The City and Occupiers had a nice cozy relationship last two months and things have been pretty neat between them. The Police has been benevolent and tolerant.

The camp is located right across the LAPD headquarters -a shimmering glass and concrete structure worth noting on its own. You just have to cross the street and you enter another world of camps, protesters, and a man holding  six week old kittens in his hands. Some people are playing soccer in the mini Plaza, and a band is playing on and on, and there is a woman on the mike yelling something inaudible as no one pays any attention to the daily rants. People are mixing around with dogs in tow and sitting in the warm November sun. Its about 75 degrees and the day is as warm as summer could be. The campers are clad in T Shirts and shorts and light clothing and there is a defiant mood but jovial on the outside. An argument breaks out but dies down when others interfere and rebuke. There was a gaggle of cameramen and news hounds and an endless parade of movie making amateurs. Some had their camera on all the time shooting at mundane things around the camp. Well this is LA the movie capital of the world so it goes.

Despite the good times Occupy Los Angeles has had, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Friday that its time for Occupies to leave and served them an eviction notice for Monday afternoon. Mayor cites health and safety concerns and it is time to re-grow the City’s lawn.

Unlike many other cities in America where harsh handed tactics and middle of the night raids were used, this is a soft handed tactic and the Mayor went out of the way to sympathize with the protesters in his speech. The Mayor has bucked the trend to assault on Occupy Wall Street encampments around the country, perhaps carried out under orders from Department of Homeland Security, or other Federal Agencies to quell and suppress the movement and shut it down. Cities like New York, Oakland and Portland, have used heavy handed tactics to discourage the movement and news have been painted wide in the Press and on online media. There is a definite  attempt to suppress dissent and free speech and shut up the source of protests. The free speech is only as free as it can be allowed, and any further encroachment on public property and assembly is just up to the local mayors and what the  local jurisdictions  interpret and enforce. We have seen riot police, pepper sprays, dozens of arrests and violence. The Police force in New York acted specially very heavy handed on demonstrators lately- evicting them with sweeping force in the middle of the night raid and confiscating their equipment and belongings.

What will happen in Los Angles is up to the Mayor and time will tell. In an interview with Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Charlie Beck Police chief said “I have no illusions that everybody is going to leave” and added “We anticipate that we will have to make arrests”.

Would he also arrest the guy with six week old kittens ?

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Obama  gets a taste of Occupy Wall street

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Obama gets a taste of Occupy Wall street

Posted on 22 November 2011 by admin

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By Dan tanner

Occupy Wall street protesters turned on President Obama today while he was addressing students in Manchester , New Hampshire. The speech was interrupted with the usual signatory “ Mic Check” a human microphone system developed by Occupy wall street protests around the country. Though the supporting crowd was larger in number they had a hard time drowning the chants of the Occupy protesters and a raucous few moments ensued with the President looking flabbergasted and unsure how to proceed. He was finally able to regain control of the dynamics in the room and diplomatically asserted “families like yours, young people like the ones here today — including the ones who were just chanting at me — you’re the reason that I ran for office in the first place.” Watch the video:

Last weekend First Lady and Jill Biden were booed off at the NASCAR event which they inaugurated. The mood in the country is simple anger, and it shows up time and place. I wonder how the President would like to take his case to the American people on the campaign trail in the coming elections when these disruption have started long before the ball kicks off. Seems like no one is immune to the Mic Check once its starts. Its a powerful technique and clearly upsets the dynamics towards the perpetrators.

Republican candidates and even Ron Paul who supports them was heckled last week. Newt Gingrich also got a Mic Check and closed his speech quickly. Usually the politicians walk away from such encounters gracefully, afraid to suffer humiliation before their own supporters.

Today the President did a good job he stayed the course, and faced his accusers squarely. However this was clearly the first such incident where the President came to get a taste of what other politicians have already experienced lately.

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Katehi-211×300

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UC Davis Chancellor’s Silent Shaming by Students

Posted on 20 November 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

Following these police acts, there were loud calls for resignation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi from the entire UC Davis Faculty Association, among others.

Journalist Lee Fang was at the scene of a protest of the chancellor last night. As Katehi held a press conference about the police incident inside a campus building, hundreds of students amassed outside in protest. Katehi then refused to leave, trying to form the impression that hostile students were trying to block her inside.

The students formed a large gap to give the chancellor space to leave. Finally, after the students sat down and locked arms, she decided to leave. As she walked to her car, the students sat silent, shaming her. Watch it:

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OWSmarches

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Occupy Wall Street Strikes Back, Takes Over Financial District With Protests

Posted on 17 November 2011 by admin

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By  Zaid Jilani

 

Today, activists across the country plan to stage demonstrations in solidarity with Zuccotti Park’s evicted protesters. Early this morning, hundreds of demonstrators are marching on Wall Street, taking over the Financial District with mass protests.

Police have moved in and started to arrest many of the demonstrators, who are blocking Wall Street employees from getting to work and shutting down intersections. Here are some pictures of Occupy Wall Street striking back:

Protesters have set up a video livestream of the demonstrations. Watch it:

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

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Occupiers Occupied: The Hijacking of the First Amendment

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Occupiers Occupied: The Hijacking of the First Amendment

Posted on 16 November 2011 by admin

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By Robert Reich

A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.

First things first. The Supreme Court’s rulings that money is speech and corporations are people have now opened the floodgates to unlimited (and often secret) political contributions from millionaires and billionaires. Consider the Koch brothers (worth $25 billion each), who are bankrolling the Tea Party and already running millions of dollars worth of ads against Democrats.

Such millionaires and billionaires aren’t contributing their money out of sheer love of country. They have a more self-interested motive. Their political spending is analogous to their other investments. Mostly they want low tax rates and friendly regulations.

Wall Street is punishing Democrats for enacting the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation (weak as it is) by shifting its money to Republicans. The Koch brothers’ petrochemical empire has financed, among many other things, candidates who will vote against environmental protection.

This tsunami of big money into politics is the real public nuisance. It’s making it almost impossible for the voices of average Americans to be heard because most of us don’t have the dough to break through. By granting First Amendment rights to money and corporations, the First Amendment rights of the rest of us are being trampled on.

This is where the Occupiers come in. If there’s a core message to the Occupier movement it’s that the increasing concentration of income and wealth poses a grave danger to our democracy.

Yet when Occupiers seek to make their voices heard — in one of the few ways average people can still be heard — they’re told their First Amendment rights are limited.

The New York State Court of Appeals along with many mayors and other officials say Occupiers can picket — but they can’t encamp. Yet it’s the encampments themselves that have drawn media attention (along with the police efforts to remove them).

A bunch of people carrying pickets isn’t news. When it comes to making views known, picketing is no competition for big money .

Yet if Occupiers now shift tactics from passive resistance to violence, it would spell the end of the movement. The vast American middle class that now empathizes with the Occupiers would promptly desert them.

But there’s another alternative. If Occupiers are expelled from specific geographic locations the Occupier movement can shift to broad-based organizing around the simple idea at the core of the movement: It’s time to occupy our democracy.

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and his most recent book, Aftershock. His “Marketplace” commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes. He is also Common Cause’s board chairman.

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2011-11-15_Zucotti_Park

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Occupy Wallstreet protesters evicted, but you can’t evict an idea

Posted on 15 November 2011 by admin

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You can evict protesters, but you can’t evict an idea

This week Mayors of Portland Oregon, Oakland, California and New York descended on the Occupy Wall street protesters and cleared up encampments and tents and tossed their possessions into dumpster trucks. The onslaught appears to be well orchestrated and strategic in nature. Other cities are about to follow suit and looks like Los Angles and Nashville are just nearing the same fate.

Politicians and Officials have gleaned at the power developing among these protests and Occupy movement across the country and how the collective will of people dominating the politics of these debt ridden cities. They find themselves alone and ready to do something. Its about how they feel when they find their problems sitting squarely in front of their eyes everyday when they come to office, and makes them feel abject failures and worthless demagogues.

The Cities are bankrupt, have no money and can not even support their own populace. A number of social programs have been cut and agencies closed. A growing crowd of homeless and un-sheltered have drifted towards the Occupy Wall Street camps and withered these times by getting donated food and supported by volunteer kitchens. For some folks this has been their survival on the streets. But as civic and law minded these elected officials are, they are trigger happy to bring down the baton on anyone slightly obstructing their territory and specially their turf, the City Hall which embodies their power and authority. Its their Palace.

But if history is any guide, these non violent, peaceful and grass roots movements run deep in the society. Their roots are anger, discontent and feelings of hopelessness among the dejected masses. Not everyone goes to the Park and sings a protest song, nor does every grandma stand on the street corner waving a protest sign. It’s within the population that the idea for change and sense of injustice that prevails. Its something inherent inside public’s mind and it cannot be tarnished and destroyed. It can only be facilitated by means of change. Physical eviction is not an option when the discontent stays in the public’s mind.

Movements like Occupy Wall street and others are supported by a deep sense of anger and frustration over economic situations and bad times and a prolonged recession and they need not convince anyone about their merits, they are already embraced by millions of people who may not physically occupy City Hall and face Police batons. These self generated movements can take down giants, and the relative implementation of force by a few hundreds Police in riots gears can not stop or erase the collective will of the people.

Most notably, it is the Mayor of America’s largest city who find himself at odds with these protesters and is a staunch backer of Wall Street Titans and conducted a raid  to stamp out this group from New York City. He further fails to grasp how enormous this problem is for his city and his own political career. Power washing Zuccotti Park won’t clean the germs sowed deep inside human minds and spirits. These ideas for change and sense of economic inequality cannot be power washed and collected in a dumpster truck and taken to New York landfills. It isn’t going to happen by any measure of force. Its the sedated feeling of power that these politicians enjoy in thinking we have administered the law to get back to normal times. But this is not business as usual. This is a shattering economy and breakdown of leadership.

Do these Mayors ever come up for elections? Yes they do. They will be tossed in the garbage can just the way they tossed Occupy Wall Street folks. Yes these Occupy Wall Street people vote and a vote from an dejected electorate is an angry vote that will toss them out of office just the same. Those days are not far off. This is an election year and lot is riding for these politicians. They are politically vulnerable, their opponents ready to switch roles in a heartbeat.

The angry electorate vastly outnumbers few such men as simple as that. People are angry about jobs, a broken economy, and an economic structure that favors the rich and greedy, and sucks the wealth in the hands of just a few handful.

So what will these politicians achieve by conducting raids and power washing Occupy wall street encroachments? Will they be able to inject new voters who would gladly embrace their heavy handed use of Police and return favors by voting them for another term ? I doubt it very much. You would be surprised to see how many these seasoned politicians return to occupy their seats next year. They may not be around when people have spoken.

The media has been no friend to the Occupy wall street movement either. Regularly stamping out stories and under reporting the events on major Television and newspapers. Newspapers ? Does anybody buys newspaper these days? They cost too much and they have a silly habit of showing up a day late on your door step. Everyone has switched gears and on to Social Media, Twitter, Face book and You tube, and many others, where online news are generated on the fly and at a moments notice by people who are following these movements. There is no escape from that scrutiny.

The media has tried its level best to discredit Occupy Wall Street protest from the git go. It has sought to sabotage the movement from early days by not reporting it. The old hack is to discredit the protesters, tell them to take a shower, clean up, cut their hairs, and than write something obscene. These are the same people here who worship money and court greed to the fullest.

Had it not been for these Greedy and money lusting pythons, this country would have been prospering like others. We would not be struggling with bills to pay and losing homes to foreclosures. This is the evil whose time has come and it needs to be evicted one way or the other.

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2011-11-08_Crosby_Still_Nash

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Crosby Stills & Nash at Occupywallstreet

Posted on 08 November 2011 by admin

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You know when Crosby Stills and Nash sing for something, it must be big. It also signals the other side has lost, its over. At least that has been their legacy. They sang during Vietnam war and they sang ” Four dead in Ohio”. Their harmonies have touched generations and still evoke the same old messages of people power and change. It was a surprise I saw the them performing a free concert at Cow Palace in San Francisco after the great Loma Pirita earthquake. They were joined by Neil Young. That was long time ago and today they sound just the same as if time has not touched anything. The voices and the harmonies just the same.

Today they sang at Zuccotti Park and you know it must have taken a lot to get them and play this free concert for the people. Later they appeared on Keith Olbermann show and talked about Occupy Wall street movement which they say is just going to grow bigger and bigger as time passes. Its like monster waking up. Watch this video.

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Occupy Wall Street To March Against Obama Foreclosure Deal

Posted on 04 November 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

One frequent criticism of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York City and the wider 99 Percent Movement is that it doesn’t have clear goals and objectives.

Today, protesters from Occupy Wall Street will march with one clear demand: telling President Barack Obama’s Justice Department to reject a settlement deal that would grant widespread immunity to big banks for foreclosure fraud. In a press release provided by the Occupy Wall Street Press Working Group, the activists say it would be a “grave injustice” to abused homeowners to grant banks immunity in exchange for a small settlement:

President Obama is on the brink of cutting a backroom deal that would give bankers broad immunity for illegally throwing tens of thousands of Americans out of their homes. The Administration is pressuring state attorneys general to abandon an ongoing investigation into the massive “robo-signing” fraud, in exchange for a relatively small payoff by the banks.

Numerous investigations by state and federal authorities have demonstrated that banks used illegal procedures to make tens of thousands of foreclosures over the past decade. Rushing to a settlement before the full extent of the fraud is known would be a grave injustice to those who were illegally foreclosed upon and those still struggling to stay in their homes. “This is a clear, moral issue that cuts to the core of why we occupy,” said Max Berger, an Occupy Wall Street participant helping to plan the event. “Instead of throwing corrupt bankers in jail, the administration is pushing to give them a get-out-of jail-free card.”

The settlement being negotiated between the nation’s biggest banks and state and federal investigators reportedly could be as high as $29 billion. A growing number of state attorneys general, like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), have opposed the settlement, saying it would amount to lenient treatment of the financial industry. “Ongoing investigations by attorneys general cannot be shut down by efforts to settle quickly and those responsible must be held accountable,” said a spokesman for Schneiderman earlier this year.

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2011-11-04_banks

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Move Your Money From Big Banks Like George Bailey In -It’s A Wonderful Life

Posted on 04 November 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

Tomorrow is “Bank Transfer Day,” a day on which 99 Percent activists are calling for Americans to take their money out of big banks and other similar financial institutions and instead use credit unions and local community banks. As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, an estimated 650,000 Americans joined credit unions between Sept. 29 — the day Bank of America announced its now-aborted debit card fee — and the beginning of November. That’s 50,000 more people than joined credit unions in the entirety of 2010.

Americans who are considering making the move themselves should not hesitate. Moving your money is far from a radical step, and it is utilizing the free market and consumer choice to decide who should be successful in the market. In fact, the idea moving money away from greedy large financial institutions to local community banks actually has a place in American history.

The classic American film It’s A Wonderful Life starring James Stewart depicts the struggles of George Bailey, a middle class husband and father. At one point in the film, the greedy bank run by Henry Potter denies Bailey and others loans they need to get by while engaging in outrageous practices himself. “These people have children,” relates one of the townsfolk to Potter. “They’re not my children!” Potter replies. To resolve Bailey’s crisis, the townsfolk pool their money to get around Potter, effectively creating their own community banking system.

A group of activists and documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki produced a short film called Move Your Money in 2009 that used the plot of It’s A Wonderful Life to inspire Americans to be like Bailey and reject banks run by people like Potter. Watch it:

To be like Bailey and the townsfolk who rejected Potter, use Move Your Money’s tool here to find a local community bank or credit union.

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Washington Pre-Occupied

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Washington Pre-Occupied

Posted on 04 November 2011 by admin

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By Robert Reich

The biggest question in America these days is how to revive the economy.

The biggest question among activists now occupying Wall Street and dozens of other cities is how to strike back against the nation’s almost unprecedented concentration of income, wealth, and political power in the top 1 percent.

The two questions are related. With so much income and wealth concentrated at the top, the vast middle class no longer has the purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing. (People could pretend otherwise as long as they could treat their homes as ATMs, but those days are now gone.) The result is prolonged stagnation and high unemployment as far as the eye can see.

Until we reverse the trend toward inequality, the economy can’t be revived.

But the biggest question in our nation’s capital right now has nothing to do with any of this. It’s whether Congress’s so-called “Supercommittee” – six Democrats and six Republicans charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion in budget savings — will reach agreement in time for the Congressional Budget Office to score its proposal, which must then be approved by Congress before Christmas recess in order to avoid an automatic $1.5 trillion in budget savings requiring major across-the-board cuts starting in 2013.

Have your eyes already glazed over?

Diffident Democrats on the Supercommittee have already signaled a willingness to cut Medicare, Social Security, and much else that Americans depend on. The deal is being held up by Regressive Republicans who won’t raise taxes on the rich – not even a tiny bit.

President Obama, meanwhile, is out on the stump trying to sell his “jobs bill” – which would, by the White House’s own estimate, create fewer than 2 million jobs. Yet 14 million people are out of work, and another 10 million are working part-time who’d rather have full-time jobs.

Republicans have already voted down his jobs bill anyway.

The disconnect between Washington and the rest of the nation hasn’t been this wide since the late 1960s.

The two worlds are on a collision course: Americans who are losing their jobs or their pay and can’t pay their bills are growing increasingly desperate. Washington insiders, deficit hawks, regressive Republicans, diffident Democrats, well-coiffed lobbyists, and the lobbyists’ wealthy patrons on Wall Street and in corporate suites haven’t a clue or couldn’t care less.

I can’t tell you when the collision will occur but I’d guess 2012.

Look elsewhere around the world and you see a similar collision unfolding. The details differ but the larger forces are similar. You see it in Spain, Greece, and Italy, whose citizens are being squeezed by bankers insisting on austerity. You see it in Chile and Israel, whose young people are in revolt. In the Middle East, whose “Arab spring” is becoming a complex Arab fall and winter. Even in China, whose young and hourly workers are demanding more – and whose surge toward inequality in recent years has been as breathtaking as is its surge toward modern capitalism.

Will 2012 go down in history like other years that shook the foundations of the world’s political economy – 1968 and 1989?

I spent part of yesterday in Oakland, California. The Occupier movement is still in its infancy in the United States, but it cannot be stopped. Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game – an economy that won’t respond, a democracy that won’t listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards.

Here, as elsewhere, the people are rising.

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and his most recent book, Aftershock. His “Marketplace” commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes. He is also Common Cause’s board chairman.

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Easy Way Anyone Can Occupy Wall Street

Posted on 03 November 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

 

Its time to send the credit card industry a message , literally.
Thousands of people across the nation continue to occupy public parks, bank lobbies, city squares, and other locations to speak out against economic injustice and corporate influence in our democracy. Yet particularly as temperatures drop and the weather turns harsh, many Americans will be looking for a way to support the 99 Percent Movementother than physically occupying a public space and attending mass protests. Artie Moffa, a San Fransisco poet and SAT tutor, has devised an easy way almost any American can help keep Wall Street occupied.

In a video uploaded to YouTube, Moffa points out that just about anybody with a postal address gets junk mail from credit card companies. He says that these credit card offers “aren’t junk mail,” but an “opportunity for a dialogue.” Moffa notes that every one of these credit card offers contains a business reply mail envelope, and that the banks pay postage only on the envelopes that are mailed back. So he suggests that Americans take these envelopes and simply send them back empty — costing the financial institutions that send them 25 cents a piece in postage.

Moffa then suggests that you don’t even have to send the envelope back empty. You can send it back with a note protesting the big banks’ policies. Or you can load the envelope up with something like a wood shim, which would cause it to weigh more and thus increase its postal costs. Moffa suggests that ultimately this tactic wouldn’t just be about costing the companies money — it’s about sending a message. And he goes on to conclude that it’s “no substitute for getting out into the street and making your voices heard.” But it’s an easy way anyone “can keep Wall Street occupied.” Watch Moffa present his plan on YouTube:

As of this writing, Moffa’s video already has 175,456 views on YouTube, and it’s only been up four days.

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Senators Introduce Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United

Posted on 02 November 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

One of the overarching themes of the 99 Percent Movement is that our democracy is too corrupted by corporate special interests. This corruption was worsened last year by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed for huge new unregulated flows of corporate political spending.

Yesterday, six Democratic senators — Tom Udall (NM), Michael Bennett (CO), Tom Harkin (IA), Dick Durbin (IL), Chuck Schumer (NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), and Jeff Merkeley (OR) — introduced a constitutional amendment that would effectively overturn the Citizens United case and restore the ability of Congress to properly regulate the campaign finance system.

The amendment as filed resolves that both Congress and individual states shall have the power to regulate both the amount of contributions made directly to candidates for elected office and “the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.”

“By limiting the influence of big money in politics, elections can be more about the voters and their voices, not big money donors and their deep pockets,” said Harkin of the amendment. “We need to have a campaign finance structure that limits the influence of the special interests and restores confidence in our democracy. This amendment goes to the heart of that effort.”

Passing this amendment or any other amendment to the Constitution is an arduous process. There are two ways to propose a constitutional amendment. Either two-thirds of Congress can agree to an amendment or there can be a constitutional amendment called by two-thirds of state legislatures (this path has never been taken). In order to ratify an amendment, three-quarters of state legislatures must agree or three-quarters of states must have individual constitutional conventions that agree.

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Oakland Residents Hold Candlelight Vigil For Iraq Vet Critically Injured By Police

Posted on 28 October 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

On October 25th, the Oakland Police Department instituted a harsh crackdown on Occupy Oakland, arresting dozens of people and using tear gas, flash grenades, and rubber bullets. The police also critically wounded Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, who is now in the hospital for a fractured skull.

Last night, nearly 1300 Oakland residents held a candlelight vigil for Olsen at city hall. Here are some pictures from the vigil:

Yesterday, the intensive care unit where Olsen is being hospitalized upgraded his condition to “fair.” Oakland Mayor Jean Quan visited him as well.

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‘Awwccupy Wall Street’: The Occupy Wall Street Protest Animal Tumblr

Posted on 22 October 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

Awwccupy Wall Street’: The Occupy Wall Street Protest Animal Tumblr | Occupy Wall Street has spawned a new tumblr: “Awwwccupy Wall Street.” The tumblr features photos of protesters’ furry animal companions sounding off about the economic perils facing the 99 percent, corporate greed, and an assortment of other causes. Here’s a few pictures from the tumblr:

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Bringing back Glass Steagall Act would be nice

Posted on 20 October 2011 by admin

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By Arthur Johnson

Everyone who is now on the streets in the Occupy Wall Street movement is showing their American right of frustration on how bad the American Dream is turning out personally for them.Ever since I can remember, I have been frustrated about how the American culture has been evolving since big money has used their money to change things to benefit mostly themselves.

First read my article on JP Morgan how a good bank became a bad bank and you too will become frustrated. Can things get better ? I ask my self all the time. Should I ignore that more than 20% of the people who want to work are unable to find work that can move my country back to its fine tradition of a greater glory we once had. First of all we must find out who is stopping things from getting better.

The Republicans have always felt that having Social Security is not a God given right and in the disguise of saving money and cutting down on the deficit, needed reforms are needed. What a joke that is when everyone, who is not gainfully employed, basically needs a decent job to survive. The Republicans with the help of George W. Bush gave the large financial Corporations extreme powers and now we are paying for it.

Okay bear with me. This Country the United States of America was not created so that huge institutions (Corporations)Banks Government, Media could rule us. The last time this happened with such catastrophic results was in the late 1920’s when big banks and insurance companies went unchecked by regulation. Something the Republicans are always against.

Take the Glass Steagal Act why wasn’t it re-enacted again to protect the big majority of us, the 99% of us ? Commercial banks had been too speculative in the 1920’s because they were investing the depositors cash in creating and selling securities. Senator Carter Glass, a former Treasury secretary and Henry Bascom was a US House of Representative and chairman of the House Banking and currency committee   set up a regulatory firewall between the commercial and investment activities. Both were curbed and controlled by creating this barrier the Glass Segall Act that was aiming to prevent banks’ use of deposits in the case of a failed security offering.

By now you are familiar what the Glass Steagall Act is and how it  protected us for over 62 years against the Big Banks. The Glass-Steagall act disallowed two types of banks to combine the commercial  bank (depository)and the trading and investment banks, Merrill Lynch . This separation of these two banking interests were put in place to protect the depositors from huge losses. The distinction the Glass Steagall Act made that commercial banks and depository banks, should limit the risk by having low-risk banking  activities. Lending and extending credit to individuals and small businesses. While on the other hand Investment banks were to engage in riskier activities of issuing and trading securities. Security activities can be risky, leading to enormous losses and these losses could threaten the integrity of the depositors of a commercial bank. When the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1999 it created Banks that were too big to fail by their nature of conflicts of interest of two banks.

Wouldn’t this be time to bring back the Glass Steagall act? Something that protected and safeguarded American public for over sixty years? The de-regulation of banks and Wall Street influence on politics of America can be minimized or lowered. Banks should stay and do what they are supposed to so, lend money and grow the economy and work for public interests. The are of course entitled to make profits and they will but there should be some separation of powers and limitations on such institutions.

I don’t know if Occupy Wall street would mind having Glass Steagall act back, but it will be a good starting point for a serious demand they can place forward.

 

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Author Naomi Wolf Arrested- Protesting NY Governors Objection To Millionaire’s Tax

Posted on 19 October 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

Last night, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was honoredat the “AOL Huffington Post Game Changers Awards at Skylight Soho” in New York City.

The Soho event with Cuomo was met with protests by at least 150 protesters from Occupy Wall Street who were targeting Cuomo over his opposition to extending a special tax on high-incomes in New York referred to in parochial as the “Millionaire’s Tax” — a tax that nearly 3/4 of New Yorkers support but the governor does not.

One protester pointed out that there have been huge cuts for teachers, firefighters, and cops and that Cuomo is effectively granting a tax cut to millionaires by endorsing the end of the millionaire’s tax:

“We just had some of the largest layoffs of teachers around the state, 2,000 [fewer] teachers in classrooms in the city of New York right now. Cuts to firefighters, cuts to cops, cuts to homeless shelters, cuts to all these things because he does not want to continue the tax on millionaires,” said Jonathan Westin of New York Communities For Change. “He actually wants to give them a tax cut.”

Feminist author Naomi Wolf was an attendee at the Cuomo event. She decided to join the protesters outside to demonstrate against the governor’s defense of millionaires. She was arrested while standing on the sidewalk after refusing to move. Watch video of her arrest:

 

 

Wolf explained her arrest on her Facebook page, writing, “I have been released from custody. I was completely complying with the law and the permit as it was described to me by police and I was arrested for standing lawfully on the sidewalk. I will post more tomorrow. Thank you for your messages of support.”

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Platinum Citizenship

Posted on 18 October 2011 by admin

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By Dylan Ratigan

About a decade ago, I read an article in the Onion, “U.S. Offers PlatinumPlus Preferred Citizenship”. Apparently, Tim Geithner did too, because from 2007-2011, this is the policy framework that he designed and executed, first as President of the New York Federal Reserve, and then as Treasury Secretary. Now, unequal democracy is not a new story, in many ways it’s systemic and goes back hundreds of years. But what we’re going to see in part this week is how Geithner deserves special recognition as sort of this decade’s champion of making this system more explicit and entrenched.

What we’re going to see this week, when the Government Accountability Office releases a more detailed version of an audit of the Federal Reserve’s actions during that period, is more details on how this system worked. So let me give you some context on what the Fed bailouts meant, the details to match the persuasive message of the protesters in Zuccotti Park and around the world.

This is first and foremost a political story. It’s a story of how bought government has changed what it means to be a citizen. So if you haven’t sign our petition yet at www.GetMoneyOut.com,I hope you do so.

The overall stats of the effects of the crisis are clear – median American pay has dropped by 10% since 2007, but on the high end, the rich have never been more powerful.

I’m not interested in a sob story about inequality, I want to talk about what Geithner *did*, structurally to bring about this situation. We’re all aware of the two tiered political system in which protesters can be run over by police scooters but marauders in suits are put on the President’s jobs council to chuckle nervously at Occupy Wall Street. But behind the political inequality lies a new order of credit allocation. Tim Geithner created a two-tiered monetary system, a kind of money they have which you can’t get. He wasn’t alone in doing this. Financial institutions spent hundreds of millions of dollars influencing federal officials to coalesce a bailout while politicians treated them as a special class of super Americans. But he more than anyone else in the crisis period was the central figure in the creation of our current aristocratic monetary order.

Let’s start with the two types of money.

In late 2008, there were two types of people who had huge debts and depreciating collateral. Both types accrued their debts through the subprime mortgage crisis. Homeowners with fixed mortgages sat on rapidly depreciating homes in neighborhoods rife with foreclosures. Once the music stopped, they couldn’t borrow against their homes at all, but if they wanted to get credit through credit cards, the interest rate could be upwards of 30%. This is sad, but it’s not inherently immoral. It’s what happens in a typical financial panic. At the time, bankers also had depreciating assets – they owned subprime mortgage debt, and they had fixed obligations as well. But if they wanted to borrow, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury made sure that they could as much credit as they wanted, against whatever collateral they had, for basically nothing. For instance, the Fed accepted almost $500 billion of CCC rated junk as collateral in loans. In other words, if you had a suburban tract home in the Inland Empire with a mortgage and a home equity line of credit, you were out of luck. But if you owned the debt on the home equity line of credit on that same suburban tract home home, you could have easily gone to the discount window or one of the emergency lending facilities and gotten cash with basically no interest charged.

In Group One are millions of Americans. In Group Two are Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and big American banks, European banks like Dexia, and a whole set of others who had access to the Fed, like the the Bank of Libya, and the wives of Wall Street titans (who had set up special purpose vehicles to take advantage of Fed lending). If you lost your job in 2009, too bad. If you had some savings at the bank or you are a retiree that relies on fixed income bonds, good luck getting more than 1% on your money. But if you were a hedge fund titan who realized that Bernanke had put a taxpayer guarantee against the entire banking system, you were swept up in high stock market returns from 2009-2010.

Sometimes this was even explicit; Geithner created one program in 2009, called the Public-Private Investment Program. Under this program, investors would buy toxic assets, but the government would protect them against much of the downside risk with public funds. In a deal with Citigroup, the Federal Reserve and Treasury took a little less than $300 billion of downside risk on “ring-fenced” bad assets. Oddly, there was no list of the assets when the deal was drawn up, that list would be created later. This is the equivalent of telling a friend if he lends you $25,000 now and you don’t pay him back, you’ll give him some of your random stuff, whatever you have lying around, later.

While these institutions were pleading with federal officials for bailouts, they were filling their coffers with campaign contributions and paying millions to swarm Capitol Hill to convince officials to bail them out.

And it worked.

During this same time period, Citi Group, which received $300 billion in tax dollars from the United States Treasury, spent more than approximately $13 million to influence lawmakers. Goldman Sachs spent $9 million on buying lawmakers in 2008.

And yes, there are individual scandals, like the government paying out a hundred cents on the dollar for credit default swaps that Goldman Sachs bought from AIG. That was simply a cash award to Goldman. There was Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan pawning off $30 billion of crappy Bear Stearns assets on the New York Federal Reserve, even as he sat on the board of the New York Federal Reserve. And there are the absurdly corrupt aspects of the bailouts, like the fact that the Fed subcontracted much of the actual work. The GAO bloodlessly noted that “most of the contracts, including 8 of the 10 highest-value contracts, were awarded noncompetitively, primarily due to exigent circumstances.” Exigent? The upper tier even has its own language. There’s also this excruciatingly corrupt point, which few have noticed: “FRBNY’s existing restrictions on its employees’ financial interests did not specifically prohibit investments in certain nonbank institutions that received emergency assistance.” Yup, New York Fed employees could buy stock in companies they knew would benefit from their actions, as long as those companies were not banks. There has been no investigation, as far as I can tell, of whether they did so.

It’s not the scandals that matter, or rather, it’s that the scandals are the new norm that matters. The larger context here, what the Occupiers are protesting, is that Tim Geithner formalized a financial elite and gave them special rights they had not previously had, notably a government guarantee for their investing, rights which ordinary people don’t get. You can see this in bank borrowing spreads; large banks get a subsidy of $34 billion of dollars a year, simply because investors think their bonds are backed by the US government. This is now written into law – Dodd-Frank requires regulators to draw up a list of systemically significant firms. These are pretty explicitly firms that are too big to fail.

Behind these investing advantages are legal advantages. No elite bankers have been prosecuted for the financial crisis, or the foreclosure crisis. NONE. And no, it’s not hard to prosecute bankers, especially when they admit violating laws that are easily understandable and carry up to a year in jail, like the law saying you can’t foreclose on active duty troops. This is something JP Morgan admitted doing 18 times in a Congressional hearing, yet the bank apparently got off with an apology. US Attorneys are busy prosecuting low level borrower scams, in a shameful display of how the Justice system has now become nothing but a sinecure for ambitious legal servants of the new class of American oligarchs. Meanwhile, if you’re a homeowner with an underwater mortgage, you can’t discharge your debt in bankruptcy, the way that corporations can or wealthy people can with second (or third or fourth) homes. And if a bank forges a document, or two or three or four, and uses it to foreclose without holding your mortgage note, well, no biggie. You have no rights as a debtor, but the bank has supreme rights as a creditor. Their money counts, yours does not.

Dylan Ratigan is the host of “The Dylan Ratigan Show” on MSNBC. You can follow Dylan on Twitter @DylanRatigan or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dylanratigan.  This post originally appeared at DylanRatigan.com and appears here with permission. 

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Over 1,000 Americans Have Been Arrested Protesting Wall Street, While Bankers Have Dodged Prosecutions

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Over 1,000 Americans Have Been Arrested Protesting Wall Street, While Bankers Have Dodged Prosecutions

Posted on 18 October 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

 

One of the major complaints made against the financial sector by demonstrators who began their occupation of Wall Street one month ago today is that there have been few major prosecutions of banking executives and other financial actors for financial frauds and other crimes related to the economic crisis. The handful of serious enforcement actions that have been made include an 11-year sentence against Goldman executive Raj Rajaratnam for insider trading and the conviction of the chairman of Florida-based mortgage-lender firm Taylor, Bean & Whitaker for $3 billion in fraud. Major players at the upper echelon of most banks remain untouched for their role in the crisis.

Yet while state and federal law enforcement officials — with a handful of exceptions, like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — have largely strayed away from major lawsuits and prosecutions in the financial sector, thousands of Americans have faced arrest for misdemeanors — including simply staying in a public park overnight — they committed while protesting Wall Street and corporate greed. ThinkProgress has assembled a short summary of just some of the well over a thousand arrests that have taken place across the country during occupations and other protest actions over just the past month:

– NEW YORK CITY: More than 700 protesters were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge as they began to impede traffic on October 1st. Upwards of 70 people were arrested following the occupation of Times Square this weekend. Additionally, more than two dozen people were arrested while trying to symbolically close their bank accounts at a Citibank branch last week.

– BOSTON: Over a hundred people were arrested as Boston police stormed the Occupy Boston encampment last week. Police threw an American flag to the ground, detained veterans, and destroyed personal property during the arrests. Earlier in the month, two dozen people were arrested while protesting Bank of America’s corporate offices downtown.

– CHICAGO: 175 protesters were arrested over the weekend after refusing orders to vacate Grant Park. “I’d like to ask why (New York Mayor Michael) Bloomberg let the people stay in the park peacefully and clean up their own mess, and Rahm Emanuel won’t let us do the same,” said protester Joseph Eichler, referencing the fact that protesters in New York have been allowed to stay in Zuccotti Park.

– DENVER: Over two dozen protesters were arrested last week in Denver after Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) signed off on a riot police raid on their encampment near the state capitol building.

– LOS ANGELES: Ten protesters were arrested earlier this month after one man tried to cash a $673 billion check at a local Bank of America branch, a protest against the banking industry bailout.

– SAN FRANCISCO: Eleven protesters were arrested while staging a sit-in at a local Wells Fargo branch last week. An additional five demonstrators were arrested late last night.

– SEATTLE: Seattle police moved into Occupy Seattle’s encampment this morning, clearing out 150 people and arresting seven. “We all knew it was going to happen. We don’t think it’s legal,” protested Occupy Seattle participant and law student Corey Wlodarczyk.

– WASHINGTON, D.C.: Yesterday, Dr. Cornel West and 19 others were arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court building while protesting against the Citizens United decision.

An filmmaker concerned with the crackdowns on activists made a short YouTube film called “I Am Not Moving,” comparing the arrests across the country with the word of American officials calling on other countries to respect free speech. In less than a week, the video has almost half a million views. Watch it:

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I am not moving-

Posted on 18 October 2011 by admin

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Ev’rywhere I hear the sound of marching , charging feet, oh boy
‘Cause summer is here and the time is right for fighting in the street
Oh boy
but what can a poor boy do ?

Hey! Think the time is right for a palace revolution
But where i live the game to play is compromise solution
Oh boy
Well, than what can a poor boy do?

Except to sing in a rock n roll band…

(M.Jagger/Keith Richards Street fighting man )

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PHOTOS: The Global 99 Percent March In Hundreds Of Cities Worldwide For Social And Economic Justice

Posted on 16 October 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

Ever since protesters inspired by the Arab Spring took over Zuccotti Park in New York City to protest Wall Street’s greed, people nationwide have been inspired to take part in their own protests and occupations, taking aim at corporate greed and economic injustice. Thus, the 99 Percent Movement was born, aimed at seeking social justice for the bottom 99 percent of Americans and taking aim the greed of the top one percent.

Today, this movement went global as there were planned demonstrations in in 951 cities in 82 countries. The protests, which were built partly on the foundation of demonstrations in Spain that began on May 15th, included hundreds of thousands of people worldwide taking part in protests and occupations. Although their causes varied — they ranged from everything from protests against European austerity programs to Japanese nuclear power regimes — their demand had one global aim: to seek justice for the vast majority of the world’s population being left out of the dominant global economic and political systems.

ThinkProgress has assembled a collage of photos from these demonstrations taking place across the world:

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The Other Occupation: How Wall Street Occupies Washington

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The Other Occupation: How Wall Street Occupies Washington

Posted on 14 October 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

 

As ThinkProgress has previously noted, the 99 Percent Movement has been set off thanks to long-standing economic inequities and and a recession caused primarily by Wall Street’s misdeeds.

In order to engage in these practices that brought the world’s economy to its knees, Wall Street had to make sure that the federal government based in Washington, DC would both de-regulate the financial industry (and provide lax oversight) and that Congress and the Federal Reserve would bail out banks with few strings attached if they were in danger of failing. The way the financial industry and big banks won this kid glove treatment from the federal government is by occupying Washington — flooding it with campaign contributions, lobbyists, and its own staffers and executives to occupy key positions of power. ThinkProgress has assembled a rundown of three ways Wall Street has occupied Washington:

1. Wall Street Occupies Washington With Massive Campaign Contributions: On Nov. 12, 1999 President Bill Clinton signed into law the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, a Depression-era law that created a firewall between commercial and investment banking. Repealing this law was one of the top legislative goals of the financial industry. In the 1998 election cycle, commercial banks spent $18 million on congressional campaign contributions, with 65 percent going to Republicans and 35 percent going to Democrats. Securities and investment firms donated over $40 million. The mega-bank Citibank spent $1,954,191 during that cycle, and it was soon able to merge with Travelers Group as a result of the repeal of banking regulations. Between 2008 and 2010, when new financial regulations were being written following the financial crisis, the finance, insurance, and real estate industries spent $317 million in federal campaign contributions, with $73 million of that coming from Political Action Committees (PACs). The hold of campaign contributions is starkly bipartisan. As Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) explained to Real Clear Politics in an interview last year, he couldn’t get a vote on a windfall profits tax on bonuses at bailed out banks due to campaign contributors. “I couldn’t even get a vote,” Webb explained. “And it wasn’t because of the Republicans. I mean they obviously weren’t going to vote for it. But I got so much froth from Democrats saying that any vote like that was going to screw up fundraising.”

2. Wall Street Occupies Washington With Its Lobbyists: One way to control what Washington lawmakers do is to give them access to exclusive funding streams that allow them to finance their campaigns. But yet another is to control the stream of information. From the deregulatory period of 1998 to 2009, the financial sector spent $3.3 billion on lobbyists. In 2007, the financial industry employed 2,996 separate lobbyists, five for every member of Congress. During the debate over financial reform last year, the industry flooded the nation’s capital with its own lobbyists. On just one issue — regulating derivatives — financial industry lobbyists outnumbered consumer group lobbyists and other pro-reform advocates by 11 to 1. In fact, by 2010, the industry had hired a whopping 1,600 former federal employees as lobbyists. Included among these lobbyists were high-ranking former public leaders like former Democratic House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (MO) and Kenneth Duberstein, Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff. Much of this lobbying is done through elite K Street firms that specialize in hiring government insiders. Yet there are also bank-funded front groups like the Chamber of Commerce that deploy lobbyists on behalf of the big banks.

3. Wall Street Literally Occupies Washington By Placing Its Staff In Government Positions: Shortly after Clinton signed into law the repeal of the firewall between commercial and investment banking, his Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs alumni Robert Rubin left the government to work for newly-formed Citigroup — whose merger was only possible thanks to the policies Rubin championed and enacted. His compensation at Citigroup topped $15 million, not including stock options. Goldman’s alumni are found across the government, including bailout architect and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Paulson’s bailout chief Neil Kashkari, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman Gary Gensler. The revolving door, of course, works both ways. Obama budget director Peter Orszag joined Citigroup shortly after leaving the government. This is just a small sampling of Wall Street’s staffers who found their way into government.

These three facets of lobbying do not include how these financial interests fan their funding out among nonprofits and think tanks, and how they fund media campaigns and public relations efforts within the parameters of the geographic territory of the District of Columbia. The amount of money spent on these tasks is likely formidable but is difficult to track.

There are reforms that can be enacted to combat this Wall Street infiltration of Washington. Ranging from public financing of federal campaigns to new disclosure laws to placing restrictions on lobbying from federal public officials, these reforms would blunt the impact of big money on federal policymaking. Yet only vigilance from the American public can get such reforms enacted.

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Activist Who Reagan Called ‘One Of The World’s Greatest Labor Leaders’ Coming To Support Occupy Wall Street

Posted on 14 October 2011 by admin

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By Zaid Jilani

As ThinkProgress reported earlier this week, former Polish anti-Soviet activist, union leader, and president Lech Wałęsa announced that he supports the occupation of Wall Street by demonstrators upset about economic injustice.

Now, Wałęsa has announced that he will be joining the protests in New York city in person:

Solidarity hero Lech Walesa [sic] is flying to New York to show his support for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. “How could I not respond,” Walesa told a Polish newspaper Wednesday. “The thousands of people gathered near Wall Street are worried about the fate of their future, the fate of their country. This is something I understand.”

Wałęsa was instrumental in organizing the Solidarity union that helped mobilize to overthrow the Soviet Union’s control over Poland. In 1983 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. None other than President Ronald Reagan — no left-wing, anti-capitalist activist — responded by praising Wałęsa’s leadership, saying he was “one of the world’s greatest labor leaders”:

REAGAN: I’d like to take a moment this afternoon to send a moment of congratulation to one of the world’s greatest labor leaders, Lech Wałęsa. […] This award demonstrates that the world will always remember and will honor the commitment to freedom and the committement to free trade unions that Lech Wałęsa and millions of brave Polish people share.

Watch Reagan’s remarks:

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2011-10-10_Media

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Own the Media own the democracy

Posted on 10 October 2011 by admin

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The OccupyWallstreet protest has been three weeks old. At the very start there was no media coverage of OccupyWallstreet, None whatsoever. All major news outlets refused to acknowledge if there was protest on Wall Street.

American public had no idea that a massive movement was unfolding right in Media’s own backyard here in New York City. Within blocks from their offices, they could hear the sounds of marching, charging feet, and the roll of drums. A determined group of youth were about to start what has now become a full fledged national conversation and a movement touching the lives of millions of Americans, weighed in by the President and the members of Congress.

We have been covering Occupywallstreet from day one. So how do we know where to find what is happening in our country apart from the traditional assist from our media ? It is called Social Media. It is made up via Social contacts, where no one controls anything, and there are no limits, on any conversation. There are no gate keepers and Inkwell owners and print press owners, to hold back the truth.

HOW THE MEDIA LIED TO AMERICAN PEOPLE

What started on September 17 , 2011 in New York City has now become a national movement. From the start the Media deliberately ignored the events. But with the star powers of Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon, they had to report it and they did it in a very muted fashion.

You wonder if there is a protest or gathering in far off Arab lands like Tahrir Square, Tripoli or Tunisia the media is all over the Arab world and imprints every little detail, and throws a gauntlet of news stream around you so you can’t escape it. But when the events unfold in our own country ,and in our own backyard, and in New York City and Lower Manhattan, where the media is hunkered down, you don’t hear a thing ? Why? Because the gatekeepers decide you don’t need to know about Wall Street’s corruption and Greed and the imbalance of Wealth and Social inequality in America. They want to block your mind set like they have done numerous other times, and mold your opinions in a democracy, which will suit their own interests, and their own people. These are thoughts and ideas, that can dislodge a powerful elite in America and change the social structure forever.

SOCIAL MEDIA REPLACES OLD MEDIA

The media in the US is made up of few giant sized news outlets. They are top down. Executives and editors decide what is good and whats bad for you in advance. But those were the days when cigar chomping fat cats would dictate a copy, place an order, and shout down your days worth of news.

But not anymore in this day and age. With the proliferation of Internet, it is at it’s best, degraded from it’s former glory. Now there is a thing called the Web and there are web sites like this one, that you are reading, who have just as much control on the news as they have. The proverbial inkwell is now replaced by the mighty Internet. It’s funny to see how these cigar chomping, aging, Media moguls are sitting like bewildered rabbits in this fast moving digital divide. They are completely out of their wits ! Some of them don’t even know how to operate laptops and computers. What has replaced them and degraded them into such antiquity ? Twitter, Face book, You Tube and Iphone and the newly emerging technologies plus the growing population of Americans.

Now there is no need to have a paid camera men shooting film for the evening news cast. Anyone with a cell phone can just shoot a segment and upload it on You tube where it will be picked up by millions without any royalties or hassles. It is all free to access and use. The video attached here is an example of this brand of Journalism that is free and open and knows no bounds.

OCCUPYWALLSTREET BEATS THE ODDS

The Unions have been demonstrating against Wall Street’s greed for the last three years. You probably never heard about or did you? Every time they will come in New York and demonstrate the Media will ignore them flat out. They will picket and demonstrate the old fashioned way. The old crowd was totally ineffective against the owners of democracy the traditional US Media .The media has protected Wall Street for three long years and the Unions have failed to make a dent themselves and their voices heard.

This is what the Media did to the OccupyWallstreet movement. Ignored them flat out and completely- just like the Unions. But here comes America’s elite from Ivy League schools, students from Fordham, Columbia and Harvard and other places, who have been dealt a severe blow in this economic downturn. They had nowhere to go. They had nothing to lose. They were young. They knew their way around Internet. They had the technology on their side. They had the Media in their own hands. Twitter, Face book and You tube. It didn’t take long for the conversation and awareness to spread like wild fire. Live stream broadcasts replaced live TV anchors in tight black T-shirts who jump up and own vigorously. A movement was born out of nowhere -puzzling the traditional gatekeepers and ink masters, as it spread nationally without hindrance.

It was only when the news became too big to ignore, than the US media got involved. Their own credibility took a hit, they lost revenue, and they reported it with condescending attitude and ridicule. They are still doing it. You can see in this video, how they get treated as the crowd chants and ridicules back.

HOW THIS WILL WORK NOW

The media does not wants you to know there is a protest against Big banks. As always the media has protected the rich and powerful elite. They are cut from the same cloth as the rich Wall Street Barron and Institutions they own.  They are their mouth pieces. They hardly have any sympathy to the poor in America ,or those who have suffered long and hard in this economic distress or anyone who has not made it to the rank of millionaires. They have no reason to be on the side of those who have lost jobs, homes, and the American Dream.

They will continue to muddle the waters, and shine the light somewhere else. They will not be truthful. The only thing you can do is peel yourself off their grip and create your own media and enjoy the benefits like we do. This is after all your future and mine.

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