Beyond Tea-Party Somnambulism!

Posts tagged ‘Occupy Wall Street’

U.S. banks should “undermine” Occupy Protesters: Memo

The following is an article from reporter, Dave Ingram, of Reuters, regarding a memo from a lobbying firm to the American Banking Association, urging them to allow the lobbying firm to perform research into the OWS movement, including background checks and individuals’ motives for participating!  I thought readers would be interested in seeing what is going on in the back rooms of corporations!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Occupy Wall Street movement is a big enough problem for U.S. banks that they should pay for opposition research into the political motives of protesters, said a firm that lobbies for the industry.

Jay Cranford - Sr. Partner

Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford, a Washington-based firm, proposed the idea in a memo to the American Banking Association, an industry group which said on Saturday that it did not act on the idea.  The four-page memo outlined how the firm could analyze the source of protesters’ money, as well as their rhetoric and the backgrounds of protest leaders.

“If we can show they have the same cynical motivation as a political opponent, it will undermine their credibility in a profound way,” said the memo, according to a copy of it on the website of TV news channel MSNBC, which first reported on it. (See MSNBC’s report http://upwithchrishayes.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/19/8896362-exclusive-lobbying-firms-memo-spells-out-plan-to-undermine-occupy-wall-street-video)

Clark Lytle Geduldig counts the banking association among its regular lobbying clients, U.S. Senate records showed.  Other clients include MasterCard Worldwide and a banking coalition concerned about interchange fees.  The firm did not respond to requests for comment.  Its memo said it could deliver research, survey data and plans to use the information in 60 days at a cost of $850,000.

Banking association spokesman, Jeff Sigmund, told Reuters the memo is authentic, but his group was not interested. “Our government relations staff received the proposal – it was unsolicited and we chose not to act on it in any way,” Sigmund said.

The memo is dated November 24, five days after it became public. Sigmund did not respond to a follow-up question about the date. November 24 is also the Thanksgiving holiday. The memo said U.S. financial firms should be concerned about comments that Democratic campaign consultants have made in the news media about trying to harness the energy of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

“This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street firms,” it said. “If vilifying the leading companies of this sector is allowed to become an unchallenged centerpiece of a coordinated Democratic campaign, it has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bull’s-eye.”

The memo is from Clark Lytle Geduldig’s four name partners. Two of them, Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford, are former aides to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, a Republican.

Using shorthand for Occupy Wall Street, the memo said:

“It may be easy to dismiss OWS as a ragtag group of protesters but they have demonstrated that they should be treated more like an organized competitor who is very nimble and capable of working the media, coordinating third party support and engaging office holders to do their bidding. To counter that, we have to do the same.”

After performing some additional research on the internet, I found another portion from the memo…

image

When Peaceful Protest Is Suppressed, What Is The Alternative?

I want to make an observation about the Occupy Wall Street protests.  After viewing too many YouTube videos, reading eyewitness accounts from Occupiers, media reporters and untold number of bloggers, I think that the policies being followed by municipalities like New York, Oakland, Seattle and others, is ill-conceived and  lacking vision.

In the overwhelming majority of written and videotaped reports I’ve read and seen, there has not been any provocation by the protesters. Although they may be loud and/or annoying in their chants and calls for economic equality, I have not heard of any attempt by protesters (not including the “black-hoods”, who have tried to invoke violence, but have been dismissed with the help of Occupy protesters), to incite or provoke the police into action.  One of my favorite images coming out of the Occupy Movement is this:

If you look at the various videos from the Occupy Oakland “night of terror”, I don’t think there is any doubt about where the violence came from. Further, even after the violence resulted in serious injury to one Marine vet, Scott Olsen, the police continued to attack those who were trying to provide aid, which not only shows proclivity to use the “toys” issued to them, but also a lack of compassion for those they’ve injured.  This video will give you a good perspective of where the hate and violence came from in Oakland.  I know some will say that the verbal exchanges pushed the police into taking action, but I disagree; the police are thoroughly trained in when to use attack force methods and when to ignore the chants and verbal accusations of protesters. Unfortunately, there are some in the police ranks who do not live up to the training and standards “to protect and serve”…they should be admonished and dismissed from a position of authority, where they have the ability to seriously injure or kill someone! But I’ll let the video speak for itself:

Today, the same attacks erupted in and around Zuccotti Park, just 2 blocks from the center of the financial district of the world, Wall Street.  Again, the video says it all, but let me add a couple of items that the video doesn’t show; protesters were unable to remove personal property, 5,000 donated books were destroyed (Nazi Germany, Russian Revolution?), all the equipment that was set up to maintain the encampment was demolished and destroyed.  Interestingly, Mayor Bloomberg called for the clearing of the park in order to protect the protesters and prevent anything bad from happening before it occurred.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Apparently, a judge in NYC has disagreed with the Mayor and his forced eviction of the protesters from Liberty Park (aka Zuccotti Park).  The Judge has issued a restraining order against the city, preventing them from removing the protesters, including their tents and equipment, from the park.

What I think the municipalities that have executed forced evictions and uncalled-for brutality against protesters fails to understand is this: even with thousands of protesters across the country, the Occupy Movement has been peaceful and non-destructive up to this point, at least on the part of the protesters. When those in charge deny the crowds the ability to express their outrage and dissatisfaction with the status quo in a way that is peaceful and non-confrontational, what is the alternative?  When anti-war and civil rights protesters in the ’60s & ’70s were confronted by police dogs, water cannon, baton-swirling riot police, what was their alternative?  Peaceful demonstrators who are frustrated in their attempts to speak out against a corrupt and greed-driven system, just as those before them who were suppressed by those in authority from speaking out against an unjust war and denial of civil rights, will find other avenues of protest.

For those of us who lived through those previous years, seeing the pain and destruction brought on by uncontrolled police and military forces, we know that suppression breeds increased activism, leading to such tragedies as the Kent State and Jackson State murders. Is that really what city mayors want on their hands?

Business Leader (1%er) Grateful for the OWS Protesters!

This is a transcript of a video made by businessman, Rinaldo Brutoco, President and Founder of the World Business Academy. The World Business Academy works to change the consciousness of business leaders, business students and the public at large to realign the values of business with the values of responsibility, commitment, service, authenticity, integrity, spirituality, trust and courage. Rinaldo is a 1%er, but has the vision and understanding that the course we are on, allowing the corporate elite run the politics of our country, is going to mean a country much different than the one our parents left us.

Rinaldo Brutocco - A 1%er Who Is Grateful for The OWS Movement!

Corporatocrcy (corporate theocracy) must be put to rest now, before there is no way for individuals to do so.  We must come together, stand up and make our voices, and our  votes, make meaningful statements about who we are and what we believe.  We have nothing to lose but our Democracy. Our children, on the other hand, have everything to lose, including the American Dream!  Listen to what Rinaldo Brutoco says and then leave your Comment, telling us what YOU think about it!

“I was asked a couple of days ago if I’d be willing to record a message to Occupy Wall Street about Occupy Wall Street from somebody who’s been very successful in the world of business.

As many of you know, my name is Rinaldo Brutoco, president and founder of the World Business Academy. One of the reasons I agreed to do this is because I am so grateful, and I believe all of the business community should be as well. I am so grateful for Occupy Wall Street.

What they have done is return the conversation to the issues that we need to discuss. They’ve returned the conversation to what’s really important in this country and, frankly, for this economy.

So many of the people in the business community, you should know, are completely aware that what’s gone on in the financial sector has been crazy; that it needs to be different is also clear. But more important than that, I think, is that the fundamental issue of Occupy Wall Street is economic justice, in the envelope of social justice.

So, it’s not just about Wall Street, and it’s not just about business. What it’s about is the fact that we’ve decimated the middle class in America, and this economy doesn’t work well when you do.

So, it’s time for us to look at our priorities. And I would say, on behalf of the business community, and on behalf of the one percenters, of which I am a member: I am grateful that Occupy Wall Street is asking us to look at how do we fix the economy, which will benefit us all. It’ll benefit the one percenters; it’ll definitely benefit the business community. Why?

Because the US economy, and I would argue, the economy of the Western democracies, does not work without a vibrant middle class. We need to make it possible again in the United States of America and ultimately in other countries around the world where this isn’t true – and in many countries in Europe it is true – where you can go through college and not come out deeply in debt.

Where you can go through that college no matter who your parents were if you have the ability to get there, and the college education you’ll get will be second to none.

We need to make it possible again for people to feel reasonably safe that the next generation will have it as good or better than their generation.

We need to make it safe to own houses, to invest in stock markets that aren’t gambling instruments.

Brutocco's "Freedom From Middle East Oil"

We need to be able to feel safe again that we can create a society like we did after World War II, built on an enlightened egalitarianism, the sense that when we all did better, we all do better.

So, it’s time now to drop the aristocratic pretensions that a few of us should be allowed to fly around in jets, a few of us should be up above the atmosphere of the pain, the sorrow and the toil going around among the middle and lower classes in America and other Western democracies.

It’s time for us to stop the silly conversation about deficits because at this stage they don’t matter – jobs do.

And it’s time for us once again to join hands and join hearts and realize that what we do for each other, in fact, we do for ourselves.

You know, as it was said a long time ago by the poet John Donne: “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” In the United States and Western democracies’ economies, the middle class being driven to the point of fear, concern, and, at this point, I would say, a pervasive sense of foreboding, to that middle class it’s time to say: “We get it. The bell’s tolling for us, too. We will all be better off.”

And I’ll leave you with just this one last thought: the highest history of deficit ever to Gross National Product (GNP) in the history of the United States was recorded in 1946. It was so high that no one could conceive of how we’d ever pay the debt off. And what happened from 1946 to 1966 is, we experienced the greatest economic miracle of all time. In the process of doing it, the debt shrank as a percentage of GNP without anybody having to do anything at all except enjoy the fruits of a society that actually was equal and fair.

It’s time for us to return to that society again, and when we do, we’ll create wealth at every level that we’ve never, ever seen before. And we’ll find that all the that choices we thought were trade-offs really aren’t. Because at the end of the day we do not live an economy of scarcity where it hurts me to help you. We live in an economy of abundance, where the better you do, the better I do.

And at this point, I’m all for all of us doing better.

Thanks very much for listening, and I wish you all the best of luck on Wall Street and all the other Occupy movements around the globe.

Thank you.”


11 Facts You Need to Know About the Nation’s Biggest Banks

I usually don’t repost articles from the internet, preferring to rant and rage with my own words!  However, I thought this article, posted by the website, Truthout.org, was so important for you to see, that I’m posting here:

The Occupy Wall Street protest that began in New York City more than three weeks ago have now spread across the county (see http://www.Occupy. The choice of Wall Street as the focal point for the protests — as even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said — makes sense due to the big bank malfeasance that led to the Great Recession.

While the Dodd-Frank financial reform law did a lot to ensure that a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis won’t occur — through regulation of derivatives, a new consumer protection agency, and new powers for the government to dismantle failing banks — the biggest banks still have a firm grip on the financial system, even more so than before the 2008 financial crisis. Here are eleven facts that you need to know about the nation’s biggest banks:

– Bank profits are highest since before the recession…: According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., bank profits in the first quarter of this year were “the best for the industry since the $36.8 billion earned in the second quarter of 2007.” JP Morgan Chase is currently pulling in record profits.

– …even as the banks plan thousands of layoffs: Banks, including Bank of AmericaBarclaysGoldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse, are planning to lay off tens of thousands of workers.

– Banks make nearly one-third of total corporate profits: The financial sector accounts for about 30 percent of total corporate profits, which is actually down from before the financial crisis, when they made closer to 40 percent.

– Since 2008, the biggest banks have gotten bigger: Due to the failure of small competitors and mergers facilitated during the 2008 crisis, the nation’s biggest banks — including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo — are now bigger than they were, pre-recession! Pre-crisis, the four biggest banks held 32 percent of total deposits; now they hold nearly 40 percent.

– The four biggest banks issue 50 percent of mortgages and 66 percent of credit cards: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup issue one out of every two mortgages and nearly two out of every three credit cards in America.

– The 10 biggest banks hold 60 percent of bank assets: In the 1980s, the 10 biggest banks controlled 22 percent of total bank assets. Today, they control 60 percent

– The six biggest banks hold assets equal to 63 percent of the country’s GDP: In 1995, the six biggest banks in the country held assets equal to about 17 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Now their assets equal 63 percent of GDP.

– The five biggest banks hold 95 percent of derivatives: Nearly the entire market in derivatives — the credit instruments that helped blow up some of the nation’s biggest banks as well as mega-insurer AIG — is dominated by just 5 firms: JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo.

– Banks cost households nearly $20 trillion in wealth: Almost $20 trillion in wealth was destroyed by the Recession, and total family wealth is still down “$12.8 trillion (in 2011 dollars) from June 2007 — its last peak.”

– Big banks don’t lend to small businesses: The New Rules Project notes that the country’s 20 biggest banks “devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small businesses.”

– Big banks paid 5,000 bonuses of at least $1 million in 2008: According to the New York Attorney General’s office, “nine of the financial firms that were among the largest recipients of federal bailout money paid about 5,000 of their traders and bankers bonuses of more than a million dollars apiece for 2008.”

In the last few decades, regulations on the biggest banks have been systematically eliminated, while those banks engineered more and more ways to both rip off customers and turn ever-more complex trading instruments into ever-higher profits. It makes perfect sense, then, that a movement calling for an economy that works for everyone would center its efforts on an industry that exemplifies the opposite.

Originally published on ThinkProgress

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