City Hall protest:
“A group of protesters from labor unions and the Occupy L.A. movement joined forces to support a bank regulation bill put forward by Councilman Richard Alarcon. “
The Los Angeles City Council voted 11-0 to pass a resolution calling for legislation to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision (5-4) which assigns person-hood status to corporations and opened the door for a flood of corporate cash into the political system.
Occupy Homes NY got bigger on the route to a foreclosed home which is now occupied by a family that had been rendered homeless. Reports are that about a hundred protesters started on the march, arriving on site with more than 400 including some neighbors who joined the festivities:
[UPDATE / 4:10 p.m. ET] “The march has reached its destination, 702 Vermont Street, where a family will reside in a home that has been unoccupied for three years. Alfredo Carrasquillo, Tasha Glasgow, and her two children will be under the watch of Occupy Wall Street's 'eviction defense team.' 'I want to thank the NYPD for all their support. I hope they don't wake me up in my bed at 2 a.m.' Carrasquillo half-jokingly told the crowd. Thilman notes that he choked up a bit when speaking to the group.”
Auction action from December 5, 2011 courtesy of Margot Paez:
And on to the Big Fish who have inadvertently provided the momentum, and the message, of the Occupation Movement.
“The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing . . .“
“Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.”
“Democratic lawmakers, many of whom sought Dodd-Frank Act amendments to wall off banks’ customer deposits from risky businesses such as derivatives trading, are pressing the Financial Stability Oversight Council for information on its role and oversight of the transaction.”
And here is a must-read for anyone involved with the Occupation Movement, along with anyone who wishes to become educated on the subject of how the mega-banks have made debtors out of the entire population while lining their pockets; a scam by any other name, reliant on shifting their self-created toxic debts to the taxpayers in the form of derivative holdings (which aren't actually “holdings” at all. They are vehicles to transfer their risk to others using artificial valuations). The risk is borne completely by the same people who are obliged to underwrite the scam but enjoy none of the profits. That would be you. The TARP legislation, the bailout of the major banks, is only a sanitized version of the story as told by the mainstream media. From Avery Goodman:
"Bank Of America Dumps $75 Trillion In Derivatives On U.S. Taxpayers With Federal Approval"
“Even if we net out the notional value of the derivatives involved, down to the net potential obligation, the amount is so large that the United States could not hope to pay it off without a major dollar devaluation, if a major contingency actually occurred and a large part of the derivatives were triggered. But, if such an event ever occurs, Bank of America's derivatives counter-parties will, as usual, be made whole, while the American people suffer. This all has the blessing of the Federal Reserve, which approved the transfer of derivatives from Merrill Lynch to the insured retail unit of BAC before it was done.”
“(In 2008) AIG was not FDIC insured. It could have been allowed to fail, and should have been allowed to fail. All the banks on Wall Street that would have failed should have failed. Their speculator counter-parties should have been bankrupted, and their retail depositors should have been made whole. The retail divisions could have been temporarily nationalized and sold off as soon as possible to more prudent management. Had this occurred, America would have experienced a deep but very temporary economic downturn, and, by now, the downturn would be over. But, with derivatives obligations tied intimately with FDIC insured depositary units, the debt will need to be paid by the government, as a matter of law. We will have no legal choice except to default, or pay them off.”
The privileged class, the 1% as we call them, have been running scams like this for years without scrutiny because the mainstream media have simply failed to report on the subject. Shifting toxic debts to FDIC-insured companies within the same organization is simple and easy to understand. There is no reason why the mainstream media could not direct their attention to this sort of practice, except for the fact that it is not in the best interest of their parent organizations (which are often run by guys like Rupert Murdoch who don't spend a lot of time worrying about ethics).
By Keith Fitz-Gerald, Chief investment strategist, Money Morning
“One of the biggest problems with Wall Street's malfeasance is how the ruling elite view legal settlements - as little more than an acceptable cost of doing business.”
So this unfortunate dynamic, that of government oversight providing legitimacy, or at least an escape route for fraudulent business practices, continues unabated. The banks steal from investors and depositors, the oversight agencies allowing them to reap huge profits while paying what amounts to an acceptable commission to the government for the privilege of ripping off their clients. How nice.
The reality is that these “investments” are nothing more than devices to shift exposure of the vendors, the banks, to risk. So as Keith Fitz-Gerald points out,
“When something bad happens, and the derivative obligations are triggered, the FDIC will be on the hook, thanks to the Federal Reserve. The counter-parties of Bank of America, both inside America and elsewhere around the world, will be safely bailed out by the full faith and credit of the USA. Meanwhile, the taxpayers and dollar denominated savers will be fleeced again.”
Ultimately, the taxpayers have also funded the collapse of real estate market valuations, the debt incurred (which now exceeds $14 trillion), the interest on that debt, the loss of jobs, social services and education, all so that the people running these scams can profit for the short term, widening the gap between the “haves” who have orchestrated them, and the “have-nots” who are obligated by law to pay the bill. Some have called this reporting, the audacity to point these things out, as “class warfare” against the rich. Of course, this “talking point” is another way of shifting responsibility to the innocent victims to deflect attention from the perpetrators. Competent reporting, or critical commentary, is usually accompanied by the baseless, and tiresome, “anti-capitalist” allegation.
No, those that have abused, manipulated and scammed the system are the villains, and the institutional reforms that are discussed here are anything but communist, or even socialist. Because of these business practices, with the tacit approval (and participation) of government regulators, American taxpayers have been buried in debt and have been systematically divested of their savings and investment valuations. Meanwhile, the banks enjoy record profits at the expense of their investors and depositors, and of course the taxpayers who underwrite their irresponsible, sometimes criminal, activities.
I suggest making a print of Avery Goodman's article above. It is as accurate and informative as any you'll find. And you will also see how this dynamic, this arrangement, continues to cause economic crises around the world. But to the mainstream media, to news organizations like the Los Angeles Times and Fox News, you'll probably find that the cost of repairing the lawn at City Hall is the primary topic, because knowledge is what they fear the most.
Unfortunately for Citigroup, Judge Rakoff obviously possessed that knowledge, (unlike the audience of Fox News who seem to be content with bogus, off-topic stories regarding the Occupation Movement and its message). Thanks, Your Honor, for the tutorial.
“City Settlement Sends A Message: Courts Influenced By Occupy!”
(We'll let Civilians News make their own case for the headline of this article, but it seems to me that Judge Rakoff gets full credit for is ruling. Thanks to CN for the cartoon above):
"Today' District Court ruling in Manhattan, residing over a Citi settlement with the SEC for Citigroup's involvement in 2008 and 2009 financial services scandals has big implications on the future of American corporate scandals."
A proposed amendment to the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United decision can be found at the link below. This isn't an endorsement, just a heads-up, but it provides another example that the foundation of the Occupation Movement is actually based on contemporary mainstream issues with vast public support.
About the OCCUPIED Amendment
"The Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment is a constitutional amendment introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch of Florida’s 19th district. See a section-by-section explanation of the OCCUPIED Amendment below."