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GET YOUR MONEY BACK! Misconduct and malpractice. Investment industry "best and worst practices". Information to improve public protection. Expert witness services for industry and investors. Forensic investment analysis. • View topic - OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:59 pm

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click to enlarge image

John R. TalbottAuthor, "Survival Investing: How to Prosper Amid Thieving Banks and Corrupt Governments"

The Ethical Investor: 20 Ways Wall Street Is Ripping You Off

When I'm not writing books about investing, economics and politics, I have a small business in which I offer financial advice to individuals and their families. Rather than charge $500 to $1,000 an hour for such advice, which is common on Wall Street, I decided to charge $1,000 a year. I wanted to make sure my services were affordable to middle income families as I find this work much more rewarding than advising billionaires, big corporations and governments like I used to when I worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Of course, this was back when Goldman Sachs was a reputable firm with strong business ethics and before it became the "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity".

I learn a tremendous amount from speaking frequently with my investing clients. And the one thing that I am constantly amazed at is the numerous and varied ways that Wall Street has devised to rip off small investors. That and the fact that most people still trust these brokers and bankers with their money even after they have been exposed as self-interested charlatans who really don't have a clue on how to garner real returns in the market, especially after their generous fees and expenses.

This is the first in a new series on personal finance I will author entitled The Ethical Investor. Each Friday morning in the Huffington Post I will be exploring ways for you to become better investors. We begin with the first installment that is a list of the 20 ways Wall Street is ripping off small investors like yourself. In future weeks we will delve into each of these rip-offs in more detail. Then we will explore other ways to make you better investors and I hope I have the opportunity to answer some of your investing questions.

20 Ways Wall Street is Ripping Off Small Investors:

1. Providing nominal returns, not real returns.

2. Encouraging too much diversification, if that's possible.

3. Hiding fees and expenses.

4. Turning you into a passive investor.

5. Convincing you that money markets are the same as cash.

6. Telling you that bonds are safer than equities.

7. Explaining that in the long run equities outperform bonds.

8. Simply by lying about their products.

9. Convincing you that their bank is a large, stable, safe operation to deal with.

10. Recommending products that have enormous sales commissions attached to them.

11. Cheating you on bid/ask spreads.

12. Selling you what they don't want.

13. Measuring your success in dollars.

14. Lending your securities to others.

15. Ripping your eyes out if you ever try to close your account.

16. Grabbing any slight positive real return for themselves.

17. Sticking toxic waste to small investors.

18. Pretending they can pick stocks.

19. Acting like they are your best friend and they have your best interests at heart.

20. Knowing next to nothing about the value of holding real assets like gold and real estate.

this article courtesy of http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-r-ta ... 27302.html

John R. Talbott is a best selling author and financial consultant to families whose books predicted the housing crash and the economic crisis. You can read more about his books, the accuracy of his predictions and his financial consulting activities at http://www.stopthelying.com

Content concerning financial matters, trading or investments is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in making financial, trading or investment decisions.

John's website found here http://www.stopthelying.com
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:28 pm

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"..........a brief and far-from-complete list of the people and things that have lost all credibility since the the year 2000:"

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/08/cr ... Picture%29

Barry’s WaPo column looks at why Mom & pop have left the investing world.

For some additional reasons why, here is a brief and far-from-complete list of the people and things that have lost all credibility since the the year 2000:

1. Brokerage firm analysts
2. Chief Global Strategists
3. Every Single Regulatory Body
4. Every once-great money manager
5. The entire profession of Economics
6. S&P, Moodys and the ratings agencies
7. Morningstar’s mutual fund rankings
8. The mainstream financial media in its entirety
9. Corporate Executives in the Aggregate
10. The entirety of the banking and financial sector
11. Reaganomics
12. Keynesianism
13. Our politicians’ grasp on the economy
14. The ability and sagacity of the Federal Reserve
15. The structural integrity of our stock exchanges

My full full take is here. http://www.thereformedbroker.com/2012/0 ... ck-market/


see video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYuQnCsjdJ0&feature=plcp

for examples of how all the various "handmaidens" who conspire together to rob investors of perhaps one billion dollars per week in Canada
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:08 pm

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CITIZEN'S LIST

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: 25 People Who Helped Cause The Financial Crisis
Rupert Neate, The Guardian | Aug. 6, 2012, 9:50 PM | 4,132 | 13

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One Little Insight Could Help Us Understand The Financial Crisis So Much Better


Central bankers
Alan Greenspan, chairman US Federal Reserve 1987-2006
A disciple of libertarian icon Ayn Rand, Greenspan became chairman of the Fed just in time to save the global economy from the 1987 stock market crash from becoming a full-blown disaster. He went on preside over the boom years of the 90s and lead the US economy through the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and was widely referred to as an "oracle" and "the maestro".
But Greenspan's super-low interest rates and consistent opposition to regulation of the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market are now widely blamed for causing the credit crisis. Under Greenspan's tenure the derivatives market went from barely registering to a $500 trillion industry, despite billionaire investor Warren Buffett warning that they were "financial weapons of mass destruction".
His rock-bottom rates encouraged Americans to load up on debt to buy homes, even when they had no savings, no income and no job prospects.
These so-called sub-prime borrowers were the cannon fodder for the biggest boom-bust in US history. The housing collapse brought the global economy to its knees.
He was given an honorary knighthood in 2002 for his "contribution to global economic stability", but in 2008, at a Congressional hearing investigating the causes of the financial crisis, Greenspan finally admitted he "made a mistake in presuming" that financial firms could regulate themselves.
"You found that your view of the world, your ideology was not right, it was not working?" Henry Waxman, the committee chairman, said.
"Absolutely, precisely," Greenspan replied. "You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."
After he quit the Fed, in 2006, Greenspan joined Pimco, the world's largest bond investor, as a special consultant. Pimco's co-founder Bill Gross said Greenspan had helped make the firm "billions of dollars'' in his role as a consultant.
Gross said Greenspan's "brilliance" was a "big money saver for us''. "He's made and saved billions of dollars for Pimco already,'' Gross said in 2008.He has also advised Deutsche Bank and hedge fund billionaire John Paulson.
Greenspan has also found time to criticise current Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's programme of quantitative easing. "I've stayed away from commenting on Fed policy," he said on US TV earlier this month. "I will say this, however, that the data do show that the expansion of assets has had very little impact on the economy, for an important reason, that we've created a major increase in the asset side of the Fed balance sheet and a very large trillion and a half increase in excess reserves."
Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England
At his first meeting chairing the Bank's monetary policy committee (MPC) interest rates were cut to an historic postwar low of 3.5%. King's ambition as governor was to make the Bank "boring". If only that had been the case.
He was slow to react to the crisis and initially refused to follow Greenspan in pumping cash into the system. The Treasury select committee (TSC) said he should have noticed that the housing bubble was becoming unstable and should have been "more pro-active" to damp it down.
Just the other week King finally admitted that the financial crisis was the result of "major mistakes" by policymakers and not just the fault of greedy bankers.
At the government's Global Investment Conference in London in the buildup to the Olympics he said: "We saw this going into the crisis, we kept meeting at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but we did nothing to solve it collectively, and I don't think that this was a problem that could have been solved individually."
More recently, King had to face the TSC to explain why the Bank failed to spot the Libor interest rate-fixing scandal that pre-dated the credit crunch and last month Bob Diamond stepped down as chief executive of Barclays after King let it be known Diamond no longer had the confidence of the Bank.
In the shake-up of regulation that followed the financial meltdown, the governor of the Bank of England has emerged with more power than ever. However, King is due to stand down next summer, with former cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell and deputy governor Paul Tucker the favourites to replace him.
Politicians
Bill Clinton, former US president
Politicians' current plan to help prevent another financial crisis is to ringfence banks' risky "casino banking" divisions from the more pedestrian high street banking departments. 13 years ago Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which had done just that. Clinton's move, which came after fierce lobbying from bankers, heralded the birth of superbanks and primed the sub-prime pump.
He also signed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which exempted credit-default swaps from regulation. Around the same time Clinton also beefed up President Carter's 1977 Community Reinvestment Act – forcing lenders to take a more sympathetic approach to poor borrowers trying to get on the housing ladder.
Gordon Brown, former prime minister
Brown's big boast as chancellor was that he had "abolished Tory boom and bust". He hadn't. His prime ministerial tenure was spent presiding over the biggest bust since the Great Depression.
In his last big speech before becoming prime minister just before the crisis began he praised bankers for their role in bringing in a "new golden age for the City of London".
To tempt foreign bankers to work in the City he backed low taxes for non-doms and "light-touch" regulation that meant they could get away with a lot more in London than elsewhere.
Brown is now working on projects to improve child poverty levels and education, worldwide, with organisations such as the United Nations.
George W Bush, former US president
The meltdown happened on Bush's watch. While Clinton got the ball rolling with sub-prime lending, Bush failed to bring in much tighter regulation, bar the Sarbanes-Oxley Act brought in after the Enron scandal. And he didn't do a lot to stop the boom in lending to "Ninjas" [no income, no job applicants].
Nouriel Roubini, the economist who earned the nickname Dr Doom for his prediction that the crisis was about to hit, blames Bush. Obama "inherited a mess", Roubini has said. "We're lucky that this Great Recession is not turning into another Great Depression."
Bush is in self-imposed political exile and has been notable for his absence in Mitt Romney's campaign to become the next Republican president. "He is enjoying his life in Texas. He's not seeking the limelight. And he is really focused on the Bush Center," his spokesman said recently. He has "no plans to endorse, at least not at present," the spokesman added.
The former president has written a book, Decision Points, about the 14 biggest decisions of his presidential career. The former president was paid $7m for 1.5m copies.
Senator Phil Gramm
"Some people look at sub-prime lending and see evil. I look at sub-prime lending and see the American dream in action," Gramm told a Senate debate in 2001.
Another dynamite quote. "When I am on Wall Street and I realise that that's the very nerve centre of American capitalism and I realise what capitalism has done for the working people of America, to me that's a holy place."
It was Gramm that had fought hardest for deregulation and helped write the law that enabled the creation of financial giants such as Citigroup and Bank of America.
He remains unrepentant. Just a couple of weeks ago Gramm, who went on to work for Swiss investment bank UBS until earlier this year and is now a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said: "I don't see any evidence that allowing them to affiliate through holding companies had anything to do with the financial crisis nor has anybody ever presented any evidence to suggest that it did."
Sandy Weill, however, a man with hands-on experience of running a too-big-to-fail bank as the former chairman and chief executive of Citigroup, begs to differ. Last week Weill said: "What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking, have banks be deposit takers, have banks make commercial loans and real-estate loans and have banks do something that's not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that's not too big to fail."
Weill added: "The world changed with the collapse of the housing market and the real-estate bubble … so I don't think it's right anymore (to have huge investment and retail banking combines)."
Wall Street/Bankers
Abby Cohen, Goldman Sachs senior strategist
Bear market? Cohen appears not to have heard of the term.
She made a name for herself in the late 1990s by being the bullest of the bulls during the dotcom bubble, and it's hard to remember when she hasn't been bullish since.
She's still a bull now. "If we were to look just at fair-value estimates over the next year to three, we think that returns that are roughly 8-10% on the stock market are sensible," she told Bloomberg last week.
Kathleen Corbet, former CEO, Standard & Poor's
The credit rating agencies, of which S&P is the biggest, gave triple A ratings to the mortgage-backed securities that turned toxic and were accused of conflict of interest because the bond issuers were paying them for the ratings. As one S&P analyst wrote in an email, "[A bond] could be structured by cows and we would rate it."
Another analyst emailed a colleague: "Let's hope we're all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters."
Corbet resigned amid a wave of criticism in 2007. She has since set up a company to invest in tech, energy and, of course, financial services companies. She has a tumblr, but is yet to actually blog.
Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, former chief executive AIG insurance group
While AIG was taking a multibillion-dollar bailout from the US Treasury and the Fed after its massive credit default business went sour, 100 AIG execs where spending $444,000 on a golf and spa retreat in California. "Have you heard of anything more outrageous?" said Elijah Cummings, a Democratic congressman, said. "They were getting their manicures, their facials, pedicures, massages, while the American people were footing the bill."
Greenberg, now 87, has now started over – and is running C V Starr & Co, a private equity firm named after AIG's founder Cornelius Vander Starr. Hank's son Scott is helping tap up sovereign wealth funds and the ultra-wealthy for cash for buyout deals expected to last a decade.
Andy Hornby, former HBOS boss
The former wunderkind of British business who came top of his 800-strong class at Harvard and rose to become a board director of Asda by the age of 32 was the man running HBOS when it had to be rescued by Lloyds. His reputation took a knocking from the FSA, with the regulator finding HBOS guilty of "very serious misconduct" in the run up to its taxpayer bailout and rescue by Lloyds. But he's still a busy man. After HBOS's demise he was installed as chief executive of Alliance Boots (he quit last year with no payoff) and is currently chief executive of bookies Coral and non-executive chairman of online and mail order pharmaceuticals business pharmacy2U.
Fred Goodwin, former RBS boss
Fred "the shred" was stripped of his knighthood earlier this year as public anger over his role in causing the financial crisis reached boiling point. Goodwin, who has been dubbed "the world's worst banker", brought Royal Bank of Scotland to its knees via a series of over-ambitious acquisitions. A string of 20 takeovers transformed RBS into a global leader but Goodwin wasn't satisfied and just before the financial crisis struck he led a $100bn takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro.
RBS went on to record the biggest annual loss in UK corporate history and had to be bailed out by the government to the tune of £45.5bn. It is now 82%-owned by the state.
Goodwin hit the headlines again recently when he was blamed for a crisis at Scotland's biggest architecture firm, RMJM, where he was an adviser. About 80 staff left the firm after a battle over unpaid fees.
Steve Crawshaw, former B&B boss
What would the fictional Mssrs Bradford and Bingley say? The two bowler-hatted gents represented good, old-fashioned prudent banking. B&B's downfall can perhaps be traced to a single moment of arrogance in 1995 when it splashed out more than £1,000 for Stan Laurel's bowler hat to display at its head office.
Steven Crawshaw bought the specialist lender Mortgage Express from Lloyds TSB, which catered for the self-employed, those seeking second-home finance and buy-to-let mortgages. The loans earned the nickname "liar loans" because the applicant didn't have to prove they had a regular income. When the wholesale money market collapsed, so did B&B, as it couldn't finance the loans. Eventually, B&B was nationalised, a few weeks after Crawshaw stepped down with heart problems. He left with a pension worth £105,318 a year.
He has apparently retired to the Yorkshire countryside, and his only public role appears to be chairing the advisory board of the School of Management at Bradford University.
Adam Applegarth, former Northern Rock boss
Applegarth transformed Northern Rock from a sleepy Newcastle building society into the nation's fifth-largest mortgage provider. But the business collapsed and images of customers queuing up outside Northern Rock to rescue their savings have became the dominant memory of the financial crisis.
In the five years running up to the bank's disaster, he was paid around £10m. During the 18 months immediately before, he cashed in shares worth £2.6m.
He collected a £760,000 payoff despite the TSC savaging his conduct at the bank. It was also later revealed that he was having an affair with a junior colleagues during the crisis.
In 2009 Applegarth started his first job post-Northern Rock, advising US private equity firm Apollo Management. He is no longer listed as part of the team on the company's website. But remains in the post advising the firm's European Principal Fund on buying up distressed debt.
He has also reportedly set up a company, Beechwood Property Management, with his son Greg. But there is very little publicly available information about the company.
Dick Fuld, chief executive Lehman Brothers
"The Gorilla of Wall Street", as Fuld was known, steered Lehman deep into the business of sub-prime mortgages. Lehman took the loans and packaged them up into (soon-to-be toxic) bonds which they sold to investors.
Fuld is said to have raked in almost $500m in pay and bonuses during his tenure as chief executive, but the 66 year old insisted to Capitol Hill that he actually only earned $300m. During the testimony, Fuld was asked if he wondered why Lehman Brothers was the only firm that was allowed to fail. "Until the day they put me in the ground, I will wonder," he said.
A lot of Americans might have been stung by the collapse in property prices in the wake of the crisis. Not Dick, in November 2008 Fuld transferred the ownership of his $100m Florida mansion to his wife. They had bought it four years earlier for $13.5m.
In 2009 Fuld joined US hedge fund Matrix Advisors. A year later he joined broker Legend Securities, he left the firm earlier this year.
Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin
Cioffi and Tannin are two of a very small group that have faced financial penalty for their role in causing the crisis. The pair, who ran Bear Stearns hedge funds that went bankrupt in 2007, were accused by the SEC of misleading investors about the risks of sub-prime loans.
This summer the pair agreed to pay$1.05m to settle the charges. US District Judge Frederic Block described the fine as "chump change". Their investors lost $1.6bn.
"I certainly would have liked my career to have ended differently," Cioffi said in a 2010 interview.
Lewis 'Lew' Ranieri, 'godfather' of mortgage finance
Ranieri wanted to be an Italian chef, but his asthma stopped him working in smoky kitchens. Instead he moved into trading via Salomon Brothers mailroom and pioneered the mortgage-backed bonds immortalised in Liar's Poker.
In 1984 Ranieri boasted that his mortgage-trading desk "made more money than all the rest of Wall Street combined". But when sub-prime borrowers started missing payments, the mortgage market stalled and bond prices collapsed. Investment banks, overexposed to the toxic assets, closed their doors and investors lost fortunes.
"I do feel guilty," Ranieri said in an interview in 2009. "I wasn't out to invent the biggest floating craps game of all time, but that's what happened."
He blames Wall Street for misusing his brainchild to construct "affordability products" that homeowners really couldn't afford.
Joseph Cassano, AIG financial products
Cassano has been dubbed "patient zero" of the global economic meltdown. He ran the AIG team that sold credit default swaps in London that led the company into bankruptcy and a massive bailout. Democratic senator John Sarbanes said Cassano "single-handedly brought AIG to its knees".
After the bailout Cassano refused all media interviews and had not spoken about the crisis until he was called before the US congress financial crisis inquiry commission in July 2010. "I think there would have been few, if any, realised losses on the CDS contracts had they not been unwound in the bailout," he said, adding: "my perspective diverges in important ways from the popular wisdom".
Cassano, who used to live in an opulent townhouse behind Harrods, has since moved back to Westport, on Long Island Sound, where he is apparently unemployed, and uncontactable.
Chuck Prince, former Citi boss
Just when the sub-prime crisis was starting to take hold in the summer of 2007, Prince told the FT he didn't expect the brewing crisis to hurt his bank. "As long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance. We're still dancing," he said. Shortly afterwards the music stopped and Citi racked up more than $45bn of writedowns.
Recently, Sandy Weill said handpicking Prince to be his successor was "one of the major mistakes that I made".
Last year Price said: "If we want a better outcome, supervisors and business leaders had better do something different this time around."
He hasn't been heard from again since.
Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial
Mozilo popularised the notion that practically anyone could have a massive mortgage, even if they didn't have a job. Countrywide was the world's biggest sub-prime lender before it was rescued from bankruptcy by Bank of America.
The SEC investigated Mozilo over fraud and insider dealing charges, but in the end he agreed to pay a $67.5m fine and accept a lifetime ban from serving as a company director. The fine represents just over a 10th of Mozilo's estimated net worth of $600m. The SEC's director of enforcement said: "Mozilo's record penalty is the fitting outcome for a corporate executive who deliberately disregarded his duties to investors by concealing what he saw from inside the executive suite – a looming disaster in which Countrywide was buckling under the weight of increasingly risky mortgage underwriting, mounting defaults and delinquencies, and a deteriorating business model."
Earlier this year, Mozilo, who was known as "the orange one" for his effervescent tan, hit the headlines again when Congress released a report into how Countrywide used its "VIP program" – which offered favourable terms to influential figures – to influence Washington policymakers.
Mozilo and his wife Phyllis sold their LA home for $2.9m earlier this year. The LA Times described it as "Georgian Colonial-style two-storey" property, sitting above the second fairway at the Sherwood Country Club, complete with "a cherry-finished library-office, five bedrooms, six bathrooms and an oversized four-car garage". The couple still own a string other luxury homes in southern California.
Stan O'Neal, former boss of Merrill Lynch
Another casualty of the thirst for CDOs. By June 2006, Merrill had amassed $41bn in sub-prime CDOs and mortgage bonds, according to Fortune.
O'Neal, who had Merrill security guards hold a lift at all times for his exclusive use, was booted out (with a $161.5m golden parachute) and Bank of America snapped Merrill up less than a year later.
There were rumours O'Neal was going to join Vision Capital, a hedge fund run by two visually impaired managers, but the role never materialised. Vision was later investigated by the SEC.
Jimmy Cayne, former Bear Sterns boss
While Bear Sterns was going bust Cayne was playing bridge in Detroit. He's quite an accomplished player and has won several rounds of the North American Bridge Championships. But he was less good at running Bear Sterns, with CNBC naming him one of the "worst CEOs of all time".
Bear Sterns was sold to JP Morgan for $10 a share, compared with the $133.20 a share it was trading at before the crisis. Cayne, who had a big stake in the company, lost about $1bn.
Cayne has now disappeared from the corporate public eye, but it is still possible to play him at bridge online.


(Page 2 of 2)

Others
Christopher Dodd, former chairman Senate banking committee
Dodd pushed back against calls for tighter regulation on Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac, while receiving $165,000 in campaign donations from … Fannie and Freddie.
The Dodd-Frank Act, which aims to reform Wall Street, is named after him and financial services committee chairman Barney Frank. But Dodd disagrees with proposals to split up big banks' investment banking and high-street divisions. "[The idea that] breaking up these institutions is going to solve the problem, I think it's frankly too simplistic an approach," he said last week.
Geir Haarde, prime minister of Iceland 2006-2009
Haarde is the only politician to have been found guilty by a court of helping to cause the crisis. Earlier this year an Icelandic court found Haarde guilty of failing to hold emergency cabinet meetings in the run up to the crisis. Haarde fell from power after the country's three biggest banks collapsed, the country's economy went into meltdown, and the government was forced to borrow $10bn (£6.3bn) to prop up its economy.
During the trial, he said: "None of us realised at the time that there was something fishy within the banking system itself, as now appears to have been the case.
The American public
It wasn't just the bankers who were greedy. The men and women on the street took out billions of dollars of loans they knew they couldn't afford. American families' wealth has fallen by 38.8% between 2007 and 2010, according to the latest three-yearly data from the Fed. The collapse in house prices, which was caused by Americans' failure to keep up repayments on loans they couldn't afford, caused US families median net worth to decline from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010.
John Tiner, FSA chief executive 2003-07
He once had a reputation for being the luckiest man in the City. Without a university degree, he worked his way up to the top of accountant Arthur Andersen – and left nine months before it collapsed under the weight of fraud and false accounting at its client Enron.
In July 2007 he quit as chief executive of the Financial Services Authority with praise ringing in his ears (his leaving party reportedly cost the regulator £20,000). But the praise quickly evaporated, not least for the FSA's inadequate stewardship of Northern Rock, which was slammed in an internal report.
Tiner, who has a personalised T1NER numberplate, then joined colourful entrepreneur Clive Cowdery at insurance buyout vehicle Resolution. They bought Friend's Provident life insurance group but then the deals dried up and last week the group revealed it could no longer return cash, as expected, to shareholders.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk


Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012 ... -meltdown##ixzz22plMNVev

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012 ... -meltdown##ixzz22pkyCF26
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:30 pm

298986_259032867467923_100000836367119_666635_1361466184_n.jpg
The Ascendancy of a Criminal Financial Elite
The Two Faces of a Police State: Sheltering Tax Evaders, Financial Swindlers and Money Launderers while Policing the Citizens

By Prof. James Petras

Global Research, August 5, 2012

“The rotten heart of finance” The Economist

“There is a degree of cynicism and greed which is really quite shocking” Lord Turner Bank of England , Financial Service Authority

Introduction

Never in the history of the United States have we witnessed crimes committed on the scale and scope of the present day by both private and state elites.

An economist of impeccable credentials, James Henry, former chief economist at the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey & Company, has researched and documented tax evasion. He found that the super-wealthy and their families have as much as $32 trillion (USD) of hidden assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenue! This study excluded such non-financial assets as real estate, precious metals, jewels, yachts, race horses, luxury vehicles and so on. Of the $32 trillion in hidden assets, $23 trillion is held by the super-rich of North America and Europe .

A recent report by a United Nations Special Committee on Money Laundering found that US and European banks laundered over $300 billion a year, including $30 billion just from the Mexican drug cartels.

New reports on the multi-billion dollar financial swindles involving the major banks in the US and Europe are published each week. England ’s leading banks, including Barclay’s and a host of others, have been identified as having rigged the LIBOR, or inter-bank lending rate, for years in order to maximize profits. The Bank of New York, JP Morgan, HSBC, Wachovia and Citibank are among scores of banks, which have been charged with laundering drug money and other illicit funds according to investigations from the US Senate Banking Committees. Multi-national corporations receive federal bailout funds and tax exemptions and then, in violation of publicized agreements with the government, relocate plants and jobs in Asia and Mexico .

Major investment houses, like Goldman Sachs, have conned investors for years to invest in ‘garbage’ equities while the brokers pumped and dumped the worthless stocks. Jon Corzine, CEO of MF Global (as well as a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, former US Senator and Governor of New Jersey) claimed that he “cannot account” for $1.6 billion in lost client investors funds from the collapse of MF Global in 2011.

Despite the growth of an enormous police state apparatus, the proliferation of investigatory agencies, Congressional hearings and over 400,000 employees at the Department of Homeland Security, not a single banker has gone to jail. In the most egregious cases, a bank like Barclay’s will pay a minor fine for having facilitated tax evasion and engaging in speculative swindles. At the same time, the principle ‘miscreant’ in the LIBOR swindle, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Barclay’s Bank, Jerry Del Missier, will receive a severance payout of $13 million dollars.

In contrast to the ‘lax’ law enforcement practiced by the burgeoning police state with regard to the swindles of the banking, corporate and billionaire elites, it has intensified political repression of citizens and immigrants who have not committed any crime against public safety and order.

Millions of immigrants have been seized from their homes and work-places, jailed, beaten and deported. Hundreds of Hispanic and Afro-American neighborhoods have been the target of police raids, shootouts and killings. In such neighborhoods, the local and federal police operate with impunity – as was illustrated by shocking videos of the police shootings and brutality against unarmed civilians in Anaheim , California . Muslims, South Asians, Arabs, Iranians and others are racially profiled, arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted for participating in charities and humanitarian foundations or simply for attending religious institutions. Over 40 million Americans engaged in lawful political activity are currently under surveillance, spied upon and frequently harassed.

The Two Faces of the US Government: Impunity and Repression

Overwhelming documentation supports the notion that the US police and judicial system has totally broken down when it comes to enforcing the law of the land regarding crimes among the financial, banking, corporate elite.

Trillion-dollar tax-evaders, billionaire financial swindlers and multi-billionaire money launderers are almost never sent to jail. While some may pay a fine, none have their illicit earnings seized even though many are repeat criminals. Recidivism among financial criminals is rife because the penalties are so light, the profit are so high and the investigations are infrequent, superficial and inconsequential. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that $1.6 trillion was laundered, mostly in Western banks, in 2009, one fifth coming directly from the drug trade. The bulk of income from the cocaine trade was generated in North America ($35 billion), two-thirds of which were laundered in North American banks. The failure to prosecute bankers engaged in a critical link of the drug trade is not due to ‘lack of information’, nor is it due to the ‘laxness’ on the part of regulators and law enforcement. The reason is that the banks are too big to prosecute and the bankers are too rich to jail. Effective law-enforcement would lead to the prosecution of all the leading banks and bankers, which would sharply reduce profits. Jailing the top bankers would close the ‘revolving door’, the golden portal through which government regulators secure their own wealth and fortune by joining private investment houses after leaving ‘public’ service. The assets of the ten biggest banks in the US form a sizeable share of the US economy. The boards of directors of the biggest banks inter-lock with all major corporate sectors. The top and middle financial officials and their counterparts in the corporate sector, as well as their principle stockholders and bondholders, are among the country’s biggest tax evaders.

While the Security and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department and the Senate Banking Committee all make a public pretense of investigating high financial crimes, their real function is to protect these institutions from any efforts to transform their structure, operations and role in the US economy. The fines, which were recently levied, are high by previous standards but still only amount to, at most, a couple of weeks’ profits.

The lack of ‘judicial will’, the breakdown of the entire regulatory system and the flaunting of financial power is manifested in the ‘golden parachutes’ routinely awarded to criminal CEOs following their exposure and ‘resignation’. This is due to the enormous political power the financial elite exercise over the state, judiciary and the economy.

Political Power and the Demise of ‘Law and Order’

With regard to financial crimes, the doctrine guiding state policy is ‘too rich for jail, too big to fail’ , which translates into multi-trillion dollar treasury bailouts of bankrupt kleptocratic financial institutions and a high level of state tolerance for billionaire tax-evaders, swindlers and money launderers. Because of the total breakdown of law enforcement toward financial crimes, there are high levels of repeat offenders in what one British financial official describes as ‘cynical (and cyclical) greed’.

The current ‘banner’ under which the financial elite have seized total control over the state, the budget and the economy has been ‘change’. This refers to the deregulation of the financial system, the massive expansion of tax loopholes, the free flight of profits to overseas tax havens and the dramatic shift of ‘law enforcement’ from prosecuting the banks laundering the illicit earnings of drug and criminal cartels to pursuing so-called ‘terrorist states’. The ‘state of law’ has become a lawless state. Financial ‘changes’ have permitted and even promoted repeated swindles, which have defrauded millions and impoverished hundreds of millions. There are 20 million mortgage holders who have lost their homes or have been unable to maintain payments; tens of millions of middle class and working class taxpayers who were forced to pay higher taxes and lose vital social services because of upper class and corporate tax evasion. The laundering of billions of dollars in drug cartel and criminal wealth by the biggest banks has led to the deterioration of neighborhoods and rising crime, which has destabilized middle and working class family life.

Conclusion

The ascendancy of a criminal financial elite and its complicit, accommodating state has led to the breakdown of law and order, the degradation and discrediting of the entire regulatory network and judicial system. This has led to a national system of ‘unequal injustice’ where critical citizens are prosecuted for exercising their constitutional rights while criminal elites operate with impunity. The harshest enforcement of police state fiats are applied against hundreds of thousands of immigrants, Muslims and human rights activists, while financial swindlers are courted at Presidential campaign fund raisers.

It is not surprising today that many workers and middle class citizens consider themselves to be ‘conservative’ and ‘against change’. Indeed, the majority wants to ‘conserve’ Social Security, pubic education, pensions, job stability, and federal medical plans, such as MEDICARE and MEDICAID against ‘radical’ elite advocates of ‘change’ who want to privatize Social Security and education, end MEDICARE, and slash MEDICAID. Workers and the middle class demand stability of jobs and neighborhoods and stable prices against run-away inflation of medical care and education. Wage and salaried citizens support law and order, especially when it means the prosecution of billionaire tax evaders, criminal money-launderering bankers and swindlers, who, at most, pay a minor fine, issue an excuse or ‘apology’ and then proceed to repeat their swindles.

The radical ‘changes’ promoted by the elite, have devastated life for millions of Americans in every region, occupation and age group. They have destabilized family life by undermining job security while undermining neighborhoods by laundering drug profits. Above all they have totally perverted the entire system of justice where the ‘criminals are made respectable and the respectable treated as criminals’.

The first defense of the majority is to resist ‘elite change’ and to conserve the remnants of the welfare state. The goal of ‘conservative’ resistance will be to transform the entire corrupt legal system of ‘functional criminality’ into a system of ‘equality before the law’. That will require a fundamental shift in political power, at the local and regional level, from the bankers’ boardrooms to neighborhood and workplace councils, from compliant elite-appointed judges and regulators to real representatives elected by the majority groaning under our current system of injustice.

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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:47 pm

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Failing to Break Up the Big Banks is Destroying America
By Washingtons Blog - July 21st, 2012, 5:43AM
The Size of the Big Banks Is – Literally – Destroying the Rule of Law
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind quotes Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as saying:

The confidence in the system is so fragile still… a disclosure of a fraud… could result in a run, just like Lehman.

In other words, Geither said that the big bankers are “too big to jail”, because disclosing any portion of their massive fraud would cause bank runs.

Former IMF economist Simon Johnson notes:

The main motivation behind the administration’s indulgence of serious criminality evidently is fear of the consequences of taking tough action on individual bankers.

***

The message to bank executives today is simple: build your bank to be as big as possible – and then keep growing. If you manage to become big enough, you and your employees are not just too big to fail, but also too big to jail.

Glenn Greenwald notes:

To justify this lack of accountability for the nation’s wealthiest lawbreakers, the all-too-familiar excuses long used to shield the politically powerful are trotted out on cue. Once again, we are told that prosecutions are too disruptive; that it’s more important to fix the system than to seek retribution for the past; that because the wrongdoers’ reputation is in tatters, they have already suffered enough; that we need the goodwill of financial titans to ensure our common prosperity; and so on.

Indeed, the Obama administration has made it official policy not to prosecute fraud.

Top economists, on the other hand, completely contradict Geithner and the rest of the administration … saying that fraud caused the Great Depression and the current financial crisis, and that the economy will never recover until fraud is prosecuted.

Top economists and experts on fraud say that fraud is not only widespread, it is actually the business model adopted by the giant banks. See this, this, this, this, this and this.

Therefore, unless the big banks are broken up, financial fraud will grow exponentially like cancer, and the economy will be destroyed.

Their Size Allows Them to Rig the Market
The “father of free market economics” – Adam Smith – knew that monopolies hurt the economy.

As the Libor scandal shows, the size and concentration of the biggest banks allows them to commit massive manipulation in the world’s biggest markets, and to engage in insider trading on a scale never before seen in history.

In addition, Richard Alford – former New York Fed economist, trading floor economist and strategist – showed that banks that get too big benefit from “information asymmetry” which disrupts the free market.

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted in September that giants like Goldman are using their size to manipulate the market:

“The main problem that Goldman raises is a question of size: ‘too big to fail.’ In some markets, they have a significant fraction of trades. Why is that important? They trade both on their proprietary desk and on behalf of customers. When you do that and you have a significant fraction of all trades, you have a lot of information.”

Further, he says, “That raises the potential of conflicts of interest, problems of front-running, using that inside information for your proprietary desk. And that’s why the Volcker report came out and said that we need to restrict the kinds of activity that these large institutions have. If you’re going to trade on behalf of others, if you’re going to be a commercial bank, you can’t engage in certain kinds of risk-taking behavior.”

The giants (especially Goldman Sachs) have also used high-frequency program trading which not only distorted the markets – making up more than 70% of stock trades – but which also let the program trading giants take a sneak peak at what the real (aka “human”) traders are buying and selling, and then trade on the insider information. See this, this, this, this and this. (This is frontrunning, which is illegal; but it is a lot bigger than garden variety frontrunning, because the program traders are not only trading based on inside knowledge of what their own clients are doing, they are also trading based on knowledge of what all other traders are doing).

Goldman also admitted that its proprietary trading program can “manipulate the markets in unfair ways”. The giant banks have also allegedly used their Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group (CRMPG) to exchange secret information and formulate coordinated mutually beneficial actions, all with the government’s blessings.

In other words, a handful of giants doing it, it can manipulate the entire economy in ways which are not good for the American citizen.

And the political system. No wonder Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman thinks that we have to break up the big banks to stop their domination of the political process.

If We Break Up the Giants, Smaller Banks Will Thrive … And Loan More to Main Street
Do we need to keep the TBTFs to make sure that loans are made?

Nope.

USA Today points out:

Banks that received federal assistance during the financial crisis reduced lending more aggressively and gave bigger pay raises to employees than institutions that didn’t get aid, a USA TODAY/American University review found.

***

The amount of loans outstanding to businesses and individuals fell 9.1% for the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2009, at banks that participated in TARP compared with a 6.2% drop at banks that didn’t.

Dennis Santiago – CEO and Managing Director of Institutional Risk Analytics (Chris Whalen’s company) – notes:

The really shocking numbers are in the unused line of credit commitments of banks to U.S. business. This is the canary number I like to look at because it is a direct expression of banking and finance confidence in Main Street industry. It’s gone from $92 billion in Dec -2007 to just $24 billion as of Sep-2010. More importantly, the vast majority of this contraction of credit availability to American industry has been by the larger banks, C&I LOC from $87B down to $18.8B by the institutions with assets over $10B. Poof!

Fortune reports that smaller banks are stepping in to fill the lending void left by the giant banks’ current hesitancy to make loans. Indeed, the article points out that the only reason that smaller banks haven’t been able to expand and thrive is that the too-big-to-fails have decreased competition:

Growth for the nation’s smaller banks represents a reversal of trends from the last twenty years, when the biggest banks got much bigger and many of the smallest players were gobbled up or driven under…

As big banks struggle to find a way forward and rising loan losses threaten to punish poorly run banks of all sizes, smaller but well capitalized institutions have a long-awaited chance to expand.

BusinessWeek notes:

As big banks struggle, community banks are stepping in to offer loans and lines of credit to small business owners…

At a congressional hearing on small business and the economic recovery earlier this month, economist Paul Merski, of the Independent Community Bankers of America, a Washington (D.C.) trade group, told lawmakers that community banks make 20% of all small-business loans, even though they represent only about 12% of all bank assets. Furthermore, he said that about 50% of all small-business loans under $100,000 are made by community banks…

Indeed, for the past two years, small-business lending among community banks has grown at a faster rate than from larger institutions, according to Aite Group, a Boston banking consultancy. “Community banks are quickly taking on more market share not only from the top five banks but from some of the regional banks,” says Christine Barry, Aite’s research director. “They are focusing more attention on small businesses than before. They are seeing revenue opportunities and deploying the right solutions in place to serve these customers.”

Fed Governor Daniel K. Tarullo said:

The importance of traditional financial intermediation services, and hence of the smaller banks that typically specialize in providing those services, tends to increase during times of financial stress. Indeed, the crisis has highlighted the important continuing role of community banks…

For example, while the number of credit unions has declined by 42 percent since 1989, credit union deposits have more than quadrupled, and credit unions have increased their share of national deposits from 4.7 percent to 8.5 percent. In addition, some credit unions have shifted from the traditional membership based on a common interest to membership that encompasses anyone who lives or works within one or more local banking markets. In the last few years, some credit unions have also moved beyond their traditional focus on consumer services to provide services to small businesses, increasing the extent to which they compete with community banks.

Thomas M. Hoenig pointed out in a speech at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce summit in Washington:

During the recent financial crisis, losses quickly depleted the capital of these large, over-leveraged companies. As expected, these firms were rescued using government funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The result was an immediate reduction in lending to Main Street, as the financial institutions tried to rebuild their capital. Although these institutions have raised substantial amounts of new capital, much of it has been used to repay the TARP funds instead of supporting new lending.

On the other hand, Hoenig pointed out:

In 2009, 45 percent of banks with assets under $1 billion increased their business lending.

45% is about 45% morethan the amount of increased lending by the too big to fails.

Indeed, some very smart people say that the big banks aren’t really focusing as much on the lending business as smaller banks.

Specifically since Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999, the giant banks have made much of their money in trading assets, securities, derivatives and other speculative bets, the banks’ own paper and securities, and in other money-making activities which have nothing to do with traditional depository functions.

Now that the economy has crashed, the big banks are making very few loans to consumers or small businesses because they still have trillions in bad derivatives gambling debts to pay off, and so they are only loaning to the biggest players and those who don’t really need credit in the first place. See this and this.

So we don’t really need these giant gamblers. We don’t really need JP Morgan, Citi, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley. What we need are dedicated lenders.

The Fortune article discussed above points out that the banking giants are not necessarily more efficient than smaller banks:

The largest banks often don’t show the greatest efficiency. This now seems unsurprising given the deep problems that the biggest institutions have faced over the past year.

“They actually experience diseconomies of scale,” Narter wrote of the biggest banks. “There are so many large autonomous divisions of the bank that the complexity of connecting them overwhelms the advantage of size.”

And Governor Tarullo points out some of the benefits of small community banks over the giant banks:

Many community banks have thrived, in large part because their local presence and personal interactions give them an advantage in meeting the financial needs of many households, small businesses, and agricultural firms. Their business model is based on an important economic explanation of the role of financial intermediaries–to develop and apply expertise that allows a lender to make better judgments about the creditworthiness of potential borrowers than could be made by a potential lender with less information about the borrowers.

A small, but growing, body of research suggests that the financial services provided by large banks are less-than-perfect substitutes for those provided by community banks.

It is simply not true that we need the mega-banks. In fact, as many top economists and financial analysts have said, the “too big to fails” are actually stifling competition from smaller lenders and credit unions, and dragging the entire economy down into a black hole.


We Do NOT Need the Big Banks to Help the Economy Recover
Do we need the Too Big to Fails to help the economy recover?

No.

The following top economists and financial experts believe that the economy cannot recover unless the big, insolvent banks are broken up in an orderly fashion:

Nobel prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz
Nobel prize-winning economist, Ed Prescott
Former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan
Former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
Dean and professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School, and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, R. Glenn Hubbard
Simon Johnson (and see this)
Former 20-year President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who was today nominated to be FDIC Vice Chair Thomas Hoenig (and see this)
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Richard Fisher (and see this)
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Thomas Bullard
Deputy Treasury Secretary, Neal S. Wolin
The President of the Independent Community Bankers of America, a Washington-based trade group with about 5,000 members, Camden R. Fine
The Congressional panel overseeing the bailout (and see this)
The head of the FDIC, Sheila Bair
The head of the Bank of England, Mervyn King
The leading monetary economist and co-author with Milton Friedman of the leading treatise on the Great Depression, Anna Schwartz
Economics professor and senior regulator during the S & L crisis, William K. Black
Leading British economist, John Kay
Economics professor, Nouriel Roubini
Economist, Marc Faber
Professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the Chicago Booth School of Business, Luigi Zingales
Economics professor, Thomas F. Cooley
Economist Dean Baker
Economist Arnold Kling
Former investment banker, Philip Augar
Chairman of the Commons Treasury, John McFall
In addition, many top economists and financial experts, including Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer – who was Ben Bernanke’s thesis adviser at MIT – say that – at the very least – the size of the financial giants should be limited.

Even the Bank of International Settlements – the “Central Banks’ Central Bank” – has slammed too big to fail. As summarized by the Financial Times:

The report was particularly scathing in its assessment of governments’ attempts to clean up their banks. “The reluctance of officials to quickly clean up the banks, many of which are now owned in large part by governments, may well delay recovery,” it said, adding that government interventions had ingrained the belief that some banks were too big or too interconnected to fail.

This was dangerous because it reinforced the risks of moral hazard which might lead to an even bigger financial crisis in future.

And as I noted in December 2008, the big banks are the major reason why sovereign debt has become a crisis:

BIS points out in a new report that the bank rescue packages have transferred significant risks onto government balance sheets, which is reflected in the corresponding widening of sovereign credit default swaps:

The scope and magnitude of the bank rescue packages also meant that significant risks had been transferred onto government balance sheets. This was particularly apparent in the market for CDS referencing sovereigns involved either in large individual bank rescues or in broad-based support packages for the financial sector, including the United States. While such CDS were thinly traded prior to the announced rescue packages, spreads widened suddenly on increased demand for credit protection, while corresponding financial sector spreads tightened.

In other words, by assuming huge portions of the risk from banks trading in toxic derivatives, and by spending trillions that they don’t have, central banks have put their countries at risk from default.

Similarly, a study of 124 banking crises by the International Monetary Fund found that propping banks which are only pretending to be solvent hurts the economy:

Existing empirical research has shown that providing assistance to banks and their borrowers can be counterproductive, resulting in increased losses to banks, which often abuse forbearance to take unproductive risks at government expense. The typical result of forbearance is a deeper hole in the net worth of banks, crippling tax burdens to finance bank bailouts, and even more severe credit supply contraction and economic decline than would have occurred in the absence of forbearance.

Cross-country analysis to date also shows that accommodative policy measures (such as substantial liquidity support, explicit government guarantee on financial institutions’ liabilities and forbearance from prudential regulations) tend to be fiscally costly and that these particular policies do not necessarily accelerate the speed of economic recovery.

***

All too often, central banks privilege stability over cost in the heat of the containment phase: if so, they may too liberally extend loans to an illiquid bank which is almost certain to prove insolvent anyway. Also, closure of a nonviable bank is often delayed for too long, even when there are clear signs of insolvency (Lindgren, 2003). Since bank closures face many obstacles, there is a tendency to rely instead on blanket government guarantees which, if the government’s fiscal and political position makes them credible, can work albeit at the cost of placing the burden on the budget, typically squeezing future provision of needed public services.

The big banks have been bailed out to the tune of many trillions, dragging the economy down a bottomless pit from which we can’t escape. See this, this, this and this. Unless we break them up, we will never escape.

The Failure to Break Up the Big Banks Is Dooming Us to Depression
All independent experts agree that unless we rein in derivatives, will have another – bigger – financial crisis.

But the big banks are preventing derivatives from being tamed.

We have also pointed out that derivatives are still very dangerous for the economy, that the derivatives “reform” legislation previously passed has probably actually weakened existing regulations, and the legislation was “probably written by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs“.

We’ve noted:

Harold Bradley – who oversees almost $2 billion in assets as chief investment officer at the Kauffman Foundation – told the Reuters Global Exchanges and Trading Summit in New York that a cabal is preventing swap derivatives from being forced onto clearing exchanges:

There is no incentive from the moneyed interests in either Washington or New York to change it…

I believe we are in a cabal. There are five or six players only who are engaged and dominant in this marketplace and apparently they own the regulatory apparatus. Everybody is afraid to regulate them.

That’s bad enough.

But Bob Litan of the Brookings Institute wrote a paper (here’s a summary) showing that – even if real derivatives legislation is ever passed – the 5 big derivatives players will still prevent any real change. James Kwak notes that Litan is no radical, but has previously written in defense in financial “innovation”.

Here’s a good summary from Rortybomb, showing that this is yet another reason to break up the too big to fails:

Litan is worried about the “Dealer’s Club” of the major derivatives players. I particularly like this paper as the best introduction to the current oligarchy that takes place in the very profitable over-the-counter derivatives trading market and credit default swap market. [Litton says]:

I have written this essay primarily to call attention to the main impediments to meaningful reform: the private actors who now control the trading of derivatives and all key elements of the infrastructure of derivatives trading, the major dealer banks. The importance of this “Derivatives Dealers’ Club” cannot be overstated. All end-users who want derivatives products, CDS in particular, must transact with dealer banks…I will argue that the major dealer banks have strong financial incentives and the ability to delay or impede changes from the status quo — even if the legislative reforms that are now being widely discussed are adopted — that would make the CDS and eventually other derivatives markets safer and more transparent for all concerned…

Here, of course, I refer to the major derivatives dealers – the top 5 dealer-banks that control virtually all of the dealer-to-dealer trades in CDS, together with a few others that participate with the top 5 in other institutions important to the derivatives market. Collectively, these institutions have the ability and incentive, if not counteracted by policy intervention, to delay, distort or impede clearing, exchange trading and transparency…

Market-makers make the most profit, however, as long as they can operate as much in the dark as is possible – so that customers don’t know the true going prices, only the dealers do. This opacity allows the dealers to keep spreads high…

In combination, these various market institutions – relating to standardization, clearing and pricing – have incentives not to rock the boat, and not to accelerate the kinds of changes that would make the derivatives market safer and more transparent. The common element among all of these institutions is strong participation, if not significant ownership, by the major dealers.

So Bob Litan is waving a giant red flag that the top dealer-banks that control the CDS market can more or less, through a variety of means he lays out convincingly in the paper, derail or significantly slow down CDS reform after the fact if it passes.

***

If you thought we’d at least get our arms around credit default swap reform from a financial reform bill, you should read this report from Litan as a giant warning flag. In case you weren’t sure if you’ve heard anyone directly lay out the case on how the market and political concentration in the United States banking sector hurts consumers and increases systemic risk through both political pressures and anticompetitive levels of control of the institutions of the market, now you have. It’s not Matt Taibbi, but it’s much further away from a “everything is actually fine and the Treasury is in control of reform” reassurance. Which should scare you, and give you yet another good reason for size caps for the major banks.

Moreover, the big banks are still dumping huge amounts of their toxic derivatives on the taxpayer. And see this.

And the extreme concentration of power and control over the entire global economy of a handful of large banks means that the entire system is extremely vulnerable.

Why Aren’t They Be Broken Up?
So what is the real reason that the TBTFs aren’t being broken up?

Certainly, there is regulatory capture, cowardice and corruption:

Joseph Stiglitz (the Nobel prize winning economist) said recently that the U.S. government is wary of challenging the financial industry because it is politically difficult, and that he hopes the Group of 20 leaders will cajole the U.S. into tougher action
Economic historian Niall Ferguson asks:
Guess which institutions are among the biggest lobbyists and campaign-finance contributors? Surprise! None other than the TBTFs [too big to fails].

Manhattan Institute senior fellow Nicole Gelinas agrees:
The too-big-to-fail financial industry has been good to elected officials and former elected officials of both parties over its 25-year life span

Investment analyst and financial writer Yves Smith says:
Major financial players [have gained] control over the all-important over-the-counter debt markets…It is pretty hard to regulate someone who has a knife at your throat.

William K. Black says:
There has been no honest examination of the crisis because it would embarrass C.E.O.s and politicians . . .Instead, the Treasury and the Fed are urging us not to examine the crisis and to believe that all will soon be well. There have been no prosecutions of the chief executives of the large nonprime lenders that would expose the “epidemic” of fraudulent mortgage lending that drove the crisis. There has been no accountability…

The Obama administration and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke have refused to investigate the nature and causes of the crisis. And the administration selected Timothy Geithner, who with then Treasury Secretary Paulson bungled the bailout of A.I.G. and other favored “too big to fail” institutions, to head up Treasury.

Now Lawrence Summers, head of the White House National Economic Council, and Mr. Geithner argue that no fundamental change in finance is needed. They want to recreate a secondary market in the subprime mortgages that caused trillions of dollars of losses.

Traditional neo-classical economic theory, particularly “modern finance theory,” has been proven false but economists have failed to replace it. No fundamental reform can be passed when the proponents are pretending that there really is no crisis or need for change.

Harvard professor of government Jeffry A. Frieden says:
Regulatory agencies are often sympathetic to the industries they regulate. This pattern is so well known among scholars that it has a name: “regulatory capture.” This effect can be due to the political influence of the industry on its regulators; or to the fact that the regulators spend so much time with their charges that they come to accept their world view; or to the prospect of lucrative private-sector jobs when regulators retire or resign.

Economic consultant Edward Harrison agrees:Regulating Wall Street has become difficult in large part because of regulatory capture.
But there is an even more interesting reason . . .

The number one reason the TBTF’s aren’t being broken up is [drumroll] . . . the ‘ole 80′s playbook is being used.

As the New York Times reports:

In the 1980s, during the height of the Latin American debt crisis, the total risk to the nine money-center banks in New York was estimated at more than three times the capital of those banks. The regulators, analysts say, did not force the banks to value those loans at the fire-sale prices of the moment, helping to avert a disaster in the banking system.

In other words, the nine biggest banks were all insolvent in the 1980s.

Indeed, Richard C. Koo – former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and doctoral fellow with the Fed’s Board of Governors, and now chief economist for Nomura – confirmed this fact last year in a speech to the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Specifically, Koo said that -after the Latin American crisis hit in 1982 – the New York Fed concluded that 7 out of 8 money center banks were actually “underwater” and “bankrupt”, but that the Fed hid that fact from the American people.

So the government’s failure to break up the insolvent giants – even though virtually all independent experts say that is the only way to save the economy, and even though there is no good reason not to break them up – is nothing new.

William K. Black’s statement that the government’s entire strategy now – as in the S&L crisis – is to cover up how bad things are (“the entire strategy is to keep people from getting the facts”) makes a lot more sense.


http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/07/fa ... g-america/
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:08 am

Screen shot 2012-07-18 at 10.07.43 AM.png
Dan SolinAuthor of the Smartest series of books
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Illegal Conduct Is Critical to the Survival of the Securities Industry
Posted: 07/17/2012 6:35 pm

It was a typical week on Wall Street.

Peregrine Financial Group collapsed and filed for bankruptcy. Regulators are searching for $200 million in unaccounted for customer assets. The founder of Peregrine, apparently attempted suicide and is recovering in an Iowa hospital.

Ex-Wall Street trader Michael Marin died in a Phoenix courtroom after apparently taking pills laced with cyanide. Mr. Marin was a banker, art collector and former millionaire. He made his money working in finance and as a Yale educated lawyer. He was allegedly broke and unable to pay the mortgage. Mr. Marin had been convicted of arson for setting his $3.5 million mansion on fire. He was facing seven to 21 years in prison.

A Georgia banker, Aubrey Lee Price, disappeared after boarding a ferry in Key West, FL. The FBI and federal prosecutors believe Price embezzled $17 million in bank funds. Whether he is dead or just faking suicide is anyone's guess.

JP Morgan reported that the losses caused by its London "whale" trader had increased to $5.8 billion. That is almost three times higher than original estimates.

Speaking of "whales", the scandal over the manipulation of Libor may reportedly become "one of the most costly and consequential in the history of banking." A number of banks are under investigation in Europe, Japan and the U.S. Libor is the London interbank offered rate, which is an interest rate used in agreements worth trillions of dollars globally.

I could go on, but you get the drift.

How ironic that the industry that wants us to trust it with our funds can't manage its own money and is rife with illegal conduct.

While you and I may find this difficult to understand, Wall Street executives "get it." In a recent survey, a quarter of Wall Street executives viewed wrongdoing as "a key to success." Sixteen percent indicate they would engage in insider trading if they knew they would not be caught. Almost a third said they felt pressured to "compromise ethical standards or violate the law."

I was surprised these percentages were so low. As recent convictions for insider trading demonstrate, some hedge fund managers fully understand the only way to "beat the markets" is to engage in illegal insider trading. I am unaware of any credible, peer-reviewed data indicating the daily grist of brokers and most advisors (stock picking, market timing, fund manager picking) adds value. When you are selling an expertise you don't have, you understandably are under pressure to bend or break the rules.

Wall Street executives may feel they have no choice other than to engage in illegal conduct, but you do. Don't use them to manage your hard earned money. They will always have an endless supply of gullible clients who can't figure out they are emperors with no clothes. Don't be one of them.

Dan Solin is a senior vice president of Index Funds Advisors. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read, The Smartest 401(k) Book You'll Ever Read, The Smartest Retirement Book You'll Ever Read, and The Smartest Portfolio You'll Ever Own. His new book is The Smartest Money Book You'll Ever Read. The views set forth in this blog are the opinions of the author alone and may not represent the views of any firm or entity with whom he is affiliated. The data, information, and content on this blog are for information, education, and non-commercial purposes only. Returns from index funds do not represent the performance of any investment advisory firm. The information on this blog does not involve the rendering of personalized investment advice and is limited to the dissemination of opinions on investing. No reader should construe these opinions as an offer of advisory services. Readers who require investment advice should retain the services of a competent investment professional. The information on this blog is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any securities or class of securities mentioned herein. Furthermore, the information on this blog should not be construed as an offer of advisory services. Please note that the author does not recommend specific securities nor is he responsible for comments made by persons posting on this blog.

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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:33 pm

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Consider just this month's news in financial services.

First, Barclay's has been manipulating the Libor, the main interest rate upon which most other interest rates and financial transactions are based, since 2005. Moreover, Barclay's traders were colluding with traders in many other banks to assist them in manipulating the Libor too, so that they could all profit from their bets on it.

Second, JP Morgan Chase is having a really great month. Recent reports describe how it is resisting Federal subpoenas related to price-fixing in U.S. electricity markets. It is also accused (by former employees among others) of deliberately inflating the performance of its investment funds to obtain business. And finally, JP Morgan's failed "London whale" trade, which has now cost over $5 billion, is being investigated to determine whether the loss was initially concealed from regulators and the public.

Third, HSBC is paying a fine because it allowed hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars of money laundering by rogue states and sanctioned firms, including some related to terrorist activities and Iran's nuclear efforts. But HSBC is only one of at least 12 banks now known to have tolerated, and in some cases aggressively courted, money laundering by rogue states, terrorist organizations, corrupt dictators, and major drug cartels over the last decade. Others include Barclay's, Lloyds, Credit Suisse, and Wachovia (now part of Wells Fargo). Several of the banks created special handbooks on how to evade surveillance, created special business units to handle money laundering, and actively suppressed whistleblowers who warned of drug cartel activities.

Fourth, a new private lawsuit cites documents indicating that Morgan Stanley successfully pressured rating agencies into inflating the ratings of mortgage-backed securities it issued during the housing bubble.

Fifth, Visa and Mastercard have just agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a private antitrust case filed by thousands of merchants, who alleged that Visa and Mastercard colluded to fix fees and terms of service.

Just another month in financial services. Is it unusual? No, it's not. If we go back just a little further, we have UBS, HSBC, Julius Baer, and other banks actively marketing tax evasion services to wealthy U.S. and European citizens. We have senior executives of several banks (including JP Morgan Chase and UBS) strongly suspecting that Bernard Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, but deciding to make money from him rather than turn him in. And then, of course, we have the financial crisis and everything that led to it. As I show in great detail in my book Predator Nation, we now possess overwhelming evidence of massive securities fraud, accounting fraud, perjury, and criminal Sarbanes-Oxley violations by mortgage lenders, investment banks, and credit insurers (including senior executives of Countrywide, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, AIG, and Lehman Brothers) during the housing bubble that caused the financial crisis. If we go back to the late 1990s, we have the massively fraudulent hyping of Internet stocks, and several banks (including Merrill Lynch and Citigroup) actively aiding Enron in committing its frauds.

So, July 2012 really isn't abnormal at all. The reason for this is very simple. Over the past two decades, the financial services industry has become a pervasively unethical and highly criminal industry, with massive fraud tolerated or even encouraged by senior management. But how did that happen?

Well, deregulation helped, of course. But something else was far more important. It is the one critical factor that unites all of the episodes cited above, including those of this month. This critical unifying factor is the total number of criminal prosecutions of major firms and senior executives as a result of all of these crimes combined.

And what is that number?

Zero.


Literally zero. A number that neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney shows the slightest interest in changing.

Consider the Obama administration's choices for the four most important positions in financial sector law enforcement. The attorney general (Eric Holder) and the head of the Justice Department's criminal division (Lanny Breuer) both come to us from Covington & Burling, a law firm that represents and lobbies for most of the major banks and their industry associations; indeed Breuer was co-head of its white collar criminal defense practice, and represented the Moody's rating agency in the Enron case. Mary Schapiro, the head of the SEC, spent the housing bubble in charge of FINRA, the investment banking industry's "self-regulator," which gave her a $9 million severance for a job well done. And her head of enforcement, perhaps most stunningly of all, is Robert Khuzami, who was general counsel for Deutsche Bank's North American business during the entire bubble. So zero prosecutions isn't much of a surprise, really.

In contrast, what do you think would happen to you if, as a lone individual, you were caught supporting Iran's nuclear program? Do you think that you would get off with a "deferred prosecution agreement" and a fine equal to a few percent of your annual salary? No?

But that's because you don't live right. You probably haven't been to the White House a dozen times since President Obama took office, or attended White House state dinners, like Lloyd Blankfein has. Nor have you probably overseen millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign donations, or hired senior administration officials, or sent your executives into the government in senior regulatory positions, or paid $135,000 for a speech by someone who later became chairman of the National Economic Council. And, well, you get the law enforcement that you pay for.

Charles Ferguson is the author of Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America.

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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:55 am

The right of a private citizen to lay an information, and the right and duty of the Attorney General to supervise criminal prosecutions are both fundamental parts of our criminal justice system.

The right of a citizen to institute a prosecution for a breach of the law has been called "a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of authority"3. However, this right can be abused. It is sometimes necessary for the Attorney General to intervene and conduct or stay the prosecution to prevent the harms that may flow from such
prosecutions, for example: 1) the harm suffered by a defendant who is factually innocent; 2) the harm to the court system caused by a frivolous prosecution.
 

Please note that it is a well known fact in the Province of British Columbia, the secret policy directive of the Attorney General's office, is "not to proceed on any private prosecution", and there are many examples of their interference in cases where of overwhelming evidence of criminal wrongdoing was demonstrated to a Justice of the Peace. [Stay in tune with BCREVOLUTION for examples] http://www.bcrevolution.ca/private_prosecution.htm

Both of the excuses raised above, on behalf of the Attorney General to quash a private prosecution, fail to consider that the private party must FIRST present his/her evidence of the charge(s) to a Justice of the Peace, who themselves are already direct appointees of the government.

See Canadian Criminal code section 504. Any one who, on reasonable grounds, believes that a person has committed an indictable offence may lay an information in writing and under oath before a justice, and the justice shall receive the information, where it is alleged
(a) that the person has committed, anywhere, an indictable offence that may be tried in the province in which the justice resides, and that the person


Stephen Harper alleged criminal code violations:

Detainment and TORTURE of Afghani soldiers.

Ignore elections act legislation by “in-and-out”-ing large cash sums to individual ridings to defraud tax-payers and fund local candidates.

Used the RCMP to suppress free-speech during the G8/G20 summit, and violated the Canadian constitution of peaceful citizens.

Used $50 million of a G8 legacy fund to pay for projects in Tony Clement’s riding of Muskoka/Parry Sound, despite the bulk of the projects having NOTHING to do with the G8/G20 and being, in some cases, 100 km away from any of the summit sites

Robocall strategies used to misinform and misdirect non government supporting Canadians away from legitimate voting stations (election fraud)

Contempt of parliament and of Canadians he is supposed to serve.

Election frauds etc to gain majority office in government

PROPOSED CITIZEN SOLUTIONS

Every Canadian Citizen is allowed to visit a court house and file private criminal charges with the courts. This is called laying an information, and although it is ordinarily done by police agencies, often these agents cannot act in cases of major crimes, “respected” criminals, or those considered “above our laws” for political or financial reasons. For this reason, laying an information is also the right of every citizen. It may also be the duty of those community minded citizens to step forward, when the police elect, for whatever reason, to take a step back from major offenses.

In the context of a private prosecution, s. 507.1 of the Criminal Code requires a justice who receives an Information laid by a private informant to refer it to a provincial court judge or a designated justice who shall consider whether to compel the appearance of the accused to answer the charge on the Information.
Subsection 507.1(3)(a) requires that the judge or designated justice may issue a summons or a warrant only if he or she has heard and considered the allegations of the informant and the evidence of witnesses. http://justice.alberta.ca/programs_serv ... tions.aspx

Please visit the Criminal Code of Canada online, and look at these sections which might be applicable to Mr. Harper's various actions to gain or increase his power:

Sec 119 Bribery of Judicial Officers
Sec 121 Frauds on the Government
Sec 122 Breach of Trust by a public officer
Sec 126 Disobeying a Statute
Sec 131 , 134 Misleading Justice
Sec 139 Obstructing Justice
Sec 140 Public Mischief
Sec 141 Compounding Indictable Offence
Sec 399 False Return by public officer
Sec 423 Intimidation
Sec 430 Mischief
Sec 465 Conspiracy
Sec 467 Participation in activities of Criminal Organization
Sec 467 Instructing Commission of Offense for Criminal Organization


Sec 717 717. (1) Alternative measures may be used to deal with a person alleged to have committed an offence only if it is not inconsistent with the protection of society and the following conditions are met:

Laying of information, etc.
(5) Subject to subsection (4), nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing any person from laying an information, obtaining the issue or confirmation of any process, or proceeding with the prosecution of any offence, in accordance with law.

788. (1) Proceedings under this Part shall be commenced by laying an information in Form 2.
One justice may act before the trial

(2) Notwithstanding any other law that requires an information to be laid before or to be tried by two or more justices, one justice may
(a) receive the information;
(b) issue a summons or warrant with respect to the information; and
(c) do all other things preliminary to the trial.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 723.
Formalities of information
789. (1) In proceedings to which this Part applies, an information
(a) shall be in writing and under oath; and
(b) may charge more than one offence or relate to more than one matter of complaint, but where more than one offence is charged or the information relates to more than one matter of complaint, each offence or matter of complaint, as the case may be, shall be set out in a separate count.

Resources:

http://www.bcrevolution.ca/filing_priva ... cution.htm

http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?se ... t20&lang=e

ELECTION ACT OF CANADA

524. (1) Any elector who was eligible to vote in an electoral district, and any candidate in an electoral district, may, by application to a competent court, contest the election in that electoral district on the grounds that
(a) under section 65 the elected candidate was not eligible to be a candidate; or

(b) there were irregularities, fraud or corrupt or illegal practices that affected the result of the election.

Courts
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), the courts are
(a) in the Province of Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice;

(b) in the Province of Quebec, the Superior Court;

(c) in the Provinces of Nova Scotia and British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, the Supreme Court;

(d) in the Provinces of New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, the Court of Queen's Bench;

(e) in the Provinces of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, the Trial Division of the Supreme Court; and

(f) in Nunavut, the Nunavut Court of Justice.
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:55 am

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(advocate's favorite quotes from this article: "This financial system is completely unsustainable. The level of interconnectedness, the level of misapplied incentives is again unprecedented in history. If you were offered a game of chance where when you win, you win, and when you lose, you are given another chance to throw the dice, then, of course, everybody would play that game and essentially that is where the financial system is. That isn't capitalism."

"By various fiduciary and criminal standards, we should have seen a tremendous number of prosecutions and successful lawsuits. The U.S. system was built on a very simple premise: if you take a chance and succeed, you reap the rewards of your success. If you take a chance and fail, you have to take the consequences of your failure. When you disconnect greed and fear, greed runs rampant."

"........politicians have no incentive to act unless they are faced with some sort of existential threat."

"Very simple. It is faith. It is muscle memory. It's normalcy bias, a psychological phenomenon that prevents people from seeing unconventional threats. People overestimate their previous experience and they underestimate future experience…."

I heartily recommend reading this for people who wish a greater understanding of some of the risks to their financial health, as it may be affected by world events. Cheers and good luck spotting the unconventional threats.


==============================


| SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2012
Going for Gold in a Dangerous World
By ROBIN GOLDWYN BLUMENTHAL
Eidesis Capital's Simon Mikhailovich on why physical gold outside the world's banking system is the safe place to be. Understanding the Philadelphia problem.
Simon Mikhailovich knows a thing or two about financial weapons of mass destruction. With a wealth of experience in structured credit, he co-founded Eidesis Capital in 1998 with Michael Sollott, after they completed a buyout of the collateralized-debt-obligation business of St. Paul Travelers.

The new firm focused on distressed CDO investing. Its latest such private equity-style fund, the $180 million Eidesis Special Opportunities III, had a net internal rate of return of 17% from July 2009 through June 2011, when it decided to lock in gains and return most of investors' capital.

Enlarge Image

Gary Spector for Barron's
"The politicians have no incentive to act...unless faced with some sort of existential threat." -- Simon Mikhailovich
Mikhailovich, who emigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union in 1979 with just $100 in his pocket, issued early warnings in 2007 about the impending collapse of the derivatives market, and the coming financial crisis. Convinced the worst is yet to come, Eidesis, which also is managed by Jim Wang, now invests mostly in gold bullion in various locations around the world outside of the banking system. To understand why, read on.

Barron's: What's your view of the current macro picture?

Mikhailovich: The U.S. has so far succeeded in going slowly to allow an orderly deleveraging of financial assets. But the policy measures—essentially zero interest rates—are like antibiotics. The effectiveness wears off over time, you need to take more and more to achieve less and less, and eventually they stop working. Our concern is that excessive indebtedness around the world is driving governments to try to perpetuate a protracted deleveraging, because short-term deleveraging is very painful. But there are some natural limitations. Interconnectedness in markets—now higher than it has ever been—has been created by disruptive new technologies, which aren't very well understood.

Try us.

One technology is securitization, such as CDOs, where high-risk debt is recharacterized into investment-grade securities. The other is over-the-counter credit derivatives, which are basically grossly under-reserved insurance. When you combine the government policies with the level of interconnectedness in markets, it creates a recipe for disaster.

What are the short-term chances that we see a meltdown comparable to 2008?

Chances are high. Although there's faith in the U.S. and its ability to help Europe navigate this situation financially, the U.S. itself has a big pending problem of the debt ceiling, of automatic tax increases, of the presidential election. There's tremendous uncertainty. Many things have to go right in the short term to delay the eventual resolution, if you will. Based on recent precedent, it's clear the politicians have no incentive to act unless they are faced with some sort of existential threat. A compromise will only delay the problem, because it's a problem of excessive indebtedness and you can't solve a balance-sheet problem without solving it, except by delaying it.

So the risks are greater than 2008?

Yes. The disruptive technologies and government policies have created an extremely highly correlated environment with all financial markets and all financial institutions. The risks were manifest in 2008, but rather than defuse them, government policies have since increased the interconnectedness. Too big to fail is now too bigger to fail. Northern European countries have been trying to figure out how to bail out Southern European countries, which increases their interdependence. The Federal Reserve is opening credit lines to the European Central Bank, and essentially supporting the ECB and providing liquidity to the European banks. Rather than enable a quick but extremely painful deleveraging, Western governments are trying to delay it by borrowing significant amounts to supplement economic activity. Debt increases the risks by increasing the interconnectedness of financial institutions and governments. Correlation is a measure of risk. That poses threats that have never existed before to the stewards of capital.

What can the government do?

My approach is what investors should do to protect themselves from the consequences. Investors need to examine old ideas about diversification, and to realize that both bonds and stocks have become much more highly correlated than ever. Investors should look for alternative sources of uncorrelated assets or assets whose value is less correlated, as opposed to simply looking at the price of those assets. The hidden cost of deleveraging proceeding without a blowup is that it transfers value from savers to debtors. It creates perverse incentives because it breaks the price mechanism, which is the most important signal in a free-market economy. We don't know the real cost of misallocation of capital. Meanwhile, people are making valuation decisions based on these bad signals.

Where do you allot assets if you are concerned about correlated risk?

There are two roles of uncorrelated sources of returns, or reserves, in a central banking sense. Reserves are essentially hedges or protections, they're monies or some value that is sitting on the sidelines that can be pressed into service if something happens and you need to rely on these stores of value, for two reasons. One is to protect the value of part of the portfolio, and the other is to have access to liquidity during market disruptions when you can profit by being able to buy when others do not have access to liquidity. We concluded such an asset is physical gold bullion—not paper or derivative instruments—held securely outside the financial system, which is potentially subject to a disruption like we saw in 2008, and geographically diversified to provide access to various markets, where the hope is that at least one or some of them would be liquid. That is a very intelligent way to allocate part of your portfolio to this sort of reserves.

Central banks all have gold reserves, and they've been increasing them. Recently, the Swiss National Bank announced that it holds its reserves in diverse locations around the globe. A spokesman explained that the main reason is to protect against a crisis scenario.

They aren't comfortable storing their assets in their own country?

A cardinal rule of risk management is, don't put all your eggs in one basket. If anybody is an expert in safe-haven assets, it is the Swiss National Bank. The U.S., for example, holds its gold reserves outside the financial system, at Fort Knox and at West Point.

We came up with a vehicle that enables investors to do the same thing. Our specialty is structured credit, and credit derivatives are mispriced because the rates are at zero and are subject to potential significant disruptions. We have just seen an example of that. Despite the fact that JPMorgan Chase was lauded as the most capable risk-management institution, it is facing potentially very large losses. Their trade wasn't a hedge. It was a very specific bet on a very specific set of outcomes that is not panning out.

Can you imagine another Lehman event?

It's just a matter of time. This financial system is completely unsustainable. The level of interconnectedness, the level of misapplied incentives is again unprecedented in history. If you were offered a game of chance where when you win, you win, and when you lose, you are given another chance to throw the dice, then, of course, everybody would play that game and essentially that is where the financial system is. That isn't capitalism. That creates distortions, misallocation of capital, and mismanagement of risk, and we are seeing it time and time again.

Should the U.S. break up the big banks?

The most important thing for the government to do is admit the truth: that we have all participated in overspending through various means and that our standard of living exceeds our ability to pay for it. As with any emergency, this requires a tremendous amount of leadership. Before you can solve the problem, you have to admit you have a problem. And it is critically important to restore the confidence of the population in the fact that the system is not rigged.

It's absolutely disgraceful that 2008's consequences haven't been the same as, let's say, savings and loans in the 1990s. Unquestionably, things were done that were illegal in many cases, certainly grossly negligent. By various fiduciary and criminal standards, we should have seen a tremendous number of prosecutions and successful lawsuits. The U.S. system was built on a very simple premise: if you take a chance and succeed, you reap the rewards of your success. If you take a chance and fail, you have to take the consequences of your failure. When you disconnect greed and fear, greed runs rampant.

What's the endgame for the euro?

I don't know; nobody knows. If we step back from everything that is going on in the U.S., and in Greece and Europe, one can say that the endgame ultimately is devaluation of financial assets. It is almost as if these disruptive financial technologies enabled overproduction of financial assets. They increased productivity and they created oversupply, and that excess supply needs to be liquidated. But the liquidation is what governments don't want to allow. So they are trying to support the prices of goods and services that have been overproduced, which are financials. That is the endgame. Greece has overproduced credit…. There is a huge vulnerability. What about Spain? What about Portugal? What about Ireland? These are irreconcilable issues, and the only way they can be reconciled is by printing more money for the moment. The ability of governments to sustain the unsustainable ultimately rests on their ability to maintain faith in their creditworthiness, and faith is something that takes a long time to crumble. But once it goes, it can go very quickly. Here is the paradox: Governments are borrowing more and more, and the spreads of government securities are getting tighter and tighter. So the creditworthiness is getting worse and the cost of funding is getting better.

How do you explain it?

Very simple. It is faith. It is muscle memory. It's normalcy bias, a psychological phenomenon that prevents people from seeing unconventional threats. People overestimate their previous experience and they underestimate future experience…. But there may come a moment when it doesn't work, and then what's a safe haven? lt is gold. It's silver, diamonds, Rembrandts, Picassos, real estate. It's agricultural land. It's the means of production.

But you have to consider the Philadelphia problem. In the movie Trading Places, the hero is trying to sell his very expensive Swiss watch at a pawn shop in Philadelphia, and he is told that in Philadelphia it's worth 50 bucks. The benefit of land and of paintings and other stores of value is that they are not financial assets and they do preserve value over an extended period. But they are not liquid during times of disruption. You can't get a fair price; they're unique, whereas gold is ubiquitous. It's divisible. It's measurable. It's testable. There is a global market for it. So you will never have the Philadelphia problem. You may not like the price, but it is never going to be a rip-off.

So, gold is going to rise over time.

The price of gold never rises. It is the value of financial assets that declines. Gold is a store of value. Gold is not an investment. However, in the current environment, gold can produce tremendous real returns because it's an asset that doesn't produce any cash flow. Its valuation is driven exclusively by supply and demand. In the 10 years through 2010, a study has shown, 80% of physical demand for gold came from emerging markets and only 20% from the developed world, and half of that was for jewelry. Developed markets that are the repositories of most of global financial wealth have had de minimis demand for physical gold. If this devaluation of financial assets proceeds apace and the moment of clarity comes for many investors in the West who realize they need to diversify into assets that can protect against devaluation, demand for physical gold has the potential to rise dramatically.

What about commodities?

It is very difficult to own commodities physically, and therefore you are subject to market disruptions and counterparty risk. MF Global's clients thought they owned commodities. They even thought they owned U.S. Treasuries, and they ended up being paid 70 cents on the dollar for their Treasury holdings. Lehman clients couldn't get full value for assets they didn't think were at risk. They thought they were simply in custody of Lehman Brothers. That raises another problem with financial technology—re-hypothecation—where banks make money by lending out collateral. Every asset and every dollar that is in custody in a bank, unless specific legal arrangements are made, is re-lent, and as we saw with MF Global and with Lehman, ultimately it is the customer or the investor who bears the counterparty risk.

Do you have any of your money in a bank?

Of course. But I try to diversify. This isn't about the end of the world. Armageddon is a physical end of the world, financial disruption is financial disruption. Many countries have gone through financial disruptions and had their currencies devalued and had all sorts of economic problems, even in the last 20 years. Russia, Argentina, Brazil—it didn't extinguish life in those countries.

But you're talking about a greater correlation between the financial system and these financial weapons of mass destruction.

They destroy money, not lives. Human history ultimately is the history of ebbs and flows of wealth, and the ability to preserve wealth over time requires a very proactive approach. Secular changes that disrupt technologies are traditionally very, very difficult, and many will lose. But some people will win. Tremendous wealth was created during the Great Depression. The idea is to position oneself to survive financially and potentially enhance one's position.

http://online.barrons.com/article/SB500 ... rticle%3D0
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:16 am

Screen shot 2012-06-05 at 1.11.22 AM.png
Paul B. Farrell


June 5, 2012, 12:04 a.m. EDT
War is America’s new economic stimulus policy
Commentary: Why are we still throwing extra billions at Pentagon?

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, I’m mad as hell again. I just read some bad news that should make every American mad as hell. In fact, two bad news items.

First, as a U.S. Marine vet, I got angry reading that there have been more military suicides than war deaths the past decade. Yes, more Iraq and Afghan war vets have killed themselves than were killed by America’s enemies in combat. And more are expected as we had more than two million serve in the two wars.


Reuters
A soldier from the U.S. Army's Charlie Company, 1/12 Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division scans across the border at houses in Pakistan during a Sunday patrol near Dokalam village in Afghanistan's Kunar Province.
Second, if the economic, psychological, political and moral consequences of the past two wars aren’t bad enough, many politicians and candidates — some of whom never served in the armed forces — are proposing that the full Congress pass the Ryan budget and force Pentagon generals to spend billions more than they requested.

This is insane. More taxpayer money for the Pentagon war machine? Why? We’re winding down two wars. We’re dealing with the tragedy of vet suicides. These same politicians whining about the debt and taxes. So why do they want to increase Pentagon spending? Do we love war that much? Are they planning to start a new war? Let’s analyze this contradiction.

Yes, an epidemic: military suicides now exceed war deaths

The effort to increase Pentagon spending was already public knowledge since the House voted on the Ryan budget plan. But what really triggered the anger was a Newsweek feature, “We Pretend Our Vets Don’t Even Exist,” by Marine veteran Anthony Swofford. That put the spotlight on this new crisis, now an epidemic, one few are aware of, fewer care about.

Here are the hard facts: “About 18 veterans kill themselves each day. Thousands from the current wars have already done so. In fact, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died by their own hand is now estimated to be greater than the number (6,460) who have died in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Wake up folks. Something is wrong in our thinking. From the beginning we were in a trance, pretending the Iraq War would be short-lived, cheap and self-funded by oil revenues. Yes, from Day 1 the Iraq War was handled more like an economic stimulus program.

Remember, after 9/11 we were urged to focus on the economy, to spend, go to the mall shopping. Draft was unnecessary. And thanks to bonuses, we built a volunteer army, backed up by mercenaries, tens of thousands of private contractors.

We even hid photos of war casualties from the public, to sanitize the public’s brain.

War now an economic stimulus program, boosting taxes for investors

Treating war as an economic stimulus program became clear a decade ago in the early years of the Iraq war. That fact was stressed in a Huffington Post interview with Oliver Stone. Ryan Grim said that in a 2004 meeting President George W. Bush said to the Argentine prime minister: “All the economic growth that the U.S. has had, has been based on the different wars it had waged.”

Apparently that same ideology remains strong in today’s election politics.

Let’s put all this in the larger macroeconomic context. War should be about national defense. Wars should have nothing to do with scoring domestic political points. And yet, increasing the Pentagon budget has become a political hot button in today’s election drama.

This is insane: Do politicians plan to start new wars?

Ask yourself, are they already itching for a new war? After two exhausting wars? Eleven years? We put 2.3 million in Iraq and Afghanistan; 800,000 served multiple deployments, one of the big reasons for vet suicides. So why demand bigger budgets? Why in a time of national austerity? Why when they’re complaining about high taxes?

No, war shouldn’t be about domestic politics, but it is. And that’s bad news for taxpayers, for investors, for America’s values.

Somebody’s got to pay for all this. The taxes of all Americans will go up if the Senate passes the Ryan budget plan, forcing Pentagon generals to spend $554 billion in 2013, billions more than they requested. Plus it’ll add $6.2 trillion new debt and taxes over the next decade.

Yes, this is insane. A few private contractors will get richer but taxpayers will suffer in this zero-sum economics game.

National defense? No, it’s about getting rich, the rest pay the price

America is on a dangerous and costly path. Not just politicians. Americans love war, it’s in our genes. Congress spends over 50% our tax dollars on the Pentagon war machine. America spends 47% of the total military budgets of all nations in the world.

Why does the public tolerates such absurdities? Why do we hide this insanity deep in our collective conscience? Why are we planning new wars? Why do we see war as an economic stimulus program? The Iraq-Afghan “economic stimulus” strategy got us in the mess we’re in; are we really crazy enough to try it again?

Forget all the campaign rhetoric about national defense. That is not why our politicians want to spent trillions more on the Pentagon war machine. Politician are interested in reelection not national defense. They need votes and will keep military bases open because that means local jobs, satisfied voters.

They need campaign cash. Military contractors are great donors. Cutting war-related jobs is political suicide. So they pass big military budgets, waste billions on outdated weapon systems. Keep throwing money at the Pentagon war machine. Anything to get reelected. National defense is not a first priority; their job, their reelection is.

As a gung-ho teenager, I volunteered to serve with the Marines. I remember telling my dad I wanted to save the world from communism. Today I hate war. Hate war because I know that our leaders deceived us into going to war under false pretenses. I remember all the misleading propaganda about mushroom clouds, a self-funded quickie war paid for by oil revenues, while they dropped the ball on the real Afghan threat.

Now we’re looking at trillions in the unfunded future costs of these misguided wars, says Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz, medical and other costs for the 35,000 wounded warriors. Worse, the manipulation is happening all over again with the proposed increases in the Pentagon budget.

Warning: America’s war-mongering psyche, adding new debt, is taxing

In fact, it’s obvious to see where these proposed budget plans are headed. The Iraq-Afghan wars were huge foreign policy blunders, wasted too many lives, added trillions in debt and squandered our nation’s integrity.

Some few got very rich, are now pushing for new wars. A crazy, dangerous ideology has taken over America’s collective conscience.

This mind-set is extremely dangerous. Our nation’s lost its moral compass. Our new capitalism has been so distorted that accumulating personal wealth means you can do virtually anything no matter how destructive to the public good.

Hopefully America will wake up soon, get mad as hell because this ideology did not work during the Iraq/Afghan Wars, and it will explode in our faces the next time. In addition to the war deaths … the veterans’ suicides … bloated Pentagon budgets … increasing taxes … and the destruction of our value system … this self-destructive “war-is-an-economic-stimulus-program” mind-set will inevitably weaken our national defense.

Remember Kevin Phillips, former Nixon strategist and author of many classics including “American Theocracy” and “American Dynasty”? Writing in the early days of the Iraq War, in “Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich,” he warned that “great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant, wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out.”

Are we the next one?
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/war-is ... genumber=2

(advocate comment: I read recently that the USA spends one billion a day and kills 500 people per day in their axis of evil (read pursuit of money) efforts. I am not sure of the source on this so I will take it with a grain of salt until I find the confirm. From other stats, I have also done the math and come up with a dollar figure of about $30,000 in gross revenue for the military industry for each person killed by the USA in that last decade or two. Country appears to be on drugs........or dangerously corrupt politicians and corporations acting in concert)
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Tue May 22, 2012 7:35 pm

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15 Playbook Strategies Corporatists and Conservatives Use to Strip Mine America and Erode Democracy
Posted by: robkall Posted date: May 22, 2012 In: World News | comment : 0 Comments
There is a playbook with a collection of tools and strategies conservatives use to erode democracy and strip mine the treasures, assets and strengths of the USA. They are almost always masked as changes aimed at serving democracy, the constitution, rights or capitalism. They are not separate. They are not coincidental.

Naomi Klein described a systemic approach to strip mine nations and weaken freedoms in her profoundly important book, Shock Doctrine. This article continues, in that tradition, to list ways that the the Right is exploiting and despoiling America for corporations that are not at all loyal to the US and that do not care about the people of the nation.

When you see one of these approaches being employed or if you are victim to one of them, you should be aware that they come from the same play book.

These include:

De-regulate– To increase profits or power, eliminate regulations that protect people, workers, the environment. Glass Steagall was a case of de-regulation that dreaded trillions of economic suffering on the middle class. Every day there are thousands of lobbyists aiming at deregulating ecological, economic, worker and many other protections.

Regulate– To decrease liability, specify rules and definitions so they can be used to evade responsibility or avoid unwanted regulations or to make certain products or services more profitable. Drug laws serve liquor companies and privatized prisons. Safety laws relieve corporations of the risk of litigation.

Privatize– public assets and resources– minerals, parks, oil fields, electronic media frequencies and bandwidths, public utilities, lands, water– they are all part of the commons. Shrink them and weaken the power and strength of the land of the people. Privatize them and put them in the hand of corporations and the corporations will share the power they develop through acquisition of public resources. Enron was a case of privatization of energy resources and creation. But more and more water is being privatized. It may start with privatization of the management of the water, even if it is publicly owned.

Centralize- Centralization consolidates top down control, simplifies domination and decreases the influence of local communities and powers. This applies particularly to media, food, energy, banking.

Consolidate Executive Power– Democrat or Republican, recent presidents have grabbed more and more power away from a prostrate, willing congress, worsening the imbalance between the three branches of government. It doesn’t matter much whether there’s a Democrat or Republican in the White House. Either way they grab more power and then serve corporate masters, paying minor deference through small social issue steps of progress if Democrats, but over all, making life easier for the corporations that provide primary funding for their ascent to power.

Enable Media Consolidation and Centralization– There are only a handful of mainstream TV networks. They are ALL owned by megacorporations that do not serve the middle class, do not serve the interests of the vast majority of Americans. They serve transnational corporations. The more centralized the media becomes the fewer people there are too keep it honest, to feed fresh information and truth into it, the easier it is to keep secrets, to obscure truths and to sell outright lies. Every month more newspapers and radio stations die or merge or are acquired by giants, like Clear Channel.

Corrupt the election process– flood it with money– from the wealthy, from corporations. It used to be a crime for corporations to spend a nickel on elections. Count the vote in ways that don’t allow for reliable recounts– electronically. Require voter IDs that disenfranchise minorities and the poor. Over and over again, we’re seeing the wealthiest candidates buying their way into primaries and elections.

Give Corporations Human Rights when corporations are given the same rights as people this dilutes the value of humanity and gives immortal, fabulously wealthy corporations obscene advantages

Legislate Against Protest Pass laws that erode the rights to protest. They’ve started passing laws that make it illegal to even photograph factory farms, or to protest against ecological wrongs. Already eco-protesters are treated as terrorists and incarcerated in the worst maximum security prisons. Will Potter of Greenisthenewred.com has been documenting these encroachments on the tools of freedom and liberty. The NDAA is a new threat to protesters.

Use Financial Resources to Further Corporate Interests via the military intelligence complex. Between the military, the CIA, FBI, NSA and other related agencies and the vast minions of privatized militias, consultants, mercenaries, etc., the USA spends well over a trillion dollars a year, probably closer to two trillion. The money goes to the biggest military industrial corporations to pay for weapons, supplies, etc. Much of the work of the military and the intelligence agencies goes towards opening new markets or securing access to new resources– oil in the ground, territory to lay pipelines, media markets to sell content… This is a trillion dollar a year business that the mainstream media help to cloak in the delusion of patriotism and heroism. Juice it up by lying about threats and feeding the media info about or actually perpetrating false flag operations.

Gerrymander and Globalize… districts, industries and communities. Gerrymandering and globalization have more in common than you might think. When you look at a district that’s 100 mils long and two miles wide, you see a clear attack on community. When you see cheap products from halfway around the world undercutting items manufactured or grown in nearby fields or factories, then globalization is at work, wreaking destruction, not just on industries and jobs but also on the fabric of the community.

Consumerize; Turn people and neighborhoods into consumers. This practice started with the missionaries and fifteenth and sixteenth century explorers luring indigenous tribal people, living happily working two or three hours a day, to work in fields or mines so they could be trinkets and alcohol. It hasn’t changed. People in the suburbs give up community, give up life quality to spend long hours either making money to buy things or watching mindless television that makes them want more things or lulls them into a soporific lethargy.

Dumb Them Down With a Lame Educational System The education system predominantly used in the USA was developed over 100 years ago, based on the Prussian model, with the aim of creating a force of obedient soldiers and factory workers. Paolo Freire described it as a banking system, in which information is deposited into the head, rather than a dialogical system where students learn through questions and dialog.

Keep Them on the Brink of Broke bleed them with health insurance or bankrupting health bills. Pay them minimum wage. Suck them into balloon mortgages that cost them their savings, their homes and leave them with no credit. Sell a system that makes it seem that the only way to get ahead is with a college education, then make them pay for it using massive amounts of student loans so they are terminally in debt.

Partner With Fundamentalists Evangelicals and Orthodox Jews work well as allies. Fundamentalist Muslims are antagonist partners. You vilify them. They vilify you. It works for both sides. Zionism works. There are about 60 million zionists and they’re mostly fundamentalist Christians hoping Israel will engage in a nuclear war that will blow up, so they can experience the rapture. Roman Emperor Constantine embraced the Christian church as a strategy for winning a battle. it worked. The partnership between the Christian church and war monger despots has existed ever since. Orthodox and other Jewish and non-Jewish zionists in the US and israel (where a lot of the Israeli settlers are transplanted from Brooklyn and other Orthodox enclaves) are incredibly effective at influencing elections, particularly through AIPAC. Corporatists just enjoy the ride of these fundamentalist mules.

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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:49 am

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Lethbridge, AB Friday, 18 November, 2011

WE ARE OCCUPY LETHBRIDGE

On Oct 15, Occupy Lethbridge took to the streets along with millions of other Occupy Movement supporters around the world. Occupy Lethbridge has been active since then, holding five general assemblies for supporters to share their concerns and work towards a common vision for a better future. (The general assemblies are held every Thursday at 7pm in Galileo’s Lounge, Students Union Building, University of Lethbridge. Anyone who wishes to contribute to this movement is welcome to attend.)

Occupy is a broad reaching movement with many facets that reflect the innumerable and entrenched problems of our society. Through our general assemblies, Occupy Lethbridge has reached a consensus on three major themes (all being equal) that can apply to a variety of issues.

Theme #1: We must protect the vulnerable parts of society and nature. These include people, and plant and animal life - all deserve our respect. This protection also extends to the planet that sustains us. Responsibility for this protection rests on all parts of society - its citizens, governments, and corporate entities.

Theme #2: Corporations, financial institutions, and governments should be independently regulated. Self-regulation has lead to decriminalization and a conspicuous lack of responsibility of shareholders and other constituents . As a part of the regulatory practice, there must be repercussions for violations. Furthermore, there should be safeguards that would prevent the violations in the first place. Currently the corporations have rights as a ‘person’ but seemingly none of the responsibilities; this fosters an environment of corporate ‘free-for-all’. This has snaked its way into the political process and needs to be removed in order to have a government that truly represents us as a nation.

Theme #3: Accountability has fallen almost entirely by the wayside. We as citizens have rights. Those rights include democracy and the freedom to vote. The government must be accountable to us, foregoing all other interests. We must remind the government that they work for us, not the other way around.

The persistent issues we face have been years in the making and will not be solved overnight. However, when people stand united as a just and respectful society, we can create the world we choose.

Contact:
Leslie Mahoney, Media Liaison leslie.mahoney@uleth.ca
Blaine Greenwood, Media Liaison soulfire2001@hotmail.com
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:00 pm

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SUN NOV 13, 2011 AT 05:03 PM PST
Occupiers: Time To ESCALATE; Occupy Mainstreet
byRay PensadorFollow
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Your cause is a just cause. There is no ambiguity; there is no lack of clarity. Everybody knows what's up: There is a brutal war on the middle class; Wall Street looted the country plunging tens of millions of U.S. citizens into economic despair; A ruling moneyed elite has bought off our government, and has turned it against us, to subjugate us, to deny us education, health care, jobs; so we can be exploited, and enslaved.

People were "asleep" for far too long... As the effect of the criminal oligarchy pushed down on us for years, we didn't know what was going on; we were confused; we were suffering in silence, while the rich got richer, while they stole form us with impunity, while they bought off sycophantic money-grabbing corrupt politicians.

Now we have awakened. We're "occupying" and we're not going anywhere until things change: Tax the rich; enact emergency economic policies to fund the proper function of government; no austerity measures; no increases in university tuition; investigate, and prosecute Wall Street crimes; remove the bribery of our government officials by implementing public financing of elections.

The sniveling cowards hiding behind police-cum-corporate-goons are not more powerful than we are; we are the 99%. And we have the ultimate power.

We are too many; we can overwhelm them. The pressure needs to be kept on, and escalated, big time. The time is now...

They think that by moving in, and removing the encampments, that they will be able to stifle the movement; they are mistaken.

Remain peaceful, but escalate. For every oppressive action they take, let's make sure there is a price to pay. Overwhelm them.

Now change tactics... Stop the machine. Coordinate "flash mob" protests across multiple cities, at multiple locations, but make sure they are all key locations. Near the main business arteries; near the government offices; near the financial centers.

It's 2:00pm in Portland, and 5,000 people assemble on Main Street, and shut down traffic. Do the same in San Francisco, in Atlanta, in Seattle, in Miami, in Tampa, in Santa Rosa, in Oakland. Stay as long as you can; when the police appears, disperse. Two hours later, do the same at another location.... Take a break at coffee houses, and communicate with each other via text messages or twitter. Act by the hour, by the minute. Assign "facilitators" to coordinate the actions.

Keep it up, relentlessly. Overwhelm the system; stop the machine. It's easy to do. Recruit mainstream people, middle class people, workers in the financial centers.

Another tactic, find out where all the obscene high-priced fund-raising events are happening, and take the protests there.

Now is the time... Escalate. Communicate with your brothers and sisters of the revolution in Germany, and Spain, and Greece. We are all fighting the same enemies. Bring it down. It's a criminal oligarchy. The banks need to be broken up, and temporarily nationalized. They are criminal enterprises. The economic systems need to be decoupled from the criminal international financial institutions. They are being used to enslave you. No more talk of "cuts" or "austerity measures." They are euphemisms for oppression, subjugation, exploitation, and enslavement of the people so a greedy oligarchy can attain more power and wealth. They are trying to re-create a feudal system. They will fail.

Step up the pressure now, and tomorrow, next week. Who's street? our street!

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/1 ... siderecent
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:11 am

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Ten Ways the Occupy Movement Changes Everything
Thursday 10 November 2011
by: Sarah van Gelder, David Korten and Steve Piersanti, YES! Magazine | News Analysis

(Photo: Robert Stolarik / The New York Times)

Before the Occupy Wall Street movement, there was little discussion of the outsized power of Wall Street and the diminishing fortunes of the middle class.

The media blackout was especially remarkable given that issues like jobs and corporate influence on elections topped the list of concerns for most Americans.

Occupy Wall Street changed that. In fact, it may represent the best hope in years that “we the people” will step up to take on the critical challenges of our time. Here’s how the Occupy movement is already changing everything:

1. It names the source of the crisis.
Political insiders have avoided this simple reality: The problems of the 99% are caused in large part by Wall Street greed, perverse financial incentives, and a corporate takeover of the political system. Now that this is understood, the genie is out of the bottle and it can’t be put back in.

2. It provides a clear vision of the world we want.
We can create a world that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest 1%. And we, the 99%, are using the spaces opened up by the Occupy movement to conduct a dialogue about the world we want.

3. It sets a new standard for public debate.
Those advocating policies and proposals must now demonstrate that their ideas will benefit the 99%. Serving only the 1% will not suffice, nor will claims that the subsidies and policies that benefit the 1% will eventually “trickle down.”



4. It presents a new narrative.
The solution is not to starve government or impose harsh austerity measures that further harm middle-class and poor people already reeling from a bad economy. Instead, the solution is to free society and government from corporate dominance. A functioning democracy is our best shot at addressing critical social, environmental, and economic crises.

5. It creates a big tent.
We, the 99%, are people of all ages, races, occupations, and political beliefs. We will resist being divided or marginalized. We are learning to work together with respect.

6. It offers everyone a chance to create change.
No one is in charge; no organization or political party calls the shots. Anyone can get involved, offer proposals, support the occupations, and build the movement. Because leadership is everywhere and new supporters keep turning up, there is a flowering of creativity and a resilience that makes the movement nearly impossible to shut down.

7. It is a movement, not a list of demands.
The call for deep change—not temporary fixes and single-issue reforms—is the movement’s sustaining power. The movement is sometimes criticized for failing to issue a list of demands, but doing so could keep it tied to status quo power relationships and policy options. The occupiers and their supporters will not be boxed in.

8. It combines the local and the global.
People in cities and towns around the world are setting their own local agendas, tactics, and aims. What they share in common is a critique of corporate power and an identification with the 99%, creating an extraordinary wave of global solidarity.

9. It offers an ethic and practice of deep democracy and community.
Slow, patient decision-making in which every voice is heard translates into wisdom, common commitment, and power. Occupy sites are set up as communities in which anyone can discuss grievances, hopes, and dreams, and where all can experiment with living in a space built around mutual support.

10. We have reclaimed our power.
Instead of looking to politicians and leaders to bring about change, we can see now that the power rests with us. Instead of being victims to the forces upending our lives, we are claiming our sovereign right to remake the world.

Like all human endeavors, Occupy Wall Street and its thousands of variations and spin-offs will be imperfect. There have already been setbacks and divisions, hardships and injury. But as our world faces extraordinary challenges—from climate change to soaring inequality—our best hope is the ordinary people, gathered in imperfect democracies, who are finding ways to fix a broken world.

This article is adapted from the book, This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement edited by Sarah van Gelder and the staff of YES! Magazine and published November 2011 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

http://www.truth-out.org/ten-ways-occup ... 1321111931
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Re: OCCUPY WALL STREET, then prosecute the perps

Postby admin » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:11 am

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http://newcommonsenseanon.wordpress.com/

The People of the united states of america – in unity

THE NEW COMMON SENSE;

A Declaration of Interdependence

Anonymous

A Declaration of INTERDEPENDENCE, born of necessity, from and for the collective conscience of the “99%” to and for the oligarchic “1%” of the United States of America.

Table of Contents

SUMMARY.. 2

SECTION I: 2

SECTION II: 2

SECTION I – Common Sense from the “99%”. 2

INTRODUCTION AND PREAMBLE.. 2

DEFINITIONS. 3

THE JUDICIAL BRANCH.. 4

THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH.. 6

THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH.. 7

THE SPECIAL INTEREST BRANCH.. 8

A NEW LITMUS TEST.. 9

OUR PETITION.. 9

SECTION II – Monitions. 12

TO OUR LEADERS. 12

TO THE CONGRESS IN SPECIFIC.. 14

TO THE MEDIA.. 14

TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AND THE DOMESTIC MILITIA.. 16

TO THE “1%”. 16

TO THE “99%”. 17

HOW YOU CAN EASILY AND IMMEDIATELY HELP: 19

In Unity,

THE NEW COMMON SENSE

A Declaration of INTERDEPENDENCE, born of necessity, from and for the collective conscience of the “99%” to and for the oligarchic “1%” of the United States of America.

SUMMARY


SECTION I: The Right to Equal Participation in Government has been taken from the People and is explained. — A Plan is offered to restore the Right to Equal Participation that requires only the use of tools and procedures that have already been proven to work. — The restoration of Equality must take priority above all and reasons are given. — Outside damaging influences must no longer be allowed privileged access to Elected Representatives in a Constitutional Republic. — An Offer in Compromise that would reunite this Nation with its Foundation is clearly stated. — A clear, workable and simple method by which we may rebuild ourselves as a Prosperous Nation and return to being One Hundred Percent is explained. — A New Litmus Test of our government is declared and explained. — A plan and petition to rebalance the Branches of Government is outlined in detail.



SECTION II: Monitions are forwarded to our Leaders, to the Congress in specific, to the Media, to Law Enforcement and the Domestic Militia, and to the “1%” — A direct message and plea for the “99%” from the author(s).

SECTION I – Common Sense from the “99%”
INTRODUCTION AND PREAMBLE


When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for the Citizens of a Nation to petition their own Government for a redress of grievances, the People have a duty to exercise their rights under the First Amendment collectively if they so choose. To this end, We the People hereby assert our right to peacefully assemble and petition our Government for redress when we feel that this is our best, and perhaps only remaining option to seek remedies.



We affirm that any lasting and workable solution must reach beyond mere politics, that political issues do not matter at a time when our collective voice has been nearly silenced. We believe that the current political climate has caused a paralysis of our Government. We find that our individual opinions mean little when we are no longer being properly represented. In fact, we believe that the Balance of Power between the Branches of our Government has been corrupted to the point where it can answer only to members of an affluent and politically active upper class. The impending result of this imbalance is that government of the People, by the People, for the People has almost perished from Our Nation. We believe that government has been influenced by an external source that has conspired to control it to the point of stalemate. We believe that this was forced upon us by “special interests”, corporations, lobbyists, the banking and the financial sector including Wall Street and the Federal Reserve, who together have used unrestrained financial leverage leading to the corruption of many politicians, regardless of their political party, resulting in great damage to the People and to this Nation.



We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all are created equal regardless of their financial status. — That we free Citizens of the United States are without exception endowed under a Federal Constitution granting us certain unalienable Rights. — That among these Rights are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure and protect these rights, our forefathers drafted this Constitution, ratified by the then several States and agreed to by the People. — That this Constitution defines and protects us all with a system of Checks and Balances by which the powers and responsibilities of government would be divided amongst the Federal, the States and the People. — That this original Social Contract in which those powers were granted has been repeatedly violated by the Federal government. — That we no longer are represented by our Government. — That we no longer have a voice in our Government. — That the limits of power of the Federal Government have been deliberately and repeatedly breached. — That our Government has become destructive towards the vast majority of the same People that they are supposed to protect. — That outside influences have gained unreasonable power and influence within our Government. — That the Fair Election system is being systematically dismantled and no longer allows for a full, on paper, verification and accounting of actual balloting. — That We the People have the Fundamental Right and Patriotic Duty under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to peacefully assemble and to demand that the Government cease and desist from or correct any of these violations. — That the Government cede back to the States and to the People all such Powers that they have unconstitutionally seized, regaining such Powers from the States via Constitutional Amendment if they are to have them at all. — That our Government must Right these encroachments on the People by realigning itself to the Constitution. — That vague interpretations of the Constitution should be clarified through civil discourse leading to a series of new Amendments and with full participation by the several States.



We also hold that the Constitution was originally designed to prevent the Federal government from encroaching upon the rights of the People and the States. Adjustments to Federal Powers were to be made only via Constitutional Amendment. We hold that this Amendment procedure has largely been ignored in recent history. In fact, when the Constitution was originally crafted, the political party as we know it today did not even exist. The modern era of rampant partisanship was not even envisioned by the Founders. We thus believe that the current “political party system” as it stands has served to divide this Nation to the point of paralysis. As a Great former President once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”



While we who have named ourselves the “99%” may each have our own individual personal concerns and grievances, we know that we must set them aside at this time due to a more pressing need to demand the return of the Representation that has been taken from us. Until such time, we contend that nothing can be accomplished in a spirit of true discourse.



Collectively we can all certainly agree upon these Truths that have led us to our outrage.

DEFINITIONS


We hold that the branches of Federal government have been corrupted, convoluted and debased, that they have all strayed from their intended purpose, standing idly by while their effectiveness and objectivity have been debased by a conglomerate, known to us as the “1%”.



By “1%” we mean specifically those from an aristocracy who manipulate government in their own self-interests: the affluent “elite”, the bankers, the corporations and the special interests who use their wealth and financial power as leverage to gain an unreasonable lobbying influence on government legislation and policies. They most often do this in ways that harm the common People.



We define the “99%” as the common citizen, the employed and the unemployed, the poor and the disabled, the aged, the disadvantaged, the students, the public and civil servants with a conscience, the lower and middle classes, even those honest politicians and members of the “1%” itself who refuse to “buy into” this oligarchy. We include all of these and more regardless of our individual affiliations, political leanings, opinions, beliefs, religions, our race, ethnic background, sex, age or even financial status. We are the People of real flesh and blood. We represent all walks of life from all corners of this Nation.



We shall offer and elaborate on examples which will help illustrate where we believe that the four branches of government have now failed us.

THE JUDICIAL BRANCH


Article III, Section 1 of the United States Constitution reads in part, “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior…” yet there is no clear definition of “good Behavior” given, nor does recent history show us any consistent method of accountability that protects the People or the States from judicial “bad Behavior”. Indeed, the phrase “good Behavior” has been historically misinterpreted to mean “appointed for life.” These permanent appointments result in Judges that become firmly entrenched and nearly unaccountable to the People for the decisions that they make.



We believe that due to this misinterpretation, the Supreme Court has obtained unbalanced, far-reaching powers well beyond the intention of our forefathers. The People have no reasonable recourse if these Judges prove to be partisan and refuse to rule in the Best Interest–or if they fail to uphold and defend the Constitution. Justices appointed for life terms can easily dodge accountability, as history has so proven.



Many examples of truly questionable Supreme Court decisions exist.



In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394 (1886), the Court decided that corporations were recognized as “persons” for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment. This gave corporations the same legal rights as a living, breathing individual. Yet, the corporations enjoy other legal protections not afforded to real persons, such as tax shelters and loopholes, liability shields and others. This grants them unbalanced protections that lead directly to unfair opportunities for governmental influence at a disproportionate level than that of the People.



In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, (2010), the Court ruled 5-4 that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. This decision in part lead to the creation of the “super PAC”, by which corporations, special interests and the affluent can donate unlimited amounts of money anonymously through 501(c)(4) corporations, leaving the entire political process unaccountable, untraceable and with the People unable to execute a Public audit of the funding of political campaigns. The Supreme Court also struck down those provisions of the McCain–Feingold Act, Public Law 107-155 (2001) that prohibited all corporations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, as well as unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications.” Alarmingly, the decision itself also notes that, ‘It might also be added that corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.’ If this is the case, why then were they given the same rights as flesh and blood persons under the Fourteenth Amendment when they arguably are not equal? How can the common People compete against such invisible and unaccountable financial influence upon politics? The consequences of this have been disastrous. This form of court-sponsored “political “money laundering” has served to corrupt our system in favor of the “1%”.



The general attitude that the Supreme Court is perfect and void of corruption internally and thus remain immune from scrutiny has caused yet more damage. Our history is rife with examples of the Judiciary overstepping their bounds. In fact, one case illustrates their large contribution towards the start of Civil War. In Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), the Court ruled 7-2 that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution, could not sue in court and could never be U.S. citizens. It took the Civil War, the loss of countless lives and not one but two Constitutional Amendments (Amendments Thirteen and Fourteen) to even begin to repair the damage that the Court inflicted on the People with this decision.



Yet, even with two Amendments ratified after the War, that were in part intended to prevent the supreme and all lower courts from continuing to make such socially divisive decisions of this nature, the Supreme Court later opted to breach even these key additions to the Constitution in future decisions.



Over thirty years beyond the end of the Civil War, in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), the Court voted 7-1 in favor of upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in private businesses (particularly railroads), under the doctrine of “separate but equal”. This segregation between races remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until its unanimous repudiation in the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), fifty-eight years later.



Thus, a decision that the court made in 1857 helped launch a Civil War and it took two Constitutional Amendments in 1862 and 1868 followed by approximately one hundred more years of civil unrest and divisive Court decisions until these issues finally began to resolve. To this day these issues still remain unresolved to a certain degree; such is the damage that has been done.



In addition, a more recent decision that clearly illustrates how the Court exceeds its jurisdiction and breaches Constitutional authority can be offered. Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962) was a landmark case that for the first time retreated from the “political question doctrine” (the test of whether or not the court system is an appropriate forum in which to hear a specific case). The details of this case itself are far less important than the effect that it had on our System of Justice. In this case, the Court ceased to limit themselves only to cases based upon a legal question per the doctrine. Instead, they chose to exceed their jurisdiction and authority by ruling on a political dispute instead of a legal one, and over an issue internal to a single State no less.



Baker v. Carr not only violated the doctrine but it set a new precedent that has, under the banner of stare decisis (a legal principle by which judges are generally obliged to respect the precedents established by prior decisions), has led to even more violations by the Court going forward. Never was it intended for the Court to decide individual internal State issues, but now the Court takes on many of these cases regularly.



These cases prove the need for an urgent return to a staunch reliance upon the Constitutional Amendment procedure as our method of restraint against the Court and we must remember to rely on it as our first course of action in these situations. This was the intent of the Constitution as it was written. It is what made our Constitution a “living document” in the first place.



But as we have now shown, sometimes even Amendments fail to keep the Court in check. We suggest that a serious reconsideration be given regarding term limits for Justices or for some other remedy upon which we can all agree to further curtail this danger.



We maintain that the liberty of “vague interpretation” is not for the Court to enjoy for they are bound by oath to remain impartial and not stray too far from their constitutionally defined boundaries. Clearly they were not meant to hold power that gives them the right to decide cases that are beyond the scope of the Constitution and that lie out of their jurisdiction?



According to Title 28, Chapter I, Part 453 of the United States Code, each Supreme Court Justice takes the following oath:



“I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”



This oath, we believe, is no longer respected as a matter of policy.



The People have lost their ability to seek redress against such injustice due to the failure of government at all levels to pursue the Constitutional Amendment with which to enforce and more clearly define Court boundaries. Since appeals or requests for reviews are not allowed by the People, apathy from Congress and the States has nurtured a Supreme Court that need answer to no one, not even to the Constitution itself.



This is no longer acceptable by The People.

THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH


We hold that much of the fabric of the Constitution has been deliberately dismantled by the Congress. Over the course of time Congress has debated and passed numerous laws of questionable constitutionality, laws that the Supreme Court then upheld without comment or simply refused to review. Many of these laws served to create and endow Federal agencies with expanded Powers that were originally reserved to the States. Instead of petitioning the States to relinquish these officially via an Amendment, Congress merely took these Powers anyway, often through threat to withhold federal funding to the States, and with other forms of political blackmail.



In fact, they use a series of vague interpretations of parts of the Constitution itself, from which they achieve this.



These breaches have occurred slowly and over time through repeated violations of the Tenth Amendment, an amendment which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



This piecemeal seizure of Power from the States and the People also relies upon the following two Constitutional Clauses being used as excuses by which they have further effected this breach.



Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 of the Constitution (“The Necessary and Proper Clause”) states, “The Congress shall have Power – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer there of.” This clause was meant only to grant Congress the power to make Federal Laws in order to aid them in executing Powers already granted to them in the Constitution and nothing more.



Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 (“The Commerce Clause”) states, “[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;” and has been used in combination with “The Necessary and Proper Clause” as a loophole by which they encroach upon and legislate to the States.



In addition, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 states that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”



Examples of wholesale breaches of this clause by all Branches include: The privately issued “Federal Reserve Note” being forced upon us as our sole currency even though Congress only has the constitutional authority to “coin” money under Article I, Section 8. — Debasement of our currency and private control of its value. — Secret bailouts in the amount of trillions by the Federal Reserve (some to foreign entities including foreign banks). — Covert military actions combined with apathy by the Legislative Branch who have failed to seek estoppel of multiple undeclared wars.



Congress and the private Federal Reserve have ceased to be fully accountable to the People in the reporting of actual receipts and expenditures, proof of which lies in their combined refusal to present a completely detailed audit to the People.



Transparency in government and the Right of Participation by the People does not cease once an election is over. Those who are elected must continue to answer to their constituents for the duration of their term(s). The Congress now acts independently of the People that they swore to represent. They now answer only to the special interests of the “1%”, not to the People, all while they ignore the Constitutional limits and procedures that they swore an oath by.



Their oaths, we believe, are no longer respected as a matter of policy.



This is no longer acceptable by The People.

THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH


There is no Constitutional provision or statute that explicitly permits Executive Orders. Instead, there is a vague grant of “executive power” in Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution as well as the phrase “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” in Article II, Section 3.



We fail to see how only the phrases “executive power” and “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”, when taken on their own or even in combination can serve as de-facto justification for any sitting President to claim under the Constitution the right to issue Executive Orders at all.



Furthermore, while most Executive Orders may attempt to justify themselves by claiming that their authority has been granted merely from these two phrases, history makes clear that the original intent of these orders was merely to help direct Officers of the US Executive to carry out their delegated duties and the normal operations of the Federal government itself.



Could it be more obvious that this has clearly not been the case?



Executive Orders through the years included orders that — authorized the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones — arrested and relocated Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II — criminalized the possession of monetary gold by any individual, partnership, association or corporation and forced U.S. citizens to deliver all but a small amount of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates owned by them to the Federal Reserve (with violations of the order punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or up to ten years in prison, or both) — waged war without a Declaration from Congress — restricted access by the People to the non-classified papers and communications of certain Presidents — made up most of the “New Deal” itself — allowed INTERPOL to operate inside the U.S. with more authority than our own FBI — created FEMA, the National Security Council, the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Safety Administration and many other agencies that dramatically restructured government agencies as a whole, then transferred incredible amounts of unjustified Power to them.



In fact, it can be argued that multiple Presidents have overstepped their Constitutional bounds using the Executive Order, or via Presidential Proclamations, Determinations, Memorandums, Directives and Signing Statements by which they exceed their authority. They even use them to legislate.



While the use of these Executive Orders, Presidential Proclamations, Determinations, Memorandums and Directives as well as Signing Statements may or may not be unconstitutional per se (as this has rarely been challenged), we believe at the very least that they stand on shaky Constitutional ground and that their use should be reevaluated and clarified, perhaps even limited by law or by an Amendment. After all, if the permitted scope of these orders are not clearly defined, then how can anyone, even the Presidents themselves, ever know the limits of their authority?



The oath of President, we believe, is no longer respected as a matter of policy.



This is no longer acceptable by The People.



The failures of the first three branches of government to abide by the Constitution have caused so much drift away from our Foundations that we now suffer the grave consequence of political paralysis. In fact, these failures have resulted in the creation of a new “fourth branch” of government that is also in large part responsible for this.

THE SPECIAL INTEREST BRANCH


Multiple questionable rulings by the Supreme Court that “money equals speech,” in combination with the privatization of the central banking system, have given rise to a new oligarchical and unconstitutional branch of government that we now term “The Special Interest Branch”. This new branch has corrupted the Balance of Power between the original branches of our government.



While the piecemeal creation of this new branch occurred slowly over the course of years, some particular actions by the government including (but not limited to) The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and the more recent Supreme Court decision Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) were instrumental in its implementation.



The now infamous “money equals speech” doctrine was enshrined into law with Buckley v. Valeo. This decision saw the Court uphold a Federal law (The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971) which set limits on campaign contributions yet rule that spending money to influence elections is a form of constitutionally protected free speech. The court also ruled that candidates can give unlimited amounts of money to their own campaigns. Although this decision actually upheld restrictions on the size of outside campaign contributions, it also struck down limits on expenditures, albeit temporarily. As of 2010, those with great wealth can effectively drown out the speech of average citizens anyway because Citizens United paved the way for unlimited anonymous “back door contributions”, often laundered through the 501(c)(4) corporation then funneled into the “super PAC”. We must also point out that the phrase “back door contributions” was intended to be a double entendre.



These decisions have served to grant unprecedented leverage, influence and power based solely on wealth. They have created a method by which the affluent, the corporation, the unions and other well-funded “special interests” may unduly influence and shape legislation that is contrary to the Will of the People. These entities now have the ability to “buy” their way into the political arena anonymously, influencing those who have sworn to be the Representatives of the People in a manner which actually forces them to represent only these entities’ own self-interests.



We submit that such unrestrained non-elected influence is mainly responsible for the utter stalemate and paralysis that exists in government today. Through the promotion of unreasonable partisanship combined with the outright purchasing of both candidates and those who hold office, combined with the unrelenting pressure from well-funded and powerful lobbies, a series of hard political lines have been drawn which greatly diminish the ability of the Legislative, the Judicial and the Executive branches to function impartially.



We refuse to recognize this new perverse and corrupt “branch” of the Federal Government and we demand that it be expunged. No one among us, “99%” or “1%” alike should be given any more of a voice than anyone else in any capacity. Our Representatives themselves can no longer respond to the Will of the People due to this outside influence. This modern doctrine of “money equals speech” is wholly outrageous and must be ostracized from the government landscape at all levels and without delay.



We believe that only full transparency in all political campaigns and the full public disclosure of the activities, affiliations and financing of all lobbies, PACs (Political Action Committees) and “super PACs” can correct these inequities. In addition, The 501(c)(4) corporations must fully disclose their donor list or be barred from contributing to a “super PAC” or political campaign fund. Their contribution amounts and political expenditures should be limited if they are to participate at all, or otherwise they need to be forever barred from participating in political financing. In fact, the “super PAC” itself should be outlawed as it serves no true democratic purpose.



Money verses more money isn’t democracy; it’s a cancer on our Republic.



Laws that guarantee the full transparency of this and of all other matters not related to National Security must be drafted, passed and vigorously enforced. And finally, a loophole free litmus test must be designed by which matters of National Security may be verified as such in order to protect the Public Right to Disclosure from any more abuse.



As this branch consists of the non-elect and non-appointed, its members need take no oath whatsoever and it is clear that they believe that they are exempt from and thus need not show any respect for the Constitution as a matter of policy.



This is no longer acceptable by The People.

A NEW LITMUS TEST


A litmus test shall be used by the people henceforth.



We ask of our government at all levels, to those holding corporate or financial power and to the media, that we be given a serious and prompt response to The New Common Sense. We call for you to accommodate it as a priority and to publicly acknowledge it without delay.



This serves an important purpose as it will allow us to learn your individual true colors.



If you lend this your assistance, we will then know that you are worthy of election, reelection and/or our consumer support and respect.



If you choose to speak out against this unfairly or if you make an attempt to discredit, slant, misreport, distort, slant, misstate, exaggerate, falsify or suppress it, then we will know that you are beholden to the “1%”.



And be forewarned: if you do opt to ignore this entirely then we will be forced to assume that you guard the status quo and we will embrace you as if you were opposed. We will consider it to be similar to a plea of “no contest”.



While in a criminal court a plea of “no contest” is given the same effect as a plea of “guilty”, in this case such a plea will not protect you from the civil consequences of our negative judgment.

OUR PETITION


Firstly, we must state that we already understand the historical truth that whoever fires the first shot often loses the war. Thus, let it be known that our resistance and petitions for redress are by all intentions nonviolent and limited to lawful and rightful forms of expression under our Rights given to us by the First Amendment. We feel driven to these ends and believe that we must use these and other rightful methods because we have been otherwise precluded from equal participation by recently erected financial barriers that give unfair influence in the government to the affluent members of corporate, political and financial society. We collectively term this invading class the “1%”, who have together formed an oligarchy that clearly takes its position against the People, one that has used its collective financial power as a weapon against us in an attempt to reduce or even eliminate our fundamental right to participate in our own government.



We also believe that the government has allowed for this to happen deliberately and has actually welcomed this infiltration by the “1%”.



This has lead us to reach the following conclusion, of which we can surely all agree: the system as it was originally designed is now broken. Thus, we stand in protest against those who wish for it to remain broken because it is broken in their favor.



We submit that if a candidate for office is running at all, then they are most likely bought and paid for by the “1%”. Those who truly care and are trying to participate for the common good, however few, we see them ostracized, character assassinated, politically destroyed and harassed by the mass media and other tools of the “1%”. We can only conclude that while in this climate, any candidate that we are given the opportunity to vote for is meaningless because we have already lost the chance to gain actual Representation for ourselves. We view any two competing candidates as two sides of the same worthless coin.



This “1%” now owns and controls the mass media, funds the lobbyists and sit at the heads of many corporations including the financial institutions. With such power, they greatly intervene in the affairs of the House, the Senate, the Presidency and the Judiciary.



Who can blame us for the outrage we share and now express? If we still had an equal voice in our own government we would not be driven to this.



As we have previously stated, we believe that the problem is now beyond politics. Another election will solve nothing because the “99%” no longer have anybody to vote for who will represent us once they achieve office. Beyond this lies our serious concern for “electronic voting” systems that by design do not allow for a paper trail. This must also be remedied if our faith is to be restored. We can no longer place trust in the fairness of our own elections in large part because of this.



Thus, mere political issues do not matter at this time and our opinions do not matter when we are not being heard. Until we get our voice back, we must demand redress until such time as our Right to Equal Participation is returned to us.



We repeatedly affirm that our personal issues and affiliations (political or otherwise) while important and needful of resolve in due time, must be set aside temporarily until such a time as we regain our Equal Voice in our government. We realize that until we truly reconnect with our government that our concerns will fall upon deaf ears.



We believe that we as a Nation have lost our ability to be an example to the World of a working Representative Democracy. In order to regain the world’s respect, we believe that our government must again completely realign itself with the Constitution that this Nation was founded upon. We cannot sell our way of life to the rest of the world through force while we can only display a ridiculous inability to solve our own problems. Instead, we must bring about an honest desire in their collective hearts to emulate our system by fixing it. Only when we can stand again as an example to the World as a sound Constitutional Republic can we possibly regain that respect. The reality is that respect cannot be earned merely through force and these recent pursuits against parts of the world are some of our greatest mistakes.



We also believe that this One Problem must be corrected before the solutions to any of our other problems can again be within our reach. We absolutely must realign ourselves with our Foundations as the priority. The paralysis will continue if we do not and we as a Nation are running out of time. How much longer can this go on? Compromise in government discourse will remain impossible if we do not repair the Platform that we all absolutely must stand upon and recommit to It our full respects. If we do not do this immediately then we as a Nation face certain doom!



This is strong language, we know. Therefore, we must now make clear that we are not petitioning that our System should be abolished. We are merely stating that it is in dire need of repair. This is a Declaration of Rights and a Petition, not a Declaration of Independence. We cannot stress this enough. We believe that the system as it was originally designed does work; that we can again be the envy of the modern world just as we once were. We have lost touch with ourselves and our Constitutional Foundations and are now politically paralyzed. We must reconnect with the Ideals that the United States was founded upon and we absolutely must do this before anything positive can occur. We see it as our hope by which we can save ourselves at this point.



Please allow us the liberty to preface our proposed detailed solution and plan for execution in terms that even a corporation or bank would understand. Any business that does not take regular inventory or does not do regular internal audits will eventually lose control of itself and self-destruct. To put it another way: poor self-management is the best recipe for failure.



We believe that the same is true with government. Therefore, we now propose an Exact Method by which we may exorcise every last one of the corruptions and usurpations that have occurred from within our realm.



– A Complete Inventory and Audit of Powers of all Federal Branches, Institutions, Procedures, Laws and Entitlements of our government should be taken and evaluated piecemeal in full view of the People.

– All that are enumerated would then be checked for Constitutionality against the Federal Constitution.

– All found to not be compatible can be given a notice of cease and desist or be granted a Constitutional Amendment by the States through the Amendment Procedure.

– All that fail to gain an Amendment from the States would then be returned to the States themselves under the Tenth Amendment.

– The States can then debate these items as a possible Amendment to their own individual State Constitutions, thus making them legal in their individual States.

– In the case where each State does not ratify the proposed Amendment and if it is judged as incompatible with their Constitution and there is no other State Law preventing it, then the People can implement it if they so choose at the State or Local Levels via Law or Ordinance.

– If that fails, then it wasn’t a power that the Government or the People should have assumed in the first place. It should then be regarded as fundamental in the interest of Liberty if there is no other Law preventing it.

– During this process, anything enumerated specifically in the Constitution as unconstitutional or already prohibited by it (such as the Thirteenth Amendment prohibiting slavery) shall remain inaccessible to implementation at any lower level. The Federal Constitution always retains priority over the States. State Constitutions always retain priority over Local Ordinances and Laws.

– To prevent a reoccurrence of any future encroachments at the Federal level, an Amendment fully defining and clarifying both Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 (“The Necessary and Proper Clause”) and Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 (“The Commerce Clause”) and any other ambiguous clauses should be debated by the States and ratified into the United States Constitution for the sake of clarity. The litmus test for that is a simple one. If any disagreement exists during the piecemeal review and evaluation, then they are enumerated and then subjected to further clarification or repeal using Amendment(s).



Through this process, Liberty is thus fully restored and then preserved and protected.



In no case will these inventoried powers and institutions remain with the Federal government without a Constitutional Amendment that gives each of them full legitimacy or without a full verification of the preexisting intrinsic constitutionality of same.





In this way, the overreaching power of the current Federal, State and Local governments can be rebalanced and placed firmly back under the scope of the Constitution. Powers improperly taken from the States can be returned or given back to the People. This also will realign the Constitution with all aspects of the corporate, financial, housing and banking systems automatically. It will also allow for all other issues from the People to be addressed in their rightful order and in due time. This re-enumeration of Powers rebalances the Federal government with itself, with the States and with the People resulting in a much needed sense of clarity. It will serve to stem the tide of corruption that has been infecting our government. With a Unified and Informed Nation, whole once again and working together again in the Spirit of True Discourse and with such a renewed Collective Spirit, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.



It has been said that the best ideas are simple. We submit that this idea of realignment with our Constitution is the Cornerstone by which we may all reunite as One People and truly solve many of our Nation’s problems. We submit that for this Nation to continue to exist, we absolutely must take heed of and implement this proposal at once.



Duly signed,











_____________________________________________

X



SECTION II – Monitions


TO OUR LEADERS


We must wonder who among you could possibly take issue against an honest implementation of this proposal, save for those of you who would continue to profit from the status quo or would wish for a deliberate debasement of our way of life?



We realize that there are many among you who are just as concerned as we are. We also acknowledge that many of you possibly may not have realized, while you were campaigning for office, just how pervasive and influential the “Special Interest Branch” truly is. Perhaps only after you were elected did you learn just how entrenched they really are? Perhaps this is why you have so readily abandoned your campaign promises to us so predictably?



Due to these possibilities, surely we can offer you the temporary benefit of the doubt. But let us be clear: it is now up to you to decide our future opinions of you.



You must immediately and publicly recommit to both the “99%” and “1%” alike. In addition, you must declare that you will serve the recombined “100%” equally and without partisan favor. You must reaffirm your oaths to uphold, preserve and protect the Constitution as well and above all else. You then must start to act like it. The opaque influence of the “1%” must be made transparent and then equally balanced with transparent influences of our own. You may well continue to agree to disagree with each other as usual but you must temper your discourse and debate with a new sense of mutual respect and restraint at all cost.



In other words, you need to start doing your jobs.



Have you forgotten that no matter your party affiliation, that once elected you are supposed to serve everyone equally?



The age-old phrase, from fable, lyric and motto, that “United we stand, divided we fall” rings true to this day with the exact points that we make.



You must also cease your political infighting and cross the party lines that you have drawn that constrain you and strive to reach an accord with your brethren regardless of political party. You must do this in order to regain our trust and respect.



We can agree that there are radicals among us in the “99%” just as we can surely agree that there are radicals among you. Regardless, we both know that between us there lies a Voice of Reason. We hope that this New Common Sense proves that to you.



However, even reason demands that you should take heed of the following monition.



We hereby inform you that we will also be taking our own Inventory and Audit of all current and future representatives at all levels of government. The New Common Sense is but the start and we offer it to you as the First Fair Notice of only one way by which we will go about it. Because we wish to support and will embrace only those who are willing to come forward to help repair this damage, we must identify you from where you stand. We certainly do not wish the continued mutilation and destruction of our beloved Constitutional Republic to continue. Do you?



We affirm that we wish to help repair our Nation in the true spirit of INTERDEPENDENCE. We demand that you do too.



We need to remind you that you are not the ones in charge. We are. This is a Nation of the People, by the People, for the People, remember?



If you choose to declare The New Common Sense to be extreme, then we declare that it must be true. After all, if a mere request that we recommit to obeying our own Constitution is extreme, then we’ve made our point, haven’t we. If, however, you choose to declare it as not extreme then it must also be true because then that means that we are right. You can’t win a propaganda war against us this time. We now have you in a corner and you surely must realize this.



We the People have already chosen to rise above the fray. We have delivered to you this document, eschewed all opinions temporarily to open a discussion over some Simple Truths. We’ve boiled it down to one clear demand that no one who is a patriot could possibly disagree with: That the Constitution of the United States should be placed back at the “center” of active government.



As we have so painstakingly pointed out, inventory of ourselves and the government from top to bottom should have been what we’ve been doing all along. Can anyone truly disagree with the idea of holding all that we are up to the Light of our Federal and State Constitutions? Could they object to this with a straight face? Can anyone who is a true patriot honestly say that they do not wish to rid our system of corruption, or level all playing fields once again, that they do not wish to obey and see enforced only the legal laws of this country? And most importantly: would they not wish for all involved to declare a new respect for our Constitution and would a patriot not wish to witness the process of repairing it back into the Living Document that is was designed to be?



There’s but one more item of needful mention. Political attack ads need to cease. They are not constructive and will no longer help your cause. If you can find nothing good to say about yourselves then perhaps you shouldn’t be running for office. If you instead show respect for the other candidates and their ideas by refusing to run attack ads, then you will be sending us the message that you may be able to field diverse opinions and ideas. You will show us your ability to be flexible and will show us true Statesmanship. Attack ads only serve to inform us that you are not willing to compromise and thus not worthy of our vote. This type of politician we no longer need in office. So please, stop it if you wish to gain or keep your job. This tactic will no longer secure you any votes from us.



TO THE CONGRESS IN SPECIFIC


That there are three basic levels of human societal structure. From least to most evolved, they are dependence, independence and interdependence.



We seem to be at odds because the “1%” appears to want to force us into the lowest state of dependence with your help.



Our Nation, however, was founded via The Declaration of Independence which was then followed by a social contract (The Constitution) that guaranteed that we would all participate in a society based solely on interdependence. The “1%” has broken that contract with us in league with you.



Dependence is not an option for We the People, for we would have to give up the freedoms and liberties that our hard won, hard kept and wholly cherished interdependence grants us. We simply are not willing to endure a forced state of dependence and our continued interdependence is the only option that we will accept.



You must understand this.



To be clear: if you want Unity with the People again it can only be accomplished at the level of interdependence. If you wish to continue to try to force unwarranted dependence upon us, with or without the aid of the “1%”, then we shall continue our petitions for redress under the protections of the First Amendment.



You must also declare your independence from the influence of the “1%”. You must protect yourselves from their attempts to also make you dependent on their money. You must find your own interdependence with each other, again, and with the Whole of the People.

TO THE MEDIA


Before you try to analyze The New Common Sense in an attempt to label it as politically slanted or discount it as extremist rhetoric, let us state that this message is by its design well beyond the bounds of political partisanship. Otherwise, it will not stand up to the “divisive for the sake of being divisive” political scrutiny that we all bear daily witness to.



We realize that you may also attempt to lambast or ridicule the language and carried tone that we used in this missive as a strategy of your scrutiny. You may have noticed that the document begins in a more “classic” language style and then proceeds to slowly change its language, punctuation and overall tone into a modern one as it progresses, becoming almost informal and overtly personal towards the end. This was by design. It was our intention to begin the document in the same tone as (as well as to borrow liberally some of the language of) various historical documents and then to slowly modernize this tone as we ultimately connect it firmly to the now. In addition, the nonstandard use of capitals is a way for us to retain emphasis in a document that in some forms may be distributed as plain text and without formatting. This technique has been used before by writers greater than we (including the composer(s) of the Declaration of Independence) so we cannot apologize for it. It, too, was deliberate. We hope that this explanation of some of our grammatical intentions help to clear up what you may consider to be unintended inconsistencies and that it removes an opportunity for you to criticize it on its face.



But let there be no doubt about this: the political system in this country is fundamentally broken and no amount of political rhetoric and slanted “expert” opinions broadcast to the public by which you can fix a broken political system. Therefore, the only true answer to the Problem must come from a source that is not only above and beyond politics, but it must also be a solution that can include the voluntary input of literally everyone who would bear the equal burden of responsibility in implementing it. That includes you. You must return to a state of genuine balance in your reporting.



The New Common Sense asks only for our government to — Immediately reject what we term “The Special Interest Branch” and kick them out of backroom politics. — Put laws in place giving equal voice to anyone who wishes to speak regardless of their financial status. — Respect and uphold the laws that are constitutional and abolish and/or correct those that are not. — Take an inventory of all agencies and branches of government, using the Constitution, and only the Constitution, as the de-facto guide with which to go by. — Recommit to the Constitution as the first word on the boundaries of government. — Reduce the ability for anyone to (mis)interpret the Constitution so broadly by discussing and then passing Amendments which will serve to clarify and modernize it. — Restore to the People a transparent, open and fair election system nationwide that allows for a full accounting by the people of all elections.



It asks for nothing more. Do not try to read further into it. We’re tired of your spin.



If you want our respect then show us that you have the courage and honesty to speak out in favor of this proposal’s existence, even if you disagree with it as a matter of corporate mass media policy. Help us promote The New Common Sense for the good of the Nation. Offer time and space for its discussion and open yourselves to all ideas that may stem from it and give it a platform. This is a unique chance for you to prove to us that at least you are not promoting imbalance.



For the sake of clarity, please let us remind you of something of which you surely are already aware:



For the first time in history, technology has given us all a level playing field in terms of our ability to share information and communicate. We know that this must scare you. We know that, even apart from mere greed, this is most likely why the “1%” have instigated such an insane power grab in the first place.



Thus, we ask almost rhetorically, “What will prevent The New Common Sense from being ridiculed or simply ignored?” We protest, for example, to remind the “1%” that while they may have the largest share of the wealth, we, the People retain control of most of the other numbers. While the “1%” controls the mass media, we have the internet, social media and each other in great numbers. The “1%” can no longer silence us with mere money, for they (in this case, by “1%” we mean those who speak through you and reward you for your performance with a paycheck) no longer have a monopoly on the distribution of information to the masses with which they have attempted to manipulate us.



We know that the moment in history is upon us where we finally have the tools with which we can level the playing field with you. We can accomplish these goals with or without you. You see, we’re not buying your disinformation anymore, thus it’s time for you to have a real and serious dialog with us.



Thanks to the internet and our growing awareness, the “1%” can no longer operate in the shadows. We shall expose their greed and mockery of our way of life through our protests. our collective voice, our individual efforts, all guided by the Light of this Declaration and with this New Common Sense.



After all, the roaches scatter when a light is shined on them, do they not?



The filters that the “1%” have attempted to install on reality, we can now remove. The New Common Sense itself stands as proof of this.



You have asked us where we stand. You have asked us what we want. We have now given you your first detailed answer.



It’s time to change the conversation, will you not agree?



We have a monition for you as well.



We will no longer believe your “anonymous sources,” your “unnamed insiders,” your unverified “experts” nor do we care for your unsolicited opinions. You can stop telling us what to think and save from extinction the legacy of the media just reporting the facts. Believe it or not, we are fully capable of drawing our own conclusions and do not need your help in that regard. The very existence of this New Common Sense proves that.



We demand complete media transparency. We want accountability in our media and demand that you always declare your sources.



And you may mock The New Common Sense and/or this monition at your peril.

TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AND THE DOMESTIC MILITIA


You are part of the “99%” too. Thus, we realize that you must be victims in this as well.



Please stand with us. We wish for nothing more than for you to join us in solidarity.



For your badges we have no monition. We have only a request plea for you.



We hereby recommit to obey the law as we seek our redress and we respectfully ask that you enforce only the law as it pertains to us, without preventing our right to peaceful assembly.



Thus we should have no conflict.

TO THE “1%”


We certainly do not define you as the whole of the affluent 1% based upon your portfolio and assets. We define you as the affluent who use your wealth to gain self-serving leverage over government.



We understand that you are merely following human nature. We know that you have justified as good the things that you do. We are aware that our own apathy has contributed to this situation that we all find ourselves in today. We can even admit that given the opportunity, we might have done some of the same things you’ve done.



After all, who doesn’t want more wealth? It’s the American Dream after all.



However, the rift between us has become too wide. You have become too consumed by greed. Do you see all of this as a game? Are you addicted to Wall Street in the same way a gambler is addicted to the casino? Cannot you even see that ultimately you will destroy our way of life, yours included, with your greed and lust for power? And do you not realize that by destroying the Middle Class you are actually eliminating your main source of income?



The games that you insist on playing with our society will ultimately become your own ruin. Destroy our economy and you destroy yourselves with it.



But do you not feel it? Do you not realize that time is running out? Don’t you know that it might be “game over” soon?



You may feel that in this race against time, that you must “lock us down” and control us. You urge the government to violate our privacies and attempt to scare us with propaganda churned out by your various mass media machines. You try to silence our collective voice, pollute our conscience as if it were the environment itself and divert our attention in the hopes that we may waste time arguing with ourselves and never realize what you are up to. But we are on to you now. We have found a new common sense.



Lower and lower you do sink, not even realizing that we are all in the same boat. We have news for you. We’re going to occupy your life raft too if this continues.



From where we stand in protest. we see your problem as this: Your money cannot buy Truth and this is the lesson that you must learn.



In fact, it is your Achilles’ heel.



By now you must have realized that this isn’t a “Declaration” at all, but that it is actually an edict. We the People are the rightful holders of true Power in this Nation, shared equally with all, including you, even though we know that you probably do not see it that way. The Truth is the Truth and we are in possession of It now. Your money can only buy you more lies and a false sense of security.



We absolutely do not wish for a “class war” between us. You need to understand, however, that we are quite serious. We’re not asking. Stop your corruptions now.



Your monition is as follows:



Do not judge The New Common Sense unfairly and do not attack it. Work with us. Show us proof that you are willing to clean up your act and we shall work with you and for you. Police yourselves and reign in your greed. If you truly want to save this Nation then stop gaming this broken system for your own ends.



If after reading this missive you dare still hold the opinion that we are “sheep”, then by all means, allow the sheep to give you a message: No longer may you force us to consume the defecation that you call grass.

TO THE “99%”


By its design The New Common Sense is nothing more than a “voice of reason” that is designed to be compatible with all other past, present and future voices. It was crafted by persons just like you in a true spirit of cooperation and in the hopes that it will serve as a tool by which we can be further unified. It is our hope that it will aid in the start of a new dialog with the “1%” who, by reading this also, will hopefully realize that it’s time for them to listen and engage us with respect. It also points out, explains and offers a fully detailed and workable solution to the real core problem that affects us all. It then petitions the simple request for all of us to work together to implement it.



If you suspect that this is an “infiltration” of some sort, then please read it again. We believe that it speaks for itself .



The New Common Sense was crafted to be above and beyond our individual issues, yet it still includes them “under its umbrella” as it shows how we can have our individual issues ultimately addressed. It makes the argument that we first have a serious problem to fix in government before anything else can matter.



This makes it a “first word” on our common plight, but surely not the last. We believe that this is what makes it so special. It’s not combative by nature yet it is firm in its demands and explicit in its proposal. It deliberately avoids specific issues that do not directly support the main thesis. It’s merely honest and forthright in its tone. It is also designed to breed inspiration and is meant to be used as a starting point upon which you are all encouraged to follow up on with your own forms of public discourse going forward.



Please embrace The New Common Sense fully and help distribute it as fast and as far as you can! If this so much as touches your hands or crosses your eyes then it is critical that you must help distribute it immediately. If you can afford to print copies, please do so. If you can upload it and share, please do so. If you can tell others about this or share links to it, please do so. An “audio book” version is also being released for the benefit of the blind (who are of course part of the 99%, too!) and distributed as well.



Each and every one of us must stand together and treat all ideas such as this with the utmost of importance. We must act now! If we show apathy or delay then we may lose our opportunity to help instigate true change and we may never have another chance to be heard. Don’t think for a minute that the “1%” isn’t plotting and scheming for a way to prevent us from being able to speak out like this again. If we show any weakness at this point, if we make the same mistakes that other failed movements have made (such as by not staying decentralized or by choosing sides on issues instead of standing together against a problem– BIG difference!), if we don’t act now and unite, then we may lose what could be our last chance to ever right these wrongs.



The author(s) have decided to remain anonymous in order for this to stand as a true gift to the masses. All ego has thus been removed as there is now no personal credit to be had. However, there is another reason that is not so altruistic that we must be honest about. We are also anonymous for our own protection. The “1%” is playing hard ball. They might go to great lengths to make sure that Truths like this do not see the light of day. Therefore we do it as a protection for all of us. We also do it to keep them guessing, right out of the Sun Tzu playbook. For all they know, this could have come from anywhere, even from their own back yard. This is to our advantage (because it very well might be true).



Also, in order to protect this document, an insurance file has been made that can be opened only by the actual author(s) and it is also being distributed. In the unforeseen case that the document should ever become corrupted and it becomes necessary to prove the source of the original (or the actual text of the original itself if it becomes diluted or corrupted), then we will be able to do so. The insurance file also allows us to release true updates for this if they are ever needed and allows us to prove source because we can then release the old insurance password to prove that since only we could know it while providing a new one for the update which would replace it. In this way, you can be sure that it came from the same source.



If you see this insurance file, please download it and copy it. Please distribute it also. It is the only thing that stands between this message and its destruction. It is what will allow this to stay whole long enough to distribute without being infiltrated and diluted (or worse).



An MD5 sum (a sort of “serial number” generated from the data of a file that can be used as a way to insure that a file hasn’t been modified, please Google it if you’d like to learn more about it and do not know what it is) is also included in the insurance file so that anyone can check and verify that the digital release of this document is in fact the original, since the MD5 sum will change if it was altered in any way.



Now for a necessary word about copyright. While this document is being given freely to the public domain without any duplication or distribution restrictions so long as they remain non-profit, the copyright is being reserved and all modifications are discouraged as another means of a protection from those who may wish to modify it with the intention to dilute and/or discredit it. So please make no changes to this? Just pass it on, if you would.



Did we say that there is no credit to be had for this? Well, we misspoke. The credit belongs to you! Since this document was originally gifted to our minds through the process of carefully collecting public opinion, it really does come from you, the “collective conscience” that is mentioned at the very beginning. We merely collected the ideas that we found to be most popular and attempted to put them into words.



So go ahead, take the credit, you’ve earned it!



May we digress for a moment and inject a few personal notes? This was originally written with the intent for it to be nothing more than a simple Declaration. It had the working title of “A New Declaration of Interdependence”. Only when it was completed and fully edited did we see it as a whole and realize that we may have actually achieved something beyond just that. In fact, we received a great surprise when we compared it to the classic historical treatise by Thomas Paine, known as “Common Sense” (published in 1776 and yet completely out of our minds during the period that we crafted this). When we compared it, we noticed that it too was written with the exact same intentions as ours and that we have indeed achieved a document that we believe is at nearly the same level. Hence, it became obvious that this should be given the title of The New Common Sense. We can only hope that it has the same impact of the original. W can make no apology for its length. It needed to be complete and unabridged because there is no time to do this piecemeal. We wish we could have made it shorter, but we truly believe that everything in it had to be said. Therefore, we worked hard on it up front to make it as thorough and as complete as possible so that it can be catapulted as is into the public discussion, and fast! Oh, and “Common Sense” was much longer than this even if we include the monitions section when we compare size.

HOW YOU CAN EASILTY AND IMMEDIATELY HELP:


By affixing a signature, you may convert The New Common Sense into a letter and make it your own. Send it to your congressmen, the media, to friends and family, to corporations. Send it to anyone and everyone that you can.



By collecting signatures, you may transform it into a petition. You can even combine it with others who have done the same and create larger petitions.



By working together to distribute The New Common Sense to the “99%” and “1%” alike, we will turn this into a unifying movement and change the course of history!



Please, don’t allow The New Common Sense to be in vain. Sign it, own it, send it, copy it. Please help spread it far and wide, as fast as possible. We have no more time to lose.



Lets “Occupy The Constitution!” And may we receive our Due Justice and see a speedy and peaceful return to the Constitutional Republic that we were supposed to inherit.



A space for signature(s) is placed at the bottom of the “Our Petition” chapter. We hope that by now you have already seen it?



Good luck! Thank you for embracing and sharing The New Common Sense in advance, and may we all further unite and take our country back as One (but without the percent, unless they shape up of course)!



Written by newcommonsenseanon
November 12, 2011 at 4:29 am
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