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We are Legion: Watch the trailer for upcoming Anonymous documentary
11.07.2011
02:34 pm

Topics:
Activism
Class War
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Anonymous


 
Revolutionary chic is back in a big way these days and it just warms my heart..We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists is an upcoming documentary from Luminant Media that will tell the story of today’s online cyber activists “Anonymous” by tracing the origins of the movement from the earliest days of the incipient hacker scene to the present day. “We Are Legion is promised in 2012 so… expect it.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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How to cripple Wall Street with a simple three-Item agenda


 
A guest editorial from our super smart pal, Charles Hugh Smith, cross-posted from his essential Of Two Minds blog.

There are really only three ways to cripple Wall Street’s democracy-killing concentration of wealth and power: take our money out of Wall Street and the TBTF banks, eliminate private money from elections and abolish Wall Street’s dealer, the Federal Reserve.

There are only three things—and only these three—that will cripple Wall Street’s democracy-killing concentration of wealth and power:

1. Transfer the 99%‘s money out of Wall Street and the Too Big To Fail Banks

2. Remove campaign contributions from our democracy in a way that the corporate legalist lackeys in the Supreme Court cannot overturn, i.e. entirely publicly financed elections

3. Abolish Wall Street’s dealer, pusher and protector, the Federal Reserve.

My reasoning is very simple:

Everything else people want to see happen cannot happen if:

1) Wall Street and the SDI (systemically dangerous institutions) a.k.a. too big to fail banks, control most Americans’ financial assets and debts

2) The Federal Reserve exists to enable and protect the SDI’s wealth and power via Primary Dealers, the discount window and other pusher/dealer mechanisms

3) Wall Street and the other SDIs can use the billions of dollars they skim from our accounts, IRAs, 401Ks and pensions to buy political influence and protection from regulation and competition.

Therefore these are the necessary foundations of any real change.

As long as Wall Street and the other SDIs control much of the nation’s financial markets, assets and debts, and the Federal Reserve exists to protect and enable their predation and parasitic skimming, they will have the means to reap billions in profits which can then be funneled into our cash-corrupted political system of for-sale toadies and apparatchiks.

The only real leverage we have is our money and our compliance. Leaving our money in Wall Street and the Too Big to fail banks enables their dominance. Leaving our money in checking accounts, money market funds, savings accounts and brokerage accounts, and then using credit and debit cards issued by the SDIs, is to remain deeply complicit in their dominance.

This concept is now entering the cultural dialog, for example this recent entry on Zero Hedge: Want To Defeat The Banks? Stop Participating In The System!

Frequent Of Two Minds contributor Harun I. summed the argument up even more forcefully:

I applaud this movement only if people are coming to the recognition that, collectively, we as a nation have been wrong and now need to move in a different direction. We must now engage in discussing how best to do so.
However, I remain skeptical. Why are the TBTF banks still operating? From fraud to extortion to money laundering for drug cartels, the list of crimes against humanity is quite clear and long. Exactly what does it take before people will stop doing business with demonstrably corrupt entities?

And now there is a General Strike scheduled. I am all for it. But understand that our government will borrow the shortfall and nothing meaningful other than an increase in public debt will occur.

However, if you want to see an instantaneous and dramatic effect, every person close every account they have with all the TBTF banks and their subsidiaries on the same day.

Immediately or almost immediately they would have to be taken into receivership, their assets marked to market and sold off. The End.

Why destroy the TBTF banks? Most of them are Primary Dealers. The Fed then comes under pressure as it becomes the only lender of resort.

Then, once we have gotten their attention we tackle monetary reform, lobbying, and term limit in Congress and the Supreme Court.

It is time for government to “fear the people”. Rest assured that if government does not fear the people, nothing will change.

As for the Supreme Court’s legalist worship of the Corporate State: I believe this court will be remembered by history as the court which veered close enough to Corporate-State fascism to give it a big wet kiss. Corporate “rights” of personhood? No problem, you got it! The “right” to fund unlimited campaign contributions? No problem, you got it!

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Benito Mussolini

We might profitably ask how the Founding Fathers would have responded to calls that the U.S. Constitution should contain a clause granting the East India Company the same rights of personhood as U.S. citizens, and then further granting it the unlimited right to buy political favors as a function of “free speech.”

One wonders how any of the Revolutionary War veterans among the Founding Fathers might have responded to such toadying claptrap. Yet this is precisely what the corporate toadies in the flowing black robes claim is “defended” by the U.S. Constitution.

A close reading of the Constitution reveals no amendments or clauses granting private corporations personhood, or granting them the right to inject unlimited sums of money to sway elections. If we turn to the Federalist Papers, we find fear of a “tyranny of the minority”—and what is a private corporation but an extreme minority bent on purchasing a limited but oppressive, exploitative and parasitical tyranny?

The legalist lackeys on the Supreme Court have hidden far too long behind the reputation of the Court—a reputation punctured by history, we might note—as a forum of disinterested legal debate. Rather, the court is nothing but another collection of imperfect human beings who are easily swayed by the tenor of the times and the ideological agendas of the wealthy and powerful. (“These are not the campaign reforms you’re looking for. Move along.”)

Given that we have a court that worships Corporate-State fascism slicked over with a thin veneer of democracy for public relations purposes—every single attempt to limit corporate campaign contributions has been struck down by the court—then our only choice as a people is to ban all private money contributions and institute a system of 100% publicly financed elections. Yes, it’s imperfect, and yes, it’s messy and costly, but nowhere near as corrupting and costly to liberty as the Corporate-State fascism we now endure.

Libertarians may be aghast at this option, but we have been reduced by the legalist lackeys in the Supreme Court to this choice: either we continue to be ruled by the corrupting corporate-State nexis of unlimited corporate/private Elites funding of elections, or we go with public financing. Thanks to the Supreme Court, there is no other choice.

As a lagniappe thought: one of the primary concerns of many “OWS/we are the 99” supporters is rising income disparity. That is a legitimate concern in any nation claiming to be a democracy with a free-market economy. Yet a close examination of the roots of income disparity and rising poverty leads straight to the Federal Reserve.

Winners And Losers: The New Economy (Zero Hedge)

What Mr. Gross and Mr. Frank and many others don’t see is that it is the creation of fiat money that destroys wealth and misdirects the investment of capital into less productive assets. That is, monetary inflation destroys capital (wealth). The reason why the production of goods and services do not bear higher yields than financial assets is that the production of goods and services suffers from a lack of real capital. Remember that real capital comes only from the saved profits of production and from the savings of workers from wages earned in production.

You obviously cannot print wealth, but if you try that fiat money distorts the entire economy by directing investment to things which appear to appreciate but what is really happening is that the dollar is depreciating. As a result, fiat money and real capital are invested in financial assets because they appear to have greater yields than returns from the production of goods. Prices rise (price inflation) and it creates the inevitable boom which always busts. The fall out is that we are stuck with things people don’t want (in the present re/depression it is housing). And we fall for it every time.

Allow me to simplify the argument:

1. The Federal Reserve has financialized the economy as an intrinsic expression of its reason for being.

2. Financialization necessarily creates systemically rising income disparity.

I think that’s all we need to understand to grasp the utmost importance of abolishing the Federal Reserve, a private banking monopoly created and protected by our Congress. Limiting Wall Street and the TBTF banks is structurally impossible as long as the Federal Reserve exists.

Written by Charles Hugh Smith, cross-posted from Of Two Minds.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Occupy Wall Street vs The Tea Party


 
Infographic courtesy of Accelerated Degree

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Occupy Oakland General Strike much larger than they told us


 
Zennie Abraham, a blogger at Veterans Today, has lived in Oakland since 1974 and believes that the crowd estimate of the Occupy Oakland General Strike provided by Oakland police is way off. Abraham claims the crowd was much closer to 100,000 than the official count of 7000.

You can’t take a snapshot of an event like this, because of its time length; you have to think of it as a dynamic. In any population there are births, deaths, in-migration, and out-migration. For the Occupy Oakland General Strike, there were no births, thankfully no deaths, but a lot of in-migration and out-migration.

What was so amazing about the size of the crowd both inside the plaza and just outside of it, then marching to the Port of Oakland, was that it did not decrease in size; it increased. And that was with some people leaving it, and others coming in from BART and from around Oakland via foot or other parts of the Bay by car.

For that to happen all day long and considering the capacity of the plaza and the crowds outside of it points to 100,000 people. I’ve never seen anything like that in the entire history of this city.

And that is why it must be said that much of the media should be drawn and quartered for the most irresponsible coverage I’ve ever seen. Many outlets just waited for something bad to happen, or looked for it. But there were so many people more having a great time, that whatever happened was far away from downtown Oakland.

The Whole Foods Oakland Facility is on 27th and Harrison and outside of downtown Oakland, and a good mile away from City Hall Plaza. But to the media eye, the vandalism that happened there made headlines. Let’s just get this out of the way: it should not have happened, but that’s no excuse to get the whole story wrong.

The video below is all the proof anyone would need that the official numbers were way, way off, but 100,000? Oakland’s population is around 300,000, even accounting for the folks who came in from the rest of the Bay area (population 4.5 million) to march, that’s still probably too high a number to be realistic. Still, I’m willing to go along with a tally that’s several times higher than what the Oakland police—and the mainstream media—told us.

What’s important to remember as you watch the size of these marching masses, is that less than two months have passed since Occupy Wall Street began. It’s only going to get more interesting from here on out.
 

 
Above, a bird’s eye view of a static crowd of 90,000 people at the Rose Bowl posted by redditter BdotTS.
 

 
Via reddit

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Irishman’s blunt view of Wall Street (NSFW)


 
Remember the straight-talking gentlemen whose rant ”Irish Wanking Bankers” went viral a few months back?

Here’s the sequel, his take on Wall Street shenanigans and the financial system in general. Delightful!
 

 
Via Cynical-C

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Max Keiser: Financial pornography and Goldman-Sachs

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Though he may look like Moe from The Simpsons, Max Keiser is no slouch. A former equities-broker, Max is a colorful and outspoken commentator, whose show, the Keiser Report on Russia Today, is fast becoming required viewing. Of late, he has been hitting major home runs with his astute assessments of current financial and political events.

In the latest edition, “Financial Rape, Financial Pornography”, Max discussed with political analyst, Stacy Herbert, how Goldman-Sachs has a gun to the world’s head, and how banks implement with impunity, a shadow banking system, which is used to get away with stealing money - something Herbert compared to the punishment meted out to a starving mother who when caught stealing a $5 sandwich to feed her child, was sent to prison. As Herbert pointed out, when the top 1% “commit fraud, it is a called an error, a simple accounting error. When a normal person does it, they end up in jail.”

Keiser also talked with James Howard Kunstler, about how the Occupy Movement is changing the world and what affect it will have on next year’s Presidential election. Plus Max asks if corporations are “individuals”, and if so, should they be tried, like “individuals”, and if found guilty, executed?
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The People vs.Goldman Sachs: Cornel West and Chris Hedges presiding


 
Thanks to New York photographer Robert Chin for videotaping this and uploading it to Youtube.

Recorded November 3, 2011, 10.15am. The People vs. Goldman Sachs mock trial people’s hearing held at Liberty a/k/a Zuccotti Park with fiery commentary by Dr. Cornel West, eloquence by Chris Hedges, and testimonies from people directly affected by Goldman Sach policies.

You can keep up-to-date with the always compelling Cornel West at his website.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize winning human rights journalist who writes a weekly column for Truthdig .

This is the kind of street theater we need to see in cities all across America. In addition to marching and occupying public places, we need to explore creative and provocative ways to capture the attention of the media. In our ADD culture, we’ve got to keep things interesting. West and Hedges are taking a page from the Abbie Hoffman play book.
 

 
Hedges was arrested along with 15 other protesters following the “people’s trial” when they staged a sit-in outside the headquarters of Goldman Sachs.

The Gothamist reports:

Over a dozen Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested today outside Goldman Sachs, where they had marched with 300 others after holding a mock trial of CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Among those arrested were performance artist gadfly Reverend Billy and author and columnist Chris Hedges, who is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. Hedges and the Rev joined several others in a direct action protest outside the firm, sitting down on the sidewalk, linking arms, and refusing to leave. It seems clear the activists intended to be arrested; earlier today Reverend Billy tweeted, “I’ll spend the afternoon in a police van with Chris Hedges and come out ten times more READY for the miracle! Revolujah!”

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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The Dogs of OWS
11.05.2011
02:05 pm

Topics:
Activism
Amusing
Animals

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Dogs
OWS
Occupy

image
 
The Dogs of OWS.
 
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More campaigning canines, after the jump…
 
Via Damn Cool Pictures
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Foil the Evil Empire: Today is Bank Transfer Day


Take your money out of the Evil Empire today! Image via @SKYENICOLAS

Today is Bank Transfer Day, the day to take your money (should you still be lucky enough to have any), transfer it to a credit union, close down your accounts with the big banks and starve them of the oxygen they need to survive: YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY.

Not everyone can be in Zuccotti Park, but YOU CAN DO THIS!

It’s Saturday. Do you honestly have something better to do than fucking over the big banks? I didn’t think so…

DailyKos blogger frustrated1 told a tale of closing his or her bank accounts, along with her sister under the title “The bank said ‘You’ll Be Back.’” I encourage any of you who are doing this today to post your own first person stories in the comments.

One thing I should probably mention is that my sister is a very successful medical doctor.  She makes a ton of money.  She also had a ton of money in each of these banks.  She decided to close these accounts out of solidarity with OWS protesters.  

At Wells Fargo, my sister walked up to the teller and politely asked to close her account.  The teller said, “No problem.”  She pulled up her account and saw the balance and told her that due to the amount she had to speak with the branch manager.  The branch manager came out.  He was probably 30 years old and was very arrogant.  He asked my sister why she wanted to close her account and my sister told him she thought Wells Fargo was part of the problem with the economy.  He went thru some talking points about why she shouldn’t move her money, but my sister didn’t back down.  When he asked her where she was going she told him that she would be banking at the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union.  She isn’t a state employee, but anyone can join if you are related to a state employee.  It turns out her husband is.  Anyway, the bankster told her “You’ll be back.  Credit unions can’t provide the services you need.”  We’ll see about that.  She withdrew over $200k from Wells Fargo.

Next we went to Bank of America.  I closed my last account with hardly any questions asked.  Of course, I had taken most of my money out so there wasn’t much left to take.  My sister on the other hand had a large balance in multiple accounts.  They actually refused to cut her a check for the full amounts.  They only gave her 1/3 of her money and told her she’d have to come back to withdraw the rest.  They claimed they were only allowed to make checks for a certain amount, and that they had no authority to cut additional checks on the same day.  Stupid BofA.   She had her check in hand and politely told off the branch manager when he told her she had to come back another day or two to withdraw the rest.  

At BofA, we weren’t the only ones closing accounts.  There was a line of people.  Most had small accounts because they weren’t even being challenged, but she actually had to wait in line to speak with a branch manager.

At SunTrust, the branch manager went off his rocker.  He just kept asking her “is there anything I can do or anything I can say to change your mind?”  He asked probably twenty times.  He even offered to have the market executive meet with her and hear out her concerns. She told him she wasn’t interested.  He really looked nervous about it.  

We then took the deposits we had to NCSECU.  The people there were busy.  There were 5 people in front of us in the line to open an account.  When my sister got to the front she learned that the credit union actually has a trust company and wealth management services. Neither of us knew that.  She is now considering moving her Merrill Lynch (owned by BofA) accounts to the credit union as well.  She’s been with her financial advisor for 15 years, so that’s the biggest reason she hesitates. 

Here’s a link to some helpful Bank Transfer Day resources at AlterNet and Move Your Money

How do I move my money out of a big bank? (Mother Jones)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Total Recall: The race to erase the smile from Scott Walker’s face


 
With today being the first day that recall petitions can be filed in Wisconsin against officials who were elected in November 2010—like say extremely unpopular Republican Governor Scott Walker—we’re happy to report that the first paperwork has indeed been filed with state elections officials to get this sleazy son of a bitch out of office.

WI’s Government Accountability Board confirmed that the request was filed Friday, the first possible date to file a recall petition. Now it’s up to the unions and Democrats in WI to gather 540,000 in the next 60 days to force the recall election. Walker is able to engage in unlimited fundraising now that this initial petition has been filed. The game is on.

The first petition to recall Walker was filed by David Brandt of Muskego in Waukesha County. It’s suspected by some WI Democrats that Mr. Brandt is a Walker supporter who filed the petition today so that Walker’s fundraising could begin immediately. Whether that’s true or not hasn’t been determined, but apparently Brandt gave Walker’s campaign $50 in 2010. It doesn’t rule out that he came to loathe Walker like many others in the state (and nation!) came to loathe this stupid-faced scumbag.

But who cares anyway? It’s not exactly like Walker has the wind at his back or anything, so why wait even one more day? The Republicans are on the run in WI and they are very well-aware of it, too, so why not just get down to the business of ending Scott Walker’s political career ASAP?

GOP efforts to hamstring recall efforts with a plan that would require each recall petition to be notarized were defeated earlier this week and so was a motion to have recall elections take place under a new legislative map favoring the GOP.  The Republican efforts to hinder the recall efforts have been moot.

With the threat of these procedural roadblocks now behind them, Wisconsin Democrats plan to file separate recall petitions against Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch soon.

Contribute to the WI Democrats efforts to get this union-busting bastard out of office.

Below, hapless Reichwing goofball Scott Walker gets a “mic check” in Chicago:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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