MANIFESTO FOR PROTESTERS AGAINST BANKS

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EDITOR’S NOTE: There are many who are writing about righting wrongs. Everyone has their own agenda and the chaos is resulting in a mixed message coming out from Occupy Wall Street. I wanted to see this protest years ago and was surprised it did not arise earlier. The Reuters writer below offers some helpful suggestions. Here are mine. 

  1. FOLLOW THE LAW: In recent decades politics has strayed further and further from the actual laws and provisions of our founding documents, legislative statutes, administrative rules and common sense. Sound bites have taken the place of reasoning. Our laws say that nobody can be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process, which means court process where evidence is presented and either accepted because it is evidence or rejected because it is not evidence. We have straightforward rules that apply to the Banks just as they apply to everyone else. 
  2. FORCE THE BANKS TO ACCOUNT FOR EVERY PENNY IN BENEFIT THEY RECEIVED FROM ALL SOURCES. This applies for the benefit of taxpayers whose money was given to the banks in exchange for promises that were never kept, shareholders in the banks, investors who purchased “securities” through them, and homeowners who purchased their exotic mortgages. It is also the only way regulators can assess whether the current crisis is really about theft from the public purse, theft from the shareholder purse, theft from the homeowner purse and theft from government agencies and regulations that were either followed or ignored.
  3. FORCE THE BANKS TO DISGORGE ANY ILLEGAL PROFITS AND PAY THE VICTIMS: This applies for the benefit of taxpayers whose money was given to the banks in exchange for promises that were never kept, shareholders in the banks, investors who purchased “securities” through them, and homeowners who purchased their exotic mortgages. Nothing will completely compensate the victims of these huge crimes against society and the world, but evening out the money is a good place to start. It is also a good place to re-start the sputtering economies around the world and tax the profits that went unreported. This accomplishes another item: “resolution” or breaking up the mega banks into parts small enough to regulate and generally keep track of their movements.
  4. LIMELIGHT EVERY POLITICIAN WHO IS TAKING MONEY OR GIFTS FROM THE BANKS: The bank oligopoly that maintains a death grip on American politics and policy must be broken. Voters should eliminate all those who have significant ties to the banking industry.
  5. GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE NOT JUST OF THE PEOPLE: When people are powerful, things work pretty well in this country. When they are dis-empowered and special interests are in control, everything goes wrong. Laws, taxes, civil procedure in courts are all supposedly designed to protect the people from unfair practices by economic and political bullies. Put the referees back on the court, make the players play according to the rules and whatever you do, pass laws, taxes, rules and regulations that are FOR the benefit of the people — of the Nation as a whole.
October 6, 2011

A Manifesto for Wall Street Protesters

By RICHARD BEALES, EDWARD HADAS, PETER THAL LARSEN and ANTONY CURRIE

For public relations professionals, the protesters in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan must inspire mixed feelings. The location works, and the crowd makes for good television, but crunchy sound bites are hard to find. The movement’s anticorporate rant lumps together complaints as varied as mortgage foreclosure wrongs and torture. And the idea of “a feeling of mass injustice” is less compelling than the Tea Party’s clear “taxed enough already.” Breakingviews offers a practical and sharper, if only partial, manifesto for Occupy Wall Street.

First, make banks safer, and let them fail. Bailouts have left banks with handsomely paid bosses, some of whom are resisting sensible reforms. Regulators and legislators should not be scared to require more capital, however much bankers complain. And the authorities need to push on with making it easier for collapsing institutions actually to go bankrupt. That way investors, not taxpayers, pay the price for reckless financial behavior.

Second, name and shame fat cat salarymen. The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to start the ball rolling soon with a new rule requiring companies to disclose the ratio of a chief executive’s pay to that of the median employee. Management theorists used to suggest that the top executive was worth about 20 times as much as the average, but this multiple has rocketed in recent years. Disclosure might not change practices much, but it is a start.

Third, free legislators from special interests. Long, expensive and frequent campaigns have left some politicians enslaved to extreme supporters and most too heavily influenced by free-spending lobbyists. Unless senators and representatives start to care less about re-election and more about the common good, there’s little hope of real progress in narrowing the gulf between the haves and have-nots in America.

Fourth, and probably least realistic, change the United States’ two-party system. The Democrats and Republicans are unimaginative and entrenched by both rules and tradition. The political center ought to be fertile ground given the current dysfunction on fiscal matters, but why not the wings, too? If Occupy Wall Street can come up with a coherent platform, then — in honor of the epicenter of the protest — the “Z Party” has a nice ring.

Bank Profit Confusion

The parallels between the current market turmoil and the 2008 collapse become more striking by the day. The latest crisis throwback is the bizarre earnings boost created by banks’ deteriorating creditworthiness. UBS says this effect added 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.6 billion) to its bottom line in the third quarter. Accountants, rather than banks, are to blame. But financial firms are still inconsistent when reporting this perversity.

Since 2007, banks have had to report changes in the fair value of their own liabilities. When the market price of debt falls, liabilities are reduced from an accounting perspective, allowing the company to recognize a profit. Rising bond prices produce a loss.

For banks, this was particularly pronounced in 2008. As credit risk premiums on their debt soared, many booked large one-time gains: Morgan Stanley enjoyed a $5.1 billion profit that year. That reversed when risk premiums fell back. Now debt prices are tumbling again. For UBS, the resulting gain partly offsets the $2.3 billion hole left by a rogue trader, allowing it to report a modest, but psychologically important, net profit for the quarter.

Not all banks are straightforward about reporting these items. Some have shown a tendency to emphasize losses from this accounting effect while playing down gains. In the third quarter of 2007, Lehman Brothers quietly used paper gains on its debt to offset leveraged loan write-downs. And it took an analyst’s question to make Bank of America admit that $2.2 billion of its first-quarter 2009 revenue came courtesy of a decline in the value of Merrill Lynch debt. Banks like Citigroup and UBS include the gains and losses in the results of their investment banking arms, while Credit Suisse and HSBC, for instance, keep them out of divisional reporting.

Banks say they have little influence over the fluctuations. Goldman Sachs seems to be one of the few that has minimized the effect with hedges. And Europe is phasing out the accounting rule in 2013. But inconsistent reporting makes it harder to filter out the noise. With investor confidence lower than ever, that’s something banks can do without.

For more independent financial commentary and analysis, visit http://www.breakingviews.com.

20 Responses

  1. A simple solution, no politicians or laws required. Too big to fail “MAKE THEM SMALLER” don’t do business with big Banks,use small or regional Banks. We lose nothing and Main Street wins the the fight over Wall Street influence. Pass the word.

  2. Right on, E. Tolle.

    That’s why we need to get money out of politics.

    getmoneyout.com

  3. Who needs loans when you can do seller financing. This was done in the early 80’s and it worked well. Only problem in this is that someone would try to sell the note,but if no one did this it would work great.

  4. re tnharry———-people on this last point he is making i agree—id happliy pull the pin to hang those banksters –but it is necessary for loans to occur—the problem is not debt itself—but predatory contracts based on mutual bargaining power—-that is where the govt failed–or bought off

    there is an inherent problem from an economic perspective and that is match funding–people want–need the predictability of long fixed rates—but as sure as the sun is to rise in the east tomorrow printing trillions of dollars, franks, pounds and euros is going to create roaring infation–i can hear it out about 3 years–like a jet plane taking off—-15%—-iv seen it before —-after the nixon madman regime—now this time we must pay for the bush madman–or moron as the case may be——and the evercampaigning obama–and the “GREAT BANK ROBBERIES”

  5. a bit bankocentric so far–but that is ok—because it was intended as a good beginning to list some principles applied—not etherial—–that both tea party and owl can sign onto

    people make bullet points ???

  6. @ tnharry wrote:

    “….without rights to default or enforce, not only will no one pay their bills, but there would be no more mortgages to be had.”

    You’re right…..that just wouldn’t do. Without the means for transferring huge amounts of money upstream to fraudulent banks to pay for counterfeit mortgages, the system whereby candidates are placed into positions of power by those already in power would come to a screeching halt.

    Who knows what mayhem would result if lower class citizens suddenly had enough money to buy food, clothe the poor, and care for the elderly. It would be a disaster for Wall Street, that’s for sure. Can’t have that.

  7. Sorry TnHarry you are more like a defender of all Shysters.

    A shyster (pronounced /ˈʃaɪstər/) is a slang word for someone who acts in a disreputable, unethical, or unscrupulous way, especially in the practice of law, politics and business.

    I am not calling you one but you are a defender of all Shyster’s

    Sort of like Obama and Holder.

    NEVER AGAIN.

  8. tnharry is a fear monger. Nobody will pay their bills? What a bunch of balony. Yeah nobody is gonna pay the snake oil saleperson his bills.

  9. tnharry

    No rights to enforce anything — when you never legally had that right.

    Fraud is fraud — no matter how you slice it. What goes around — comes around — give it up –before too much comes back around. .

  10. I just get this e-mail , may be this help :

    http://signon.org/sign/do-not-support-the-florida?source=s.em.mt&r_by=1251916

  11. Subject: Sat. Oct 15, 2011 – Sarasota, FL – FREE Foreclosure Defense Forum & Anti-Foreclosure Advocacy Workshop (Trawick, Charney, Weidner) & showing of Inside Job documentary

    For immediate release.

    Foreclosure Event Hosts Two Most-Famous Florida Attorneys

    Sarasota.

    April Charney, nationally-known foreclosure defense attorney from Jacksonville Legal Aid, hero to many as the Mother Theresa of foreclosure defense, has joined the all-star lineup of speakers at the “Save Your Home” event. Ms. Charney has characterized banks as “court interlopers [who] might as well be wearing a ski mask and carrying an Uzi for as much right as they have to force homeowners out of their homes”: fighting words that have given hope to tens of thousands of frightened Florida homeowners facing foreclosure.

    “Save Your Home” is a FREE day-long foreclosure defense workshop to be held on Saturday, October 15, at the Unity Church of Sarasota, 3023 Proctor Road, from 9-5.

    Ms. Charney joins Mr. Henry P. Trawick, Jr., iconic author of Trawick’s Florida Practice and Procedure. Mr. Trawick’s speech is titled “The Foreclosure Mess.” Matt Weidner, prominent Tampa foreclosure defense attorney and Lisa Epstein, widely-quoted citizen/advocate and owner of ForeclosureHamlet.com will round out the speakers. Numerous local attorneys will also be on hand to answer questions about the latest news and foreclosure defense strategies, and to discuss proposed changes to mortgage/foreclosure laws in the 2011-2012 session of the Florida legislature.

    There will be a free screening of the Academy Award-winning movie, Inside Job, at 7 p.m.

    This event is being sponsored by The Mortgage Justice Group, an organization of citizens helping citizens in foreclosure. For additional information, please call the Mortgage Justice Group at (941) 504-4873 or email mortgagejustice1@yahoo.com.

    Flyer: http://www.scribd.com/doc/66045723/Oct-15-2011-Sarasota-Fraud-Seminar

    Comfort Inn 5778 Clark Road, Sarasota, FL. 34233/ (941) 921-7750
    $69.00 + tax (2 queen-size beds in room), includes a “hot breakfast bar” (eggs, waffles, etc.)
    Mention “FORECLOSURE SEMINAR” to person who takes the reservation.
    Clark Road is the first exit off I-75 for Sarasota. Comfort Inn is about a block off the exit going West on left. This is about 10-15 minutes from the event at Unity Church Sarasota (3023 Proctor Road).


    Lisa Epstein
    ForeclosureHamlet.org
    Latest Fraudclosure News on Twitter here
    Blog
    Facebook

  12. @bernie – how would outlawing foreclosure work exactly? without rights to default or enforce, not only will no one pay their bills, but there would be no more mortgages to be had.

  13. Give someone enough rope and, eventually, he will hang himself…

    The agony may take a while but we will get rid of big banks. The only problem is… what other can of worms is being opened as we make the switch to other banking solutions? The damage resulting from a “no paper” civilization might prove worst in the long run. For right now, though, I am satisfied with seeing people leave those banks and seeing the banks scrambling to save the furniture…

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/10/06/as-angry-customers-flee-financial-giants-online-banks-are-boomi/

  14. I agree and will stand behind this.. I also want the foreclosure law abolished.. I want banks made to help those people, not throw them to the streets.

  15. Peter, I understand No. 6. My question then becomes… who will play referee? Who will vote those laws to hold public servants accountable? Remember, those are the same people who do vote on those laws. No. 6 is a whole bunch of “Let’s…” without any method on how to go about cleaning up.

    The only way is for us to vote them out of of public service but what do we do? Kick them all out undiscriminately and replace them with others we know nothing about of very little (other than what they want us to believe so that we will put them there…) or pick and choose to kick the worst offenders whose identity we don’t know (except for a few of them, such as Pelosi, Barney Frank and a slew of other democrats)?

    And how do we find who those worst offenders are when they have no duty to us under FOIA?

    Suing our representatives… Jeez, on what grounds? Negligent performance of their public servants’ duties? We don’t even know exactly what their “duties” are. We know they vote laws but I don’t believe that they are specifically forbidden from benefiting from corporations’ largesses. They already made sure that, whatever they do, it is perfectly within legality. Inother words, even if they are rotten to the core, they long ago gave themselves the legal protection allowing them to be as corrupted as they wish to and all that took place with our own blessing!!!

    Sue them? Under what theory?

  16. “…Third, free legislators from special interests. Long, expensive and frequent campaigns have left some politicians enslaved to extreme supporters and most too heavily influenced by free-spending lobbyists.”

    SOME politicians? How about ALL politicians!!!

    The money in politics is the ROOT of all this…It created the WALL STREET/BANKS de-regulation nightmare we are now living in… WE HAVE TO GET MONEY OUT.

    PLEASE help—and tell all your friends—this is SO IMPORTANT:

    getmoneyout.com

    http://www.getmoneyout.com/

    Here is a DRAFT of the Constitutional Amendment for public debate this fall:

    “No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for Federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or any amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office.”

    To double your impact, send GETMONEYOUT.com to one other person.

    Check it out: Dylan Ratigan show:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31510813/#44791981

  17. Can you add parties to your lawsuit? Can you sue the FDIC for negligent supervision of the bank, or other claims? Can you sue the Court or the state due to there handling of foreclosures? Can you sue a Judge? Can you sue The Tresury for TARP.

    It is impossible to get info from the government, due we just sue them all?

  18. #6 PRINCIPLE CORRECTION NOW!

  19. I’m all in favor of everything you listed but there is just one little problem… We know that banks have contributed huge amounts of money to their favorite politicians, in gifts, campaign contributions and others. Many in Congress have largely benefited from it but it is nearly impossible to find out who exactly (aside from a few, well known individuals…)

    Congressmen and many other politicians are not held to any disclosure under FOIA and they sure as hell won’t volunteer any such information. Banks won’t answer requests for specifics coming from their own customers. Imagine how eager they will be to divulge anything else!

    So, how can we actually compel disclosure of who benefited from banks largesses and to which tune? It’s easier to obtain the president’s 1040 than it is to obtain anything from congress!!! Is there a system in place or does that mean that one will have to be created (in which case, I seriously doubt we’ll ever learn anything: those guys vote on regulations applying to them. They ain’t gona vote on anything susceptible to take away from them…)

    Comments, anyone?

  20. @ Neil

    I agree with you on numbers one, two ,four and five. but on number three all the money the banks made on loaning their fake money or credit is illegal according to our US Constitution.

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