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Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street’

The Mainstream Media Ignores Illegal Arrests of Tucson Occupiers

In Current Events, Occupy Movement on April 7, 2012 at 21:28

Arrests at Occupy Tucson from azstarnet.com

On Friday, March 23, Paul Gattone, the lawyer representing many of the Occupy Tucson arrestees, held a press conference to protest the Tucson Police Department’s recent actions against the occupiers at Vente de Agosto park downtown. Despite the fact that five occupiers had been arrested two nights before the press conference, and two the night before, no mainstream media turned up.

One might think that seven arrests resulting from the police going after political activists would seem to warrant some news coverage, but the decision makers at the mainstream news outlets in Tucson decided not to cover either the arrest of the occupiers or the press conference denouncing the police actions.

Some of the extra-legal actions and abuse of authority by the Tucson Police Department that were highlighted in Mr. Gattone’s press release include:

1. Camping gear is now illegal, according to the TPD. The TPD even stated that it was illegal for one of the Occupiers to have his truck parked alongside the park because it had camping gear in it. No ordinance was, however, cited by TPD regarding laws against having camping gear in the back of one’s vehicle.

2. The police have repeatedly ignored the city park curfew of 10:30 p.m. to illegally arrest people whose crime appears to be holding signs. On the evening of Friday, March 23, 2012 at around 9:30 p.m., three individuals were arrested while walking within the four feet easement mandated by the police the night before. The victims were protesting with signs; no blankets or any other personal possessions were present. One individual was reportedly knocked to the ground and injured as the TPD arrested the three.

3. Among the illegal and irresponsible police actions are constantly-changing definitions of park and sidewalk boundaries and the subsequent entrapping and arresting of protestors.

4. The TPD has exercised selective enforcement, violated their own policies with regard to handling evidence, and refused to return personal property of protestors in deliberate indifference to the law. Many occupiers had their possessions confiscated without property receipts given to them as is mandated by city law. Moreover, for many of the protestors, the jackets, clothes, shoes and other necessities taken by the TPD and never returned constitute all of their worldly possessions. Regardless of what you think of Occupy Tucson, the police actions constitute illegal seizure of property.

The unlawful actions and abuses of Occupy Tucson by the TPD warrants investigation and reporting. However, the mainstream media is only interested in scratching the surface of a story and not taking a longer view of a new movement.

Thus, even when the local media reports on Occupy Tucson, they report various allegations about there, e.g., “being a split” in the movement, or about drugs being used, or fights, or anything that will get attention and ratings so they can sell more car commercials on the page or at the next news break. These stories are part fabrication, part conflation and none of these stories are backed up by interviews with actual occupiers.

Instead, the media relies on “official sources” and, in our case, that means the police, Chief Villasenor, and the city council; the media seldom actually talks to the people in movement. It is true that the mainstream media did give some coverage to the Occupy movement in its early days last fall, but now that coverage has disappeared. We have to ask why is it that they no longer seem to have any interest in covering the occupy movement. Is it because Occupy is no longer the new and novel sensation that it was in October? Is the decision to ignore the movement intentional, and why is Occupy Tucson no longer news worthy? Are they saving an extra column of space or five extra minutes to cover, for example, the new Arizona football coach even though the economic and political inequality Occupy Tucson focuses on effects everyone?

Whatever the reason, this lack of media coverage presents a problem for Occupy Tucson and all social movements because in the modern world of politics it often seems that if you aren’t covered in the mass media, you don’t exist. Thus, members of Occupy Tucson, even though we undertake actions of creative disobedience that result in a whole string of arrests, are then asked by members of the public whether we even exist because “they don’t hear anything about the Occupy movement anymore.” On the positive side, the experience of being frozen out of the mainstream media has reminded all of us at Occupy Tucson why it is that alternative media is so important.

Peace,
Occupy Tucson
Co-authored by Greg Evans, Paul Gattone, and Tex Shelters of Occupy Tucson with help others in OT


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Wall Street Wins the 2012 Iowa Caucuses

In Current Events, Economics, Election Politics on January 5, 2012 at 00:07

Buying the Election from Salon.com

Romney had 8 more votes next to his name in the Iowa caucuses, and that means everyone else lost. Romney has the lead in New Hampshire, the next Republican primary, and he has the lead in money. Only Barack Obama has more campaign cash on hand than Mitt Romney. Without a crushing defeat in Iowa, Romney’s path to the nomination is clear. No amount of evangelical enthusiasm for Santorum, or youth and independent excitement for Ron Paul, will make a difference. Unless hit by a huge scandal, Wall Street’s man won’t lose now.

The Political Action Committee, PAC, Restore our Future spent $3 million in attack ads against Newt Gingrich after Gingrich had taken a lead in the polls about a month ago. A look at their website makes it clear that they are a pro-Romney, anti-Gingrich PAC. Because they operate as a PAC, Restore our Future received well over the $2500 individual contribution limit from individuals, i.e. millionaires. In fact, the four top donors gave $1 million each. And even though this PAC clearly supports the candidacy of Mitt Romney, they don’t face the same scrutiny as individual donors do. By giving to a PAC, donors can donate as much as they want. In essence, political influence in D.C. is sold to the highest bidders.

When money wins a political campaign, Wall Street wins. And so it was in Iowa on Tuesday. Occupy Wall Street and other occupy movements all over our nation have been working for four months to end the influence Wall Street has on politics. Wall Street has been buying influence in the nations capital through a combination of lobbying, donating to campaigns, PACs, making back room deals, and giving largess through cushy jobs after Congress members end their public work for 220 years in the United States, since 1792. So don’t expect the Occupy Wall Street movement to change Wall Street’s influence in national politics overnight.

Wall Street has a lot invested in the Presidency, having already contributed $16,835,938 to the various presidential campaigns, more than any other sector. Almost half of that total has gone to Mitt Romney ($7,801,006) with about a quarter going to President Obama ($4,187,924).  That means that 75% of the money donated by Wall Street and financial institutions has gone to the front runners in the two major parties. The Presidential race is a win-win for them regardless of what party comes out on top, although Romney is clearly their number-one choice.

Why does Romney win though he has low favorability ratings within his own party? Money, Romney’s low unfavorable ratings, and the desire to have a chance to beat Barack Obama will propel Romney to the nomination despite being a former moderate Republican on many issues. “Some financiers, like Schwarzman, are Republicans who may have chosen Romney because they think he’s the candidate most likely to beat Obama.”

Only 10% of Romney’s donations are from small donors, and that is 10% more than Wall Street wants. That makes Romney the clear choice of the 1%. And because money largely determines the winners of national and statewide elections, Romney is in a good position to win the Republican nomination.

Mark Green, Author of Selling Out: How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation, and Betrays Our Democracy, writes clearly about how money is the determining factor in the election of politicians in America. Even in 1904, the influence money had on the Presidential race was dramatic, “Fearing defeat, Roosevelt rejected pleas by Progressives to rely on small individual contributions and turned instead for financial support to the very bankers and industrialists who had only recently supported Hanna as the most acceptable Republican candidate….Some of the country’s richest men-Cornelius Bliss, J. P. Morgan, and Andrew Carnegie among them-contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and once it was known that the President was accepting corporate money, other financiers flooded the campaign with contributions, many of which were never publicized. Roosevelt won the presidency by a landslide.”

Here is a list of the top donors to Romney’s campaign this election cycle. Note that these are almost all financial institutions; Romney is clearly in the pockets of those largely responsible helping bring about the recession.

Goldman Sachs $367,200
Credit Suisse Group $203,750
Morgan Stanley $199,800
HIG Capital $186,500
Barclays $157,750
Kirkland & Ellis $132,100
Bank of America $126,500
PriceWaterhouseCoopers $118,250
EMC Corp $117,300
JPMorgan Chase & Co $ 112,250
The Villages $97,500
Vivint Inc $80,750
Marriott International $79,837
Sullivan & Cromwell $79,250
Bain Capital $74,500
UBS AG $73,750
Wells Fargo $61,500
Blackstone Group $59,800
Citigroup Inc $57,050
Bain & Co $52,500
Total: $2,437,837

Bain Capital is Romney’s old firm. They made millions buying troubled companies and their assets, gutting them, sending any remaining jobs overseas, and then reselling the assets at a profit. Romney’s experience gutting companies and making millions for Wall Street is what the financial institutions look for in a candidate. They are unconcerned with social issues that preoccupy some religious conservatives, unless those issues can be used to divide the people amongst themselves and not against the plutocrats.

Romney also has more large donors than any candidate. More than 8,000 donors have given Romney the maximum of $2,500, compared to less than 6,000 maximum donors for Obama…Romney’s big individual donors hail from major financial institutions. His top five companies are all banks or financial service firms: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, HIG Capital and Barclay’s. Bank of America and PricewaterhouseCoopers help round out his top ten.”

Romney wants no limits on Wall Street donations. The more Wall Street can donate, the more the 1% wins at the expense of the rest of us, the 99%. With those donations, he will be able to outspend his Republican opponents and win the nomination for his Wall Street cronies. Mitt Romney might feel the satisfaction of garnering the most votes next to his name, but the victory is not his to celebrate. Clearly, Wall Street won the Iowa caucus.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Billionaires and their Allies tell the Occupy Movement to Stop It!

In Current Events, Economics, Humor on October 11, 2011 at 18:28

This is a call to all Americans to stop occupying things. Can’t you see that by making all this noise about how unjust our economic system is that you are hurting job creators. And we were just about to take our $1.8 trillion in surplus cash and create some jobs, but you had to ruin things.

Why is it that these occupy people hate capitalism. Capitalism is working quite well for us billionaires. And as Herman Cain makes clear, if you’re not a billionaire, you have only your self to blame. Sure we helped pass laws that benefit only us. You too can have laws written for you, but you are too lazy to buy Congress members to do your bidding. Why not hire some lobbyists who use free speech to get our agenda through Congress? President to be Cain was right; if your not rich, you have only yourself to blame.

First, you accuse us of sending jobs overseas. Well, if you want a job, move to China or Indonesia. We send jobs where the workers are, why don’t you move to where the jobs are?

Then you accuse us of manipulating the markets and betting against our overvalued mortgage bundles and by creating hedge funds.  If only you had created your own hedge funds, you too would have been rich.

Then there are those of you so lazy as to point out that the top 5% of earners is the only group to have their real wages increase in the last twenty years. If you want high wages, why do you choose to be poor? It’s not our fault that 95% of America doesn’t know how to manage their money and become rich. The top 5% deserves their raises, the rest of the America does not. Otherwise, you would have earned them.

Some liberal whiners want to TAX the job creators. My Dollar Almighty! Why should we have to pay our share of the benefits we reap from society when we are the only ones contributing to the wealth? The occupy movements have it all wrong. We should get things for free and you should pay our taxes for us, for without us job creators, you wouldn’t exist. It’s a tribute you must pay to us because of our magnificence. At least we won’t chop off you heads like Genghis Khan would have if you didn’t pay tribute, yet.

The occupy movement has no focus, because without one talking point, it’s too hard to understand. Do you expect us to read your manifesto? That’s over 600 words and we are too busy laying people off and paying out bonuses to read things.

Here are a few of the things our members think they saw on Wall Street and why you should be afraid of the protesters. We know they hate capitalism, are violent and will invade your homes; Bill O’Reilly and Fox News told us. If you watch the videos of protesters being beaten and pepper sprayed, you will see how dangerous they are.

But that’s not all. We interviewed other reliable sources on how to fear the protesters.

“There are witches on Wall Street that want to turn you into a toad, or worse, make you poor,” says Salem Tribunal II. “I swear I saw them fly around on brooms.”

“They are pod people from outer space who will invade the bodies of Wall Street bankers and ruin us all,” screams Connie Spiracy III.

Christian Striker of the Alien Defense League Enforcement Division, A.D.L.E.D., testifies, “They are mutants, with mutant powers, and they will control your minds and invade your bead at night and make you believe that the top 1% don’t deserve all our nation’s wealth and political control.

An anonymous source states that, “They are Yeti abortion communists!”

The facts are in. The occupy movement is dangerous because they remind you how good we billionaires have it at your expense. But mostly they are dangerous because they make average Americans realize they can make a difference and have a voice.

Find and Occupy Group in your area: http://www.occupytogether.org/

Peace,
Tex Shelters