Tag Archives: Wall Street

Happy “Wake-Up Day”!

11 May
Happy “Wake-Up Day”!

 

The movie is called “Owned & Operated” and it’s about the world and about society. It’s an attempt to show the world not just as it is, but also as it could be, using Video, Audio, Images, and quotes collected from every corner of the internet… and using all those things, it attempts to create a single narrative thread about these topics… through these contributions of hundreds of different people.

 

The idea is to wake people up, and get them thinking about things they may not yet have been thinking about. Because honestly, it’s time to wake the f*** up.

 

A bad deal

10 Feb
WALL Street.

WALL Street. (Photo credit: eyewash)

A bad deal

Wall Street banks fraudulently and illegally foreclose on your house. You get $2,000. The bank gets let off the hook. We’d call that a bad deal.

And yet yesterday, at the urging of the White House, federal regulators along with 49 state attorneys general announced a settlement deal for mortgage servicer abuse that does essentially that. It lets banks off the hook for widespread foreclosure fraud.

Press releases have trumpeted a $26 billion deal which may sound like a lot, but it’s a paltry sum when you break down the numbers.

With an average mortgage of $180,000, and loan instruments executed illegally, a family that lost their home will get a check for just over 1% of the value of the mortgage.1 That is not a victory. The amount of money this deal makes available to help homeowners is an order of magnitude too small and incommensurate with the harm done by the banks.

The estimated $10-$20 billion in the deal for principal reduction would reduce only about 2% of the $700 billion in equity destroyed during the financial crisis. And the banks themselves will only pay $5 billion out of their own pocket. By far the lion’s share of the cost will be borne by investors and taxpayers, who had no part in the robo-signing scandal. 2

No doubt the deal is far better than the deal that was offered months ago. And this most certainly is a result of activism from members of CREDO and many of our allies in the progressive movement who worked with progressive attorneys general like New York’s Eric Schneiderman, California’s Kamala Harris, Delaware’s Beau Biden, Massachusetts’ Martha Coakley and Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto to fight a bad deal.

But the final deal, while better, still can’t be characterized as a good deal or even as a good first step towards real accountability for Wall Street banks.

The reported $26 billion settlement will not come close to inflicting any real pain on the banks all of which have already reserved the full amounts required from them under the deal. As Robert Reich said, the “$26 billion settlement with banks over mortgage fraud is far short of what they should pay and distressed home owners deserve.”3

One in five Americans with mortgages owe the banks more than their homes are worth, and these home owners are underwater by an average of $50,000 each. This is a collective negative equity of nearly $700 billion.4

Consider the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street paid for by U.S. taxpayers5 and the more than $1.2 trillion in loans6 provided by the Federal Reserve to Wall Street banks. Or another way to put the deal in perspective is to compare it to the tobacco industry settlement in 1998 – the largest previous multi-state agreement. That deal was worth $350 billion in today’s dollars — more than ten times the size of the mortgage deal.7

And that’s not even all that’s wrong with this deal. The federal government’s track record for enforcing settlement terms with Wall Street banks is abysmal. Furthermore, even if the banks follow the terms of the deal, it’s quite possible than when all is said and done, not only will the banks have suffered no pain, they may actually come out having profited from their illegal schemes to rip off homeowners. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the largest mortgage banks saved $20 billion by taking illegal shortcuts — an amount far greater than the $5 billion out of pocket they will be required to pay in this deal.

All of which adds up to a scenario in which this settlement does literally nothing to deter the banks from engaging in the same fraudulent behavior in the future.

Senator Dick Durbin famously said the Wall Street banks own the politicians in Washington, DC. Today, this could not be more clearly true as we closely examine the deal that the Obama administration cut with Wall Street and pressured state attorneys general to sign.

There has yet to be a full investigation of the robo-signing scandal despite what Reuters called “copious evidence” of “widespread forgery, perjury, obstruction of justice, and illegal foreclosures….” 8

By establishing settlement terms before there has been any meaningful investigation, the deal whitewashes the widespread lawlessness of the banks and virtually ensures that no bankers will be held criminally responsible for their part in the robo-signing scandal and foreclosure fraud.

Though the exact terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, we understand that it will not cut off other important avenues to hold the banks accountable. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is co-chairing a federal task force that if fully resourced and left to operate unhindered by the White House could achieve hundreds of billions in reduced principal for underwater homeowners and criminal indictments for bankers who broke the law and helped drive our economy off a cliff. And other state attorneys general can continue investigating Wall Street’s role in causing the housing crisis to ensure that the banks that caused the crisis are held accountable for their wrongdoing.

This is the biggest case of fraud in our history. Homeowners deserve justice for crimes committed against them by Wall Street banks that in many cases literally stole their homes from underneath them. Unfortunately, yesterday’s settlement doesn’t even provide anything close to a down payment on justice.

As the election season heats up, we must be insistent about real accountability for Wall Street crooks. Pressure from activists like us will be even more important in the days to come if we are to achieve any real measure of accountability for Wall Street bankers who profited from their crimes and left the 99% to pay to the price for their reckless disregard.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

 

1. “Less than meets the eye in mortgage settlement,” Jon Talton, Seattle Times, 02-09-12
2. “The Servicing Settlement: Banks 1, Public 0,” Adam Levitin, Credit Slips, 02-09-12
3. Twitter, 02-09-12
4. “Mortgage Plan Gives Homeowners Bulk of the Benefits,” Nelson D. Schwatz and Shaila Dewan, New York Times, 02-09-12
5. “Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Secret Loans,” Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz, Bloomberg, 08-22-11
6. “The Wall Street Bailout Plan Explained ,” David Stout, New York Times, 09-20-08
7. “FAQ: The foreclosure settlement ,” Sarah Halzack and Sarah Kliff, WashingtonPost.com, 02-09-12
8. “U.S. AG Eric Holder, DoJ Head Lanny Breuer Linked To Banks Accused Of Foreclosure Fraud ,” Reuters, 01-19-12.

source: click here
“Want to make a change, to save the world? Learn what needs to be saved, but more importantly…… what needs to change.” www.zeitgeistmovie.com

First Amendment Under Siege

21 Nov
After a week in which journalists and police clashed at Occupy Wall Street and related events around the country — and the NYPD arrested 12 reporters — leaders like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg are starting to feel the heat. Our campaign demanding that all mayors defend the First Amendment and rein in these attacks was featured in today’s New York Times.
So far 30,000 people have joined our action, urging all mayors to protect journalists’ right to free speech. If you have not added your name yet, please sign our petition today. We’ll be delivering them soon.
Once you take action, check out the New York Times article and share it with your friends. This is a fight for the freedom of our press — let’s keep the pressure on.
Thanks — Josh

SaveTheNews.org

Mayors: Protect Press Freedom in Your Cities.

Dear Ismael,
Early Tuesday morning, the New York Police Department forcibly evacuated Zuccotti Park, home of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The move provoked a clash not only with protesters but with the press. In what appears to have been a coordinated effort to block coverage of the raid, the police barred many journalists from reporting on the police action.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the police kept the media away “to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect members of the press.”
But according to the New York Times, one journalist told a police officer “I’m press!” and the officer just responded “Not tonight.”
If the mayor of our country’s largest city thinks protecting the press means silencing them, we’re in big trouble. And he’s not alone. Police harassment of the media has been reported during “Occupy” protests in Chicago, Denver, Oakland, Portland and beyond. Arrests of journalists continued throughout the week as protesters took to the streets nationwide.
It’s time to tell mayors across the country to uphold our press freedoms.

Tell Mayor Bloomberg and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to publicly commit to defending the First Amendment and letting journalists do their jobs.

The NYPD is using more than words to fight journalists. Since Tuesday, 13 reporters have been arrested, another was put in a choke hold, another was beaten with a baton and others were subjected to police harassment.
In fact, since the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement two months ago, 26 journalists have been arrested2, 3 and countless others have been roughed up, tear-gassed and pepper sprayed. There have even been reports of police using high-powered strobe lights to disable video cameras and block people from recording their actions.

Demand that all U.S. mayors publicly commit to protecting freedom of the press.

Please sign this action and we will deliver your letter to Mayor Bloomberg and the Conference of Mayors and demand that they drop all charges and make this crucial commitment to upholding the First Amendment.
The freedom of our press is fundamental to our identity as Americans. As elected representatives charged with serving the people, our mayors must rein in these aggressive and violent tactics by local law enforcement.
Please take action right now.
Josh Stearns
Associate Program Director
Free Press
http://www.freepress.net
P.S. Great news: If we raise $300,000 by Dec. 31, 2011, two longtime supporters will kick in an additional $300,000. Donate today and your gift will pack double the punch in the fight to protect the First Amendment and journalists everywhere. Thank you!
1. Brian Stelter, “Reporters Say Police Denied Access to Protest Site,” New York Times, Nov. 15, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/7342?akid=3075.9918148.4u_m9d&t=13
2. See a list of all journalists arrested at Occupy events since September, plus related videos and articles. http://act2.freepress.net/go/7343?akid=3075.9918148.4u_m9d&t=15
3. See a statement from the Society of Professional Journalists condemning the arrests. http://act2.freepress.net/go/7344?akid=3075.9918148.4u_m9d&t=17

Occupy McAllen Rally Outside of Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase Bank in Connection with Global Day of Action

10 Nov

Pharr, TX – Occupy McAllen, as part of a global day of action, will rally outside the Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Chase banks located near the intersection of Jackson Road  and Jackson Avenue in Pharr, on Friday, November 11th, at 5:00 pm. The largest banks in the US earned $34 billion in profit in the first half of this year, nearly matching what they earned in the same period in 2007 before the financial crisis happened. Wall Street firms paid about $20.8 billion in bonuses in 2010, while the average American still suffers from Wall Street’s greed, facing unemployment, foreclosures, and increasing impoverishment.

Occupy McAllen is participating in this global day to protest against an unjust economic system rigged against working people. But the protest is also in defense of the First Amendment right to assembly which has been violently challenged by mayors and the police in several cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, and Oakland. In Oakland, the police department violently dismantled Occupy Oakland’s encampment, and aggressively attacked peaceful protestors with tear gas, billy clubs, and flash grenades. Scott Olsen, an Iraq War veteran participating in Occupy Oakland, was struck on October 25 with a police projectile and has sustained brain damage.

Occupy McAllen is marching in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world, especially where they are under violent attack, as in Oakland, and to demand the US government respect and enforce the US Bill of Rights protecting our right to assemble.

What: Rally Outside of Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase Banks

When: Friday, November 11 • 5:00pm – 6:30pm

Location: Meet at Jackson Avenue and Jackson Road

Event page: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=211954908876600

Facebook Page for Occupy Mcallen https://www.facebook.com/occupymcallen?sk=info

“Want to make a change, to save the world? Learn what needs to be saved, but more importantly…… what needs to change.” www.zeitgeistmovie.com

Keystone XL Pipeline Tarsands Action #Canada #p2

26 Oct
Dear friends,
I think you’re going to like this video: 


Last week, actor Mark Ruffalo took “the people’s microphone” at Occupy Wall Street — not to promote a new movie, but to issue a powerful call to action. In under three minutes, Mark connects the dots between the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, fracking, Occupy Wall Street, and the big action planned in DC for November 6th. Mark’s speech captures exactly the kind of energy we’ll need to win this fight.
Click here to watch Mark’s video, and click here to share it on Facebook.
People across the country have been feeling frustrated: frustrated with the corporate control of our democracy, frustrated with the rising levels of pollution in our atmosphere, and frustrated by the lack of a movement powerful enough to turn the tide. We are seeing that frustration reflected in the #occupy events that are growing throughout the country — but frustration alone is not enough.
As Mark says in the video, the task ahead of us is to “turn our grief into winnable action. November 6th is a winnable action!”
The November 6th action in DC is shaping up to be a historical mobilization for this movement. As Mark describes it, “We’re going to make a Human Chain around the White House — to remind Obama to unlink his arms with the corporations, the gas and oil industry, and entwine his arms with the people that he is in charge of taking care of.”
Sounds like a plan to me.
Let’s do this,
Jamie Henn, 350.org 


QUESTIONS and MORE INFO
Where can I get more information about the November 6th action in DC?
You can sign up here and get more logistical info right here.  Also, tonight at 8 PM Eastern Time, Bill McKibben will be hosting a live video chat to talk about what we need to do before November 6th to make this action even bigger. To join in, just go to www.tarsandsaction.org/video-chat at 8 PM Eastern and press play.
What is “fracking”?
Hydraulic fracturing, AKA “fracking”, is is a method of gas extraction that involves injecting highly-toxic chemicals deep underground to fracture rock formations. There are significant concerns about the effects of fracking on drinking water quality, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Who is this Mark Ruffalo guy?
You probably recognize him from popular movies — recently he’s been in “The Kids are All Right”, “You Can Count on Me”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, and more. Recently, Mark has emerged as a powerful spokesperson and campaigner for the anti-fracking movement.
What is the people’s microphone — and why is everyone repeating what Mark says in the video?
At Occupy Wall Street in New York, amplified sound (speakers, megaphones, etc. ) are prohibited, so people have gotten creative in order to make their voices heard. When someone uses the “people’s mic”, a speaker will say a line, and then everyone in earshot will repeat it and amplify it so the larger group can hear. It can be a bit slow going, but it’s proven to be a powerful tool for the direct democracy that’s at work at #occupy events around the country.


350.org is building a global movement to solve the climate crisis. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for email alerts. You can help power our work by getting involved locally and donating here.
What is 350? Go to our website to learn about the science behind the movement.

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