I was skeptical that the protests were serious.
I suspected they were yet another “demonstration” – the sort where people come, they wave signs, they complain, maybe even they riot a bit, and then they leave.
In 2008, in fact, on August 26th of that year, I said the following:
In short, once again, fraud. Legal, but fraud nonetheless. You, America, seem to think this is just great as your grocery and gas budgets get squeezed.
You must think its great for your budget and lifestyle to get reamed, since I’ve yet to see a groundswell of people in Washington DC protesting or our city streets swarming with people who refuse to leave and shut down commerce.
And I amplified the point with:
Let me know when y’all get mad enough to do something about all this nonsense….. (funny how during the Democratic Convention last night the buzz was all about the second round of sore loserman with Hillary delegates rather than the outright theft and fraud from the people that the party supposedly claims to be most-closely aligned with!)
I guess that time has arrived.
Even CNBC has been effectively forced to recognize that this is not just a bunch of Soros-funded hippies. Oh sure, they’re there; so is the SEIU, so are the other “usual suspects.” And why not – they’re always “there” when there’s a good flag to be waved and a movement to try to co-opt, exactly as was the Tea Party, exactly as was “9/12″, exactly as were the Tax Day protests (two of which I have spoken at locally.)
But then they went home. The streets were empty, the signs and people gone.
This time it’s different.
This time support is coming from surprising places. Like former corporate activist (and buyer of companies!) Asher Edelman.
Here’s the problem for the “powers that be” who have been trying to ignore this movement: They erroneously believed, as did many others (myself included), that this would be like the Tea Party (which was de-fanged and turned into a fraudulent shell of what it began as) or the other “movements” such as the “protests” at G-20 meetings. That is, people would show up, they’d wave signs, a few would commit random acts of violence and guarantee severe negative billing on the local TV and then they’d all go home and wash the tear gas out of their eyes.
But something different happened this time.
The people came. They didn’t throw molotov cocktails, sticks and bombs. They did wave signs, but then they didn’t go home. They did what I said would have to be done – in 2008 – in order to make a difference: THEY STAYED.
There’s been plenty of detractors spewing about the “Progressive Stack”; I have not witnessed it, and if it’s true that actual discrimination is being practiced, then we have a problem, as the fact remains that representative government demands that justice be color and gender-blind. If it’s not, and the allegation is being made that it is not, then gentlemen, we have a problem – a serious problem.
But I won’t throw bombs on this issue until I know. And toward that end, this weekend I will be attending one of the local protests. With a bullhorn. With others. With people in the political sphere. I am going both to talk to those who want to listen (if there are such people) and to listen and observe myself, and will take pictures while there.
Yes, at the end of that day I will go home. But some others may not. In fact, many others may not.
Here’s the thing: Even today, CNBC is still talking about “recapitalizing the banks.” What’s “recapitalize” mean? It means steal from you. See, the reason you need to “recapitalize” these firms is that they pissed away their own capital by doing dangerous, risky, even fraudulent things.
The corporate media and politicians are still claiming that “we made a profit from TARP” and that “everything was repaid.”
This is a bald lie. AIG didn’t repay their money. Neither did GM. Money was shuffled around in a complex shell game to appear that all was repaid but in fact what happened was that you, the taxpayer, were looted.
You were looted through higher prices at the gas pump, higher prices at the grocery store, lower wages and at the same time zero interest rates so those of you who were prudent got fucked THREE TIMES instead of twice!
Representative government? Where? By anywhere from 100:1 to 300:1 the people demanded that TARP NOT pass. That the banks that did foolish and in some cases criminal things be forced to eat the consequences.
Again, as I’ve said for four years: We need a banking system because we do indeed need a way to clear payments so you can pay a bill or buy gasoline and food – so commerce can flow. We do not need these banks that committed these acts.
But rather than do the right thing, our politicians were bought and paid for on both sides of the aisle. It’s particularly telling – and galling – that when allegedly being “grilled” by Hank Paulson in 2008 the banksters left the meeting smiling and yucking it up.
First they fucked you, then the government paid them to fuck you again.
Now, finally, it appears that the people have awoken. A day of ineffectual sign-waving isn’t enough any more. Oh sure, that’s part of it, but the part the media is ignoring – for now – is what’s happening after the “able to be ignored political rally” is over.
The people are organizing a Congress – a real one – in the public square.
They’re passing around ideas.
And then they’re VOTING.
It’s self-organized. It’s real. And while the crooners in the mainstream media are trying to ignore what’s actually happening, they’re not stopping it – and in fact, they probably can’t stop it at this point.
Washington – and Wall Street – now have an issue. One that may not be able to dispelled or dispersed any longer. One that may have now taken root and grown beyond the ability of the various factions in our government to either ignore it or stomp it out.
The people have, for four years, demanded that the foundational principle of representative government be followed: One citizen, one vote.
They didn’t get that.
There are many confused people at “Occupy Wall Street.” They know they were robbed, financially raped and serially abused by banksters and politicians, but they’re not exactly sure how it happened. I’ve written over 4,000 columns and a book – due out in a couple of weeks in hardback form – that details all of it, and Leverage details a path forward that I believe will address the problems on a permanent basis.
But that few of the OWS folks understand how it all happened doesn’t mean they don’t understand what happened. After all, it’s not difficult to figure out that your job got offshored to China and you’re standing in the street after you are foreclosed upon. You might not understand exactly why it is that your home went down in value by half or more, but you sure understand that you’re broke. You may not understand that you’ve been promised things like Medicare from politicians like Jeff Miller and Steve Southerland, along with Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and of course Harry Reid that there is no mathematical way for you to actually receive ten or twenty years hence, but you do understand that you’re 50, unemployed, that nobody will hire you and while they won’t say it (because it’s illegal to “discriminate” on this basis) you have a stinking suspicion it’s because the embedded cost of your medical insurance is $2,000 a month and the company you applied to can’t afford it. You may not understand exactly how you, the 20-something college graduate got ripped off to the tune of $100,000 by your “alma mater” for a worthless degree (proof of which is that you’re unemployed) but you sure as hell do know that the debt collectors are harassing you on a daily basis!
And let’s not kid ourselves – there were plenty of felonies committed here and both political parties are responsible for them, either as principals or accessories. 100,000 perjured affidavits in foreclosure cases? That’s all ok? Appraisal fraud that was rampant for nearly a decade – blacklisting appraisers that were honest and refused to play along so the bubble could be further inflated? That’s ok too? How about making loans that the lender knows can’t be paid (a business decision) but then marketing them as good loans to others when selling them on (fraudulent misrepresentation) – is that ok? How about intentionally arming Mexican drug gangs who then shoot both Mexican and American citizens with the apparent full knowledge of the US Attorney General? Is that ok? How about letting a major bank have a pass on criminal prosecution for money laundering for those very same drug cartels? For a more “home grown” example how about the Jefferson County Alabama residents that have seen their sewer bills go up by something like a factor of five over the last few years due to a corrupt project that was rife with graft and tricky financial deals – and while some of the politicians and others went to jail in Alabama, not one bankster who works for the major financial institutions that were involved in the scheme was even indicted, say much less imprisoned. Or, if you prefer, half a billion taxpayer dollars “invested” in a company that, it appears, the government knew was going to fail. There are dozens, even hundreds of other examples of rank corruption within our political system.
Since our bought and paid-for politicians won’t lock up the fraudsters and do what has to be done to dismantle the looting of the American citizen they’re being literally replaced wholesale.
Yes, right now this is “local government” with a small “l” and a small “g”. But make no mistake, this is representative government. It is people hashing out what they want and how to obtain it from a process of debate and discussion. Ideas are being circulated, argued, discussed and then voted upon.
That’s government folks. You’re seeing it.
What comes next?
Well, that depends on whether the denizens in Washington DC pay attention and wake the hell up. Whether they decide to STOP THE LOOTING AND START PROSECUTING. Whether they stand and demand that the frauds and the schemes not only end but those responsible are held to account. We tried it their way – “we must move on” – and the behavior didn’t change. The swilling banksters not only didn’t go to jail, they didn’t stop looting either. They stand on their 30th floor balconies sipping champagne and jeer at the “hoi polloi” below who are being literally bled dry by their schemes and scams.
The fact of the matter is that the cabal of looters, including Bernanke who is stealing from Granny each and every day with his “zero interest rates” in a puerile and outrageous attempt to prevent those who ripped her off with “home equity loans” and 30% interest on credit cards from having to face the music for their idiocy, still haven’t repudiated their failed policies and faced the mathematics: What they’re doing can’t work; the victims of this vampiric attack have been sucked dry and have no more blood to “donate” by force!
There is only one question left to answer: How serious are these folks in the various cities?
If the people have truly awakened then the government had no option but to STOP THE LOOTING AND START PROSECUTING. To deflate the odious and unpayable debt rather than try to build the pyramid higher. To cease deficit spending. To accept that the contraction that must come will come, but to refuse at the same time to protect those who did idiotic and even criminal things from the just deserts of their acts.
Yes, such a path forward will bring more economic pain in the short term. But the bulk of that pain should fall on the over-levered individual (who will be forced into bankruptcy) and the fat-cat banksters who intentionally lent money they did not have and knew couldn’t be paid as agreed, who will also go bankrupt and join the ranks of the destitute.
There are members of the “1%” who got there through honest industry. But they’re damn few in number. Those who exploited offshore labor – kids and near-literal slaves, along with poisoning the air and water in China to make billions (e.g: all the “darling” companies people know and love) are not innocent capitalists. They’re rapacious bastards, just as guilty as are the predatory lenders bilking people on serial refinances and University Reagents who built ivory-tower bullshit predicated on outrageously-abusive “lending” peddling worthless “degrees.” Then there’s the medical “industry” that rips you off for $20 for a dick pill in America while a Canadian – hardly a poor nation – can pop the same pill for $2. It’s all part of the same racket, and it’s time to tear the away special privileges that have allowed these people to literally steal your future and that of the youth of this nation.
I suspect that this movement will not go away. Indeed, should the power of the government be abused further to try to stamp it out with violence there is a very real risk of revolution. This is the fear I’ve voiced before; history says that for every 1 George Washington you get 10 Hitlers or Pol Pots. The odds suck should the people decide they’re not going to stand for it, which is why in The Declaration the following appears:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
The Colonists more than 200 years ago knew the risks. There were certainly many examples of attempts to form a more-perfect union that had failed in the past, resulting in totalitarian states. Most of the Colonists came from one or another – they knew what bondage was!
No, I do not wish to see violence. I do not wish to see Revolution. I fear it, because I have read history, I have studied history, and I know the odds. The odds suck ladies and gentlemen, but these odds are known to the Washington elite as well.
I therefore hope – indeed, pray – that instead we will see contemplation in our seats of political power. That we will see the government do the right thing and respond to the will of the people, not the will of the looter. The looters are not the people in the parks waving signs – they’re the ones in the balconies. They’re infesting The Federal Reserve and indeed Congress as well.
There remains time for reform. To level with the American people: You were made political promises that are mathematically impossible to keep. The political machinery of this nation and indeed of other nations as well built edifices that ensconced and protected frauds, both legal and illegal. These edifices must come down. Those who did criminal things must be and will be punished, those who did stupid things must and will be exposed to the natural outcomes of foolish acts.
No, you cannot have the pension you were promised: Those who promised it to you lied. 8% compounded growth forever is impossible.
9% growth in medical costs cannot be sustained forever either. Drug and device companies, along with the medical industry generally, lobbied furiously for special protections so they could literally loot the economy, more than doubling the share of economic activity they plundered from you.
The education industry is just as bad. College costs have gone up some 500% over the last 30 years. This too was driven by two fraudulent edifices: The claim that “everyone should go to college” along with “free” money lent to everyone to attend, even though those doing the lending knew damn well that a huge percentage could not pay and would not find employment. We know this is true because these lenders lobbied for, and received, special protection to prevent students from going bankrupt and discharging their debt!
The housing industry lied as well. 10% growth projections in price trumpeted by many were a knowing lie. That too is mathematically impossible on an indefinite forward basis; hell, even on a 30 year (duration of a mortgage) basis it’s impossible. The $150,000 house turns into a $2.4 million one if you believe those numbers. Yet this is what you were “sold” and worse, the financiers enabled it by “selling” you money to chase that which they knew would blow up. They just didn’t know when it would.
We still hear people talking about “investing for the next 20 years” in companies that tout 5-year expected earnings growth of 20-25% annualized. One such company, were this to prove up over 20 years, would have revenues of more than $2 trillion by that time. Not billion, trillion That clearly isn’t going to happen, yet that same claim was made in the 1990s and virtually every one of those firms collapsed – they were ultimately a zero!
Removing the artificial supports that propped up these schemes, scams and frauds will cause the economy to go into freefall. That’s a fact. But we can mitigate some of these harms, and we must.
We must stop believing in “globalization” where what it really means is offshoring labor to places with 1/30th of our labor cost as they employ children and near slaves, literally having to place nets around the buildings so the workers can’t commit suicide.
We must stop allowing people to come into this county as “migrants” when in fact the reason businesses want them here is that they’re undocumented, cheap to employ, cost-shift their education and health care to everyone else and are being literally abused as if slaves here in the United States. No instead these people must leave – and those jobs must go to Americans.
We must recognize that the consequence of ramping inflationary impacts on assets - including “home prices” – must be allowed to correct. If you support widespread homeownership why is it that basically nobody actually owns a house? You don’t own something if the bank has the title nor do you own something that you must pay taxes on every week, month or year. I own my computer; it’s paid for and there is no continuing payment to government or a bank for it. I do not own my house; while I have no mortgage to a bank I sure have one to my local county, don’t I? We must stop lying to the people about what is really going on, have the debate on what we want, and how we’re going to pay for it.
In short the schemes, scams and frauds have to end. I recognize that there is short-term pain involved in doing this but it doesn’t matter – it has to happen and it will. Our only option lies in choosing to do it on our terms rather than through societal and political collapse. For those interested in justice not only will ending the scams mean prosecution for those who deserve it, it will mean bankruptcy for many of those “Fat cats” who really aren’t rich – they’re living large on the same leverage that the common people were during the housing bubble years, and when it collapses they will be rendered broke as well.
We can either face facts in this nation or the nascent beginning of a potential replacement of our current government will grow, as will the risks. History says that the people are usually ignored by the looters right up until a substantial fraction have lost everything and therefore have nothing to lose. When that group become of sufficient size and decide to organize, the game’s over and the outcome is usually very undesirable.
Do not hope or pray for revolution my friends. Down that road lies terrible risk and poor odds. Instead, pray for wisdom and change by our elected and appointed officials, that they choose the path of sanity rather than compounding insanity.
The time to do the right thing is running out.
Same location; same message: STOP THE LOOTING & START PROSECUTING!