Occupy Wall Street?

economu-could-be-more-fair I was going to write something about “occupy wall street” – I even found their statement, and was going to analyse it. But really all I was going to do was snark. So instead I’ll point you at Anarchists for good government
which has the benefit of being by someone who was there. I agree with it all. Principally, with the assertion that although people think something is wrong, no-one has any idea how to put it right. And secondly, with the observation that this helps unify the protests (and the implication that the protests would fragment if there was an idea of what to do).

Updates: well, we now have “Occupy SX” and they too would like the world to be full of fluffy bunnies [*] and everyone just to be nice to each other. But they too have no clue as to how to achieve this. More interestingly RP has some practical experience.

[*] I.e., not Rabetts :-).


* Occupy London Stock Exchange – the initial statement
* Not that I haven’t said this before but…..
* Photos from Occupy Toronto

Other images



  1. #1 J Bowers

    Sounds like the beginnings of the Tea Party, but made up of progressives and the more liberal minded. At this stage, I dare say it simply important that they actually meet, walk and talk together. It’s not as if there’s a single issue which can be shot with a silver bullet and all of America’s woes will go away. Give it some time, and hopefully they won’t be hijacked like the Tea Party movement were. I can hardly see Americans for Prosperity wanting to mix with this lot.

  2. #2 Nick

    The problem with governments is just the same as Maddoff and his accounting practices, and the result the same.

    It’s hiding the liabilities off the books. Primarily but not exclusively, pension liabilities.

    Add it what you have promised to pay in social payments, and its worse.

    So banks, with no large expenses are now only allowed to gear up 10 times, are evil.

    Governments who have massive fixed costs, are allowed to gear up 30-40 times.

    Which one is going to hurt most, and we have Greece as a taster. Remember, cuts haven’t really kicked in there.

  3. #3 J Bowers

    Nick, could you please explain what you mean by ‘gear up’ in your context?

    You do also know that the banks had no accountancy practises for their toxic assets – that they didn’t even know how to audit them – and also advised their customers to make one form of investment while they themselves bet against their own customers’ investments?

    It was also private firms like Standard and Poors who gave the big thumbs despite a failing financial system and much warned about imminent collapse (but theirs is only an opinion as explicitly stated in their smallprint), where also, even though he was aware of it and the overriding cause had been identified as massive deregulation of the financial institutions, Alan Greenspan, Ayn Rand’s most faithful follower to her bitter end, responded by pushing for more deregulation.

    Then there were the independent economists who were charged with investigating whether the banks were in good state of health and reported back that they were. As it turns out, these same economists have vested interests in the very financial institutions they were meant to be impartially reviewing through consultancies. One even changed the title of his report on the Greenland banks from a positive to a negative after the bail out.

    Please explain why the ordinary person would not think of the banks as evil.

  4. #4 Sean

    Fantastic post I hope see more, thanks.

  5. #5 Paul Kelly

    The one unifying idea among the occupiers seems to be that somebody other than themselves is holding them down.

  6. #6 Collin

    J Bowers, if you think this merely resembles the Tea Party, you’re dreaming. This is just another attempt of the Tea Party to rebrand itself. It has nothing to do with progressives.

    The “ordinary person” would be thankful that America has gotten rid of the dens of escalating greed and violence produced by gold mining.

  7. #7 J Bowers

    “This is just another attempt of the Tea Party to rebrand itself. It has nothing to do with progressives.”

    That’s interesting. Can you show some evidence of that?

  8. #8 J Bowers

    Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party compared

    Sorry, Colin, but I can’t agree with your opinion so far.

  9. #9 Boris

    There is no evidence for that. It is hilariously wrong.

  10. #10 J Bowers

    Comments with links stuck in spam. Got a pretty good one, too, of an original Tea Partier spelling out what the OWS movement should watch out for so that it doesn’t become a front for a major party rebrand like the Tea Party did.

  11. #11 Rich Puchalsky

    The purpose of a protest is supposedly to get the government to change specific policies … but when the government is as dysfunctional as the United States’ is, protests have another purpose, that of organizing people and simply registering discontent. No one was even talking in the media about “our economy could be more fair” until a number of people, who indeed have no idea what to do and why should they, came together for these protests.

    I’ve written about this in more detail at my blog if anyone cares.

  12. #12 Holly Stick

    The revolution will not be sound-bited.

    I don’t really see what is so hard to understand about 99% v. 1% I think it is basically anti-corporatist in feeling, a reaction to the abuse of process which has legally declared corporations to be persons with rights, while never forcing them to meet any responsibilities. Corporations control our governments. This is a bad thing. See also Murdoch, Rupert.

  13. #13 Anna Haynes

    +1 JB

  14. #14 Eli Rabett

    Well as far as the cure, helicopter drops of money ain’t a bad way to start. (see Atrios, somewhat tongue in cheek, but a core of truth). The cost of money is at zero or even negative, this is a perfect time to take out a loan and fix the house (infrastructure), creating gobs of jobs and given the multiplier effect of jobs with full employment, tax revenues rise. This is basic economics but the pain caucus and the confidence fairies don’t hold with it.

    How’s that austerity medicine tasting over there by the way?

    [My wife and I are in private employ, so haven't noticed yet. My brother and his wife are in sort-of public (RAF, doctor) and don't seem to have noticed too much either. But some places are hard hit -W]

  15. #15 J Bowers

    One phrase I’m seeing goes along the lines of OWS being a movement for ‘humanity against non-human entities’. It does seem to share a number of issues with the original TP (not the theocratic pro-plutocrat Frankenstein’s monster it now is). But, there are yet to be any placards seen of pictures of Obama with a bone through his nose, which, to me, is in itself a sign of a major difference between the TP and OWS (apart from the most obvious); OWS sees government as part of the solution, and not as the actual problem.

  16. #16 Rich Puchalsky

    The problem with saying that “helicopter drops of money ain’t a bad way to start” is that then you have to get into why they haven’t taken place yet. Why is there a pain caucus and a concern about imaginary confidence fairies? You can’t get too far down that road before confronting plutocracy and its effects, and at that point a simple initiative “have the government spend money to build infrastructure”, becomes a lot more complicated. You can’t do the simple things that would work because the system is set up to prevent them. And then it sounds like people don’t know what they want, because alternate theories about what kind of system we should have have themselves been discredited in various ways.

  17. #17 Nathan Johnson

    no-one has any idea how to put it right
    A good first step would be to recognize that corporations are not people.

    [How would that make any practical difference? -W]

  18. #18 dhogaza

    “[How would that make any practical difference? -W]”

    In the US, it would void the Supreme Court decision that, being legally equivalent to people, corporations have an uninhibited right under the First Amendment to spend as much money on political speech as they want.

    After that ruling, corporations dumped huge amounts of money into political campaigns in 2010.

  19. #19 J Bowers

    “[How would that make any practical difference? -W]“

    The officers of a corporation have a legal duty to protect the interests of the individual they serve alone (the corporation), without the choice of opting to serve the interests of the people as a whole for the greater good. Otherwise, they can be charged with not showing due diligence in the affairs they are supposed to manage in the sole interests of the corporation and its shareholders, and can even be sued by the shareholders. When a corporation opts to support a particular candidate and throw its resources behind them in a democratic election they are acting undemocratically, because they have only one option; to serve the best sole interests of the corporation. In contrast, you or I, as real physical human beings, have the option of foresaking our own individual best interests for the sake of what we perceive as the greater good, and put any resources we have behind a candidate who in the short term may not be good for us, but in the long term may be better for us or even our descendants. We, as individuals, are not chained to the tragedy of the commons.

  20. #20 Anonymous

    “…To compound the problem, unrestrained corporate power is fatal to effective democracy. With corporate wealth funding not just many, but almost all of the lobbyists in Washington, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that corporations dictate public policy in the United States. And we often hear of “special interests” controlling Washington, as if there are lots of adversarial representative groups fighting one another over public policy, but in fact that usually isn’t the case. With very few exceptions, almost all “special interests” in Washington are corporate interests, funded entirely by corporations and industries. Defense contractors, for practical purposes, own and control the Pentagon. Medical and pharmaceutical interests own and control the FDA. Financial powerhouses have their hands in all policy that interests them. Rarely are any of these interests offset by a correspondingly powerful lobby defending the interests of ordinary Americans.

    Because of this, participatory democracy is almost dead in the United States. Cynicism is high, because ordinary Americans, correctly, don’t feel that they’re in control. Corporate interests define the spectrum of debate, and that spectrum has no room for serious legislation that challenges the corporate oligarchy…”


  21. #21 Holly Stick

    Oops, that was me

  22. #22 grypo

    While they can’t take credit for the emotion evoked by the movement so far, if you are looking to what started the idea od occupation, you should look at Anonymous. They’ve been promoting that people take back the planet from governments and their financiers for a couple years now in broad daylight. They grew up from their 4chan days of ‘the only reason to do anything is for the lulz’. For people looking for meaning in it, good luck getting anything other than the age old leftist meme ‘power to the people’. That’s it. 99%. Get the money out of politics. End the Fed. We want democracy. It’s all born of the same idea. I forgive the liberals for getting giddy and thinking it’s about them. It’s not. It’s about everybody. That’s the only consensus. Everything else comes from returning the power to the 99%.

    BTW, the activism involved is fashioned after Egypt, not the TP. The TP is now a hijacked joke. It made everything they fought for 10x worse.

  23. #24 Greg

    First they laugh at you, then they think you are stupid….. then they agree with you?

    This is big precisely because it is so fundamental. The 1% have excessive influence on what is supposed to be a democracy here, with one person one vote (piece of influence). Agreement on this issue is extremely widespread.

    Secondly they are using collaborative thinking that tries to incorporate the knowledge and skills of the people in the group (and trying to welcome everyone into it) rather than just a hierarchical type of approach in which all the ideas come from a small number of people.

    [Do you think thy have managed to say anything coherent about what is to be done? If so, what have they said? -W]

  24. #25 J Bowers


    I think it’s pretty clear that it’s all about cutting out a cancer which has taken a stranglehold of the democratic process. That’s the solution in itself. Once you remove a cancer you don’t actually need to replace it with something else.

    [Hmm, I'm not impressed. #1 is "They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage." This isn't right: the vast bulk of the foreclosures have been perfectly justified; there may have been some trifling irregularities but harping on those is more of a lawyers quibble than a manifesto for justice.

    #3 is "They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one's skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation." - this one is odd, too. It appears to confess that the Vast Evil Corporations don't have making money as their #1 priority - otherwise, why would they bother with discrimination?

    It isn't clear who "They" are either. Presumably, "they" are teh corporations, but that is rather vague.

    "They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press." - what, in the US? Really? That doesn't sound very plausible.

    "They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit." - WTF? This trivia deserves a mention in the same breath as fundamental rights? Come on OWS, get a grip on yourself - it you allow yourself to be held hostage by every minor consumer group with an axe to grind, you're stuffed.

    And at the end, there are no suggestions for what is to be done. Wake me up when they get some -W]

  25. #26 dhogaza

    “The officers of a corporation have a legal duty to protect the interests of the individual they serve alone (the corporation), without the choice of opting to serve the interests of the people as a whole for the greater good.”

    Only true of publicly traded corporations in the US, though most interesting corps are publicly traded. Except for the ultra-interesting Koch empire which is privately held.

    The fiduciary duty of officers and directors is to the shareholders, fundamentally, and would survive the stripping of legal personhood from corporations.

    The problem isn’t really the personhood of a corporation per se- the fact that it can sign contracts, be held liable for contracts, etc isn’t a bad thing.

    It’s the various judgements that have extended that fiction of personhood beyond the basic reasoning (making for much simpler dealings with a business, ever try signing a contract with a million shareholders or verifying that each has given a power of attorney to a CEO?) to broader legal, and now even Constitutional, rights far beyond the boring pedestrian streamlining of running a business.

    What’s next, the right to vote?

  26. #27 Neven


    A list of symptoms, but nowhere do they mention the root cause, the mechanism by which all the symptoms are caused: the neoclassical economic concept of infinite growth.

    How do people manage to overlook this simple and obvious relationship?

    As long as no one is talking about the impossibility of infinite economic growth and the negative consequences of letting such a concept be the basis of everything (economy, culture, society), this movement is doomed. It will be so easy to divide and conquer it.

  27. #28 J Bowers

    “Only true of publicly traded corporations in the US”

    Yes. But that applies to most of the corporations that could significantly bankroll a candidate. I also thought of the Kochs last night, their being in a fairly unique position. They also bus their employees to rallies and send letters to them to influence their vote. Whoever said that politics has no place in the workplace?

    Another aspect is those corporations which are a subsidiary of a foreign multinational. Do they act in the best interests of foreign nationals?


    “National Policy to Ban Corporate Wealth from Being Used in Federal Campaigns was Established in 1907″.


    “Citizen United Decision Does Open a Major Loophole for Foreign Interests to Participate in Federal Elections Through Domestic-Controlled Corporations, Congress Needs to Act Quickly to Close the Loophole”

  28. #29 Eli Rabett

    The zeroth rule of hole digging is to realize you are in a hole. Only then does it make sense to stop digging. The people propagating the nonsense that the OWS folk don’t have solutions are trying to blind everyone to the fact that they are the problem and that by rubbing people’s nose in the truth OWS is a threat. It’s denialism of an economic sort. Don’t be played.

    [I don't see how insisting that they have solutions helps, when you can't point to them. They have an analysis of the problem - if you're being kind - but no more. Giving them an easy ride - saying "oh yeah I kind of agree so I won't bother analyse what you're saying too carefully for fear of finding problems" - won't help them -W]

    And oh yes, on the austerity is good for you front Some people have noticed. Who’s next. The failure to understand that it is going to be you can be a fatal one. The politics of the 1% is based on the money insulted protection they have, and a reason why OWS has brought panic to Wall Street, Capital Hill and Whitehall

  29. #30 J Bowers

    Neven, I think they have more immediate issues to deal with practically. The current Tea Party manifestation is trying to take the US back to a pre-New Deal era (“Take us back!” was a common chant). Even though they have some common goals with the original Tea Party movement, OWS seem to be trying to take the US back to a post-New Deal, pre-Reaganism/Bush era.

    How do you eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time. They might be wiser, for now, by specifically targetting the Citizens United decision, raise funds to hire heavyweight sympathetic lawyers to do so, and ally themselves with the state of Vermont who have been attempting to do the same at a constitutional level.


  30. #31 J Bowers

    “”They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.” – what, in the US? Really? That doesn’t sound very plausible. – W”

    Caught on camera.


    [Not nearly good enough. Do you not realise that? -W]

  31. #32 Moopheus

    “Principally, with the assertion that although people think something is wrong, no-one has any idea how to put it right.”

    Right, because, of course, exercising your rights of assembly, speech, and petitioning the government are wholly dependent on having answers to all of our problems. If, however, the institutions of the elites–the government, corporate America, Wall Street, the news media, and so on, are fucking you over, show no inclination to stop fucking you over, or end their collusion to fuck you over, please do not speak up just to say that you are unhappy about this.

    [So, you don't have a clue either -W]

  32. #33 J Bowers

    “[Not nearly good enough. Do you not realise that? -W]”

    What is good enough? Greg Palast being arrested for filming footage of the Katrina refugee camps?

    [It is anecdotal. Isn't that obvious? If you wanted to assert a systematic nationwide problem you'd want much better evidence. What next "oh! this winter is very cold, GW must be wrong?" -W]

  33. #34 Holly Stick


    [Its still not very convincing. How about you commit yourself: do you think there is something that amounts to "They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press"? People in power tend not to like the press; the police tend not to like the press (except the Met., when taking bribes from them, of course), does this really rise above that level?

    It seems to me that OWS are scatter-shotting charges, rather than focussing on their main point (which I had taken to be economic - perhaps I was wrong). That risks derailing the discussion into multiple sterile channels, which I think this is in danger of becoming. Is this really the issue you want to focus on? -W]

  34. #35 J Bowers

    “What next “oh! this winter is very cold, GW must be wrong?” -W”

    But by the smae token, it’d be unreasonable to expect every US journo to have an annual get together to swap their ‘I was a police punchbag’ stories. What level of evidence would you need? Would they even be likely to be reported in the press? ;-)

    [If there was a nationwide epidemic of this stuff, yes I would expect it to be reported. Your youtube video is just anecdotal; if that is the kind of thing that OWS is based on, then they are lost. But I'm repeating myself -W]

  35. #36 anna haynes

    Fixed broken link to JB#21’s
    An open letter and warning from a former tea party movement adherent to the Occupy Wall Street movement (link)
    (“Here’s how they turned our movement into a bunch of pro-corporate Republican Party rebranding astroturf, and this is how I predict they are turning your movement into a bunch of pro-corporate Democratic party rebranding astroturf. …”)

  36. #37 Rich Puchalsky

    “I don’t see how insisting that they have solutions helps, when you can’t point to them. They have an analysis of the problem – if you’re being kind – but no more. Giving them an easy ride – saying “oh yeah I kind of agree so I won’t bother analyse what you’re saying too carefully for fear of finding problems” – won’t help them.”

    With all due respect, you’re a scientist, not a political organizer. Politics doesn’t work in the way that you seem to think that it does. Or maybe it does in some more functional system, but not in the U.S. People don’t start with competing solutions and end up trying one. They start out with organization. OWS has zero chance of “winning” in its current form, and I think that everyone knows that. But the connections between people are being made for the next organization, whatever that is going to be.

    Right now OWS’ “solution” is to say “You don’t like us being here? Then the people who have the power to do something should do something about it.” They are; they’re calling the police. That leads down a familiar path of radicalization. So now the next batch of more radical leaders will pick up the torch. We’ll eventually get a solution of some kind, just like we did with FDR back in the Great Depression. But that solution isn’t going to be apparent to anyone at the start of the process. It’s easy to see what should be done, from some kind of detached, technocratic viewpoint — but since there is apparently no chance of actually doing that, the path by which we get anywhere is going to be a lot more complicated.

    [I was a scientist. But I see what you mean. and indeed, it is not unreasonable. I'm not even sure we disagree; we both agree that they don't have a solution, merely a desire to work towards one. I'm much less sanguine about their chances of ever getting towards one, though -W]

  37. #38 Eli Rabett

    In essence the Weasel has conceded that OWS has identified the problem, concentration of power and wealth that is controlling government and all else. Eli thinks this is troubling him because he clearly sees that all is right with the world and wonders why so many people are telling him that it is not.

    So now, to sooth his little heart all the bunnies have to come up with is a solution that leaves the money and power to those who now have it. The Weasel is confused.

  38. #39 blueshift

    Hi all,
    I can’t speak much to OWS, but I’ve been participating in the Chicago version. Here are some of the proposals that Occupy Chicago is working through http://occupychi.org/2011/10/07/our-proposed-demands/

    I can tell you #1 was barely voted down on Sat. night. Someone pointed out that most of the movement hadn’t read that particular bill and so shouldn’t vote for it yet. It will come up again. #2 and #3 have passed.

    Note that all the Occupies require a 9/10 vote to pass anything which is why little in terms of specific policy has been officially proposed.

    Finally, I’m developing a proposal for a CO2 tax and dividend. I think I’ll post it here later for feedback on the policy. Suggestions on other fora would be appreciated (Eli, I intend to ask at your place as well).

    [You seem to have a more coherent programme. #3 seems dubious and perhaps too much towards giving-the-people-the-raw-meat-they-crave: I'm not sure that actual law breaking in any significant degree occurred. And I could quibble others. Tax and dividend is interesting, I can probably give you your own post on it - feel free to mail me -W]

  39. #40 J Bowers

    @ blueshift
    #12 is your Achilles Heel.

    Here’s a free e-book of Bob Altemeyer’s ‘The Authoritarians’ that might give you some food for thought, if you’ve not read it already:

    @ William
    Yes, it was anecdotal.

  40. #41 blueshift

    “I’m not sure that actual law breaking in any significant degree occurred.”

    Agreed. I pointed out that much of the systemic risk etc. was entirely legal but voted for it because it leads with the investigation language. Also, even if the contribution to the crisis was marginal, I believe there were some out right criminal activities. Not prosecuting these sends a very bad signal.

    Also I should have caveated that the linked list wasn’t necessarily the final version of the proposal voted on. For example, #2 was amended to Bush/Obama tax cuts given that Obama extended them.

    Will mail you my proposal when its cleaned up a bit, thanks.

  41. #42 Holly Stick

    If you look for criminal activity there is lots of speculation about Goldman Sachs being criminally charged and reasons like this given for not doing it: “…Thus, the entire fabric of the global financial system would be threatened…”


    [That just seems to be a list of reasons for not prosecuting. Not any evidence of criminality. Though GS look dodgy -W]

    And others discussion of possibly criminal activities:


  42. #43 anna haynes

    fwiw, Josh Stearns is documenting arrests of journalists at #Occupy protests here at Storify:

  43. #44 suyts

    Hi guys. If I may interject, I’d like to clear up some confusion. William is correct. There is no coherent message. Apparently, they have some angst against the banking and corporate bailouts…… solutions? Not.

    Here’s a quote from a recent AP story….“It’s hard to tell what it will lead to. But I’m not concerned that we don’t have specific demands — that will come.“ Ironically this person received her marching orders from MoveOn.org, which, I believe is bankrolled by G. Soros…. who’s appealing his convictions of insider trading. Weird isn’t it?

    I know it may be anathema but it was an AP story…..Your can read about it here.

    About the TEA party connection. There isn’t one. And that’s why I know the OWS protesters are disingenuous. If they were so darned concerned about the bailouts and gifts, why didn’t they join the TEA party? I’m not affiliated with the TEA party, but I’ve family members that are. Its easy to blame the banks and corporations and they share in the blame for our economic mess, but the real blame belongs to our governors. Congress and the administrations,(past and present) are the ones that take the money that causes them to be beholding to their benefactors. That’s what the TEA party is attempting to stop. For those that believe the Repubs have welcomed them to the party…. you’re mistaken. The rank and file of the Repub party are scared of the TEA party and they don’t like them…. they are simply forced to accept that they can’t do anything without the TEA party.

    Some history…… the TEA party was spurred into existence by G. Bush in the first round of bailouts. The foreclosures are by in large very legal… a very small amount is missing the proper paper work. The banks were essentially forced, by law, to make these reprehensible loans. The loans are why real estate went super-nova. It was a great game for everybody. Loans were made, people bought the homes, values went up. Payments couldn’t be met, but no matter, sell the home that has increased in value by all of the purchasing of homes. Rinse and repeat. The only problem was, all of this money was made out of air. (The economic equivalent to creating energy) The homes didn’t increase in intrinsic value. When the balloon popped, there was nothing to stop the free fall.

    But, typically an economy can recover…. so why haven’t we? Well, the bailout money was simply printed. Again, nothing was done as far as increasing the value to anything. That hurt, but we should still be able to recover….. why haven’t we? Sorry guys, you’ll have to take some credit for that. Recall my analogy to creating energy?…. It is more than an analogy. Money is a proxy for things done that have a value. Mining, building, farming, fabrication… etc. The increase in available energy isn’t keeping up with the needs to do those things that would spur the economy. We aren’t growing because we can’t. These angry people…. they’re mad, but they don’t know why.

    Sorry for the length, much more to say…. I just thought I could help clear some things up.

  44. #45 David B. Benson

    How is 2011 like 1968?

  45. #46 grypo

    “I just thought I could help clear some things up”

    You’ve merely added partisan confusion to an already confusing set of events. The OWS has nothing to do with MoveOn.org, or Soros. The first incantations came from Adbusters magazine in Canada, a mainly social-libertarian outfit. From there it was assisted by Anonymous which has been actively involved in anti-government and people power movements across the world. The small group at OWS worked with social and political activists like David Greaber on getting the initial protests going. Several of them have marketing experience within the new media and Anonymous has been crucial in setting up the live feeds and other methods of distributing information direct from the protest spots and helpful for people looking to avoid that mainstream media, that has had difficulty finding a narrative to report the complicated nature of the OWS movement.

    I’ll just repeat, this movement has global reach. It does not play on the small sliver of liberal economics that the US/western political discourse confines itself. While there is nothing wrong with MoveOn or Micheal Moore or Soros or Ron Paul or whoever from using the movement for their own purposes, please recognize the real players. That is important. It’s not a reaction to the Tea Party. It’s a reaction to economic inequality and is taking cues from other protests around the world (Arab and South America mainly). The whole world will be involved on October 15th.

  46. #47 Vinny Burgoo

    A professor of architecture explains why he’s joined the OWS protests: “Basically, I’m protesting the general kind of insanity that is accepted as fact.”

    That’s cleared that up, then.


    Other reasons given:

    A trombonist from a band called Environmental Encroachment: “I don’t really know how to explain it. I think some things should be different than how they are.”

    Actress: “Everybody has their own reasons, which is exciting. I don’t want to be someone who sits at home.”

    Performance artist: “I like the use of public space as a performative realm and I like the combination of bodies in space. I think it makes a statement.”

    Environmental Studies major: “I’m here just to see what everybody else is doing. I don’t know if I agree with all of this. All these kids are trying to protest against corporations while they’re wearing Hollister and J. Crew and smoking cigarettes, which are the hugest corporations in America.”

  47. #48 J Bowers

    “Some history…… the TEA party was spurred into existence by G. Bush in the first round of bailouts.”

    The whole problem started with Reagan and his appointment of the grand financial deregulation experimenter, Alan Greenspan.

    When the balloon popped, there was nothing to stop the free fall.

    The balloon was known to be set to pop long before it did, but those whose ideologies and reputations were dependent on the principle that the balloon will always be able to grow, and without any means to even measure the balloon, put their fingers in their ears and cried “We’re good! Keep pumping, baby!”.

    [That there was a bubble, many thought. But very few of those many had the courage to short the system and make money out of it. Everyone who tells you they knew it was coming but didn't short it, didn't really know -W]

  48. #49 suyts

    @grypo…… did you read the story I linked to? A person in the protest specifically states she was there because MoveOn.org asked her to be there. But, you’re saying it has nothing to do with it? If there’s anything partisan that was stated, it certainly wasn’t done by me.

    Oct 15…. k, I’ll mark it down…… “complicated nature of the OWS movement.”….. specifically what does that mean? Are you familiar with the history of “Anonymous”? I’d think long and hard before throwing in with that lot.

    Economic inequality….???? In what context?

    Sorry if many don’t seem to take this very serious, but, given the lack of explanation of why people are there, the lack of proposed solutions to the many problems we’re facing….. it just seems like a bunch of lazy anarchists are hanging out in parks. It’s very difficult not to make fun. Perhaps you could elucidate a bit more on what those people are doing…. other than making a mess.

  49. #50 grypo

    You attempted to assert that OWS was all about MoveOn dot org and Soros. I corrected you. Tangential affiliations of someone interviewed at the site does not change the facts about the movement’s origins…

    And yes, I’m very familiar with the history of Anonymous.

    To the rest of your post, it is not surprising that you must find specifics to get beyond your ‘lazy anarchists’ impression of OWS. Anything that falls outside American hegemony is usually disregarded through a lack of understanding. That’s the way movements are here. But when put into the comfortable framework, the only other conclusion is that they are Soros clones? Would it surprise you to find out it isn’t lazy anarchists or Soros clones? Perhaps its not that boring? As for the context of inequality, the Gini coefficient is a good place to start.

  50. #51 J Bowers

    “[That there was a bubble, many thought. But very few of those many had the courage to short the system and make money out of it. Everyone who tells you they knew it was coming but didn't short it, didn't really know -W]“

    So the academic economists, like Fred Mishkin (also on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve 2006-2008), paid for their singing the praises of the bubble and the benefits of derivatives (which a number didn’t declare to the SEC) didn’t see it coming? I suppose we’ll never really, really know, yet it’s a bit weird how Mishkin and his colleagues claim they had no idea about the upcoming collapse but Mishkin wrote a 2007 paper for the US government warning that there was a coming collapse in real estate prices and they should reduce interest rates to almost zero, which the Feds did. That’s the same Mishkin who greenlighted Iceland’s banks for the fatal loans, in a 2006 report entitled ‘Financial Stability in Iceland’ which he later changed to ‘Financial Instability in Iceland’ on his CV, post 2008 collapse.

    [Err, I'm not following you. If Mishkin greenlighted Iceland's banks, then presumably he didn't see it coming. If he also said that he did see it coming, that is just the usual making vague / both-way statements so you can try to look good afterwards. The test, as I said, is making money out of shorting it. If you didn't do that, you didn't believe your own analysis -W]

    Ben Bernanke tells the same tale of not seeing it coming, too. But he, Greenspan and Hank Paulson were all told that both the bubble and the leverage the banks were getting into were a disaster in waiting. They must have been told because they ganged up on the person making the warnings, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Brooks Lee Bourne, and persuaded Treasury Secretary Larry Summers to make her STFU, as well as Greenspan, Rubin and SEC Chairman, Arthur Levitt, issuing a statement condemning Bourne and deregulation of the derivatives markets needed to stay. That was back in 1998 during the Clinton administration.

    [So what? People always gang up on people saying "its a bubble", cos they think that saying its a bubble causes collapse. Or something -W]

    Willful Blindness is not accepted by any judge as a credible legal defence.

  51. #52 blueshift

    @#38, Just to clarify, the list is voted on item by item, not as a whole. I think #12 makes sense because the debt overhang is impeding a recovery, but it doesn’t need to pass.

    I’ve been meaning to read more than a few snippets of that book and will get to it after I finish The End of Loser Liberalism.

    I realized that I don’t know how to email you. I’ll just post my proposal here and you can do what you wish with it.

    First a note on process. Every proposal must be presented at a 7 pm general assembly, on the forums and given at least 24 hours for discussion. It will then be voted on at the next 7 pm GA. During the GA there will be 5 minutes of presentation and then 10 minutes of discussion (which can be extended by vote). “Friendly” amendments can be incorporated at this time.

    I’ve developed this proposal as bullet points so that the general grievance isn’t rejected by the specific solution. Here it is:

    -Our reliance on fossil fuels threatens our environment, health, climate, and financial security.

    -We demand an end to the direct and indirect subsidies given to the coal, oil, and natural gas industries.

    -This shall be done by imposing a tax on the major net sources of Carbon Dioxide.

    -90% of the revenue from this tax shall be returned directly to the people. The remainder shall be used for a low carbon infrastructure bank, grid modernization, efficiency improvements and basic research and development.

  52. #53 Holly Stick
  53. #54 Neven

    [That there was a bubble, many thought. But very few of those many had the courage to short the system and make money out of it. Everyone who tells you they knew it was coming but didn't short it, didn't really know -W]

    I would say it would take more courage not to make money out of such a thing. But hey, that’s me.

    People in power tend not to like the press;

    Which movie told you that? The press nowadays is owned by the people in power.

  54. #55 J Bowers

    “If Mishkin greenlighted Iceland’s banks, then presumably he didn’t see it coming.”

    Or maybe he gave the people who were paying him $124,000 to write the report what they wanted to hear? It’s not as if you’re unaware of that kind of thing happening in other fields. Then again, perhaps something happened at the turn of 21st Century to suddenly stop money corrupting. Was it something in the water?

  55. #56 suyts

    grypo…..So, its not about Soros et al. Even though the gang is all there. I’m glad to hear that.

    yeh, thanks…. Gini coefficient… explains it all. So there’s socioeconomic dispersion throughout the world?!??!!? I’m shocked to see that. Opportunity or outcome based? Or, are they offering any solutions at all? Pointing out something that is widely known isn’t all that significant.

    “Would it surprise you to find out it isn’t lazy anarchists or Soros clones? Perhaps its not that boring?” ….. surprise might not be the best word, but given the lack of explanation as to what the whine is about and no solutions to whatever their problem is…. its difficult to try and understand what these people are doing, which is why I asked for more elucidation.

    I take it I’m not going to get an explanation from you…. do you have anyone else you can refer me to?

  56. #57 grypo

    The Gini comment was not meant to be significant. As I said, it is only a start. And you are correct that I’m not going to be able to give you any better specific understanding of what’s happening at all the ‘occupy’ sites, or what their motivations are, or what solutions they have in mind. Nor is their any particular place to point out where to find it. In my first comment I said as much. But you can ask yourself questions to try and figure it out. A act of civil disobedience is a stance that takes place outside the political and lawful establishment. This is usually due to the inability of people to effect change within the establishment. Why does this rapidly spreading movement appeal to people? Are they becoming more understanding of how the power structure works within the politics of their country? Do they think that they have proper representation? If not, what is preventing them from having adequate representation? Do they think that system work for them as opposed to those who can afford to effect legislation? Solutions are negotiable. Specifics are hard and dividing. All politics is about power and who has it and who doesn’t. The powerless can use solidarity. It’s still early.

  57. #58 Eli Rabett

    [That there was a bubble, many thought. But very few of those many had the courage to short the system and make money out of it. Everyone who tells you they knew it was coming but didn't short it, didn't really know -W]”

    The problem is when. If you try and short a bubble before it bursts you will be chewed up by margin calls. That’s basic Daniel Drew.

    [Absolutely. But just saying "there will be a fall some time in the future" is of no value, it is just noise. It is just like the betting-on-climate-change stuff: that very quickly shows up how the Lindzens of the world don't actually believe the cooling, or not-much-warming, junk that they spout so readily. Similarly, the test of I-predict-a-bubble people is making money -W]

  58. #59 Russell

    To move the political theater uptown to the Manhattan Institute the Teapartistas could run Judith Curry or Roy Spencer for President :


  59. #60 suyts

    grypo, I thank you for your time. You’re trying to effect change. But, any old sort of change will do? You guys are spinning your wheels. Do let me know how demanding change, without specifying the change you desire, works out. It seems a bit silly to me. Good luck in your endeavors.


  60. #61 J Bowers

    One things for sure; if there’s ever an Occupy The City, you can thank Liam Fox and Adam Werrity for making sure it happened.


    Hmmm, ‘New Politics’.

  61. #62 Eli Rabett

    Moving the goal posts much again Weasel?

    [Nope, not at all, do try to keep up -W]

    But even there you are wrong. It depends on who is predicting the bubble. If it’s the Fed Chair or the Chair of the Bank of England, saying so has some value because the money markets will take note, more if they start to squeeze the money supply to lance the bubble.

    [Sure, but I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the millions of chattering armchair economists who will *now* tell you that it was all obviously a bubble -W]

    In the long run we are all dead.

  62. #63 Eli Rabett

    Well let/s just look at a couple of posts. In one you say

    [That there was a bubble, many thought. But very few of those many had the courage to short the system and make money out of it. Everyone who tells you they knew it was coming but didn't short it, didn't really know -W]

    Eli pointed out that shorting when you don’t know where the peak is and don’t have an infinite amount of money is quite dangerous

    {The problem is when. If you try and short a bubble before it bursts you will be chewed up by margin calls. That’s basic Daniel Drew.-E }

    Daniel Drew, if you didn’t know it, short corners and got caught in them (that’s where the short stout weasels get cornered). There is a little ditty that goes with that

    He who sells what isn’t his’n
    Must buy it back or go to prison.

    You weasel by replying

    [Absolutely. But just saying "there will be a fall some time in the future" is of no value, it is just noise. It is just like the betting-on-climate-change stuff. . . Similarly, the test of I-predict-a-bubble people is making money -W]

    Which Eli points out is goal post moving because the original statement was that when you see a bubble coming you short the system. This is nonsense, because what you do if you see a bubble developing is not to short the system, it’s dangerous if you don’t get the timing exactly right, but move into cash and reduce debt.

    But you re-weasel, well you are a stoat hearted fellow

    [Nope, not at all, do try to keep up -W]


    {But even there you are wrong. It depends on who is predicting the bubble. If it’s the Fed Chair or the Chair of the Bank of England, saying so has some value because the money markets will take note, more if they start to squeeze the money supply to lance the bubble.-E}

    [Sure, but I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the millions of chattering armchair economists who will *now* tell you that it was all obviously a bubble -W]

    As the Bunny told you above, shorting is a dangerous play. For what it’s worth you can’t short unless you have capital to put up against the “borrowed” stock.

    However, there is a more serious issue. Many people in the US, the EU, the PIGS, the UK, etc. were riding the bubble by remortgaging their house because they had no other substantial source of income. Their choice was be at risk or be broke. There were lots of armchair economists who were wetting the bottom of the armchair as their debt rose, but were not willing to take the pain that the comfortable wished to deal them. Broke is broke and better later than sooner.

    Eli wishes you and MT would stay away from economics. It’s painful. (Eli listens to MR, she knows the business.)

    [Eli, all this junior-grade patronising stuff is tedious. Hint: if you find yourself telling people that shorting is dangerous, you're in the wrong conversation -W]

  63. #64 blueshift

    I wrote a post yesterday. Did I forget to hit post, or is it being held?

    [Oops, I intended to approve it and instead just sat on it. Published now. I’m wmconnolley(at)gmail.com – I thought everyone knew that :-).

  64. #65 Bryan

    I think the American Wall Street protest is a very healthy sign.
    All over the world, Europe, Middle East and now USA ordinary people middle class and working class are having their standard of living driven down.
    The top 1% in America 15 years ago had 30% of the wealth.
    Today its 52%.
    Pension funds savings and just living costs are being raided to increase even further than the 52%.
    Why are the Goldman Sachs executives not in jail for massive fraud?

  65. #66 Eli Rabett

    [Tedium snipped -W]

    However, today in the car Ms. Rabett told Eli that what happened was when the bubble burst and just before, people were calling up and selling stock they did not have without telling the brokers that they did not have it and many of the brokers did not check. This caused all sorts of interesting problems when the customers did not deliver esp on things were there was an uptick or which were counter cyclical. Rules were changed but they were taking your advice

    [Good to hear it -W]

  66. #68 David B. Benson

    I’m in favor of taking economics by the throat.

    Even if its not science.

  67. #69 Collin

    @7-8. I hope you’re right. What about Ron Paul?

  68. #70 blueshift

    “Oops, I intended to approve it and instead just sat on it. Published now.”

    No worries, and thanks. Its now comment #49 for anyone interested in providing feedback. Bullets 3 and 4 start to feel clunky to me, but I think they are good policy.

  69. #71 Rattus Norvegicus

    Oh, oh, I know the answer: Goldman Sachs was shorting the market in CDOs. At the same time they were pushing them on their customers. Bother you much?

    [As far as I know, that was wrong, at least in a moral sense. Since it is known, if it was technically illegal, I imagine they'll be prosecuted -W]

  70. #72 J Bowers

    “As far as I know, that was wrong, at least in a moral sense. Since it is known, if it was technically illegal, I imagine they’ll be prosecuted -W”

    Really? What kind of “huge relationship issue” would prompt HMRC’s Permanent Secretary for Tax to let Goldman Sachs off with £10 million in penalties, while hammering small businesses for average 200 times larger penalty amounts than large businesses?

    [Characteristically, the more outraged someone is the less they know about it and the fewer references they provide. Did you mean http://timworstall.com/2011/10/13/can-someone-explain-this-goldmans-tax-thing-to-me/ ? If so, that is the answer -W]

  71. #73 Will Isaacs

    This whole thing is a natural continuation that started in the Arab world with the Arab spring. It is still small, but definitely gaining momentum. I can’t wait to see how Sarah Palin will respond to this on her next presidential bid.
    plagiarism checker

  72. #74 sesli chat

    It depends on who is predicting the bubble. If it’s the Fed Chair or the Chair of the Bank of England, saying so has some value because the money markets will take note, more if they start to squeeze the money supply to lance the bubble.

  73. #75 deconvoluter

    Re: #41.

    Well, the bailout money was simply printed. Again, nothing was done as far as increasing the value to anything. That hurt, but we should still be able to recover….. why haven’t we? Sorry guys, you’ll have to take some credit for that. Recall my analogy to creating energy?…. It is more than an analogy. Money is a proxy for things done that have a value.

    I am doubtful. In many or most cases, the bailout money was borrowed in the first instance. Taken over the whole unfinished episode it looks as if it will have been the reverse of a trickle down, more like a money grab from the public to the private sector i.e. a huge regressive anti-tax. Also, money is not like energy because it is not conserved , not even without QE.

    Re #12
    But some places are hard hit -W]

    and they are the places where the bailout money seems to be coming from

  74. #76 Steve Bloom

    WMC, above: “[That there was a bubble, many thought. But very few of those many had the courage to short the system and make money out of it. Everyone who tells you they knew it was coming but didn't short it, didn't really know -W]”

    Seeing a problem in its broad outlines is far easier than understanding it at a detail level. It would be more fair to say that such people didn’t know how or exactly when the collapse would come. Successful shorting involves knowing or guessing the timing, which is a whole different deal.

    [Yes. But saying "I see a general problem ahead" is nearly worthless. The problem is that there are *always* people saying that, no matter what -W]

  75. #77 Alexander Ač

    Next post, Burning Rome? And Next?



    [Its jolly exciting, isn't it? I was away this weekend so don't have the story yet. Was it one of Berlusconi's bunny parties that got out of hand? -W]

  76. #78 Eli Rabett

    FINRA may have a word with them, besides which given that there is such a thing as prosecutorial discretion your supposition is a thin reed.

  77. #79 deconvoluter

    [Yes. But saying "I see a general problem ahead" is nearly worthless.......W]

    As in …?

    One major focus of enquiry is the prediction of eruptions; there is currently no accurate way to do this,..

    But understanding doesn’t necessitate prediction.

    [Precisely. Earthquake predictions aren't useful. Research on earthquake predictions might still be a good idea; and indeed research on bubble-predictions might well be a good idea -W]

  78. #80 Hank Roberts

    Sornette while at UCLA
    ried for a while predicting a financial collapse, but it just wouldn’t happen while he was predicting it.

    Shortly after he quit predicting it, wham!

    There’s something quantum about that, innit?

  79. #81 adelady

    Well, now “they” know the numbers for what they’re angry about. Have a look at the graphs and tables here.

    (Below the picture of the bloke with the piano.)

  80. #82 J Bowers

    “Characteristically, the more outraged someone is the less they know about it and the fewer references they provide.”

    Minutes of meeting on Goldman Sachs settlement

    [How does that differ from the version I pointed you at? -W]

  81. #83 Hank Roberts


    August 11, 2011

    Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper No. 11-29

    The Johansen-Ledoit-Sornette (JLS) model of rational expectation bubbles with finite-time singular crash hazard rates has been developed to describe the dynamics of financial bubbles and crashes. It has been applied successfully to a large variety of financial bubbles in many different markets. Having been developed for more than one decade, the JLS model has been studied, analyzed, used and criticized by several researchers. Much of this discussion is helpful for advancing the research. However, several serious misconceptions seem to be present within this collective conversation both on theoretical and empirical aspects. Several of these problems appear to stem from the fast evolution of the literature on the JLS model and related works. In the hope of removing possible misunderstanding and of catalyzing useful future developments, we summarize these common questions and criticisms concerning the JLS model and offer a synthesis of the existing state-of-the-art and best-practice advices.

    Question being — if this can be done, is the information going to be used to moderate market volatility? Or is it to be owned and used to stripmine the markets?

    [The information is public. It can't be "owned", except in the sense that few people will bother studying it in detail -W]

  82. #84 blueshift

    That’s one of my two favorite pieces spawned by this whole phenomenon. Although I think in America its more about the lack of social mobility which is a few more graphs down. We’ll put up with a lot as long as we think everyone has an equal shot at the prize.

    The second great story is http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/12/1025555/-Open-Letter-to-that-53-Guy

  83. #85 Hank Roberts

    Leads in interesting directions:

  84. #86 Hank Roberts

    > The information is public.
    And anyone can use it who can do the calculations.

    That’s the argument formerly used by the finance industry: ‘disclosure’ is sufficient for the free market to function, so ‘regulation’ isn’t necessary.

    Very few people read that fine gray print on the tan background on the back of their statements and contracts, so the disclosure didn’t affect how people made decisions about investment risk.

  85. #87 Pete Dunkelberg

    I’ll just point favorably to these two essays: America’s democracy deficit and
    The Power to Change Systems.

  86. #88 J Bowers

    William, to clarify, I’m not “outraged” by anything. I actually see such things as HMRC giving let-offs to fuckoff big companies as being completely expected, especially when they’re the likes of Goldman Sachs. The comparable 200 times penalties for small businesses is something that an MP has flagged, and as you’ve been involved in politics I could only suggest you check it out. Sorry, I didn’t bookmark it.

    On the subject of the link that you provided, no, I did not check the secondary link at Tim Worstall’s page. I assume that’s the one you meant, because I don’t see any references to prior ‘handshakes’ at his post, but i don’t see any such reference at the secondary link, either. I do see it highlighted at my link, though.

    [No, I meant TW's post, which asserts that GS have been treated like everyone else -W]

    And, to offer an answer to the question in your original post, it seems to me that the solution that may have not been explicitly stated by OWS is, “We need to stop the blindly accepted corruption of our legislators by corporations.” It really doesn’t need anything more elaborately stated than that, IMHO.

    [Had they said that, I would have been happy to highlight it. But sadly they didn't -W]

  87. #89 Hank Roberts

    okay, _now_ it’s becoming public information:

    “… When the team further untangled the web of ownership, …. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” ….
    John Driffill of the University of London, a macroeconomics expert, says … insights into economic stability.

    …. As the world learned in 2008, such networks are unstable….”

    “It’s disconcerting to see how connected things really are,” agrees George Sugihara of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, a complex systems expert who has advised Deutsche Bank…..”

    [Is this any more reliable than the Wegman analysis? If so, how do you know? -W]

  88. #90 Eli Rabett

    Of course, Citi is setting an example


    Citigroup has agreed to pay $285 million to settle a civil fraud complaint that it misled investors in a $1 billion derivatives deal tied to the United States housing market, then bet against the investors as the housing market began to show signs of distress, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday.

    The S.E.C. also brought a civil action against a Citigroup employee who was responsible for structuring the transaction, and brought and settled another against the asset management unit of Credit Suisse and a Credit Suisse employee who also had responsibility for the derivative security.

    The securities fraud complaint was similar to one the S.E.C. brought against Goldman Sachs last year, with one significant difference. Goldman Sachs was accused of misleading investors about who was picking the investments in a mortgage-related derivative.

    It told investors that the bonds would be chosen by an independent manager, when in fact many of them were chosen by John A. Paulson, a hedge fund manager who chose assets that he believed were most likely to lose value, according to the S.E.C.’s complaint in that case. Goldman later settled the case by paying $550 million.


    A million here, a million there and sooner are later you are talking about real money.

  89. #91 J Bowers

    Sorry for the F-word above. Working the same hours as Mr 58% can do that, I guess.

    I see your point about OWS explicitly pointing out corruption, but at least they’re asking many of the right questions which really isn’t bad going at an early stage for such a varied collection of individuals.

  90. #92 Paul Kelly

    Some weeks in and OWS has spread, but not really grown, unevenly across the States. Because it is uniquely situated on private property, the New York OWS is probably the only one that can maintain an ongoing community. So far, there is still no coherent message other than angst.

    Because of the lack of agenda clarity, all of the professional left and some of the Democratic Party have tried to glom onto OWS to push their own agendas. Here in Chicago, the Teacher’s Union and the usual social justice advocates dominate.

    Washington DC OWS, for some reason, bypassed the offices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the White House (where the all time greatest raiser of of Wall St. campaign cash lives), The Congress and the K Street lobbyists; and instead disrupted a fund raising event for Conservation International, a group dedicated to preserving ecosystems. Go figure.

  91. #93 https://me.yahoo.com/a/PxckwTE5h.aX2IKVBbVpSwG7pnzF1A--#8e772

    This article from the NYT looks promising:


    Although I doubt whether the progress resulted so much from the protesters themselves, or just from the fear of them.

    In either case, the NYT is painting them a powerfully sober shadow. I especially like the following:

    “You see, until a few weeks ago it seemed as if Wall Street had effectively bribed and bullied our political system …”

    cleverly connoting that it’s now politically correct to speak of Wall Street as a third player against both the government and the public. I hope our Presidential candidates take the hint.

  92. Just wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  93. #95 liftmaster

    I think this is among the most important info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  94. #97 Rattus Norvegicus

    Can you say “death panel”? I knew you could!

  95. #98 Paul Kelly

    The occupied cities are mostly run by Democratic Mayors and city councils. Except in New York, the occupiers are occupying public property. Many Democrats express the hope that OWS will become their Tea Party and most of the mayors were understandably a bit lax in enforcing local use of public property ordinances.

    We absolutely have the right to assemble, but taking up residence on public property is not constitutionally protected. Occupying a public space deprives everyone else of their right to access that space. Now many Mayors are facing using force to ensure the public property remains available to all the public.

    Eli’s link shows the diffusion of OWS’s intent. About the only thing on point is a call for reinstatement of the Glass – Seagal Act, which separated investment banks from commercial banks. It’s repeal in 1999 was signed by Bill Clinton with strong bipartisan support. Although there are other laws that may deserve more blame for the current situation, reinstating G – S now has a lot of bipartisan support. Hindsight is 20/20.

  96. #99 Hank Roberts


    Respective versions of the legislation were introduced in the U.S. Senate by Phil Gramm (Republican of Texas) and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Jim Leach (R-Iowa). The third lawmaker associated with the bill was Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R-Virginia), Chairman of the House Commerce Committee from 1995 to 2001.

    The House passed its version of the Financial Services Act of 1999 on 1 July 1999 by a bipartisan vote of 343-86 (|Republicans 205–16; Democrats 138–69; Independent/Socialist 0–1),[3] [4] [5] two months after the Senate had already passed its version of the bill on May 6th by a much-narrower 54–44 vote along basically-partisan lines (53 Republicans and one Democrat in favor; 44 Democrats opposed)

  97. #100 Hank Roberts

    A better assessment of the problem:

    “… Gramm-Leach-Bliley isn’t entirely blameless…. But the law doesn’t deserve the mythical importance it’s now accumulating.

    … the policy makers and regulators who were on duty while the housing bubble inflated and Wall Street went wild — the Bush administration and Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve. Their near-religious belief in the powers of the market led them to conclude that the mere fact that a company was willing to make an investment made that investment O.K.

    One of the most influential members of this crowd was none other than Phil Gramm, the Texas Republican and former senator who helped bring down Glass-Steagall…. he was largely responsible for another bill — the Commodity Futures Modernization Act — that clearly did contribute to the current crisis. That law unleashed the derivatives market ….”

  98. #101 Hank Roberts

    > Commodity Futures Trading ….
    > derivatives

    That’s the real bomb, still hidden, risks unknown still.

    Best summary I’ve seen is this, from Mark Chu-Carroll of “Good Math, Bad Math” — posted on: April 20, 2010

    Shocking Fraud from Financial Scum

  99. #102 Paul Kelly

    Don’t know why Hank didn’t give the complete legislative history of the repeal of G –S. Also from Wikipedia
    “After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90–8 (one not voting) and in the House: 362–57 (15 not voting).”

  100. #103 Hank Roberts

    > didn’t give the complete

    It’s called hypertext. But wait for the next post, once it crawls out of the bit bucket and oozes over to the input pipes.

  101. #104 Paul Kelly


    It looks like your wiki link didn’t copy/paste properly. Had the same problem with mine – extraneous %93..%& stuff – am sure your still oozing next comment will fix. For what it’s worth, the Dem no votes on the original Senate bill appear to have been because of redlining and privacy issues rather than on the G – S repeal provisions.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.