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News Blog

Hey Occupiers, Read This!

by Wina Sturgeon
- Posted // 2011-10-24 -

Despite all the protest and passion of the Occupy movement, the most important part is missing: details. A public stand against corporate greed is great, but it's much too vague. What instances of greed? Which corporations? Who are the villains? What should happen to them? Without a more specific focus for anger, the outdoor occupiers will begin fading after the first frost.

The focus doesn't need to be a major target like Madoff or the entire SEC. It could start with one small example and move up from there. Here's a perfect example. It was in an infuriating article by reporter Matt Taibbi in the April 28 issue of Rolling Stone. Titled "The Real Housewives Of Wall Street," the story, surprisingly, passed without much notice.

It begins by revealing America's non-public and completely secret budget, one operated solely by the Federal Reserve. This budget distributes trillions of dollars and, Taibbi says, equals the amount of our national budget. It's made up of "a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs." The "housewives" are Christy Mack and Susan Karches. Mack is married to the chairman of the Morgan Stanley corporation, a financial-services company that is one of Wall Street's giants. Karches is the widow of the former president of Morgan Stanley's investment-banking division.

The two women, who had no previous business experience, formed a "corporation" named Waterfall TALF Opportunity. The corporate name is itself maddening. TALF stands for "Term-Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility"; a bailout program offered by the Feds. It paid a waterfall of money to the new company: $220 million. Yes, 220 million taxpayer dollars were handed to Mack and Karches. With some of their share, the Macks paid cash -- $13.5 million dollars -- for a large,12-car-garage home on New York City's upper-crust East Side.

The crux of Taibbi's well-written story is how, legally, these bailout loans don't even have to be paid back. It's free money for the rich. The 99 per cent lose their homes, while Wall Street honchos -- and their wives-- are secretly given millions.

The Occupy movement should make an example of this example. It's easier to direct productive anger against two scheming women rather than a large corporation that can hide behind a bevy of expensive lawyers. If Waterfall TALF Opportunity is forced to pay back the $150 million still owing on its loan, and an investigation is opened into the legality of forming a corporation for the sole purpose of receiving millions of bailout dollars, there will be an outcry, perhaps even criminal charges. That's when the Occupy movement will suddenly become a power -- as powerful or more than the Tea Party. Wall Street miscreants will know there's a target on their backs. They will begin freaking out -- who's next? And that will be the beginning of reform.

Wina Sturgeon intends to make 25 copies of "The Real Housewives Of Wall Street," take them to Occupy Salt Lake at Pioneer Park, and pass them out to interested protestors. A link to the story can be found here:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-real-housewives-of-wall-street-look-whos-cashing-in-on-the-bailout-20110411

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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // November 8,2011 at 23:39 so while you whine and moan about corporate greed, no one bats an eye at the government that is allowing, aiding and even promoting this greed. While politicians are pointing a hand at those bad bankers, they reach around with the other hand, rob from you, and give it to the greedy bankers you hate. seems to me your anger is alot misdirected.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // October 25,2011 at 16:45 Blah. What I like is that it IS so non-specific. Once it gets specific, it can be pigeonholed into one political agenda or another. By being vaguely 'against corporate greed,' it stays populist and classist. This movement is all about class warfare—it IS us against them. And Them generally, not specifically. It's about all of us being against the uber-rich elite. It's about the People getting sick of several centuries of us stacking bricks for Them.

 

Posted // October 26,2011 at 08:46 - If too many of your companions share your narrow and very naive point of view (they do), your US vs. THEM adventure will go nowhere and you'll have wasted your time.


The THEM you refer to are more than happy to watch you sit with the bums in a park and freeze your asses off while they kick back with their cigars and brandy and make fun of you - you're not affecting anything by doing what you are doing. Class warfare is as pointless now as ever - if this is all you have, you lost before you began.


They (THEM) are more than happy to listen to your vague, nonsensical and argumentative protest chants while they rake in more cash - they know that while they maintain the status quo by continuing with business as usual, so too will you, because they know by now that, collectively, you have no direction, no idea how to bring about the change you wish to see; they understand that you have no real idea as to what you would like to see happen; they also know that your own personal greed will not disappear overnight and they'll depend upon you to continue being the good little consumer that you are - you and yours support your chosen enemy even now.


What "THEM" would not appreciate would be a unified movement with specific goals aimed at legally (and politically) curbing their collective power; that would not only frighten THEM but would also, after loads of hard work and sacrifice, bring about changes to the system you detest.


But obviously you disagree, so enjoy that "vague" thing while it lasts. Winter is coming...

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // October 25,2011 at 16:02 Wow, you are the first person to bring up a specific example of corporate greed during this whole movement! People are going to lose their shit when you hand them a copy of that article and they realize there are actual specific targets to rail against. Hang those "housewives" from the nearest steeple! Wheeeee!

 

 
 
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