Occupy Chicago – The Revolution Will Not Be Privatized

In 1974, Gil Scott-Heron, a “spoken word soul performer,” released the song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” that attempted to get people to wake up, get out of themselves, look at reality and do something to better their lives, other’s lives and America itself. Sadly, Mr. Scott-Heron died in April of this year.

This is dedicated to him, and to those who are in the current struggle – the 99%. I hope he doesn’t mind and I hope he’s proud that his concept lives on in a timeless way.

Update: This is now dedicated to Bernie Sanders and the People’s Revolution.

Inspired by sign displayed by Occupy Chicago, in front of the Chicago Board of Trade:
THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE PRIVATIZED

The revolution will not be privatized
The revolution will not be brought to you by an offshore call center 2 continents away
The revolution will not show you pictures of Bernake blowing a bugle and
leading a charge by Chase, Citibank and Bank of America
to deposit your money so they can charge more fees
The revolution will not be privatized

The revolution will not be brought to you
by the mainstream media and will not star
Keith Olbermann, Bill O’Reilly, Oprah or Geraldo
The revolution will not be ‘fair and balanced”
The revolution will not ‘lean forward’
The revolution will not make you a better person because you
ran in a marathon sponsored by Bank of America
Because the revolution will not be privatized, brother

There will be no pictures of peaceful protesters arrested for being in a park,
or activists pushing their supplies down the street to keep moving.
Fox will not be able to predict the winner of the election at 6:32
or report from 45 districts before the polls are closed
The revolution will not be privatized

There will be no pictures of happy traders when the market makes money
There will be pictures of Palestinians dying on Gaza’s streets after Israeli bombing campaigns
There will be no pictures of Hussein being hung or Ghadaffi laying on a slab
There will be no video of Warren Buffet asking to be taxed more
There will be no pictures of Ron Paul being barred from a debate
The revolution will not be privatized

Survivor, the Great Race and Dancing with the Stars
will no longer be so damned relevant
No one will care who survived, who won the race
or who danced the best
because the 99% will be on the street looking for a brighter day
The revolution will not be privatized

There will be no highlights on the 10 o’clock news, ,
no pictures of Michelle Obama at the inaugural ball
with a plug for the designer who whose dress she wore
The theme song will not be controlled by
Sony, A&M, Capital, Columbia, Universal, MCA or Warner Brothers
the revolution will not be privatized

The revolution will not be brought back after a message
from a Gecko, talking babies or cartoon characters.
you will not have to worry about “where the vision gets built,”
‘what’s in your wallet,” “investing with confidence.” or being “world wise.”
The revolution will not put you in “good hands.”
The revolution will give you “the power to help you succeed.”

The revolution will not be privatized
The revolution will not be privatized
The revolution will not be privatized
The revolution will be no outsource, brothers
The revolution will be Made in the USA

Do you ever feel like you’re in the Twilight Zone?

Financial news is getting more bizarre by the day. Take today’s new for example.

Citibank’s stock price soared over news that it didn’t lose as much money Wall Street expected it to. The quarterly loss was only $966 million and revenue doubled to $24.79 billion.

Is the $45 billion we gave them since October counted in this?

I know it includes the 13,000 jobs cut in the first quarter and the dumping of $116 billion of assets.

The more entertaining part of this news, was their decision to “delay a proposed exchange of billions of dollars of preferred shares into common stock until the U.S. government completes its “stress tests” of large banks to gauge which might need more aid,” as reported by Reuters.

That seems kind of underhanded to me or am I just being sensitive.

Wasn’t the point of the stress tests to identify banks who will be in more trouble if the economy worsens? How can it be a valid test if they are delaying a major exchange of stocks?

Then there’s the report that the Senate candidates are still raising tons of money for the 2010 campaigns.

Now this is a good one, because despite the horrifying economic situation, the candidates last year raised enough cash to bail out at least one bank.

Are institutions getting bailout money allowed to contribute? I don’t see why they should be able to.

Reid has already raised $2.2 million, several Democratic candidates, according to Reuters, have already raised over $1 million, Spector raised almost $2 million and already has 6 million in the bank. Clinton’s replacement has raised over $2 million, but the Reuters story
didn’t total all the millions.

We’re getting thrown out of our homes, dumped from our jobs, surviving without health care and unable to educate our children, yet these people “governing” us, have millions in their campaign “war chests.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

The final irony to today’s news, is the story that “Steven Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration’s auto task force, was one of the investment firm executives involved with payments now under scrutiny in a state and federal investigation into an alleged kickback scheme at New York state’s pension fund,” reported Reuters.

The Treasury Department, when asked if they knew about this when Rattner was appointed, said that Rattner informed them about the pending investigation but refused to comment further.

One would think that treasury would be reluctant to put someone with an investigation into kickbacks, at the head of such a high profile and crucial task force. But no, they apparently saw no problem with it because there he is.

The scarier thought is that maybe Geithner, the tax cheat, has a suspicion that no matter who you appoint from the investment bank industry, they are likely to come under scrutiny for one shady practice or another, and therefore you hire either the one with the least chance of an investigation or the one who is most likely to survive the investigation without being imprisoned.

Either way, I am leaning more and more towards the folks that chant HEY HEY HO HO THE FEDERAL RESERVE HAS GOT TO GO!

Add to that the investment banks, nationally chartered banks, etc. etc. etc.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has his work cut out for him.

I now have to wonder if it was the New Yorkers that were the frauds and the Chicago financial institutions were all above board, or if Cuomo is a pro-active Attorney General and Lisa Madigan is simply remiss in not investigating the Chicago Board of Trade, Mercantile Exchange and the Board of Options Exchange.

Time will tell.

Congo forces leaders to pay taxes – ours?

The Democratic Republic of Congo, faced with a fiscal crisis, is now forcing their leaders to pay taxes. Reuters reports

Amid a growing budget shortfall, the government is under pressure to cut costs and boost tax revenues.

Budget Minister Michel Lokola told Reuters that last month’s decision to tax government salaries at source, rather than rely on employees to pay taxes after receiving their salaries, had already raised roughly $1 million.

“They just weren’t paying. The government ministers we replaced, the MPs, the senators, they didn’t pay,” said Lokola, who entered the government last October in a cabinet shake-up that saw his predecessor Adolphe Muzito named prime minister.

Lokola said the move was partly aimed at setting a good example, adding that Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s government salary was also subject to the measure.

“He is aware of this, and he approves of it … I don’t see how we can expect the private sector to pay their taxes if we don’t pay ourselves,” he said.

So even a country we look upon with derision, the Congo, has realized the benefit of taxing the elite of their country. As we have seen, politicians in this country appear to have an aversion to paying their taxes, and can’t even comprehend the tax code that they wrote, as evidenced by Tom Daschle, who didn’t know the limo was taxable.

So will Geithner, considering the fiscal crisis we, ourselves, are facing, implement a program of ferreting out government tax cheats and garnishing their taxpayer-paid wages?

I doubt it.

He’s a tax cheat.

Nothing like the fox guarding the hen house.

Protest the 2016 Games

No Games Chicago, “a diverse group of citizens who have come together to oppose the Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics,” is holding a protest rally today at the Federal Plaza at 5pm.

From their website:

The International Olympic Committee will be in town from April 2-8th to evaluate
Chicago’s potential as a Host City for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Let them know
that Chicago 2016 does not speak for the people of Chicago. Let them know that
Chicagoans have other priorities. Let them hear your voice.

RALLY. SPEAK OUT. PROTEST. SHUT DOWN THE OLYMPIC BID!

We need Better Hospitals, Housing, Schools, and Trains — Not Olympic Games.
They Play and We Pay. NO GAMES!

For more information email nogameschicago@gmail.com or call 312.235.2873
On the web: nogameschicago.com
NO GAMES: Chicago on Facebook

Be there or be square…..

Don’t want the Olympics? Sign the petition….

A criminal conspiracy by any other name…

I stumbled today, on the stock broker fraud blog which apparently keeps track of all the dirt on Wall Street. After reading an article about former UBS Securities LLC Executive Director Mitchell Guttenberg, who was ordered to “forfeit $15.81 million in alleged illegal profits, as well as serve 78 months in prison” for an insider trading scheme, which also involved UBS stock analysts, a trader, a hedge fund manager, and other individuals, I wondered, why does the RICO Act not apply here?

According to this article, Guttenberg and the 12 other individuals, “mostly former employees at Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp, and Bear Stearns Co., Inc., were criminally charged for their involvement in the insider trading ring. Investigators say the participants tried to conceal their illegal actions by conducting meetings at restaurants, using disposable cellular phones, and coming up with coded text messages.”

Are they drug dealers or traders? To some people, money is a drug. In this case, it should be treated as such.

Were they throwaway phones, or were they stupid enough to use their own?

But it gets better.

Another article, concerning Auction-Rate- Securities, involved 12 states which banded together to form a “multi-state Task Force dedicated to finding out whether Wall Street investment firms had misled investors when persuading them to invest in the ARS market.”

I anxiously read on to see how much jail time these people would do, and discovered the answer was zero.

The punishment for this crime that involved 12 states? “11 major Wall Street investment banks have said they will buy back over $51 billion in ARS from charities, retail investors, and small companies.”

And the list of these companies, with their ARS hotlines?

Bank of America 1-866-638-4183
Deutsche Bank 1-866-926-1437
Citi 1-866-720-4802
JP Morgan 1-866-450-8470
Goldman Sachs 1-888-350-2857
Merrill Lynch 1-888-706-1381
UBS 1-800-253-1974
Morgan Stanley 1-800-566-2273
Wachovia 1-866-283-794

That was in November 2008. When did they get the first of the TARP money, and their bonuses, and their huge salaries?

Are they on the UBS list of unnamed offshore accounts?

And on the same site:

UBS Financial Services, Inc., UBS Securities, LLC, and Citigroup have reached finalized settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay tens of thousands of ARS investors almost $30 billion. The settlements will resolve SEC charges that the companies misled investors about the risks involved with auction rate securities.

The SEC’s complaint accused UBS and Citigroup of misleading customers by telling them ARS were liquid, safe investments and failing to warn them of the growing dangers when the market started to fail. When the ARS market froze in February, the SEC says both firms left tens of thousands of clients holding billions of dollars in illiquid ARS.

These finalized settlements will restore about $22.7 billion in liquidity to UBS clients who invested in ARS and some $7 billion to Citigroup investors. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox says investors will get back “100 cents on the dollar on their ARS investments.” Both firms will buy ARS from affected customers at PAR. Customers that sold their ARS under the par difference will be paid between par and the ARS sale price. This is the largest settlement in SEC history.

That was December 22, 2008……and the TARP money?

We as taxpayers, should demand equal protection under the law. They should be charged with the criminal conspiracy that this truly is and sent to prison – 20 years to life, with their assets seized and put into the TARP Rebate Fund.

No wonder they needed that TARP money to be spent so rapidly and with no accounting for where it went. No, it wasn’t spent on bonuses, IT WAS SPENT TO PAY BACK THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THEY DEFRAUDED!!

And Geithner, the tax cheat, was in on that deal.

He should resign. They should all be investigated for criminal conspiracies, the whole financial sector, but most especially, the members of the Too-Big-to-Fail-Club.

They seem to be the worst offenders.

Addendum. I don’t know that this is where the money was spent, but if they didn’t loan it out, and they didn’t spend it on bonuses….well, it’s a good bet.

Follow the yellow gold road…..

What a couple of days it’s been in the financial world. Allen Stanford, scammer extraordinaire, whereabouts still unknown, is now known to have contributed large sums of money to congressional recipients, to vote against a financial services antifraud bill that would have linked the databases of state and federal banking, securities and insurance regulators. The bill died in the Senate.

Biggest recipients of his cash?

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. ($45,900); Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. ($28,150); Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. ($27,500); and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas ($19,700). Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, also received $41,375.

The full list is here and here.

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign fund received only $4600 and it was immediately donated, yesterday, to a Chicago charity, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But the other big story is the deal Swiss UBS Bank made with the feds. Accused of assisting U.S. citizens avoid income taxes, UBS Bank has agreed to lift the veil of secrecy and identify “certain” clients. This could be 17,000 of their 20,000 clients whose combined deposits are worth $20 billion dollars.

In July 2008,Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mi) was calling for them to clean up their act. According to The Consumerist Levin told ABC News “UBS’s banking license should be revoked until the bank “cleans up its act.”” He listed the following as what the bank does to conceal its clients names and assets.

* Code Names for Clients
* Pay Phones, not Business Phones
* Foreign Area Codes
* Undeclared Accounts
* Encrypted Computers
* Transfer Companies to Cover Tracks
* Foreign Shell Companies
* Fake Charitable Trusts
* Straw Man Settlors
* Captive Trustees
* Anonymous Wire Transfers
* Disguised Business Trips
* Counter-Surveillance Training
* Foreign Credit Cards
* Hold Mail
* Shred Files

Prepared by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, July 2008.

For the record, Levin took no money from Stanford or his PAC. I’ll bet he even pays his taxes – all of them. Can he be Treasury Secretary?

Reuters reports the deal with UBS goes like this:

Swiss bank UBS AG has agreed to a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that would let the bank avoid tax-violation charges in exchange for identifying some of its U.S. account holders and paying $780 million in fines.

Here are the key terms of the deal:

– UBS, under orders by Swiss market regulators, is to give the United States identities and account information of “certain” U.S. customers. Details are to be filed under seal with U.S. federal court and turned over as soon as the court accepts the agreement.

– UBS agrees to pay $780 million in fines, interest and penalties. This includes $200 million to be paid to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The remainder is to be paid to the Justice Department over 18 months, with options to pay early or extend the terms up to four years.

– UBS acknowledges that it helped U.S. taxpayers open accounts that concealed their identities from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. About 17,000 of 20,000 U.S. cross-border clients concealed their identities and the existence of their accounts, with $20 billion in assets, from the IRS, the Justice Department said.

Some of these clients are unindicted co-conspirators.

The business generated about $200 million a year in revenue for UBS from 2002 to 2007, it said.

– UBS agrees to quit providing cross-border banking services to U.S. clients with undeclared accounts.

– After 18 months, the U.S. government will recommend dismissal of charges against UBS providing it honors the terms of the agreement.

The Stanford saga, in the meantime, continues to rock the world of the wealthy.

Venezuela seized a local bank affiliated with the Stanford Group, after there was a rush to withdraw funds through online banking. According to Reuters,

Depositors withdrew cash using Internet banking services. The bank takes deposits and makes loans only in the OPEC nation’s local currency.

“Most depositors of Stanford Bank Venezuela are from the (highest) income classes. They move their funds on the Internet, and this allowed for a massive withdrawal that pushed the bank into a precarious state,” Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez told reporters.

“The authorities were forced to take the decision to intervene and there will be an immediate sale,” he added.

And in Antigua, the Associated Press reports that customers were turned away from the Stanford bank there, because its assets were frozen. Depositors were arriving by private jet to withdraw their cash and were panicking when they discovered they couldn’t. One man, who owned a software firm, complained that his life savings was in that bank.

Let me guess. There is no F.D.I.C. insurance in Antigua.

It would seem this is just the beginning (of the end?).

Wonder how many of our congresspeople have offshore accounts? We already know they have an aversion to paying taxes.

Wonder if Geithner has one?

But most of all, I wonder if anyone who is caught will go to jail, go directly to jail, not pass go, and not collect $200.

And second I would like to know, will their assets be seized?

If the answer to the second question is yes, I would recommend to the Treasury Department and President Obama, that the assets seized from anyone in the financial industry caught up in these, or any future messes uncovered by the IRS and the FBI, be dumped into an account called the TARP Rebate Fund, which recoups the cash for the taxpayers, from the cheats and thieves who bought us this mess in the first place. (Oh, did I say bought, I meant brought – Freudian slip). And any congresspeople who return campaign contributions from any of these cheats, should also be dumped into this fund.

As a matter of fact, start with Geithner‘s payments, Daschle‘s Kellefer‘s and Solis‘. It would be a good start.

And any congress person who is found to have an offshore account in the UBS debacle, should be bounced from their office, forbidden from holding any public office anywhere in the U.S. or its territories, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

These people all need to do serious jail time. Nothing like seized assets and jail time to straighten up a class of people.

Is there a law against “betraying the public trust?” Because if there isn’t there should be.

Sentence: 20 to life in a Supermax prison. Enjoy. You built it.

Most scams are run out of Texas and Florida….

What little people have known for years, apparently wealthy people are learning the hard way. If it seems to good to be true, and it is coming from Florida or Texas…..it is.

First was Madoff, who was running his pyramid scheme for 20 years until it recently fell apart, leaving in its wake West Palm Beach millionaires and a long list of people with cash to burn, selling their estate jewelery to make ends meet and now, Texas enters the financial scam scene.

Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, has been charged by the SEC in a civil complaint with “fraud of shocking magnitude that has spread its tentacles throughout the world,” said Rose Romero, regional director of the SEC’s office in Fort Worth, Texas, and reported by Reuters.

Stanford, who holds dual U.S.-Antigua citizenship, has dropped off the face of the earth and failed to respond to a subpoena. The SEC can’t understand it.

SIB, his company, oversees $50 billion in assets (this seems to be a magic number, Madoff was charged in a $50 billion fraud scheme).

Maybe the SEC doesn’t consider it worth their time to investigate, unless it amounts to enough money to warrant Barbuda and Antigua’s prime minister to consider the consequences “catastrophic.”

Stanford’s banks are based there and, according to Reuters, “he owns the country’s largest newspaper, heads a local commercial bank, is the biggest private employer, its top investor and is the first American to receive a knighthood from its government.”

He is accused of selling $8 billion in CD’s “by promising high return rates that exceed those available through true certificates of deposits offered by traditional banks.”

Reuters lists additional SEC allegations as the following:

— Stanford’s Antigua-based bank reported identical returns of 15.71 percent in 1995 and 1996, which the SEC called “improbable” and suspicious.

— Ninety percent of the offshore bank’s claimed investment portfolio was in a “black box” shielded from any independent oversight, and only Stanford and aide James Davis, also charged, knew details of the bulk of the portfolio.

— Stanford failed to cooperate with the SEC probe and continued to mislead investors by falsely saying the SEC had frozen accounts or the company had ordered a moratorium on CD redemptions.

— A major, unidentified clearing firm stopped processing wires to SIB for purchase of SIB-issued CDs after the clearing firm was unable to obtain information about the company’s financial condition.

— Stanford used false information to promote a mutual fund program separate from the CDs. The program grew to more than $1.2 billion from less than $10 million in 2004.

In Antigua, hundreds were lining up to get their money out, Panama regulators seized one of the Standford’s local affiliates, the local arm of its financial group pulled itself off of Columbia’s stock exchange, and Adolph Ogi, the former president of Switzerland, quit his post on the advisory board of Stanford Financial Group.

Despite all of this, Reuters states that “There were no signs of imminent criminal charges against Stanford, whose personal fortune was estimated by Forbes Magazine last year at $2.2 billion. A Justice Department spokesman would not confirm or deny the existence of a criminal investigation.”

I would think criminal charges would be a no-brainer, considering the amount of money involved, the 30,000 clients and the 131 countries in which he operated.

But no.

Why, you ask?

Because Reuters also reported this:

Stanford was also expanding his political reach, opening a Washington lobbying office about two years ago after buying the Washington Research Group, a policy study unit of Charles Schwab & Co, in 2005.

Stanford spent $2.8 million on lobbying in 2008, according to records accessed through the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign contributions. His political action committee and employees donated about $2.4 million to parties and candidates for federal office since 1989.

Campaign finance reform won’t fix this, the only thing that will is term limits for Congress and supermax prisons for the influence purchasers.

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