Friday, October 14, 2011

People Are Awesome: New Blog Features Millionaires Who Stand with Occupy Wall Street

Published on GOOD

Rich kids catch a lot of flak, sometimes for good reason (e.g. Donald Trump), but sometimes because people assume everyone with a trust fund is in Monaco playing baccarat, eating 10-course meals, and lighting their cigars with the pink slips of the unemployed. Some people with trust funds are doing that, of course—especially the pink slips part—but many others are not. In fact, there are a number of rich kids down in the trenches with hoi polloi at Occupy Wall Street right now, and they've got a new blog to prove it. Called "We Are the 1 Percent," the new site piggybacks off the blog "We Are the 99 Percent," on which Americans having a hard time during the recession sound off about exactly how the financial industry and particular government machinations have caused them to lose their jobs, their homes, their sanity. We Are the 1 Percent is a bit different. While the goal is still the same—to support the elimination of income inequality in the United States—the blog's entries are made up entirely of contributions from the super-rich. Some of the contributors inherited their money, others made a killing on the stock market, but all of them agree that it's time to redistribute some of their fortunes to others in need. Writes one 1 Percenter, "Some people work 3 jobs just to survive. I got $3 million just for being born. We need a radical redistribution of wealth."

As unlikely as it may seem at times, it turns out some people use their silver spoons to feed the world.


Tenth richest person in the U.S. arrested for DWI

Alice has gone down the rabbit hole, and it seems it isn’t the first time.

From Gawker:

Alice Walton, billionaire daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, was arrested for DWI on the night of her 62nd birthday in Mineral Wells, Texas.Last time she got a DWI, Alice screamed, “I’m Alice Walton, b**!” For a bit of reference, Forbes magazine named Fort Worth native Alice Walton the 10th richest person in the U.S. and 21st richest person in the world with a net worth of $20.9 billion.

Who Really Owns The NYPD? Turns Out It's Not Such A Rhetorical Question

I wrote last week about the multi-million dollar contribution to the NYPD from JPChase, but it turns out the corporate influence goes much deeper than that. Pam Martens, an activist who successfully sued the NYPD after her arrest for handing out leaflets about corruption at Citibank, tells us a lot of things we didn't know about the relationship between the NYPD and Wall Street, and it's jawdropping information:

If you’re a Wall Street behemoth, there are endless opportunities to privatize profits and socialize losses beyond collecting trillions of dollars in bailouts from taxpayers. One of the ingenious methods that has remained below the public’s radar was started by the Rudy Giuliani administration in New York City in 1998. It’s called the Paid Detail Unit and it allows the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street corporations, including those repeatedly charged with crimes, to order up a flank of New York’s finest with the ease of dialing the deli for a pastrami on rye. READ MORE

Former Detective: NYPD Planted Drugs on People to Meet Drug Arrest Quotas

According to a former officer who testified at trial yesterday, New York City police regularly planted drugs on innocent people to meet quotas.
October 13, 2011
The NYPD has been under fire in recent months for illegal searches resulting in thousands of low-level marijuana arrests, mostly of people of color. As corrupt as this practice is, testimony from Stephen Anderson, a former NYPD narcotics detective, shows it's just the tip of the iceberg.

According to Anderson, who testified at trial Wednesday, New York City police regularly planted drugs on innocent people to meet quotas. Anderson should know. He was arrested in 2008 for planting cocaine on four men in a bar in Queens. His statements are the first glimpse into a culture of set-ups at the Brooklyn South and Queens Narc squads where eight corrupt cops were arrested.

How Bank of America Covered Up Fraud by Silencing Whistleblowers

Countrywide made life hard for an internal investigator, and a court ruled that when BofA took over, she was illegally fired in retaliation.
October 13, 2011
In the summer of 2007, a team of corporate investigators sifted through mounds of paper pulled from shred bins at Countrywide Financial Corp. mortgage shops in and around Boston.

By intercepting the documents before they were sliced by the shredder, the investigators were able to uncover what they believed was evidence that branch employees had used scissors, tape and Wite-Out to create fake bank statements, inflated property appraisals and other phony paperwork. Inside the heaps of paper, for example, they found mock-ups that indicated to investigators that workers had, as a matter of routine, literally cut and pasted the address for one home onto an appraisal for a completely different piece of property.

Eileen Foster, the company’s new fraud investigations chief, had seen a lot of slippery behavior in her two-plus decades in the banking business. But she’d never seen anything like this.READ MORE


Part two excerpt:

Foster arranged to have the contractor that handled the Boston branches’ shredding set aside the paperwork they hauled off site and hold it in a secure location. Then a team made up of her investigators and other company representatives headed to Boston to go through the piles of paper.

After finding evidence of “cut and paste” document forgery, the team did a full sweep of the offices in question. On top of workers’ desks, Foster says, they found an unusual number of Wite-Out dispensers. And inside their desk drawers, she says, they found folders holding blank templates for account statements from various banks and brokerage firms, such as Bank of America and Washington Mutual.
Eileen Foster was mortgage fraud investigations chief for Countrywide Financial Corp., which eventually became Bank of America. Todd Wawrychuk/Image Group LA

Economist blasts GOP’s ‘seven biggest economic lies’

By Robert Reich

The President’s Jobs Bill doesn’t have a chance in Congress — and the Occupiers on Wall Street and elsewhere can’t become a national movement for a more equitable society – unless more Americans know the truth about the economy.

Below is a short (2 minute 30 second) effort to rebut the seven biggest whoppers now being told by those who want to take America backwards. The major points:

Occupy Wall Street park cleaning postponed, averts showdown

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City on Friday postponed the cleanup of Manhattan plaza where anti-Wall Street protesters have been camped out for a month, prompting cheers from a crowd that had feared they would be evicted. Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said the… READ MORE

NYC park cleanup postponed, protesters cheer

Banking Has Become an Oligopoly Instead of a Competitive Business -- And That's Really Bad News for Us 99%

High banking fees are just the tip of the iceberg. Here's what went wrong with the banking industry and what we can do about it.
October 11, 2011

Some folks have responded to Bank of America's announcement of a new $5 per month fee on debit cards with a glib, "If you don't like it, just pick another bank. It's a free market, baby!" They say that competition will punish BofA for its evil ways.

Sounds easy enough. Except for one small problem.

Banking is not really a competitive industry. In reality, it's more like an oligopoly -- a scenario in which an industry is controlled by a small number of firms. An oligopoly is a lot like a monopoly, where one firm controls the whole show. Only in an oligopoly, you have two or more firms calling the shots, and they love to do things contrary to the notion of a free market, like, say, colluding to raise prices. There are a few common signs that tell you when competition has left the building in a given industry. See if any of these look familiar. READ MORE

Occupy Wall St. Prepares for Crackdown -- Will Bloomberg Try to Tear It All Down?

Free health care, a sanitation team, a public library, solar power, and free childcare are just a few of the services the Occupy Wall Street protesters are providing.
October 13, 2011

"If Bloomberg really cared about sanitation here he wouldn't have blocked portapotties and dumpsters."

On Thursday afternoon Occupy Wall Street called an emergency General Assembly down at Liberty Plaza to deal with the announcement that Friday will see a cleanup of the park by the City, starting at 7 am. Representatives of Brookfield, the company that owns the park, said in the clean-up notice that everything left behind will be thrown away.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Basics on the Latest Murdoch Scandal

by Braden Goyette
ProPublica, Oct. 13, 2011, 3:40 p.m

Yet another scandal is bubbling up at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. On Tuesday, the Murdoch-owned Dow Jones announced that the publisher of The Wall Street Journal’s European edition was resigning, without mentioning why. The next day, The Wall Street Journal reported that the top European exec stepped down after an internal ethics investigation found he had pressured reporters to write two positive stories about a Dutch firm with which the paper had an agreement that helped boost circulation figures.

Circulation numbers matter because they’re used to set advertising rates, and American papers are no strangers to scandals over inflated circulation figures.

But that was just the beginning.READ MORE

FOCUS: Recession Officially Over

Robert Pear, The New York Times
Pear reports: "In the recession, the average length of time a person who lost a job was unemployed increased to 24.1 weeks in June 2009, from 16.6 weeks in December 2007, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the end of the recession, that figure has continued to increase, reaching 40.5 weeks in September, the longest in more than 60 years."

How the FBI's Network of Informants Actually Created Most of the Terrorist Plots "Foiled" in the US Since 9/11

The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?
October 9, 2011

UPDATE: On September 28, Rezwan Ferdaus, a 26-year-old graduate of Northeastern University, was arrested and charged with providing resources to a foreign terrorist organization and attempting to destroy national defense premises. Ferdaus, according to the FBI, planned to blow up both the Pentagon and Capitol Building with a "large remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives."

The case was part of a nearly ten-month investigation led by the FBI. Not surprisingly, Ferdaus' case fits a pattern detailed by Trevor Aaronson in his article below: the FBI provided Ferdaus with the explosives and materials needed to pull off the plot. In this case, two undercover FBI employees, who Ferdaus believed were al Qaeda members, gave Ferdaus $7,500 to purchase an F-86 Sabre model airplane that Ferdaus hoped to fill with explosives. Right before his arrest, the FBI employees gave Ferdaus, who lived at home with his parents, the explosives he requested to pull off his attack. And just how did the FBI come to meet Ferdaus? An informant with a criminal record introduced Ferdaus to the supposed al Qaeda members.

To learn more about how the FBI uses informants to bust, and sometimes lead, terrorist plots, read Aaronson's article below.

OCCUPY Your City and Make History

The Occupy Wall Street protest is a full bore indictment against corporate greed and dysfunctional government. It’s a demand for nation building here at home.

People young and old are taking the streets, sleeping in tents, donating pizza, even publishing their own Occupy Wall Street Journal newspaper, to let our government and corporations know that we are a democracy that’s not for sale.

The Brave New Foundation team pulled some of the most powerful images broadcasted from the Occupy movement. We hope our latest video inspires you to make your voice heard and rally with a protest in your city.

Find a local protest and help make history.

Did Mitt Romney and Rick Perry Make an Illegal Million-Dollar Backroom Deal?

A new lawsuit reveals contradictory stories about an illicit $1 million campaign contribution from “Swift Boat” funder.
October 3, 2011

This story originally appeared at Salon.

“Follow the money” is an elementary rule for understanding American politics, and in the case of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the money trail leads to a case of apparent money laundering that involves his Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney and a $1 million contribution from the same Texas tycoon who bankrolled the “Swift Boat” attacks against the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

Bobby Jack “Bob” Perry, a residential construction magnate in Houston, is not related to Rick Perry by blood, only money. But there has been lots of that. As with the Swift Boaters to whom he donated $4.45 million, Bob Perry ranks as the single largest donor to Rick Perry during the latter’s 10 years as governor of Texas, according to official figures tabulated and analyzed by Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit watchdog group in the state capital of Austin.

It's 2011 -- Why Is the Christian God Still Involved In American Politics?

The Mormon-bashing directed at Mitt Romney should concern everyone for what it reveals about the undue influence of religion in American elections.
October 12, 2011

As an atheist and a liberal, it’s been tempting for me to simply laugh at Republicans fighting each other over the issue of whether or not Mitt Romney, a Mormon, gets to consider himself a Christian. From the non-believer point of view, it’s like watching a bunch of grown adults work themselves into a frenzy over the differences between leprechauns and fairies. But watching the debate unfold, I’ve become concerned about what it means to make someone’s religious beliefs such a big campaign issue, because it’s indicative of a larger eroding of the separation of church and state, which concerns not just atheists but all people who understand the importance of maintaining a secular government.

List of Koch Bros. products to boycott

So, the corporate whores have succeeded in “taking their country” back and now corporate lobbyists and apologists are set to take committee chairmanships to help screw over the American middle-class in the next two years.This situation would not have occurred without the so-called grassroots “Tea Party” which were actually bankrolled by the Koch Brothers (who are sons of Fred Koch, one of the charter members of the John Birch Society).

The Koch Brothers are two “self made” wealthy industrialists who owe their immense wealth due partly to lucking out in the genetic lottery, but also to billions of dollars in government subsidies they receive for their oil and gas, lumber, energy, and other resource-dependent companies that could not survive in a “true” free market without such support. Yes, that’s right, the same folks behind the virulent “limited government” and “cut entitlement spending” screeds this past election cycle, wholly survive by sucking away at the government’s teat to ensure their wealth at the expense of economic security for the rest of us.

Well, although the election has passed and the results that the Kochs were putting the money down have materialized, we can still choose to vote with our dollars. This past August, a list of Koch Brothers products was posted on DailyKos.


11 Facts You Need To Know About The Nation’s Biggest Banks

It makes perfect sense that a movement for an economy that works for everyone would center its efforts on an industry that exemplifies the opposite. READ MORE

If Top 1% Hadn't Ripped Off Trillions, You'd Likely Be Making Thousands of Dollars More Right Now

The Occupy Wall Street movement is out to focus the nation's attention on decades of increasing inequality. READ MORE

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Secret Memo "Justified" Killing of U.S. Citizen Anwar Al-Awlaqi

The secret memorandum was written in 2010 to justify the action despite a legal framework that prevents the White House ordering assassinations. READ MORE

The Big Picture: A 40-Year Scan of the Right-Wing Corporate Takeover of America

Author and public intellectual Colin Greer tells us how we got where we are today. It's not a pretty picture, but hope is on the way.READ MORE

Live Coverage: Occupy DC

Live broadcasting by Ustream

Reader Supported News Special Coverage
The People's Uprisings seen around the world and in the United States have spread to Washington, DC. On Thursday, October 6, hundreds began a prolonged people's occupation of Freedom Plaza. Reader Supported News will provide special coverage of this event.

Reporter Incites DC Riot to Write About It
By Dylan Stableford, The Cutline/Y!News

11 October 11

A reporter for the American Spectator - who says he "infiltrated" a group of Washington, DC, protesters "in order to mock and undermine" their cause in his magazine - claims he helped incite a riot at the National Air and Space Museum on Saturday afternoon and was pepper - sprayed in the process.

After sneaking past the guard at the first entrance, I found myself trapped in a small entranceway outside the second interior door behind a muscle - bound left - wing fanatic and a heavyset guard. READ MORE

FOCUS: Karl Rove vs. the Koch Brothers

Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico
Vogel reports: "The billionaire industrialist brothers David and Charles Koch plan to steer more than $200 million - potentially much more - to conservative groups ahead of Election Day, POLITICO has learned. That puts their libertarian-leaning network in the same league as the most active of the groups in the more establishment-oriented network conceived last year by veteran GOP operatives Rove and Ed Gillespie, which plans to raise $240 million."

Oh great, just great... and how much would you bid for our democracy?
"I have 200 million in the front row here... Going once..."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Paul Krugman | Panic of the Plutocrats

Paul Krugman, The New York Times
Paul Krugman writes: "It remains to be seen whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will change America's direction. Yet the protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Live Coverage: Occupy Wall Street

Reader Supported News Special Coverage

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at

The aim of #OCCUPYWALLSTREET is to draw protesters to New York's financial district in a non-violent protest to spark a mass movement against corporate dominance. While the corporate media ignores the protest, Reader Supported News will continue to report on the latest developments.

Why Occupy Wall Street Should Scare Republicans

Occupy Portland marchers occupy Lownsdale Square where their parade through downtown Portland ended earlier Thursday, 10/06/11. (photo: Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian)

go to original article
By Jonathan Alter, Bloomberg

07 October 11

n Florida this week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked about the growing Occupy Wall Street movement. “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” he said.

Romney’s right. It may be dangerous - to his chances of being elected.

Occupy Wall Street, now almost three weeks old, isn’t like the anti-globalization demonstrations that disrupted summits in the 1990s or even the street actions at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, though some of the same characters are probably in attendance. With unemployed young protesters planning to camp out all winter in Zuccotti Park (with bathrooms available only at a nearby McDonald’s), it’s more like a cross between a Hooverville and Woodstock - the middle-class jobless of the 1930s and the hippie protesters of the 1960s.

Voices: Six Wall Street protesters

The BBC profiles six of the very different characters who attended one of the rallies in Cleveland in the US state of Ohio.

What do the protesters taking part in the demonstrations that have swept the US in recent days want?

The BBC profiles six of the very different characters who attended one of the rallies in Cleveland in the US state of Ohio.

Jacob Wagner, 25, law and business student

Greg Coleridge, 52

Michelle Mahon, 40, union nurse

Rev Meredith White-Zeager, 38, Presbyterian minister

Justin Bilyj, 29, insurance broker, bartender and supporter of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul

Michael Parish, 52, disabled and retired Cleveland firefighter