News and Noteworthy this Week

Welcome to the website of the Occupy Alternative Banking working group.  Explore the site to learn more  about us, but for a consistent stream of interesting news and analysis on what is happening in the (broken) financial system and whatever else happens to interest us, keep an eye trained here: our popular “News and Noteworthy this Week” page.

From the week of September 28th to October 4th, 2015

  1. Hedge Funds: the Ultimate Absentee Landlords
  2. the CFPB, Disparate Impact, and Conflict of Interests
  3. Phishing for Phools
    •  “But, inevitably, the competitive pressures for businessmen to practice deception and manipulation in free markets lead us to buy, and pay too much for, products we do not need , to work at jobs that give us little sense of purpose, and to wonder why our lives have gone amiss.”
    • Notable comment considering both co-authors are Nobel winners and one is married to Fed Chair Janet Yellin.
  4. Support for Planned Parenthood is down, support for its federal funding is not
  5. Sexism and executive pay: Is Planned Parenthood’s President Overpaid?
  6. Blockchain emerges as transaction technology for global banking.
  7. Bernie Sanders Raises $26 Million, Exceeding Obama’s 2008 Pace
  8. India slashes rates by 50 basis points
  9. Financial Markets:

From the week of September 21st to September 27th, 2015

  1. IndyKids, A free paper for kids, by kids
  2. John Oliver on Public Defenders, Another example of how poor are deprived of justice. I know, it is nothing new but this one is funny as well as sad.
  3. Amen for the socialist pope? Let’s debate
  4. And what do we think about Jeremy Corbyn. New head of British Labor Party?
  5. Free market at work
  6. Climate change
  7. LA to declare homelessness a state of emergency
  8. Good context on refugee crisis in less than 10 minutes.
  9. Rise Up October. Stand up against police brutality
  10. End of Work/ New Models:  Techno-social platform for sustainable models and value generation in commons-based peer production in the Future Internet

From the week of September 14th to September 20th, 2015

  1. How Segregation Destroys Black Wealth, thanks Ale
  2. Related to Nikos’s talk:Greek Truth Committee on Public Debt
  3. Occupy Radio: SPLC tackles private probation industry One of the many ways “justice” is unjust if you are poor
  4. What we talk about when we talk about finance.
  5. New Orleans profits from fining and jailing poor defendants.
  6. Been a long time since this Altbanker posted. Am going to post a series of podcasts from over the last few months.  The following two are on the subject of the history of capitalism:
    1. The History of Cotton.  This is a podcast from Counterpoint (available also on Beyond Pod).  The book itself “The History of Cotton” has recently won all kinds of awards, and is basically a history of Capitalism seen through the development of the cotton industry.
    2. The New Books network provides a great way to get 45-minute intros into academic texts on all kinds of stuff.  This one, a history of the slaving port of Benguela in what is now Angola, was particularly interesting: An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World
  7. Why do kindergarten teachers pay more taxes than hedge fund managers?

From the week of September 7th to September 13th, 2015

  1. Desperate Journeys: Al Jazeera coverage of refugee crisis
  2. Desperate circumstances: Living on $2 a day in America
  3. Oil giants derail California bill to reduce gasoline use by 50%
  4. Citi’s Chief Economist Says China Is ‘Financially Out of Control’
  5. The Government Might Finally Get Tough on Wall Street Fraud Let’s hope so but, if so, we wonder what took them so long.
  6. Why tax havens will be at the heart of the next financial crisis
  7. As a Boom Fades, Brazilians Wonder How It All Went Wrong
  8. James Blake Arrest Puts Police Tactics in Harsh Glare It wasn’t as bad as many other incidents, but this is a famous black man.
  9. New Data Gives Clearer Picture of Student Debt.

From the week of August 31st to September 6th, 2015

  1. Remembering New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward and Hurricane Katrina
  2. Migrant Chaos Mounts While Divided Europe Stumbles for Response
  3. Image of a Small, Still Boy Brings a Global Crisis Into Focus

From the week of August 24th to August 30th, 2015

  1. Bill Maher: The Sharing Economy  (video 5:13)
  2. The Secret for Stellar Banking Profits
  3. Great news: The Labor Ruling McDonald’s Has Been Dreading Just Became A Reality
  4. Remembering Katrina:New Orleans After Katrina: Inequality Soars as Poor Continue to Be Left Behind in City’s “Recovery”
  5. Greek election confusion raises fresh fears over ability to pay debt
  6. China Falters, and the Global Economy Is Forced to Adapt
  7. Mass Incarceration USA: Ending It, and What Started It Long but excellent podcast (48 minutes)
  8. The triumph of Occupy Wall Street

From the week of August 17th to August 23rd, 2015

  1. More Americans See Themselves as “Haves” Than “Have-Nots”
  2. I often can’t afford groceries because of volatile work schedules at Gap
  3. The Next Time Someone Complains About Fast Food Workers Making $15/Hr, Show Them This
  5. A Regulator’s Deal With Promontory Skirts a Big Problem
  6. Facing Money Gap, Hillary Clinton Slowly Warms to ‘Super PAC’ Gifts
  7. Greece

From the week of August 10th to August 16th, 2015

BLOG ‘readings’:

New and Noteworthy

  1. The Anti-Capitalist Greek Left Says No to Austerity and Bailout
  2. Belatedly posting: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Letter to My Son”.
    • “Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.”
  3. This is how protesters plan to take on the Fed
  4. Hillary Helps a Bank—and Then It Funnels Millions to the Clintons
  5. Amnesty’s Decision to Decriminalize Sex Work/ What side are you on?
  6. What Strippers can Teach Über
  7. Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace
  8. UN Faces Scrutiny Over Unpaid Intern Who Slept in a Tent in Geneva

From the week of August 3rd to August 9th, 2015

  1. Protest U: Occupy Summer School in the New Yorker
  2. Puerto Rico Defaults.
    1. Puerto Rico’s Economic “Death Spiral” Tied to Legacy of Colonialism
    2. As they cannot declare bankruptcy, the process will be disorderly but lets hope the hedge funds, 1% and other irresponsible lenders absorb most of the losses.
  3. Banker actually convicted and sent to jail
    1. But not his bosses
    2. Or any senior mega-bank executives despite extensive and continued wrong-doing including
  4. Wealthy oligarchy of donors is dominating 2016 election
    1. So, we shouldn’t be surprised when “trade deals” undermine efforts to stop climate change and enrich fossil fuel companies and other multinationals
  5. Voting Rights Act turns 50. Is it an anniversary or a memorial?
    1. Perhaps still breathing but on life support
    2. Excellent, though long, podcast on the subject. “A central question remains unanswered ‘Are African-Americans citizens of the United States?’ That central question, these many years later, is still valid” (Opening 1:12 are music)
  6. The Uber-ization of Activism Mobilizing people to protect corporations.

From the week of July 26th to August 2nd, 2015

Activism Opportunities

  1. Revolution Books needs your help
  2. Join Occupy the SEC in urging Obama to appoint a progressive SEC commissioner. As reported previously, Obama nominated an SEC commissioner who was so pathetic and compromised that (after Sen. Warren and others complained) he was withdrawn. Let’s urge Obama to come up with someone who is not horrible.

News and noteworthy

  1. Hedge funds tell Puerto Rico: lay off teachers & close schools to pay us back
  2. Rebuttal to the Nails Rebuttal
  3. Rebuttal to The NYRB’s Article on NYT Nail Salon Series
  4. Drawing A Line From The Chinese Stock Market To Your Wallet
  5. For Profit Prison & Kids:
  6. Poll Driven Spin Doctors in the Age of Big Money Elections
  7. Fix the Fed
  8. Restructuring Capitalism:
    David Brooks says we are heading to a debate about capitalism. Let’s have it
    “People and Planet First”: On the Moral Authority of Climate Justice and a New Economy by Naomi Klein
  9. Zephyr Teachout on Getting Big Money Out of Politics in 2016
  10. US, others making a big push to finish TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement) — which they will then try to ram through Congress.
  11. The Roosevelt Institute issues a report which defines “financialization.”

From the week of July 19th to July 25th, 2015

  1. Occupy Summer School Protest
  2. What?!? Private prisons suing states for millions if they don’t stay full
  3. PROP is working to reform NYPD
  4. Should Greece Leave the Euro?
  5. Dodd Frank needs reforming
  6. Fed requires mega banks to hold extra capital (but not enough)
  7. Socialism, American-Style
  8. The end of capitalism has begun
  9. Bank of America Replaces Its Chief Financial Officer as Part of a Shake-Up
  10. BRICS

From the week of July 12 to July 18, 2015

  1. Occupy Summer School teaches teens how to protest
  2. Some reform to NY City’s bail system but still a long way to go. We are still putting people in jail for being poor. In our Alice and Wonderland justice system, people get punished first, have a trial later — or plead guilty to get out of jail.
  3. Poverty, Race, Equality:
  4. Money and Politics: 2016 Presidential Fundraising
  5. Equality: California’s Professional Cheerleaders Entitled to Minimum Wage
  6. Puerto Rico:
  7. Greece:

From the week of July 5 to July 11, 2015

  1. Greek people stand firm. Decisive “NO” vote against Troika
  2. Puerto Rico:
  3. I know, our corrupt political system is old news but this is worth seeing, sharing.
  4. Elizabeth Warren allies delay Obama’s SEC pick
  5. Google’s algorithm shows prestigious job ads to men, but not to women.
  6. Former Attorney General Eric Holder completes trip through revolving door by returning to corporate law firm

From the week of June 28 to July 4, 2015

  1. We agreed to listen to these two videos to discuss on Sunday
  2. Our speakers from last Sunday have started a web site to try to organize collective resistance to corporate use of our data.
  3. One more example of “marble columns” and how laws are ignored by elites
  4. To dispel the notion that the Supreme Court had turned into a force for good, they decided health considerations are not a valid reason to reduce the mercury we breathe. It must be measured in dollars and cents.
  5. Scott has posted a book review comparing Engel’s organizing to OWS. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. But, can those do who know history make progress? We hope so.
  6. Good to see Occupy getting some favorable notice. But this article would have been much better if they bothered to speak to people in the many offshoots of Occupy that are still working. Please contribute information about them on this Wikipedia page which is woefully incomplete.
  7. Not much attention being paid to Puerto Rico, why?
    1. More coverage here and here
  8. Race talk and white fragility.
  9. Of course, nothing is true until NPR “discovers” it.  Still, Ta-Nehisi Coates is just one of the most recent of many folks who have been digging into local, state and the federal government’s complicity regarding segregation for years.
  10. We need a poet.
  11. Economy distress here and abroad
  12. Should we target happiness instead of GDP growth?

One thought on “News and Noteworthy this Week

  1. Given the Varoufakis’ resignation and the Tsipras ‘ cave-in, this might lighten the darkness a bit.

    Just to explain the Greece crisis …

    MARY is the proprietor of a bar in Dublin. She realises that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronise her bar – she will go broke.
    To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.
    She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).
    Word gets around about Mary’s ‘drink now, pay later’ marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Mary’s bar.

    Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Dublin — all is starting to look rosy.
    By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands Mary gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages.

    Consequently, Mary’s gross sales volume increases massively.
    A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognises that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Mary’s borrowing limit.
    He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

    At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into Drinkbonds and Alkibonds. These securities are then bundled and traded on international security markets.
    The new investors don’t really understand that the securities being sold to them as ‘AAA’ secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics. They have had a ‘rating house’ certify they are of good quality.
    Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation’s leading brokerage houses.

    One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Mary’s bar. He so informs Mary.

    Mary then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but, being unemployed alcoholics, they cannot pay back their drinking debts.
    Since Mary cannot fulfil her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. So she now is broke.

    The bar closes and the 11 employees lose their jobs.
    Overnight, Drinkbonds and Alkibonds drop in price by 90%.
    The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank’s liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

    The suppliers of Mary’s bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms’ pension funds in the various Bond securities. They find they are now faced with having to write-off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds.
    Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations. Her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.
    Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion euro, no-stringsattached cash infusion from their cronies in government.
    The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Mary’s bar.

    Now, thats economics in 2015

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