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 February 1 to February 7, 2016:



  1. Flint residents don’t need water bottles, they need democracy
  2. Chris Christie just privatized New Jersey’s water. Good luck with that, New Jersey (please also considering a petition on this page)
  3. Bangladesh’s Disaster Capitalism
  4. Elizabeth Warren Blasts a Republican Plan to Protect White-Collar Criminals
  5. Crowdfunding Campaign/ Black Lives Matter Activist Launches Mayoral Bid
  6. The Future of Money and Monetization  (podcast -22min)
  7. The New Global Financial Cold War…includes TPP (podcast Wed 2/3/16 -1hr )
  8. Bring on The Cashless Future
  9. The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment
  10. HSBC fined $470m for ‘abusive mortgage practices’ during 2008 crisis
  11. The Three Letter Word Missing From the Zika Virus Warnings
  12. Banks should serve the real economy


From the week of January 25 to January 31, 2016:

  1. The 62 billionaires who have more wealth than 3.6 billion others (collectively).
  2. Democracy — its sorry state and something we can do to improve it
  3. Recovering history:
  4. Calls (once again) for prosecutions of bankers
  5. In case you thought you were incapable of being shocked, listen to the case of David Ayers who, against all odds successfully contested his wrongful conviction (after spending 11 years in prison) and win a $13 million judgment — but is being cheated out of it by the Cleveland city government (listen from 4:00 to 21:00 of this podcast).
  6. Martin O’Malley’s Wall Street plan.
  7. Freedom Rider: Flint, Michigan and Democracy
  8. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):

From the week of January 18 to January 24, 2016

It’s a first:  MEETING CANCELLED for January 24th


Skills: Breaking into the world of video journalism– bootcamp/  2/27 @75$/ group rate?
Alt Financial projects: Open Bank Project, The Working World , Blockchain

  1. Stand with Linda Sue Beck against right wing takeover in Oregon
  2. China Not Facing ‘Cataclysmic’ Economic Slow Down, Says Stiglitz
  3. Bernie Sanders
  4. NYC Real estate
  5. Iran / U.S. thaw in relations
  6. 2015 Hottest Year on Record, Far Eclipsing 2014
  7. Our Election/Auction process
  8. Rerun of Flint?

From the week of January 11 to January 17, 2016

  1. Let’s remember the real message of Martin Luther King Jr.
  2. Labor News:
  3. Reclaiming power in the sharing economy
  4. U.S. Will Track Secret Buyers of Luxury Real Estate (hat tip to Gary)
  5. Is RBS right to forecast doom and gloom for the global economy?
  6. Renault Shares Dive After Police Raid On Factories
    • What I find noteworthy about this is that the media coverage is more about the stock price than the event.
  7. State Of The Union And NPR’s Live Reality Check
  8. Chris Hedges: The Great Forgetting
  9. Republican Candidates Grapple With a Touchy Topic: Poverty
  10. Goldman Sachs agrees to $5 billion settlement over sub-prime loans from 2005-2007
    • If no crime was committed, why are they settling?
    • If crimes were committed, why are there no prosecutions?
    • Are these “perpetratorless crimes”?
  11. Democracy in Black: A conversation about race in America
  12. How ratings-driven presidential debates are weakening American democracy

From the week of January 4 to January 10, 2016

  1. First They Jailed the Bankers, Now Every Icelander to Get Paid in Bank Sale
  2. Meet the Family Making Billions From America’s Painkiller Overdose Epidemic
  3. Warren Buffett’s Company Wants to Sell You a Mobile Home (Note to minority buyers: you pay extra)
  4. TransCanada Fights Keystone Denial With $15 Billion Appeal — This is the sort of thing that will be much more common if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is approved. These proceedings are outside the U.S. (or any country’s) legal system and not subject to appeal. 
  5. Polish party eliminating democracy
  6. Suspension of democracy in Michigan and its results
    • Not mentioned in the report, but Flint, Detroit and other cities where democracy was suspended are predominantly Black
  7. Beheadings by Muslim extremists
  8. Climate change cover-up just got bigger
  9. Are charter schools the next subprime?
  10. Puerto Rico defaults on debt payment

From the week of December 28th, 2015 to January 3, 2016

  1. We Don’t Just Need Nicer Cops. We need Fewer Cops. (article mentioned by Rob last week)
  2. A Crisis Worse than ISIS? Bail-Ins Begin
  3. January 1, 2016: The New Bank Bail-In System Goes Into Effect In Europe
  4. Airbnb’s worst problems are confirmed by its own data
  5. Airbnb’s tricky new numbers game: The tax-evading, neighborhood-gutting loophole they exploit — at everyone’s expense
  6. Gentrification in Washington Heights forcing out longtime mom and pop shops
  7. For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions
  8. There’s a secret, separate US tax system that rich people use to save billions
  9. Meet the Family Making Billions From America’s Painkiller Overdose Epidemic
  10. A lonely road… the poor in the Deep South
  11. Bernie: Audit The Department Of Defense
  12. Puerto Rico Says It Will Miss $37 Million In Bond Payments This Week
  13. Bitcoin and Its Blockchain Will Shape the Future of International Trade

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

We had so many important topics to discuss last Sunday we decided to hold the discussion on Student Debt and How to Pay for College next meeting, Dec. 27 so we could do it justice. See Gary’s site “The Brain Fund

  1. Shenzhen, Embodying China’s Growth, Falls Risk to It
  2. The Creeping Villainy Of American Politics
  3. As a New High Society Climbs in Manhattan, It’s a Race to the Top
  4. Michigan Water Crisis Rooted in Crisis of Democracy
  5. Sued Over Old Debt and Unable to Go to Court
  6. How Seattle Uber Drivers Won the Right to Unionize

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

Proposal for Alternative Banking to endorse the letter opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the following reasons:

  • Undermining environmental protection
  • Offshoring U.S. jobs and driving down wages
  • Jeopardizing the safety of the food we feed our families
  • Rolling back access to life-saving medications
  • Elevating investor rights over human rights and democracy

Other organizations are encouraged to sign on as well. Entire letter here. Sign-on here

Also, should we join Popular Resistance’s Buycott for Trade Justice

News and potential discussion topics

  1. Tyson Foods’ Secret Recipe for Carving Up Workers’ Comp
  2. Reinventing Banking: From Russia to Iceland to Ecuador
  3. Return of fascism
  4. Military influence
  5. Bill Black “Jihadist” Against the Banks?
  6. Richard Wolff: December Economic Update (skip first 6:30)F
  7. Henry Giroux (skip first 7:00) “Where is the Outrage” (thanks Alejandrina) “citizens are urged to become consumers. Politicians are paid mouthpieces for money and power. Anti-public intellectuals are unapologetic enemies of compassion, the commons and democracy itself.”
  8. Flint, Michigan declares state of emergency over lead in water
  9. Yes, GOP Megadonor Did Secretly Buy Nevada’s Biggest Newspaper
  10. Everyone’s favorite hedge fund / pharma exec arrested for fraud

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

  1. The Potential of Debtors’ Unions. Aiming to build collective power in an age of financial absolutism, the Debt Collective is piloting a new kind of organization: the debtors’ union.
  2. VW Says Emissions Cheating Was Not a One-Time Error.
  3. What Drives Gun Sales: Terrorism, Obama and Calls for Restrictions
  4. Why the New Education Law Is Good for Children Left Behind
  5. America’s Middle Class Meltdown: fifth of US adults live in or near poverty
  6. Who’s profiting from $1.2 trillion of student debt?
  7. Why are so many black women dying of AIDS?

From the week of November 30th to December 6th, 2015

  1. Unexpected History of American Capitalism, our latest blog post4 of hearts -- OptionARMs
  2. Crucial Climate Talks Are Taking Place in Paris RIght Now
  3. Puerto Rico poised to miss another debt deadline as financial crisis rages on
  4. This week’s TPP commentary (I’ll stop posting this stuff when the TPP is dead)
  5. Why are middle-aged white people dying at faster rates than they used to?
    • Just to be clear, non-white people still have worse mortality rates than whites. But, middle-aged white mortality is getting worse in the US while rates for other groups are improving.
  6. Capitalism at Work. Greek women forced into prostitution
    • Commentary from a reformed neo-con.
  7. HSBC whistleblower given five years’ jail over biggest leak in banking history. Apparently, exposing white collar crime is punishable while the crimes are not.
  8. The oligarchy:
  9. Saudi Arabia:
  10. Debt Collectors
  11. No longer Too Big To Fail? JPMorgan, BofA, Citigroup Among Eight U.S. Banks Cut by S&P  But, reading the fine print, bailout is deemed “uncertain” but still possible. If push comes to shove, we’d bet on a bailout.

From the week of November 23rd to November 29th, 2015

  1. Crucial Climate Talks Are Taking Place in Paris Next Week
  2. Terrorism
  3. Tell the Postmaster General to Make Postal Banking a Reality Now
  4. Heroin and the War on Drugs
  5. Days of Revolt: The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History
  6. Marble Columns (see our old post about what this means)
  7. Re-imagining Journalism: The Story of the One Percent
  8. Safety Lapses and Deaths Amid a Building Boom in New York
  9. Tighter Lid on Records Threatens to Weaken Government Watchdogs

From the week of November 16th to November 22th, 2015

Reading in prep for 2-3pm topic (optional):

  1. Comment on refugees: “They Are Us”
  2. Stop Trans-Pacific Partnership: Fighting against global corporate domination
  3. Fed likely to raise interest rates next month. Should it?
  4. Google is quietly becoming one of the nations most powerful politic forces.
  5. How US and Saudi Arabia aided formation of the Islamic State. We have met the enemy and it is us.
  6. Anonymous Takes Down 5,500 ISIS Accounts – 24 Hours After ISIS Called them “Idiots”
  7. Climate Activists vow to continue protests ahead of Paris talks
  8. Prof. Arun Sundararajan on the Sharing Economy, Blockchain Markets & Crowd-Based Capitalism (24:38min)
  9. You think things are bad now, consider what happens if this bill passes
    • Well, a cynic would say that it wouldn’t make any difference because they aren’t prosecuting white collar criminals anyway, which is true enough.
    • But, as it is, at least we can hope and spur public outcry. If this passes, there would be no hope left..
    • Thanks to Occupy the SEC for circulating a petition about it. Please sign it.
  10. We need to stand up for socialism

From the week of November 9th to November 15th, 2015

Conference on Platform Cooperativism: The Internet, Ownership, Democracy. This sounds like an interesting 2 day conference for anyone interested in ‘Venture Communism’, social transformation, alternative workplaces and more. FREE REGISTRATION.

Optional in preparation for our speaker (he’ll give a summary as well):

Regular Meeting:

  1. The Rent You’re Paying for Your NYC Apartment Might Not Even Be Legal!
  2. PROP’s brilliant protest: giving out fake summonses to white people in Park Slope.
  3. Portugal’s Government Ousted in Challenge to Austerity
  4. Germany loses key ally in Portugal as austerity regime crumbles
  5. Cuomo to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 for All New York State Employees

From the week of November 2nd to November 8th, 2015

  1. Privatization of our justice system — Domestic version
  2. Crony Capitalism Goes Global: The TPP & ISDS Explained
  3. Free Markets Ideology Is Making Society Sick
  4. Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Climate Change Decades Ago, They Denied It.
  5. We discussed postal banking last Sunday
  6. Success Metrics Questioned in School Program Funded by Goldman Sachs
  7. Socially Responsible Investments Get Boost From Labor Department
  8. Food for thought for those of us working on our own essay series: (hat tip to Yves Smith)

From the week of October 26th to November 1st, 2015

  1. Join us at an action to GIVE SUSIE BACK HER HOME
    • 4 pm Friday Oct.30. 270 Park Avenue @47th St.
    • Protest this and other illegitimate foreclosures
  2. Free Markets Ideology Is Making Society Sick3ofClubs_ShareholderValue
  3. Under TPP, Polluters Could Sue U.S. for Setting Carbon Emissions Limits
  4. Issues the candidates “must” address. For “must” read won’t
    1. This list doesn’t include climate change?
    2. What is our list?
  5. Hillary Clinton on Colbert: I would let the big banks fail
  6. The Clinton Foundation, Shady Accounting and AIDS
  7. 18 CEOs Called Out By Bernie Sanders For Taking Trillions…
  8. Bankers for Bernie
  9. Can Steve Buscemi Create Affordable Housing For NYC Artists?
  10. Chipping Away at the System: How will we bring about systemic change?
  11. What’s in the budget deal,
    • what’s not even discussed: infrastructure spending or any full-employment initiatives.
  12. Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice


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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