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 March 14 to March 20, 2016:

Democracy Spring, April 2-16         Democracy Awakening, April 16-18

The Left Forum is being held May 20-22. We are registering for the group rate of $25/person for the full conference. Email by April 5th if you are a regular meeting attendee and would like to register under the group rate. You can also volunteer to help the Left Forum and attend for free.

  1. Prison-Corporate Complex In addition to all of the cruelty, prisoners and their families are exploited financially and the corporations fight hard against reform.
  2. Trump-Media Complex: The Mutual Dependence of Donald Trump and the News Medial
  3. In Louisiana the poor lack legal defense (Not only in Louisiana, just saying)
  4. The Hidden Price of Mindfulness, Inc.
  5. U.S. Trade Rep. Froman says he can “fix” TPP with side deals to benefit “stakeholderrs” like Wall Street, pharma, biotech and agriculture.
  6. Skyscrapers — but no sewage system. Meet a city run by private industry (h/t Rob)
  7. Racial Politics of Disney Animals
  8. Trump and Trump supporters
  9. Economist Intelligence Unit: Top 10 Global Risks
  10. Is It A Coup? What Is Happening in Brazil is Much Worse Than Donald Trump
  11. Flint Water Advisory Task Force Report

From the week of March 14 to March 20, 2016:

  1. For those of us who missed his book talk, here is an interview of Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
  2. Cutting CUNY Governor Cuomo wants to stop funding one-third of CUNY four-year colleges’ budget. Where will the money come from? (h/t Rob)
  3. What Should the Next System Look Like?
  4. Swiss to hold referendum on guaranteed monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs/month (which is worth nearly $2,500/month). Vote is on June 5t
  5. Right to the City: From Policing to Planning: Putting People in Charge
  6. Can you put a price on nature? A Californian nonprofit thinks it can
  7. Why the Supreme Court Needs Term Limits
  8. Koch Brothers and other billionaires influence in politics
  9. Election hurting TPP’s chances
  10. Bad prosecutors ousted by voters.The presidential election is not the only one taking place.
  11. Indian Point 11 plead “guitly and proud”
  12. ‘The Profiteers,’ by Sally Denton Story of Bechtel’s decades of government contracting
  13. As Women Take Over a Male-Dominated Field, the Pay Drops
  14. Cathy wrote up last week’s talk by Tom Adams in case you missed it
  15. Resist the evil of the selfie password

From the week of March 7 to March 13, 2016:

    Announcement: Conference on “What Should the Next System Look Like?

  • Opening Plenary: Thursday, March 10 6-9 pm
  • Full Day Sessions: Fri. March 11 & Sat., March 12

News and noteworthy

  1. Dangerous global warming will occur sooner than expected, study finds
    • The climate skeptics will probably say “see, we told you not to trust the scientists”
  2. Too much finance? Even the IMF thinks the U.S. would be better off with a simpler financial sector, like Poland’s.
  3. From Protest to Power: Behind the scenes of disruptive social movements and Meet the 50 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Philanthropy. In search of responsible philanthropy standards.
  4. You probably aren’t much for sermons. Neither am I. But this one is worth listening to. A great case for a basic income guarantee  “What we have now is a lack of basic common decency. Our poverty is created by those who both hoard wealth and who cling to power.”  First 7 minutes is all I ask.
  5. Obscure, unaccountable government entities spend more money than elected city governments Once again, John Oliver finds the obscure but important scandals.
  6. Mutual Funds Resist S.E.C. Plan to Pump Up Buffer Against Cash Flight
  7. Painkillers now kill more Americans than any illegal drug.
  8. People’s Budget: Big Ideas that Work
  9. Universities Are Becoming Billion-Dollar Hedge Funds With Schools Attached (h/t Hannah)
  10. Barbara Ehrenreich: How America criminalised poverty
  11. How Google could influence the election (h/t Marni)
  12. CUNY in Crisis: Tuition is climbing, facilities are crumbling, faculty may strike and Cuomo keeps making things worse.(h’t to Rob for highlighting this issue)
  13. In order to address inequality, we must talk about race

From the week of February 29 to March 6, 2016:

  1. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City’ by Matthew Desmond
  2. Two Billionaires’ view of the future: Bill & Melinda Gates
  3. Juno to Take On Uber with Driver-owned Socially Responsible Ridesharing
  4. Bloomberg Beta On Investing In The ‘Future Of Work’
  5. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Just Joined Republicans to Declare War on Elizabeth Warren
  6. New Economic Systems, volume 1: Papers from the “Next system Project”
  7. Housing:
  8. Shameless self-promotion: Five Years Later, Here are 9 Important Movements That Grew Out Of Occupy. This features OccuEvolve, Occupy the SEC, us and others.
  9. Big Banks Made 8% Of Their Profits Last Year From Overdraft Fees
  10. We’re having the wrong conversation about Apple and the FBI
  11. Holy shit I look amazing holding tampons (mathbabe)
  12. NYPD Sued for using a sound cannon at Eric Garner protest
  13. Melissa Harris-Perry exits MSNBC
  14. Prisons:

Week of February 22 to February 28, 2016:


Should we endorse these actions?


  1. Freedom in the Neoliberal Eden Our latest Huff Po blog.

    How did America’s government get this way? Once the world’s model, it has become so predatory that the very meanings of words like “freedom”, “responsibility”, and “governance” have been perverted to the point that we can hardly speak to one another anymore.

  2. Prisons for Profit: Under Kasich, Ohio Becomes Laboratory for Privatizing Public Jails
  3. Bernie Sanders Will Ban Private Prisons. Hillary Clinton Accepted $133,246 From Prison Lobbyists
  4. No profit left behind In the high-stakes world of American education, Pearson makes money even when its results don’t measure up.
  5. Michigan’s Water Wars: Nestlé Pumps Millions of Gallons for Free While Flint Pays for Poisoned Water
  6. HSBC ‘taking too long to tackle financial crime’
    They are subject to a “deferred prosecution” agreement and I don’t understand why the U.S. doesn’t prosecute (or, more accurately, I do understand why but it doesn’t make it right)
  7. The Koch Brothers’ New Brand
    • Koch Branding. “We wake up every morning and ask ourselves what’s possible.”
  8. United States v Apple
  9. Congress: The Home Game If we are going to cry, we might as well laugh about it, too.
  10. John Oliver on Voting
  11. The best predictor of Trump support isn’t income, education, or age. It’s authoritarianism. But sometimes we shouldn’t laugh. “It isn’t funny. We need to stop laughing. it is something we should fear.”
  12. Private Prisons Are Cashing In on Refugees’ Desperation
  13. Is this the future of work? Scientists predict which jobs will still be open to humans in 2035
  14. Continuing our real estate discussion:
  15. French law forbids food waste by supermarkets
  16. Impacts of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program on Neighborhood Housing Turnover

From the week of February 15 to February 21, 2016:



  1. At Puerto Rico’s Power Company, a Recipe for Toxic Air, and Debt.
  2. Short animated videos on why drugs don’t cause addiction; social disconnection does.
  3. Goldman Gives Up On Jailed Teens.  Looks like Goldman’s investment in Riker’s Island teens did not pay off (bummer, but surprised they did not rig the data to make sure it did).  It was Deputy Mayor Glen who put this together and now opposes making good jobs even a low priority in the Mayor’s housing plan. Here is the third-party report, which is way too flattering of the process if not the outcome.
  4. This Is San Francisco’s Plan to Get the 1 Percent to Pay Up This gives us some hard numbers on how much more revenue a city can gain if they decide to tax luxury apartments. In this case it’s a transfer tax, not a recurring real estate tax.
  5. Ex-Goldman, Fed official says Too Big To Fail still needs to be addressed. We knew that but good he would come out and say it.
  6. Moderate Democrats helped Wall Street avoid regulation in the ’90s. They’re doing it again.
  7. There are huge racial disparities in how US police use force. Again, no surprise but good to see it documented.
  8. Making big bucks off water: Private, for-profit water companies charge 58% more than the government, report finds I am sure you are shocked to hear this.
  9. FBI Demands Apple Grant Power To Hack All iPhone Users
    • Is this what the world has come to? We depend on mega-corporations to defend our civil liberties?
  10. Markets In The Next System
  11. Student debt protests planned after armed marshals arrest man for old loans
  12. Gates Foundation Tied To Suit Against Common Core Ballot Measure

From the week of February 8 to February 14, 2016:


  1. The NYPD Is Kicking People Out of Their Homes, Even If They Haven’t Committed a Crime
  2. Geithner Gets JPMorgan Credit Line to Invest With Warburg Pincus
  3. Don’t reduce debate on Hillary Clinton and women voters to a cat-fight
  4. Deutsche Bank openly playing the Too Big to Fail card
  5. Department of Justice will sue Ferguson to force criminal justice reforms
  6. Wall St. Whistle-Blowers, Often Scorned, Get New Support
  7. Morgan Stanley to pay $3.2bn over mortgage-backed securities . Crmies were committed but there were no perpetrators — on at least, no prosecutions.
  8. Getting to 100% renewable energy: Late and Fast
  9. Did you know that Sweden has a $150/ton tax on CO2? In the past 10 years, Sweden’s GDP growth is higher than U.S., France, Germany and most other countries.  Just saying…
  10. This week’s unbelievable story of mistreatment of women of color: No Más Bebés film clip and NPR interview. Film focuses on LA women who stood up for themselves but apparently the practice was common across the U.S.
  11. Slate Money discusses the future of the world’s economy with Mohamed El-erian
  12. Philosophy/Literary podcasts:
    1. Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s.  This came out over a month ago, but raises some fascinating issues.  Is it possible that the texts of financial capitalism–that is, all those accounting sheets and metrics–are basically cultural representations, which fail to capture much, if anything, real about the economy? If so, do we at Altbanking spend too much time trying to understand these documents on their own terms?
    2. What Makes Taxes Moral. From Radio National Australia, a cool (if somewhat self-involved) conversation about: the moral grounding of taxation in Aristotle’s Politics, the willingness of a society to tolerate taxation as a measure of social cohesion, and the hard question of how immigration can challenge that.
  13. Disparity in Life Spans of the Rich and the Poor Is Growing
  14. Yellen Re-Examining Negative Rates; Top Lawmaker Doubts Legality
  15. Professional Expertise or Politics Driving Economists’ View of Hillary & Bernie?

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



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