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Thread: The Baffling Reaction to OWS
11-25-2011, 08:34 PM #1
The Baffling Reaction to OWS
I find the reaction, amongst successful and semi-successful individuals within the REAL sector of the economy, to the OWS movement to be particularly baffling. By the real economy, I am talking about what we do, along with construction, ag, mining, tangible services, etc. You know...the type of economic activity that MADE America.
Of course, the leaders of small to medium sized manufacturing (as well as construction and ag) focused businesses tend to be conservative, so some a negative reaction the image portrayed by OWS is to be expected. But the knee jerk reaction to OWS goes far beyond that. It has been to tune out their message entirely, and dismiss them as spoiled, envious socialist loser hippies who are lazy. The next step is to make conclusions about what the OWS message is, without even listening to what is being said.
I hear things like this all the time...
"These OWS have been indoctrinated to the point that they are like robot drones, Government good... liberty bad....Democrat good....Republican bad....High Taxes good......financial freedom bad....Regulation good.....independence bad.....Socialist good.......TEA Party bad….What do they teach them in college again?"
I can cite two examples within the last month that provide strong evidence that this is a real problem that must be addressed for the long term economic health of the US:
1. CitiGroup front ran a group of their own clients (of course on Wall Street...every 'client' is a potential sucker asking to get screwed) on a CDO deal where CITI was the counter-party/seller (not known to the buyer/clients) looking to unload this crap before it went to zero. So they sold something like $1.2B in CDOs to their customers, never disclosing that they were on the opposite side of the trade, and never disclosing the true quality of the financial instruments they were selling. CITI made $285M, and the buyers eventually lost $700 million. After years of negotiations, the SEC struck a deal with CITI. $95M in penalties, no admission of wrongdoing, and no criminal prosecution. THAT is regulatory capture. The SEC investigators/prosecutors (lawyers) don't want to be too hard on CITI...because they are all gunning to get a job with the high end law firms that represent CITI...hence the sweetheart deal. Where is the outrage? Even worse is the fact that CITI has done this 1/2 dozen times...and the SEC keeps letting them off the hook! What does letting CITI commit fraud have to do with conservative values like hard work and the rule of law? Since when is the core value of America deception and theft. Thank god US District Court Judge Jed Rakoff put a stop to this...gave the SEC the finger...and threw out the settlement. In my view, CITI should be penalized in an amount that put them in the position the would have been in if they had properly disclosed what they were selling. In other words...they should be penalized $700M...which happens to be what the institutions they defrauded lost.
2. MF Global. 2 weeks ago, farmers and ranchers across the nation got a shock when they tried to execute commodities transactions (selling forward futures to lock in prices, or hedging risk) only to find that their accounts were frozen. Why? Because MF Global, the parent company of their brokers, STOLE their inactive funds to try double down on losing bets they had made on their own proprietary leveraged trading position in EuroZone debt/bonds. And yet, the only legal action with respect to MF Global THEFT has been to question the ratings agencies, which rated MF Global positively right up till the end. I guess the US Gov is still pissed about the SnP downgrade. Oh...and who was the head MF Global thief? Ex Goldman, ex Us Sentate, ex New Jersey Governor John Corzine. When you are in the club...you get free pass on a $1.2$ theft (the current estimate of how much MF Global stole from their clients...) Again...no action from the SEC...no action from the CFTC...no action from the Department of Justice. Nothing....
Where is the outrage? Why do people who actually make and create things in their business lives not recognize the vast difference between what these criminals in the financial sector do, and what they do?
I have been wondering what explains the lack of resonance of the OWS message amongst people who are engaged in actually adding economic value. About the only thing I can come up with, is the fact that people like to think of themselves is a positive light. They light to think themselves super successful. They see OWS protesting a certain segment of society which is no doubt VERY successful, so people, in a subtle way, are prone to think of themselves as part of that very same segment of the societal-economic heirarcy. The knee jerk dismissal of OWS follows immediately.
Or perhaps we have just become so morally bankrupt, and so enamored of the ultra-rich, that we are willing to condone whatever actions they took to gain their wealth....
The scary part, is it could not be further from the truth. About 1/4 of the activity in the financial sector IS necessary, and that is related to capital formation, finance, credit, etc, in support of aforementioned real economic value added activity. But the bulk of it is zero sum gain activity that has been enabled by the most massive credit expansion the world has ever seen.
Now that the credit cycle has turned, the only way the financial sector can maintain the 75% of its activity that adds no economic value, is to essentially consume the real economy...which is essentially what they are doing. Actually...they have been doing it for 20 years..but the pace is increasing. There have been endless threads on this site about this. Goodwill is monetized, and the value added portions of production are shifted to overseas economies. In the short term, the results are positive to the bottom line, and the long term results are only starting to be felt. But there is another dynamic at work, and that it the capture of paper wealth.
One way in which this happens, is as follows. There are currently 21 primary dealers that can borrow FED direct:
Bank of Nova Scotia, New York Agency
BMO Capital Markets Corp.
BNP Paribas Securities Corp.
Barclays Capital Inc.
Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC
Daiwa Capital Markets America Inc.
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.
Jefferies & Company, Inc.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated
Mizuho Securities USA Inc.
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC
Nomura Securities International, Inc.
RBC Capital Markets, LLC
RBS Securities Inc.
SG Americas Securities, LLC
UBS Securities LLC.
Currently, they can borrow fro the FED at close to 0 percent. In addition, these same parties, or associated parties within the financial sector elite, are privy to advance notice of FED future policy. For instance, the FED floated the idea of "Operation Twist" to select private parties months before they floated the idea publicly. Now think about this. You can borrow money from the FED at 0-.25%. You have advance notice of major economic policy events well ahead of the public. Finally...short term financial trading is a zero sum game. The net result of this is outright THEFT. A primary dealer secures financing at very low to zero rates, trades on inside info. When it is all said and done..they give back the borrowings that they used to make a trade...but they keep the profits. Think about their counterpart. They did not have the same info. If they did...they would not have made the trade! THEY were essentially robbed. That party might have been your pension or retirement fund. This is what is going on in this nation. This is how inequality is skyrocketing it has nothing to do with hard work, smarts etc. It is like playing Texas Hold Em against a player that gets as many free chips on the house as he wants...AND he knows what the flop, turn and river cards are before they are turned over...
Those of us in the real economy have to realize that the financial sector is now actively engaged in monetizing what is left of the productive sectors of the economy to sustain its position, and paper wealth. While the owners of small to medium size mfg and construction companies may want to think of ourselves as being in the 1%...THEY ARE AT THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE SPECTRUM FROM THE WALL STREET BANKERS! The bankers and financial elite are consumers/parasites and we are creators. It is NOT rich vs. poor. It is the real economy vs the financial economy.
The OWS has not quite figured this out yet...and they need to. They may now know exactly what the stench is...but they are pretty much on the money with regards to identifying its source.... Most successful people in the REAL economy are absolutely clueless about the dynamic of what is going on. They need to wake up and realize that their gut instinct to defend this other successful group is nothing more than suicide. They are not like us...and they are going to literally eat us alive while we defend them. The US is currently hacking off its own limbs, and eating them.
We need to stop dismissing the message based on our preconceptions and prejudices about the messengers...
11-25-2011, 08:50 PM #2
This is how the game is played...
Were you the sucker on the opposite side of this trade?
It might have been your pension or retirement fund that sold some bond positions early August. What if they had been privy to the same info as the primary dealers....
The game is rigged people..and it amounts to theft...trade by trade, of the US by a select few, using money/credit created out of thin air.
11-25-2011, 08:57 PM #3
What will you be doing about it?
11-25-2011, 09:12 PM #4
I write outraged letters to political leaders (definitely a waste to time). I send in letters to editors (probably a waste to time). I make posts like this in hopes that the message will grow (hopefully not a waste of time).
Just last night I had a long conversation with a very successful senior management professional in the valve/irrigation industry. He did not know what a primary dealer was. He did not understand the specific mechanics of how credit/monetary expansion was accomplished, and how those credit flows were being utilized to essentially rob the uninformed. That conversation is essentially what prompted this post...because he was very dismissive of OWS...and within 30 minutes...his perspective started to change... A LOT....
11-25-2011, 09:36 PM #5
Shooter 7, please spread this information loud and clear. I would love to be able to lead people to a link or some other sort of clearing house for people like me who know there are problems but can in no way put them to words as you have done.
11-25-2011, 09:44 PM #6
If you want to contribute with any hope of success, my suggestion would be to somehow convey your beliefs directly to the OWS group itself.
Posting an exact replica of your OP would be a very very good start in my opinion.
Unfortunately as things are right now, they do often look like
as spoiled, envious socialist loser hippies who are lazy.
They had a message, they had an organization, they were rather civilized no matter when and where.
Right out of the gate the same cannot be said about the OWS project.
As things stand right now, my guess is that no matter how much some might agree with your comments in the OP, in all likelyhood they cannot in good conscience be involved with the movement due to what is seen and reported on national media ( virtually ALL media outlets, not only FOX!!! )
11-25-2011, 09:50 PM #7
I don't think people nessecarily disagree with the message that started out in the begining with the whole OWS thing, and technically they probably still don't. But sorry, a large chunk of it HAS been taken over by..."spoiled, envious socialist loser hippies who are lazy".
I agree, people tend to oversimplify and lump everything together. Of course, there are still people with a rational message and realistic goals. But they are being drowned out by the nuts.
The way I look at it... It's fine to protest and try to change things. But at some point, it gets old. You have the majority of people in the country who are still working, still busting their butts, and still doing what it takes to make a living in the world that exists the way it exists... For better or worse. And then you have a bunch of people who have just basically been complaining for months now. I'm not saying they don't have anything to complain about. I'm just saying... OK, enough. Unless they organize better and take it to a higher level, this is as good as it's going to get... Non stop complaining. After a while, the people that are making the best of life the way it is, are just going to get sick of hearing about it. I mean, what do the protesters expect average people to do? Are we to all drop what we're doing, quit our businesses and jobs, and go sit in a park endlessly for months? Guess what... That's not going to happen.
So they need to move to the next step up, and most importantly, they need a leadership that will start disconnecting the legit movement, from all the other nuts and BS that has attached itself to it. Otherwise, forget about it and get on with life. The truth is, there will always be people taking advantage. Always. So how long do you bang your head against the wall trying to change the world, before you just go with the flow and do the best you can the way it is.
jamscal liked this post
11-25-2011, 10:08 PM #8
It might be easier for me to share your outrage if you explained whatinhell OWS means. I have no idea what you're talking about...
11-25-2011, 10:17 PM #9whatinhell OWS means. I have no idea what you're talking about...
11-25-2011, 10:24 PM #10
It also wouldn't hurt a thing of OWS cleaned up after themselves and presented a more dignified and frankly, believable outrage. That you have to come in behind and clean up after by posting messages like this should be a good indicator that OWS is not their best public face for their mission.
11-25-2011, 10:28 PM #11
A hundred years ago I owned an auto repair shop. I overhauled an expensive engine for a guy. I explained per normal shop policy, that because it was HIS engine that broke, that I was going to fix it with HIS money. $500 at time. When each $500 was used up, he would bring me another $500, until the job was finished. With a final payup at the end. Which he did. Job turned out great and he drove away happy.
Except he stopped payment on the last check. I sued. I explained to the jury that the final check was my profit, that without that last check, I had done the job for free.
Jury said I had no business making a profit and said all mechanics should be required to fix cars for free. These are people who vote.
OWS? I would have turned the fire hoses on 'em...
11-25-2011, 10:38 PM #12
If "Fame and Fortune" were not held in such high reguard
People caught in the "whirled of finance" might rethink their motives and actions.
When someone tells me of someone who "made a lot of money" I always ask "who lost a lot of money, your kids ? "
I may be poor, but I'm happy
11-26-2011, 09:14 AM #13One of the other places where OWS went wrong at least in NYC is when they tried to start preventing others of the so called 99%ers from actually getting to work and earning money. Restaurants were laying off 1/2 of their wait staffs. When they held their day long protest to shut down the city they didn't effect the banks one bit. All they did was prevent hard working taxi drivers etc.. from earning a living and made people late for work. Add to this crapping on cars, encampments full of all sorts of needles and narcotics, great spokesman like this;"If you're a white man, then shut the fk up about race!" @ Occupy Wall St. - YouTube.
Contrast that to the Tea Party protestors who show up for a day make their point, leave the place just as clean as when they came, and follow up a few days later at the ballot box only!
I am not saying OWS doesn't have many valid points but their delivery has been quite awful to say the least.
11-26-2011, 09:14 AM #14
It will take a fair bit of brainwashing to change the system, the same sort of brainwashing that got things where they are now, except that they got it there for a reason and don't wanna change it.
All every person has to do is try to avoid the system as much as possible. Stop thinking you're gonna get rich sitting on your ass, investing, or that someone gives a shit about saving money for you for your retirement, chances are you're not getting it back. They're starting a similar scheme to your 401K here now, which will be a 3rd way for people to " save for retirement " this new one will pool funds together to be administered and invested by banks/insurance companies in the stock market, making fees and bonuses on it no doubt, but will be backed by the government(aka the whole population) in the event that someone makes a bad bet and loses all the money. Interesting eh? humm...
Judging from the crazy people running into the stores yesterday, nothing will change anytime soon.
JoeE. liked this post
11-26-2011, 09:36 AM #15
Wall Street is brokering Congress for another bailout for their bad investments in Greek and Italian debt.
What's interesting is that the outrage is broken into two responses: those who think our system is broken, and needs to be fixed, and those who think crony capitalism and institutionalized political corruption is an inherent part of our system, and there's nothing they can do about it.
The folks in the latter group tend to dismiss OWS as a bunch of unemployed hippie kids whining about capitalism, but the national ire is focused on a small group of investment banks that now run our country, not corporations and industries that actually make tangible goods.
I've stated before, I'm hoping the OWS protests will continue into the 2012 election cycle. That will keep Wall Street/Congressional corruption at the forefront of the voter's concerns. It will make a difference in the 2012 election.
11-26-2011, 09:40 AM #16
310 guy recounts a heart-wrenching tale of being swindled, capping it with:
Jury said I had no business making a profit and said all mechanics should be required to fix cars for free. These are people who vote.
310, your story doesn't pass the smell test. Why would there be a jury in a
case that belongs in small claims court? If there was a jury, wasn't it a jury of
your peers? Or did the OWS crowd find a way to travel back in time en masse
just to juke you? Why not blame your lawyer, you know the one you had to pay
despite your absconded profits?
11-26-2011, 10:01 AM #17
...and they weren't very kind to the Parkinson's victim who quietly sat down with a sign suggesting that at least some Americans wanted universal healthcare:
Targeted by the Tea Party: Parkinson's Hero Speaks - YouTube
Point being, when you have a public demonstration, you have no say in who shows up. There are idiots and assholes at any public event.
The very first Tea Party protest, February 2009, was organized to protest Bush's TARP bailout (signed days before the protest by Obama), and "the bailouts, the US national debt and the fraud and abuse in our banking and financial system"
Teabaggers hate the comparison, but I've pointed out before that OWS is protesting the same thing, it's just a different demographic this time.
11-26-2011, 10:13 AM #18
i`m pretty sure this will be my first and only post on this subject.
i too am baffled by the apparent lack of concern that 100`s of billions can be sucked from the economy and we will sit around and point fingers at each other while the real perpetrators walk away scot-free, and even get a "performance bonus"
it`s insanity. we have a 90+ page thread where even though no one denies what has been allowed to happen apparently no one cares enough to do anything about it and just resort to the partisan BS that takes focus off the real problem.
if you are unsure of what the protest is about take the time to find out- from the actual protesters - what is being reported in the mainsteam media is not what the majority of protesters are about- it`s pretty simple really.
here is a post from the other thread.
it`s pretty amazing that 90 pages into this thread and we still can`t agree on what the OWS protest is about.
to me from what i learned hearing individual accounts it`s about shutting down the gravy train for a handful of assholes that have been busy bleeding the country dry.
100`s of billions that we know of now.approaching trillions?? how much more in the future?
sometimes i think people write it off just because it`s so hard to wrap your head around how much that really is.
What does one TRILLION dollars look like?
consider where we will be in another 10-20 years if this continues.
edit- in regards to the "lack of focus" that some always point out- remember in 2008 when the bailout bill was proposed- all kinds of letters,call,e-mails went out from citizens saying NO! and for a couple weeks the politicians listened. then as soon as the pressure let up the bill was slipped through anyway- in total disregard of the will of the people.
OWS is in reaction to that. a last ditch effort to get the politicians attention because nothing else has worked-and it`s working. as long as the pressure is kept up they have to listen.
just like they did for 2 weeks in 2008- and what happened when the pressure let up?
ColoradoBoy liked this post
11-26-2011, 10:47 AM #19
11-26-2011, 11:09 AM #20
Count me among those who are baffled - we were traveling through Oregon a few weekends ago and stopped at a Wendy's for a quick lunch with the kids. Occupy Roseburg was across the street in tents and pouring down rain.
During lunch, what appeared to be an inebriated homeless person came in the restaurant to use the bathroom - made a few comments to show his impressive vocabulary to my kids and did his business. When he left, we watched him make his way across the street to the tents.
Certainly there needs to be a thorough house cleaning related to the entire investment, banking and Wall Street sewer - but fighting sewer with sewer isn't going to accomplish anything. People who think they are accomplishing something and news people / celebrities who faun over them are indeed clueless at best, and a stumbling block to the solution at worst.
When the city of Portland cleaned out the Occupiers - this is what I was greeted with later that day . . .
Only hung around for a couple of days before the police had a chat with him -