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Monthly Archives: November 2011

US banks should undermine Occupy protesters–an article today that, to my mind, represents a disturbing attitude towards (mostly) legal and peaceful protests. Not able–or maybe not willing–to let legal restrictions limit the actions of OWS, already being done, the Financial Sector is now willing to try to undermine OWS with some type  of media coertion.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a big enough problem for U.S. banks that they should pay for opposition research into the political motives of protesters, said a firm that lobbies for the industry.

Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford, a Washington-based firm, proposed the idea in a memo to the American Banking Association, an industry group which said on Saturday that it did not act on the idea.

The four-page memo outlined how the firm could analyze the source of protesters’ money, as well as their rhetoric and the backgrounds of protest leaders.

“If we can show they have the same cynical motivation as a political opponent, it will undermine their credibility in a profound way,”

Apparantly the banks cannot trust the situation to be handled by legal authority. The financial sector wants to take their efforts away from just making money?

No. I guess that is still their final goal.

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Police have evicted protestors with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Along with similar evictions in Portland and Oakland, one big question is if the movement can maintain its momentum.

The encampment is gone, but the movement lives on. What nobody knows is just how long it can survive without a literal place to call home….after protesters were hauled out of the park during a police raid early Tuesday, some organizers believe the loss of their camp is actually a blessing in disguise.

“This is much bigger than a square plaza in downtown Manhattan,” said Han Shan, an organizer who was working with churches to find places for protesters to sleep Tuesday night. “You can’t evict an idea whose time has come.”

One of the most important ideals of the US is freedom of speech, and it creates a bit of a dilemma for authorities who want to maintain a clean and comfortable place for their constiuents.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he ordered the sweep because health and safety conditions had become “intolerable” in the crowded plaza. The raid was conducted in the middle of the night “to reduce the risk of confrontation” and “to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood,” he said.

By early Tuesday evening, some protesters were being allowed back into the park two by two. But they could each take only a small bag after a judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that their free speech rights do not extend to pitching a tent and setting up camp for months at a time.

As an American living overseas, I have been happy to see the protests and how many people are drawn to join. The US economy is driven by profits for already rich owners of large corporations–financial, oil, military, and  a few others. I am glad that many people seem to understand what is going on.

Today I read this unusual, honest story about how a financial advisor lost his home in the US.

The story gives us a good insight into how questionable banking practices actually affect individual families. Though obviously a bit embarrassed by his poor planning, the author’s account of the whole story gives me a better idea of how the whole recession began and how it impacted all kinds of people, even those well versed in financial planning can fall into trouble.

There are many stories these days of people who lost their financial bearings during the housing boom and the crisis that followed, but my story is a bit different from most.

I’m a financial adviser. I get paid to help people make smart financial choices, and I speak and write about personal finance issues for this publication and others.

The thing that few people know, though, is that I learned a lot of this from experience. I made a bunch of mistakes, the very same ones that I now go around warning people to avoid.

So this is the story of how I lost my home, the profound ethical questions that arose along the way, and what my wife and I learned from the mistakes that led us to that point.

While the author naturally points to the importance of making wise decisions regarding debt and expectations, another lesson is that oversight of the financial sector is important both for banks and their customers.

Another trade issue has surfaced in the US, solar panel manfacturers asking for tariffs applied to Chinese imports.

The strange thing is, while US companies complain that Chinese companies are able to sell cheap because of government subsidies, the US companies are also receiving subsidies.

“The methodology of this is not political,” said Frank L. Lavin, a longtime Republican who has held a series of appointments in Republican administrations, including overseeing the antidumping and antisubsidy investigations office when he was the undersecretary of commerce for international trade during President George W. Bush’s second term.

But like many Republicans, Mr. Lavin was critical of the Obama administration for having provided a half-billion dollars in federal credit guarantees to Solyndra, now bankrupt, a California company with an alternative solar energy technaology.

The US government should realize–some day–that imports that are cheap, whether subsidized or not, provide a net gain in welfare to Americans. That is the foundation of free trade theory.