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What Should ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Demand?

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 11, 2011 9:44 AM |

I received a call yesterday from a reporter from a highly regarded periodical inquiring about my recent commentary, ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Should ‘Occupy Washington’.

Having had a number of previous discussions with this reporter, I welcomed her question as to what I thought the OWS movement should look to achieve or demand.

I prefaced my comments by stating that I hope civil unrest and random violence do not come from these demonstrations. America needs a lot of things but we certainly do not need riots.

We discussed the seeming lack of leadership within the movement. I expressed my concern that I believe the Democratic Party supported by its friends in labor unions may look to hijack the movement.

From there we discussed the fact that promoting platitudes and wanton generalities highlight that the movement would seem to have a limited understanding of the real inner workings of Wall Street and its incestuous relationship with Washington.

To that end, she asked what three proposals I would put forth to advance this movement and the pursuit of our Sense on Cents virtues of truth, transparency, and integrity. Never one to be bashful when it comes to elevating these virtues, I offered the following:

1. Compel the Wall Street self-regulator FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) to open its books and records. The OWS movement and all of America would learn a LOT about the incestuous nature of the relationship between Wall Street and Washington if FINRA were forced to provide real transparency as I have called for so often. Starting in early 2009 and repeatedly since then I have stated unequivocally that FINRA Must Open Its Books and Records. FINRA’s own member firms called for real meaningful transparency from this self-regulatory organization and largely received lip service from FINRA’s board in response.

2. The OWS movement would do America a favor if it called for a thorough exposition of the scam that encompassed the auction-rate securities market. OWS and America have approximately 100 billion reasons to pursue this transparency, that being the approximate dollar value of the ARS which remain frozen in investor accounts. Please recall that ARS were sold as ‘cash surrogates’.

3. Why should OWS and America demand accountability on points 1 and 2? For the very simple reason that Wall Street’s incestuous partners in Washington have largely failed to perform in properly regulating Wall Street despite efforts and overtures made by many individuals and organizations, including the Project on Government Oversight. For more on this front, please access, Sense on Cents/POGO-FINRA.

Why might those in Washington fail to pursue their counterparts on Wall Street? Do you think the campaign contributions and other means of support provided by Wall Street for those in Washington on both sides of the aisle may impede our pursuit of transparency? You think?

I thank the aforementioned reporter for pointing me in the direction of OpenSecrets.org Center for Responsive Politics,

the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government. In short, the Center’s mission is to:

Inform citizens about how money in politics affects their lives
Empower voters and activists by providing unbiased information
Advocate for a transparent and responsive government

So let’s check in on a few of our Washington heavyweights and see just how deeply in bed they are with the crowd on Wall Street by referencing Open Secrets.org great work.

Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Spencer Bachus (R-AL)

Barney Frank (D-MA)

Chris Dodd (D-CT)

Barack Obama

John Boehner (R-OH)

Please review these links and see how much and how often Securities and Investment Firms have provided backing for their incestuous partners in Washington. Anybody for meaningful campaign finance reform? How about term limits?

What do you say we just start with a little bit of transparency and a healthy dose of the truth?

The stench of this incest is overwhelming.

Navigate accordingly.

Larry Doyle

Isn’t it time to  subscribe to all my work via e-mail, an RSS feed, on Twitteror Facebook? Do your friends, family, and colleagues a favor and get them to do the same. Thanks!!

I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets, our economy, and our political realm so that meaningful investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Absolutely right. Shouldn’t we also ask that Bill Black be brought in to clean things up a bit?

  • Matt Cornell

    Good demands Larry. I would add the impeachment and/or resignation of Ben Bernanke. But, that being said, who would his replacement be and would that person be any better? It is interesting after seeing these protests continue to grow that there never have been any protests over auction rate securities. Why is that? Maybe because most of the victims of that are older and are less physically able and likely to actually actually protest? Just a guess. Also, it’s interesting that there is no outrage whatsoever over the extremely low interest rates that we have now (and have had for a long time now) that make it extremely difficult for retirees and seniors on a fixed income. It will be very interesting to see where these protests go over the coming weeks. For better or worse, they appear to be growing by the day.

    • fred

      One possible answer to your question, Dr. Ron Paul. He would be a better Fed Chairman than Ben Bernanke because a stable to strong $US would be his number one priority.

      Another of Dr. Ron’s top priorities would be to re-introduce banks to the practice of lending to qualified borrowers…what a unique concept!

      One can’t help but notice that every stock mkt rally is accompanied by weakness in the $US and strength in Gold; LT sustainible, economic growth requires the opposite intermarket relationships to exist.

    • I’d be more interested in Jim Grant as Fed Chairman.

      • fred

        Mr. Grant is a fine choice, but, I have him penciled in as the next Sec of the Treasury given his comprehensive knowledge of the tax code.

  • EB

    Larry, I’m not a great Newt fan, but he sometimes makes excellent points, and this is consonant with your post,

    Newt Slams Media For Not Demanding Transparency of Federal Reserve

    Newt Gingrich is asked about the Occupy Wall Street movement at the Bloomberg debate in New Hampshire:

    New Gingrich: “If they want to change things, the first thing to do is fire Bernanke, who is a disaster as chairman of the Federal Reserve. The second person to fire is Geithner. The fact is, in both the Bush and the Obama administrations the fix has been in. And I think it’s perfectly reasonable to be angry. But let’s be clear about who put the fix in. The fix was put in by the federal government. If you want to put people in jail, I want to second what Michele said, you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. And let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment and the politicians who put this country in trouble.”

    Charlie Rose, moderator: “Clearly, you’re not saying they should go to jail?”

    Gingrich: “Well, in Chris Dodd’s case, go back to look at the Countryside deals. In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyist who was close to Freddie Mac. All I’m saying is, everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who were at the heart of the sickness which is weakening this country and ought to start with Bernanke, who still has not been exposed for the hundreds of billions of dollars.”

    “I want to repeat this, Bernanke has in secret has spent hundreds of billions of dollars bailing out one group and not bailing another group. I don’t see how anybody in the news media demanding the kind of transparency of the Fed that you would demand of every other aspect of the federal government. And I think it is corrupt and wrong for one man to have that kind of secret power.”

  • James

    Wow – those fundraising numbers by wall street are mind boggling. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • Nora

    Hi Larry, as always thank you for putting your sense on the things that matter the most. It’s obvious the corruption amongst politicians and Wall Street, it’s obvious the lack of transparency and truth. It’s too much to sit here and count all the names and things that need to be changed, I think a clean sweep is best in my opinion.

    My comment today however, is about those who are out there showing their faces and needing to be heard. I don’t understand why the media keeps asking for a leader, why do the “people” need a leader. We thought we had one! When so many people are in the same boat so to speak, it’s obvious that they share so many things in common.

    Frankly I wondered what took them so long, it isn’t just dirty politics and Wall Street scams to them, it’s their homes, their jobs, their future, their children’s future and their lives that have been trembled on and on and no one in the leadership offices did anything to stop it.

    The media has ignored these people for so long, not only that but they also had belittle their efforts, as if just a bunch of youngsters out there partying and have no direction, etc. and where the heck is their leader? What do they want, don’t they have anything better to do. I hear this all the time, which tells me that so many people have not much idea of what’s happening out there to the millions of Americans who have lost their homes and their jobs and their hopes, etc.

    The media played it’s part by keeping out of main stream the crimes that has been committed for so long by the financial institutions and the the government officials. they kept who ever was not affected by it in the dark. I know that for a fact. Now they have no choice but to recognize the fact that so many americans are fed-up and angry and demand a change.

    Matt, the people who were effected by the Auction Rate Securities are old and are also ignorant, most of them have no clue on what’s going on out there, and some of them lost some money, big deal, and a lot of them watch one stream media most likely FOX or CNN depends on whether they are a democrat or republicans. I work with them and I hear it from them. They ask “why don’t these young people go out and get a job”, LOL!

    My point is, the people finally realized that they needed to have change and cannot trust a leader who promises change and then not deliver. He like most politicians get paid the best by the crooks, and therefore, work for them. A leader is not necessary under these circumstance, there are just way too many reasons why people are unhappy.

    For those who are secure in their jobs and who’s homes were not foreclosed on God bless you and keep you safe and hopefully maintain the state of your well being. But for those who have lost everything, and I mean everything, because of the financial disaster that we have been swimming in for the past few years have no choice but to be on the streets protesting.

    It’s true that some of these people are young and may be even directionless, but they are aware of something being wrong. Wall Street it’s not only to blame, but that’s who started the down turn. Wall Street it’s not just the Stock Market, it’s the over all control of the well being of this economy and other countries around the world. Everything cause has it’s effect, and now it’s the snowball effect of the scams.

    I think the leader of this movement is “THE PEOPLE”, and that should be enough! They cannot stand for ONE THING, and may be that one thing should be the “CHANGE”. I am all for that, and like Larry said, a little bit of transparency and truth, why not. But I thing wee need more than a little bit, it’s time that everything is made clear, no more underhanded moves! GOD BLESS EVERYONE AND NOT FORGET ME!

  • fred

    Nora, the innocence of your comments remind me of a story I once read…

    a select number of pockets being filled with ill gotten wealth, the chant began and swept as wind blown fire through the entire crowd, ‘release Barabbus’.

    • Nora

      Fred, are you trying to say that condemning the Wall Street Frauds and the politicians that stood by and allowed, or rather helped, this economy to crumble and take the middle class down with it is the same as condemning Jesus Christ?? Are you really stating that our “Savior” are the ones responsible for fraudulently STEALING PEOPLE’S HOMES while sitting in their billion dollar mansions while millions are getting kicked out onto the streets? Please, explain your comment because I am very much concerned as to your identifying these obvious CROOKS as our SAVIOR! All I am asking for is transparency. Politicians act as though the masses are children who can’t handle the truth and so all their dealings have for the most part been in the dark. This has led to easy corruption! Where are the Trillions of dollars missing from the Treasury? Why hasn’t there been anyone held accountable for STEALING TRILLIONS FROM OUR COUNTRY?? Our tax dollars are being funneled into pockets of the shadow government, the people truly in charge behind the curtain.

      You seem to be saying that I am just blindly chanting along with other sheeple to condemn the wrong people. Well then, please inform all of us who is to blame here? We need to hold the ones responsible who put us in this mess with their eyes wide open! The ones who have been orchestrating this madness for many years and now are trying to get out while the getting is good. I may not know everything that is going on and everyone that is to blame, however that is not because I am ill-informed, it is rather because there is no transparency in our government and too many people who know the real story are being paid off. We deserve the truth, we deserve to hold those accountable for stealing our rights and our wealth.

      I stand for change, we have trusted these “leaders” to put our interest ahead of their own but they have instead only been interested in lining their pockets and living comfortably off the sweat of the POEPLE! The majority of Americans have become little more than slaves, barely making enough to put food on the table, usually unhealthy food soaked in trans fats and riddled with pesticides since it is the cheapest, and putting a decent roof over our heads. We were tricked into believing that if we wanted to be one of the wealthy or have a nicer home we had to buy into the propaganda that homes were worth more than they were. I will admit, many people wanted a wealthier life and that left them open as prey for the predators but that is what government and regulations are supposed to be for! To protect the masses from predators. That is what our taxes are SUPPOSED to go to, protecting our freedoms and rights and holding those who trample our rights accountable in the court of law. Am I wrong for wanting transparency? I know quite a bit about the housing fraud but what astonishes me the most is that so many people knew what I know now and MUCH MUCH MORE but they kept the bubble going knowing what was to come. In fact many of them CREATED THE BUBBLE purposefully once banks became de-regulated! All part of a plan that worked all too well.

      If any of what I am saying here is wrong, please enlighten me. I am just one of the many TRUE AMERICANS trying to hold onto my home and live off the little that’s left after getting raped by taxes and the savings I lost in the stock market. Our taxes are supposed to go to law enforcement who are there to serve and protect us all, well who is protecting the true Americans? The people who are out there right now protesting for the rights of the 99%? Who is protecting my home and millions of other homes while banks are fraudulently foreclosing on them without proper paperwork? I do not wish to condemn the wrong person, as you seem to have stated above, I only want to know who can I condemn and what court will lock them up and throw away the key!

      • fred

        Nora,

        Sorry for the misunderstanding, my reference is strictly non-religious…

        In the absence of purpose or direction, can mass psychology/behavior be manipulated, through peer pressure, by small groups with ulterior motives?

        • Nora

          To that question, of course yes, however, considering what has happened in the past few years and what’s happening now, can you blame the followers of such suggestions? Haven’t I been effected on a personal level by the tactics used on Wall Street, perhaps my place in life and my attitude be considerably different. Don’t forget it’s not just this demonstrations, the masses as they been labeled so frequently want to believe in something, something that they can stand for as a whole.

          I’m not a youngster trying to follow a suggested idea and or mass hysteria, I am a great grandmother, who lived long enough to see more than I should have, and heard more than I should have. I speak from some experience, and I speak from my heart, I cannot profess to know it all, in fact I am in the process of learning continuously.

          I also know that you did not mean for it to be religious, for that your apology is accepted , I only mentioned that because of your comment on the “Barabbus”. No heart feelings at all, I’d like to think that we still have the freedom to voice our opinion, and I certainly am always willing to be more informed as well.

          We are at a cross-roads, and we are at a fragile time in our history, and we all need to express what ever thoughts and feelings towards the events that are a part of history. And whether or not these people out there following a suggestion or are just trying to show some solidarity for others, or for whatever that caused caused them to stand up and march, it’s for some reason. And that reason right or wrong needs to be identified and dealt with!

          That’s what I am passionate about, being able to stand up for something and not be afraid to say count me in. This is what we all have been lead to believe, speak up for the truth, and for justice and for the good of the whole, that’s all good. We have grievances and we complaint in writing to our officials as I have many times, no one cares, no one response as they should, and those people have done that as well, and it seems the only way to be heard is to walk the streets.

          And for all it’s worth, I am glad you and I communicated, may be a small impression of what I said made a small difference, and the same with me. Let’s all be thankful that we can. FYI, I am not religious, so there’s no offense only open discussions. Be well 🙂

  • fred

    Occupy Wall Street should demand elimination of high frequency trading. HFT is sanctioned by the exchanges and gives unfair advantage to HFT firms, including every Wall Street Bank.

    Another practice that should be terminated immediately is the triggering of stops by either the bid price or the ask price without a trade required to have taken place at or through the stop price.

    That HFT was responsible for the Flash Crash, I have no doubt. That the Flash Crash occurred because of ‘phoney’ bids entered, never intended to be executed, and then pulled, I have no doubt.

    Let me give you an example of just such a situation that happened to me today; it has happened to me frequently. When I have complained to the SEC, their response, ‘dont call us we’ll call you’.

    Today, I was long DNO (an EFT short OIL). I had a stop in at 43.10. Without a trade taking place anywhere near my stop, I was amazed that my stop was triggered. The low trade of the day at that point was 43.19. I called my broker to ask how my stop was hit. I was told that, at the time of my fill at 43.34, the bid ask spread was 43.07 to 43.40 or .33. (the typical bid ask spread for this security is .06-.08). My broker offered to send me a a hard copy testifying to the bid prices existence, I told him I didn’t doubt its existed but I questioned it’s legitamacy. My broker agreed but said there was nothing he could do.

    That the bid was entered with direct knowledge of my stop, I have no doubt; immediately after the fill, the triggering bid of 43.07 disappeared from the market makers book.

    Done according to the rules as they currently exist YES.

    Message to both the SEC and the NYSE. We don’t need more circuit breakers in response to the Flash Crash, we need ethical reform.

  • LD: RECOMMENDED

    When writing this commentary the other day,

    I expressed my concern that I believe the Democratic Party supported by its friends in labor unions may look to hijack the movement.

    I wake this morning to the following headline in the Washington Post,

    Obama Plans to Turn Anti-Wall Street Anger on Mitt Romney, Republicans

    —  The movement, which started Sept. 17 with a few dozen demonstrators who tried to pitch tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange, has spread to cities across the country.

    President Obama and his team have decided to turn public anger at Wall Street into a central tenet of their reelection strategy.

    “We intend to make it one of the central elements of the campaign next year,” Obama senior adviser David Plouffe said in an interview. “One of the main elements of the contrast will be that the president passed Wall Street reform and our opponent and the other party want to repeal it.”

    Well, it did not take long for Obama and team to look to move in with the OWS crowd.

    America should demand accountability from Obama and team not only on the points I raise in this commentary but with the entire incestuous relationship between Wall Street and Washington. An incestuous relationship in which Democrats and Republicans alike have fed at the Wall Street trough while failing to protect American citizens.

    The evidence and stench of this incest is overwhelming.

  • Fred

    LD,

    The Dems are trying to ‘adopt’ OWS just as they perceive the Pubs ‘adopted’ the Tea Party.

    To stop this from happening 2 things have to occur…

    1. OWS must shift some of it’s focus onto government, federal/state/local, (both Pubs and Dems).

    2. The Tea Party must become a fully autonomous 3rd party, aligning itself with OWS and distancing itself from the Pubs. (If the Tea Party fails to take the initiative the door is wide open to the Libertarians).

    LD, if this political realignment were to occur, (Tea Party/Libertarians with OWS), you should rightfully be counted among the ‘founding fathers’ of the movement…

    How long have you been sounding the warning of the Wall St- Washington Incest?

    How long have you been relentlessy demanding truth, transparency and integrity from our government bureacracy?

    This gets more interesting by the day!

    • LD

      Fred,

      Haha…I do not know about being a founding father, but I do think the next year in our country is going to get VERY interesting!! There is no doubt that those within both the Tea Party and the OWS movements are hitting a chord with many in our nation.

      I do believe that the power bases both within Washington and on Wall Street and elsewhere are justifiably nervous about these developments.

      Should we call the 3rd Party, “Sense on Cents”?? Haha…well in any event, we will continue to bang the drum for our prized virtues.

  • fred

    LD,

    Although ‘Sense on Cents’ usually makes alot of sense, using it as the name for a 3rd political party, doesn’t make much cents, I mean sense, at all!

    Personally, I always envisioned a 3rd party called the Consumerist Party but the Tea Party has a nice anti-establishment ring to it.

    LD, let me throw you a bone; a new political movement will need an official public (printed) voice, in this role ‘Sense on Cents’ makes alot of sense!

    Wasn’t Ben Franklin, one of our original founding fathers and early practitioner of ‘Sense on Cents’, the editor of a newspaper? Wasn’t the Pennsylvania Chronicle was a printed “voice” supportive of the Revolutionary cause.

    Come to think of it, with those specs, if you put on a long haired wig, and one of your uncles old overcoats, You’re the spitting image of ol’ Ben. LOL.






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