Did YOU Remember?

Remember, Remember. Make sure Wall Street never forgets!

Remember, Remember. Make sure Wall Street never forgets!

Yes, it’s November 5th, Bank Transfer Day.

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.

By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?
Burn him!

Who is this Thomas Jefferson guy? He sounds like a filthy dirty hippie.

Who is this Thomas Jefferson guy? He sounds like a filthy dirty hippie.

Don’t look now, but there’s something going on at the bank over there, George!

Occupy your own wallet by taking all your funds out of the Big Banks, putting them into your local credit union. You’ll get better service and better protections, you’ll own stock in a community business, and you’ll be helping make the world a better place.

Along with over one million Americans and counting:

That’s already about twice as many as switched from banks to credit unions last year, and when that video was made it wasn’t even November 5th yet! More switched in the month of October, 2011 than switched in all of last year.

“These results indicate that consumers are clearly making a smarter choice by moving to credit unions where, on average, they will save about $70 a year in fewer or no fees, lower rates on loans and higher return on savings,” said CUNA President Bill Cheney.

No relation to…you know…THAT guy.

Are banks really that evil? Let’s ask THIS guy:

Scott Warren opened an account at JP Morgan Chase Bank in 2009 to receive unemployment payments.

Scott Warren has some hard numbers for JP Morgan Chase

Scott Warren mailed his statement to Chase after switching to a credit union. It said 'Dear Chase, Occupy Wall St., from your ex-customer.'"

“Chase was the only one that set it up for you,” said Warren, who was a quality supervisor at Unisolar in Greenville before being laid off. “I went to the unemployment office, they gave me my paperwork. I go to Chase, they set me up, and, right away, they’re trying to get me to sign up for a credit card.”

Warren was stunned. And it happened every time he went into a branch, he said.

“They knew why I was there,” he said, referring to his unemployed status at the time. “I told them I didn’t think that was smart. This tells me that they are not in business to serve my needs. They intend to make money off of my failures.”

Here in Vancouver, a call has gone out from Nancy Zimmerman, Moneycoach, to VanCity Credit Union, one of the biggest success stories in the industry:

In light of corralled girls and teargassed wheel-chair bound women and articulate youth and the hashtag #occupy showing up here, there, everywhere, does Vancity have something to offer? Yes, this vid gives a glimpse of a better way. It’s inspiring.

But it’s not a manifesto, and if ever a ballsy manifesto (nothing pretty, please! and no slick marketing!) was needed from a financial institution, one whose DNA is still gritty and radical even if tamed over the years, it’s needed now. Is a credit union something more than a kinder, gentler bank? I’m listening. And I hope about 99% of Canadian citizens are too.

Think there was no Canadian bank bailout?

Lord Black of Conradistan

Lord Black of Conradistan

Think again:

Between September 2008 and March 2009, Canadian banks reduced their holdings of domestic residential mortgages from $486.1 billion to $434.9 billion according to Bank of Canada stats; on a net basis.

Where did those mortgages go, you ask? Did 10% of Canadian homeonwers sell their homes and move into rental accomodation enmasse during a six month period?

Of course not. The federal government created a unique program through CMHC specifically targeted at allowing Canadian chartered banks to move tens of billions of dollars of assets off of their balance sheets. The reason? Canadian banks couldn’t raise sufficient and/or cost-effective funding from their traditional sources – primarily other global financial institutions – and needed Crown intervention to keep the wolf from the door. By mid-November 2008, the federal government had agreed to take $75 billion of mortgages from Canadian banks.

Assuming the risk-weighting of these assets was 20%, the feds essentially put $15 billion of capital into the Canadian banks that participated in the $75 billion CMHC program.

Bank Transfer Day: Ah, remember how it all began!

Bank Transfer Day: Ah, remember how it all began!

More money for you, less for “Too big to fail” corporations that would no longer exist if your tax dollars hadn’t been used to prop them up when their own machinations dug a grave for them. No tie-dyed, herbal-tea-stained, smelly hippie radical protester fingerprints on any of it.

Taking back your own wealth while sticking it to The Man, making more money, and saving fees? 

Ca-CHING!

Haters Gonna Hate ... Gramma

Haters Gonna Hate ... Gramma

UPDATES:

Oh, it’s working all righty:

As of this writing, somebody’s posting to Facebook every 30 seconds that they ditched their bank in favor of a credit union…The campaign has caught on and credit unions reported a $4.5 billion surge in assets in October alone…

Should you wish to go about your business today or any other day wearing an Anonymous-approved Guy Fawkes mask, but hesitate to participate in consumerism by buying a mask copyrighted by Warner Brothers, you can print out a paper pattern for a 3D mask here, and you can find instructions on making an origami mask at the bottom of this post.

Welcome to Wall Street

Welcome to Wall Street

Welcome to Wall Street

For far too long Wall Street has been occupied by hostile forces.

For about 220 years, in fact.

In March, 1792, twenty-four of New York City’s leading merchants met secretly at Corre’s Hotel to discuss ways to bring order to the securities business and to wrest it from their competitors, the auctioneers. Two months later, on May 17, 1792, these merchants signed a document named the Buttonwood Agreement, named after their traditional meeting place, a buttonwood tree. The agreement called for the signers to trade securities only among themselves, to set trading fees, and not to participate in other auctions of securities. These twenty-four men had founded what was to become the New York Stock Exchange. The Exchange would later be located at 11 Wall Street.

Born and bred to exclusivity, raised in full view of the public, and propped up by a taxation system that relies on an affluent bourgeoisie that the system itself seeks to extinguish, it’s no wonder that when the American People exercised their Constitutionally protected freedom of assembly on sidewalks that they’d paid for and built, The System struck back.

Having its servants (I thought they were Public Servants? Silly me) net and then mace a group of peaceful women protestors:

Conducting eldritch legal seances to resurrect long-dead statutes for all the world as if their own identical suits and Goldman Sachs haircuts weren’t the ne plus ultra in depersonalization and the very basis for this:

Anonymous

Anonymous has no comment at this time

Sooner or later, New York City will run out of cops, or perhaps the budget burden will become so steep that Billionaire Bloomberg will petition the President to bring in Erik Prince and his Band of Bloodthirsty Bros.

Some are already writing the eulogy for #OccupyWallStreet, somewhat prematurely. But all voodoo devotees know you have to write it down before you draw the pentagram and cast the spell to make it come true.

Editors at Adbusters, a Vancouver-based magazine (mission: “topple existing power structures”) wanted to see if they could spark demonstrations just by posting the idea using social media. It created a Twitter topic with the hashtag #OccupyWallStreet, asking people to come to New York’s Financial District to join what they said would be tens of thousands in a “leaderless resistance movement” objecting to banks, capitalism and other perceived evils. Egypt’s Tahrir Square was cited as precedent.

The protests last week were a bust, but perhaps the young protesters learned a lesson: Just because it’s on social media doesn’t make it true.

The article goes on to say that the reports of violence were completely overstated. Scroll up on this post. Or, if you prefer, scroll down.

Yes, Noam Chomsky is a tiresome windbag, but every now and again he’s just…right. Like now (alternate G+ link in case Cusack’s retweet has still crashed the website):

Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called “a precariat” — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.”

The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.

And now, if you still aren’t sufficiently riled, I suggest you put this on repeat, then follow these instructions to create your own shield of relative invulnerability. And if that doesn’t work, get a haircut, a briefcase, and a blue suit, and enjoy the sight of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave on its knees to you.

For the visual learners among us, here are some instructions from those total slackers and hippies at MIT:

Cheers!

In related news, the Vancouver Philospher’s Cafe this Monday is on whether or not violence is a valid form of expression.

Is violence an appropriate medium of expression?

Our city recently witnessed a display of violence as an expression of disappointment over a lost hockey game. We also have seen societies unleashing collective violence to (presumably) contain further violence. So let’s talk about the morality of violence.

As always, I am hopeful our engagement would reflect the fundamental creed of our Café: any idea worthy of conception, is worthy of reflection, of examination, of analysis, of critique (and of even being laughed at, poked at or mocked provided of course if we can manage to do it respectfully or as deliciously as the late George Carlin would do.)

Many thanks. See you TOMORROW at the CAFÉ AMICI.

The Corruption Map

Stephen Harper checks his dinner for tenderness

This is nothing more nor less than a map of the most/least corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International. I, personally, think they’re giving Stephen Harper too much credit (or they just don’t know which strings to pull, typically Canadian!) but it’s flattering to see Canuckistan only a blue rinse away from snowy-white purity.

I used to be snow white, but I drifted
Mae West

The Corruption Map

Competitiveness and corruption.
Image via Wikipedia

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Sesame Street Layoffs hit hard

Sad Grover has a sad

Sesame Street, that beloved icon of childhood, where we learned everything we needed to know that later showed up in an overpriced book on business leadership, is under seige.

We thought that a neighborhood of loveable, shaggy Muppets would escape the ravages of the recession: my friends, we were wrong. So, so wrong.

In a tearful announcement earlier today, Kermit the Frog announced that, effective immediately, Sesame Street will lay off 20% of its workforce. While he refused to give specifics, he did indicate that the cuts would be made from the on-air staff, leaving no-one immune to these Draconian cost-cutting measures. Out of approximately 140 Muppets, this represents a loss of 28 beloved characters. Who will it be???

Video of the press conference from CNN:

and some updated lyrics, for the fans: originals here

Pogey Day

Sweepin’ the sun away

On my way to get my benefits

Can you tell me how to get,

How to get to the EI office, please?

Come line up

It’s fun to be a grup

Friendly social workers

Will see you now

Can you tell me how to get

How to get what’s coming to me?

It’s an Orwellian ride

Every one will be pushed aside

Unhappy people like you–

Unhappy people like…

What a terrible…

Dreary Day

Smokin’ my cares away

Off my head, here where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get,

How to get to …

Um, I forget.

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The Investment Banking Model, circa 2007

marriedtothesea.com

How long ago it seems now. Lucy’s mom lost her retirement savings when she found out her mutual fund was evenly split between a Madoff feeder and AAA-rated mortgage securities with the whole thing insured by AIG.

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