They want a showy way to tell #Democrats across the country to be scared of speaking out, to be timid about standing up, and to stay away from fighting for what’s right. … I’m not going to stop talking about the unprecedented grasp that Citigroup has on our government’s economic policymaking apparatus … And I’m not going to pretend the work of financial reform is done, when the so-called ‘too big to fail’ banks are even bigger now than they were in 2008.

Banks threaten to cut funding to Democrats if Elizabeth Warren won’t sit down and shut up

If ever you doubted that our obscene campaign finance regime constitutes a form of legalized bribery, consider this: Reuters reports today that officials at top Wall Street banks recently convened to discuss how they could convince Democrats “to soften their party’s tone” toward the financial industry, and among the options now under consideration is halting campaign donations to Senate Democrats unless they rein in progressive populists like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The banks represented at the Washington meeting included Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, according to the report, and though the idea of withholding campaign contributions did not arise at that gathering, it has since been floated in conversations among representatives from the banks.

While the action would only be taken against Senate Democrats, the report states that Democrats are fretting about larger repercussions:

The amount of money at stake, a maximum of $15,000 per bank, means the gesture is symbolic rather than material

Moreover, banks’ hostility toward Warren, who is not a presidential candidate, will not have a direct impact on the presumed Democratic front runner in the White House race, Hillary Clinton. That’s because their fund-raising groups focus on congressional races rather than the presidential election

Still, political strategists say politicians could struggle to raise money among Wall Street financiers who worry that Democrats are becoming less business friendly.

Citigroup, Reuters notes, has already chosen not to contribute to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee “over concerns that Senate Democrats could give Warren and lawmakers who share her views more power,” while JPMorgan has pared back its donations. Goldman Sachs already sent the DSCC its $15,000 check, while Bank of America has yet to donate.

There are two salient points to be made here: First, while only the most naive mind could consider it surprising, that Democrats are clutching their pearls over a possible drought of Wall Street funds underscores how poisoned our campaign finance system has become, and it speaks volumes about the plutocratic capture of American politics. Moreover, the report further puts the lie to Chief Justice John Roberts’ apparently straight-faced assertion, writing his opinion in the Citizens United case, that campaign contributions are not intended to influence lawmakers’ official duties.

“Spending large sums of money in connection with elections, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder’s official duties, does not give rise to such quid pro quo corruption,” Roberts wrote. “Nor does the possibility that an individual who spends large sums may garner ‘influence over or access to’ elected officials or political parties.”

Yet here we have an industry that may well cut off a political party if it does not jettison proposals like breaking up “Too Big To Fail” institutions, reinstating the Glass-Steagall law separating commercial and investment banking, and reining in unscrupulous speculation. These proposals have galvanized the Warren wing of the Democratic Party, which may be emboldened but is far from dominant. Look no further than Wall Street’s affinity for the party’s likely presidential nominee, or the identity of the Democrats’ potential next leader in the Senate, a top recipient of financial industry contributions.

For Democratic neoliberals who have proven all too eager to forge an unholy alliance with the malefactors of great wealth, this Wall Street shakedown will only redouble their commitment to keep the financial powers-that-be placated.

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Do you hear the people sing?

Singing the song of angry men?

It is the song of the people

Who will not be slaves again

"Armies cannot stop an idea whose time has come."

A photoset of recent protests, some of which are still in progress. 

1) London, England - Million Mask March, November 05th 2014

2) Ferguson, Missouri - Protests over the murder of Mike Brown, an unarmed black youth, by police. August-October 2014 (The Brown family have taken their case to the grand jury in Geneva, Switzerland and are awaiting a verdict.)

3) Belgium - 100,000 march against government austerity measures (protests ongoing.)

4) Mexico - the Mexican people march to demand answers for the 43 student teachers who went missing on 26th September and have not been seen since. It is believed that corrupt police officers handed the men over to one of Mexico’s many criminal gangs and that they were killed. (Protests ongoing.)

5) France - protests in France over police brutality after the murder of 21 year old activist Remi Fraisse during a protest against the building of a controversial dam (Protests ongoing.)

6) Hong Kong - protest for reform of democracy (Protests ongoing.)

youtube

Bankers Avoid Jail Time in Tax-Evasion Case - #ows

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PLEASE LISTEN 

Peaceful student protesters in Hong Kong are being tear gassed and pepper sprayed. They are protesting pro-democracy rights and simply want they’re voices to be heard. 

You can read all about the situation here 

Too many times peaceful protesters have been victims of police brutality in an attempt to silence them. This needs to stop before some even more serious damage can be done and by that I mean the loss of lives. 

Pictures via BBC World News 

Occupy abolishes $4 million in other people’s student loan debt | CNN

After forgiving millions of dollars in medical debt, Occupy Wall Street is tackling a new beast: student loans.

Marking the third anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group’s Strike Debt initiative announced Wednesday it has abolished $3.8 million worth of private student loan debt since January. It said it has been buying the debts for pennies on the dollar from debt collectors, and then simply forgiving that money rather than trying to collect it.

In total, the group spent a little more than $100,000 to purchase the $3.8 million in debt.

While the group is unable to purchase the majority of the country’s $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt because it is backed by the federal government, private student debt is fair game.

This debt Occupy bought belonged to 2,700 people who had taken out private student loans to attend Everest College, which is run byCorinthian Colleges. Occupy zeroed in on Everest because Corinthian Colleges is one of the country’s largest for-profit education companies and has been in serious legal hot water lately.

Following a number of federal investigations, the college told investors this summer that it plans to sell or close its 107 campuses due to financial problems — potentially leaving its 74,000 students in a lurch.

(Read Full Text) (Photo Credit: US Uncut)

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I see y’all out there shining millennialau. Congrats on a successful action today! So blessed and honored to have walked with you this weekend, and look forward to getting back up there in November. Stay winning and safe!

Wondering how you can help support what’s happening in Ferguson? Donate to the Millennial Activists United PayPal at millennialau@gmail.com #staywoke

Researchers: Police likely provoke protestors — not the other way around

New research from Berkeley shows that police are often the agitators of violence

Aug. 22 2014

New research from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that police are often the provocateurs of violence during demonstrations.

The Deciding Force project, who has been studying clashes between law enforcement and protestors in 192 cities during Occupy demonstrations in 2011, said that attacks by police against protesters in Ferguson, Mo., are part of a disturbing trend of law enforcement playing the role of agitator.

“Everything starts to turn bad when you see a police officer come out of an SUV and he’s carrying an AR-15,” said Nick Adams, a sociologist and fellow at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Data Science who has been heading the research at the Deciding Force Project. “It just upsets the crowd.”

During the Occupy protests, some of the most violent scenes occurred in Oakland, California, the research finds. According to the San Francisco Chronicle,

In one October 2011 protest over the clearing of an Occupy encampment outside Oakland City Hall, officers fired tear gas and projectiles into crowds, injuring several activists. One of them, Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, was critically hurt and settled a lawsuit against the city in March for $4.5 million.

“We’re finding police have a lot of capacity to set a tone,” Adams said during a recent radio interview with Sacramento’s KFBK. “When police show up in riot gear you get a different kind of interaction than when they show up in their regular uniforms.”

In Ferguson, police in full tactical gear have shot tear gas at protestors, pelted them with rubber bullets, and utilized smoke bombs to clear crowds. Numerous arrests have been made, including more than a dozen journalists covering the demonstrations.

Police say looting, violence, and armed “instigators” have provoked these actions, though accounts of such incidents vary.

President Barack Obama has held two press conferences to quell tensions, condemning police for attacking peaceful protestors and arresting journalists:

"Let me also be clear that our constitutional rights to speak freely, to assemble, and to report in the press must be vigilantly safeguarded: especially in moments like these. There’s no excuse for excessive force by police or any action that denies people the right to protest peacefully,” the president said, adding that violence and looting from protestors was unacceptable.

“Giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos,” Mr. Obama said. “It undermines rather than advancing justice.”

Michael Brown was gunned down by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. An autopsy commissioned by Brown’s family, released earlier this week, concluded that Brown was shot at least six times, twice in the head.

Wilson, whose name was not released for nearly a week by Ferguson police, has not been charged with any crime.

Read more at SFGate.

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations’ knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).

As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a “terrorist threat”