Monday, October 10, 2011

Why Occupy Wall Street (or any other street)?

Below is a response I wrote to a Facebook friend about an article she wrote yesterday explaining why, despite being a very intense liberal and rabid supporter of President Obama, she feels almost completely disconnected from the Occupy Wall Street and related protests springing up across the country. And so it goes...

Interesting read, Erin. I get where you're coming from but I have to say that I think you are exhibiting the same sort of attitude towards the OWSers that I've seen you decry against folks (like me) who are avowed liberals but have become utterly fed up with Obama and his way of attending to his job.

This is indeed an entry level protest for a lot of those folks and a fair number of them couldn't explain with any clarity what it is precisely they're protesting and there are also a whole bunch (which is typical of any liberal gathering of issues) who only have their own discrete issue in mind regardless of the larger purpose for being there. Nothing unusual about that.

That said, it seems to me that the true larger purpose, if really there is one, is one so mundane that it IS exotic: enforce the goddamn law! Yesterday I linked a blog by Matt Tabbi where he explained for the umpteenth time what happened in the banking/mortgage/investment industry. I also happen to BE in the RE business as a title lawyer in South Florida so I saw this garbage happening pretty much first hand. You can blame people all you want for applying for loans they had no business getting, but you can only blame the mortgage brokers and the lenders themselves for actually GIVING these loans to people. It was out and out fraud from beginning to end with every bait and switch and strongarm scare tactic you can imagine and I don't blame customers for not knowing their nice broker or banker was selling them shit without a care. Anyone can apply for a loan. But only the genuinely qualified should be APPROVED for one. And that authority is fully with the brokers and lenders.

It's the 1% (maybe a slightly higher %age) who preyed upon the rest, who were told they deserved a place in an ownership society. A degree of foolish gullibility can be applied to the masses on this, but the great great direct, knowing, and intentional (important conditions to be met in fraud) blame can be laid at the feet of the lenders, who then did it again in all manner of ways when they sold these loans up the ladder, increasing the risk of loss countless times and which we haven't yet seen the end of by a long shot.

The repealed regulations and government exhortations may have created the incentive to get into the business the way they did, making it technically legal to OFFER a product, but the accounting standards and fraud laws were and are still on the books.

Apply the law as it is. That's all I ask. And then OWS has meaning. Obama makes a lot of noise saying that it's up to Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department Of Justice to decide what to prosecute. He chooses pot dispensaries in California instead of the criminals at the commercial and investment banks. WHY?? THAT is why my support for the administration is as thin as it is. THAT is why our economy is still in the toilet. The nation that made it big by enforcing the rule of law, doesn't do it anymore. Hence there is no confidence in the world of dealmaking even though the dollar remains strong relative to the rest of the moribund world. The money boys will keep their money here but they won't use it because they can't rely on the system and its enforcement mechanisms to keep everyone honest and the economy stable.

Enforce the goddamn law Mr. Chief Executive. That's your JOB. If he won't do it I'd love to find someone who will. But no one seems interested. That means we're done doesn't it?

I look forward to your further thoughts and appreciate your work and intensity. I wish I had more time to do this myself.