City, Occupy Dallas at Odds Over Who Began Melee That Ended With Eight Arrested

Categories: News

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Photos by Anna Merlan, more in the slide show
An Occupy Dallas march and protest turned ugly this afternoon when police used pepper spray to subdue the crowd outside of the Bank of America building on Main and Lamar, protesters told Unfair Park. Eight people were arrested from the crowd of about 150. After the arrests, protesters continued marching through the West End, where we witnessed a standoff between them and police, dozens of whom were following the march on foot, bicycles and motorcycle.

Protesters said the arrests began when one of their members, Stephen Benavides, 30, was shoved off a four-foot-high wall outside Bank of America. He landed on his back, the protesters said, and was then hauled onto his feet by police and arrested.

"People got upset about police officers shoving people," Whytney Blythe, 22, said. She's a main organizer in the group and the person who tweets at @OccupyDallas. "The cops told them to back up, but there was nowhere for them to go. They were already on the sidewalk." Police began arresting others in the crowd, and several police, she said, opened up their batons but didn't use them.

"I saw three people getting arrested," another Occupy Dallas member, Andrew, told us. "And each were handled overly aggressively."

Protesters said an off-duty officer working as security guard at the bank shoved Benavides off the wall. (Update: Protesters are now saying it was an on-duty Dallas police officer.) We asked police for comment but got a terse response from Dallas Police spokesman Senior Corporal Kevin Janse instead, sent while the protest was still taking place: "All the commotion downtown is Occupy Dallas related. We do not discuss the Occupy Dallas situation."

Dallas City Hall spokesman Frank Librio sent the city's side of the story moments ago. It reads, in full:

At approx 1 p.m. OD protesters marched to Bank of America at 901 Main. Several climbed up on the planters and were directed to get down. During the exchange one of the protesters became aggressive and assaulted officers. This individual will be charged with assault on a public servant and resisting.

Seven other individuals were also arrested for various charges including "Use of Sidewalk" (used to be pedestrian in the roadway)

Other charges are pending as video is reviewed to determine correct charges.

Three officers received minor injuries.

Several protesters said that another protester, Kooper Caraway, was shoved off the sidewalk into the street by police, who then arrested him for stepping off the curb. Meg Hargis, another occupier, said she watched the police use pepper spray on the protesters.

"I inhaled mace while they were spraying it," she said.

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The remaining protesters looped through the West End after the arrests, many chanting "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out" and other slogans. They paused in front of the JFK Memorial, where one man, Noe Padierna, announced that the group would be splitting up, with some people headed to Lew Sterrett to await the release of the arrested people, some to protest in front of the Chase Bank on Main and Akard, and some back to the camp

"We have evidence of DPD officers pushing our brother Stephen Benavides off an at least four-foot-high ledge," he told the crowd. "The events of today were not at the hands of Occupy Dallas."

Protesters lined themselves up on a sidewalk by the memorial, while police stood in the street, forbidding them from entering the crosswalk. A man in a Guy Fawkes mask pointed at several of the cops in turn. "You're fired, you're fired, you're fired," he told them. Another man shouted, "You denied us our civil rights."

"I feel sorry for you," a third protester told police. "I really do."

A press photographer, who witnessed the arrests but asked not to be identified, told us: "I don't want to be telling stories. But I think the police started it."

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UPDATE 6:10 p.m.: Occupy Dallas' Facebook has posted video of the arrest. Below.

Protest at Bank of America Plaza from Occupy Dallas on Vimeo.

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Charles Hayden
Charles Hayden

This is totally ridiculous. City needs to drop all charges and call it a wash. Bad all around. 

Pretty clear, they're trying to radicalize the youth out there in attempt to provoke the Occupiers into doing things that will "justify" using heavy handed tactics to clear streets. Without that pretext, it will mean Civil War if the police are giving a green-light to do what they must to end occupation. 

disqusdik
disqusdik

This is what happens when you live in a police state.

The police are just tired of dealing with them (i.e., they're tired of doing they're jobs) and so they're trying to get them to go away.

Eastdallasgirl
Eastdallasgirl

I keep wondering which Occupy Dallas constituent would consider running for political office? It seems that even though the Occupy Wall Street group makes many valid points, nothing will get done until legislation changes...

Peeshee78
Peeshee78

The OD folks I've run into are lamentably ignorant and seemed to be walking around DT looking for someone to yell at. They showed up at the Dallas County foreclosure auction and began screaming obscenities- so much so that we couldn't conduct business. They had no idea what we were doing -they vascillated between thinking we were stealing houses (they why did I bring this $86k cashier's check?) and thinking that we worked for the banks-"think of the little children in the house you are foreclosing on!" was often shouted.  "I'd be happy to rent the place back to them is they're qualified" didn't seem to placate them at all.  Unintelligent, unwashed hipsters with nothing better to do.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Videotape them next time. Video works both ways.

Roycew59
Roycew59

As long as the protesters stayed on the public sidewalk and behaved peacefully, DPD let them continue their pitiful protest that no one gives a $#it about. When the moron named Benavides dared police to make him get off the wall, then foolishly resisted arrest while flailing a flagpole, he needed to go jail and is lucky he didn't go to Lew Sterrett by way of Parkland ER.  The arrested protesters are hired trashy losers itching for a fight, which they got, and lost.      

Cantgetfooledagain
Cantgetfooledagain

Just wondering if you were there...of course you couldn't have been because what you relate didn't happen.  No one was daring the police about anything.  Many people were on the planters before, during and after...let me tell you again...a security guard, who was also an off-duty Dallas Police Officer pushed Benavides off the planter without adequate warning for him to get down on his own accord...that started the conflict between police and protesters..And people were videotaping but when things turn from peaceful to not in a spit second it's hard to get the correct angle etc.  although there are several videotapes online for review...

That guy
That guy

This is hilarious, watch the fat cop in the bike helmet as he tries to slam into the person waving the blue flag.  Not only does he miss, he falls and bounces his head off the curb, then gets up kinda shaky and tries to charge in again only bounce off the telephone pole.  Priceless.

Cantgetfooledagain
Cantgetfooledagain

.. but one of the protesters who were arrested will be held responsible for his 'injury'.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Lesson to the guy being DRAGGED by the police. If you are FACING them, then you are RESISTING. That is not non-violent protocol. If they nail you, you go. Part of the price for your cause. When you resist, you intentionally --INTENTIONALLY are setting up a possible riot. People get upset, get emotional, cops dig in, your guys get ugly, so stop. If you cannot afford to get arrested, then stay off of private property. When they tell you to get down off of private property, then do it. Otherwise, please tell us where you live, so we can occupy your yard, your porch, etc... and see what your response is.

15 minutes are up.

Cantgetfooledagain
Cantgetfooledagain

The inciting a riot came when a security guard shoved two peaceful protestors - one not even a OD person - off a wall that many were standing on. and continued to stand on.  it was thuggery and that is precisely what started the riot...not the protestors.  maybe you should come participate you might have a better idea of the details.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Have you been in, or paid attention to protests outside the US?  What happened Saturday was not 'thuggery'.  If there was mace or pepper spray, it was some pitifully weak stuff.  The ODers were standing on a wall yes, a privately owned wall.  The police, in the course of their duties, are required to enforce the law.  The law states you cannot violate private property.  It is not up to you to decide what constitutes a violation of private property.Thuggery would be letting DFR come break up your little hoohaa's by turning 300psi fire hoses on you and blowing you 20ft off the wall (as is done in many places worldwide).  Perhaps some beanbags fired from small cannons or pepper bullets (as happened in Denver).  Or perhaps the military should be called out, so you can experience the thuggery people making a real change come up against (Arab Spring).Count your lucky stars that you are living in Dallas, where, surprisingly, DPD is exercising restraint and tolerance in it's dealings with ODers.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I did witness most of the incident.  To be fair, I got there after the planters had been cleared, so I did not witness what transpired there.  I did see the slack-jaw flag waver, and from my angle, he appeared to be swinging the staff at the officer.  I did not have a good angle.  If he was, he was lucky he only got arrested and didn't get a staff shoved up his fourth point of contact.

Cantgetfooledagain
Cantgetfooledagain

Up until this incident DPD was exercising restraint and tolerance....now it's a time for responsible citizens who witnessed non-restraint to speak up and remind them to return to their previous behavior...

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

A WALL--- is NOT public property. Am I right they were TOLD to get down?

I was watching the video, and a friend of mine was one of the guys on the planter... so I kinda do know what happened.

I only participate in doing something productive. Standing on planters on a Sunday afternoon while chanting is silly. Open a storefront and organize some ACTIONS other than chanting, and I am there. I have done my time in protests over the years, as well as having served in the miltitary to protect the document that guarantees their right to chant needlessly. So, my bona fides are in order, my friend.

I am not in favor of police misconduct, but there are two sides to this. I don't see attack dogs, riot gear, etc... OD needs to either decide it is mature and adult enough to handle a protest, or it can just keep trying to up the ante to get attention.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Man, read your post and find your total lack of knowledge there. Bank switching was organized by computer-Facebook, not by street-walkers or camp-sitters.

And you know what? You are RIGHT? YOU go ahead, protest YOUR WAY. Go to jail. I protest within the legal limits. I have never been arrested, and I have done a hell of a lot of protesting, activism and such for DECADES, so get a grip. You are delusional if you think that anything came of Sunday's "melee." I have seen rougher stuff in the lunch lines in a high school.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Again, you are mistaken.  Democracy doesn't give the right to do whatever you damn well please.  Keep in mind, democracy also affords property owners the RIGHT to be safe and secure in their property (There are 12 amendments in the Bill of Rights, you would be wise to peruse those beyond the first, as they are equally applicable here).  You have the right to protest, to address the government for grievances, but you do not have the right to trespass in doing so.  If you do trespass, the property owner has the right, and the police have the duty, to remove you from said private property.  If you do not leave of your own accord when told to do so, the police have the duty to remove you by force if necessary.Chanting has not caused 500,000 to switch their banking habits, idiotic attempts by banks to slip in more fees has done that.  Believe it or not, most Americans, in this economy are looking for ways to save money, and if banks start charging, Americans will switch.  So you see, the free market economy you all protest so much is what gives Americans the choices that enable them to leave the banks.  Hopefully the credit unions wont pull an S&L on us and sink all our money into jackalope ranches in Wyoming.

Cantgetfooledagain
Cantgetfooledagain

Why don't you go protest in your way and leave others to do it their way...that's the democratic way.   Chanting has caused more than a half a million people to switch their bank accounts to credit unions.  Watch the rest of the videos.  see how many people were standing on the planter - before and after ...the warning was a security guard/police officer in real life, coming up behind the 2 men and telling them to get off the planter...before they had a chance to even react, he shoved one or both of them...that is what caused the police to surge into the crowd and drag people into the streets and arrest them...if you are ok with this, and only react to attack dogs and riot gear, ok...but i want much higher standards for this country.

Sidewalkastro
Sidewalkastro

As silly the OWS seem they have spurred discussions about the banks and corporations here and in the press. So they have been effective.

Sidewalkastro
Sidewalkastro

I applaud what OWS is doing. For everyone else tired of the antics of these large banks, we should not to keep our money with them. Take your money out and put it in a local bank or credit union. I haven't use a bank since I was 12 and now I am 58. Withdrawing your money speaks louder to the banks than any protest.

mike
mike

Liberalism is extremely harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion, causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organizations from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.

RTGolden
RTGolden

That is assuming the revolution embraces socialist or communist ideals.  OD claims to embrace capitalism, and is only against the rich getting a free pass.  Liberalism is quite conducive to, even necessary, if you are waging a liberal revolution.  From the little exposure I've had with the ODers, they want limited organization and don't want to be 'lead' by a Party.  They are American youth, the last thing they want or will succumb to is discipline.  In politics, like comedy, one must know his audience.  Your movement had its day. Nobody is interested in Marxist theory or centralized supremacy of the State.

Juwan Williams
Juwan Williams

what a bunch of losers and idiots.....look at the people protesting, looks like a bunch of mindless robots, if they truly wanted to change something you march on the White House and Congress.....they caused this mess - that shows you the intelligience level of the OWS....the US Gov't makes the laws, passes bills, regulations....even my 8 year son knows that. Hello OWS idiots - get a clue, what a joke you are.......oh, and by the way....I voted for the campaigner in chief, I live in the ghetto, I am black and proud....but I'm not an idiot like you people.

pogue972
pogue972

Not everyone has the ability, funds or opportunity to go to Washington and march, so we have to do it where we can.  We are protesting because our representatives in Washington no longer represent us.  If our representatives no longer represent our values then WE, as the people, are obligated - by the Constitution - to make that change.  There is no other way.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

And how many of these protesters voted in the last election? Donated money to the candidates? Registered people to vote, drove them to the polls, answered questions? If you didn't vote then, you can't bitch about it now. We get it. We get it. Now, DO something other than chant and camp.

Cantgetfooledagain
Cantgetfooledagain

I have voted in every election that I have eligible to do so.  Donated lots of money to lots of campaigns.  Worked on many, many campaigns.  Registered thousands of voters.  Just wrapped up a VR event last Saturday where I sat outside for 8 hours on my own volunteer time.  Worked out of state on the last Presidential election when it was obvious that Texas was not in play to make any change.  So, Ms. Birdwell, don't judge...you are wrong.

keep it real
keep it real

Where is DPD leadership? Has anyone else wondered where the leaders at DPD have been throughout this?  It appears they are allowing the line officers deal with this on their own with no support. Furthermore, they (DPD leaders) won't allow their own to comment on their actions- they defer that to Librio at City Hall. Suggestion to Chief Brown: Get out there and do your job, start acting like a leader; stop hiding in your office. We all know you are afraid, but this is why you are getting paid 200k a year. These are the kinds of incidents that true leaders show their faces. Where are you? And why isn't anyone demanding this? This is a story in itself. Think about it.Interesting...

   

Mike 2
Mike 2

Nothing there that needs the chief's attention. These protesters are not that important. It looks like they had a corporal down there. That is plenty enough seniority to handle these people when they step off the sidewalk. The bottom line is that they simply do not matter. DPD has real criminals to catch like the scum that brought a rifle to a convenience store heist and shot the clerk. Babysitting a bunch of unemployed college educated individuals is necessary or they could hurt themselves.

Keep it real
Keep it real

Good points mike. However usually when there are events that require so many resources like this, the boss is out and front, either speaking on behalf of his officers and or trying to prevent these issues from occurring at all. Either way, he's a no show. Poor leadership.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I actually chose this weekend to observe, as it were, the ODers in their natural environment.  I found it easier to observe them than I originally thought, what with me being unfamiliar with downtown.  They were, indeed, hindering traffic on my way to Pioneer plaza, the one place I know I can park, for a limited time, for free.  I got around them, down to the park, and made my way up to the BA Plaza, where things were starting to unfold.In the few minutes it took me to park and get back to the BA Plaza, DPD had arrived in-force, and the "melee", if you choose to call it that, was winding down.  Most of the non-handcuffed ODers shouted vague intangibles for a few minutes then wandered off to the next stop on their Occupation scavenger hunt. A few, including a fairly large oaf in a brown Tshirt and face bandana, stayed around for a bit, taunting the cops, stepping on and off the curb.  One officer came over and asked if he could help the ODer, with what, I have no idea.  The cop did not have the aggressive hostility of 'stormtrooper', rather the resigned frustration of a parent chastising a child who continually refuses to follow the rules.Incidentally, I walked several blocks with one of the 'middle aged' MoveOn protesters. He did not claim to have 'cheered' at the arrival of the Occupy Dallas people.  He did describe them as loud and confrontational, although he did not do so derisively, but in a matter-of-fact manner.I managed to talk to one ODer, they paused long enough from their game of hare-and-hound with DPD for me to catch up and get a few words.  I asked if they were ever going to get organized and maybe, you know, make a point or offer up a viable solution.  I got an answer along the lines of they are open and accepting and try to be all-inclusive of all points of view.  Great answer if they were  demonstrating for true participatory democracy, but that isn't what they're advocating and it certainly wasn't what I asked.A quick survey of the OD campsite revealed nothing remarkable.  The reports of them being trashy are much overstated.  The site was no trashier than it has ever been, probably cleaner than it often is.  Most of the resident were out playing handcuff tag, so I just sort of wandered about, reading what there was to read (not much).They are trying to keep a closer eye on who belongs there and who doesn't (I obviously didn't.)  As I wandered, a man about my age shadowed me, discretely, until I wandered back across the parking lot to the grassy area between them and Fort Dallas (city hall). He didn't, nor did anyone else, accost me, nor did anyone ask if I had any questions.  From a basically military point of view, the addition of some level of security at the camp was a wise decision, although impossible to implement.  The camp is open for ingress/egress from every conceivable direction.  The spill over camp is too far away from the main camp and not directly visible.  Were anything untoward happen there, help from the main group would likely be too little and too late.  Of the 4 essential elements of a military operation Command, Control, Communication, Intelligence (C3I), OD only exhibits a grasp of one, communication, with precious little of that communication directed inwards. (By the way, I'm not implying they are not intelligent, rather, intelligence here has to do with the collection of and action upon information about the activities arrayed against them).All in all, my observation of the ODers this weekend did little to change my opinion of them.  I am neither hostile nor sympathetic to their cause.  Their protest smacks a little too loudly of people wanting the benefits of society to be bestowed upon them rather than earning it for me to be sympathetic.  It falls short of advocating socialism or communism and is too unorganized to waste time being against it.  Like all extreme-leaning movements, it is highly susceptible to subterfuge and in danger of being co-opted by major political organizations.  I suspect it will peter out midway through next years election season, as even the democrats will turn hostile to them if it appears they are hurting election chances.

David Cornell
David Cornell

Thank you  RT for taking the time to check out the situation "on the ground".

Albert Finney000
Albert Finney000

The biggest message I get from this movement is "we're here and we're protesting!" Great, we got it.

The other central message seems to be an anarchist's demand for a larger, stronger, more benevolent and controlling State.None of these occupy movements are actually occupying anything in the sense they want to portray, not even Wall Street. They're camping out on property they have been allowed to camp on, for now, to protest."Occupy" movement is a typical lefty misnomer, it should be labeled "The Protest Movement®", but the protestors would probably protest that.It's fun to watch them build these little separate societies with free libraries, volunteer police, medical  and legal resources, along with basic political/power structure. They're mimicking everything in their actual society. From eminent domain to defense of borders, to prosecution of crimes, it's all there. In a play-house pretend way, living on charity.In NYC, they're sitting on $500K in donations, now the real fun is going to start.

Paul
Paul

One of the last items done by the Clinton Administration was to repeal the Glass-Steagal Act.  The GSA dates back to the Great Depression and was an effective wall between traditional merchant banking and investment banking.

With the prohibition removed, the merchant banks, such as BOA, Chase, etc, were able to move into investment banking.  They had an edge in that the capital available to the investment banking side was and is the FDIC insured deposits on the merchant banking side.

In effect, the potential losses incurred by the investment banking side is covered by the FDIC and eventually us.

The bailouts that were given to the major banks was to cover their investment banking losses and not their merchant banking losses.

It is way past time to re-institute the GSA.

It is also time that New York state remove the investment house and brokerage house exemption from the "bet shop laws".  After all a hedge, put or call is nothing more than a bet and has absolutely nothing to do with the effective and efficient transfer of capital from those with excess capital to those in need of capital.

Mike vvv
Mike vvv

Hedges, puts, and calls are legitimate tools to minimize risk of holding assets or fluctuations in asset values you will receive, e.g., this year's corn crop. You give up some value to get more reliable expenses like airlines do with fuel. They have been around for 500 years.

Do you have any idea what you are talking about or was this on a flier at the camp?

Paul
Paul

WTI is trading at a significant discount to Brent.

While it is true that some users of the commodity will use futures to stabilize costs and earnings, the great majority of futures trading is paper trades by nonusers of the commodities.

The US is a net importer of crude.

Mike
Mike

I assume it's because the Brent goes to gasoline in NW Europe and WTI goes to gasoline in United States.  Since the margin is not enough to support moving US crude to Europe, gas prices, driven mostly by taxes, in Europe are higher and US crude has much more easily sourced competitors in Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, and Canada (all accessible to US refineries), the European crude probably gets a premium.

I assume the CBOT activity gives liquidity to the probably more long term hedges done by farmers and large agribusiness firms.  Not everybody wants to hold the hedges.  Sometimes things crop up where you need the cash (as did American Airlines when they cashed out in a short term fix that created long term fuel expense problems).

Nothing is perfect, but equating traders to being workers in gambling dens overstates it, something that the Occupy movement does again and again.

Paul
Paul

Yes I do.  True hedges, puts and calls can be used by users of commodities to manage their future risk and I have used them in my business ventures.  I use whether or not various commodities are in contango or backwardation as an economic indicator.

However, the majority of most hedging done in commodities in the current market are not done by the users or suppliers of those commodities.

For example, there is a complete disconnect in the price of soybeans in the general market and what the price is on the CBOT.

Additionally, how do you explain the price differential that currently exists for WTI and Brent crudes?

At one time the various commodities markets limited the futures contracts to those who either produced or consumed the commodity but this is no longer the case.

The volume that trades for most commodities in the futures markets often far outstrips the actual supply and demand that exists.  This intense trading in my opinion has contributed significantly to the overall volatility that exists in the marketplace.

Albert
Albert

Jeez, this disqus thing eats paragraph breaks very efficiently. I protest.

Bobby
Bobby

I thought these protestors had recently marched their butts down to Police Headquarters to show support for Dallas rank and file? Now they are blaming the police for interfering with their weekend field trips around downtown. Sounds like this group was pandering to the Police in hopes of winning them over. Plan backfired.

Robert
Robert

A video titled Grant Stinchfield Visits Occupy Dallas tells me all I need to know about these occupiers. Stinchfield visited OD and made a video which is at his site and also at UncleBarky's and Mark Davis's websites and at YouTube.

cp
cp

Good thing that bike cop had a helmet on! 

Bobby
Bobby

And btw, if you don't like Bank of America, there are more than 100 alternative financial institutions in Dallas. Advantage of having a free capitalist society. You upset about your debt? Then don't spend what you don't earn. Unhappy with your paycheck? Perhaps you should have considered that before dropping out of school or avoiding college. Mad that you're unemployed? Get over it and apply for a job at McDonald's, Macy's, City of Dallas, Wal-Mart, etc. No one owes you a fancy job with a big salary and large office. You have to earn it.

Willie
Willie

You're right about personal debt, Bobby, and you're an idiot.  The problem is after screwing our economy, and probably the rest of the world's economies as well, the big banks should have gone belly up because they were leveraged out the ass.  But, no, we, as in the United States taxpayers, bailed their sorry asses out.  And our painfully sorry federal government then doesn't prosecute them and let's them continue trying to screw everyone.  That's the debt I'm pissed off about.

RTGolden
RTGolden

You're right about the banks getting an undeserved bailout, willie, and you're an idiot.  What started this economic slide?  Sure the banks bundled up bad mortgages into investment packages and artificially inflated them.  But where did the bad mortgages come from?  They came from Americans, demanding home loans with no verifiable information on the borrower.  Clinton administration created Fannie and Freddie to underwrite these 'sub-prime' mortgages.  Then those same Americans, who could now qualify for government insured loans for more house than they could ever possibly hope to afford, went and signed their names to the papers.  Institutional investors and foreign governments bought these sub-prime packages, thinking that American mortgage lenders were still diligent in their approval process.It was the defaults on these mortgages which became the first card to topple the house.  If you want to blame the banks, that's fine, they're certainly guilty of letting greed replace intellect.  Keep in mind though, they had to lend someone that money in order for it all to happen.  Your friends, families, neighbors, etc (and mine) are just as much to blame for the current economic situation as the banks are.

Paul
Paul

My point exactly, the lending officer had no skin in the game.  He would get a fee for having originating your loan and if you defaulted, well that would be someone else's problem. 

Good luck on being able to buy your house.  Mine will be paid off in less than a year and three years early.

I do believe that I deserve that big house, but I realize that I have to earn it.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I did notice your Glass-Stengall comment above.  You are, of course, correct.  Glass Stengall should never have been repealed, it was a situation tailor made for finance corporation abuse.I still believe the root cause is the entitlement mentality among our fellow citizens.  Americans believe that they deserve to have the house, picket fence, 2.5 kids and car, truck, boat/rv.  That led to the government trying to slop that horse at the vote trough, and banks inventing new ways to generate profit, whether those profits be real or not.I looked at a house a few years back.  The lending officer was very convincing, yes.  He produced impressive spreadsheets and charts and numbers showing how I could afford the mortgage.  When I went back over it, at home, using my high school math and budget spreadsheet downloaded for free, I discovered not only could I not afford it, but just the PRINCIPLE was more than my accumulated disposable income was going to total for the next 50years.  All of my disposable income (no vacations, no day trips, no recreation)!!  needless to say, I bailed on that particular house, and indeed, bailed on buying a home period, until I reach the next stage of my long term goals.I use this illustration because I am not any smarter than the next guy.  I didn't attend college, was in the military, and basically got my economic education from dealing with the aftermath of being married to a woman with more credit than sense.  If I figured out that the mortgage numbers didn't add up, anyone should have been able to.

Paul
Paul

The AAA rating was primarily done through a credit default swap, i.e., insurance against default, which is why AIG went belly up because they did not charge a sufficient premium for the risk.

As has come out in several lawsuits, the actual debt obligations were, in many cases, never properly placed into the CDOs.

The other problem was that the originating banks, nor the packagers of the CDOs never really had any skin in the game.  The money made by the various firms was on the transaction and not the securities or debt obligations themselves.

Another aspect is that the underwriting guidelines were often misrepresented to the purchasers of the CDOs.

The problem is actually quite simple when you step away from the problem to look at it.

Whenever there is a promise of "easy" outsize returns in comparison to the market, be afraid, be very afraid.

Also please look at my comments above about the Glass Steagal Act and the New York State betshop laws.

I enjoy your comments.

RTGolden
RTGolden

In the link I posted you have Greenspan himself saying he, nor his economic advisors, could comprehend the equation the investment banks were using to demonstrate how CDO's should retain AAA ratings.

Paul
Paul

Don't forget the French banks, when they found out that they could not establish a price for the CDOs which they held.  They were unable to establish a price because they were unable to determine the quality of the underlying assets.

And then there is MERS ....

The Scarlett Pimpernel
The Scarlett Pimpernel

What we are seeing down at these protests is people who earnestly believe they are serious people, but who are, in fact, utterly incapable of serious thought or action. Take a look at  The Worst Generation.

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