Matt Taibbi’s Advice for OccupyWallStreet

Rolling Stone Magazine political writer Matt Taibi is a brilliant progressive journalist.  His latest book, Griftopia, is next on my reading list.  He appeared on “Countdown with Keith Olberman” and has this advice for the OccupyWallStreet crowd — a crowd accused of having no message by the right wingers who promoted the Tea Party two years ago.

Taibbi’s advice:

“No matter what, I’ll be supporting Occupy Wall Street. And I think the movement’s basic strategy – to build numbers and stay in the fight, rather than tying itself to any particular set of principles – makes a lot of sense early on. But the time is rapidly approaching when the movement is going to have to offer concrete solutions to the problems posed by Wall Street. To do that, it will need a short but powerful list of demands. There are thousands one could make, but I’d suggest focusing on five:

1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called “Too Big to Fail” financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term “Systemically Dangerous Institutions” – are a direct threat to national security. They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled; a good start would be to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and mandate the separation of insurance companies, investment banks and commercial banks.

2. Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about. It would also deter the endless chase for instant profits through computerized insider-trading schemes like High Frequency Trading, and force Wall Street to go back to the job it’s supposed to be doing, i.e., making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.

3. No public money for private lobbying. A company that receives a public bailout should not be allowed to use the taxpayer’s own money to lobby against him. You can either suck on the public teat or influence the next presidential race, but you can’t do both. Butt out for once and let the people choose the next president and Congress.

4. Tax hedge-fund gamblers. For starters, we need an immediate repeal of the preposterous and indefensible carried-interest tax break, which allows hedge-fund titans like Stevie Cohen and John Paulson to pay taxes of only 15 percent on their billions in gambling income, while ordinary Americans pay twice that for teaching kids and putting out fires. I defy any politician to stand up and defend that loophole during an election year.

5. Change the way bankers get paid. We need new laws preventing Wall Street executives from getting bonuses upfront for deals that might blow up in all of our faces later. It should be: You make a deal today, you get company stock you can redeem two or three years from now. That forces everyone to be invested in his own company’s long-term health – no more Joe Cassanos pocketing multimillion-dollar bonuses for destroying the AIGs of the world.”

To tag along with Taibbi’s excellent advice is this New York Times editorial from Thursday’s edition of the newspaper; share this with your Republican friends:

An excerpt: “The bill the Republicans shot down is not a panacea, but independent economists sayit would have a significant and swift effect on the current stagnation. Macroeconomic Advisers, whose forecasts are often used by the Federal Reserve, said it could raise economic growth by 1.25 percentage points and create 1.3 million jobs in 2012. Moody’s Analytics estimated new growth at 2 percentage points and 1.9 million jobs. Those economists say that Republican ideas for increasing growth would have no measurable effects in the next year.

The Republicans offer no actual economic plans, only tired slogans about cutting regulations and spending, and ending health care reform. The party seems content to run out the clock on Mr. Obama’s term while doing very little. On Tuesday, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, accused Republicans of trying to “suffocate the economy” in hopes that the pain would work to their political advantage. They are doing little to refute that charge.

Republican candidates fear the Tea Party too much to acknowledge that economists are solidly behind government intervention to awaken growth. The jobs bill rejected by Republican leaders will now be reintroduced piece by piece, and Republicans are not likely to go along with much more than an extension of the payroll tax cut (which is opposed by Mr. Romney). But at least the record is increasingly clear who is advocating real ideas and who is selling an empty vessel.

Looking forward to inviting the resistance to OccupyIrvine tomorrow. 


  21 comments for “Matt Taibbi’s Advice for OccupyWallStreet

  1. Marcus Wilson
    October 16, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Taibbi is absolutely correct. So long as Obama is in office the Republicans will do nothing. That’s a strategy, but not leadership. It’s time to vote “Democrat” right down the ballot line.

  2. October 16, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Great ideas. Wish I’da seen this before yesterdays’ event, I would have read it on the mike.

  3. October 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

    30,000 people in LA for the OccupyLA event Vern; organizational skills — get some. Calling the city two days before to ask for a meeting with the city council members made me laugh out loud.

    Now, the true test of the Occupy Movement is to go beyond the signs and camp outs to actual policy changes. But I’m sure Theo Hirsch will be glad to know you think this organization is where he should channel his energy.

    • October 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      Oh, I feel like such a failure – LA, with its long traditions of radical activism, weeks of this particular thing building up, and actual encouragement and assistance from their local government, managed to draw a much bigger crowd than us on our first attempt! Ah, be quiet, Dan.

      By the way I’m also proud of the Orange Juice Blog at Occupy – with five of our bloggers actually participating in this on various levels (me, Greg, Duane, Amber, and Rashad) – while the “Liberal OC” just sends one guy for one hour as a sort of skeptical anthropological observer.

      • Dan Chmielewski
        October 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

        Vern — perhaps you would have had a bigger crowd if you occupied Costa Mesa; there were 2,000 people at the Farmer’s Market at the Great Park this afternoon.

        Again, when local government gets a call about this two days before the event, do you really expect the to jump through hoops for you?

        The energy along the street was great, but the program behind the mike….well, junior high pep rallies are run with more organization and more efficiency.

        The key, Vern, is for you to turn this demonstration into actual policy change. Something I suspect you have no clue to do.

        And I have to say again — wow — you are brave behind a keyboard but as quiet as a church mouse when you’re standing next to me. Coward.

        • October 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm

          You’re so full of it. (I assume you’re talking about a computer keyboard? Piano keyboard? Both?) There is ONE PARTICULAR THING I am refusing to discuss with you – the same thing you’re head-on-fire obsessed with. Anything I write on blogs I’ll say directly into your unpleasant face any day of the year.

          • Dan Chmielewski
            October 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

            Except you had the chance yesterday and you barely said anything Bo Peep. But you sure are brave when you type. But face to face, not so much. Deal with reality. You stupidly assumed another man’s debt. The longer you delay, the more it will cost you

  4. October 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I’ve been getting more and more irritated the more I think about you. This is your damn town. Do you sympathize with this movement or not? All you can do is come around and snipe that everyone else isn’t doing everything good enough for your taste. Greg, from Brea, stayed up all night with the protestors. Theo from Santa Ana emceed for eight hours and stayed up all night. Vern and Duane threw together music and speeches in record time, and came out from Huntington Beach and Anaheim. Dan came, and saw, and bitched. (For an hour.)

    • Dan Chmielewski
      October 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      I do support the movement. But what needs to happen is the movement needs to enable policy change through elections. In short, we need to reelect this president and take back the House as Republicans block anything meaningful that will help the 99%.

      My weekends are planned well in advance and full. So excuse me for not staying out all night.

      You saw me for 5 minutes. I spent most of my time with the lines along the street partially because the open mic was sometimes painful. But it give given the demon monkeys that live in your brain a chance to have their message heard

      • October 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

        But it give given the demon monkeys that live in your brain a chance to have their message heard

        Well said, well said.

        • Dan Chmielewski
          October 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm

          Damn predictive text!

        • Dan Chmielewski
          October 17, 2011 at 7:27 am

          “But it does give the demon monkeys that live in your brain a chance to have their message heard”

          –there you go; I need to stop commenting from an iPad

  5. October 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Here, Dan, volunteer. That’s all I’m saying here, I’m done.

    • Dan Chmielewski
      October 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

      I already volunteer for three charities and non-profits Vern. I’m not your monkey

      • October 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm

        Well at least bring us some food next time you drop by then.

        • Dan Chmielewski
          October 16, 2011 at 10:18 pm

          Ah thanks for pointing out another oversight. No food, water or port-a-potties in sight

          • Maralago
            October 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm

            Dan, you’re my new freaking hero. The arrogance of that guy is revolting:
            “Bring us some food”. Ah, the song of the truly self-entitled.

            I was absolutely behind Occupy Wall Street in the beginning. Turn out, shout out, show the anger, the face of the disenfranchised. Then they sat there for 6 wks doing nothing but demanding attention. Oh, and food, almost forgot the food demands.

            But I lost it completely at “Occupy Oakland”. Really, people? Occupy a crime-ridden, poor city that hasn’t seen a Goldman Sachs suit since people called the other city Frisco & got away with it?

            The sick part of Occupy Oakland is the absence of the low-income black community. I used to work there & I’m hearing plenty. Especially about how sick they are of the white liberals taking over their downtown at a cost to their city budget that they can’t afford. As one guy put it to me “Every dollar spent policing the protesters is another dollar that won’t get me a cop in MY crappy neighborhood. It’s a dollar that won’t be spent to test the backlog of rape kits.” And he went on for awhile, REALLY angry. Can’t blame him. When I asked an Occupy supporter if SHE lives in Oakland, she said her mom did – well “mom” lives in Piedmont. Million dollar homes in the hills. The supporter chick lives in Marin County. Need I bitch more on that one?

            The longer Occupy goes on with no actual results, the more they eff up every future liberal protest. We will all look like whiners we complain & do nothing.

  6. October 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    There is current legislation that will accomplish Demand #1, the repeal of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, (the act that finally killed the Glass-Steagall Act 1933-1999). H.R. 1489 will reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act; 218 cosponsors will force a vote in the House.
    Congressman Walter Jones is one of the cosponsors; and is asking us to write a letter to our Congressmen and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 1489, (minute #4 in the video below).

    Glass-Steagall is explained in the graphic below.

    Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez became cosponsor #47 last week. list of cosponsors also at

    Orange County has 3 members on the Financial Services Committee; – Congressmen Gary Miller, & Ed Royce, both running in the 39th District, and Rep. John Campbell of the 45th District; their contact information is at They need to hear from us NOW, November 2012 will be too late.

  7. October 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Here’s my advice to Matt:

    Start attending Occupy meetings and start helping out, instead of shouting stuff from your comfy cozy armchair sitting on the sidelines.

    By the way, all of your suggestions have already been taken under consideration by Liberty Plaza. Keep up!

    • Maralago
      October 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you, Kevin Schmidt. I’ve been trying to explain to some people why Occupiers disgust me. Friends, knowing me to be a bleeding heart left wing liberal, have been surprised to learn how much I’ve come to despise all of you. But your arrogant, mocking note to Matt Taibbi is the best example I can give them.

      Every time I deal with an Occupier, asking “what is your goal, and what actions will you take to get there”, I’m told I just don’t get it…they make fun of me as if there’s something wrong with me questioning them. Gee, wasn’t that the problem we all had with the Merrills & Lehmans & Goldmans?

      I especially love the hubris in claiming that because someone isn’t sitting in the street with you, they have no clue, they’re doing nothing. Considering the egomaniacal claims I’ve heard from Occupiers, this doesn’t surprise me. One tweakhead actually claimed Occupy Oakland was responsible for the mass exodus of B of A acct holders. Uh, no…the huge debit card fees did that. Another claimed that Occupy has “finally forced the media to put a spotlight on the financial malfeasance” that’s occurred. Uh, no…people like Matt Taibbi have been doing that quite well, for quite some time.

      And not that I actually believe you geniuses thought of any of Taibbi’s suggestions, but just to keep you from peeing your pants & stomping your feet, let’s say you did think of all of those things at “Liberty Plaza” (oooh, where do you guys think up all these cool names?!). So what? So what if his ideas were also dreamt up at your little plaza? Do you honestly think you’re the only ones in the world examining these issues & coming up with suggestions? (of course you do. because you’re egomaniacs who think talking is changing anything…)

      Worst of all is your totally disgusting comment that Taibbi should “start helpign out” & stop “shouting stuff from your comfy cozy armchair sitting on the sidelines”. I have to say, if you were here, I would smack you. Hard. How F$#*ING DARE YOU assume that because someone isn’t sitting his a$$ in your tent that he’s doing nothing? And accuse him of NOT being helpful. I daresay the investigative work he’s done in the past 2 yrs alone are more HELPFUL than anything you have done in your miserable existence. This is EXACTLY the BS that I receive every time I ask an Occupier “what’s the goal”. And this is exactly the crap I hear when I offer suggestions of my own – things like running a candidate with Occupy/the 99% goals as his/her platform; running financial literacy courses for seniors & low-income people to help them avoid getting taken ever again. And I have more, but why bother – every time I offer a suggestion, I’m mocked and/or deleted. Huffington Post shut me down completely, yet they let a guy say we should all kill the cops…

      I can’t answer for Taibbi on what he does – besides expose greed – to help the 99%. But for me, here goes. In the past 6 months, I’ve spent 3 hrs/wk recording textbooks for blind students. I’ve paid one friend’s rent & 2 friend’s utility bills. I paid a friend’s son’s college tuition (& drained HALF MY SAVINGS to do so). I wrote 10 resumes & over 30 cover letters & contacted aprx 50-70 business contacts to help various people get jobs. And in my spare time I organized a business clothing drive for low-income women and 2 fundraisers for small local animal shelters. Plus I work 40-55 hrs a wk at my day job.

      That’s what I did in the past 6 months to help the 99%. What have YOU done?

  8. Alan MacDonald
    October 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    This applies to all the uninformed fluff by the dead-head media, and even ‘left’ alt media regarding the Occupy movement, what this means, what the goals are, and how it relates to co-option and the corporate controlled Tea party:

    OPN [Op Ed News web-site] follow-on and nest for all this BS fear about co-option and Tea Party of the left insanity:

    The following is my post regarding undue fear of co-option:

    [Post Title line]: “Continuing BS today on this easy to understand reality:

    Glenn [an OPN poster fearful of Occupy being co-opted by Demos and/or liberal media, and/or MoveOn etc] , Frank, Rafe, Margaret, et al, ad nauseum, there would be no such confusion and BS as you and many others are seeding today on OEN, if we simply step back and ask the question, “Would OWS and global Occupy, be in any danger of “co-optation” as you warn, if it clearly articulated that it was —- in addition to being against Wall Street, against inequality, against rapacious capitalism, etc. etc. etc. — simply “Against Empire”, which is the hidden and cancerous pathology that actually is the underlying CAUSE of all these ‘symptom problems’??


    There could be no co-optation of the revolutionary movement of Occupy, simply because the disguised corporate/financial/militarist EMPIRE that has captured our former country, by hiding behind its bought and owned TWO-Party “Vichy” sham of faux democratic government and faux media shills, could never, never, NEVER claim to be in agreement with, or pose as similar to Occupy —- because all these co-opter clowns ARE THE EMPIRE.

    Get with it. Glenn.
    This is the primary tactical reason that OWS needs to clearly articulate that it is a movement “Against Empire” —- which includes being against Wall Street, against vast economic inequality, against social injustice, against imperialist wars, against environmental destruction, etc. etc. etc…….

    By Occupy clearly saying that it is Against Empire —- the hidden corporate/financial/militarist Empire that now controls the government, banks, media, etc. of our former country —- Occupy would be making it absofrigginlutely impossible for the lacky Demos, or MoveOn, or NYT/WaPo, or any of these collaborators and slugs to ever say anything about OWS being in the same boat as these shills, BECAUSE none of these slimy co-opters of Occupy dares to say that they are also Against Empire!!

    The deceivers, co-opters, and similar phonies trying to hang onto Occupy’s coat tails can not ever, ever, dare to even imply that they are in solidarity with an Occupy goal, demand, agenda which is overtly “Against Empire” — because they DARE not even whisper the word ’empire’ since they ARE IT!!!

    And, Frank [another worrier on OPN, concerned with Christian fundamentalist co-opters], specifically to your point of religious co-option of Occupy:

    No one, regardless of how dumb they are, who is truly a Christian (fundamentalist or not) could speak out against an Occupy movement that is “Against Empire” — for the obvious reason that Christ was sent to earth to confront EMPIRE with love, and which EMPIRE then killed him.

    Best luck and love to Occupy

    Alan MacDonald

    Liberty & democracy

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