UPDATED: Newton’s Third Law of Motion is commonly expressed by the phrase “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. The action in question is the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The reaction in question is fear.
Huffington Post obtained a copy of a memo being sent by high-powered Washington lobbying firm Clark, Lytle, Geduldig, Cranford to one of its major Wall Street clients over Thanksgiving. Previously unnamed, it has been revealed that the major Wall Street client in question is the American Bankers Association. The four page memo was first revealed by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, host of the show “Up with Chris Hayes“. The first two paragraphs of the memo are indicative of the mood and probably sets the tone for what many in the lobbying industry are having to admit as an inconvenient truth. Namely the truth that the OWS Movement is gaining traction for their cause and doing so in such a way that politicians are eventually going to be forced to put on the appearance of action in bringing the criminals on Wall Street to justice if not actually bring them to justice. The fear on behalf of the lobbyists and their Wall Street clients is palpable.
The first two paragraphs of the Thanksgiving Memo read as follows:
Leading Democratic party strategists have begun to openly discuss the benefits of embracing the growing and increasingly organized Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to prevent Republican gains in Congress and the White House next year. We have seen this process of adopting extreme positions and movements to increase base voter turnout, including in the 2005-2006 immigration debate. This would mean more than just short-term discomfort for Wall Street firms. If vilifying the leading companies of this sector is allowed to become an unchallenged centerpiece of a coordinated Democratic campaign, it has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the Democratic party or even President Obama’s re-election team would campaign against Wall Street in this cycle. However the bigger concern should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies — and might start running against them too.
While phrased in partisan terms, the memo is possibly indicative of not just fear on behalf of Wall Street and their K Street cohorts, but rather recognizes that the problems created by not bringing to justice those who wrecked our domestic economy and nearly wrecked the global economy with their unfettered greed and massive systemic fraud is growing to ultra-partisan proportions. Consider the words of Joshua Stephens, a participant in OWS New York City, who said “The danger is not whether or not politicians will defend these institutions. My fear wouldn’t be that. My fear would be that the politicians that come to their aid will be increasingly irrelevant…That’s the real threat and that’s where things are going.” OWS is serving as a wake-up call for both Wall Street and Washington. A wake-up call that this memo acknowledges presents a real and serious problem for both the corporate bankers and the politicians that have been protecting them from prosecution and doing their political bidding in helping dismantle the regulations around the banking industry. A call for justice that transcends party affiliation and loyalty to the point that the bankers responsible may actually have to face trial with the possibility of prison sentences. A call for justice that may force politicians to take steps to break up the big banks to prevent the myth and the lie of “too big to fail” from being used in the future as an excuse by corporatists to raid our nation’s tax coffers thus making society pay for the risks of their private failures all while the banks reaping massive record private profits in the process. A call for justice that might mean the return of regulation to the banking industry and a return of regulation with teeth.
Perhaps even more telling that the 1% are starting to feel and fear the political pressure is the context of the memo as a sales pitch. What is it that CLGC is offering to sell the ABA? $850,000 worth of spin. In the new MSNBC article by Jonathan Larsen and Ken Olshansky, the deliverable of such a spin project is summarized as “ ’opposition research’ on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct ‘negative narratives’ about the protests and allied politicians.” If you’d like to read the memo in its entirety, it can be found here in .pdf form. You may feel a bit queasy after reading it.
OWS could be, should be and might be even bigger than this one set of issues though. It should be a notice to Washington and the graft merchants of K Street that the United States Constitution says in plain language where the true political power rests in this country and who is really the boss of Washington when push comes to shove: “We the People of the United States”. Not “We the Corporations” or “We the Biggest Campaign Contributors” or “We the K Street Lobbying and Revolving Capital Hill Door Conflict of Interest Machine”, but “We the People”. Washington would be wise to take heed to call to substantively start addressing the needs and demands for justice of the 99% instead of catering to the greedy desires of the 1% and their own over-inflated egos. Our nation was founded in reaction to the tyranny of oppression and non-responsive government of King George. Just so, it can be reshaped in reaction to the tyranny of oppression and non-responsive government of as exemplified by the incestuous nexus of today’s Wall Street and Washington. We didn’t throw off the yoke of a mad, capricious and economically exploitative king in the 18th Century just to have it replaced by the yoke of venal and corrupt plutocrats and their political lackeys in the 21st.
Are Wall Street and their lobbyists starting to fear Main Street? Is the government? Is this a sign of the beginning of the end of OWS? Or is this a sign of the beginning of the beginning of OWS and the effort to reclaim the government for “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”?
What do you think?
~Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger