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Old 10-19-2011, 01:34 PM   #181
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Former Marine Confronts NYPD During Protest - ABC News

When retired Marine Sgt. Shamar Thomas saw New York police officers strike Occupy Wall Street protestors with a baton Saturday night, he was furious.

"Protestors were shouting things like, 'Police come join us!'," Thomas recalled in an interview with ABCNews.com. Instead, the police started moving closer and closer to the crowd. Soon, pushing and shoving started.

"I saw a woman and a man getting hit with a baton. That infuriated me," he said. This prompted him to unleash verbal fury on stunned police officers, who stared at him blankly as he shouted to them repeatedly, "These are unarmed people. It doesn't make you tough to hurt these people."

Thomas' plea, captured on video by Jannah Handy, Thomas' aunt and an Occupy Wall Street protester, has already garnered more than 750,000 hits.

That wasn't the first time he saw violence break out during the protests. The first time he went to a protest was October 5. He had taken a video then, while he was trying to reason with the NYPD.

"When I was there on October 5, I took a video that was posted before this [most recent one]. I tried to reason with NYPD, but they weren't taking me seriously, they weren't really receptive," he said. But he said on Saturday, they were "going to have to hear my voice. I wasn't going to hold any punches this time."

Thomas said when he came back last Saturday, he was "acting like an onlooker."

"To see the [brutality] happen again, in front of me, was unbelievable," he said. At least one NYPD officer has been disciplined by the department for his actions against protestors. According to a source, the senior police officer used pepper spray against a group already corralled by police.

During one of his two tours to Iraq in 2004 and 2006, he remembers seeing a fellow Marine get hit in the face with a rock thrown by an unarmed Iraqi civilian.

"I was literally involved in a riot where I saw a Marine get hit in the face with a rock. He literally fell off the truck and we didn't go into the crowd and start beating people -- our mission is to win the hearts and minds, we didn't attack the people. And to see the NYPD now hurting unarmed civilians, and these people were not even throwing rocks, it didn't make any sense to me," Thomas said.

ABCNews.com reached out to the NYPD for a response. The department confirmed they received the request for a response. However, none was received by the time this article went to publish.

Thomas said what prompted his involvement in the Occupy Wall Street protests initially was his desire to inspire change and end corporate greed and wealth disparity within America.

He blames this greed for his stepfather -- a U.S. veteran who served for over 24 years, including in Afghanistan -- being unable to find a job. He believes that if the government would give money back to citizens versus bailing out big banks, people like his father wouldn't have to struggle so hard.

"Give people opportunity, there's no hope for people," he said. "I'm not asking for handouts. I was getting $1900 a month to fight for the country, but now I can't even get a tooth fixed?"

"If my stepfather is still looking for a job," he said, "Well, Christmas is not looking too good." His mother is a disabled veteran who served as a non-commissioned officer in logistics, including in Iraq. She was awarded a bronze star for her service, Thomas said.

Thomas himself is a retired veteran, having served four years active duty, and four years inactive. He is currently a student at the Nassau Community College, studying sociology and criminal justice.

He is adamant about not aligning himself with a political affiliation.

"American people get caught up into these political groups and political involvements, when they should just vote in the best interests in themselves," he said. Thomas said he hoped to inspire a nation of freethinkers. But right now, he is at least already inspiring other veterans.

"Many veterans have contacted me, many guys from my old unit, they support me," he said. Thomas served with the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

Perhaps Thomas is not aware of how many others he has inspired. He seemed unaware that a Facebook page has started under his name.

"Already? You're lying!" he exclaimed when ABC News told him the page existed. "Send me the link! I have to get on to that really quickly. I can't believe they jumped the gun on me!"
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:56 PM   #182
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profits are one thing; 8-figure executive bonuses are something else. that's where the anger comes from. everyone knows a bank needs capital, but do executives need to make 400x that of the average employee at said bank? banking bonuses of the size and scale we've seen in recent years were unheard of before the 1980s, and when you're dealing with profits like that, there's ever more incentive to break, bend, circumvent, and ultimately rewrite the rules.

is that capitalism? or is this using money to rewrite the rules to make more money to rewrite the rules to make more money to rewrite the rules?
I agree and disagree with what you said. Some executives don't deserve to be rich, such as those that destroyed or nearly destroyed their firms. Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers, Jimmy Cayne of Bear Stearns, and Martin Sullivan & Joseph Cassano of AIG come to mind. These people drove their firms to the ground and still got to keep hundreds of millions of dollars of compensation that they received over the years. In the case of Bear Stearns and AIG, the taxpayers were forced to invest and take a risk. Although TARP has proved to be profitable for taxpayers, it does create a moral hazard by creating an incentive to take excessive risk. The solution is to better tie executive wealth to the condition of the company. All of these executives lost hundreds of millions, or even close to a billion dollars by the collapse of their company's stock. But they still are worth tens or hundreds of millions, and so they are still living luxuriously. There should be a greater downside for bank executives when the failure of their institution poses systematic risk, or when the taxpayer has to get involved.

Now of course, nobody "needs" to make all that money. But I have no problem with people who earn their money. Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan, and John Stumpf of Wells Fargo come to mind. These institutions were much more risk averse in the crisis than the three I mentioned above. Yes, they received TARP funds as well, but they were forced to. None of them wanted the taxpayer investment. I don't see why Occupy Wall Street is protesting executive compensation. If they all took a paycut, the money would go to shareholders, not to anybody else. So what difference does it make to the protestors?

There is a lot wrong with the way compensation is structured on Wall Street, but most of it should be a problem for the shareholders to deal with. The focus of regulators should be to ensure that executives feel enough pain if the goverment is forced to bail them out. Other then that, I don't see a societal problem with big bonuses.
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Old 10-19-2011, 03:02 PM   #183
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Banks are certainly still not lending (nowhere near the way they used to), so where is it all going?
Most of it is just sitting in their bank (no pun intended). Financial markets work as a pendulum. We swang from a period of excessive risky lending to excessive risk aversion. It is gradually returning to the mean. Healthy lending will return. There is a lot of fear out there of another recession and another big drop in housing. Uncertainties such as the possibility of a European meltdown and a major slowdown in China do exist. The banks (for the most part) have learned their lessons from the crisis and are being extra cautious with their lending policies.
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Old 10-19-2011, 04:20 PM   #184
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I'm pasting my post from another thread, because I think it might be useful in this discussion about the new bank fees:


The fees are ways of making more money yes, but the banks have also had to cut or limit many ways of making money, both voluntarily and by new regulatory requirements. Examples include: debit card merchant fees, overdraft fees, ATM overdraft fees, and credit card fees.

Bank of America in particular stopped allowing debit card purchases if there is no money in the account. It used to be that the customer was charged a $35 fee for overdrafts. The Federal Reserve enacted new rules that forbid banks from charging overdraft fees unless customers allow it but BofA went one step further and got rid of overdrafts all together.

In addition to the cutback in fees, like you mentioned, U.S. and international capital requirements have become much stronger after the financial crisis. The banks now have to hold more equity capital than they used to. This means that overall profitability decreases.

So in order to offset the decreasing profitability and the loss of various sources of fees, monthly debit card and other fees are being introduced for customers of many banks.

The profits may seem obscene to you and many others, but you have to apply to their large capital bases: BofA's which is currently $220 billion and possibly will have to be increased with Basel III (new international capital standards which will take effect in the next few years). A sufficient income on that capital base is desired. After all, this is a money making business, not a non-profit organization. And banking is a competitive industry - there are roughly 7,000 banks in the country. If the fees become too high and unnecessary, they will come down.

As far as lobbying in D.C. goes, I disagree that the protest should be taking place on Wall Street. Wall Street may be feeding money to Washington in order to influence lawmakers, but can you really blame them? It's the lawmakers who should be responsible not to let money influence their decisions. If I had billions of dollars and knew that I can use the money to lobby Washington effectively, I'd probably do it too. The overall culture of lobbying with money needs a fix, and that fix can only be made in Washington.

And re: the banks nearly destroying the world. They get more blame than they deserve. There were many other parties involved as well, including: mortgage borrowers, mortgage brokers, home builders, house flippers, investors, investment banks, insurance companies, rating agencies, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, the Federal Reserve, and Washington D.C. They were all sipping the same kool aid.
Bank of America clearly needs another bailout. I mean, they're dying there. How can they possibly survive only making $18 billion a year? They really need to screw over their customers more.

This is exactly what is wrong with our system. $18B profit and it isn't enough. (6 billion profit per quarter x 3 )
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Old 10-19-2011, 04:52 PM   #185
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Bank of America clearly needs another bailout. I mean, they're dying there. How can they possibly survive only making $18 billion a year? They really need to screw over their customers more.

This is exactly what is wrong with our system. $18B profit and it isn't enough. (6 billion profit per quarter x 3 )
Why are you multiplying the # by 3? (there are 4 quarters in a year). Multiplying any one quarter's earnings by 4 (or 3) is a completely inaccurate way of looking at annual earnings, ESPECIALLY for these earnings. Most of the $6 billion came from asset sales and liability adjustments. If you net all the one time gains and losses, the profit was actually closer to $1 billion.

Why is earning $18 billion, or $6 billion, or $1 billion in profits indicate that something is wrong with our system? Are you suggesting that we put a limit on how much companies are allowed to earn? If you feel screwed, then you should just close your bank account and stuff your money under your mattress. Ah but you won't do that, because you would like to receive all those services from your bank, but you just think it's outrageous that they charge you. Maybe I should complain about Starbucks making me pay for coffee. How dare they!
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:01 PM   #186
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Why are you multiplying the # by 3? (there are 4 quarters in a year). Multiplying any one quarter's earnings by 4 (or 3) is a completely inaccurate way of looking at annual earnings, ESPECIALLY for these earnings. Most of the $6 billion came from asset sales and liability adjustments. If you net all the one time gains and losses, the profit was actually closer to $1 billion.

Why is earning $18 billion, or $6 billion, or $1 billion in profits indicate that something is wrong with our system? Are you suggesting that we put a limit on how much companies are allowed to earn? If you feel screwed, then you should take your money to another bank, credit union, or just stuff it under your mattress.
3 quarters so far so I multiplied it by 3. Instead let's look at this quarter then.

This quarter, a 6.23 billion dollars profit on a revenue stream of 28.7 billion dollars yields a margin of roughly 20%...

This may not seem like a large profit margin on a percentage basis, considering a lot of private companies operate targeting a profit margin of 30% - but, a company that operates in the FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR should not be making that kind of profit margin per quarter.

A 20% profit margin on financial services tells me that they are screwing the people they provide services to.. A 20% profit margin on financial products is like buying monster cables at Best Buy (which have typically a 40% to 100% profit margin). I would think a 5% to 10% margin on a FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR product would be more reasonable.

Oh and I bank locally so I don't have to worry about closing any accounts with them.
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:09 PM   #187
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I think it might be relative. No matter how you calculate their profits, to have to pay these kinds of fees on a middle class or lower salary vs the profits of these banks and what their executives are making and the bailouts. For some people that fees like an insult, like an injustice of sorts.

It indicates an arrogance and insensitivity to their customers. It's not the $, it's the principle. You won't go broke paying 5 bucks a month to use your debit card, but that's not the point. These are the times we're living in, every "little" thing like that can become symbolic.

No one bailed Starbucks out
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:11 PM   #188
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I think it might be relative. No matter how you calculate their profits, to have to pay these kinds of fees on a middle class or lower salary vs the profits of these banks and what their executives are making and the bailouts. For some people that fees like an insult, like an injustice of sorts.

It indicates an arrogance and insensitivity to their customers. It's not the $, it's the principle. You won't go broke paying 5 bucks a month to use your debit card, but that's not the point. These are the times we're living in, every "little" thing like that can become symbolic.

No one bailed Starbucks out
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:24 PM   #189
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I wished someone would have bailed out AOL

I have no one to chat (AIM) with
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:33 PM   #190
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3 quarters so far so I multiplied it by 3. Instead let's look at this quarter then.

This quarter, a 6.23 billion dollars profit on a revenue stream of 28.7 billion dollars yields a margin of roughly 20%...

This may not seem like a large profit margin on a percentage basis, considering a lot of private companies operate targeting a profit margin of 30% - but, a company that operates in the FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR should not be making that kind of profit margin per quarter.

A 20% profit margin on financial services tells me that they are screwing the people they provide services to.. A 20% profit margin on financial products is like buying monster cables at Best Buy (which have typically a 40% to 100% profit margin). I would think a 5% to 10% margin on a FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR product would be more reasonable.

Oh and I bank locally so I don't have to worry about closing any accounts with them.
You completely ignored the part of my post describing the non-recurring, non-operating profits.

Why is a 20% profit margin not okay for a bank, but is okay for Best Buy? Why the bias against banks?

Either way, using overall company profit margins to measure whether consumer banking customers are getting screwed is completely senseless. Like I mentioned before, BofA has $220 billion in equity capital.

In 2010, had revenues of $110 billion. A 5% margin, like you suggest should be a cap, would mean a $5.5 billion profit. $5.5 billion divided by $220 billion in equity capital, means a 2.5% return on equity for shareholders. If you know anything about financial markets, which I don't think you do, then you would know that 2.5% is absurdly low.
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:44 PM   #191
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I think it might be relative. No matter how you calculate their profits, to have to pay these kinds of fees on a middle class or lower salary vs the profits of these banks and what their executives are making and the bailouts. For some people that fees like an insult, like an injustice of sorts.

It indicates an arrogance and insensitivity to their customers. It's not the $, it's the principle. You won't go broke paying 5 bucks a month to use your debit card, but that's not the point. These are the times we're living in, every "little" thing like that can become symbolic.

No one bailed Starbucks out
But the fees are for the services that they are providing you. What used to be complimentary, you're now being charged for, because so many of their other revenue streams have been cut out, and there have been increasing regulatory measures, like I mentioned. They are merely trying to make the money up. It's sort of like the increase in oil prices caused all the airlines to cut back on so many services that were previously free of charge.

They got bailed out, but the government also got paid back in full and with billions of dollars in profits. They got bailed out, but BofA did not ask for the bailout, nor did they need it, nor did they want it. They were forced to take it.

If you have an account at the bank, they spend a lot of money on that service for you. It costs money to operate branches, ATM's, to employ people, to run back office operations and technology, etc. Just because you were used to free services, doesn't mean that they are wrong for now charging you fees.

If you don't like paying debit card fees, then just DON'T use a debit card, or put your money in a community bank where they might not charge you. This is not like healthcare, where we would die without certain services. This is banking, and if you think it's expensive, then don't use it. There was a time, not too long ago, when debit cards didn't even exist.

I have my money in a community bank. Nobody in my immediate family, including myself, has ever used an ATM or debit card. Crazy right? Yea, it's possible.
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:47 PM   #192
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You completely ignored the part of my post describing the non-recurring, non-operating profits.

Why is a 20% profit margin not okay for a bank, but is okay for Best Buy? Why the bias against banks?

Either way, using overall company profit margins to measure whether consumer banking customers are getting screwed is completely senseless. Like I mentioned before, BofA has $220 billion in equity capital.

In 2010, had revenues of $110 billion. A 5% margin, like you suggest should be a cap, would mean a $5.5 billion profit. $5.5 billion divided by $220 billion in equity capital, means a 2.5% return on equity for shareholders. If you know anything about financial markets, which I don't think you do, then you would know that 2.5% is absurdly low.
They could be honest with their customers and tell them that they're increasing fees for the hell of it. The "we have to because it's just too expensive to allow you to use your debit card" line kind of falls flat with 18 billion in profit.

Aww hell, let's just bail them out again!

BofA May Face Fraud Claims for Soured Loans - Yahoo! Finance
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:50 PM   #193
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If you don't like paying debit card fees, then just DON'T use a debit card, or put your money in a community bank where they might not charge you. This is not like healthcare, where we would die without certain services. This is banking, and if you think it's expensive, then don't use it.

I have my money in a community bank. Nobody in my immediate family, including myself, has ever used an ATM or debit card. Crazy right? Yea, it's possible.
For every personal purchase under $100 I've tried to pay with cash for the last several years. The debit card game is bullshit. The reward stuff (miles/points) couldn't last.
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:52 PM   #194
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But the fees are for the services that they are providing you. What used to be complimentary, you're now being charged for, because so many of their other revenue streams have been cut out, and there have been increasing regulatory measures, like I mentioned. They are merely trying to make the money up. It's sort of like the increase in oil prices caused all the airlines to cut back on so many services that were previously free of charge.

They got bailed out, but the government also got paid back in full and with billions of dollars in profits. They got bailed out, but BofA did not ask for the bailout, nor did they need it, nor did they want it. They were forced to take it.

If you have an account at the bank, they spend a lot of money on that service for you. It costs money to operate branches, ATM's, to employ people, to run back office operations and technology, etc. Just because you were used to free services, doesn't mean that they are wrong for now charging you fees.

If you don't like paying debit card fees, then just DON'T use a debit card, or put your money in a community bank where they might not charge you. This is not like healthcare, where we would die without certain services. This is banking, and if you think it's expensive, then don't use it. There was a time, not too long ago, when debit cards didn't even exist.

I have my money in a community bank. Nobody in my immediate family, including myself, has ever used an ATM or debit card. Crazy right? Yea, it's possible.
Well hopefully people take their money elsewhere then. People were up in arms over Netflix increasing their prices and they left, hopefully they'll do the same if they don't like the fee increases.

I have to agree, a community bank or a credit union is the way to go.
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:54 PM   #195
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For every personal purchase under $100 I've tried to pay with cash for the last several years. The debit card game is bullshit. The reward stuff (miles/points) couldn't last.
I like credit cards. Amex usually has really good rewards.
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