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Chris Hedges
Truthdig / Op-Ed
Published: Friday 4 November 2011
“Since the formal mechanisms of power refuse to restore the rule of law, then we, the 99 percent, will have to see that justice is done.”

Chris Hedges’ Speech in Front of Goldman Sachs Leads to Arrest

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Chris Hedges made this statement in New York City’s Zuccotti Park on Thursday morning during the People’s Hearing on Goldman Sachs, which he chaired with Dr. Cornel West. The activist and Truthdig columnist then joined a march of several hundred protesters to the nearby corporate headquarters of Goldman Sachs, where he was arrested with 16 others.

Goldman Sachs, which received more subsidies and bailout-related funds than any other investment bank because the Federal Reserve permitted it to become a bank holding company under its “emergency situation,” has used billions in taxpayer money to enrich itself and reward its top executives. It handed its senior employees a staggering $18 billion in 2009, $16 billion in 2010 and $10 billion in 2011 in mega-bonuses. This massive transfer of wealth upwards by the Bush and Obama administrations, now estimated at $13 trillion to $14 trillion, went into the pockets of those who carried out fraud and criminal activity rather than the victims who lost their jobs, their savings and often their homes.

Goldman Sachs’ commodities index is the most heavily traded in the world. Goldman Sachs hoards rice, wheat, corn, sugar and livestock and jacks up commodity prices around the globe so that poor families can no longer afford basic staples and literally starve. Goldman Sachs is able to carry out its malfeasance at home and in global markets because it has former officials filtered throughout the government and lavishly funds compliant politicians—including Barack Obama, who received $1 million from employees at Goldman Sachs in 2008 when he ran for president. These politicians, in return, permit Goldman Sachs to ignore security laws that under a functioning judiciary system would see the firm indicted for felony fraud. Or, as in the case of Bill Clinton, these politicians pass laws such as the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act that effectively removed all oversight and outside control over the speculation in commodities, one of the major reasons food prices have soared. In 2008 and again in 2010 prices for crops such as rice, wheat and corn doubled and even tripled, making life precarious for hundreds of millions of people. And it was all done so a few corporate oligarchs, the 1 percent, could make personal fortunes in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite a damning 650-page Senate subcommittee investigation report, no individual at Goldman Sachs has been indicted, although the report accuses Goldman of defrauding its clients. 

When the government in the fall 2008 provided the firm with billions of dollars in the form of cheap loans, FDIC debt guarantees, TARP, AIG make-wholes, and a late-night label-shift from investment bank to bank holding company, giving the firm access to excessive Federal Reserve aid, access [the corporation] still has, it enabled and abetted Goldman’s criminal behavior. Goldman Sachs unloaded billions in worthless securities to its clients, decimating 401(k)s, pension and mutual funds. The firm misled investors about the true nature of these worthless securities, insisted the securities they were pushing on their clients were sound, and hid the material fact that, simultaneously, they were betting against these same securities—$2 billion against just one of their deals. The firm then had the gall to extort from its victims—us—to make good on its bets when the global economy it helped trash lost $40 trillion in worldwide wealth and huge insurance firms were unable to cover their bad debts.

The Securities Act of 1933, established in the wake of the massive fraud that pervaded the securities market before the 1929 Crash, was written to ensure that “any securities transactions are not based on fraudulent information or practices.” The act “prohibits deceit, misrepresentation, and other fraud in the sale of securities.” The subcommittee report indicates that Goldman Sachs clearly broke security laws.

As part of the political theater that has come to replace the legislative and judicial process, the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to a $550 million settlement whereby Goldman Sachs admitted it showed “incomplete” information in marketing materials and that it was a “mistake” to not disclose the nature of its portfolio selection committee. This fine was a payoff to the SEC by Goldman Sachs of about four days’ worth of revenue, and in return they avoided going to court. CEO Lloyd Blankfein apparently not only lied to clients, but to the subcommittee itself on April 27, 2010, when he told lawmakers: “We didn’t have a massive short against the housing market, and we certainly did not bet against our clients.” Yet, they did.

And yet nothing has been done. No Goldman Sachs officials have gone to trial. This is because there is no way within the corporate state to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. There is no way through the formal mechanisms of power to restore the rule of law. There is no way to protect the ordinary citizen and the poor around the globe from the predatory activity of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs. Since our courts refuse to put on trial the senior executives at Goldman Sachs, including Blankfein, who carried out these crimes and lied to cover them up, we will. Speculators like those in Goldman Sachs—who in the 17th century when speculation was a crime would have been hanged—must be prevented by law from again destroying our economy, preying on ordinary citizens, hoarding food so the poor starve and running our political process. We are paying for these crimes—not those who orchestrated perhaps the most massive fraud in human history. Our teachers, police, firefighters and public employees are losing their jobs so speculators like Blankfein can make an estimated $250,000 a day. Working men and women are losing their homes and going into personal bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills. Our unemployed, far closer to 20 percent than the official 9 percent, are in deep distress all so a criminal class, a few blocks from where I speak, can wallow in luxury with mansions and yachts and swollen bank accounts.

What we are asking for today is simple—it is a return to the rule of law. And since the formal mechanisms of power refuse to restore the rule of law, then we, the 99 percent, will have to see that justice is done.

This article was originally posted on Truthdig.

Author pic
ABOUT Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

Hoi Dennis,Misschien dat je

Hoi Dennis,Misschien dat je mij kan heepln. Ik krijg meteen de volgende error:/ # cd /mnt/hd_a2/ffp/bin/sh: cd: can't cd to /mnt/hd_a2/ # / # cd /mnt/hd_a2/ffp/bin/sh: /: Permission denied/ # /ffp/bin/sh: cd: can't cd to /mnt/hd_a2Dit is direct als je putty gaat gebruiken. Heb mijn NAS in raid 0 mode staan misschien is dat het probleem? Hopelijk kan je me heepln.



OWS should go to the

OWS should go to the Jefferson Memorial in DC and carve on its steps one of the following Jefferson quotes:=====Thomas Jefferson quotes=============================“Every generation needs a new revolution.” Thomas Jefferson quotes “Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.” Thomas Jefferson quotes “Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” Thomas Jefferson quotes “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government...” Thomas Jefferson quotes“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” Thomas Jefferson quotes “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny” Thomas Jefferson quotes =====James Madison quotes================================“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy” James Madison quotes “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny” James Madison quotes “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” James Madison quotes ======= Charles de Montesquieu quotes =======================“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” Charles de Montesquieu quotes ====================================================

It only takes on man wıth the

It only takes on man wıth the Guts to brıng thıs Evıl Empire down Chrıs take care man! these People/Parassites do no play by the rules

It only takes one person with

It only takes one person with enough guts to route out the Evil Chris must take care he is fighting people who do not play by the rules!

Scary !

Scary !

If I lived anywhere near

If I lived anywhere near Chris Hedges or Cornel West, I would accompany them on these acts of Nonviolent Civil Disobedience. It is not often in our lifetimes that we encounter an intellect of such discrimination or leader worth paying attention to. Chris - come to Seattle! We have the WMD makers at Boeing. We have the largest concentration of nukes in the world, 30 miles from Seattle at naval base Kitsap.

Chris,Read all your books and

Chris,Read all your books and admire your courage to see and print that which is truth. It makes me proud there are still men that are willing to expose the truth about our country and what has happened to it.

Mark Carney, current Governor

Mark Carney, current Governor of the Bank of Canada, who worked for Goldman Sachs for 13 years, has just been appointed head of the Financial Stability Board which is supposed to "reign in" the bankers. What a joke! Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse!!



Most of the money GS

Most of the money GS employees earn gets snorted up their noses--isn't it insane to think that money that should be feeding families literally ends up inside the NOSES OF GS EMPLOYEES

Look to our right and left

Look to our right and left where we will see fascist elements among us that are more than willing to subject our nation to the control of corporate power. Even the Obama administration and the Blue Dog democrats are willing to sell out the lower and middle classes. We need a viable 3rd party with the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to return our country to democracy.

You are right on! And you've

You are right on! And you've named a couple of perfect people to do it. I'm reluctant to give money to the Obama campaign because that administration is no better than Bush's. The corruption and fraud need to stop and these rotten corporations, CEOs, bankers need to get out of the government. We need leaders who can think, who will agree to talk and not bully. And the two party system is nothing but dysfunctional and the participants live high on the hog while the rest of us go without.

TY Dianne That is the simple

TY Dianne That is the simple truth to what is going on in this country.It is time we got mad,really MAD.

It is time that the People

It is time that the People rather than the criminals Occupy Congress and Occupy the White House.

The speculation is due to the

The speculation is due to the African Casino mentalities where asymmetric power is acquired ever since the pirates invaded the Lindisfarne monastery, now developed over the course of western civilization having fallen prey to the laws of the sea creating the cities of the Vatican, London's Inner City, and Washington DC. The protest occurring in London on November 12 is of incalculable proportion. It is time WE started doing the numbers, counting the lawyers constituting such a sexually misfit species where no one can tell the difference between two, a pair, and eight, making infinity zero.

p.s. slightly off the subject, but pertinent to infinity, contextually,

Land of the Free, as long as

Land of the Free, as long as you keep yer place and do as ye're told...

This is the greatest war that

This is the greatest war that has ever been fought. We will take our country back, out of the hands of the bloody Tyrants, The One World Order whose only agenda is to rule and destroy us. The 99% chose Freedom over the thousands of years of rule and control by the Monarchy, the Bankers, the Vatican as slaves and serfs. The Creator created us with his love and gave us FREE WILL. Let no man neuter and control us with lies.

It's time to begin building

It's time to begin building gallows in the town square. If necessary, those wearing the blue uniforms can be the first to test them out - if they continue to insist on acting as the slavemasters, it is their rightful place. Then the people can sell ham sandwiches - Why do you think they call them PIGS?

Absolutely correct. It has

Absolutely correct. It has to be understood that the cops are the front line enforcers for the slavemasters. The cops are their army, and unless the muscle of the slavemasters is defeated, the slavemasters will always own you and run your lives. Fantasies of cooperation, mutual respect, peaceful negotiation are just that: fantasies that the slavemasters want us all to believe so we will never truly challenge them. And I don't mean challenge in the conceptual or verbal sense, I mean in the 1776 or and 1917 sense.

I look forward to when the

I look forward to when the police are unable to make arrests, because they're outnumbered and the 99% won't allow their fellow countrymen and women to be taken away. I, also, like those who are already writing up the Constitution of the new government, so the transfer to new leadership and sanity is smooth. Thank you, Tom Frazee

Chris, your remarks are

Chris, your remarks are "right on the money".

Any chance you would run for a seat in Congress?

HEY, PEOPLE! What Wall

HEY, PEOPLE! What Wall Street has done is not against the law. What we must do is hold the feet of our congress to the fire and get them to pass some laws against this kind of behavior. Then and only then, can we arrest and punish the perpetrators of the greatest fraud in our lifetimes. The lobbyists on K street are happy as clams that we are not targeting them and their corrupt congressmen and women. Get to the root of it! Root out corrupt politicians!!!

I agree, but remember the

I agree, but remember the police are employees, the tacticians are in suits not uniforms

What are you thinking? All

What are you thinking? All of you who think that these two events aren't connected? You think activists like Chris Hedges AREN'T singled out? You are more trusting than I am. Absolutely there is a relationship between this speech and all of Chris's work to his arrest--when given any opportunity they want to shut him up. I am old enough to remember the civil rights movement, to have had my father a target, Vietnam, Kent nauseum..these kinds of tactics by police are historic and common.

While ie is true that the

While ie is true that the headline implying that his speech lead or caused Chris to be arrested was not true, this, for me, is not important. Two things for me are important; one is what he did in fact say in Zuccotti Park and two that he had the courage of his convictions to get himself arrested by blocking the entrance to Goldman Sachs.
Chris has true grit. Down with corporate governance. Power to the people.

Chris Hedges, I am extremely

Chris Hedges, I am extremely grateful to you for laying out very clearly and publicly the unequivocal criminality of the plundering class.

You have my undivided admiration and support.

Beds of roses for Chris

Beds of roses for Chris Hedges, for articulating with such potency the impenetrable framework for the propulsion of this movement. Thank you for your willingness to hang on the front line for us all. It's a high price you pay and we love you.

Blankfein makes $250,000 per

Blankfein makes $250,000 per day? the top earners in the country are seeing their income go up nearly 2 million each day/
Power to the 99! Time for a wave of change.
The 99 becomes the Progressive Peoples' Party.
GOP party in 2012 becomes the RIP party.
DEM party becomes the Conservative Labor Party.

OH, I don't know...since the

OH, I don't know...since the arrest of Hedges clearly deliberately followed his speech


I think the headline is more analogous to:

"Having the courage of your convictions leads to action."

In that sense, the headline hardly "stinks" not does it "sell [the movement] short".

I have to wonder how much you really do support the efforts and goals of this blog, if nitpicking over this particular headline means you'll read less of them.

Thank you for letting us know about this, NationOfChange!

I agree Gail--well put.

I agree Gail--well put. There is nothing new in the arresting of vocal activists at the first opportunity. I have seen it all my life--civil rights movement, vietnam, Wounded Knee.....its a very long list.

He's correct that the 99%

He's correct that the 99% will have to restore justice, but it will not be easy to do so when facing fascist thugs with badges, guns, sound cannons, flash-bangs, etc. The 99% will need to similarly arm themselves or simply be taken to jail at the order of the 1%. Sound harsh? Its happened before many many times, from NewEngland in 1776 to Moscow 1917 to China in the 1940's. It will not and cannot be peaceful, no matter how much one wishes. Historical FACT!

He's correct that the 99%

He's correct that the 99% will have to restore justice, but it will not be easy to do so when facing fascist thugs with badges, guns, sound cannons, flash-bangs, etc. The 99% will need to similarly arm themselves or simply be taken to jail at the order of the 1%. Sound harsh? Its happened before many many times, from NewEngland in 1776 to Moscow 1917 to China in the 1940's. It will not and cannot be peaceful, no matter how much one wishes. Historical FACT!

Thank you Chris Hedges, for

Thank you Chris Hedges, for telling it like it is. It galls me to know that if a poor person commits even a tiny crime, like getting caught with drugs, he can go to prison for the better part of his life, but Wall Street CEOs can extort everyone's money, throw honest people out of their homes, deny them medical care and cause the death of so many, and get away with stealing trillions of dollars. I never thought I'd see the day when Americans needed to do the equivalent of storming the Bastille, but it has come to that. I pray that the 'Occupy' movements around the country change our political direction.

Excellent! This is a profound

Excellent! This is a profound distillation of the common feelings of our time. Kathleen Moore is the Thomas Payne for the 99%. Thank you!

Seer has a point, a point

Seer has a point, a point that I make over and over about the New York Times at their website. The fact is that journalism in general suffers from sensationalizing their headlines. It should be made clear that it wasn't the speech that led to the arrest.

This sin't an article, this is a transcript of the speech given yesterday at the people's trial of G&S by the most courageous and honest journalists in America. Chris Hedges is the moral voice of America and he should be rewarded for this. He is an example to all people of consciousness.

no more pacs/superpacs for

no more pacs/superpacs for any politician including the president.

Surely, public hangings are

Surely, public hangings are once again in order!

Let's not get into theatre of

Let's not get into theatre of the absurd. Trials and long sentencing with substantial fines (covering the entire amounts of the fraud and returned to those who were defrauded) are in order and are long overdue. Any arguments claiming that identifying the victims would be too much work are fraudulent as, they have kept records of all transactions and all parties.



I agree with Seer Clearly.

I agree with Seer Clearly. The credibility of this website is called into question because of its manipulative headline. And I regret that, because the information about Goldman Sach's pernicious role in our country's economic collapse is important.

Okey Dokey then, post hoc

Okey Dokey then, post hoc propter hoc, "After this, therefore because of this" ,(false reasoning), your examples don't hold true for me, I don't get dressed when I wake up, and I usually eat once, if that, and it would be around 9:30 pm. abusus non tollit usum, "Misuse doesn't nullify proper use". I am actually at a loss of this whining of a few over a headline that states " Chris Hedges' Speech in Front of Goldman Sachs Leads to Arrest".
Would it be preferable if it read, "Chris Hedges' Blog Is Not Using Anything Other Than This for a Headline". It's a headline I really am at an incredible loss as to what is so egregious his Blog : 1. Now lacks credibility
2. Because your Blog headline was truthful it
I think it was a case of blatantly untrue content
In the body or YOUR ACTUAL SPEECH then
you were thrown in the pokey, trickster!
I was an Activist since 14, I've been involved in the Pro-Peace Movement, Feminism, pro-choice, Racism, Religious choice or non-choice, LGBT issues, anything that the Grand Obstructionist Party yaps about, using their Frank Luntz talking points. Watch clips of Sunday morning shows, every channel that one of the Republicans are on, if asked the same question of different Congresspersons or Senators on Network or Cable, CBS, NBC,PBS,MSNBC,ABC,FIXED NOISE, Cspan, every answer to the same question will be the same. As an American ergo not for more than 11 months, I am a follower of Islam, I'm bombarded as is my 22 year old with this Jihadist, Shari'ah, 72 virgin garbage, none of which the Qur'an has any meaning in the Surahs of how NSA, DHS, and Peter King[R-NY] use them to mean. I've fought against every injustice I can imagine in 42 years, and my concern is Chris Hedges'invoked his First Right Amendments, then of course was arrested. Headline Schmedline, could care less if you SEER CLEARLY, OR YOU JOSIAH SULLIVAN are just too upset to go on, but simply the matter of OUR Constitution and Bill of Rights are being tested here by the second, if you hadn't noticed that because the headline threw you for a loop, Freedom of Speech or of the Press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. For this, for making a speech, he was arrested. Arrested? It should be the white and blue shirts being arrested for violating OUR Rights.
Bloomberg being a part of the 1%, whining always about everyone in the neighborhood near Zuccotti Park, in toto about 40 residences, faggeddaboudit it's New York, it's noisy always in NYC.
Indeed the 99% will have to start bringing other injustices affecting, We the 99%, into the Occupy Movement, this has lasted this long on a single issue Action. I've posted that this will stagnate unless the Koch Bros who have Citizens United as a front, with their gazillions of dollars and an Activist Court we now have a Law thanks to the Supremes, in particular Scalia and Thomas, which says Corporations are People. We aren't paying enough attention to Congress, what bills are we trying to get through, Bernie Sanders has a lot on his plate, the Grand Obstructionists are using their usual we are voting nay unless you do a., b., and c. or nope, not gonna happen. Social Security is in jeapordy, Medicare also.
Regardless, at OO, Scott Olsen, IVAW, VFP, came home from Iraq in one pice physically, PTSD, that's his business and hopefully a therapists', only to have a White shirt order blue shirts to start firing on a group of Americans peaceably assembled, invoking their right to free speech, when projectiles came at a high rate of speed, they were rubber bullets and canisters[which cause physical harm up to 2 miles away]hitting Scott Olsen in the head. He had to be taken by ambulance to the nearest trauma center, he had to be put into a light coma using pharmaceuticals, by the next evening he was coming out of it. Lots of tests, Scott still can't speak but he can text, his friend was on Olbermanns the other night it was time to wrap but Keith noticed Scott's friend from IVAW putting his cell back with a bit of a sullen look on his face, Keith asked, "Watcha got there?", his friend replied with a smile a text from Scott, "May I read it?", "Please", answered Keith. K, it says, "Pie?What Pie?Occupy!!!"
No headlines, but it was the speech I was grateful you got to give in full, I hope, Chris. Thank you for showing up, thanks for your Blog, and I adore your Headlines, they have a certain je ne sais quoi, oui?

As much as I support your

As much as I support your journalistic efforts and their goals, your methods stink. The headline, "Chris Hedges' Speech in front of Goldman Sachs leads to Arrest" could also be "eating breakfast leads to eating dinner" or "waking up leads to getting dressed." There is no cause and effect link in the article other than time. That is the old logical fallacy of "post hoc ergo propter hoc." It fooled me into reading the article and the result can only be that I'll read less of them. This is the most important movement of our time, please don't sell it short with opportunistic headlines.

Well, the fact is, while I

Well, the fact is, while I agree with the sentiment of your premise regarding journalistic integrity, no one is in a position of judging whether the claim is true, except one who was directly involved in giving or receiving an order to that effect, if that occurred. The fact is we don't know whether someone gave a specific order or whether the police acted spontaneously. So, it is speculation in both cases, your's and the author's. However, I agree with your point regarding journalistic integrity. Speculation should not be showing up in headlines unless it is identified as such.

Public hangings might well be

Public hangings might well be of some use. Let us begin with the traitors who have broken oaths sworn to the nation and lobbyists. Then we will get the bankers, and the lawyers, and liars, and the cheaters, and the star bellied sneeches....... Where will it end? What we need is the exposure of what has gone on and continues to go on in televised hearings just like with Nixon. All the bitter fruit must be laid bare for all to see. The spoils must be returned to the people. The guilty must be made to serve for the rest of their lives in a role of benefit to the people. Finally all this must not be let to drift to the far corners of our memory, or to become a cliche like Watergate.

VIGILANCE IS THE FIRST COST OF FREEDOM! There will always be those who seek more than the rest. There will always be those who seek to game the system. Laws can only contain them so far, because laws can be rewritten. WE MUST AS A NATION, A PEOPLE, A WORLD CITIZEN RENOUNCE THE VENERATION OF WEALTH AS UNACCEPTABLE! COMMUNITY, SERVICE and SACRIFICE must become the emblems of Self Worth! Only by way of a national ideology that deems the practices of the current Corpotocracy as distasteful, unacceptable and unallowable will we find the dawn outside this nightmare once more. All agents of government must be held to an absolute of no corruption. With great power comes great responsibility. A great nation must be great in all its dealings for our measure is taken in the worst of our actions.

We must govern what is

We must govern what is governable, no more, no less. Once you are able to come down off of that emotional high, why not take a few minutes to consider what is governable and direct your energy toward working with others to achieve attainable goals.

You pick at nits. You hide

You pick at nits. You hide your face behind the face of a dog. Logic is its own fallacy. You are lost in an empiric delusion. The facts of Goldman Sachs have long been available. This is no news to those who have paid attention. Nation of Change is merely bringing information to a larger number of people. Headlines are irrelevent.

Headlines are extremely

Headlines are extremely relevant. If the headline is false, then that calls into question the assertions which are stated in the body. In this case, that would not be fair, since the author of the speech did not write the headline of this blog post. But the author of the headline is likely responsible for other statements made on this blog. Truth in journalism is absolutely essential in a free and democratic society. Truth in the progressive press is essential for a progressive movement to maintain integrity, wisdom, and credibility. This publication, if it has any integrity, would fix that headline.

He makes a good point which

He makes a good point which is something you miss in your emotional zeal. Honesty is relevant, therefore honest headlines are relevant. You claim some one else is hiding but offer no picture of your own. Every thing and every experience is an empiric delusion to some degree, therefore everyone is lost in an empiric delusion to some degree. How then could your perspective be any less deluded? Talk about picking nits: why fight with people who are obviously in your corner?

Thank you, Chris. The facts

Thank you, Chris. The facts are right in front of us; we just have to demand enforcement of laws to protect the 99% from criminal fraud. Related are the damning facts of the Federal Reserve. As a person who does research in economic policy, I explain and document here: Occupy facts: Federal Reserve CAUSES unpayable debt, unemployment, inflation.

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