You can be sure that TBTF (Too Big To Fail) bankers will not be donning party hats when these two birthdays roll around: that of Occupy Wall Street on Sept. 17, 2013, when it turns two, and Everett Stern on Aug. 29, 2013, when he turns 29.
It is safe to say that 99 percent of the U.S. population is aware of Occupy's birth on 9/17/11. And, that these activists have since served as a major thorn in the side of Wall Street. It is also safe to say that -- at least of this writing -- that Occupy has not inflicted mortal harm.
Everett Stern is a different matter. He is the ultimate fear of the banking industry -- an insider-turned-whistleblower. However unknown and unacknowledged by the 99 percent, he may just be the one to nick that jugular. The fact that he decided to align himself with Occupiers? Spine-shivering.
Self-described as a "right wing Republican," he raised eyebrows when out of exasperation he took his case of HSBC drug and terrorist money laundering to Occupy. Essentially rebuffed elsewhere (FTC, SEC, FBI, CIA, among others), he was determined to find an audience sharing at least one quality in common: a loathing for out-of-control bankers who had not only put our country into an economic tailspin, but actively aid and abet drug lords and terrorist groups.
Stern was greeted warily by the Occupy "working group" he had chosen, called Alternative Banking. (It can be argued that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and Stern was grilled on that point. Otherwise, he chose well.)
Since its inception in Zuccotti Park, Alt.Banking's primary mission has been to challenge the "TBTF" designation placed on Wall Street by governmental agencies. HSBC had been a favorite target since admitting in 2012 to a decade of money laundering for drug cartels and terrorists and being slapped with a $1.9 billion fine.
The latter, without admitting guilt and arranging to see that none of its executives went to jail, infuriated Occupiers. It just seemed hard to convince others, more conservative, of the crimes being committed. Until Stern.
This is not a political or a "99 percent issue," Stern emphasizes. "Banks financing drug cartels and terrorists affects every single American. I went to Occupy not because I am a major supporter of the movement. I went to Occupy because they care enough to hit the streets, carry signs and send a message that I also believe in."
Want to Blow Out the Candles, HSBC?
After some delicate dancing, Alt.Banking and Stern united to celebrate two occasions. The first is Everett's 29th birthday, on the steps of the NYC Public Library at 11:45 p.m. on August 29, where Stern will give a press conference detailing his grievances. Then, with the Occupiers in tow, he will march to HSBC's midtown offices at 425 Fifth Avenue to publicly vent his anger on their doorstep.
"I want a criminal indictment against HSBC," Stern declares, "and fines are not acceptable. What the public needs to understand is that money is still being funneled through HSBC to buy guns and kill our soldiers."
"His intentions are pure, and his anger understandable," one Occupier opines. "His attempts to alert governmental agencies fell on deaf ears. We at Occupy are neither deaf nor blind and we will serve as his megaphone and ally."
"The 99% Percent Guide to Bad Banking and What to Do About It."
Stern is returning that favor on September 17.
Alt.Banking has in mind a special birthday present: its Occupy Finance book, to inflict more pain on HSBC and the banking community. The combined effort of the group to explain the dysfunction of our financial system in plain English, it is divided into three basic parts: "The Real Life Impact of Financialization on the 99%," "How We Got Here," and Things to Do."
The handbook will be formally presented to the public on 9/17/13 at Zuccotti Park at 3 p.m. Stern, now Alt.Banking's BFF, will be present to help hand out some 1,000 copies.
Which makes you wonder about history repeating itself.
Just under two years ago, New York City's "finest" was successful in destroying several thousand volumes of Occupy's public library of activist literature. The police accomplished this wearing riot gear under the cover of darkness and with strict instructions to keep the press to away until the "clean up" was completed.
Now, in just under a month and two years later, 1,000 copies of a lone book will be handed out freely at the same park. Given that this will take place in broad daylight, and with press invited, do you think they will be as successful?
Occupiers suggest that you may want to be on hand to determine that for yourself.