From:   Lisa Fithian <fithianl@igc.org>
Sent time:   Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:35:34 PM
To:   september17@googlegroups.com; Living River <LivRiv@yahoogroups.com>; ufpj-activist <ufpj-activist@lists.mayfirst.org>
Subject:   [september17discuss] FW: LA Times on Bankers Conf & Bel Air Home actions
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Some great media from the LA Actions against Banks and growing movement against the Big Banks

 

San Gabriel Valley Tribune http://www.sgvtribune.com/

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-occupy-la-20111004,0,5287534.story

Southern California protests gain momentum with union support

Protesters spent their fourth night camping outside Los Angeles City Hall, disrupted a bankers conference at a Newport Beach yacht club and demonstrated outside a financial executive's Bel Air home.

Protesters outside Balboa Bay Club

Groups protest Tuesday outside the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach as the California Bankers Assn. gathers for an annual meeting inside. (Christina House, For The Times / October 4, 2011)

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·    

October 4, 2011, 8:20 p.m.

The groundswell of populist anger against banks and politicians picked up momentum in Southern California as powerful labor union support helped galvanize protests nationwide.

Rallies extended to the 18th day in New York, where Occupy Wall Street planned a massive solidarity march with unions Wednesday. Protesters spent their fourth night camping outside Los Angeles City Hall, disrupted a bankers conference at a Newport Beach yacht club and demonstrated outside a financial executive's Bel Air home.

The movement has spread nationwide, from Boston to Kona, Hawaii, taking inspiration from the social-media-driven Arab Spring revolts in the Middle East. The anti-corporate push even got a nod from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who said of protesters: "On some level, I can't blame them."

Protests on the West Coast have drawn an assortment of activists, from college students to anarchists to ordinary Americans worried about the economy. They have no single organizer, and instead are made up of individual groups focused on what they see as the banking industry's role in the growing divide between America's rich and poor.

"The banks engineered the country's financial collapse and then profited from it," said Joe Briones, 29, a film major at L.A. City College who is helping to run the Occupy LA social media feed from the City Hall protests. "They did the same thing in the Depression."

With this same attitude, protesters disrupted a meeting of the California Bankers Assn. at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach. About 40 members of ReFund California, a coalition of advocacy groups and union members, burst into the club's ballroom, chanting, "Make banks pay!"

The bankers association president, Rodney K. Brown, said protesters "muscled their way" past hotel security and wanted only to "chant and rant" instead of engage in a constructive dialogue. The bankers listened as protesters accused them of causing the economic meltdown by peddling bad loans, accepting government bailouts and then doing little to compensate for the damage inflicted.

Police stood by as protesters were ushered back to West Coast Highway, where members of the Service Employees International Union and the liberal group MoveOn.org chanted, "Shame, shame, shame!"

"You've made your point. Now get out," Balboa Bay Club security chief Drew Witthuhn said as the group shuffled out into the rain.

ReFund California also protested at the Bel Air home of Steven T. Mnuchin, chairman of OneWest Bank of Pasadena. The group demanded help for borrower Rose Gudiel of La Puente, saying OneWest callously foreclosed on her family home after her brother's death caused delinquencies on her home loan.

A Mnuchin spokesman said OneWest was only doing what Fannie Mae, the owner of the loan, required.

The group said it planned a similar confrontation outside the home of another bank executive Wednesday. Activists are expecting big turnouts for marches held on both coasts Wednesday.

In New York, several unions and advocacy groups plan to march from City Hall to Zuccotti Park, just days after a more impromptu march led to the arrest of 700 protesters. The 700,000-member Communications Workers of America said it supports "nonviolent efforts to seek a more equitable and democratic society based on citizenship, not corporate greed."

Occupy LA was expecting a big turnout for its own march, though its numbers in about a dozen tents had fallen in recent days. The plan was to take trash collected in a South Los Angeles neighborhood blighted by foreclosures and dump it at a bank that protesters blame for causing the urban decay.

Participants, acknowledging they were promoting widely varied causes, also discussed the need to agree on a clear, focused message.

"People are going to say stupid things," said Vincent Vibbert, a shaved-headed, work-booted organizer who offered advice from time he had spent at the Wall Street camp-in. "You've got to make sure that people who are well-spoken jump in front of the TV cameras."

In an only-in-L.A. twist, the protesters have been walking a block to the county criminal courts building to attract attention from news media covering the trial of the doctor who was attending to pop star Michael Jackson when he died.

scott.reckard@latimes.com

Times staff writer Nathaniel Popper in New York contributed to this report.

MARKET WATCH – Wall Street Journal
David Weidner's Writing on the Wall

David Weidner

Oct. 4, 2011, 12:00 a.m. EDT

Occupy Wall Street is a tea party with brains

Commentary: Protesters seek political process that doesn’t exclude them

By David Weidner, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The revolution just might be televised, after all.

More than two weeks after a band of young people began camping out in the shadow of the New York Stock Exchange, the movement to remake America’s inequitable financial system is growing

It’s been called the Woodstock of Wall Street, but that’s hardly an apt comparison. The gathering at Max Yasgur’s farm 42 years ago was built on a generation looking for peace, love, some drugs and acid rock. The kids today are looking for real, tangible change of the capitalist sort. They’re organized, lucid and motivated.

http://ei.marketwatch.com/Multimedia/2011/10/03/Photos/MD/MW-AN081_wall_s_20111003105112_MD.jpg?uuid=2b784630-edcf-11e0-9cd6-002128040cf6
Reuters

Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold signs aloft as a protest march enters the courtyard near the New York Police Department.

Actually, they have more in common with the tea-party movement than the hippie dream, with one key difference: They’re smart enough to recognize the nation’s problems aren’t simply about taxes and the deficit.

They want jobs. They want the generation in power to acknowledge them. They want political change. They want responsibility in a culture that abdicates it. They want a decent future of opportunity.

If that isn’t American, then what is?

Another key difference between today’s kids and their hippie forefathers: They’re willing to gut it out.

Not only is Occupy Wall Street showing no signs of dying out, but it’s getting stronger. On Sunday, a night of rain dampened the crowd at Zuccotti Park, but then the sun broke through, and they were back at it: challenging police, marching and drawing attention to their cause.

They’re wired and ready. They’re using YouTube and blogs. A newspaper, the Occupied Wall Street Journal, began publishing last week. They meet in the evenings in a “general assembly” to discuss tactics.

Moreover, there are signs the Left Coast wants to get into the action. On Sunday a group called Refund California announced a series of protests throughout Los Angeles. On Monday, a teach-in took place aimed at bringing awareness to how Wall Street has worsened California’s budget problems.

On Tuesday, Refund California is going to Orange County for a protest. On Wednesday, the group will target the home of a bank executive. And on Thursday a big bank in L.A. will be the next target. Protests in Chicago this weekend showed the message isn’t lost in flyover country.

Click to Play http://m.wsj.net/video/20111002/100211protestchicagonew/100211protestchicagonew_512x288.jpg

Protest spreads to Chicago

Inspired by the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations in New York, some 100 people gathered Sunday outside the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago to protest inequities in the nation's financial system.

This isn’t just some anarchist or lefty agitating. Many of the protesters are furious with the Obama administration’s kow-towing to Big Finance. They’re critical of Federal Reserve policies. Refund California is aligned with 1,000 faith-based groups.

Protesters are admonished for displaying the U.S. flag incorrectly. These protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful. And, despite what you hear, there’s been a lot of goodwill between the police and protesters. They’re sharing coffee and doughnuts in the morning.

Meanwhile, another group, Occupy Los Angeles, is organizing its own protests. This movement, though small compared with the New York effort, is slowly gathering steam. Back East, Occupy Boston is gaining momentum. Protests in the financial center of Dewey Square took place Monday.

The persistence is paying off. The media are beginning to pay attention. Local papers in New York have been running more Occupy Wall Street stories. All of the major networks are covering the protests now.

Click to Play http://m.wsj.net/video/20111003/100311lunchdeficien/100311lunchdeficien_512x288.jpg

House is gone, but debt lives on

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia permit lenders to sue borrowers for mortgage debt still left after a foreclosure sale.

There are many more reporters on the scene, and the coverage has moved from the police confrontations to what these thousands of protesters want.

The press seems confused. There were signs about Afghanistan, taxes, Wall Street greed, corporate responsibility and just about every pet cause out there. But what some decry as a lack of focus is really about them not getting it: This movement is about money. It’s about wasting money. It’s about greed for money guiding those in power. It’s about the inequitable distribution of money.

Most of all, it’s about process. In a “general assembly” meeting Saturday, Occupy Wall Street came up with its first official document. It is a powerful summation of grievances, not just of the young, but of many Americans: home foreclosures, workers rights, Internet privacy, health care and bailouts. Read the declaration of Occupy Wall Street .

“No true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power,” the declaration states. “We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.”

The protesters urge others to join them in public spaces everywhere.

Occupy Wall Street is a bigger and more important movement than it was two weeks ago. As the country faces a year in which many of its major political offices could potentially shift hands, there finally seems to be a movement that reflects frustration with a system beholden to big financial interests.

Still, there’s much work to do. The movement needs to sharpen its message. It needs visible and well-spoken leadership and people to become active politically. Some have argued that the protesters need more concrete ideas, such as financial-transaction taxes or Wall Street reforms. Blanket anti-corporate statements aren’t actionable.

But for a generation accused of being lazy, unwilling to work and living under their parents’ roofs for far too long, these kids have shown a hell of a lot of mettle so far. The odds are still long, but they’ve succeeded in the first step.

They’ve gotten our attention.

 

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/rescuing-america-from-wall-street/2011/10/04/gIQAJGezLL_story.html

 

 

Description: http://www.washingtonpost.com/rw/sites/twpweb/img/logos/twp_logo_300.gif


Rescuing America from Wall Street

By Harold Meyerson, Published: October 4

Better late than never, the movement to take America back from Wall Street has arrived. On Wednesday, the ranks of the Occupy Wall Street encampment will swell as Move­On.org members, union activists and ordinary disgruntled citizens join the demonstration against our financial sector’s misrule of the American economy. What’s more, long-planned anti-bank demonstrations in major cities this week are growing beyond their organizers’ fondest hopes as the Wall Street protest movement catches fire.

The anti-bank campaign has in fact been incubating for years — a “seed beneath the snow,” as the Italian novelist Ignazio Silone once termed the slow-to-arrive left. The sit-ins, teach-ins and street demonstrations popping up in Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles are formally the handiwork of a coalition of community groups that recently gathered together as the New Bottom Line. Many of these groups have focused on immediate goals — such as stopping particular banks from foreclosing on more homes. They, along with unions, have demonstrated on Wall Street many times since the 2008 financial crisis. But only now, as Occupy Wall Street — an organization that they didn’t create — has grabbed the public imagination the past few weeks, are the myriad mobilizations commanding the media’s attention.

“It’s a confluence of planned and unplanned demonstrations,” says Stephen Lerner, a longtime organizer for the Service Employees International Union who once spearheaded the union’s successful campaign to organize big-city janitors and today helps guide the groups in New Bottom Line. “We build on each other. We go ping-ponging back and forth.”

Planned and unplanned, the groups are coming together. The imminent mixing of largely young and countercultural Wall Street occupiers with more seasoned and hard-nosed unionists and middle-class liberals may produce some clashes of style, but their shared anger at what banks have done to them — to all of us — should be sufficient to cement this nascent coalition. It had better be.

At the moment, this fledgling movement is awash in a range of demands. Occupy Wall Street has tended toward the amorphous, expressing a generalized rage at economic inequality and financial hegemony. The New Bottom Line groups, and the wonks of the anti-bank left, have more concrete demands, including modifications and cancellations to student and housing debt, a financial-transaction tax, and the reinstitution of the 1932 Glass-Stea­gall Act (which would make garden-variety banking safer and less speculative by rebuilding the wall between commercial and investment banking).

That the proposed reforms are all over the map is understandable given the enormity of the problem. As finance has become a larger and larger part of the U.S. economy in recent decades, the U.S. economy has grown more and more dysfunctional. At Wall Street’s prompting, the New Deal’s constraints on finance were loosened in the 1980s and ’90s, enabling banks to grow huge by speculating with other people’s money and by restructuring the economy so that it ran on credit and debt.

From 1973 through 1985, as Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, documented in 2009, American banks never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. By the mid-2000s, that figure rose to 41 percent. As with profits, so with pay: For more than three decades, from 1948 to 1982, pay levels in finance ranged from 99 to 108 percent of the average of private-sector pay. By 2007 they had reached 181 percent.

Once the servant of industry, banking became our dominant industry. It has ceased to serve us. We serve it. And when it went all but belly up in the panic of 2008, the federal government bailed it out, on the assumption of those authoring the Troubled Assets Relief Program legislation that the banks would use those funds to bail out our larger society. Instead, they took the money and sat on it. Lending to small business in particular has not bounced back.

Not all of the problems with the current American model of capitalism originate with banking. But Wall Street’s growth has long come at the expense of productive enterprise, diverting dollars and talent from the business of making goods. Merely occupying Wall Street doesn’t go remotely far enough. We need to diminish finance with regulations that would make our economy both more secure and more productive. Here’s hoping the disparate groups of protesters come together, grow and stay in the streets. It will take a massive, vibrant protest movement to bring America’s subservience to Wall Street to its overdue end.

meyersonh@washpost.com

 

 

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-occupy-la-20111004,0,5287534.story

Southern California protests gain momentum with union support

Protesters spent their fourth night camping outside Los Angeles City Hall, disrupted a bankers conference at a Newport Beach yacht club and demonstrated outside a financial executive's Bel Air home.

Protesters outside Balboa Bay Club

Groups protest Tuesday outside the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach as the California Bankers Assn. gathers for an annual meeting inside. (Christina House, For The Times / October 4, 2011)

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October 4, 2011, 8:20 p.m.

The groundswell of populist anger against banks and politicians picked up momentum in Southern California as powerful labor union support helped galvanize protests nationwide.

Rallies extended to the 18th day in New York, where Occupy Wall Street planned a massive solidarity march with unions Wednesday. Protesters spent their fourth night camping outside Los Angeles City Hall, disrupted a bankers conference at a Newport Beach yacht club and demonstrated outside a financial executive's Bel Air home.

The movement has spread nationwide, from Boston to Kona, Hawaii, taking inspiration from the social-media-driven Arab Spring revolts in the Middle East. The anti-corporate push even got a nod from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who said of protesters: "On some level, I can't blame them."

Protests on the West Coast have drawn an assortment of activists, from college students to anarchists to ordinary Americans worried about the economy. They have no single organizer, and instead are made up of individual groups focused on what they see as the banking industry's role in the growing divide between America's rich and poor.

"The banks engineered the country's financial collapse and then profited from it," said Joe Briones, 29, a film major at L.A. City College who is helping to run the Occupy LA social media feed from the City Hall protests. "They did the same thing in the Depression."

With this same attitude, protesters disrupted a meeting of the California Bankers Assn. at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach. About 40 members of ReFund California, a coalition of advocacy groups and union members, burst into the club's ballroom, chanting, "Make banks pay!"

The bankers association president, Rodney K. Brown, said protesters "muscled their way" past hotel security and wanted only to "chant and rant" instead of engage in a constructive dialogue. The bankers listened as protesters accused them of causing the economic meltdown by peddling bad loans, accepting government bailouts and then doing little to compensate for the damage inflicted.

Police stood by as protesters were ushered back to West Coast Highway, where members of the Service Employees International Union and the liberal group MoveOn.org chanted, "Shame, shame, shame!"

"You've made your point. Now get out," Balboa Bay Club security chief Drew Witthuhn said as the group shuffled out into the rain.

ReFund California also protested at the Bel Air home of Steven T. Mnuchin, chairman of OneWest Bank of Pasadena. The group demanded help for borrower Rose Gudiel of La Puente, saying OneWest callously foreclosed on her family home after her brother's death caused delinquencies on her home loan.

A Mnuchin spokesman said OneWest was only doing what Fannie Mae, the owner of the loan, required.

The group said it planned a similar confrontation outside the home of another bank executive Wednesday. Activists are expecting big turnouts for marches held on both coasts Wednesday.

In New York, several unions and advocacy groups plan to march from City Hall to Zuccotti Park, just days after a more impromptu march led to the arrest of 700 protesters. The 700,000-member Communications Workers of America said it supports "nonviolent efforts to seek a more equitable and democratic society based on citizenship, not corporate greed."

Occupy LA was expecting a big turnout for its own march, though its numbers in about a dozen tents had fallen in recent days. The plan was to take trash collected in a South Los Angeles neighborhood blighted by foreclosures and dump it at a bank that protesters blame for causing the urban decay.

Participants, acknowledging they were promoting widely varied causes, also discussed the need to agree on a clear, focused message.

"People are going to say stupid things," said Vincent Vibbert, a shaved-headed, work-booted organizer who offered advice from time he had spent at the Wall Street camp-in. "You've got to make sure that people who are well-spoken jump in front of the TV cameras."

In an only-in-L.A. twist, the protesters have been walking a block to the county criminal courts building to attract attention from news media covering the trial of the doctor who was attending to pop star Michael Jackson when he died.

scott.reckard@latimes.com

Times staff writer Nathaniel Popper in New York contributed to this report.



--
Bahar Tolou
SEIU
323.899.3399

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