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New action at Citibank to protest record profits (with video)

The Washington, DC arm of Occupy Wall Street has called for a day of action against Citibank. At this hour they have staged a protest at a DC branch with more than 40 protestors, and word is that some have once again been locked inside the branch and police have been called. We’ll see if DC police behave in a more civilized manner than NYPD.

Citibank, one of the largest recipients of bailout money, has nonetheless managed to pull off record profits, pay their executives huge amounts, and pay minimal taxes, which makes them a poster child for everything that Occupy Wall Street is protesting against.

October 20th

New video: inside Citibank as guards prevent Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from leaving.

A new video has been posted from inside the Citibank in New York City that was the scene of mass arrests on Saturday.
The video clearly shows Occupy Wall Street protesters, who had come to the branch to close their Citibank accounts, trying to leave. They are prevented from doing so by Citibank security guards and a man in a grey sweater who never identifies himself, but tells them, “It’s too late.”
Soon police show up and tell the demonstrators they are all under arrest for criminal trespass – even as the occupiers say “We were never given a warning by police officers.”

October 20th

The Story of Broke explains Occupy Wall Street (teaser trailer)

What an amazing creative out-pouring we’ve seen over the past few weeks! Now the folks who brought us The Story of Stuff animated short film are in the final stages of preparing their explanation – and they’re program for a sustainable future.
The Story of Broke talks about the myth that America is out of money… pushed by the dinosaurs who have failed, but are too big to adapt and move on.
As they put it, “The United States isn’t broke; we’re the richest country on the planet and a country in which the richest among us are doing exceptionally well. But the truth is, our economy is broken, producing more pollution, greenhouse gasses and garbage than any other country. In these and so many other ways, it just isn’t working. …The Story of Broke calls for a shift in government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions…

October 20th

OWS: Disruptive Citibank protester was undercover cop

Well, we now have more information about the foolish but well-meaning action by Occupy Wall Street at that Citibank branch in New York. And there’s nothing in the latest revelations that changes the conclusion: Citibank could have chosen to shrug its collective shoulders and get on with business, but instead elected to have a bunch of kids arrested, and thereby bought itself a billion dollars worth of negative publicity.

October 19th

Wall Street bought the political process on the cheap

Politico has a story up about how unhappy big-money donors on Wall Street are with President Obama. He’s taking the side of the smelly Occupy Wall Streeters and saying mean things about his nice, responsible banker friends! They may just close their checkbooks and stay home, or worse, give all their money to Mitt.

But as I read the article, it struck me that Politico had totally missed the real story here – that these whiney Wallstreeters had purchased themselves a government for a spectacularly tiny sum.

October 19th

Iraq veteran who shamed NYPD on Saturday night speaks to Olberman

On Saturday night in Times Square, Iraq veteran Sgt Shamar Thomas made an impression on New York Police, in an impassioned plea for reason and calm that deflected the angry violence they were bringing to bear on the Occupy Wall Street protesters who had surged through Times Square. “There is no honor in this” Today, Sgt. […]

October 18th

James Howard Kunstler: Will Occupy Wall Street go apeshit, or sink into a long, desperate winter?

Just as a horrific accident in finance is about to happen, a ready-made revolutionary mob is conveniently parked outside the pilot-houses of the world’s great money vessels, so as to receive the crews directly into their open arms after the smash up.
President Obama could have changed the outcome if he had actually believed in change. He could have told his attorney general to enforce the securities law. He could have replaced the zombies at the SEC and told the new ones to apply all existing regulations.
Before last year’s election, he could have used his legislative majorities to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and reinstate the Glass-Steagall act. He could have initiated the process of deconstructing the giant banks back into their separate functions – so that banking once again worked as a utility rather than a launching pad for colossal frauds and swindles. Not only did he fail to do any of these things, he didn’t even talk about it, or try.

October 17th

Occupy Wall Street: Citibank was stupid. Chase bank was smart.

By now just about everyone in the country must know that 23 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were arrested Saturday in Manhattan when they attempted to close their Citibank accounts. Their crime: they talked about it too much.
What you probably don’t know is: on the same morning a similar group went to a Chase bank branch and engaged in a similar action. You don’t know this because, unlike at Citibank, the Chase manager just rolled with it. No arrests, no police, and it was all over in a few minutes.
So while the demonstrators made some poor choices, Citibank made some EXTREMELY poor choices.

October 17th

Anatomy of a Victory: Occupy Wall Street Wins a Big One

As of right now, public officials are vastly more intimidated by the power of Wall Street than by the power of the people, and so they do the bidding of the former group, rather than the latter.
The über-goal of Occupy Wall Street is to empower people to intimidate government officials even more than the ownership class does. If that can be achieved, then the movement will succeed merely by surviving. Wall Street, after all, hasn’t got a list of demands that it makes one protest at a time; it exerts constant, unyielding pressure on the engines of power and arranges to continue to bully policymakers in perpetuity. If the Occupy movement expands and persists, it can conceivably arrange to bully policymakers even more fiercely. That would result in the achievement of real democracy, and all of the policy goals that implies.

October 17th

Times Square occupied! Police threaten arrests… of thousands?

As part of a global day of protest, tens of thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters filled New York’s Times Square to capacity this afternoon.
But word is coming in that the New York Police Department have told the demonstrators they must disperse or face arrest. We’ll keep updating this minute-by-minute as news comes in.

October 15th

DON’T close your Citibank account today. They’re arresting people.

In what can only be the stupidest public relations move in corporate history, financial behemoth Citibank reacted to customers trying to close their accounts today by… bringing in a ton of cops and having them arrested.
Even in the dark days of the 1930s and the great depression, when there were actual panics and bank runs, nobody tried such a spectacularly stupid move.

October 15th

Why we occupy: The Story of Citizens United – Why Democracy Only Works When People Are In Charge

One thing keeps cropping up as people talk about Occupy Wall Street and why they’re so angry: Corporations have complete dominance of the political process. Thanks to the Supreme Court overturning 90 years of precedent and tossing out all restrictions on corporate political contributions, they can now spend unlimited amounts of money to elect or defeat any politician they choose.

Didn’t know that corporate campaign spending had been turned into a giant free-for-all? That was the Citizens United decision, which changed our political system in huge ways, and it’s why a lot of us are going out today and marching for a society in which people have as much say as corporations.

October 15th