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Huge angry mobs converged outside bank employees' houses on Sunday afternoon to demand banks stop lobbying against Wall Street reform. "Bank of America: bad for America!" shouted community leaders outside the house of Bank of America general counsel Gregory Baer.
The Chicago-based grassroots organization National People's Action, in coordination with the SEIU, bused more than 700 workers from 20 states to Baer's neighborhood, one of the wealthiest corners of Washington.
The action kicks off several days of protests targeting K Street for lobbyists' role in financial reform. Baer himself apparently tried to blend in with the crowd until a neighbor outed him. The mob booed loudly as he walked into his house.
"I don't have time for you," he said, according to Trenda Kennedy of Springfield, Ill. who used a bullhorn to tell the crowd about her trouble getting a mortgage modification from Baer's bank.
Kennedy told HuffPost she'd been making reduced monthly payments thanks to a trial modification via the Home Affordable Modification Program. She said that when the bank turned her down for a permanent mod, she was told she still owed all the money she'd been paying during the trial. She said she's been notified of several sheriff's sale dates but has somehow managed to keep her home. "Every time I'm inches away from losing my house, by some miracle it's been pushed off," said Kennedy, who is a member of Illinois People's Action.
Passersby and dogwalkers smiled at the sight of people gathered all over Baer's lawn and blocking the road. Baer's neighbor from across the street won little sympathy when he angrily yelled at protesters for waking up his two-year-old daughter. Kennedy was one of several people used a bullhorn to tell their personal bank horror stories.
This group is at the very center of the real estate bubble-bust brought on by the dreaded CRA, and they are organizing an army of unions to march on Wall Street and blame the entirety of the economic disaster on the evil rich.
The first thing that you need to know about NPA is that their now-deceased leader, Gail Cioncotta, is credited in community organizing circles for authoring the Community Reinvestment Act. Her group is also credited with honing the tactic of storming into banks and occupying their lobbies.
Another thing you need to know is that in 2003, NPA’s sister organization, the National Training and Information Center (NTIC), was busted by the Justice Department for misappropriating millions of federal grant dollars from community development projects, using the funds instead to train community organizers to lobby the government. On top of that, the Justice Department found that they committed fraud as they tried to cover up their actions.
The overall purpose of the audited grant was to provide training, technical assistance, and funding to community-based organizations, and more than half of NTIC’s grant funds were awarded to these sub-grantees. Although the sub-grantees were supposed to have been selected competitively based upon their ability to run a successful community program, evidence in the grantee’s files and statements by NTIC staff revealed that the majority of sub-grantees were instead selected based upon their connection to influential lawmakers. Moreover, while a major element of the grant was to provide training to these sub-grantees and significant funds were spent for training conferences, considerable portions of these sessions were dedicated to conducting congressional lobbying visits and training sub-grantees in how to conduct successful lobbying activities. Most importantly, we believe that NTIC intentionally misled OJP and attempted to conceal its true activities. As a result of these systemic improprieties, we question the entire amount awarded, or $3,162,580.
We began our audit in October 2003 and contacted the OIG Investigations Division in February 2004. Due to the initiation of the criminal investigation, we postponed reporting our results until the conclusion of the criminal investigation. The Executive Director of NTIC pleaded guilty and served his sentence related to the criminal case. As of March 2008, a civil action under the False Claims Act was pending against NTIC.
As a result of their crimes, NPA and NTIC lost their federal funding. This marginalized their organization’s influence in community organizing circles and further radicalized their remaining members. Without the federal dollars streaming in, there was no need to hide the real agenda – which is to destroy corporate America.
With the downfall of ACORN as a “respectable” brand, NPA and NTIC are stepping in to fill the void. They are “cleaning up” their look, having removed the red stars from their current logo.
Last year, together with Andy Stern and SEIU, NPA led an angry march against “greedy” bankers in Chicago.
Now, SEIU and NPA are working together with other unions to organize a series of marches and demonstrations aimed at Wall Street and capitalism. From the description of their next march:
National People’s Action (NPA), and our allies at SEIU, the AFL-CIO, and Jobs With Justice are calling for a Showdown on K Street. The big banks destroyed our economy and have hijacked our democracy. Corporate lobbyists representing the big banks paved the way to deregulate Wall Street and are now standing in the way of reforms that would protect people and strengthen our economy.
This all begs the question: did Andy Stern leave SEIU because it would look very unseemly for one of the most frequent visitors to the Obama White House to be leading unionized-angry-street-mobs against corporate America? Did Andy Stern leave SEIU to protect the Obama Administration from charges of coordinating protests in the streets of our nation?
That would be a fundamental transformation of our country - if the Executive Branch coordinated directly with unions to shake down corporations and vilify fellow Americans. A dark transformation indeed.
To quote the great Glenn Reynolds: “We are in the very best of hands.”
*For more information on NPA’s Chicago Showdown, please contact Senator Dick Durbin and/or FDIC Chair, Sheila Bair. They both addressed the group at an NPA breakfast held the morning of the protest.
Originally posted by Agent_USA_Supporter
Reclaim Our Democracy?
sigh i thought america was a republic? and not a democratic nation those protests signs are a bit suspicious.
Shouldn't the sign say Reclaim Our Republic?
Originally posted by hotpinkurinalmint
reply to post by seism
There is a big difference between a "socialist" and somebody who believes banks that are "too big too fail" should be regulated so they do not have to ask tax payers for another bail out. The protesters are demanding reasonable regulations, while the banks want to be cowboy capitalists who can run back home to Uncle Sam when there wild gun slinging gets them into deep trouble.
If we want to get rid of socialism, let us start with Wall Street and the Big Banks. Although they are 100% capitalist when they are in the black, they become the biggest cry baby socialists when they are in the red.
Originally posted by Serenedaisy
It's nice to see people gathering around for a good cause, but in the end nothing will come from it. These people will eventually get tired of fighting and move on with their lives while the banks will continue on screwing over hard working americans.