Why big financial interests are getting
Worried about Occupy Wall Street

By David Weidner, Market Watch

The WSJ's Sue Craig has reported that Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein is taking a mere $9 million bonus for 2009. The $9 million bonus seems perfectly calibrated: Not large enough to be dubbed a "double digit" bonus. Outrageous ... how is the man suppose to live on that? [Please see our article, "To the Bar-ricades."]


PREFACE

... And now the right-wing mythmaking concerning "Occupy Wall Street" begins - and it is so blatant and barefaced that David Weidner of Market Watch, an honest conservative, felt it necessary to step in and clear the air of the misinformation that is being blasted forth by the minions of Wall Street and their paid mouthpieces on "talk-radio." In the following article, Weidner lists (1) the five main myths that are bring circulated, (2) those responsible on the right for circulating these myths, and (3) the actual facts concerning the myths.

Sadly, these are the kind of myths that America's Christian community has "bought into" over the years; the predilection of America's churches to do so gives evidence to the de facto alliance the church has made with the ultra-rich over the years. [We urge you to read our articles, "The Business Right and the Christian Right: An Alliance Made in Hell" and "The Cedars: The House on 24th Street."]

NOTE: MarketWatch operates a financial information website that provides business news, analysis and stock market data to some 6 million people. MarketWatch offers personal finance news and advice, tools for investors and access to industry research. Along with its flagship website, the company operates BigCharts.com and the stock market simulation site VirtualStockExchange.com. MarketWatch produces the syndicated MarketWatch Weekend television program and provides radio updates every 30 minutes on the MarketWatch.com Radio Network.

-- Antipas

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NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Occupy Wall Street, the month-long protest centered near the New York Stock Exchange, has the establishment scared.

David Weidner of Market Watch

What once was seen as a traffic problem in Lower Manhattan has elevated into a debate about economic inequality in America, with bulls-eyes trained on the backs of bankers.

How else can one explain the sudden explosion of media coverage at Zuccotti Park, the discussion of the protests by the Republican field of presidential hopefuls and a shout-out by President Barack Obama last week?

Nonetheless, the media still doesn't know what to make of this growing movement. Is it a liberal tea party? Is it Marxism run amok? Is it an Arab Spring on Wall Street? Is it a hippie gathering? Will Radiohead show up?

Radiohead (left to right): Ed O'Brien, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Thom Yorke and Phil Selway. Radiohead is an English rockband that rails against the financial establishment

Having covered the protests for nearly the month they've been camped out downtown, I want to clear the air on some of the myths surrounding this movement in American society and politics.

Myth #1:

The protesters are pushing for anarchy, support violence and communism.

Myth-makers: Ann Coulter, The Washington Times, bloggers, New Hampshire Tea Party, Ron Paul.

Fact: Many of the protesters are seeking jobs, are students or are underemployed. Not one of dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters I spoke to want hand outs, or to overthrow democracy. Rather, they want a return to a democratic process free of corporate and special-interest money. The protests are a month old and have been mostly peaceful.

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Myth #2:

Most Occupy Wall Street protesters don't know what they're protesting.

Myth-makers: Author William Cohan, Donald Trump, Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times.

Fact: It's true Occupy Wall Street has become a melting pot of causes: environmentalism, anti-war peace protest and workers rights to name a few. But the protesters are uniformly opposed to a system that favors what they call the 1%: the super rich who have consolidated nearly 40% of the nation's wealth. It's no accident that they've picked Wall Street as their base. Big banks are responsible for creating the bubble that led to our recession and high unemployment.

Moreover, bank executives who have failed nevertheless continue to get eye-popping rewards: for instance Sallie Krawcheck and Joe Price were ousted from Bank of America Corp. a few weeks ago. Their exit packages totaled $11 million. The bank lost $14 billion during the last year, announced it will charge debit-card holders $5 a month and is foreclosing on thousands of mortgages.

The bottom line: you don't have to be an expert on the machinations of global finance to know something is wrong here.

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Myth #3:

The protest is simply a liberal tea party.

Myth-makers: Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg

Fact: Like the tea party, Occupy Wall Street is concerned about the deficit, the Federal Reserve and mounting U.S. debt. But they don't lay the blame on a government (they don't absolve it either). Consider that banking and corporate profits created a bubble during the last decade at the U.S. Treasury through tax revenue. When the bubble popped, it bankrupted the government and thrust us into unsustainable long-term debt and annual deficits that this generation of mostly young protesters will have to pay off.

That sounds an awful lot like the tea party with one exception: they have a more sophisticated view of how the U.S. got into this debt quandary.

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Myth #4:

Occupy Wall Street is a paid group aimed at re-electing Obama.

Myth-makers: Herman Cain, The Daily Caller blog, Sean Hannity.

Fact: No one is getting paid to protest. In fact, many protesters have sacrificed income to march. Moreover, almost every protester I've spoken with has complained about Obama and how he's pandered to Wall Street interests.

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Myth #5:

The protesters are hypocrites. They say they hate the banks, but they bank. They buy from big corporations. They've been spotted at McDonalds.

Myth-makers: Ginia Bellafante and Sorkin of the New York Times; Human Events, InfoWars blogs; Bernd Debusmann of Reuters.

Fact: It's actually true. Occupy Wall Street protesters do buy products and services from corporate America. But does that make them hypocrites? Consider that most of these protesters are NOT against banks. They are against improper actions of banks: foreclosures, inequitable compensation. Nor are they against the bailouts. They just want the same opportunity for homeowners. Would they be less hypocrites if they grew their own zucchini at Zuccotti Park, made their own clothes and all banked at a credit union? The funny thing about credit unions: usually you need a job to join.

And from this example you can see why Occupy Wall Street is confusing to many Americans and threatening to powerful financial interests. In more ways than most Americans know, they are like them. They're at the mercy of banks and big corporations.

With the 2012 election just a year away, Occupy Wall Street has some tough decisions to make. Will they allow themselves to be co-opted by union interests and political candidates who want to turn their numbers into votes? Or will they remain fiercely independent, challenging the status quo?

Wherever the movement goes, one thing is certain. Wall Street and Washington are paying attention. And they recognize Occupy Wall Street is a dangerous threat to the system. You can bet that 1% knows that part isn't a myth.

  • David Weidner covers Wall Street for MarketWatch.

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God bless you all!

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries


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