So now, LA is Evicted. Philly is Evicted. Boston is battling an impending eviction with a TRO. Soon now I think we not see these as legal defeats for the rights of Free Speech and Redress of Grievance, but rather as a transition from on phase of protest to another. Moving from survival and maintenance, to Action and Advocacy.
For the moment those lets review what has happened with Keith.
I have to say, if you haven't been or aren't able to watch Keith on Current you've been missing quite a bit. No one - absolutely NO ONE - has covered the Occupy Movement with as much care, depth, or detail.
So what has Occupy really done besides distract us with drum circles and smelly tents for the past two months?
Well, for one thing it's changed the conversation. Two months ago we were talking about nothing except what the Tea Party wanted, how they had just induced a downgrade in the U.S. credit rating and just what form of extreme austerity, and budget cuts we were all going to have to swallow next.
And now all of a sudden, the GOP seems to have begun to flinch, as they begin to take another look at extending Obama's Payroll Tax Holiday. One wonders, where is the Tea Party, as Congress debates raising everyones taxes by 1,200 over President Obama's Objection?
Wither aren't thou Sammy-Joe The (Not) Plumber?
The fact is, the GOP is running scared of Occupy! How do I know that's true? Because GOP Super-Pollster Frank Luntz says it true.
Luntz told attendees that he’s “scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death.” The pollster warned that the movement is “having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”
"Having an impact on the way the American people think about capitalism..." I like the sound of that. I like it a lot.
Further, in his own Luntzy kind of way, Frank had some helpful suggestions for the GOP so they wouldn't look too 1%-ty to the unwashed masses of Voters out there.
– Don’t Mention Capitalism: Luntz said that his polling research found that “The public…still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”
– Empathize With The 99 Percent Protesters: Luntz instructed attendees to tell protesters that they “get it”: “First off, here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ … ‘I get that you’re. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.”
– Don’t Say Bonus: Luntz told Republicans to re-frame the concept of the bonus payment — which bailed-out Wall Street doles out to its employees during holidays — as “pay for performance” instead.
– Don’t Mention The Middle Class Because Americans Don’t Trust Republicans To Defend It: “They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers,” Luntz instructed the audience. “We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage.”
– Don’t Talk About Taxing The Rich: Luntz reminded Republicans that Americans actually do want to tax the rich, so he recommended they instead say that the government “takes from the rich.”
Got that class? "Don't defend 'Wall Street'". "I get that you're frustrated". "It was Pay for Performance (a Performance which put the Country in the Ditch)" and we don't want to "Take from the Rich (because then you might be able to give to the poor who actually Need it", meanwhile we'll defend "hardworking taxpayers", except for when it comes to actually keeping their taxes from going up.
But while Frank is playing his classic word-games into a new fresh hell... he's got a small reality problem creeping up on him. The Banks just admitted to giving the American People (and especially minorities) the Sandusky Treatment again.
One of the most pernicious practices in which the nation’ biggest banks engaged during the lead up to the financial crisis was pushing minority borrowers into subprime loans, even when many of them qualified for prime loans. Wells Fargo had perhaps the most horrifying practices in this department, calling the subprime loans that they pushed in poor, black neighborhoods “ghetto loans.”
One former banker for Chase — James Theckston — told the New York Times’ Nick Kristof that not only did his bank push minority borrowers into higher-priced loans, but senior executives then tried to cover up the racial disparity in their banks’ lending
Ruh Roh... and this guy isn't saying anything about Fannie or Freddie - he's talking about J.P. Morgan CHASE!
One memory particularly troubles Theckston. He says that some account executives earned a commission seven times higher from subprime loans, rather than prime mortgages. So they looked for less savvy borrowers — those with less education, without previous mortgage experience, or without fluent English — and nudged them toward subprime loans.
These less savvy borrowers were disproportionately blacks and Latinos, he said, and they ended up paying a higher rate so that they were more likely to lose their homes. Senior executives seemed aware of this racial mismatch, he recalled, and frantically tried to cover it up.
Is that the performance that Wall Street and that banks were getting paid for?
Since then even Chase seems to have learned it's lesson as just this week they decided NOT to foreclose on the home of a 103-year old woman.
On Tuesday, 103-year-old Vita Lee and her 83-year-old daughter were due to be evicted from their Atlanta home of 53 years. Yet movers and sheriff’s deputies refused the bank’s request for eviction, leaving her in her home.
Following the public outcry in support of Lee, “Chase Bank, which services the loan on Hall’s house on Penelope Road that’s owned by Deutsche Bank now said it has no plans to evict Hall or her daughter.” The bank will instead work out an arrangement with the family so they can keep the home.
Maybe it's just me, but I sense a tide turning. The issues of bad bank practices, hand grenade mortgages that were designed to fail, rampant unnecessary foreclosures even though the banks didn't even have possession of the deed documentation has finally begun to be noticed over the incoherent din of "Don't Tax Me Bro!" and "Go Back to Kenya, you Socialist/Marxist!"
Also breaking this week is the story that the homes of 5,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Vets were Illegally Foreclosed due to a George W. Bush law that provided actively serving military members a 9 month grace period to deal with Mortgage problems.
Ten leading US lenders may have unlawfully foreclosed on the mortgages of nearly 5,000 active-duty members of the US military in recent years, according to data released by a federal regulator. [...]
The data released by the OCC are based on estimates prepared by lenders and their consultants. BofA said it is reviewing 2,400 foreclosures involving active-duty military families to see if they were conducted properly. Wells Fargo is reviewing 870 foreclosures and Citigroup is looking at 700 cases.
Also under review are 575 foreclosures at OneWest, formerly known as IndyMac; 87 at HSBC; 80 at US Bancorp; 56 at Aurora, formerly known as Lehman Brothers Bank; 25 at MetLife; six at Sovereign; and three at EverBank.
At a certain point, their Fact and Reality Deficit Disorder is going to come crashing down on the GOP like a Brick Shower., their ability to act as a roadblock in pulling this country out of the ditch, and moving us forward into the 21 Century is going to diminish. Like a vanishing point on the horizon.
That's what truly scares Frank Luntz, and he should be scared.