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Entries in Occupy Wall Street (38)

Saturday
Dec032011

Wall Street Analyst Tries to 'Save the Big Banks From Themselves'

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mike Mayo says he is on the front lines of Occupy Wall Street's battle, which is unusual coming from a Wall Street analyst.

A widely-followed managing director of brokerage firm CLSA, Mayo, 48, says the "intersection" between Occupy Wall Street protesters and Wall Street analysts is "bigger than anyone realizes."

On the 10th anniversary of Enron's collapse this week, Mayo lamented that three failures that contributed to the Texas energy company's bankruptcy still remain: faulty incentives, accountability and government regulations.

"The abuses in our financial system haven't gone away even after Enron and WorldCom, even after the mortgage crisis," he told ABC News. "The same problems that got us into what were the largest corporate bankruptcies at the time are still in place."

Enron's $65.5 billion bankruptcy in 2001 was the largest before WorldCom surpassed it in 2002 when it was worth over $100 billion, according to Business Insider. But in 2008, the $327.9 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Washington Mutual and nearly $700 billion bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers would dwarf both.

Mayo, based in New York City, is careful about describing how he feels about Occupy Wall Street, which has rallied against what the movement sees as "corporate greed" and a wide range of economic issues.

"My concerns sound like some of the same concerns of Occupy Wall Street," he said.

But Mayo, who has worked for a total of six banks, never mentions the Occupy Wall Street movement in his book, Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst's Fight to Save the Big Banks from Themselves, released weeks ago by publisher Wiley. He said he finished his book long before the Occupy Wall Street movement started in September—at the time of Enron's collapse, when he was fired by one of his previous employers, Credit Suisse.

"This is my story—written because the problems that I started writing about the time of Enron still exist today," he said. "Hopefully the book brings more visibility to the issues in a way that is accessible to the person on the street."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec022011

Adam Carolla's Take on Occupy Movement: 'Self-Entitled Monsters'

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- What’s the Occupy Wall Street movement really about?  Is it rooted in anger over the sagging economy and high unemployment?  Is it a protest against the growing disparity between rich and poor in America?

Comedian Adam Carolla -- and millions of other Americans, polls prove -- think of the group differently. Carolla says the group is really just a bunch of whining, "self-entitled monsters" of the “everybody gets a medal” millennial generation, which he refers to as ”the a** douches” in an explicit nine-and-a-half-minute recording that’s suddenly gone viral.

Though he never mentions the Occupy movement by name, Carolla takes note of anger against the “1 percent,” who, he says, “already are paying way more than their fair share” of taxes in California, where he produces a popular podcast.

[Click here to watch the video]

“There’s something that’s come up in this country that didn’t used to exist, which is envy, and it’s a big issue,” he says.  “We are now dealing with the first wave of participation-trophy, 'my-own-fecal-matter-doesn’t-stink,' 'empowered'...'everybody’s-a-winner, there-are-no-losers' -- we are dealing with the first wave of those [expletive] a**holes.  That’s who we’re dealing with now."

“They’re feeling shame,” he says.  “They’ve been shamed by life because they haven’t been prepared for life.”‘

Though the recording apparently is excerpted from a podcast Carolla put out in October, according to Slate, Carolla’s take has gotten traction in recent days on a number of mainstream websites.

According to Carolla -- whose own website prominently features his quote on the Occupy L.A. protesters: “Now you’re just hanging out and s***ting in a tent” -- anger at the rich and successful is the price of spoiling a generation with a sense of entitlement.

“You’re just looked at as peon number 27 who’s putting in an application and, guess what, I don’t like your attitude...Get your [expletive] feet off my desk and hit the bricks.  I’m not hiring you,” Carolla says on the recording.  “And now, your plan is to come back and throw a brick at my window.  That’s your plan. That is what’s going on.  It’s this envy and shame, and there’s going to be a lot more of it."

“It used to be, back in the day,” he goes on, “father’d be walking his son down the sidewalk and you’d see a guy go by in a Rolls Royce and the father would say, ‘There goes Mr. Jenkins.  Look up to him.  That guy works hard.  That guy built a company.  That guy built an empire.  Now look at him.  He’s got his Rolls Royce.’

“Now it’s like, ‘Oh! Look at him.  Does he need that car?  Why does he need that car?  I’m driving a [expletive] Chevette.  Why does he get to drive that [expletive] car?  Let’s go and throw a [expletive] rock at it.’  That’s not going to help you get out of the Chevette, a** douche.  Get the [expletive] to work,” Carolla says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov222011

Occupy Protesters Interrupt Obama Jobs Speech

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- The Occupy movement followed President Obama to New Hampshire on Tuesday, where protesters interrupted his jobs speech at a high school in Manchester.

Speaking at Manchester High School Central, the president was interrupted shortly after he started delivering an address calling for Congress to act on the payroll tax cut extension.

The protesters were quickly countered by students, chanting “Obama, Obama!” and several minutes of arguing back and forth ensued.

After listening briefly, the president asked the group to quiet down. “I’m going to be talking about a whole range of things today and I appreciate you guys making your point. Let me go ahead and make mine...I’ll listen to you and you listen to me,” Obama said.

The president, who has said the Occupy Wall Street movement voices the public’s widespread frustration with the country’s financial system, later mentioned the protests in his speech.

“A lot of the folks who’ve been down in New York and all across the country in the Occupy movement, there is a profound sense of frustration, a profound sense of frustration about the fact that the essence of the American Dream...feels like it’s slipping away,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Occupy Protests Take Toll on City Budgets

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It's unclear what the Occupy protests have accomplished, but police have received a bonanza of overtime, making up a large part of at least $10.3 million in costs incurred by nine cities since the protesters began gathering near Wall Street two months ago.

Occupy Wall Street catalyzed dozens, if not hundreds, of protests across the world. New York City alone has spent about $6 million on costs related to Occupy Wall Street, not including the eviction on Tuesday, according to Howard Wolfson, the mayor's deputy for government relations.

Philadelphia racked up $492,000 in unanticipated police overtime through last week, according to Rebecca Rhynhart, the city's budget director. Rhynhart said they're estimating that costs could reach $2.5 million if the protest lasts through the fiscal year, or June 30.

Oakland spent over $1 million to pay police overtime, according to the Washington Post.

Portland estimated $750,000 so far for police overtime, while damage related to its parks has cost $50,000 to $100,000, according to Amy Ruiz, communications director for Mayor Sam Adams.

In Seattle, protests will cost $625,999 from the week that ended in Oct. 14 to the end of Nov. 25. The largest portion goes to overtime for Seattle police: $580,468. The extra costs to Seattle's parks comprise $21,471 of the total.  The department of finance and administrative services, which just gave protesters permission for a permit to use part of city hall's plaza on Tuesday, made up the rest at $24,060.

The Boston police department estimated overtime costs related to the Occupy Boston movement to be about $575,000 so far, according to Elaine Driscoll, director of communications of the department.

In Atlanta, protests cost $451,691 from Oct. 7 to 25, with almost three-quarters going to overtime to police, said Mayor Kasim Reed on Nov. 2.

Occupy Denver led to overtime for various city departments during five days of protest in October at about $365,000, according to the Denver Post. The protests are estimated to cost $200,000 a week for the rest of the year. This week, the police department asked for an increase of $6 million in its budget, "citing Occupy as a small but unspecified portion of the cost," the Post reports.

Cincinnati has spent about $128,000 in police overtime, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer last week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov172011

Stock Futures Flat as Occupy Protesters Say They'll 'Shut Down Wall Street'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. stock market is headed for a slow start on Thursday -- the same day Occupy protesters threaten they'll "shut down" the New York Stock Exchange.

Occupy Wall Street has called on its backers to "gather in Liberty Square at 7:00am, before the ring of the Trading Floor Bell, to prepare to confront Wall Street with the stories of people on the frontlines of economic injustice."

Ahead of Thursday's opening bell, stock futures are mostly flat.  The day before, the market faced a sharp descent.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 191 points on Wednesday, while the Nasday shed 47 and the S&P 500 dropped 21.

Trading also continues to take a hit from the debt crisis plaguing Europe.  In the latest development, the Spanish Treasury sold 10-year bonds on Thursday at a yield of nearly 7 percent -- the highest interest rate since the euro was established. The news sent European stocks down.

Elsewhere, in Asia, stocks closed mixed on Thursday.  South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.11 percent, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.25 percent, and Japan's Nikkei index added 0.19 percent.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, on the other hand, dropped 0.76 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.16 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov152011

Court Order Allows for 'Occupy Wall Street' to Return to Zuccotti Park

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Occupy Wall Street protesters swarmed around lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park Tuesday holding printed copies of a court order that allows them to return with their tents.

The demonstrators were demanding reentry into the park just hours after being removed by police in riot gear. Police have not reopened the park and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the park will remain closed until the city can clarify the court order.

A hearing was ongoing with a city judge late Tuesday morning. Lawyers for the protesters had obtained a temporary restraining order allowing the group back into the park.

There is a sense among the demonstrators that today is a major test for the movement.
"This never dies. It doesn't matter if it's a physical place or not," said John Murdock, a resident of New York's East Village who has been coming to the protest for about a month.

"We're going to try to stay as long as possible in a nonviolent way.

Not everyone got the non-violent message, however. There were scuffles with police as more than 200 people were arrested during the early morning raid, according to New York's Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne. Occupy Wall Street has called on those being released to congregate in Duarte Square about a mile north of Zuccotti Park. There are reports that hundreds have gathered there to regroup and mobilize.

"Straight to Duarte Square," Occupy Wall Street posted on Twitter.

After gathering at Duarte Square, some protesters cut the fence of a lot owned by Trinity Church just west of the square and attempted to occupy it, according to The New York Times. Police cleared the lot and arrested more than 20 people.

Mayor Bloomberg said the city raided the park this morning because the protesters and their equipment had become a health and safety hazard and they were preventing others from using the privately-owned park.

"The First Amendment doesn't protect the use of tents and sleeping bags," Bloomberg said.

"Now they will have to occupy the park with just the power of their arguments."

Prior to the court order, the city planned on reopening Zuccotti Park following the cleaning, but was not going to permit the protesters to return with tents, sleeping bags, tarps and other gear.

An hour after the police action at Zuccotti Park began this morning, Occupy Wall Street issued a statement promising "occupation actions" in the coming days.

The group had reportedly planned to cause a massive disruption in traffic on the streets of lower Manhattan today in an attempt to delay the opening of the New York Stock Exchange.

Local New York City Fox affiliate WNYW reported morning commuters had been seen high-fiving cops after they cleaned out the park. On Monday, local business owners staged a counter-protest, claiming the noise, hygeine issues, and police barricades around the Occupy camp was robbing their shops of revenue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov092011

Poll: Six in 10 Support Policies Addressing Income Inequality

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Six in 10 Americans say the federal government should pursue policies to reduce the gap between the wealthy and less-well-off Americans, although fewer express support for the Occupy Wall Street movement that’s been protesting U.S. income inequality.

Sixty-one percent of respondents in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll think the wealth gap is larger than it’s been historically.  And despite longstanding public concerns about activist government, six in 10 also say the federal government should seek to reduce that differential.

The public’s concern is buttressed by a recent Congressional Budget Office estimate that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans have nearly tripled their incomes since 1979, while the bottom 80 percent of earners have seen their share of the nation’s total income slightly decline.

The poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that 37 percent perceive the wealth gap as “much larger” than it’s been; just 5 percent think it’s smaller.  And 43 percent feel “strongly” that the government should pursue policies to address it, versus 24 percent who are strongly opposed.

Overall support for such policies is linked to perceptions of a widening wealth gap.  Among those who think the gap is much larger than it’s been historically, 84 percent say the government should pursue policies to address it.  That declines to 54 percent among people who think the gap is just somewhat larger than in the past, and 41 percent of those who think it’s about the same.

But while 60 percent support polices to address wealth distribution, substantially fewer -- 44 percent -- identify themselves as supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and just 18 percent strongly so.  About as many, 41 percent, say they oppose the movement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov072011

Wedding Bells Ring at Occupy Philadelphia Movement 

File photo. Photodisc/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Occupy Wall Street movements across the country have spawned spectacles of all sorts: raucous bongo drum circles, performance art and, now, a wedding at the Occupy Philadelphia encampment.

Alicia Nauss, 24, met Adam Hill, 27, 32 days ago, when they both showed up to staff the information tent on the first day of Occupy Philadelphia Oct. 6. They’ve been together ever since and tied the knot Sunday.

Now Nauss and Hill plan to tour Occupy Wall Street locations in other cities on their honeymoon, starting with Norristown, Pa., Hill’s hometown.

“There’s only about 20 guys down there right now,” Hill said of the fledgling Norristown movement. “We’ll be trying to boost morale and talk to them, to give them some inspiration with our story.”

This is Nauss’ second marriage. Her daughter, Rhys, 2, looked on as Baptist minister and local philosophy professor Michael Pierce pronounced the couple husband and wife Sunday afternoon.

About 150 people attended the wedding, which came together with the support of Nauss and Hill’s friends in the movement. Before the ceremony, Nauss composed herself in a public restroom near the encampment and walked out in a donated David’s bridal gown to meet her groom.

Nauss looks forward to a fresh start as a “new family,” she said. But for now the future is uncertain. Nauss knows she wants to travel to other Occupy encampments to boost morale, but when and where she and Hill can travel will depend on their financial circumstances.

Nauss, living on unemployment relief, said she was fired from a job as a sales coordinator for a corporation after she joined the Occupy Philadelphia movement.

Regardless of financial difficulties, Nauss said, she hopes her story will inspire other protesters. “[On our honeymoon] we would be going around getting our story out there and encouraging people.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov052011

Occupy Protesters Embrace ‘V for Vendetta’ on Bank Transfer Day

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- "Remember; remember the 5th of November" warns "V" the anonymous rebel who sparks a revolution in the 2006 movie "V for Vendetta."

Based on the comic book series and graphic novel of the same name, the film — and especially the mask worn by "V" — has become a symbol of discontent among Occupy protesters.

The mustached white face, frozen in a wide-mouthed leer, is based on Guy Fawkes, an Englishman who schemed to assassinate King James I in an attempt to restore Catholicism. He was eventually caught on Nov. 5, 1605, when authorities found his stash of gunpowder explosives hidden in the Parliament cellar.

A Facebook page blazoned with an image of "V" asks "all OCCUPY Protestors to come together on November 5th, 2011, to rally again for our efforts to end corruption and social injustice."

Occupy leaders are calling on supporters to pull their money out of large Wall Street banks and deposit it in local credit unions and other smaller institutions.  Kristen Christian, the small business owner who launched Bank Transfer Day, says her movement isn’t affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, but "acknowledges the enthusiasm" of Occupy protesters. On Saturday at least 82,000 people had indicated on the group's Facebook page that they will be attending the transfer day.In the movie, "V" issues his rallying cry, "If you see what I see, if you feel as I feel and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me …. and together we shall give them a 5th of November that shall never, ever be forgotten."

Although "V" sought and advocated for vengeance, Occupy has a much more peaceful message, emphasizing that Saturday's rally is "not a channel to express violence."

One Occupy event, scheduled for Liberty Square in New York City, will feature a "day long series of open forums" with representatives from community development credit unions who will "discuss why credit unions are an ethical alternative to conventional banking institutions."

The BBC recently spoke to British graphic novel artist David Lloyd, who created the image of the mask. He said it's become "a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.”

Or, as "V" would say, "Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth, and the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country isn't there?"

Lloyd even visited the protest in New York's Zuccotti Park, where several people were wearing the mask.

"My feeling is the Anonymous group needed an all-purpose image to hide their identity and also symbolize that they stand for individualism – V for Vendetta is a story about one person against the system," he told the BBC.
 
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov042011

Bank Transfer Day Distances Itself from Occupy Wall Street

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- It's not even Bank Transfer Day yet, but already 650,000 people across the country have joined credit unions in the past four weeks.

Bank Transfer Day, designated for November 5, calls for people to shift their funds from for-profit banking institutions to not-for-profit credit unions.

"The principle behind monthly debit card fees weren't something I could support as a conscious consumer," said Kristen Christian, Bank Transfer Day's sole organizer. "Investigating my options, credit unions were clearly the most logical choice. I decided ... that I had to take further action to educate the American people in how credit unions serve local communities."

And that's how Bank Transfer Day was born. Just don't confuse it with Occupy Wall Street.

"I'm humbled that OWS has chosen to adopt BTD's directive, but felt it is necessary to distinguish between the two movements because of growing fear among Bank Transfer Day supporters that I was advocating and supporting disruptive actions a select few OWS organizers have chosen to engage in," Christian told ABC News.

The 27-year-old art gallery owner from Los Angeles said she had never participated in any Occupy activities, and posted the following disclaimer to her website:

"While the Bank Transfer Day movement acknowledges the enthusiasm from Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street, the Bank Transfer Day movement was neither inspired by, derived from nor organized by Anonymous or the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the Bank Transfer Day movement does not endorse any activities conducted by Anonymous or Occupy Wall Street," the Facebook page for BankTransferDay.org states.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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