Peaceful protests by ordinary citizens really scares the shit out of big, bad, corporate hacks.
Hat Tip to Big Government.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, there’s apparently a growing deadly threat to worry about. It seems that protesters there are getting unruly these days – so unruly that local businesses have brought on extra security detail to help out the local police.
That’s what happened when one such group of protesters descended upon the Bank of America headquarters on Saturday, May 8th. The group showed up around lunchtime, eager to protest the financial reform bill currently making its way through the Senate. Upon their arrival, not only were they met by three Charlotte police cars and a couple of local officers, but evidently Bank of America had somehow caught wind of the event and sent out another six or so Bank of America paid security staff. As an extra precaution, the bank had also hired at least two Wackenhut security officers to augment their usual staff. Apparently, Bank of America felt it necessary to prepare for some sort of pending siege – these are Tea Party protesters we’re talking about here. According to our own members of Congress and their allies, they’ve deemed Tea Partiers, the very constituents they are supposed to represent, a violent, racist bunch of potentially unstable people.
Well, when I heard about the incident, I couldn’t wait to get a look at these dangerous rabble-rousers.
So this is the riot mob that Bank of America sent out its security force, including extras from Wackenhut, to aggressively resist.
Meanwhile, these protesters showed up simply to draw attention to Bank of America’s role in trying to influence the current financial reform legislation. In North Carolina, Bank of America has a special place in the heart of Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, who has been pushing an amendment to the bill on behalf of the giant bank. (Coincidentally, it also benefits another of the Senator’s AND Bank of America’s favorites, the Center for Responsible Lending…but that’s for another post).
Hagan, a former Vice President with Bank of America who oversaw subprime lending programs there, has proposed the amendment under the guise of “protecting consumers”, but when Bank of America is a staunch supporter of the legislation, it’s easy to be suspicious of anyone’s supposed good intent.
Hagan’s amendment would control the types of financial products that you as a consumer would be permitted, under federal law, to purchase. It will limit consumers to no more than six and as few as one loan per year during a 12-month period for “covered” loans – those include anything from car title loans, installment loans, and payday loans to even some retail company credit plans. For instance, if you purchased a large appliance from a department store or home improvement center and financed it through store credit with a payment plan of installments, you might be literally barred by law from purchasing another appliance in that same 12-month period if you intend to pay for it through installments on another company credit plan.
To enforce these controls, the government would create a national database to track the loan products that ordinary citizens are purchasing, and would require certain lending institutions – including banks, mortgage lenders (except for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are both exempted from the bill), car dealers, retail companies that offer credit plans, and even some doctors and dentists – to comply by providing information about you, your loans, and your bank account details to a bureaucratic agency managing the database.
So it’s no wonder local Tea Party, 912 Project groups, and other liberty-minded activists in the Charlotte area tried to pull together a spontaneous grassroots protest at the Bank of America headquarters there. Upon learning of the amendment and the bank’s support of it, they gathered this past Saturday to draw attention to the amendment, and to the bill in general.
While it was a small gathering, the group arrived with signs and attempted to draw attention to their message from passers-by. Since the bank was actually open for business, many people were going about their business in and out of the building. Protesters said the local Charlotte police almost even seemed embarrassed and surprised at the show of force from bank of America. They were courteous to the group and even sent some of their officers back to the station after it was obvious the group posed no threat to the property or to any people.
However, Bank of America security, including the Wackenhut officers, saw it differently.
Protesters describe being spoken to by Bank of America guards with contempt. They were immediately told to leave the premises, even though the bank was open for business and they’d stayed out on the sidewalk area. Instead, the security detail then stood them down in a single file. We’re receiving video and photo as of this writing but it’s almost comical to see the initial visuals, because their show of force actually outnumbered the number of protesters.
After some not-so-friendly direction given them by one of the plain clothes security officers and then a Wackenhut officer, the protesters moved to a different area of the property location, where the boundary line between private and public property was demonstrated for them. They cooperated without issue and proceeded to simply stand in the designated area with their signs. Meanwhile, they describe the security detail as angrily watching over them and treating them as though they were common criminals, while passersby looked on. One plain clothes security officer got on his cell phone and spoke most of the time with an unidentified party, seemingly giving a play by play description of the protesters and their activity. In viewing some of the initial photos we received, the man clearly wasn’t happy.
The incident is especially interesting because it’s in such stark contrast with similar protests by left wing activists and labor unions. Take, for example, these photos from other Bank of America protests, where security, if present at all, simply stepped aside and went about their business.
There’s no question that Tea Party, 912 Project groups and other activists who stand for the Constitution and against overreaching government are portrayed by this administration unfairly, and certainly not treated with the same respect and fairness that labor unions and progressive activists enjoy. That’s because while Democrats and left wing groups have made it a central theme of their platform to demonize companies like Bank of America, chanting slogans like “End Corporate Excess” and “Main Street Not Wall Street,” the truth is that behind the scenes the two are bedfellows on the same side. After all, Bank of America and many of the other big banks actually support the financial reform bill. And Democrats like Kay Hagan are reeling in the big bucks in donations from the very banks from which they claim to be protecting us helpless consumers. That’s why it’s no surprise that the financial reform bill has moved so quietly through the legislative process. If Democrats draw too much attention to it, opposing grassroots activists might take notice. Instead, they’ve relied upon labor unions and Organizing for America to distract us all from that reality, with their dramatic stunts like “Showdown on Wall Street“, and “Bust up Big Banks” rallies.
Let Bank of America know how stupid it looks:
Bank of America CEO:
Brian T. Moynihan
100 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202