What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 20, 2011

Occupy Pittsburgh Update

Must read Potter in the City Paper:
Say this for the Occupy Pittsburgh demonstrators currently living on Mellon Green: This is one group of dispossessed Americans that a big bank isn't rushing to evict.

That alone should tell you how powerful this grassroots movement has become -- all in the four weeks since demonstrators began occupying Wall Street's Zuccotti Park.
But the Occupiers' message isn't hard to understand: Just look at the cardboard signs lining Mellon Green. Where Tea Partiers oppose government intervention in the marketplace, Occupiers object to corporate meddling in our government. They object to a system in which CEOs ensure subsidies and bailouts for themselves, while shredding the safety net for everyone else.

That's why, in the end, the Mellon Green gathering itself is the statement. Occupy Pittsburgh has stood up to one of the country's largest banks, literally on its own turf. For once, the people have foreclosed on the bank's property. In clawing back a bit of real estate, they've reclaimed a sliver of the discourse. They can't afford to buy airtime, or politicians, yet they have claimed our attention -- just by showing up.
He ends saying it's democracy in its purest form.

Meanwhile, Daley and Young (also of the CP) have the latest on this week's demonstration at Mellon.

Vidonic of the Trib covered it, too.  The demonstrators demanded an investigation into Mellon's handling of  public pension funds.  The CP quoted a statement from BNY Mellon:
On behalf of our nearly 7,800 employees in Pittsburgh, we recognize the right to protest and express opinions. However, the concerns regarding our foreign exchange services are misguided. The suits against us are not supported by the facts or the law. The foreign exchange market is highly competitive and we are proud of the valuable services we provide our clients. We will defend ourselves vigorously on behalf of our shareholders and employees.
While Vidonic writes:
Protesters have said that the Justice Department and the state and city of New York already have filed a lawsuit claiming BNY Mellon made billions of dollars by over charging foreign currency clients around the country.

The bank says the lawsuit is "flat-out wrong."
Meanwhile, Sabatini of the P-G was covering the lawsuit side of the story and threw an extra bit of info into the mix:
Last week, a BNY Mellon currency trader in Pittsburgh was identified by the Wall Street Journal as having worked as a mole for the last two years for law enforcement officials investigating the matter. The man, who left BNY Mellon this year, provided information and documents, the Journal said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The WSJ explains the allegations:
The moves by prosecutors come amid an explosion in trading in the $4 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange market. They heighten a controversy that has swirled in recent months over whether "custody" banks like BNY Mellon, which handle securities and back-office tasks for institutional investors, routinely overcharge clients for trading. The suits allege the bank deceived clients by using a least-favorable high or low range of the day to price the currency trades.

The lawsuits allege BNY Mellon deceived clients by telling them the bank would provide competitive foreign-exchange rates. Instead, the lawsuits allege, the bank gave clients at or near the least-favorable end of the daily trading range. The New York attorney general alleged that the bank benefited by taking the other side of the conversion and pocketing the difference between the least-favorable client rate and the bank's better price.
The issue arises because Americans investing globally must convert U.S. dollars into the currencies of the countries where they invest—or vice versa. If a pension fund, for instance, buys stock in a European company, the fund's dollars must be converted to euros, and the opposite exchange made if the fund sells the stock. Custody banks facilitate such foreign exchange.

Some BNY Mellon clients have criticized the bank in recent months for high currency-conversion costs. The Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, for example, stopped using BNY Mellon for certain transactions. The bank says its charges are fair and that clients can opt out if they don't like the prices.
And of course:
The state and federal actions also underscore a growing tension between the U.S. government and financial industry at a critical time. Amid a weak economy, the banking industry has lobbied for less-stringent oversight to allow financial institutions to recover. [emphasis added.]
Looks like the Occupy Pittsburgh demonstrators were abso-frickin'-lutely right.


Winding down said...

Allegations re MELLON NY are being pursued by numerous govmint entities...initiated well
before OWS and mimics appeared on the scene....not in response to any actions OPGH...NUF SAID

So CP it's ok to go on private property ..occupy it and ....well fuck the property owner's rights...

Mellon is not caving to pressure from the scum in the park...this detritus will leave in due course...why create a PR debacle for law enforcement and Mellon...if LE moved to clear the private property.. Media would have a field day... video of cops doing what they do....remember past events of this kind of crap...

Winding down said...

Here's The Real Reason Why Occupy Wall Street Protesters Aren't Getting Kicked Out Of Zuccotti Park
Robert Johnson | Oct. 11, 2011, 12:00 PM | 28,227 | 41


Image: Business Insider
BAMOct 20 03:14 PM
% Change
Coming on the heels of the Solyndra debacle, the Obama administration has just approved a $168.9 million loan guarantee for the Granite Reliable wind farm project owned by Brookfield Asset Management (BAM).
Among its many holdings BAM owns Brookfield Renewable Power, which owns the Granite Reliable and it also owns Brookfield Office Properties, whose holdings include the now famous Zuccotti Park.
The Department of Energy finalized the loan guarantee less than a week after Occupy Wall Street protesters took to Zuccotti Park, and with the Obama administration's Tuesday endorsement of the protests, rumors are starting to circulate that this could be the reason Brookfield is allowing protesters to remain on its property.
The Granite Reliable Power Project under construction in Coos Bay, New Hampshire is the state's largest wind farm and the New Hampshire Union Leader questions why Brookfield would need federal subsidies at all, particularly following the bankruptcy of Solyndra.
Mayor Bloomberg's announcement Monday that protesters could remain as long as they liked, also raised a few eyebrows and it turns out he has a personal connection to Brookfield as well. The mayor's longtime domestic partner Diana Taylor is on the Board of Directors at Brookfield Properties along with John E. Zuccotti himself.
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Winding down said...



Dayvoe said...

More incoherent non sequiturs from our friend, Winding Down.

Winding down said...

It's a conversation ..not an exercise in essay writing...

Dayvoe said...

Still incoherent.

Winding down said...

I just took my medication......until it takes effect....sort through the comments and try to construct a response to the issues raised.

Search for Thomas Sowell...find something in his oeuvre and comment.....ck Ann Althouse's blog for some clarity on current affairs...

Winding down said...

This your sandbox...if you wish, I will leave and play on the otherside of the yard...Metaphorically speaking..incoherently expressed..

Winding down said...

Fm the left coast....does this young woman's story resonate within other OW sites?

Meanwhile, Andy Kessler reports from San Francisco.
Maybe this is all really about disappointment. I spoke to a young woman who had clearly bathed more recently than most. I asked her why she was at OccupySF. She told me she’d done all the right things. Studied hard. Graduated college. (She was an art major.) And now she can’t get a job. It didn’t matter. It’s all messed up. She was lied to.

Of course she was. She’s a member of the Trophy Generation. Win or lose, you get a trophy. We embraced mediocrity to an entire generation of kids during good times who are now finding themselves mediocre in bad times. There still is that American dream: Go to college, get a job, buy a Prius. But like it or not, studying art or humanities or gender studies won’t get you there. Marissa Mayer at Google complains she can’t find enough computer-science majors. Civil engineers are getting hired sight unseen.

Educating the whole child was bad advice. So was follow your passion. California spends months teaching ninth-graders how to build a waste-treatment plant with only a day or two on natural selection. I think Occupy Wall Streeters are as much disappointed with the route they all took as they are with “fat cat” bankers.