CBS PHILADELPHIA: An Occupy Easton protester faces an attempted bank robbery charge following an arrest at an organized event at a bank – during which the “Occupier” was holding a sign that reportedly read “You’re being robbed.” According The Express-Times, Dave Gorczynski allegedly held cardboard signs outside a Wells Fargo Branch that read, “You’re being robbed,” while the other said, “Give a man a gun, he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob a country.” Occupy Easton reports on their Facebook page that Gorczynski “was at the bank protesting the theft of our tax dollars, our homes, and our economy by the criminal banksters.” Gorczynski allegedly did the same thing a short time later inside a Bank of America, prompting an employee to activate the panic alarm – reports The Express Times. Police reportedly responded and located Gorczynski with the signs in question and arrested him. MORE
LEHIGH VALLEY LIVE: Mary Catherine Roper, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said that while she thinks Gorczynski should not have entered the banks, the charges of attempted robbery and terroristic threats are unwarranted. “It seems inconceivable to me that holding up these two signs could constitute attempted bank robbery or terroristic threats,” Roper said. “This looks like some seriously overzealous charging, especially given the clear political nature of the statements.” The crucial question, she said, is whether anyone will testify they believed he actually planned on robbing the banks. Easton police Chief Carl Scalzo said the investigating officers were thorough and acted appropriately. “I think our guys did what they had to do in this instance,” Scalzo said. “At the end of the day, if we get a report of a panic alarm at a bank, we’re going to respond accordingly.” All the elements necessary for officers to charge Gorczynski with attempted robbery, terroristic threats and disorderly conduct were present, Scalzo said. “We can’t allow the perceived idea of protesting to be a defense to criminality,” Scalzo said of assertions by Gorczynski’s supporters that he was merely protesting. “People have to understand if they want to protest, there’s a line.” Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said his office on Tuesday requested the paperwork from Gorczynski’s arrest. “We’re taking a look as to whether the charges are justified,” Morganelli said, indicating he may reach a conclusion by today. “We’re reviewing the law and looking at whether this was a real crime or a free-speech issue. I’m very on top of this.” MORE
ROLLING STONE: At least Bank of America got its name right. The ultimate Too Big to Fail bank really is America, a hypergluttonous ward of the state whose limitless fraud and criminal conspiracies we’ll all be paying for until the end of time. Did you hear about the plot to rig global interest rates? The $137 million fine for bilking needy schools and cities? The ingenious plan to suck multiple fees out of the unemployment checks of jobless workers? Take your eyes off them for 10 seconds and guaranteed, they’ll be into some shit again: This bank is like the world’s worst-behaved teenager, taking your car and running over kittens and fire hydrants on the way to Vegas for the weekend, maxing out your credit cards in the three days you spend at your aunt’s funeral. They’re out of control, yet they’ll never do time or go out of business, because the government remains creepily committed to their survival, like overindulgent parents who refuse to believe their 40-year-old live-at-home son could possibly be responsible for those dead hookers in the backyard.
It’s been four years since the government, in the name of preventing a depression, saved this megabank from ruin by pumping $45 billion of taxpayer money into its arm. Since then, the Obama administration has looked the other way as the bank committed an astonishing variety of crimes – some elaborate and brilliant in their conception, some so crude that they’d be beneath your average street thug. Bank of America has systematically ripped off almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, depositors, homeowners, shareholders, pensioners and taxpayers. It brought tens of thousands of Americans to foreclosure court using bogus, “robo-signed” evidence – a type of mass perjury that it helped pioneer. It hawked worthless mortgages to dozens of unions and state pension funds, draining them of hundreds of millions in value. And when it wasn’t ripping off workers and pensioners, it was helping to push insurance giants like AMBAC into bankruptcy by fraudulently inducing them to spend hundreds of millions insuring those same worthless mortgages.
But despite being the very definition of an unaccountable corporate villain, Bank of America is now bigger and more dangerous than ever. It controls more than 12 percent of America’s bank deposits (skirting a federal law designed to prohibit any firm from controlling more than 10 percent), as well as 17 percent of all American home mortgages. By looking the other way and rewarding the bank’s bad behavior with a massive government bailout, we actually allowed a huge financial company to not just grow so big that its collapse would imperil the whole economy, but to get away with any and all crimes it might commit. Too Big to Fail is one thing; it’s also far too corrupt to survive. MORE
RELATED: When Julian Assange announced that Wikileaks was planning to release records of “unethical practices” prevalent in an “ecosystem of corruption” surrounding a major U.S. financial institution, Bank of America was one of the first to respond – by refusing to service any donation made to the whistleblower organization. And their master plan for preparing for this massive leak of corporate wrongdoing? Buying up more than 450 internet domain names that might prove to be embarrassing to the bank or its CEO. Their attempts to conceal the truth, however, only reveal the gravity of their situation – and ours. The attorney general of Arizona, a state not known recently as a bastion of legislative tolerance, has criticized Bank of America’s attempts to obstruct investigations of their practices, noting that the bank has “repeatedly deceived” customers looking to lower their loan amounts. They’ve promised to fix the situation “by negotiating settlements with borrowers who must agree to keep them secret and not criticize the bank in exchange for cash payments and loan relief.” Court documents show desperate demands from BoA that borrowers “remove and delete any online statements regarding this dispute, including, without limitation, postings on Facebook, Twitter and similar websites.” By demanding their customers keep their mouths shut in exchange for “fixing the problem,” the bank seems to be taking a page out the Mafia’s protection-racket handbook.
This isn’t the first time Bank of America has refused to cooperate with investigations into their mortgage practices either. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general said in a lawsuit last year, “Our review was significantly hindered by Bank of America’s reluctance to allow us to interview employees or provide data and information in a timely manner.” That lawsuit was part of a damning HUD investigation that found all five of the nation’s largest mortgage companies defrauding taxpayers. These multinational casino-capitalist banks aren’t content with exorbitant usury, with destroying entire neighborhoods of foreclosed homes, harassing the families of deceased customers – they’re trying to foreclose on people who never even had a mortgage, sucking funds out of needy schools and cities, and using your money to pay legislators to advance their agenda. Those employees who reveal the severity of the situation are hunted down like witches in 17th century Massachusetts. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone had it right when he wrote of Bank of America’s excess, calling them an institution “too crooked to fail.” He joined a February Occupy Wall Street day of action to remind occupiers how shady Bank of America really is:
“This bank has systematically defrauded almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, homeowners, shareholders, depositors, and the state. It is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud, spinning its way through America and leaving a massive trail of wiped-out retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake.” MORE
WOODY GUTHRIE: Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered I’ve seen lots of funny men; Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.