This Occupy L.A. thing is a hoot. Our comments sections lit up last week with thoughtful analysis, dubious rants and a dollop of all-caps gibberish. All in all, it's a celebration of the First Amendment and, not to get all squishy, of democracy.
Here's hoping this goes on for a long time because, damn, it's a good way to sell newspapers.
We have condensed some of the comments below. For the full monty, check out our news blog, The Informer, at laweekly.com.
Let's start with this comment from David Barron: “As I look at those 'Occupy' protesters throughout the country, I see the very 'anti-establishment' protesters of the '60s who are now corrupt bureaucrats destroying our America and our City of Los Angeles.
“However, I would suggest that the protesters simply do their banking with another bank who doesn't charge $5 to use their ATM cards. And, suggest that protesters turn their anger to L.A. City Hall, which has contributed to our high unemployment because of the dismal policies and overspending by our mayor and city council. Pay close attention to the city council's actions and see who they give our taxpayer dollars to. No wonder they have to keep raising our taxes and fees.”
To which commenter lollardy replies: “You have two feet and a face, go do it yourself, armchair quarterback. So tired of wannabes saying what should be done instead of getting out there and doing it. The '60s brought a lot of change to civil rights, workers' rights, ended the Vietnam War, etc. The system has always been corrupt, but the people you are talking about aren't corrupt because they protested, they are corrupt despite that.
“And I'm serious, if those politicians are corrupt like you say, then get a sign and start yelling at them, and ask your pussy friends to come with you. It feels pretty good to yell at corrupt politicians.”
The plight of Rose Gudiel in particular drew strong responses. Gudiel is a La Puente homeowner who faces foreclosure because her lender will not renegotiate her loan. She and six supporters were arrested last week for staging a sit-in at Fannie Mae offices.
Commenter True Freedom writes: “I'm not saying the banks are angels, but Rose got herself into her own mess. I mean, with a $2,500/mo. mortgage, $500/mo. property tax at the 35% rule, she should have been making well over $102k. Sorry, but reps at the EDD don't make that kind of money. Plus, her loan balance is $408k on a $390k home. She either put zero down with a negative amortizing loan or took equity out of her house. … She was a knucklehead and she wants to blame it on the banks.
“Seems this is the New America: Make bad decisions. If they work out, reap the rewards. If they crash and burn, blame someone else and demand a bailout. Kick and scream and whine till you get one.”
(TF, we can't let this one pass. You're talking about Goldman Sachs and the Wall Street pips, right?)
As lollardy (our new favorite commenter) writes: “Right, blame the dumb consumer who bought into the 'American dream,' not the mega-rich sophisticated lenders that knew precisely what they were doing and did it anyway, only to ask for bailouts when the inevitable happened. No angels indeed.
“And by the way, the reason those houses cost so much was because the banks were inflating a bubble, which means she should never have had to take out a loan that big. Consumers were also being duped into thinking you could never go wrong with a house as an investment by big media. But, yeah, blame Rose. Stupid woman deserves to be in the gutter with the rest of the refuse, right?”
Other Occupy L.A. detractors elicit this from ProgressiveMews: “Please stop perpetuating the crap about occupiers just being a bunch of hippies. I've been at City Hall nearly every day that Occupy L.A. has been there and the majority of the people I've met are there after work doing what they can. In fact, at the General Assembly a few days ago, an occupier said his reason for camping out was because he was employed and recognized others' suffering. I've even met investment bankers and commodity traders who have been attending regularly because they know greed is killing their business. Apparently, compassion and simple understanding are revolutionary nowadays.”
Finally, this comes from Kls111643: “There is a current story about the Justice Department cracking down on marijuana in California. If they put as much initiative into prosecuting criminals on Wall Street and corporate America, I believe we could fix the economic crises we currently face.”
(Right on, Kls111643. This rag paid more in taxes on rolling papers alone than General Electric paid to Uncle Sam.)
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