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Left, Obama Escalate War on Banks Into Dangerous Territory

According to police, a letter bomb was recently sent to the CEO of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.

It was only a matter of time.

Left wing protesters – from the union loonies at SEIU to the equally loony, but more radical Occupy Wall Street crowd – have been targeting bank executives for some time. It was bound to happen that someone would take all the venom aimed by the media and the left at so-called “banksters” and turn it into a near Unabomber homage.

The term “bankster” sounds cute. Though the way the left uses it, “bankster” would be hate speech if applied to some protected class they support. The website www.Banksterusa.org, for example, claims it wants “to be your go-to site for updates on the financial services re-regulation fight in Congress and for progressive net-roots campaigning against the big boys on Wall Street.” It all appears fairly benign, except that the logo for the site is riddled with about three dozen bullet holes.

The site says the term was “popularized in the 1930s by Ferdinand Pecora.” That comment links to a New York Times opinion piece about a 1930s congressional investigation into Wall Street, headed by Pecora who was “imbued with the crusading fervor of the Progressive Era.” 

BanksterUSA.org is “part of the Center for Media and Democracy,” funded to the tune of $200,000 by the Open Society Institute, the charity arm of lefty investor George Soros. Apparently, some Wall Street money is OK, even for crusading progressives.

But bankers are still evil. Evil enough that the left has taken not just to the streets, but to their homes. 

Protesters in Washington and New York have done their best to intimidate the banking community. Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton was eyewitness to one such 2010 protest in D.C., sponsored by the radical union SEIU: 

“Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer,” she wrote.

Thugs from SEIU (OK, that’s redundant), openly trespassed onto the property and terrorized Bear’s 14-year-old son, who was home alone. 

Take a look at the photo of dozens of frothing protesters posed around the front porch of the man’s home and ask yourself how you’d react if that were your home. 

The Washington Post so ignored the story that ombudsman Andy Alexander asked why it took nine days for the paper to cover protests with an item that only ran online. “Still, not a single word about the protests had appeared in the printed Post. How could this be?” 

The obvious answer, because it made the left look bad.

In October of this year, Occupy Wall Street protesters went even further. They “marched to the houses of Rupert Murdoch, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, billionaire David Koch, financier Howard Milstein and hedge fund mogul John Paulson.” (Strangely, they skipped Soros.) When Dimon spoke in Seattle protesters surrounded his hotel and police had to use pepper spray just to get him out of the hotel.

Despite the left’s broad brush attacks on bankers, some bankers bring it on themselves. Witness former N.J. Democratic Gov. John Corzine, turned walking federal investigation. As MF Global’s top executive, he was so grossly incompetent “that about $1 billion of customer money could not be located,” wrote The New York Times. It’s hard to tell how his case will turn out, since he is so well-connected politically. But at least he can comfort himself in knowing that stripes can be slimming.

This is the environment where Obama delivers his new economic agenda. Remember, this is the president who got over $10 million more than Sen. John McCain from financial firms last election cycle. 

Goldman Sachs (Yes, the guys the Occupiers hate so much) was Obama’s second highest contributor. That didn’t stop him from going to Osawatomie, Kansas this week, to promote talk of class warfare. 

“Their philosophy is simple. We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules,” he said of opponents.

Osawatomie was an appropriate choice for Obama, though for different reasons than he had planned. 

Obama had wanted to channel his inner Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt had spoken at Osawatomie in 1910 to push a progressive economic agenda. The current president (Pull date: Nov. 6, 2012) used his trip to emphasize his Kansan roots and to push class warfare.

Osawatomie was once ground zero for another type of warfare when the area was called “Bleeding Kansas” and John Brown’s abolitionists fought violently against pro-slave forces. In the 1856 “‘Battle of Osawatomie’ five of Brown’s men, including one of his sons, were killed and the town burned.” 

In 2011, the class war promoted by Team Obama, the Occupiers and the rest of the radical left is only now turning violent.

What followed in Obama’s speech were a series of instructions on how to run a business from the community organizer turned Lecturer-in-Chief, with regular assaults on bankers, businessmen and conservatives who dare have a different view of the world. 

According to Obama, anyone who opposes his common sense solution for banks is just evil. “Now, unless you’re a financial institution whose business model is built on breaking the law, cheating consumers, or making risky bets that could damage the entire economy, you have nothing to fear from these new rules,” he told the crowd.

That’s certainly the consistent left-wing view on banks. Take formerly sane CNBC host turned MSNBC lunatic Dylan Ratigan (please). He loves the term “bankster” with all it entails. 

He even has a new book coming out titled “Greedy Bastards: How We Can Stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and Other Vampires from Sucking America Dry.” 

In one TV appearance, he took ownership of the term, saying “At the end of the day … the Euro currency, the Euro Zone, was a bankers’ concept or banksters’, if you’re going to use my word.”

Watching Ratigan, those of us who can bear it, is reminiscent of the Great Depression era hatred for bankers, landlords and businesspeople. It’s a theme the left and the media have institutionalized, especially with bankers. 

The famous Frank Capra movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” pits the lovable Jimmy Stewart as a community Building and Loan head against the evil Mr. Potter, played wonderfully by Lionel Barrymore. Viewers are taught successful people are Scrooge-like and to be vilified.

Sixty-five years later, that movie has turned into a holiday classic. Every single year, we are reminded that it’s a wonderful life, as long as you aren’t a bankster. If you’re one of those, it might just be a wonderfully short life if the left has its way.

Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.