Friday, August 04, 2017

Paul Ryan's And Trumpy-the-Clown's Vision For America Is Very Dark And Horrifyingly Kafka-esque


You may well have woken up yesterday to Señor Trumpanzee's tweet (below), taking-- or at least sharing-- the "credit" with congressional Republicans obsessed with destroying the consumer protections the Democrats made some terminative steps towards implementing-- despite obstruction from the corrupt Blue Dogs and even more corrupt New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- while they were in power. House Republicans-- led by Wall Street whores Paul Ryan ($10,328,395), Jeb Hensarling ($7,746,848), Ed Royce ($7,281,557), Pat Tiberi ($6,594,495), Kevin McCarthy ($6,528,867), Peter Roskam ($4,548,803), Steve Stivers ($4,512,937) and Patrick McHenry ($4,396,186)-- have been furiously chipping away at Dodd Frank protections. So how does this manifest itself in the real world and what does it do to real people?

Republicans-- along with their Blue Dog and New Dem allies like Joe Crowley ($6,477,659), Steny Hoyer ($6,073,548), Carolyn Maloney ($5,751,077), Jim Himes ($5,749,252) and Kyrsten Sinema ($2,015,020)-- literally want to make it easier for their bankster campaign donors, the people who finance their careers, to rip off their customers with impunity. An exaggeration? Not at all. Have you heard about the new class action law suits-- which the GOP wants to ban-- accusing Wells Fargo of racketeering and fraud involving over half a million customers of the bank they were stealing from? That's very precisely what Paul Ryan's "free market" Ayn Randian vision looks like in the real world. Wells Fargo-- caught red-handed-- now admits having charged hundreds of thousands of customers doing business with them for car loans for insurance they did not ask for or need, causing nightmares in the lives of countless Americans who have been left on the side of the road by conservatives as prey for the banksters.

After the NY Times exposed the scam, Wells Fargo begged for mercy late last week and promising to refund about $80 million to over half a million customers they were caught stealing from-- including at least 20,000 people whose vehicles were illegally repossessed. Last night I heard a personalized version of the scandal on NPR's All Things Considered.

Who Snatched My Car? Wells Fargo Did

Wells Fargo is back in the spotlight for another scandal. This time, for signing up 490,000 auto-loan customers for insurance they didn't need.

This comes less than a year after the bank generated a massive public outcry for opening millions of unwanted accounts for customers.

Customers who already had car insurance say they had no idea they were being charged for this insurance from Wells Fargo. And the bank acknowledges that tens of thousands of people wound up in default, which affected people's credit scores, and thousands had their cars repossessed.

One of them was Michael Feifer.

One morning in February, he was heading off to his job in Maryland at a company that builds guitars. He walked to the spot where he'd parked his car, but it wasn't there.

"I called the police," he says. "I was livid. I thought somebody stole my car."

Somebody had improperly made off with Feifer's car. But it wasn't a car thief. It was Wells Fargo bank. The police informed him of this when he called them. "That's when I found out it was repossessed," he says.

Feifer says he had no idea why the bank would repo his car. He says his payments were automatically taken out of his checking account.

"I've never missed a payment," he says. "My insurance was current."

So he called Wells Fargo and found out the bank had put another insurance policy on his car. Lenders do this when a borrower doesn't have insurance. Wells Fargo calls it collateral protection insurance, or CPI.

And there's nothing wrong with that, but Wells Fargo imposed this insurance on nearly a half-million people who already had insurance. The bank outlined the scope of the problems and its efforts to resolve them in a statement.

Right after Feifer's car got repo'd, Wells Fargo told him he was marked as delinquent for not paying this insurance-- which he didn't want or need or even know about. "They said, well, you owe $1,500," he says.

..."I showed up at that bank with my bank statements showing all the payments I made for my vehicle and my proof of insurance showing that I've never had a lapse in my insurance," he says. "The people at the bank were like, 'Well, you shouldn't owe anything because it's not your fault.' They were just as confused as I was."

Feifer says the branch employees were trying to be helpful. They called up the Wells Fargo department for him that deals with car repossessions to find out what was going on. They kept getting put on hold.

"We were probably on hold for a total of 2 1/2 hours while I was in there," Feifer says. "I literally spent the whole day" at the branch. He says the employees were getting frustrated too. "They're like, 'This is ridiculous. You shouldn't be on hold for this long.'"

What Feifer didn't know was that Wells Fargo had already been doing an internal investigation into complaints from lots of customers for the same insurance mix-up.

Feifer was eventually told to call back several days later. Then he was told there was no record of his prior calls from the branch. He said the person he spoke to on the phone wouldn't let him talk to a supervisor. "She was rude to me, talking over me. I felt like she wasn't willing to hear anything I had to say," Feifer says. He says the Wells Fargo representative just kept telling him he had to pay the money.

Meanwhile, Feifer was told that the clock was ticking and his car would be auctioned off two weeks from the day it was repossessed. So, after much haggling with the bank, he paid about $600 to get his car back.

Feifer said he figured this was just some freak mistake. But when he heard this insurance issue affected hundreds of thousands of customers, "I was blown away," he says. "I wasn't alone in it and I felt like they're preying on everybody, taking people's money. I felt like they're crooks."
Roland Tellis, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, doesn't want to let Wells Fargo off the hook with their attempt to pay the $80 million. "Wells Fargo has long lost the right to decide what is best for its customers... Refunds don't address the fraud or inflated premiums, the delinquency charges, and the late fees. It will be up to a jury or court to decide the appropriate remedy." And that's where Ryan and the House Republicans come in. They're trying the abolish these kinds of class law suits and doing everything they can to make it more difficult for the public-- their own constituents-- to protect themselves from this kind of predatory behavior. Traditionally, Democrats have stood up against this kind of crap-- it was FDR, for example, who popularized the term "banksters"-- but certainly since the Clinton presidency and the rise of the New Dems, the role of Democrats in this equation had become less clear, more murky. In his interview last week with David Sirota, for Thomas Franks explained why "the Democratic Party is in deep trouble... The Democrats very gradually, but definitely, abandoning the interests of working-class voters, identifying themselves instead with a more affluent group, with the affluent white-collar professionals. It starts in the 1970s with the Democrats removing organized labor from its structural position in the Democratic party, and then it goes up through Bill Clinton getting NAFTA done, the free trade deals that the Democrats have ... By the way, in my opinion, free trade or the trade agreements, I should say, was probably the issue that if there was one issue that really did Hillary in, I think that's what it was: the trade deals under the Clinton administration, Obama sort of dropping the ball on labor's various issues, doing these incredible favors for Wall Street while he blew off the concerns of union. The ultimate evidence is what's happening with inequality. It gets worse and worse and worse every year. It's very easy to show how the Democrats have forgotten about organized labor, but what is really striking is the passion that they show for the knowledge industries, which includes Wall Street, Silicon Valley, big pharma, that sort of thing."

The Democratic party [used to be] this sworn enemy of Wall Street. Franklin Roosevelt broke up all of these banks, the Glass Steagall Act, put all these banks out of business, and set up the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate these guys, all of these regulatory measures. That's the Democratic heritage. That's the legacy of the New Deal. Up until the days of Clinton, that's really who the Democratic Party was. They had a very populist tone, and they would never identify themselves with Wall Street.

Barack Obama comes in, and I was one of these people who thought that he represented a turn back in the other direction and that he would be, very shortly would be, getting tough with Wall Street. He had all the bailouts were underway. He had total authority over these guys, and he didn't do it. Instead, he appointed all these various Clinton people to come in and manage the bailout situation.
And now we have a pipsqueak from New Mexico, as head of the DCCC, aiming to make it worse by recruiting and financing Blue Dogs and New Dems to further take over the Democratic Party. UGLY! South Bay congressman Ro Khanna has increasingly become one of the strongest and most powerful populist voices on economic issues for progressive Democrats. Last night he reminded us that "Democrats need to have a substantive platform for the middle class, not just a rhetorical one. This means standing up for labor unions. It means standing up for class action lawsuits. It means standing up for basic consumer protections and against economic concentration. We don't need fancy consultants to come up with a message. We need to stand on the side of people against powerful economic interests and be true to our roots."

Katie Porter, a respected academic who has written extensively about consumer protection and is now running against a Republican rubber stamp who opposes it-- Mimi Walters-- with Elizabeth Warren's backing, told us that "Whether we're talking about increases in outrageous banking fees, the latest Wells Fargo product scam or the fraud that occurred in the housing market ahead of the 2008 collapse, all of it has one thing in common-- Wall Street banks engaged in systemic fraud against consumers and knew Washington would let them get away with it. I witnessed this phenomenon firsthand in my own work as a consumer advocate. These banks planned and accounted for the profits they would reap from predatory actions against consumers. Companies like Well Fargo built their business model around cheating consumers! But while Washington made some headway fighting abuses after the 2008 crisis by creating the CFPB and passing Dodd-Frank (against intense opposition from the industry and pro-Wall Street politicians), Trump and members of Congress in both parties once again are trying to make it even easier for Wall Street to break the law and reap major profits from defrauding working families. Those are completely backwards and reckless priorities, and fighting those attempts is one of the biggest reasons why I'm running."

The other progressive Democrat hoping to win the CA-45 congressional district is Kia Hamadanchy, a young attorney who worked on the staff on Banking Committee ranking member Sherrod Brown. This issue is in his wheelhouse as well and yesterday he told us that "Time and time again institutions like Wells Fargo have demonstrated that as soon as people let up or stop paying attention that they will not hesitate to take advantage of their customers and bleed them dry. One of the things we learned in the aftermath of the financial crisis was how much of the business model at many of these institutions was premised on the ability to rip off consumers. It's no surprise that they're pushing for Members of Congress '"if men were angels, no government would be necessary.' What we know is that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and what that tells us that its certainly not angels who are running these institutions and that they are in need of constant and relentless oversight."

  Maxine Waters and Dan Kildee, the ranking and vice ranking Financial Services Committee Democrats, asked the crooked Republican chairman, Hensarling, to call Wells Fargo’s top executives, CEO Timothy Sloan and Chairman Stephen Sanger, for a hearing "about ongoing violations of consumer rights, any lessons learned from the egregious behavior of the bank’s fraudulent opening of millions of unauthorized accounts, and what concrete steps are being taken to address all of the problems that have come to light." Last year Wells Fargo gave Hensarling a nice fat $10,000 bribe. Other crooked members of the House Financial Services Committee who accepted substantial bribes from Wells Fargo last year while they were investigating Wells Fargo's crimes were:
Ann Wagner (R-MO)- $18,600
French Hill (R-AR)- $15,250
Vice Chair Patrick McHenry R-NC)- $15,100
• Keith Rothfus (R-PA)- $14,800
Ed Royce (R-CA)- $12,500
Frank Lucas (R-OK)- $10,000
John Delaney (New Dem-MD)- $9,500
Tom Emmer (R-MN)- $9,150
Robert Pittenger (R-NC)- $8,500
Sean Duffy (R-WI)- $7,500
Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)- $7,500
Carolyn Maloney (New Dem-NY)- $7,750
Denny Heck (New Dem-WA)- $7,000
Steve Stivers (R-OH)- $7,000
Randy Hultgren (R-IL)- $7,000
Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)- $6,500
Bill Huizenga (R-MI)- $6,500
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)- $6,100
Mia Love (R-UT)- $6,091
Andy Barr (R-KY)- $6,000
Dennis Ross (R-FL)- $6,000
When crooked New Dems and Blue Dogs from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party are taking bribes from the same sources that pay off the crooked Republicans... well, that leads to a very special kind of bipartisanship. doesn't it. And Lujan and Pelosi want to recruit more of this garbage for the Democratic congressional caucus.

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At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two entities should now receive the death penalty:
1) wells fargo
2) the democrap party

But since voters don't give a fuck and, it would appear, customers of WF just cannot pull their heads out of their asses, nothing will happen.

Why would ANYONE be a WF customer at this point is WAAAAAY beyond me.
No less beyond me is why anyone would ever vote for a democrap again.

Is everyone in this shithole a potted plant?

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the Republicans are trying to establish is an economic jungle where the predators thrive by feeding off the rest of us. This was the mess that FDR encountered when he was first elected. The changes he made to return the American economy to civilization worked well, which is why the corporate world kept buying politicians until they had a majority large enough to eliminate the New Deal and return us to the Jungle. That so many DINOs play along with the GOP should be seen by the public as a badge of shame, but they are too willing to go along with the biased hatreds promoted by the GOP and implicitly supported by DINOs to do anything about it.


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