Don’t Let Big Banks Break the Economy Ever Again

Contact your Congressional representatives to urge them to support the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall. If we don’t break up the big bully banks and restore some safeguards, we’re setting up a cycle of boom/bust that always costs the average person and ends up putting more dollars in the pockets of the rich and powerful. And those rich banksters will keep using their wealth and influence to subvert the democratic process, ensuring the rest of us have no real say in how our country is governed.

“We weren’t sent to Washington to work for the big banks. It’s time for the banking a system that serves the best interests of the American people, not just those few at the top.”

“We weren’t sent to Washington to work for the big banks. It’s time for the banking a system that serves the best interests of the American people, not just those few at the top.”       ~Elizabeth Warren

Still don’t understand why you should get involved and insist that Congress pass Warren’s bill? Here’s a great op-ed piece by Robert Reich: Time to bring back Glass-Steagall.

Or watch this classic episode of Moyers & Company that explains the whys and wherefores very clearly.

Want to do more? Sign these petitions and share on social media.

PETITION TO CONGRESS: Pass Elizabeth Warren’s Glass-Steagall Bill

Help Elizabeth Warren rein in Wall Street

Pass Elizabeth Warren’s Glass-Steagall Bill

 

Arizona’s Koch Addicts

Anybody else out there shaking your head today, wondering how so many of our fellow Arizonans once again let themselves be goaded into casting votes that mire our state in the ongoing political morass and make us a national punchline.

It’s true. We’ve been Koched.

How else could we elect another Republican legislature full of wingnuts who who will lead the state into costly lawsuits fighting for patently ridiculous laws? Case in point: narrowly passed Prop. 122, the so-called sovereignty bill.

First, do we really want those same legislators, who voters deemed unworthy of a raise, pretending to be legal scholars and pushing ballot issues questioning what is and isn’t constitutional? Seriously?

And second, it doesn’t take a legal scholar to guess that 122 will never stand up to legal scrutiny. The whims of a state’s majority don’t trump the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution. The only question is will our new Republican governor and the new Republican attorney general waste millions defending this nonsense like the past (R) pair did for SB1070?

We have a governor who touts his record as a “job creator” in spite of serious complaints from his investors and a Secretary of State (the top election official) decrying the very political “dark money” that got her elected. Oh, and an AG who is a former lobbyist with ties to the private prison biz and a Corporation Commission skewed against increasing use of solar energy. (I remind you, this is Arizona, we’re talking about.)

Plus we seem to be on the verge of electing a state schools superintendent with no education experience, but lots of “conservative” dogma. Look for a Jeffco Colorado type of assault on school curricula in the entire state. (Hey, we’re already selectively defacing textbooks to support conservative ideology; why not just re-write them, instead?)

How did this happen, you ask? Two words: “Koch Brothers”. Or how about “Dark Money“? Yep, all that lovely right-wing conservative takeover money creating TV attack ads and filling your mailbox with reams of mailers worthy only of the recycle bin.

How long before the entire country is re-designed according to the grand design of two billionaire old white guys destined in their own minds to rule the world by buying up one vote at a time.

Who’s a “Koch Ho” in Arizona?

Congress Does Nothing Again; Pissed When President Does Something

 So, if Congress is busy playing its little power games and chasing corporate money, who exactly is doing the business of running the country? Seems the President is trying to get a few useful things done before the next multi-billion-dollar-fiasco formerly known as an election.

So, of course, a bunch of under-achieving Republican legislators say he’s overreaching, giving himself imperial powers like a king. And Speaker Boehner is going to take time from his busy tanning schedule to sue the President for, you know, governing and doing stuff the American people might be interested in like making sure we have roads to drive on.

Oh, and by the by, if you’re still trying to get out of foreclosure with your shirt, well, Congress didn’t exactly help you there. In fact, by their inaction (their favorite pasttime) they may very well have given your shirt, your right arm and your first-born to — you guessed it — the bank. By failing to extend the Mortgage Debt Foregiveness Act, Congress left who-knows-how-many folks in foreclosure or negotiating short sales up the creek with a leaky canoe. Your tax dollars and your vote at work (not).

Where’s Mr. Smith When You Need Him?

Watching an old favorite on TV this evening made me think how much we need a few honorable men and women like this in Washington to get the country back on a decent track.

I had forgotten the plot — an honest Senator fighting to keep a rich businessman from buying votes to create a dam project that would enrich him while cheating the rest of the citizens.

The people of my state need permanent relief from crooked men riding their backs. ~Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart)

Congress Plays With Livelihoods; Fox “News” Yammers On

On Fox News last week, a prominent far-right pundit said the shutdown is irrelevant because the “worst thing that happens is some museums close.” Another prominent far-right radio host boasted yesterday that the shutdown is “a dream for conservatives.”

Yeah? Well tell that to the people whose homes washed away during the recent flooding in Colorado. Or the ones whose towns will be cut off from essential resources if the roads that access them aren’t rebuilt before winter sets in.

“The federal government is partially shut down, although, you know, for most people, it might be an inconvenience…”

Yeah? Well tell it to these people in Estes Park, Colorado, who have busted their backsides putting their businesses back together after catastrophic flooding so they didn’t miss the fall tourist season when they make up to 60 percent of their annual income. With Rocky Mountain National Park now closed, they’re doubly screwed.

“Despite the closure of thousands of parks, monuments, museums, and government offices across the country, the furlough of 800,000 employees is really just a “slimdown,” where Washington temporarily trims the fat off day-to-day government business.”

How many times do we have to call on Congress to grow up and do its job? To work for the American people instead of playing stupid, selfish power games? It’s sure getting old.

Dear Congress, You’re Fired! Go Play Your Childish Games Elsewhere.

What Congress does instead of working for Americans. Posturing, tantrums and power trips.

Federal Government Shuts Down

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a country where the legislators worked for the greater good instead of playing whiney-baby power games? I sure think it would.

Voters on Congress: Throw the bums out! All of them. *

* (Ed: Except Elizabeth Warren. I think we need to clone her. And bring back Gabby Giffords.)

 

Throw the Bum/Comptroller Out

The so-called federal regulators are still aiding and abetting the big fraud-factory banks to hide their shady foreclosure procedures, both past and ongoing. And the lying, cheating and stealing goes on and on.

From the North Dallas Gazette article What we don’t know about foreclosure practices may still hurt us:

“A recent study of the Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) process by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) cited significant flaws, including a lack of transparency, in the design and implementation of the process. The IFR process was created in 2011 because several mortgage servicing companies and their affiliates were found to have regularly engaged in questionable, unsafe, and even illegal practices.”

 Yes, in my case Wells Fargo, servicer of my misbegotten mortgage loan, absolutely engaged in questionable, unethical, immoral, unprofessional and what I certainly consider to be illegal practices. And I’m hardly alone. The big banks’ loan mod and foreclosure practices – such as lying to homeowners and playing all kinds of games to manipulate them into the giant sinkhole known as the “foreclosure track” – appear blatantly illegal to any average, common-sense person.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone who could do anything about it considers what the banksters do is illegal. That includes the legion of legislators who get big campaign donations from the financial industry, as well as a whole lot of judges and about all the states’ attorneys general. And, of course, the completely impotent Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is tasked with supervising banks to “ensure that they operate in a safe and sound manner and in compliance with laws requiring fair treatment of their customers and fair access to credit and financial products.”

 Despite the GAO’s conclusions, however, the Fed and the OCC have decided to double down on the secrecy surrounding the process: refusing requests by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for information about the IFR process, and about specific violations of law—including wrongful foreclosures, excessive fees, and fraudulent affidavits filed in court.

So, what next? I don’t think Sen. Warren will back down. In fact, maybe she  should call on President Obama to replace the current Comptroller with someone who isn’t so obviously in bed with the banksters. He has the power to do that, according to the OCC’s own website:

“The OCC was established in 1863 as an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The President, with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate, appoints the Comptroller to head the agency for a five-year term.”

Maybe the Senate should look out for the American people and retract their consent for the appointment of the incumbent. Maybe the President should take some action that actually helps beleaguered homeowners instead of making speeches that offer hope and help and justice that never actually materializes.

Throw the bum out! That might also put the FDIC back on the side of the consumer, as well, because the Comptroller also heads that agency. (No wonder it’s giving the banks a bye, as well.)

 

Sen. Warren Calls for Real Financial Reform

Want to put an end to the big banks’ self-serving myth of “too big to fail?” Support Elizabeth Warren’s push to revitalize the way banks and financial institutions are structured, a la Glass-Steagall.

And don’t be fooled by the bank shills who will be running in circles yelling ridiculous things like “the sky is falling” and “regulation will cost too much” and “limiting the size of banks will harm the economy.” The only thing that will be harmed will be the bonuses of the billionaire bank executives.

Learn more:

Have to say I was stunned pleasantly surprised to see John McCain’s name on the bill. After he did damn-all to help Arizonans weather the foreclosure crisis – and considering securities and investment companies were among his top campaign contributors – it’s pretty amazing. (Wanna bet it means he’s not going to be needing their big bucks again. Chasing legacy instead of campaign $$.)

 

Even the FDIC Covers for Bad Banks?

The banks are being aided and abetted in their greed frenzy by pretty much every power center you can imagine: by the President, Congress and the judicial system. By the Treasury Department and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and most of the state attorneys general.

For homeowners beset by predatory mortgages and fraudulent foreclosures, there aren’t many allies left standing. Elizabeth Warren and Elijah Cummings in Congress. Eric Schneidermann, if he comes through. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency, we hope. And, of course, our old friends at the FDIC.

We’re taught from the time we open our first savings accounts as children or teens that the FDIC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., is looking out for us, ensuring the money we deposit in financial institutions is safe and secure. Yep, the FDIC exists to serve consumers in case of bank insolvency or wrongdoing. Or not.

Turns out this purported regulator of the financial services industry isn’t looking out for us at all. In fact, it’s helping banks cover up their dirty deeds and has been for years. From the LA Times article on the subject:

“Critics describe the FDIC’s current practice of low-profile deal-making as a major departure from the S&L crisis.

“‘In the old days, the regulators made it a point to embarrass everyone, to call attention to their role in bank failures,’ said former bank examiner Richard Newsom, who specialized in insider-abuse cases for the FDIC in the aftermath of the S&L debacle. The goal was simple: ‘to make other bankers scared.'”

I’d just like to know what agency exists today that can make bankers scared of any of the sins they commit against their customers. Or a so-called regulator that actually looks out for the average citizen.

How can I make informed decisions about the financial institutions I trust with my money if the agencies tasked with informing me are actually in league with the industry to cover up wrongdoing? With the technology available today, I should have no problem steering clear of any company that doesn’t routinely do business fairly, ethically and legally. Yes, I can easily access a list of failed banks on the FDIC website. I should also be able to find information about banks that have been investigated for and found guilty of any kind of wrongdoing.

I should, for example, be able to access regulator’s databases for information on complaints against banks as easily as I can search at my local Better Business Bureau’s site. There I can find out whether a business I’m considering patronizing has a good rating or has been subject to customer complaints.

More important, I can also learn a bit about those complaints and how they were handled.  Now one or two successfully closed complaints won’t necessarily cause me to shun a company. On the other hand, the fact that more than 5,500 complaints against Wells Fargo Bank were reported to the BBB over the past three years might give me pause. Especially because even with the BBB’s intervention, more than 800 of those were not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

Meanwhile, my credit union has an A+ rating from the BBB and has had zero complaints of any kind over the past three years. None. Not one.

By the way, while I was on my local BBB site I pulled up nationwide complaint and inquiry statistics for 2012 and found that banks and banking services generated nearly 500,000 consumer complaints, financial services created more than 800,000 public contacts and mortgage bankers, brokers and lenders together accounted for more than 2 million consumer inquiries and complaints.

And that’s just problems reported to the BBB, which admittedly doesn’t have the cachet or the influence to right consumer wrongs that it did a decade or two ago. But, apparently unlike most of the country’s attorneys general and seemingly every single bank and financial services regulatory body out there (including the FDIC), at least the BBB is still on the side of consumers. I think.

FDIC Secretly Settling Bank Cases For Years With ‘No Press Release’ Clause

Give ’em Hell, Elizabeth Warren!

Sometimes it seems like Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the only person in any power position in this entire country who understands and has a problem with what the big banks have done to utterly and completely screw millions of American homeowners.

It’s no surprise to those who have been fighting off the banks’ foreclosure feeding frenzy that regulators, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is squarely on the side of the banks.