Today’s GOP: Taking Care Of #1

On August 14, 2012, in GreedOverPrinciples, by tommy

Today is Primary Day in Minnesota, and the most interesting races are those where right wing conservatives are getting primaried by the even farther right wingers (GOPers Julianne Ortmann and Connie Doepke being primaried examples). So I checked in on Twitter this morning, and noticed a tweet by the guy to the far right (pun intended), State Senator Roger Chamberlain. Look real closely at his twitter picture, and especially his bio: Senior tax accountant at Ameriprise.

Let’s look at a couple of his tweets, from this morning:

Seems right winger Chamberlain has a problem with the contract state employees just agreed to. Of course, to be fair, Chamberlain isn’t the only GOPer taking shots at state workers; Pat Garofalo takes the 1% side too. Anyway, here’s what Chamberlain says in the first tweet: Private sect unemployed,underemployed, pay freezes & cut

Well, that depends on which “private sector” one is referring to! For instance, how has the 1% done lately? Let’s look!

Minnesota’s top CEOs saw their pay rise 26% in 2011
Article by: JOHN J. OSLUND and PATRICK KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: July 30, 2012

After falling for two consecutive years and holding flat in 2010, median total pay for Minnesota’s 100 highest-paid CEOs jumped by 26 percent in 2011 to $1.19 million, hitting seven digits for the first time since 2007.

Stock options and restricted stock tend to drive the headline-grabbing paydays of chief executives. But the Star Tribune’s 2012 Executive Compensation Report also shows that CEOs had reasons to smile about their cash compensation — salaries and bonuses. Seventy-one of the top 100 CEOs got a salary bump in 2011. The median raise: 4.6 percent.

Overall cash compensation — salary plus bonus — rose for the second consecutive year. Median cash compensation for the 100 highest-paid CEOs was up 8.5 percent to $768,749 — the highest level since 2007.
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Payday highlights
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Largest bonus: Ameriprise Financial CEO James Cracchiolo, $11 million. He’s had the biggest bonus in our annual survey for the past three years.
(more, here)

What was that last line, again?

Largest bonus: Ameriprise Financial CEO James Cracchiolo, $11 million. He’s had the biggest bonus in our annual survey for the past three years.

Yep – the CEO where Senator Chamberlain works.

Taking shots at state workers, while the head honcho where he works has “had the biggest bonus in our annual survey for the past three years” – that’s GOPer State Senator Roger Chamberlain.

And it’s today’s example of why GOP now stands for Greed Over Principles.

Let me be very clear: Today’s GOP is all about taking care of #1 — and if you work for a living, #1 ain’t you; it’s the 1%. Period. End of story.

Never forget: You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

There are now 222 Co-Sponsors – and finally – FINALLY – Paulsen is one of ‘em. To be fair, “Bachmann” nor “Cravaack” nor “Kline” aren’t. In a nutshell, the bill in question – Congressman Tim Walz’ “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act” – would make illegal behavior by Members of Congress that already is illegal for virtually everyone else. For instance, the kind of trading behavior that landed Martha Stewart in ClubFed.

For a more in-depth look at this bill, see the Wall Street Journal’s “Congress Pushing Curb On Trading”. The status quo eems to work for Members of Congress, yes?

Now, this is simple math: 435 House Members and 222 Co-sponsors means over half – HALF – of the House support this bill. And there are well over 70 GOPers that co-sponsored the bill. and again, to be fair, while Paulsen finally saw the light/felt the heat, neither “Bachmann” nor “Cravaack” nor “Kline” are among them.

So what’s a GOPer Party Boss to do, when a bill with over half the votes needed for passage are co-sponsors?

Why, exactly what House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA did: kill a scheduled vote.

Way back in January of 2008, when Paulsen announced he was running, the very first line of his press release said, and I quote: “Saying ‘Congress is broken, I will work to fix it,’ Erik Paulsen….”. That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a promise by then-candidate Erik Paulsen.

If there was ever a time for Erik Paulsen to stand up and finally keep a promise, Tim Walz’ STOCK Act is it. Paulsen needs to stand up to the House GOPer Bosses and the GOP’s Boardroom Base and do what’s right: help get this bill passed. Paulsen needs to pay attention to Main Street – NOT Wall Street. Paulsen needs to help pass this law making what’s illegal for virtually everyone else also illegal for Members of Congress – like himself.

Don’t hold your breath. Paulsen knows which street butters his bread.

***

Previous posts on this subject:

“Congressional Insider Trading Bill: 99 Co-Sponsors And None Of Them Named Paulsen” by TPT 28 November 2011

“Two GOPers Co-sponsor Tim Walz’ STOCK Act – And Neither Is Named Paulsen” by TPT 16 November 2011

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

Smart money was betting it wasn’t going to take long for the short knives to start slashing in the race to replace the cooked books regime of FEC Tony. Money placed that way is a winner! Recently deposed MNGOP Chair Tony Sutton – and make no mistake, Tony didn’t leave willingly – was MNGOP Treasurer back in the day when the back room book cooking was brought to light; for a quick primer, go read “A Key Element Of The Tostenson Memo”.

With that in mind, I went and checked some twitterlines o’ some GOPers that for various reasons I find interesting and/or amusing. First up, Andy Apliikowski of Residual Forces – let’s look!

OK, the link in that tweet takes you to Andy’s website, where Andy has a niftly little sreadsheet, listing potential candidates for the recently vacated MNGOP Chair position. Now, keep in mind Big E’s recent post on that vacated seat, “Michael Brodkorb slings mud at Tom Emmer and his supporters at the legislature”. That said, here’s what Andy says about one such potential candidate:

OK, apparently Andy doesn’t like Joe; likes to take little digs at him. I understand it goes way back, to when Repya was running for MN GOP Party Chair, and Andy was a volunteer. That was a particularly nasty campaign from those that liked the party’s status quo and didn’t like the reform-minded Repya. For background, see “Enemies Of The Party”. Andy has been, shall we say, “taken to task” by the Brodkorbs of the party, but he’s been working himself back into good graces of the last regime. And I’d venture taking cheap digs at Repya helps him do just that. Whatever.

Anyway, I did a quick twitter check on Repya, to see what others were saying. This one popped up, from Repya himself!!!

Ruh-ROH!!! Repya’s talking to someone – Luke Hellier – on Erik Paulsen’s local staff – and NOT his campaign staff; his official, local congressional office staff! Matter o’ fact, Luke – who used to be Brodkorb’s cut&paster at the notorious “Minnesota Democrats Exposed” slime machine “blog” – has the official title of “Constituent Services Representative.”

What got Repya’s dander up? Let’s look!

Oh, wait – seems Luke’s done scrubbed his twitterline!

Seems that since I started looking on the ol’ I’phone while running errands, the offending tweet done “magically” disappeared!

That’s ok; I already had a screen shot! Silly Luke…

Now, somefolk might think “hey – that’s not so bad.” Yeah, “right.” Keep in mind that although Paulsen postures about the need for “civility in politics”, he’s had two of the least “civil” folk I can think of, working for him: first, Brodkorb, back in the ’08 cycle, and now Hellier, on his district staff. And keep in mind Paulsen is a career politican – he rose to the position of GOP Majority Leader during the last 4 years of his 13 years in the State House.

Paulsen’s tight with the people that have been taking shots at Repya for years; shots for the simple reason Repya doesn’t – IMNSHO – like that GOP now stands for Greed Over Principles. And make no mistake; there is a high-stakes fight brewing in thee GOP over the direction of the party. Some people are going to get trashed. These opening shots at Repya will only get worse if he decides to rejoin the party and run. Smart money is betting against that, but with the Brodkorbs of the GOP, that doesn’t matter – smear ‘em and make SURE they don’t run is the standard operating procedure.

Hellier should know better than to tweet that – he’s on the taxpayer-paid payroll working for a Congressman. Paulsen should know better than to have a hack like Hellier on the official staff – but with Paulsen, it’s not what he says, but what he does that counts. Especially in matters of civility.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

Update – 09 December 2011: here are now 222 Co-Sponsors – and finally – FINALLY – Paulsen is one of ‘em. To be fair, “Bachmann” nor “Cravaack” nor “Kline” aren’t.

Update – 08 December 2011: there are now 202 Co-Sponsors – and still, none of them are named “Paulsen”. Well, to be fair: none are named “Bachmann” nor “Cravaack” nor “Kline”…

Update – 07 December 2011: there are now 180 Co-Sponsors

Update – 03 December 2011: there are now 153 Co-Sponsors

Update #2 – 02 December 2011: The House Financial Services Committee website now lists a hearing on December 6th.

Update – 02 December 2011: there are now 141 Co-Sponsors — and a Star Tribune editorial, too.

Update – 01 December 2011: there are now 131 Co-Sponsors

Update – 30 November 2011: there are now 117 Co-Sponsors — and still, none of them are named “Paulsen.” Well, to be fair: none are named “Bachmann” nor “Cravaack” nor “Kline”…

It’s been a half a month since “60 Minutes” ran a story on national TV: “Congress: Trading stock on inside information?” In that half a month, 90 U.S. Representatives in Congress have added their names to a Bill (H.R. 1148) Tim Walz, MN-01 introduced last March – including 21 GOPers. None of the now 99 Co-Sponsors (now including 22 GOPers) are named “Erik Paulsen, MN-03.”

This bill really isn’t controversial; what it would do is make it illegal for Members of Congress to make security trades (stocks, etc) based on information gained in the performance of their official duties- it would make illegal the same kind of behavior that landed, for instance, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling of ENRON infamy seats behind the defendant’s table in a Courtroom.

This bill would make illegal behavior by Members of Congress that already is illegal for virtually everyone else.

So, what’s Paulsen’s excuse for not signing on? As best as I can tell, his only public statement was released through a representative a week ago (Nov. 18th):

Referring to hearings scheduled in the House to look into the issue, Rep. Erik Paulsen’s spokesman Tom Erickson wrote, “To operate effectively, Congress must have the trust of the American people. Erik supports disclosure and is looking forward to hearing what the bipartisan Financial Services Committee thinks.” (mpr.org)

Except don’t expect any hearings from that “bi-partisan” committee any time soon. Even though the Committee chair, GOPer Spencer Bachus, sent a letter to Ranking Member Barney Frank on November 17th stating it was “his intention” to schedule a hearing on December 6th, the committee’s website doesn’t list a hearing – and a press release from the committee on November 22nd doesn’t have the bill on the schedule for the week of December 12th.

Walz’ Bill currently has 99 co-sponsors – including one Republican Member of that Financial Services Committee – Walter Jones from North Carolina. Rep. Jones co-sponsored well over a month before the “60 Minutes” story broke. Over a half a month after the story broke, Paulsen hasn’t – and if he’s waiting for a hearing (that may or may not happen) to decide to co-sponsor a bill that would require the Congress to be like virtually everyone that isn’t in Congress, he might be waiting a long time.

Here’s what Brian Barnes, who is seeling the DFL endorsement to challenge Paulsen next November, had to say:

“It’s been a week and a half since the representative’s office promised Minnesotans that Erik Paulsen is determined to help Congress ‘operate effectively.’ But to date, he hasn’t been willing to lend his support to Tim Walz’s STOCK Act, a bill that would prevent members of Congress from engaging in the type of insider trading that would land businesspeople in jail.

“Ninety-nine members of the House of Representatives have signed on as supporters of this important legislation—including some of the chamber’s most liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.

“I wish I could say I’m shocked that Rep. Paulsen hasn’t joined this bi-partisan group of lawmakers in doing the right thing, but I’m not. He hasn’t led in his nearly two-decade career in the Minnesota Legislature and the Congress. So it’s no surprise that he hasn’t done anything over the last 10 days to move the ball forward on the kind of transparency he claims to support.

“As usual, it’s all talk and no walk from a congressman who’s too busy cashing checks from Wall Street and awaiting marching orders from his Inside-the-Beltway handlers.”

I’m not shocked either.

When Paulsen announced to run for Congress, in January 2008, the very first line of his press release at that announcement read:

‘Congress is broken, I will work to fix it.’

No, career-politician Erik Paulsen won’t.

And his refusal to co-sponsor this bill is but one example. It’s also an example of where Paulsen’s loyalties lie: his Boardroom Base.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

Update – 08 December 2011: there are now 202 Co-Sponsors – and still, none of them are named “Paulsen”.

Update – 07 December 2011: there are now 180 Co-Sponsors

Update – 03 December 2011: there are now 153 Co-Sponsors

Update #2 – 02 December 2011: The House Financial Services Committee website now lists a hearing on December 6th.

Update – 02 December 2011: there are now 141 Co-Sponsors — and a Star Tribune editorial, too.

Update – 01 December 2011: there are now 131 Co-Sponsors

Update – 30 November 2011: there are now 117 Co-Sponsors — and still, none of them are named “Paulsen.” Well, to be fair: none are named “Bachmann” nor “Cravaack” nor “Kline”…

(Update #2: As of yesterday (November 21st) there are now 92 — 92! — Co-Sponsors, including 19 — 19! — GOPers. While Walz’ proposed legislation is clearly non-partisan, Paulsen hasn’t signed on. Why? My best explanation is: GOP party bosses haven’t told him to.

As of yesterday (November 21st), all four Minnesota DFL Representatives are on-board; none of the four Minnesota GOPer Representatives have signed on.

Update #1: As of yesterday (November 17th), there are now 65 — 65! — Co-Sponsors on Tim Walz’ Bill; none of ‘em are named “Paulsen.” While Paulsen couldn’t take the time to sign on to Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge – he DID take the time to prove, once again, that GOPers Believe In States Rights (except when they don’t).

Back on March 17th, Tim Walz, D-MN01 introduced H.R. 1178 – the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge” (STOCK) Act. Through November 4th, it only had 9 co-sponsors. Then last Sunday night, “60 Minutes” ran a story: “Congress: Trading stock on inside information?”

Now there are 28 co-sponsors – including two republicans – but neither is Erik Paulsen, R=TargetCorp. Well, to be fair, nor is it his Tea Party pal Michele Bachmann, either.

No, the two lonely GOPers signing on with the 26 Democrats in the House are Rep Schilling, IL-17 and Rep Herrera Beutler, WA-03 – both after the story broke.

OK, Bachmann has an excuse – well, a couple of ‘em: she’s never written a bill that’s actually become law, and since presumably God told her to run for Prez, she’s never in D.C. anyway.

Paulsen? no excuse – because when push comes to shove, he’ll always take the corporate line on every issue. Walz’ Bill takes dead-aim at profiteering by the financial industry trading on insider information; part of an industry Jon Collins at MN Indy took a look at back in July: “Minnesota lawmakers who voted against consumer agency are flush with banking cash”. The sub? “Paulsen leads delegation in industry contributions, $74,400 since 2009″.

After watching the “60 Minutes” story, Brian Barnes – who is seeking the DFL endorsement to unseat Paulsen said this:

“Moments ago I finished watching a shocking report on 60 Minutes about members of Congress using insider information they gain from their office to line their own pockets—oftentimes at the expense of the American people.

“This reprehensible practice—which would land business people in jail—should be banned immediately. Therefore, I am asking Rep. Erik Paulsen to join with me in condemning the members of both parties who have engaged this insider trading they themselves made legal. I am also calling on the congressman to sponsor legislation to make this disgusting conduct what it should be—criminal.”

To recap – since the story broke, two GOPer House Members have shown the courage to co-sponsor Walz’ bill, neither of them are Paulsen.

Don’t expect Paulsen to sign on any time soon; bucking the GOP’s Boardroom Base just simply isn’t in Erik Paulsen’s nature.

Taking care of the GOP’s Boardroom Base is.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

Last Sunday, after reading noted GOPer apologist Jason Lewis’ latest rant in the Star Tribune, I posted “Who Is The Whiny 9 Year Old Here?” In it, I wrote: “I’d fact-check Jason, but what’s the point? It’s not like pointing out (once again) that Reagan said “facts are stupid things” and GOPers live it will really change their deceitful ways.”

Well, yesterday – over at MinnPost – Eric Black took a look at Lewis’ rant, too – in a post entitled “Jason Lewis’ wrong and exaggerated arguments about freedom”. And it’s well worth the read — so go read it! Here’s a teaser:

Everything the right likes can be phrased as a form of “freedom,” as in freedom of the rich from paying higher taxes, freedom of corporations from government regulation, freedom to pollute, freedom of those with almost unlimited resources to use those resources to influence elections, freedom of the wealthiest 1 percent to accumulate any damn portion of the society’s wealth and income without shame, freedom to overthrow foreign governments (but only in order to bring freedom to the oppressed of those nations) and a few other important freedoms that you can think of on your own.
(more, here)

One area Eric Black pokes a big hole in Lewis’ rant is the wingnut right’s fixation on “the Founders” and their alleged anti-tax views. Again, Reagan said “Facts are stupid things” and wingnuts like Lewis prove it on a regular basis. That’s why I stuck that picture of ol’ Ben Franklin and that quote up there – ripping “money manipulators”. OK, that quote was probably misattributed to ol’ Ben. Be that as it may, Ben was a wise man indeed and – IMNSHO – would be standing with today’s Occupy Wall Street protestors; protesting today’s dishonest monetary system.

Eric blows a hole in Lewis’ misuse of Federalist #21. I like the following quote from the second paragraph of Federalist #2:

“Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.” — Publius (John Jay), October 31st, 1787

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Only a fool would believe what GOPers say – and what their apologists, like Jason Lewis and Katherine Kersten, write.

Noted GOPer apologist Jason Lewis is simply an example of: “You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.”

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

A while ago, then-GOP National Chair Michael Steele said – and this is an exact quote: “You have absolutely no reason – none – to trust our words or our actions at this point.”

In today’s Star Tribune, noted GOPer apologist Jason Lewis demonstrates this continues to be true. I’d fact-check Jason, but what’s the point? It’s not like pointing out (one again) that Reagan said “facts are stupid things” and GOPers live it will really change their deceitful ways. No, today Jason whipped out something that needs to simply be mocked, ridiculed and scorned: Jason calling the pot black. Here’s what he wrote:

“The glorified mob, from Athens to New York, is threatening social instability if it doesn’t get what it wants (as Chris Christie once pointed out, this trait is also quite prevalent among 9-year-olds), but it will bring about only the economic chaos it pretends to oppose.” (emphasis added)

Earth to Jason; earth to Jason! Republicans gave Wall Street Banksters everything – EVERYTHING – they wanted, and the results is not only the economic chaos we are still in, but driving the world’s economic system to the brink of meltdown.

When reading Lewis, and Kersten too, it’s pretty easy to tell who are the whiny 9 year olds demanding everything they want – it’s the less-regulation/no regulation, “my way or the highway” GOP.

Gentle Readers may recall GOPers – like the whiny, (mentally) 9 year old Lewis – ranting about their belief in “free markets” and “competition” and what wonderful things that “competition” will do for the economy. Well, remember those words while we take a look at the results of their deeds:

Only a fool would believe what GOPers say – and what their apologists, like Jason Lewis and Katherine Kersten, write.

Jason Lewis is simply today’s example of: “You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.”

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

Last week, I wrote a post titled Banksters Wells Fargo And Others Sued For Ripping Off Veterans. This story was about a whistle blower case filed by mortgage processors that claimed Wells Fargo and 12 other banks were charging Veterans illegal closing fees, and ultimately taxpayers for the houses went into default. Last Friday, while Guest Hosting on AM 950 radio, I interviewed an attorney for the case, Marlan Wilbanks – the podcast can be heard here.

On Sunday, The Washington Post, who first broke the story last week, ran this story:

Hill staff begins probe of alleged mortgage loan fraud of veterans
By Steve Vogel, Published: October 16

The chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee ordered his staff to begin an investigation Friday into allegations that some of the nation’s largest lending institutions have cheated veterans and taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars by charging illegal fees in home refinancing loans.

Committee staff members met Friday with officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss the charges, which are made in a whistleblower lawsuit unsealed this month by a federal court in Atlanta.

“I will reserve judgment on the appropriate next course of action, to include the potential for a full Committee hearing, after having the opportunity to review the results of the staff investigation,” Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the committee, wrote in a letter Friday to Rep. Bruce Braley (Iowa), the ranking Democrat on the committee’s subcommittee on economic opportunity.
(more, here)

OK, you know – KNOW – there’s got to be some fire in the smoke, when a GOPer (Rep. Jeff Miller) agrees to a staff investigation into the GOP’s Boardroom Base.

The key to this is making sure the GOPer-led Committee “staff investigation” doesn’t morph into a GOPer whitewash. Fortunately, Rep. Tim Walz is a member of the Committee. On the Senate Side, Veterans Affairs Committee Members Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Jon Tester have spoken out:

From Mortgage News Daily:

Whistleblowers Charge VA Loan Fraud; Sue 13 lenders
Oct 5 2011, 10:51AM

UPDATE: In response to news of the lawsuit, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, has called for action from the VA and the Department of Justice. Brown said, “No consumer should be forced to pay illegal fees, but it is particularly disgraceful to impose such extraction schemes on our veterans.” He asked the agencies to release full information on any internal investigations and responses to the suit.
(more, here)

From Senator Tester’s Facebook page:

I’m calling for an investigation into big banks accused of bilking veterans
by Senator Jon Tester on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 3:34pm

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is pushing the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the nation’s biggest banks for allegedly adding illegal fees to the home loans of veterans and their families.

A recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and J.P. Morgan Chase disguised fees that are specifically forbidden under VA rules on veterans’ home refinancing loans.
(more, here)

Now, Gentle Readers, why am I worried about a GOPer whitewash of ripping off Veterans? Because when the methods Banksters such as Wells Fargo used to rip off Veterans come to light, I happen to believe, and have reason to believe, that some of those same methods used to rip off Veterans were also used to rip off Granny GrayHair and Joe SixPack and a whole bunch of other average Americans.

This investigation of ripping off Veterans has the chance of being a real Pandora’s Box, which is something the GOP’s Boardroom Base does NOT want to be opened.

So support the Occupy Wall Street crowds, and let your representatives know it’s time to hold Banksters accountable.

For a quick primer on what Wells Fago did to rip off Veterans, link here to VAMortgageFraud.com.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com); comments welcome there)

Marching On Wells Fargo

On October 14, 2011, in Economy, GreedOverPrinciples, Veterans, by tommy

Minnesotans For A Fair Economy is organizing a March on Wells Fargo today, it’s in conjunction with OccupyMN and starts at 3:00 pm at Peavy Plaza (not the Hennepin County Gov’t Center).

There’s a lot of reasons to be holding Banksters such as Wells Fargo accountable; ripping off veterans is just one.

Last week, The Washington Post had this headline:

Suit alleges banks and mortgage companies cheated veterans and U.S. taxpayers
By Steve Vogel, Published: October 4

Some of the nation’s biggest banks and mortgage companies have defrauded veterans and taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars by disguising illegal fees in veterans’ home refinancing loans, according to a whistleblower suit unsealed in federal court in Atlanta.

The suit accuses the companies, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage, of engaging in “a brazen scheme to defraud both our nation’s veterans and the United States treasury” of millions of dollars in connection with home loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“This is a massive fraud on the American taxpayers and American veterans,” James E. Butler Jr., one of the lawyers bringing the suit, said Tuesday.
(more)

The Seattle Times (and others) picked up on the story:

Investigation sought into VA loans with 13 major banks
By Steve Vogel — The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Following allegations in a lawsuit that 13 major banks defrauded veterans out of hundreds of millions of dollars with illegal fees to refinance home loans, the chairman of a Senate consumer-protection panel Wednesday called on the departments of Justice and Veterans Affairs to release any internal investigations related to the suit.

The whistle-blower lawsuit, first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday, alleges that the banks disguised unallowable attorney fees on refinancing loans guaranteed by the VA. The suit, which was filed in 2006 in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, was unsealed Monday.

“Yesterday, we learned that abuses of veterans may run even deeper than we previously knew,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Panel and a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.
(more)

And a Congressman from Iowa is calling for investigations, too:

Braley calls for congressional probe of banks handling veterans’ home loans
By James Q. Lynch/SourceMedia Group News — October 12, 2011

Rep. Bruce Braley is calling for an investigation of allegations that Wall Street banks have been defrauding veterans and taxpayers out of millions of dollars by intentionally disguising illegal fees in veteran home financing loans.

“If a bank intentionally preyed on veterans who’ve put their lives on the line for this country just to pad their profits, that’s beyond the pale,” Braley, a Waterloo Democrat and member of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, said.

Braley made his request for a probe in a letter to House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller and Ranking Member Bob Filner.
more)

Not surprisingly, the Strib has pretty much turned a blind eye on the story, except – as far as I can tell – just one Associated Press blurb.

There is simply no doubt Wall Street Bansksters have been ripping off the 99%ers. If you can, you should march with those demanding accountability from Wells Fargo.

And don’t forget: these are peaceful protests.

# # #

OccupyMN.org

mnFairEconomy.org

TakeActionMN.org

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

Yesterday, I recieved a tip from an Appraiser – “Whistle-blower case targets big banks over fees on refinancings for veterans” – naming Wells Fargo as a defendant. As they say, timing is everything, because earlier today, #OccupyMN was going to march on Wells Fargo!

First, the lawsuit:

Whistle-blower case targets big banks over fees on refinancings for veterans
by KERRI PANCHUK Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

A pending whistle-blower lawsuit accuses 13 banks with charging military veterans hidden fees on mortgage refinancing transactions.

Some of the nation’s big banks — Wells Fargo (WFC: 26.15 +0.08%), Bank of America Corp. (BAC: 6.40 +1.91%), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM: 32.3901 +0.28%)— are listed as defendants in the case, along with ten others.

The case was filed in 2006, but the court unsealed it recently, according to parties familiar with the matter. Bank of America declined to comment, while JPMorgan and Wells Fargo couldn’t be immediately reached.

Filed in the U.S. Northern District of Georgia – Atlanta Division, the whistle-blower lawsuit claims the defendants hid illegal fees when refinancing veterans’ mortgages that were insured by the government to provide the servicemembers with special loan products.

The plaintiffs claim 13 lenders violated a federal statute that prevents financial agencies from imposing “charges or fees against the borrower in excess of those permissible by law.”

(more, at HousingWire.com; copy of lawsuit at VAMortgageFraud.com)

How’s THAT for “screwing supporting the troops” — real “patriotic”, eh?

So, again, with the Wells Fargo, et al bankster lawsuit in mind, I figured I’d head downtown Minneapolis and watch the OccupyMN.org March On Wells Fargo. Oh – I figured I’d take a few pictures, too – let’s look!!!

The tweet:

TwoPuttTommy At the #OWS People’s Plaza in Mpls; march on #Banksters #WellsFargo coming up! #StribPol #StribBiz #1U http://twitpic.com/6yu6fb
4 hours ago

The picture!

Now, you’ll hear Right Wing Nut Jobs talking about thugs ‘n such at these Occupations; as usual, reasonable people have no reason to believe what GOPers say. These signs were all over the place; cops ‘n duputies told me those attending have been VERY well behaved – respectful and orderly. No suprise there!

The tweet:

TwoPuttTommy “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out” #OWS in Mpls #Banksters #StribPol #StribBiz #1U http://twitpic.com/6yuib4

3 hours ago

The picture!

And yep! The crowd was yelling “banks got bailed out; we got sold out.” ‘Cause, they did and we did. Oh – and don’t forget; Veterans got cheated. Kinda makes ya wonder who else the Banksters cheated, don’t it?

The tweet:

TwoPuttTommy Guy walking around w/ a #BradleeDean shirt & camcorder at #OWS People’s Plaza #StribPol http://twitpic.com/6yulvi

3 hours ago

The picture!

OK, the guy looked and acted like a RWNJ taking pictures o’ the participants; so I asked him. He denied it; denied knowing Bradlee Dean – said he just bought the shirt ’cause he’s a Christian and liked the message RWNJ Bradlee Dean’s Street Minions gave him. I told him Christians don’t trust Pharisee’s, so don’t trust Bradlee Dean. Since there was a reasonable doubt that they guy was a RWNJ Tracker, I’m not posting the clear shot I got o’ the guy. Yet.

The tweet:

TwoPuttTommy At #Banksters #WellsFargo Mpls office, #OccupyMN fills lobby #StribPol #StribBiz #1U http://twitpic.com/6yup2e

3 hours ago

The picture!

OK, I’m not a professional pho-tog. (Heck), I’m not even a professional journalist – I’m a pundit. Some times my pictures suck; sometimes my writing sucks. So it goes.

Anyway, the protestors packed the lobby at Wells Fargo Corporate HQ in downtown Minneapolis; that’s a replica Wells Fargo stage coach in the middle o’ the crowd. Wish it were a better pic, but hey – so it goes.

The tweet:

TwoPuttTommy #OccupyMN leaves #Banksters #WellsFargo HQ shouting “we’ll be back!” #OWS #StribBiz #StribPol #1U http://twitpic.com/6yurqq
3 hours ago

The picture!

Pretty much says it all!

The tweet:

TwoPuttTommy #OccupyMN is now basing for #TCFBank; here’s a parting shot from #Banksters #WellsFargo: #OWS #StribBiz #StribPol #1U http://twitpic.com/6yuv1l

3 hours ago

The picture!

Huh??!? “Greed Over People”? Well, ok – but I always say “GOP stands for Greed Over Principles” – which is why I had to take that pic!

The tweet:

TwoPuttTommy Another picture from #OccupyMN at #Banksters #WellsFargo HQ today #1U #StribBiz #StribPol http://twitpic.com/6yvryt

2 hours ago

The picture!

Ruh – roh… Seems that that “another picture” is one I already tweeted… Oh, well – like I said: I’m not a pro, and so it goes.

Here’s a picture I didn’t tweet:

Like I said, those “keep it peaceful” signs were all over the place. And the protesters are.

If you get a chance to get to “The People’s Plaza” between the Hennepin County Government Center and minneapolis City Hall, do it.

The Banksters have been screwing us all, and they need to be held accountible.

Click here for the location.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll see me there, too.

# # #

Additional Resources:

OccupyMN.org

mnFairEconomy.org

TakeActionMN.org

Bonus picture!

This nice lady didn’t want her face in the picture; as usual, The Dude Abides.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)