March 18, 2011

Significance of court order blocking collective bargaining law is debatable

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 10:33 pm

Author’s note:
Yes, I realize the events in Japan have much more global significance than the events in Madison, WI, but I am sticking with the story in Madison. The court ruling, while insignificant in terms of stopping the bill(s) from passing, is a clear example that the GOP will push the legal limits in order to further their agenda. One must ask themselves: What would have been the outcome if the courts in Madison were stacked with GOP judges like the courts in most other states?

Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order in Dane County Circuit Court on Friday blocking a new and controversial law that eliminates nearly all collective bargaining rights for most public employees. While opponents of the bill consider the ruling a victory, proponents say the legal setback is unlikely to prevent the ultimate implementation of the law and the passage of Gov. Walker’s budget bill.

The collective bargaining law cannot go into effect until it is published by Secretary of State Doug La Follette. The ruling delays publication of the law until March 29, when Judge Sumi plans to hold a full hearing on a lawsuit that questions the validity of the law based on the speedy manner in which it was carried out earlier this month. An appeal is possible before then.

The case was brought before Judge Sumi by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne who seeks to block the law, which Walker signed last Friday, arguing that a legislative committee violated the state’s open meetings law in passing the measure.

Wisconsin’s open meetings law requires a legislative committee to provide public notice of meetings 24 hours in advance, or two hours in emergencies, and allow public access to the meeting.

Ozanne’s suit alleges that the emergency standard did not apply and that even if it did, the meeting did not follow the law because the committee met with less than two hours’ notice. Ozanne also argued that the meeting violated the law because public access was restricted due to tight security at the Capitol and because it was held in a small room unable to accommodate the large crowd trying to get in. Ozanne had to show a probability that the case would succeed on its merits and that irreparable harm would occur if it did not.

Judge Sumi, who was first appointed to the bench by former GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1998, ruled that the meeting was likely to have been held in violation of the open meetings law because a joint Assembly-Senate conference committee did not provide the public with adequate notice before approving the bill March 9.

Opponents of the measure hope the decision is the first of many that would ultimately undo legislation that has split the state and drawn tens of thousands of demonstrators to the capitol over a matter of many weeks. Supporters of the measure suggest the judge’s decision is certain to be overturned as various legal efforts make their way fully through the court system, and is merely a speed bump to the ultimate implementation of the law and passage of the budget bill.

While it is nearly impossible for state Democrats to stop the collective bargaining and budget bills from passing with Republicans dominating all bodies of the state legislature, the ruling today is a minor victory in some respects: It keeps the budget battle in the media spotlight and on the minds of Wisconsinites, it buys time while efforts to recall Republican State Senators, and ultimately Gov. Walker, gain momentum, and shows that state Republicans will push legal boundaries in order to further their agenda.

If recall efforts are successful, both the collective bargaining law and the budget bill can be repealed as early as 2012 and the state constitution can be amended to protect against further assaults on Wisconsin working families by future legislators as early as 2013.

Read more, get links, video and a slideshow here: Madison Independent Examiner – Significance of court order blocking collective bargaining law is debatable

Yay for the new war?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:23 pm

A friend in Concordia Kansas sent an e-mail to this columnist that we interpreted to mean that she was training her Chihuahua dog to participate in a Kansas based Iditarod style race for the breed of dog that we thought would be considered “illegal alien” status in her area. Do dogs need green cards?

It might seem irresponsible and frivolous for a columnist to consider writing a column on the dig topic at a time when the tree huggers are concerned about “an atomic plume” arriving on America’s West Coast and a new “It’s not about the oil” war being added to the gripes of the unpatriots who are celebrating the start of the Afghanistan phase of the perpetual war on terrorism.

We noted a story on the Romensko Media News page at the Poynter website that stated that the Wire Service Guild has asked writers to withhold content and honor the strike against the Huffington Post website. Obviously, the Huffing and Puffing Aggregator website isn’t going to cross post that story and so if we mention it in this column, there is a slight chance that some of our readers (the ones who don’t check Romenesko daily) might not be aware of that development in the strike. [This just in: On Friday, March 18, 2011, Uncle Rushbo reported that the use of by-lines on AP stories is now a labor issue.]

The ego boost allure of crossing the picket line and giving Arianna permission to cross post something isn’t the only dilemma facing bloggers today. Many bloggers will have to wrestle with their conscience and decide if they will recycle an old “It isn’t about the oil” conservative augment from the Bush era and update it to sound relevant to the “no fly” zone military adventure in Libya or will they merely declare President Obama to be the black sheep of the Bush family and consider any effort to protect British Petroleum’s interests in Libya to be a new item for the list of Bush family outrages? If Britain helped the US invade Iraq, doesn’t the USA owe reciprocal military support for BP? Aren’t they a major part of the petroleum industry in Libya?

The prudent thing to do would probably be to hold off on this column and listen to some liberal talk radio shows and take a measure of the depth of their commitment to everything President Obama does or says. Then, if they concur with the effort to send more troops to install democracy in Libya, add our voice to the choir of admiring sheep or should we just dummy up and join in the silence of the lambs?

If Randy Rhodes and the Daily Kos are very adamant in their support of a new Obama military venture, shouldn’t this column disregard the old question about “if all your friends were jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge” and bang out a “one state, one people, one leader” column offering unquestioning commitment to a new war? If they balk at the opportunity to rubber stamp approval of all things Obama, won’t they appear to be subscribing to some weird conspiracy theory cult belief if they don’t “go along to get along”?

It certainly seems that a stance, that would condemn aggression and torture by Hitler and George W. Bush, but not if Obama does it, is a bit of a stellar example of using convoluted logic to rationalize your political views.

For those who are partisan critics of the George W. Bush wars of aggression, it would seem that they are now (metaphorically speaking) caught taking a long lead off first and will fall victim to a pick off throw. If you condemn Hitler and Bush, but make allowances for Obama to do the same thing, you are inconsistent and sound like a conspiracy theory nut.

If, however, you subscribe to the Henry Louis Mencken philosophy that the only way for a columnist to look at a politician is downwards, then it will be perfectly acceptable to ridicule Obama just as enthusiastically as one did George W. Bush during his stint as commander-in-chief.

The squad of Obama cheerleaders will be a bit uncomfortable this weekend, equivocating about how the Libya situation differs greatly from the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan. If they look to Bush fans for a show of sympathy, they might get a bit of the old “you’re on your own, pal” cold shoulder from the likes of Uncle Rushbo et al because no matter how much Obama tries to imitate George W. Bush, they will always hate Obama and never give him any credit or praise for his efforts to retroactively get the Democratic voters to approve of and support the Bush agenda.

Before this columnist plunges brashly ahead with a sarcastic column that asks what social services programs will have to be scrapped to pay for a new bit of jingoistic colonial empire deployment in the dark continent, we might postpone our efforts and go see the new movie, “Paul,” and see if there might be a few laughs and a way to mix a movie review with some political commentary on it.

Maybe we should send an e-mail to our friend in Kansas and ask for more details about this intriguing but Google search illusive topic of an Iditarod style competition for Chihuahuas?

Maybe we should go buy a Geiger counter and walk around Berkeley CA and see just how accurate the “nothing to worry about” assessments really are? Nah! That makes us sound like a conspiracy theory nut.

If some Americans are going to stage anti-war rallies on Saturday, perhaps we could make an appeal for funds to hold a pro-Obama rally? Aren’t their several really good automobile museums rather close to Nuremburg? If we could get some patriotic well funded organization to subsidize it, we could go over there and (perhaps) do the work necessary to have a picturesque pro-Obama rally of expats?

Hunter S. Thompson coined the folk advice: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Over there,” “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,” and “Just before the battle, mother.” We have to go check out the rumor that the teachers unions, which want smaller classes, are funding the drive to give children the freedom to choose factory work (and $ $ $) over school. Have a “Cathedral of Light” type week.

March 17, 2011

What If Fox News Targeted the Irish the Way They Target Muslims and Hispanics?



Corporations Are Lying to Us About the Dangers of Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown

It’s summed up in the emphasized third sentence – if nuclear power plant owners followed every safety precaution, they couldn’t make any money. Neocon Republicans love to spread fear by doting on lurid tales of the destruction that could be wrought by a ‘dirty-bomb’ nuclear device in the hands of a terrorist – so far, ‘peaceful’ nuclear power has killed more people than Al-Qaeda, but you won’t hear the GOP complain; they are, after all, a paid arm of the nuclear power industry.

“…[I]t’s been normal for this company in the past [lying to the public]. It’s normal for the industry to some extent.

“It’s a highly ideological industry, and it also involves a lot of concentration of political power, as well as physical power. And those institutions become very powerful, very close to the regulators, and an adversarial culture develops where they’re constantly pushing against the safety measures, because that`s where the money is.

“If you did every single thing that you — that was possible to make it safe, then you couldn’t make any money.”
– Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” March 16, 2011, talking about the Japanese nuclear plants. [Emphasis mine.]

“Nuclear plants the world over must be certified for what is called ‘SQ’ or ‘Seismic Qualification.’ That is, the owners swear that all components are designed for the maximum conceivable shaking event, be it from an earthquake or an exploding Christmas card from Al Qaeda.

“The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie. The industry does it all the time. The government team I worked with caught them once, in 1988, at the Shoreham plant in New York. Correcting the SQ problem at Shoreham would have cost a cool billion, so engineers were told to change the tests from ‘failed’ to ‘passed.’ ” [snip]

“These [Japanese nuclear] plants are now releasing radioactive steam into the atmosphere. Be skeptical about the statements that the ‘levels are not dangerous.’ These are the same people who said these meltdowns could never happen. Over years, not days, there may be a thousand people, two thousand, ten thousand who will suffer from cancers induced by this radiation.” [snip]

“It would be irresponsible for me to estimate the number of cancer deaths that will occur from these releases without further information; but it is just plain criminal for the Tokyo Electric shoguns to say that these releases are not dangerous. …The carcinogenic isotopes that are released at Fukushima are already floating to Seattle with effects we simply cannot measure.”
– Greg Palast, investigative journalist and former nuclear plant inspector, from “The No BS Info on Japan’s Nuclear Operators,” March 14, 2011.

March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patrick’s Day + Raymond Davis sets an example

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:36 pm

Yelp just posted a list of various places where you could go to celebrate St. Patricks Day in the East Bay, including Fentons ice cream parlor. Fentons?

“At Fentons,” Yelp wrote, “Lynsey T falls for the sweetness of her Celtic crush, the Black and Tan.” WHAT! Doesn’t Yelp realize that the dread Black and Tan slaughtered huge numbers of Irish-Catholic protesters in Belfast and Crossmaglen — not to mention the ones that they murdered in Dublin, Kerry, Cork and Tipperary during the 20th-century Irish battles for independence. Yikes! Yelp, wash your mouth out with soap.

And speaking of murders, let’s talk about Raymond Davis, the American CIA agent in Pakistan who was caught in the act of murdering people, and was just recently set free by the high court in Lahore. Why? Because apparently there’s a law in Pakistan that says if you kill someone you can buy your freedom by paying your victim’s family enough “blood money” to satisfy them. Well, apparently Davis (or the CIA or, more likely, American taxpayers) just forked over two million dollars to the families of the two men who he killed — and Davis is now a free man.

Hey, maybe we should consider doing something like that over here in America too. At the rate of one million dollars per man, then perhaps Bush and Obama could buy their way out of having caused the unnecessary deaths of approximately 5,900 American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan — by offering up “blood money” to the families of the soldiers they killed in these two trumped-up wars. Then Bush and Obama’s get-out-of-jail-free cards would only cost them, er…. Sorry, I’m bad with numbers. You do the math.


Nihilism for fun and profit

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:31 pm

As a child, this columnist found a hypnotic allure to all things nihilistic even though the thought that “it’s all an exercise in futility” was completely incomprehensible to a kid who was living in a world where all things were possible. Was my classmate Joey Biden there when one of the nuns told us that anyone of us could become President of the United States? At the end of the movie “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” the old prospector and one of his young protégées laugh as the fruit of their year of labor blows away in the wind. Really? People can do that?

Sitting in Berkeley waiting for the authorities to say again that the events in Japan will have no impact on this California city, knowing that if they candidly admitted that the outlook was bleak there would be nothing that could be done except to begin a search for any possible “end of the world orgy” nearby, brought to mind the words of the old guy in the aforementioned movie. He advised his young partner to laugh and make the most of the situation. Now after a lifetime full of stolen elections, broken campaign promises, and endless petroleum wars, suddenly the message of “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” has snapped into clear focus.

Why listen to news? Why not slap an old tape into the player and listen to Jerry Lee Lewis wish that he wasn’t middle age crazy but actually was 18 again. “Going places I’d never seen.”

What would you give to see a living legend sing? We’ve had the experience of seeing old Jerry Lee perform at the legendary Palomino in North Hollywood. That famous night club is long gone and we don’t know where the hell our Pal T-shirt is. Oh, well, it’s like the line in one of his songs: “If I had the time, I’d do it all again.” We all know what memories can bring; they bring diamonds and rust.

“We lost cousin Davey in the Korean War; still don’t know what for”

Liberal bloggers spent hours pounding out columns pointing out that Bush was duplicating the Nazi War Crimes. Along came Barry and he retroactively approved the Bush methodology and urged the Democrat voters to forgive and forget.

Now, we might send troops to Libya. The spirit of George Bush lives on!

We heard an news item that indicates that General Patraus will ask for more troops for the war in Afghanistan. I once was blind but now I see. You go, Barry, and remember the old John Wayne philosophy: “Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”

The American government spokesman says there is nothing to worry about regarding radio active fallout from Japan. Libya? Tell ‘em the Marines are coming to protect BP’s oil.

Voting to give Barry a second term seems like it will give this columnist a much greater appreciation for all those nihilist movies we’ve enjoyed so much for so long. Would Barry appreciate the nihilistic irony if we don’t actually go to a voting machine and validate his continuation of the Bush policies?

In the broadcast for Tuesday, March 15, 2011, listeners to the Mike Malloy radio show, heard about a teacher in Milwaukee who had donated $2,000 to Barry’s Presidential campaign. The fellow wished he had his money back. Do you think that Barry’s corporate donors have buyer’s regret? That teacher needs to rent “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and memorize Howard’s speech.

The tree-huggers are rather upset that Barry isn’t ordering a reevaluation of nuclear plant safety measures, as Germany has done. Both Barry and Uncle Rushbo agree that doing that in the USA is unnecessary. Perhaps the treehuggers need to read up on Nietzsche’s thoughts on the need for a revaluation of reevaluations?

The tree-huggers are rather alarmed that some pixy dust from far away will fall on their heads, especially in the West Coast area of the USA, and cause some medical problems. Barry and Uncle Rushbo agree that such alarm is just a fairy tale story gone out of control. Eventually the treehuggers will come home wagging their tales behind them?

Some goody-two shoes types are upset that Barry hasn’t changed the Bush war policy. Well, if he sends more troops to Afghanistan, they can’t say that then, can they? If war is good, isn’t more war better?

George W. Bush was upset that the Democrats didn’t give unconditional love to him and his agenda. Barry came along and played the role of Judas goat and brought all most all the Demorcrats into the war mongers tent. Thus, retroactively, George W. Bush finally gets full approval of his record.

Mike Malloy played an old sound byte that featured Barry saying that if workers’ rights were threatened, Barry would put on some comfortable shoes and join them on the picket line. Malloy indicated that an implied verbal contract had been broken by Barry’s recent absence in Wisconsin.

Malloy, on Tuesday, repeatedly referred to Bush’s successor as “President Crazy.”

What’s the title of the song where Willie Nelson sings the words: “there’s nothing I can do about it now”?

Barry let George W. Bush walk. Are any members of the clergy urging Barry to turn Dubya over to the world court? Barry has sanctioned the continued torture of Bradley Manning. Is it any wonder that Arianna Huffington didn’t think it worth while to pay folks for material that disapproved of George W. Bush’s political agenda? Wink wink nudge nudge. You go right ahead and rant about “war crimes” all you want.

If the nuclear accident in Japan precipitates the end of the world, there’s not much use in trying to live blog the process. If it’s just a big boo-boo that will intrigue historians centuries from now, there’s no use wasting time scribbling out alarmist columns that will ring hollow in the future. What’s done is done. Like the croupier says: “No more bets!” Just watch the ball bounce around on the roulette wheel, now.

Who said: “the writing hand writes, and having writ, moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, nor all your tears wash out a World of it.”?
Wasn’t that the same guy who also advised: “Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, beforfe we too into Dust descent; Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie, Sans Wine, sand Song, sans Singer, and – sans End!”

It used to be that this columnist actually advocated a renunciation of George W. Bush’s war crimes. Now, we hear the voice of Judy Collins, explaining the Barry Obama philosophy: “through many days of toil and strife, we have already found that grace . . . and faith will lead us home . . . when we’ve been there 10,000 years . . . than when we first begun . . . I once was lost, but now I’m found. Once was blind but now I see.”

After all these years, it still boils down to what Howard said at the conclusion of “Treasure of the Sierra Madre:” “It’s a great joke played on us by the Lord, or fate, or nature, whatever you prefer. But whoever or whatever played it certainly had a sense of humor! Ha! The gold has gone back to where we found it!… (Curtin joins Howard in boisterous laughter.) This is worth ten months of suffering and labor – this joke is!” or as Ned Kelly once said: “Such is life.”

The disk jockey will now play:
Edith Piaf’s “No Regrets”
Little Richard’s “Bama Lama”
Patsy Cline’s “I was so wrong” and “Crazy” (written by Willie Nelson)
Joan Baez’s “Simple Twist of Fate”
Frank’s version of “Quarter to Three” (Do the young readers want to know: “Who was Frank Sinatra?”)
Doors “The End”
David Carradine’s “Cosmic Joke” song
Roy Orbison’s “Communication Breakdown”
Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album
Willie Nelson’s “Nothing I can do about it now” and “Living in the Promised Land.”
The Mickey Mouse Club song (why not?) and the “You’re nothing but a nothing” song which (we learned as mouseketeers) contains the lowest note ever sung by a human voice.
Last, but not least, Kris Kristofferson’s “What ever gets you through the night.”

We have to go find an “End of the World” Orgy.
Have a “rock, shock, jay-hawk” type week.

Recall targeting WI GOP Senators secures nearly half of required signatures

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 1:53 am

Author’s note:
While everyone, including myself, are concerned with the nuclear meltdowns in Japan, let’s not forget the movement in Wisconsin. Be sure to check out the video in the article…

The recall effort mounted against eight Wisconsin Republican state Senators has secured nearly half of the signatures required in order to proceed with the recall process. The effort, undertaken by Wisconsin voters along with pro-labor, progressive and democratic organizations, has more than a month remaining to gather the required signatures.

Only two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Democratic Party announced in an email that, “…citizens from around the state took the first steps by filing recall papers against key Republican Senators who have stood with Scott Walker and pushed his partisan power grab that will strip thousands of middle class teachers, nurses, librarians and other workers of their right to collective bargaining.”

Now recall efforts against GOP senators are ahead of pace in signature gathering in every single one of the eight districts being targeted, and in three of the districts, organizers have well over 50 percent of the number required.

The Washington Post reported that organizers targeting GOP Senators have “collected over 56,000 signatures supporting the recall drives, after another surge in organizing activity over the weekend. That’s up from roughly 14,000 after last weekend. This means [the recall effort] is well ahead of schedule.”

If enough signatures are declared valid, an election is scheduled for six weeks later. If more than one challenger in the same party files papers, then that election serves as the party primary, which is followed four weeks later by a general election.

Though the national media has largely treated the Wisconsin story as resolved, the new signature numbers suggest the GOP’s maneuver may only be giving more momentum to the recall drives.

On an aside note, Wisconsin state Senator Randy Hopper (R – Fond du Lac), who is targeted for recall, was not found in his district by demonstrators who picketed his residence last weekend. Hopper’s wife, however, informed organizers that he is living in Madison with a 25-year old lobbyist before signing the recall petition against him. Living in another district may be in violation of a state law.

While it is nearly impossible to verify the exact amount of recall signatures on either side at this time, it is clear that the recalls targeting GOP Senators have the momentum. Democrats and labor organizations are raising money for the recall drives at a frenzied pace, and organizers obtained thousands of signatures from voters gathered at a huge rally in Madison over the weekend.

The only caveats here are that the initial surge of signatures are easier to obtain than the last few, so sustaining the momentum will be difficult. Furthermore, since challenges to signatures are certain to occur, organizers need a comfortable buffer of signatures beyond the minimum required.

Gov. Walker, who was inaugurated last January, will not be eligible for a recall until 2012. It will take over 540,000 signatures to trigger a recall of Governor Walker in 2012.

Will the people of Wisconsin follow through with the enthusiasm expressed at the rallies in Madison, or will these efforts fade as time goes by? The first indicator of the answer to that will come in about 45 days.

Read more, get links, video and a slideshow here: Madison Independent Examiner – Recall targeting WI GOP Senators secures nearly half of required signatures.

March 15, 2011

The GOPs Slinky Economic Logic


March 14, 2011

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: Little Known “Facts”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 8:33 pm

“Because these days actual facts are an endangered species.”

scots-pine1 Have you ever wondered where pine nuts come from? You’d be surprised: they come from pine trees. It’s an ancient ceremony derived from Native Americans who often “thanked” animals they hunted after they killed them for offering up their lives.

They would go deep into the forest and seek out the biggest pine tree with the biggest nuts. They would apologize to all the lady trees who surely had enjoyed the pleasure of the he tree many times with their moans of ecstasy. Then they chopped the he tree’s nuts off.

Since the only mouths he trees have are usually stuffed with owls their screams are soft, at best.

Then they peeled the nuts carefully, washing whatever residue is left from the chopping. Even though pine nuts are very, very, tiny, they have thousands of them per tree. The sacrifice is minimal.

To this day pine nut gatherers have followed this sacred ceremony, and for years the he trees have sacrificed their family jewels for humanity.

So be sure, like our Native American friends, whom Americans have always shown NOTHING but respect for (COUGH), make you sure thank a pine today for offering up their delicious, tasty, nuts.

And if you believe that story you might consider joining up with those only a little less “brilliant” than you are: Teabaggers, Birthers and those who believe anything FOX “News” tells them.

Civil war in Libya: Is America next?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 4:34 pm

American right-wing radio talk-show hosts have been spewing hate into our airwaves for over 20 years now. First came the attacks on “FemiNazis”. And now it’s all about attacking liberals, Social Security, trade unions, Democrats, Muslims, Mexican-Americans, homosexuals, women’s reproductive rights, African-Americans, government services, anyone who thinks that banks, Wall Street and semi-automatic weapons should be regulated, poor people, old people, sick people, children, teachers, etc.

Good grief!

Is there anyone at all left in the American middle and working classes that haters on talk-radio haven’t attacked recently? Probably not.

However, please be aware that generating so much hate can be like opening a very deadly Pandora’s box — and that we all need to watch out. Look what just happened in Libya when the Pandora’s box of hate was opened up there. Libyans began slaughtering Libyans right and left. How much hate needs to be generated in order to turn countryman against countryman like that? A lot.

I’m not saying that Americans now hate other Americans as much as Libyans hate other Libyans. But we are currently driving in that direction far too fast. Perhaps it is time to put on the brakes before we too speed over that same cliff.

Right now, Libya is a bloody mess due to hate — just like what happened in Yugoslavia and Iraq, and also what happened during the American Civil War of 1860-1865. Yet despite these in-your-face examples, Americans still don’t seem to realize that flirting with hate is like playing with fire. Hate can be just as destructive as the recent devastating tsunami in Japan — only it is a deadly emotional tsunami instead, turning neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother, friend against friend, just like it did at Bull Run, Manassas, Shiloh, New Orleans, Murfreesboro, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Vicksburg, Knoxville, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Atlanta, Savannah, Richmond, Washington and Appomattox.

A bloody and hateful civil war has happened in America before — and it could happen here again if we keep allowing ourselves the gluttonous indulgence of hate. And if another civil war does happen here, will it be as bloody as the ones in Kosovo or Baghdad or Tripoli — or Gettysburg?

Do we really want civil war to break out in America again like it did at Ft. Sumter? No! But if it does happen again here, what exactly would this second American civil war be called? How about “The great bloody Limbaugh Beck Palin Fox-News Arizona Wisconsin anti-working-class anti-homosexual anti-Muslim anti-Mexican anti-Black anti-union anti-liberal anti-female pro-corporatist pro-oligarch Civil War”? Nah. Too many words. How about simply “The Fools’ and Bigots’ Civil War sponsored by Rich People.” Yeah that sounds better.

PS: Peace Pilgrim is still my idol — remember her? She was an elderly lady who walked over 25,000 miles on foot all across America in the 1950s, advocating peace wherever she went. I’ve always wanted to do that too — except that I have bad knees and can’t walk more than a few blocks at a time without pain. But maybe I could still do it anyway, perhaps in a golf cart? Would that count?

PPS: I gotta confess that even I have been doing a lot of hatin’ lately — hatin’ on America’s greedy and selfish big-box banks Why anyone in their right mind would invest their money (and their trust) in greedy mega-banks that are “too big to fail” (yet that feel no remorse when they cause US to fail) is way beyond me — when there are so many healthy and honest local credit unions out there to bank with instead.

So. Let’s all take our money out of CitiBank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase and all those other player banks who inflicted us with the great American housing disaster, and deposit our money in Berkeley’s wonderful Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union instead


Celebrity Gossip Pulitzer Prize?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:33 pm

In all the times that this columnist traded words with Andy Warhol, the celebrity artist never managed to work his prediction that everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes into the conversation. After reading the New York Times Sunday edition for March, 13, 2011, we were appalled to realize that an irrelevant tidbit of information about conversations with Warhol might be a better way to start a column than mentioning the work done by the support group which helps the parents of murdered children cope, which we learned about while chatting with a fellow passenger on the Amtrak taking us back to Berkeley from Los Angeles.

In that day’s edition of the paper, the magazine section contained an article by Bill Keller that attempted to answer the question: “How much more of itself can the media consume?” He reports a relevant encounter with Arianna Huffinton and then succinctly encapsulates the challenge facing news aggregator sites: “They seem to have realized that if everybody is an aggregator nobody will be left to make real stuff to aggregate.” Do you think that the fact that writers are on strike against Huffington might be a “checkmate” bit of relevant evidence for his contention?

No use stepping on her toes if their paths will (inevitably) cross again at another future of journalism seminar.

That epitomizes the Catch-22 limitations of Celebrity Gossip Journalism. If you piss-off the celebrities you will be ostracized and be cut off from all possible content without access to the views, quips, and insider information that comes with belonging to the In crowd. If you go along to get along, your supply of material will be unlimited.

The In Crowd isolates itself from the real world and hence looses touch with the reality of the working class world.

While on the aforementioned train ride we chatted with a student at Fresno who was going home for a weekend of mom’s good home cooking. Since it was a chance to get a random sample of what the college students are thinking these days, we asked him if he thought George W. Bush was a war criminal. He couldn’t say one way or the other. He wanted a career in criminology and he had no opinion on the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan or the use of torture. We know we have the raw material starting point for a good trend-spotting column, which we may have to talk to some more college students to get a better basis regarding the trend or statistical aberration aspect of the conversation with the Fresno student. (Name dropping tidbit. This columnist saw the Jefferson Airplane perform in Fresno . . . a while ago.)

In the New York Times’ Op Ed area for March 13, 2011, we enjoyed Frank Rich’s piece titled “Confessions of a Recovering Op-Ed Columnist.” His anecdote about how, as a teenager, he had his first encounter with Walter Lippmann might be a useful tidbit to have ready to use when we do our annual National Columnist Day installment, honoring the memory of Ernie Pyle, when April xx approaches.

The folks at the NSNC organization might want to use the Book Section’s essay by Anthony Gottlieb, essentially inferring that Michel de Montaigne should be considered the patron saint of bloggers as a basis for voting Montaingne as the inspiration for nominating him to be the patron saint of columnists.

In the Gottlieb piece, he explained that Montaigne used an early version of the stream of consciousness style writing to great advantage. Perhaps we should relay the link for that to the editors at a web site where some of our attempts to contribute cross posting efforts are rejected for not having one dominant connecting theme. Then again, when older Americans have to explain who the Jefferson Airplane was, maybe an effort to imitate Montaigne is asking for too much digital leeway.

Columnists (such as Ernie Pyle during the Thirties) used to go out into the hinterland to ascertain what the Average American was thinking. Now the Fox College of Cable Knowledge is readily available to tell Americans what they should (if they want to be “hip”) be thinking and it saves Rupert Murdock a bunch of silly irrelevant expense checks and it saves the audience brain cells they would need to use up to think. In America, it has become easier to tell folks what to think and not ask them what they are thinking.

When we spent a recent evening chatting at the Cow’s End Café in Venice CA, we spoke with a hypnotist and amateur magician, who had worked in the psy-ops section of the military, and were surprised to learn that his pick for the next fellow to be dealt the “stolen election” card will be JEB Bush.

If the Celebrity Gossip In Crowd gets a tip that JEB is trending “hot” on the political radar, then all the bloggers will (as they sometimes do in Congress) confirm that bit of news by a voice vote (that is as accurate a measure as is the throwing of spaghetti against a wall) and tossing in the word “acclamation.” Until then, rogue columnists have to do the salmon going upstream imitation act and have faith that the old “nose for news” style of intuition is still a valid (albeit nostalgia laden) method for journalistic trend spotting.

Here’s a question for those who think that the assertion that today’s celebrity journalists are trapped inside a bubble: “What are the chances that this columnist can send the link to this column to Bill Keller or Arianna Huffington and get either one of them to read it?”
Not bloody well likely?

In a true capitalist country it is easier to manufacture propaganda than to encourage intellectual curiosity, which hold the danger that it could wind up biting a mogul on the ass. (Solidarity means everyone shouts “yes, sir!” in unison. [Remember the old axiom: “When I say ‘jump,’ you jump and ask ‘How high?’ on the way up!”]

Who is America’s leading “counter culture” journalist these days? Is there no market for a modern “underground” voice of dissent? When Hunter S. Thompson was leading the charge against the establishment press, he got his efforts mentioned in Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. When was the last time any of those publications made reference to a blog that was not written by a member of their own staff or by a celebrity?

BTW the three times that this columnist spoke with Andy Warhol, it was rather brief encounter but the one time we did ask if Warhol’s visit to L. A. and a recent Truman Capote sighting in the Venice CA area, was sufficient evidence to do a trend-spotting article. Warhol quizzed us about the Capote sighting and left the trending possibilities un assessed.

Bill Keller has written (The New York Times Magazine Sunday, March 13, 2011, page 11): “The other, more insidious reason that I have been deemed more important than the founder of Amazon or Hosni Mubarak is that our fascination with capital-M Media is so disengaged from what really matters.” To which, we can only add: “Amen, brother!”

Now the disk jockey will mark the 35th anniversary of the release of the movie “Taxi Driver” by playing the soundtrack album and Frank Ocean’s “Bitches Talkin’” and Sky Ferreira’s “Haters Anonymous.” We have to go do some preliminary fact finding about the Yosemite Conservancy and their fund raising efforts. Have an “all the news that’s fit to print” type week.

March 13, 2011

Largest political rally in Madison’s history yesterday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 7:25 pm

Author’s note:
As horrible and newsworthy as the events in Japan are, I hope that does not distract people from what has been accomplished in Madison, Wisconsin yesterday. Be sure to check out the slideshow at the link below.

Madison, Wisconsin, a city legendary for its political activism, has raised the bar again yesterday with what may have been the largest political rally at the state Capitol in its history. While some estimates put the number of people that gathered for a pro-labor demonstration as high as 150,000, even the official estimate by the Madison police of 85,000 to 100,000 surpasses the numbers of the rallies at the peak of the anti-war movement in the 60’s. There were no arrests.

The people came to the Capitol from every corner of the Badger state – in cars, on buses and even on tractors. A few from Michigan, Minnesota and Chicago came to join the fight. Even the 14 democrats of the state senate, who had left the state in an attempt to slow down Governor Walker’s agenda, decided it was time to return.

And the message remains clear: “We, the people, have had enough!”

Despite a setback on Thursday with the passage of a bill that strips public employees of most collective bargaining rights, makes it illegal for unions to deduct fees from member’s paychecks and empowers the state to fire employees for going on strike, the number of demonstrators continues to grow.

With collective bargaining rights lost and the budget bill certain to pass, protesters are now chanting “Recall Walker!” instead of “Kill the bill!” In fact, the message has become clearer than ever. It is no longer just a legislative battle in a state with a progressive tradition. It is now, in a broader sense, a movement for democratic renewal.

The movement in Madison is seen by many as a resistance to a nation-wide assault on worker’s rights that began with the Reagan administration. The long term goal is to win the war on the middle class being waged by corporations, banks, mainstream media, Wall Street and the politicians that corporate money has bought.

The short term goal of the movement is to recall at least three, and up to eight, Republican state senators who backed the bill, shifting control of the chamber to the Democrats and restoring a system of checks and balances to what is now one-party government in Wisconsin. Ultimately, the movement seeks to remove Walker from office and set the tone for the elections in 2012.

Getting an early start, farmers from around the state arrived first, on tractors (see slideshow). The tractorcade was organized by the Wisconsin Farmers Union and Family Farm Defenders. John Peck, the group’s director, according to the Cap Times, says many of those coming to Madison are upset by the realization that Walker’s agenda is “sacrificing Wisconsin’s quality of life for everyone, not just unions.”

Next “Art Workers March Together” (a.k.a., “The Blue Tape Brigade.”) marched from the Overture Center to the gathering, decorated in painter’s tape, which was used to affix posters to the Capitol’s wall. The actors, painters, musicians and others, beating drums, carried possibly the largest and most elaborately constructed palm tree yet to the Capitol square. They were greeted with chants of “Fox Lies!”

Madison Firefighters Local 311 members then marched through the crowd, with bagpipes and drums blaring (see slideshow). The Rev. Jesse Jackson, actress Susan Sarandon and actor Tony Shalhoub (a Wisconsin native) joined the firefighters as they wove their way through a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd that filled the Capitol Square and several blocks of State Street.

Outside a hotel opposite the Capitol, the 14 state Senators appeared. The rally climaxed with speeches from a few of them. “Wow! You go away for a couple of weeks and look at what happened!” shouted state Senator Jon Erpenbach.

“We are going to take our state back. We are going to take our rights back,” declared state Senator Julie Lassa, a central Wisconsin Democrat who told the crowd, “I have never been prouder to be a Wisconsinite.”

Bob Jauch, a Democrat from northern Wisconsin told the crowd: “We did not weaken democracy when we went to the land of Lincoln. We strengthened it.”

Many Wisconsinites seemed to share that sentiment, as the overflow crowd greeted the returning senators like celebrities, chanting: “Thank you! Thank you!” and “Welcome home!”

The unity and solidarity, the signs and the numbers tell the story. Wisconsinites, most of whom are working class people, have been awakened, like “a sleeping giant” with a common cause reflected in a common chant: “This is what democracy looks like!”

Read more, get links, a slideshow and video here: Madison Independent Examiner – Largest political rally in Madison’s history yesterday

A ‘Newtron’ Bomb For Gingrich?


March 12, 2011

Multiplying Meltdowns

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 8:14 pm

At first the concept that the homeless have been evicted from the Venice Beach area might sound like a bit of absurdisms that could be an excuse for making some glib comments about an inconsistency in the assertion that America is being run by compassionate conservative Christians and that we had mentioned that this columnist would collect material on that subject while visiting the Los Angeles area recently. The March 2011 issue of the Free Venice Beachhead has a lead story that tells about “Blue Bus Patty,” who came to the Venice area when she was 19, and thirty five years later returned to her native state of New Jersey, when a local L. A. politician used his influence to get the homeless out of the Venice Beach area. Who among us can not see that the principles of Christ clearly are in peril when xenophobia can motivate a return to the level of charity in America that was the backdrop for John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” achievement in literature? Change? Only the bumper sticker slogans have been changed to protect the self-esteem of the politicians’ heartless efforts to use the situation for their own political advantage. It seems like the concept of Christian Charity has done a meltdown in America (again).

Newt Gingrich has taken the Republican concept of screwing the citizens for ostensibly patriotic reasons to a new level of absurdity. Patriotic adultery? Contemporary American Culture seems unquestioningly willing to embrace that illogical example of rationalization from a Republican who is offering himself as a contender for his party’s next nominee for President. The compassionate conservative Christians were ready to impeach Clinton, but now seem willing to embrace Newt. Isn’t that very convenient for the Newtster? Will Newt spark a revival of the swing parties as a way of manifesting a surplus of Patriotic national pride? (If he does; will super patriotic hot babes be desperate enough to e-mail their kink needs to an understanding columnist from “across the aisle”?) Did Newt ask ladies to wear only a flag while the sound system played Randy (nudge nudge wink wink) Newman’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On”?

Who is the greater patriot: Newt Gingrich, Larry Flynt, or Hugh Hefner?

Has any well known member of the Clergy called out Newt for this ridiculous blatant example of rationalization or do they just go into meltdown when a Republican gives American youth the green light to go to the red light district style of behavior? Did Oral Roberts condemn Newt? (How did he get that odd first name?)

Speaking of meltdowns, aren’t the folks, who are speculating about the disaster potential of the nuclear facilities in Japan, scientists? Why is the Fox Comedy Cable Network (How does one pronounce: FCCN?) willing to give the scientists airtime when it comes to an atomic meltdown but not the melting of the polar ice caps?

Why did America ignore the charity needs of Australia after recent floods and fires in that country and then immediately rush ships to help Japan? Which one of those two countries was fighting along side America during WWII and which wasn’t? Why wasn’t help offered to America’s strongest ally country? Can anyone explain why a former enemy deserves more assistance than a country that has always answered America’s call for wartime assistance?

Did the union movement experience a meltdown in Wisconsin?

Did the hopes of Democrats for leadership from Barry meltdown this week? Is Barry’s legacy melting down at a geometric progression way?

Isn’t what happened in Wisconsin the political equivalent of the commission of war crimes by a certain military group that invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, because of the evidence that Poland had military weapons and needed to be invaded to be disarmed?

Is it a war crime for a military to destroy lives but OK for politicians to ruin the lives of their working constituents? How is it different?

Isn’t it a pretty picture to see Barry sitting on the sidelines and shrugging his shoulders at the (registered Democratic Party) union members’ anguish and nonchalantly accepting the prospect of being a one-term wonder in the history books? This columnist wonders if there was a quid pro quo agreement between Barry and Karl Rove of the “we’ll make you the first (and last?) American President of Pan-African heritage in return for folding on certain issues when we give you the signal!”?

America’s Party of Warmongers will never see a potential quagmire they don’t love, so we can expect Barry’s handlers to have him greenlight a temporary intervention in Libya.

Which brings us to yet another meltdown: Why does some happy-go-lucky Irish heritage blogger have to be the one to point out (in relative obscurity) things that a genuine free press should be blaring in big headlines? Where is the Media Outrage? Where are the Media’s brutally honest assessments of all these disgraceful hypocrisies?

Speaking of keeping a muzzle on things, how is the writers’ strike going at one well known aggregate online site? We have refused to “cross the picket line” and click on that site until we get news of a strike settlement. If it is ever over, would someone please post a comment about that? It is our assessment that the strike (like the one at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner) will never be settled by negotiations or mediation. [Didn’t Ralph Kramden tell his wife: “Don’t aggregate me, Alice; or POW! right to the moon.”?]

If someone mouths liberal platitudes and then treats the workers like indentured slaves, what political philosophy would you ascribe to that kind of management?

In the Book of Proverbs it is written: “To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (27:7) Does anyone deny that the Republicans are hungry for sex, money, and power? That might explain why they think invading Iraq, torture, and evicting homeless from Venice CA is sweet.

Now the disk jockey will play Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” Len Barry’s “1-2-3,” and Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction.” We have to go buy some more Girl Scout cookies on our way to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Have a “Patriotism makes me want to f*** people” type week.

The Tattlesnake – Defending Charlie Sheen Edition

Is it crazy to stand up to corporations and media parasites that are trying to tell you how to live your life?

Charlie Sheen’s gotten a bum rap from the media lately because he refused to play the corporate and tabloid-TV game: the Shamed Celebrity is supposed to enter rehab and emerge contrite and chastened and just so gleefully grateful his corporate employer stuck by him during his time of need. Instead, Sheen called CBS and his producers on their ‘we care’ bullshit, and told the media hypocrites that parasitically cover celebrities to stuff it where the moon don’t shine. Here’s a news flash you won’t see on the MSM: When celebs enter rehab, it’s mainly for PR, career, or project-insurance purposes and there is no shortage of drugs and alcohol at any of the well-known rehab ranches that cater to the famous. What are they going to do, kick them out and lose all of that money? No, they turn a blind eye and cooperate in the fraud that the celebrity is ‘cured,’ and everybody goes home happy. Charlie Sheen just refused to indulge in this fetid game and, for that, he should be applauded.

Is he crazy? Maybe, but no more than most of us, and he’s not advising that we hurt or hate anyone. If you read his quotes below, he often makes considerable sense and he frequently lampoons himself, which the TMZ-style media are apparently too obtuse to recognize. He’s certainly more honest and lucid than the demented wolfpack of politicians and pundits that appear on Meet the Press every Sunday and are treated as sane and reasonable.

If a Hunter S. Thompson had given Charlie’s recent interviews, some of the same people pointing the ‘nutjob drug addict’ finger at Charlie Sheen and ‘tsk, tsk’ self-righteously shaking their heads over his sure demise, would be laughing with or praising him. But because he’s known as a film/TV actor, and many of them don’t want to offend Viacom/CBS for professional reasons, they toe the corporate line that Sheen is spinning out of control and needs help. Haven’t we learned by now that large corporations do not have compassionate souls that take pity on their employees, and neither do the heads of Hollywood production companies? It’s all about the money.

Aside from that, when did Charlie Sheen’s personal life become the concern of anyone but himself and those around him? How would you like your personal problems exaggerated and splashed all over the TV beast and the Internet?

As you read the poem below, pretend they are the words of a beat poet rather than a movie star. It might give you a whole different perspective; “Droopy-eyed armless children” by itself is a line worthy of a Jack Kerouac novel or Allen Ginsberg epic.


The words of Charlie Sheen edited into poetry

I so desperately wanted to be
Mr. Somebody.
Instead, I was the little brother…
As kids we’re not taught how to deal
with success; we’re taught how to
deal with failure.
If at first you don’t succeed,
try, try again.
If at first you succeed,
then what?
C’mon, bro, I won best picture at 20!
I wasn’t even trying.
I wasn’t even warm.

Fame is empowering.
My mistake was that I thought
I would instinctively know
how to handle it.
But there’s no manual,
no training course.
The run I was on made Sinatra,
Flynn, Jagger, Richards,
all of them look like
droopy-eyed armless children!
Sure, I did a lot of things in excess.
But if you look at the core,
the foundation of what I pursued,
what red-blooded young American
male in my position wouldn’t?
But you can’t focus on things
that matter if all you’ve been
is asleep for forty years.
Funny how sleep
rhymes with sheep.


March 11, 2011

Wells Fargo’s new “overdraft fee” racket: Fraud still going on?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 6:30 pm

Last week the Berkeley branch of Wells Fargo bank started going all ballistic on a friend of mine’s telephone. Night and day, robo-dialers attacked her phone, reminding her over and over again that her account with Wells Fargo was now in collection, that she now owed Wells Fargo a whole bunch of money and that if she didn’t pay up, then her credit would be totally ruined. “Totally ruined!”

How did things come to such a sorry pass? I’m not sure, but I think it may have involved Wells Fargo breaking both local and federal laws — again.

My friend’s telephone nightmare all started when T-Mobile claimed (probably erroneously because she had disconnected her service with T-M months ago) that my friend owed it hundreds of dollars. And as a result, T-Mobile quietly tiptoed into my friend’s Wells Fargo bank account and basically gutted it for everything that was in there — and more. The local branch of Wells Fargo basically handed T-Mobile the farm.

“Here, take everything that this person has in her account and just to make sure that you’re completely happy, we’ll throw in a few hundred dollars more that isn’t even IN her account,” Wells Fargo apparently told its buddies at T-Mobile.


Wells Fargo is now giving away its own money? But why? Why wasn’t the bank following its normal procedure, blocking my friend’s account and telling T-Moblie to get stuffed? As far as I can figure out, it’s because Wells Fargo bank makes a huge amount of their profits from charging overdraft fees.

However, there’s a catch here. If there are no overdrafts in people’s bank accounts, then Wells Fargo can’t charge any overdraft fees, right? So apparently it has been standard practice at Wells Fargo, despite a whole ship-load of computer software designed to prevent it, to “accidentally” let a whole bunch of these so-called “overdrafts” just happen. Oops.

“But Jane,” you might say, “that’s illegal and Wells Fargo has already been sued and forced to pay back over two million dollars to the customers that it ripped off by using this fraudulent practice. Wells Fargo KNOWS that this business practice is illegal. They have already been told by a federal court to cease and desist.”

Yeah, well. Tell that to the robo-dialers who are now hounding my friend night and day.

And why else would Wells Fargo make a “shadow line of credit” loan to my friend, thus giving their own money away? Nothing else makes sense.

PS: Wanna know more about the above-mentioned lawsuit against Wells Fargo? Wanna know just exactly how low this banking operation is willing to stoop to get its greedy hands on your money? Here’s the 411 regarding California class-action lawsuit No. C 07-05923 WHA, Gutierrez vs. Wells Fargo, August 2010:

And just in case you don’t have time to read the whole thing, here are a few choice quotes from the judge’s orders in this matter:

“THE SHADOW LINE: The last step in the three-step plan was executed in May 2002. Wells Fargo implemented a practice involving a secret bank program called ‘the shadow line.’ Before, the bank declined debit-card purchases when the account’s available balance was insufficient to cover the purchase amount. After, the bank authorized transactions into overdrafts, but did so with no warning that an overdraft was in progress.

“Specifically, this was done without any notification to the customer standing at the checkout stand that the charge would be an overdraft and result in an overdraft fee. Thus, a customer purchasing a two-dollar coffee would unwittingly incur a $30-plus overdraft fee. (This very scenario happened to plaintiff Walker.)

“Internally, Wells Fargo called this its ‘shadow line,’ as in shadow ‘line of credit.’ The amount of the credit ceiling per customer was and still is kept secret. Again, customers were not even alerted when shadow-line extensions were made to them — until it was too late and many overdraft fees were racked up.

“In this program, the bank correctly expected that it would make more money in overdraft fees than it would ever lose due to ‘uncollectibles’ (i.e., overdrafts that were never paid back).

“Bad Faith and the Shadow Line: The third initiative was ‘overdraft via POS’ — the extension of the shadow line to debit-card purchases in May 2002. As a result of this change, Wells Fargo began authorizing debit-card purchases even though the account was already overspent.

“Before, if an account holder had insufficient available funds to cover a debit-card purchase, the bank would decline the transaction, thereby protecting the customer from further unintended overdrafts. After, the bank authorized the transaction without informing anyone that an overdraft was in progress. Profiteering was the sole motive behind this revenue initiative.”

PPS: If something like this has happened to you too, here’s a link to an application that you can fill out in order to become part of a class-action lawsuit against Wells Fargo yourself:

And Wells Fargo isn’t the only bank that is doing this either. Apparently, many more national bank chains are also happily cleaning out their customers’ accounts. That’s bank robbery! That’s pathetic.

How come Republicans are going to such extreme lengths to bust our unions but are not laying a finger on their friends in the banks?

PPPS: When my friend went in to Wells Fargo today and asked a bank officer about all the many fees that it is now charging her, she was told, “These new fee charges are different from the ones in the lawsuit.” And what big difference is that? Apparently these new fees are being called “overdraft protection” fees instead of just fees at the point-of-service. Yeah, but the result is the same — Wells Fargo is still raking in hundreds of dollars in completely unreasonable fee charges, just from this one account.

If Wells Fargo is charging hundreds of dollars in unreasonable “overdraft fees” to just one of its customers, imagine how much money it is raking in from all the rest of its victims/customers!


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