Category Archives: Hypocrisy

Headline of the day: A bankster’s clawback


Following in the wake of Elizabeth Warren’s devastating examination of Wells Fargo CEO charging him with one of the biggest scams in modern banking history, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is giving back some chump change from the more than $200 million he pocketed from the scam.

From the London Daily Mail:

Wells Fargo CEO gives up $41m of his own stock options as the crisis hit bank launches investigation into crooked accounts scandal that has seen them hit with $7.2 BILLION lawsuit

  • John Stumpf, the executive who was grilled on Capitol Hill last week, will have his salary frozen during company probe
  • Wells Fargo has fired some 5,300 employees for opening as many as 2 million accounts in customers’ names without their authorization
  • Board of directors announced that Carrie Tolstedt, the executive who headed the division responsible for the fake accounts, was forced to quit
  • Tolstedt was expected to retire and take home a large severance package, but the company said that there would be no such payout 
  • On September 8, a federal regulator and Los Angeles prosecutor announced a $185 million settlement with Wells
  • Now six ex-staff members have filed a lawsuit seeking at least $7.2bn in damages
  • Suit claims Wells Fargo set unrealistic sales quotas and fired employees unwilling to set up fraudulent accounts
  • Accuses bank of wrongful termination, unlawful business practices and failure to pay wages, overtime, and penalties under California law

Graphic Representation: Scams you can bank on


When it comes to the fine art of fleecing their customers, one bank has ’em all beat.

First, from the editorial cartoonist of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Steve Breen: They do it in stages

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Next from the editorial cartoonist of the Kansas City Star:

Lee Judge: A case of highway robbery

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And from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Mike Luckovich: Giddyup

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So what’s the big deal?

We’ll let the country’s leading exposer of financial shenangians explain it all.

From Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

Senator Elizabeth Warren questions Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at Banking Committee Hearing

Program notes:

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s two round of questions for Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at the September 20, 2016 Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled: “An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Unauthorized Accounts and the Regulatory Response.”

The full hearings are posted here.

We leave the last word to the editorial cartoonist of the Washington Post:

Tom Toles: Even scarier close up

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Press fails to cover policy issues in election stories


The decline of the American press is nowhere more evident than in its coverage of the 2016 presidential race.

Rather than examine the policies and substantial issues embodied by each of the candidates, the press has has focused on the personalities of the major party contenders, starting with the primary campaigns and continuing after the nominations were declared at the national conventions.

Admittedly, the contrasting personalities of the two contenders has never been greater — the flamboyant huckster and the wooden machine politician — but Americans are given little notion of what the candidates represent and what they actually stand for.

And now a series of studies from Harvard University’s Thomas E. Patterson, Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, confirms the worst.

He writes about his findings for The Conversation, an independent open source academic journal:

Years ago, when I first started teaching and was at Syracuse University, one of my students ran for student body president on the tongue-in-cheek platform “Issues are Tissues, without a T.”

He was dismissing out of hand anything that he, or his opponents, might propose to do in office, noting that student body presidents have so little power as to make their platforms disposable.

Sadly, the news media appears to have taken a similar outlook in their coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign. The stakes in the election are high. Key decisions on foreign and domestic policy will be affected by the election’s outcome, as will a host of other issues, including the appointment of the newest Supreme Court justice. Yet, journalists have paid scant attention to the candidates’ platforms.

That conclusion is based on three reports on the news media’s coverage of the 2016 campaign that I have written for the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where I hold a faculty position.

The third report was released today and it covers the month-long period from the week before the Republican National Convention to the week after the Democratic National Convention.

The first report analyzed coverage during the whole of the year 2015 – the so-called invisible primary period that precedes the first actual contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The second report spanned the period of the primaries and caucuses.

10 major outlets studied

Each report was based on a detailed content analysis of the presidential election coverage on five television networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC) and in five leading newspapers (Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today).The analysis indicates that substantive policy issues have received only a small amount of attention so far in the 2016 election coverage. To be sure, “the wall” has been in and out of the news since Donald Trump vowed to build it. Other issues like ISIS and free trade have popped up here or there as well. But in the overall context of election coverage, issues have played second fiddle. They were at the forefront in the halls of the national conventions but not in the forefront of convention-period news coverage. Not a single policy proposal accounted for even 1 percent of Hillary Clinton’s convention-period coverage and, collectively, her policy stands accounted for a mere 4 percent of it.

Trump’s policies got more attention, but not until after the Democratic convention, when he made headlines several days running for his testy exchange with the parents of a slain Muslim U.S. soldier.

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Headline of the day: Charity begins at home?


From the Washington Post:

Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems

The settlements were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

Adam Zyglis: A case of flagging enthuisiasm


From the editorial cartoonist of the Buffalo News:

There’s nothing as idiotic as pledging allegiance to a flag.
The Seventh-day Adventists have rejected it ever since the pledge was introduced in 1887 and revised into the present form five years later, save for the two words “under God” added during the Cold War.

Incidentally, the the 1892 version was written by a socialist, Francis Bellamy, which should be enough for wingnuts to reject it.

The Seventh-day Adventists regard the pledge, rightly, as a form of idoltry.

Here at esnl, we haven’t recited the pledge since 1964, when we stopped pledging allegiance to a nation that was slaughtering tens of thousands in Southeast Asia, and we haven’t recited it since.

We might recite a pledge of allegiance to humanity and the planet e inhabit, but we can’t hold to the “my country, right or wrong” logic embodied in the pledge. We have more compassion for a single innocent child dying from a drone strike than we do for a piece of colored cloth.

Reciting the pledge became a major issue during the Vietnam War days, but had died out.

We don’t sing the Star Spangled Banner, either. Even those who try to sing it can’t save for a few gifted singers. [The way most folks sing it, the song should be better titled the Star Mangled Banner.] But as a journalist, we would stand for the song, mostly because to not do so would call untoward attention of the sort that might’ve interfered with our reporting assignments. But we have great respect for folks who don’t.

Anway, it’s been years since we attended an event where the song was sung. But if we went today, thanks to the actions of a San Francisco 49ers player named  Colin Kaepernick, we wouldn’t stand.

Kaepernick created a major flap when he knelt rather than stood before the 1 September game between the Niners and the Green Bay Packers, sending Right wing media and pundits into predictable paroxysms of outrage.

Afterwards Kaepernick, an African American, gave his rationale to a National Football League media representative:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick’s actions have also sparked similar moves by other NFL players, and the movement has also spread to players at the nation’s high schools.

All we can say is more power to you all.

As for the pledge, one California teenager has been refusing to say the words for years, CNN reports.

Leilani Thomas is a member of the Elem Indian Colony in Northern California and a student at Lower Lake High School.

She’d been sitting out the pledge for several years, but when she sat it out after Kaepernick’s protest made headlines, her homeroom teacher told her and another Native American who sat it out that they were making “bad choices”:

“She told us that we didn’t have a choice not to stand up for the pledge,” Leilani said. “We told her we have the right to do so. And then she told us that we only have child’s rights.”

“I was dumbfounded,” Leilani said. “She pretty much told us that she could control us. She was forcing everyone in the class to stand up.”

A few days later, Leilani recalled, the teacher met with her privately.

“She decided to lower my grade for my lack of participation, supposedly for not standing up for the pledge,” said Leilani.

Actually, Ms. Thomas was participating, and in a most exemplary American fashion, her punishment also delivered a powerful lesson: In a nation which supposedly prides itself on dissent, actual acts of dissent aren’t tolerated.

Turns out the student was the real teacher in that classroom.

Headline of the day II: He spies on you, but. . .


Facebook, the most popular social media platform in history, requires users to let the software spy on their most intimate habits.

But don’t you day try to do the same to the guy who runs it, because he’ll spend millions to stop you.

Irony, anyone?

From the London Daily Mail:

Palo Alto REJECTS Mark Zuckerberg’s bid to demolish neighboring homes and create a family compound after he spent $30m on properties next to his house

  • Facebook founder filed paperwork with the city of Palo Alto in May, stating his intentions to tear down and rebuild four neighboring homes
  • Architectural review board rejected the plans saying a giant compound will violate zoning codes and ideal land use 
  • Plans shows that Zuckerberg will tear down the four homes and rebuild them as smaller properties
  • Zuckerberg bought the four properties in 2013, after a developer threatened to build a house with views right into the billionaire’s bedroom

Resignation drops another Ayotzinapa bombshell


The 26 September 2014 disappearances of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the state of Guerrero [previously] has claimed yet another casualty: The head of the Mexican government’s official investigation into the crime.

Given the national government’s fabricated version of events and repeated efforts to stymie independent probes into a crime in which government and police officials at all levels of government have been impicated, the resignation should come as no surprise.

From telSUR English:

Mexico’s director of criminal investigations, responsible for overseeing the Ayotzinapa case, resigned Wednesday shortly after a new independent study debunked the government narrative on the disappearance of the 43 student teachers.

During his tenure as director of the Agency of Criminal Investigations, Tomas Zeron de Lucio worked on several controversial cases, Ayotzinapa being the most famous.

Forty-three teacher-trainee students at the Ayotzinapa school disappeared on Sept. 26, 2014 while en route from the violence-plagued state of Guerrero to Mexico City.

The government’s official version of events asserts that local police apprehended the students, who had commandeered a bus to travel to a protest, and handed them over to a gang known as Guerreros Unidos, who authorities claim killed the students and burned their bodies in a garbage dump nearly 20 miles south of the town of Iguala.

 Their remains, the government contends, were later dumped in the San Juan River near the town of Cocula.

Forensic evidence, fire investigations, and satellite images, however, have repeatedly cast doubt on the government’s claims.