You may have missed it. In early September, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that Wells Fargo employees, facing pressure to meet unrealistic sales quotas, opened more than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts for customers who never asked for them.
Almost immediately, the bank agreed to pay $185 million in fines for these illegal acts in attempting to defraud its customers. Some 5,300 employees in connection with the scandal were fired.
Their boss, 56-year-old Senior Vice President and Head of Community Banking, Carrie Tolstedt, has submitted her resignation. For diligent efforts on behalf of Wells Fargo, Ms. Tolstedt will receive a severance package totaling $125 million.
In announcing her separation from the company, Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf called Ms. Tolstedt, “a role model for responsible leadership” and “a standard bearer of our culture.”
Got that kids? A role model.
Donald Trump has promised to do away with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as one of the first acts of his new administration.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau back when she was still a Professor at Harvard Law School in 2007. She thought it would be a good start in climbing out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Trump doesn’t like Senator Warren either. He calls her “Pocahontas.”
Perhaps the biggest tragedy of this current election cycle is the stunning prioritizing of form over substance, packaging over contents, tripe over truth.
As the First Presidential Debate is scheduled for next Monday, let’s see if Donald Trump can go one-on-one with Hillary and deal with real issues without displaying his fraidycat essence.
“Fraidycat.” That’s the word (it’s even in Merriam-Webster) Michael Moore wrote me in November of 1998 describing Donald Trump’s persona when they appeared together on a New York TV show. Trump had to be assured by Michael that Moore wouldn’t “go after him,” threatening to leave the studio without that understanding established. Mike amiably complied. Donald calmed down.
We’ve seen a whole lot of that fraidycat recently.
Flint Pastor Faith Green Timmons backed Trump down last week in one swift move, cutting him off in front of her entire congregation with a single hand grab as Donald was reaching mid-bellow. He instantly looked like a whipped weasel, but was much braver the following day, being safely away and out of reach when he called Reverend Timmons “a nervous mess” on Fox & Friends.
In visiting the Mexican President on Aug. 31, Trump choked and never mentioned “The Wall” or “Who will pay for it?” until later that same day securely across the border in Phoenix, when he also implied President Enrique Pena Nieto lied in stating the Trumpster had been functionally told, “No way, Jose” in opening comments by Nieto about border building. Donald also took the occasion on home turf to unleash a xenophobic tirade before such Latino antagonists as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe “Make ‘Em Wear Pink” Arpaio, just found guilty of contempt of court by a U.S. District judge and awaiting criminal prosecution.
Then we witnessed Trump abruptly refusing questions after staging a phony press conference last Friday in Washington. That’s when he solemnly declared that Barack Obama WAS born in America. But he replaced one fib with another, declaring Hillary Clinton was the one who started the “Birther” movement in the first place. He then scurried from reporters like a frightened ferret. I’m almost out of rodent references.
You can count on it. When push comes to shove, Donald scoots.
But it’s time to forget all this election business for a while and settle down with a good book.
Here comes the third annual Authors Faire from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday – this year taking place at the Oakhurst Community Center. Come and meet the authors, purchase signed copies of books and learn about writing in today’s publishing industry. A number of local businesses have donated raffle prizes. Food will be available for lunch.
I’ll be on the scene peddling “Local DJ - A Rock & Roll History.”
“Of all who had a major influence on me while growing up in the Midwest, none matched the audaciousness, tenacity and gonzo-like behavior of Peter Cavanaugh. He was the one who taught me how to go up against the powers-that-be and live to tell all. Thank you, Peter Cavanaugh, for ‘Local DJ’ and for saving a generation of Flint kids from the likes of Pat Boone.” - Michael Moore