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In the US Senate it was payback time this week as GOP lawmakers rewarded their Republican high-roller donor class
And working class Americans
were sold out once again

October 26, 2017

Quote from the memiors of David Rockefeller

 Chronicle opinion

(NATIONAL)  --  This week Republican lawmakers in the Republican controlled US Senate gave up any pretense, as did their colleagues in the House earlier, they were in those powerful jobs to serve the American people and not huge corporations, Wall Street and the top 1%.

It was a classic moment frozen in time for future generations to look back upon and understand it clearly as one of the glaring reasons why America is now a complete oligarchy and not a democracy, even in lip service.

Republican lawmakers voted Tuesday night, along with their pals in the House before them, to give "financial institutions" - read that Wall Street banks to your local bank to outfits like Equifax that just screwed up millions of consumer accounts big time - the legal capacity to force their customers (you) to settle disputes in the way that benefits those big outfits best -- through private arbitration, not in the courts and not in a class-action lawsuits with other wronged, very angry customers.

They took your right to take them to court away from you

You thought you had a hard time getting those cold-blooded reptilian corporations to give you a fair shake before? Brother, you haven't seen the half of it yet.

The only way consumers have been able to force any change in these mega-rich, powerful, monster-sized corporations is through big money lawsuits because they only understand and respect four things -- money (making it and losing it), their own jobs, power and control.

And now Wall Street, the big banks and all the huge credit monsters that already control your life - like the massively incompetent Equifax - have got you right where they want you.

Binding arbitration gives corporations all the power

Binding arbitration was invented by corporate lawyers precisely because it gives corporations all the power when it comes to consumers; precisely because that arbitration is designed in such a way that you can't win anything in 98% of these "arbitration cases" because the corporations choose, hire and pay the arbitrators.

You could say the arbitrators are, in a HUGE sense, their employees. Do you know what happens to arbitrators when they side with consumers? Corporations dump them and go find a friendlier arbitrator who knows who is buttering his or her bread.

Binding arbitration is one of the three biggest lies in the world. They are: (1) the Mercedes is paid for (2) my divorce is final and (3) I promise........this binding arbitration will be fair and impartial.

Here's a couple items published by Quartz Media on the theft of your rights thanks to Republican lawmakers:

"Equifax, the company that exposed the private financial data of 143 million Americans, is set to report earnings today. Are investors worried about the consequences? Not at all.

“Megabreach creates opportunity,” according to a Wells Fargo securities researcher. He should know: His employer, or at least its retail banking arm, has been suffering its own credibility crisis after it created millions of fake accounts to get more fees out of its customers.

Yet Wells Fargo’s stock price is higher than when the scandal broke in 2016, even though an additional 1.4 million fake accounts were uncovered in August 2017.

Another reason his analysis rings true is what happened last night on the floor of the US Senate: Republican lawmakers voted, along with their colleagues in the House, to give financial institutions the ability to force their customers to settle disputes in private arbitration.

Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of the forced arbitration clause is that most consumers don’t even realize they are giving up their day in court when they sign on the dotted line.

“A business would never enter into an agreement like this, whether with suppliers or other companies,” Prentiss Cox, a University of Minnesota Law Professor, says. “They would never waive their right to go to court, when they don’t even know what the dispute is.”

That Quartz Media story also points out that research on arbitration shows "that vanishingly few consumers come out on top; in one study of four years of arbitration in California, 94% of rulings favored the financial institution." 

From Bloomberg News: "On Tuesday night while many Americans were busy watching the first game of the World Series, Vice President Mike Pence trekked to Capitol Hill to hand banks one of their biggest legislative wins in years. Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to all but kill a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule that would have made it much easier for people to sue lenders over financial disputes. 

With Pence’s vote, the Trump administration sent a clear signal: It isn’t worried about looking like it’s doing the industry’s bidding, even after campaigning last year on a populist, anti-Wall Street message.

It may be a political risk worth taking, some analysts said. The issues involved aren’t necessarily well-understood by the public."

That consumer finance protection rule (called the CFPB regulation, which had been set to take effect next year) would’ve restricted use of "mandatory arbitration clauses that are buried in the fine print of contracts that consumers sign when they get credit cards or open checking accounts. The language bars customers from joining class-action lawsuits by requiring them to settle disputes through arbitration."

From the Washington Post: " To secure a rare legislative victory this week, Senate Republicans turned to a strategy that has paid off for them in the recent past: killing policy rather than writing it.

This time, Republicans took aim at a regulation giving U.S. consumers more flexibility to sue their banks and other financial institutions. The rule is widely loathed by the business community and conservative lawmakers, many of whom opposed the creation of the agency that wrote it, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

So Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) turned to an arcane legislative tool — 1996’s Congressional Review Act. The law gives legislators a limited period of time to block a new regulation before it goes into effect. Lawmakers have used the measure more than a dozen times already to roll back rules issued at the end of the Obama administration."

And so the oligarchy goes.



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