There Go Those Bank Fees Again!

Occupy LA protestors march through the downtow...

Occupy LA protestors march through the downtown Los Angeles financial district on ‘Bank Transfer Day,’ November 5, 2011. Bank Transfer Day, created by the Occupy movement, is a national effort to get people to move their money from large corporate banks into smaller banks or credit unions. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

After two years of staying steady, fees charged by banks when consumers overdraw their bank accounts are starting to inch upwards, so says a new survey released today by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). The two year period of flat fees coincided with the implementation of a new Federal Reserve Board requirement that banks get affirmative permission from consumers to incur overdraft fees on debit card and ATM overdrafts.  While the typical overdraft fee remains at $35 per transaction, two of the largest banks — U.S. Bank and Fifth Third Bank — have announced changes to their tiered fee structures that indicate rates are again on the rise.

“Big bank overdraft fees for a single transaction are very high, ranging from $33 to $37 at the largest banks,” noted Jean Ann Fox, director of financial services for CFA, in a prepared statement.  “Consumers can be charged up to $370 in one day, according to the maximum fee and daily limit fee policies that banks have.”

 The CFA annual survey examined overdraft fees and practices at the nation’s fourteen largest banks.  Five banks — Fifth Third, PNC, RBS Citizens, SunTrust, and U.S. Bank — charge tiered fees that vary depending on how many overdrafts are incurred in a twelve-month period.  Starting in late June, Fifth Third Bank will charge $37 per overdraft after a $25 fee is assessed for an initial overdraft transaction.  This replaces their current policy of charging a $33 fee for the second, third, and fourth overdrafts in a twelve month period.  U. S. Bank will charge a $15 fee for an overdraft transaction that is $15 or less, and $35 for any overdraft over that amount.  Currently U.S. Bank charges $10 if the overdraft is $20 or less, and $33 per item if the overdraft is more than $20.     

 The CFA survey found that almost two-thirds of banks pile on second or per-day fees if consumers do not repay overdrafts immediately.  SunTrust charges $36 on the 7th day an overdraft remains unpaid while RBS Citizens charges $6.99 per day on the fourth through thirteenth day an overdraft is owed.  Fifth Third is dropping its sustained overdraft fee that adds $8 per day after an overdraft remains unpaid for three days. 

Only three banks – Bank of America, Citibank, and HSBC – do not permit their customers to incur overdraft fees when using a debit card to make purchases.  Citibank and HSBC will also prevent overdraft fees triggered at an ATM.  The other eleven largest banks encourage their customers to opt-in to pay overdraft fees on very small purchases.

For sure there has been some progress. One big change cited in the survey is the order in which banks process payments from accounts.  As recently as 2010, CFA found that almost all major banks paid transactions from the largest to the smallest received, or reserved the right to do so. This can increase the chances that consumers with low balances will overdraw their accounts, forcing them to pay more overdraft fees. Since 2010, several banks have made some changes in their processing order policies, notably paying time-stamped transactions in the order they are received, before processing checks and other transactions from largest to smallest.  Eleven banks still pay some transactions from largest to smallest.  Citibank processes all payments from smallest to largest, while BBT posts in chronological order and then from the smallest to largest dollar amounts.

 “Bank overdraft loans are a form of payday lending,” said Fox.  “Banks are charging staggeringly high rates for short-term borrowing when fees are computed the same way payday loans are calculated.”

 According to the survey, the highest cost for a $100 overdraft loan repaid in two-weeks, if computed like a closed-end payday loan, is 2,779 percent APR at RBS Citizens Bank.  Fifth Third Bank previously held the record for the highest overdraft charge, at 3,250 percent APR, but this rate will drop to 962 percent on June 27, when the bank discontinues charging a daily sustained overdraft fee.

 “Banks should not be in the business of charging steep fees for small loans triggered by debit card sales and ATM transactions that can be denied at no cost to consumers,” Fox stated.  “The extreme fee in relation to very small loans that must be repaid in just days to avoid more fees means that bank payday lending is particularly burdensome to consumers who are struggling to make ends meet. 

“CFA urges consumers to tell the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about their experiences with bank overdraft fees and practices and encourage them to crack down on these abusive loans,” Fox added.  “Consumers who opted into paying overdraft fees should tell their banks to stop charging overdraft fees on debit transactions that can be denied at no cost.”

Speak up. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to hear your story.

Meet George Martinez, Occupy’s Rapping Brooklynite Congressional Candidate

With Occupy Wall Street’s once ubiquitous physical presence decimated, the movement’s attempts to start anew have sputtered. “Burned out, out of money, out of ideas,” lamented Adbusters this week. A Harvard social scientist blamed ” a failure to engage in tactical innovation,” noting, “Eight months in, the Tea Party were beginning to impact primary elections, and by the second year were having a tremendous impact.” But while OWS has generally shunned electoral politics, considering the system flush with corporate cash and beyond repair for now, Brooklyn’s George Martinez, a cultural ambassador for the State Department, former district leader, and self-described “hip-hop diplomat,” is giving it a real go, running under the Occupy banner for a seat in Congress. He promised Daily Intel: “We are absolutely in this to win this.”

Occupy return to St Paul’s on pilgrimage of protest

Occupy Faith, a protest group associated with the Occupy movement, includes people of all faiths who share the movement’s goals of encouraging greater social justice and condemning corporate greed.

A band of around 30 protesters set off from the steps of St Paul’s on a “Pilgrimage for Justice”, which will see them walking 62 miles to Canterbury Cathedral, staying in churches or camping on open land along the way – all the time spreading the “good word” about their movement.

Among their number were a Catholic priest, a Protestant vicar, a Muslim Imam and a United Reform Church Minister.

Paul Nicolson, and 80-year-old retired priest from the village of Turville in Buckinghamshire, said that the broad aims of the Occupy movement chimed with Christian values.

“I supported them from the moment the first tent went up,” he said. “The government is making laws to make things even harder for the very poorest in our society, who cannot afford to pay their bills or their rent and are now having benefit caps imposed on them. At the same time the richest are getting wealthier and wealthier. It seems self-evident that something has gone very wrong in our democracy.”

The group received a parting blessing from the Right Reverend Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor of St Paul’s who said that “the Cathedral and Occupy were not at odds on the question of justice”. The Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s have been criticised for approving the forced eviction of the Occupy camp earlier this year.

Father Joe Ryan, 65, the parish priest of the church of St John Vianney in north London, said that he had backed the Occupy protesters because it was religion’s role to “give a voice to the voiceless”.

“There was a sign at the Occupy camp here at St Paul’s that said: ’Where would Jesus be?’,” he said. “I thought that Jesus would have been here, with the common person calling for the wellbeing of others.”

Alan Bolwell, 25, a philosophy student at the University of Kent who conceived of the idea of a protest pilgrimage after participating in the occupation of a building at his university over Christmas last year, said that he hoped the pilgrimage would enable traditional religion to find common cause with the Occupy movement: “If every Anglican was an Occupier we would achieve our goals in no time,” he said.

Occupying Consciousness: Spiritual Activism 2.0

The Evolver Social Movement has just released a free e-book anthology examining the unprecedented spiritual activism of the Occupy Movement. Featuring writers like media guru Doug Rushkoff, Yale anthropology associate professor David Graeber, “Fifth Sacred Thing” author Starhawk and British comedian/actor Russell Brand, “” explores the culture, mythology, possibilities and spiritual awakening of this nascent movement. The book, edited by my Evolver colleague and bestselling “2012″ author Daniel Pinchbeck and Reality Sandwich Associate Editor Mitch Mignano, covers topics ranging from “Occupying Gaia” to interfaith coalition building, “Metta-tations for the 100 Percent” to the ongoing evolution of the mediasphere, sacred economics to strategic nonviolent direct action.

According to Pinchbeck, “These pieces offer an essential perspective on the true significance of Occupy — not a protest movement essentially, but a harbinger of a new way of being.”

HuffPost readers can download the free e-book at Reality Sandwich.

“Is this movement’s implicit goal to re-engage our humanity? To reach beyond the political, the national and other illusory, temporary concepts and into our true, spiritual nature?” –Russell Brand

“Direct action is, ultimately, the defiant insistence on acting as if one is already free.” –David Graeber.

“The transition we are called to make goes far beyond incremental policy changes within the current system, positive though such changes might be. We are called to re- imagine and re-create our world around fundamentally new organizing principles. The old world is essentially on life support in any case. Our choice really is to participate consciously in the birth of the new era, or to have it forcibly and painfully delivered to us.” –David Nicol

This anthology is available as a free gift from the Evolver Social Movement. In exchange, we ask that you consider making a contribution to our non-profit initiative, which organizes 40+ local chapters transforming their communities.

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Bowerbirds – “Overcome With Light”

Ever since leaving the cottage a few weeks ago, I’ve been stricken with city-fever, an ailment that causes you to wake up by alarm clock instead of sunlight, stay indoors for long periods of time on your computer, and never hang out with deer. Desperate to return to the natural world and just chill, Bowerbirds’ video for “Overcome With Light” may just be the cure to my affliction. Well, at least for three minutes.

Soothing nature footage edited to the sparse and erratic guitar playing, it seems like the director of the video has uncovered a hidden code inside of nature’s seeming chaos. Astral signs align and diamonds float in the sky, which are obviously traces of the Illuminati’s control over the world’s proceedings, with the “light” the Bowerbirds sing of presumably being the reptilian overlord’s eye watching over us. It is strange that Bowerbirds would associate with such an organization, but I guess the Illuminati are allowed to love folk music too, so you can’t really blame them.

The Clearing is out now via Dead Oceans.

-via Stereogum

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Jelly Roll Ft. Rell – “Wish I Wasn’t Gone”

“They needed help and I helped’em with no problem, helped so many people I could’ve started a non-profit.”

Jelly Roll will never ever be confused with Jay Electronica. The statement isn’t a slight but perhaps a bit of irony. Pointing out the physical traits, Jelly big, white, pasty and odds are against him sneaking into the Illuminati or anywhere for that matter. But as an artist? He’s growing larger by the project.

On the first few listens, a song like “Wish I Wasn’t Gone” won’t grab listeners or stand out. Yet, with closer listens, Jelly’s able to really dig in and capture attention not because his wordplay is deft, but more with the forcefulness of his hefty baritone voice and the sheer passion in his delivery. A song like “Wish…” comes off as being therapeutic session where Jelly clears his chest and directs his frustration at those who chose to bite the hand that once fed them.

Grab his Mid Grade Miracle mixtape here and get up to speed.

Sweden : UFO´s Followed By Police Helicopter Over Sävedalen

They were soon followed by a police helicopter that had a
hard-time keeping up with them, as soon as i spotted one of the UFO´s
the helicopter would eventually be flying nearby. It seems the
helicopter was keeping track of the UFO´s and possible even me to. The
crafts were teasing the police helicopter, it resembled a game of hide
and seek, as soon as the helicopter got near the UFO´s would vanish into
the forest but once the helicopter was gone the UFO´s would re-appear,
this is not the first time that they have done this at all actually.

went on like this for at least 2 hours, the helicopter was scouting the
area where the UFO´s are frequently seen flying since 2010. If it was
not heading straight towards me as seen on the video, then the
helicopter would rather be circling the area from afar.

I just
knew that they would show up today. The UFO´s keep responding to my
thoughts, wishes and requests more and more lately, this indicates that
they are showing up for my sake/will, they hear me or my thoughts either
through telepathy or by technology and usually respond to them.

believe that it is possible that they have chosen people like “us” to
“enlighten” humanity about their presence, since the media and
government will not do so, i get the feeling that these beings want me
to keep documenting them and that it is part of their agenda. It is my
mission and role to document their presence, this they have made very
clear to me, off-course i chose to do so willingly to but i am very well
aware of my purpose.

I always know were to find them, i go by
“feeling” and can therefore sense where they will show up, i don´t want
to call myself a medium or anything similar since i don´t wish to label
myself by any means but i do have certain “abilities” since my
childhood. In particular the ability to sense emotions, beings and
electromagnetic fields i also have some telepathic abilities to some
extent, this is how i normally know when they will show up by using
these skills.

It is not a coincidence it is a telepathic
communication between these entities and myself, they pinpoint a
location tell me the time and location and then i head there, about 90%
of the time they show up after i have received this information.

i am very well aware of that i probably sound crazy as hell now.. But i
think most sky watchers knows what i am referring to.. This is not new
to me or my close friend, it has been occurring since 2010, sometimes at
a daily basis. Friends we know have seen us “summon” them, family
members etc.. They want us to see them and record them, there is no
other logical explanation to why i could possibly record as much UFO´s
as i have since 2010.

The UFO´s wants us to record them, it is
almost like if they are posing for us in front of the camera, “hey here i
am record me”, there is no logical explanation at all for their behavior.

There is only a reasonable explanation.

Baltic Sea UFO : Definitely Something Unusual Hiding At Seabed Says Search Team

Earlier we had reported:

200-foot wide unidentified object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea

Another UFO Spotted In Baltic Sea

Russia, US Forces Blocking The Crash Site

In latest development according to Ocean Explore team, the divers are now down and investigating the circle and reports from
the ship say they are really amazed.

There is definitely something
unusual hiding at the seabed – a Mystery Beneath. More information and
pictures will be released next week.


Romney remembered as CEO governor

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Boston (CNN) — It is one of Mitt Romney’s favorite selling points. Romney often notes that as governor of Massachusetts, he worked with a mostly Democratic legislature to tackle his state’s problems.

“It did not take a rocket scientist to figure out if I was going to do anything as governor, I had to have a working relationship with the Democrats,” Romney said at a campaign event last year in Nashua, New Hampshire.

But inside the Massachusetts State House, down the hallway from Romney’s official portrait that hangs inside the governor’s office, longtime lawmakers on both sides of the aisle remember a more CEO-style leader.

Robert Hedlund, the second-ranking Republican in the state Senate, said Romney tried to carry over the corporate culture that existed at his former private investment firm, Bain Capital, in a way that sometimes alienated Democrats who were accustomed to a different way of doing things.

“He was all business. It was all about policy. He didn’t trade jobs for votes. He didn’t trade capital projects for votes. So that came back to bite him a little bit,” Hedlund said.

Romney: Obama knew ‘Obamacare’ hurt

Romney adviser defends his jobs record

Romney: Obama good at blaming others

Romney replaced many of the career bureaucrats in the executive staff with private sector outsiders. At times, Hedlund argued, that management structure produced results in balancing the state’s budget.

“Some Democrats begrudgingly, maybe not publicly on camera, but privately will admit that he had a lot of great, talented people around him who got the job done,” Hedlund said.

Across the aisle, Romney still gets positive reviews for his willingness to work with Democrats to pass health care reform.

However, many rank-and-file Democrats are still bothered by what they describe as a distant and guarded leader.

“He had three security people around him, and you could never get to touch him or say hello,” said state Rep. Frank Smizik, chairman of the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “He was very elitist.”

On this reporter’s unannounced visit to the Legislature, there was no shortage of Democratic lawmakers who complained about Romney’s unprecedented move to block off one State House elevator specifically for the governor’s office.

“He took over the elevator for the west wing of the building. He kept it only for his staff and him,” Smizik said.

Listening in on Smizik’s comments, another Democrat, state Rep. Ellen Story, said the elevator restrictions and security ropes installed outside Romney’s office turned off some lawmakers for good.

“When Romney came in, he treated government like the only thing he ever knew, which was big business, and he was the CEO of the big business,” Story said.

Another lawmaker, Democratic state Rep. John Scibak, was far more blunt in his feelings about Romney.

“Many people said, ‘Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,’ ” Scibak quipped about Romney’s decision to forgo a second term to run for the presidency in 2008.

Aides to the Romney campaign chalked up some of the hard feelings among State House Democrats to election-time loyalties to President Barack Obama. But the campaign called on another Democratic lawmaker, state Rep. Jim Vallee, to offer some positive comments on Romney’s time as governor.

“I think you’re getting a lot of partisan political comments,” Vallee said in reference to the Democratic criticism of Romney.

“Did he have an ego? Absolutely,” Vallee said. “But what do you expect?” he asked, describing Romney as “high-caliber.”

“He wanted to turn the company around,” Vallee said about Romney’s hope to fix the state’s fiscal problems. “I had a positive relationship with him. I know that some people did not.”

Mike Widmer, a government watchdog with the nonpartisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, noted Romney set aside his CEO approach to woo Democratic leaders to pass health care reform.

The law — widely considered to be Romney’s signature achievement — is memorialized in his official State House portrait, sitting on a small table along with a framed picture of the former governor’s wife, Ann.

Romney struggled in other areas such as job creation, Widmer said, in part because of the governor’s CEO style. However, Romney was beginning to divert his attention to pursuing the White House, Widmer and other state lawmakers recalled.

“He clearly had his sights set on running nationally,” Widmer said. “That was no secret. Certainly not among the political leaders.”

State House insiders, such as Widmer, often contrast Romney’s style with another recent Republican governor, William Weld, who seemed to revel in the kind of behind-closed-doors backslapping that Democrats had come to expect over the years.

“Governors aren’t CEOs. They just aren’t,” Widmer said.

Democratic leaders, who now dominate the Massachusetts State House and control the governor’s office, gleefully note the rope lines are gone and the Romney executive elevator has since been reopened to the general public.

Romney’s Democratic successor, Gov. Deval Patrick, conceded he made those changes after taking office.

“I’m a governor of, with and for the people. We have a different style in that respect,” Patrick said, adding he has great respect for Romney.

Vallee noted Patrick has also upset Democratic lawmakers with his reform efforts.

“You can pick apart any of these guys,” Vallee said.

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