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Looks like Bank of America is trying to get some kind of favor from the Trump administration. That's the only reason we can think of to explain yesterday's Miami Herald story about reports from LOTS of unhappy BofA customers that their accounts have been frozen after they didn't satisfy the bank they were citizens or legal immigrants. BofA insists it hasn't changed its policies and that it's simply following the best practices necessary to comply with banking security laws, but the whole thing reeks -- and is just one more reminder why anyone with a lick of sense should move their money to a credit union, thank you very much.

The reports feel like perfect little portraits of where Trump's America is headed: Saeed Moshfegh, a PhD physics grad student from Iran -- he's been here for seven years, and is married to an American -- was locked out of his account because BofA decided the immigration form for students he showed them wasn't adequate proof that he's here legally. It was, of course -- he says the bank "doesn't know how the immigration system works, so they didn't accept my document." Eventually, Mosfegh was at least allowed to withdraw his money and take it elsewhere -- BofA wouldn't let him keep the account open.

Hey, consider yourself lucky, guy. At least Trump didn't complain on Twitter that you'd finally gotten your own money back. Maybe Obama gave you that money, huh?


The banks's fuckery first came to national attention earlier this summer after a Kansas couple, Josh Collins and Jessica Salazar Collins, ignored a mailer Josh had received demanding he immediately provide proof of citizenship. They decided it was so stupid and hinky-looking it had to be a scam, and in 20 years of banking with BofA, neither had ever been asked to document their citizenship. A few weeks later, the bank froze both their accounts, and a cheerful customer service agent asked why Josh hadn't sent back that form.

After they went to the media in Kansas City, the couple started hearing from others in the area who'd had the same thing happen to them, and the Washington Post brought the story to national attention in July.

Here's the crazy thing: BofA insists this is all perfectly routine and heavens no, it hasn't implemented any new policies, heavens no, where would you get such a silly idea? All they're doing is complying with the Patriot Act and making sure nobody's sending any funny money overseas to terrorists or other bad people:

In response to an inquiries from the Miami Herald, Bank of America spokesperson Carla Molina said she could not comment on specific cases. But she said there had been no change in how Bank of America collects information from customers, including citizenship, in at least a decade. The bank attempts to contact customers before they change the status of their bank accounts, she said.

"There's nothing new," Molina said.

That there is some bullshit, according to Paulina Gonzalez, the California Reinvestment Coalition's executive director, who told the Herald in an email,

We work with consumer groups and financial counselors in immigrant communities across [California] and the country [...] This is new. We have Bank of America customers who we've spoken to who have never been asked this before last year. If they have this asked of them before they can show us proof.

Gonzalez said it was just one more example of the fear immigrant communities live with in our beautiful new hell-world: "It's like walking into a grocery store to buy milk and being asked for your citizenship at checkout [...] To be faced with this question in order to do banking seems as un-American as you can get."

For that matter, Molina, the BofA spokesperson, seems to agree, kinda-sorta, except obviously it's all just in the foreigns' (and US citizens') heads, although she put it a bit more corporate-speaky, telling the Herald the customer complaints may reflect "heightened sensitivities" at a time when immigration has become a major issue.

Which doesn't quite explain why there aren't scads of complaints about other big banks pulling this shit, and -- if you believe a government spokesperson, there aren't any new regulations out there making BofA do it, either.

Proof of citizenship is not required to open a bank account in the U.S., according to Stephanie Collins, a spokesperson for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal agency that supervises branch banking. Banks are merely required to identify and report suspicious transactions and maintain and update customer information, she said. Banks have not received any new instructions to collect more information about customers.

It's probably all perfectly fine, and merely another example of a big bank doing its very best to prove to ordinary customers that they're mere revenue producers, and the bank can do what it wants.

Credit unions, people.

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[Miami Herald / WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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OOH BOY HOWDY, The Federalist is on fire this week! Just this morning we told you about the hilarious Federalist column where one neo-Nazi's mom and dad are Democrats, ipso facto QED NEO-NAZIS ARE THE REAL LIBERALS, FUCKERS! Is America's dumbest woman whose name doesn't rhyme with Cara Snailin' over there being a total fuckin' Mollie Hemingway right now? Sadly, she blocked us on Twitter, so how could we possibly know? The answer is WE DON'T CARE.

But now we have a gem of the Federalist genre, an article written by a whiny-ass gay quisling conservative, who would like to chew on his blankie and whine about how much harder it is out there for a conservative than it is for a gay person. This is a subject we happen to have some knowledge about, because we are super gay! And we know a lot about conservatives, both firsthand -- being subjected to them every single one of our almost four decades of life -- and also from covering extremist right-wing Christians for a very long time. Particularly the kind that tell young, impressionable, vulnerable gay kids that they need to pray away the gay if they want Jesus to exercise some self control and refrain from sending them to a fiery hell for all eternity.

We clicked on the article with high hopes. See if you can spot why:

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pic via Glamour Shots, we mean this dude's old website

The House Education and Workforce Committee was all set to have a hearing today all about the horrors that a higher minimum wage would wreak on the economy. Horrors like rich people being slightly less rich. Horrors like business owners claiming they will have to fire people and charge $15 for a McChicken if forced to pay workers a living wage, which they won't actually do because no one will buy a $15 McChicken and they would go out of business if they tried that, and they already don't hire more people than the bare minimum they can get away with. Horrors like poor people not being "motivated" to work harder and get better jobs that do not pay them an amount no human being could possibly live on.

Alas, as Politico reports, it was not to be, as committee members discovered their big witness for the hearing, San Diego State University economist Joseph Sabia (pictured above in a Glamour Shot from his archived website), was kind of a wacko.

Sabia, as it turns out, once had a blog called "No Shades Of Gray," in which he wrote many columns of an extremely homophobic and sexist persuasion. In one of these columns, in 2002, Sabia was very mad about one man's lawsuit against several fast food giants for contributing to his health and obesity problems by failing to disclose the nutritional information of the food they sold. In retrospect, I think most people are now on board with these chains being required to post calorie counts and other nutritional information, but in 2002, Sabia was convinced that requiring them to do this would be an assault on freedom for all Americans everywhere. His response to this was to try and attempt a Jonathan Swift posture and suggest taxing gay sex, which he claimed leads to "disastrous health consequences."

Because sure, that's the same thing, basically.


In gay sex, we have an activity that is clearly leading to disastrous health consequences. What rational person would engage in this sort of activity? There is only one solution - let's tax it.

"Come on, Sabia," you say, "how are you going to enforce these taxes? Are you going to send government officials to peep into everyone's bedroom?"

Eventually. But first we have to mount the assault on Big Gay (no, I am not talking about Rosie O'Donnell). We can tax gay nightclubs, websites, personal ads, sexual paraphernalia, and so forth. Talk about a sin tax!!! We can cripple gay-related industries and get them right where we want them. All gay clubs will have to feature huge, flashing warning signs like "CAUTION: Entering this nightclub may increase your chance of contracting STDs and dying."

Big Gay clearly lures people into trying their "product" without discussing the risks to mind, body, and soul. The average Joe on the street does not understand all of the possible bad outcomes. I can almost hear him now:

"They said '100 percent hotties.' I thought that meant it was fun. I thought gay sex was OK…Now I have all these diseases. Big Gay has wrecked my life."

In the immoral words of Warren G, "Regulators!! Mount up!"

EXTREME SHUDDER.

In another 2002 article, classily titled "College Girls: Unpaid Whores," Sabia laments that feminists have led college girls to stop trying to be like the Holy Virgin Mary and instead to aspire to be more like that hussy Ally McBeal.

No, really.

As women have strayed from the church, they have replaced what is holy with what is temporally pleasing. For Catholics, the model woman is Mary, the virgin Mother of God. She is beloved by the faithful for her unflappable devotion to and trust in God, her nurturing of the Son of Man, and her deep love for all humanity.

Today's college girl looks to Ally McBeal, the trollops of Sex in the City, and the floozies on Friends to set their moral compasses.

The sad truth is that college girls are so desperate to find love that they are willing to degrade themselves to get it. But true love can only be understood in the context of the Word of God. Any other notion of "love" is secular and, by definition, limited and finite.

Not only that, but instead of going to college to find a husband, they have boyfriends. Boyfriends they have S-E-X with. And sometimes, not even that. Sometimes they have sex with people just because they want to have sex with people, and not even in exchange for Valentine's Day cards or money!


Additionally, other sex-based relationships have become commonplace. In recent years, a new and disturbing arrangement known as "friends with benefits" has emerged. In this arrangement, men are not even forced to perform the normal duties of boyfriends, i.e. flowers, Valentine's Day cards, rides to the abortion clinic, etc. Instead, girls consider these guys "just friends" whom they happen to screw every now and again. No strings, no attachments, no dinners. Just sex when they feel like it.

This type of arrangement is the next logical step in the direction that young women have drifted in the last few decades. These women have become unpaid whores. At least prostitutes made a buck off of their trade. These women just give it away.

How cute! He was like the ur-incel, basically.

Anyway, following the discovery of the posts, the House Education and Workforce Committee's GOP communications director Kelley McNabb told Politico that "members were uncomfortable moving forward on the hearing." A more optimistic person might think this was a step forward, that maybe those committee members actually thought it was bad to suggest that being gay means being a disease-ridden monster or that college girls are whores, but it's probably more to avoid embarrassment than anything else. Guess they'll have to start from scratch and find a crappy economist who will tell them what they want to hear about the minimum wage but who doesn't have an embarrassing Geocities blog in their past. Good luck with that!

[Politico]

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