Saturday, May 31, 2014

How To Tell A Real Democrat From A Poseur


Above is a video of New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman talking about the real issues real Democrats should be talking with voters about. I don't want to offend him-- nor do I think he would be offended-- but he is an Elizabeth Warren Democrat. Blue America endorsed him for reelection today and you can contribute to his reelection here. Just over a year ago, Howard Meyerson, writing for the American Prospect, called Eric The Man the Banks Fear Most. Until Schneiderman had been elected Attorney General, Wall Street had gone completely unpunished for its starring role in wrecking the economy. Schneiderman has gone after the sociopaths and predators-- and, more often than not, DC has been an impediment, not an ally.
Schneiderman set out to rally public support for his position. This, in fact, had been his hallmark during his years in the New York Senate, where he had consistently spurred progressive organizations to mount grassroots campaigns in support of legislation. Arguing that his fight against a premature settlement opened the door to the kind of investigation into the banks that liberals had long sought, Schneiderman met in early summer with the leaders of the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union,, financial-reform groups, and community-housing advocates. They, in turn, urged other key attorneys general to withhold their support for a settlement until the deal was sweetened and Schneiderman’s conditions met.

Six months later, Schneiderman prevailed. In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced that he was establishing a joint working group to investigate the banks. The members would be drawn from the federal agencies Schneiderman had requested and the staffs of U.S. prosecutors and state attorneys general. The president designated Schneiderman as one of the five co-chairs of the group. Obama also made clear that the settlement would not include releases for bank misconduct in originating and securitizing mortgages. In February, the administration and the attorneys general announced that the deal-- which was increased from $20 billion to $26 billion to satisfy attorneys general from states with high rates of foreclosure-- had been completed.

Today, the staffing of the working group and the investigations themselves are under way. We don’t know, of course, what these inquiries will turn up, but depending on what they uncover, they could accomplish four goals that have so far eluded the Obama administration.

First, by offering a rigorous examination of Wall Street misconduct, they have the potential to do what the Pecora investigation of the early 1930s did for Depression-era America: provide an authoritative account of the role financial institutions played in plunging the nation into economic hell, a narrative that lays the groundwork for subsequent reforms.

Second, they could produce a settlement with a payout to homeowners and investors that dwarfs the $26 billion robo-signing payout-- a settlement sufficient to begin restoring both the housing market and the broader economy.

Third, they could result in criminal indictments of banking executives.

Fourth, should the banks’ liabilities and culpabilities exceed the banks’ capacities to make amends, they could even force some banks to restructure. This remains a remote possibility, but even the threat of breaking up a major bank could lead to a sounder and more equitable financial system.
I talk with candidates and their staffers all day. Some of them-- like Shenna Bellows in Maine and like Eric in New York-- are always inspiring. Others have their ups and downs and are filled with doubts and fears and confusion. (Shenna and Eric: no doubts, no fears, no confusion.) Right now I'm sopping up a lot of inspiration from Elizabeth Warren's new book, A Fighting Chance. If only all Democratic candidates could be like her!

When President Obama consigned her to work for Wall Street shill Tim Geithner, Geithner took her out to lunch on the first day on the job. "I have a present for you," he said. It was a cop's hat. "Perfect," she thought.

Much of the book looks behind the curtain to explain how financial reform and consumer protection was resisted, watered-down and passed in Congress. The Wall Street interests, their Republican handmaidens and ConservaDem shills never gave up and will never give up on trying to undermine reform and undermine any attempts that prevent them from raping and pillaging the economy and families that depend on the banks for financial services. Most Members of Congress take the side of Wall Street. Not Warren. And not Warren in a very big way-- a way we should pray more candidates feel inspired and encouraged to emulate. Here she is speaking about the establishment of the CFPB, so reviled by Wall Street and the GOP:
One thing about the agency's future was clear: It would be under attack from the get-go. The big banks had lost the fight over the CFPB, but they still had plenty of friends on Capitol Hill. If the agency was successful, it would put an end to tricks and traps that had produced some very fat profits. No one doubted that the big banks would try to cripple the agency if they could.

So the question was: What's the right way to set up an agency that will be under constant attack? The usual answer in Washington: Go slowly. Tread carefully. Don't offend anyone.

Not me. I thought the agency should go fast and fight hard right from the beginning. (Surprise, right?) The banks wouldn't hesitate to attack us aggressively in the battles to come, and I figured that nobody wins this sort of fight by worrying too much about stepping on toes. I believed that if people saw what the CFPB could do-- if millions of consumers were actually helped-- then people would keep fighting for it.
That's why so many progressives admire Alan Grayson and have no regard one way or the other for-- for example-- a powerful inside player like Steny Hoyer. And the key, of course, is when you can combine the most courageous with the most talented. Grayson, Sanders and Warren are the perfect examples. Only one of this year's Blue America-backed candidates is a former Harvard Law student of Elizabeth Warren, Stanley Chang, the Honolulu progressive in a very tough, crowded primary against a gaggle of better-financed hacks from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Stanley-- whose campaign you can help here on our ActBlue page-- does not come off as a confrontational kind of guy. He comes across as a man who listens to the other side and takes their concerns and arguments seriously. He's eager to use what he learned studying with Elizabeth Warren to advance the core progressive values he shares with Hawaii's working families. Will he be another Elizabeth Warren and another Alan Grayson if he gets to Congress in November? We asked him.
Elizabeth Warren is the key inspiration for my career in public service. Back when she was known as just Professor Warren, she taught my very first class in law school. She ran her classroom with the same directness and passion that she has shown throughout her life while fighting on behalf of working families. Alan Grayson is another personal role model, and it would be a great honor to join him in the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He gets right to the heart of every issue and knows how to shape the national conversation on behalf of just causes. In seeking to represent Hawaii, I am grounded in the strong progressive tradition and values of our islands, while drawing on what I have learned from these great legislators to get results in Congress.

I'm ready to join these progressive champions in fighting back for the middle class by cracking down on unscrupulous Wall Street gamblers and making college more affordable for families by offering low-interest loans for higher education. We've got a lot of work to do if we're going to be able to take on the Koch Brothers and their Tea Party employees in Congress-- but I'm ready for that fight.
So is Marianne Williamson:

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home