Monday, May 27, 2013

Grassroots Voters Need To Defeat The Wall Street-owned New Dems


Wall St. shills Crowley & Himes, leading freshmen to slaughter

Early this morning we saw how California voters drove the obstructionist Republicans away from the levers of power and made it impossible for them to obstruct government. And the result was a $60 billion deficit turned into a $4 billion surplus. At the bottom of the post, though, is a video from San Francisco progressive Senator Mark Leno warning that not all Democrats are... Democrats.

An Arizona political pal of mine was grousing yesterday about the support he had given freshman Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. "She knows better," he complained about her conservative voting record. She was a Nader supporter! Her IQ is in the stratosphere." Grassroots Democrats in New Hampshire are complaining about Ann Kuster and in New York's Hudson Valley about Sean Patrick Maloney. Activists are disappointed that they helped elect candidates campaigning as progressives who then got into Congress and started voting like conservatives-- particularly on economic justice issues. Kuster and Maloney, thinking themselves "safe" inside committee votes, voted, for example, to gut the food stamps program-- by $20.5 billion. Democrats do that? Bad ones-- especially when the DCCC is constantly telling them they need to come across as moderate to win reelection. That worked out badly in 2010 when Democrats who followed that awful advice were slaughtered by the dozen as Republicans voted for their own candidates and disappointed Democrats didn't show up at the polls. The DCCC learned exactly nothing and they're setting up the same dynamic today. Who do Sinema, Maloney and Kuster think is going to vote for them? Each will have exactly one defense: "The Republican is much worse than I am." Let's revisit that in November 2014 and see how badly it works again.

And then there's obsessive and obsequious Wall Street shillery. As Robert Reich summed it up over the weekend, "Who needs Republicans when Wall Street has the Democrats? With the help of congressional Democrats, the Street is rolling back financial reforms enacted after its near meltdown." Eric Lipton and Ben Protess dealt with it at the NY Times Friday. Short version: Wall Street banksters paid for the cushy political careers of politicos on both sides of the aisle, so they get to write the legislation pertaining to their business that they want. This has been standard operating procedure for Republicans for decades. It's come into vogue among Democrats because of the toxic and corrupt New Dems who now dominate the party establishment.
Bank lobbyists are not leaving it to lawmakers to draft legislation that softens financial regulations. Instead, the lobbyists are helping to write it themselves.

One bill that sailed through the House Financial Services Committee this month-- over the objections of the Treasury Department-- was essentially Citigroup’s, according to e-mails reviewed by the New York Times. The bill would exempt broad swathes of trades from new regulation.

In a sign of Wall Street’s resurgent influence in Washington, Citigroup’s recommendations were reflected in more than 70 lines of the House committee’s 85-line bill. Two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word. (Lawmakers changed two words to make them plural.)

The lobbying campaign shows how, three years after Congress passed the most comprehensive overhaul of regulation since the Depression, Wall Street is finding Washington a friendlier place.

The cordial relations now include a growing number of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, whose support the banks need if they want to roll back parts of the 2010 financial overhaul, known as Dodd-Frank.

This legislative push is a second front, with Wall Street’s other battle being waged against regulators who are drafting detailed rules allowing them to enforce the law. And as its lobbying campaign steps up, the financial industry has doubled its already considerable giving to political causes. The lawmakers who this month supported the bills championed by Wall Street received twice as much in contributions from financial institutions compared with those who opposed them, according to an analysis of campaign finance records performed by MapLight, a nonprofit group.

In recent weeks, Wall Street groups also held fund-raisers for lawmakers who co-sponsored the bills. At one dinner Wednesday night, corporate executives and lobbyists paid up to $2,500 to dine in a private room of a Greek restaurant just blocks from the Capitol with Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York, a co-sponsor of the bill championed by Citigroup.

...“I won’t dispute for one second the problems of a system that demands immense amount of fund-raisers by its legislators,” said Representative Jim Himes [vice chair of the bribe-taking New Dems], a third-term Democrat of Connecticut, who supported the recent industry-backed bills and leads the party’s fund-raising effort in the House. A member of the Financial Services Committee and a former banker at Goldman Sachs, he is one of the top recipients of Wall Street donations. “It’s appalling, it’s disgusting, it’s wasteful and it opens the possibility of conflicts of interest and corruption. It’s unfortunately the world we live in.”

The passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, which took aim at culprits of the financial crisis like lax mortgage lending and the $700 trillion derivatives market, ushered in a new phase of Wall Street lobbying. Over the last three years, bank lobbyists have blitzed the regulatory agencies writing rules under Dodd-Frank, chipping away at some regulations.

But the industry lobbyists also realized that Congress can play a critical role in the campaign to mute Dodd-Frank.

The House Financial Services Committee has been a natural target. Not only is it controlled by Republicans, who had opposed Dodd-Frank, but freshmen lawmakers are often appointed to the unusually large committee because it is seen as a helpful base from which they can raise campaign funds.

For Wall Street, the committee is a place to push back against Dodd-Frank. When banks and other corporations, for example, feared that regulators would demand new scrutiny of derivatives trades, they appealed to the committee. At the time, regulators were completing Dodd-Frank’s overhaul of derivatives, contracts that allow companies to either speculate in the markets or protect against risk. Derivatives had pushed the insurance giant American International Group to the brink of collapse in 2008. The question was whether regulators would exempt certain in-house derivatives trades between affiliates of big banks.

...[M]ost of the Democrats on the committee, along with 31 Republicans, came to the industry’s defense, including the seven freshmen Democrats-- most of whom have started to receive donations this year from political action committees of Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and other financial institutions, records show.

Six days after the vote, several freshmen Democrats were in New York to meet with bank executives, a tour organized by Representative Joe Crowley [one of the most corrupt men to ever serve in Congress], who helps lead the House Democrats’ fund-raising committee. The trip was planned before the votes, and was not a fund-raiser, but it gave the lawmakers a chance to meet with Wall Street’s elite.

In addition to a tour of Goldman’s Lower Manhattan headquarters, and a meeting with Lloyd C. Blankfein, the bank’s chief executive, the lawmakers went to JPMorgan’s Park Avenue office. There, they chatted with Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chief, about Dodd-Frank and immigration reform.
So should progressives help defeat bad Dems like Himes, Crowley, Sinema, Maloney and Kuster? I don't see how a progressive following the story can possibly pull the lever on election day for any of them-- or for any New Dem for that matter. In case you missed this the first time I ran it, you get a second chance now. Chris Hayes and Eliot Spitzer laughing at the corrupt Democrats on MSNBC:

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At 9:37 PM, Blogger Cirze said...

I've said it from the beginning of the DLC madness.

Vote them all OUT!

They are not progressive in any meaningful sense and do not represent us.

Love ya,


At 6:33 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

We will do everything in our power to vote the corporate blue dog dems out including the ones who were progressives then turned our backs & switched it's time to put the progressives & adults back in charge of congress.


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