Tuesday, April 29, 2014

CA-33: Dual Endorsement-- Ted Lieu And Marianne Williamson


Ted Lieu and Marianne Williamson-- every district should get this lucky!

Rarely does a district get even one candidate running for Congress as stellar as either state Senator Ted Lieu or inspirational author Marianne Williamson, let alone two. Why can't my district-- right next door-- have someone good running for Congress? In fact, the very first time I spoke with Marianne was to beg her to run against Blue Dog warmonger Adam Schiff. At the time, her home was right on the boundary between the two districts. It was almost as though she was a Waxman constituent in the living room and a Schiff constituent in the bathroom. But Marianne felt she knew her base… and she knew where they live.

Since then, I've written dozens of posts about Marianne, her platform and her campaign. She goes beyond the idea of "more Democrats" or even "more and better Democrats." She's the next step-- Better Than A Democrat… like Bernie Sanders. Sunday, following the powerful endorsement from Keith Ellison a couple weeks ago, Alan Grayson endorsed her: "Marianne Williamson has taught us that ‘playing small doesn’t serve the world.’ Every Member of Congress needs to hear those words. We all need to ‘play big,’ and create a world where each one of us is free to-- in Marianne Williamson’s words-- ‘let our own light shine.’ In a nation where Marianne Williamson helps to make the laws, our differences will no longer divide us; they will be cultivated and nurtured and cherished, so that every one of us can be all that he or she can be."

If all the candidates running were tools and mealy-mouthed conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party like Wendy Greuel and Matt Miller or even just garden variety Democrats, Blue America would have had no problem in standing with Ellison and Grayson and urging people to vote for Marianne. Well, we are urging people to vote for Marianne-- but we are also urging people to vote for Ted. He's an extraordinary legislator who, despite being a Democrat, is likely to have a substantive impact on making the progressive vision a reality.

Marianne's charisma and ability to communicate to people who politicians usually can't reach, is very powerful and very much needed by the progressive movement. Ted's ability to see a problem and figure out how to address it legislatively and politically is a more traditional, but no less consequential, way of looking at a candidate's qualifications. Put those traits together and you have… well, Alan Grayson or Elizabeth Warren.

The first time I met Ted in person was quite a time after I had already met Marianne. It was at John Amato's birthday party in Santa Monica. In preparation I went back to an old Calitics post then-Assemblyman Ted Lieu had written in 2008, Enough Is Enough. I was impressed that he began by referencing a popular film. "Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street," he wrote, "famously said, 'Greed is good . . . Greed is right, greed works.' Real life Wall Street, however, reminds us that excessive and unregulated greed wrecked havoc in the mortgage industry and took down our economy. The core cause of the chaos in our financial sector was the unregulated selling of unsuitable and risky subprime home loans that resulted in a massive wave of foreclosures." Eventually Ted became chairman of the Banking Committee and made it his mission to solve the problems endemic for consumers dealing with crooked mortgage banksters.
During the mortgage boom, industry players became addicted to the drug of high-yield, adjustable rate subprime mortgages that they foisted on borrowers. Raking in massive quarterly and annual bonuses, corporate executives didn't care if borrowers could repay the mortgages a few years later. It was greed on speed, the future be damned, and now all of us are suffering the consequences.

The collapse of financial giants Lehman Brothers, Ameriquest, IndyMac Bank, and New Century Financial; the fire sales of the venerable Merrill Lynch, the lawsuit-challenged Countrywide, and WaMu and Wachovia; and the existing taxpayer bailouts of AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac would NOT have happened if effective laws were in place to prevent predatory and unsuitable home loan products and practices from occurring in the first place.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan contributed to the financial meltdown by taking actions that artificially inflated the housing bubble; promoting risky, adjustable rate mortgages; and worst of all keeping government from effectively regulating the mortgage industry. In hindsight his decisions were absolutely and categorically wrong in every way possible.

While we wait for Mr. Greenspan to apologize, his successor, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Treasury Secretary Paulson have unveiled the largest government intervention in the free market in the history of the world. Taxpayer bailouts of large corporations do nothing to reform the broken mortgage system. While we may be forced to do a short-term fix, ultimately what is needed is fundamental reform.

Several states have passed effective laws to prevent predatory practices and the making of bad loans.  California's legislature put on Governor's Schwarzenegger's desk AB 1830 (Lieu), a comprehensive subprime mortgage reform bill. This bill, which received bipartisan support, bans predatory subprime loan practices and exotic, overly risky and unsuitable loan products.  Unfortunately, Governor Schwarzenegger catered to a few special interest groups in the mortgage industry and vetoed AB 1830.

Despite Governor Schwarzenegger's mistake, there is an opportunity nationally for fundamental reform. If the Bush Administration wants to use your hard-earned money to bail out Wall Street, then taxpayers should demand major industry reforms. First, industry should agree that they will no longer fight mortgage reforms such as those contained in AB 1830. Second, industry should agree to fix executive compensation so that the Gordon Geckos of Wall Street are not incentivized to place short-term profits above long-term financial health.

Third, we need to slow down the number of foreclosures and stabilize home prices or the problems will get even worse. This can be done by granting bankruptcy judges the ability to modify loans on the borrower's place of residence, and by following the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's lead of imposing a foreclosure moratorium.

Approximately 1,300 foreclosure filings occur every day in California, the worst in the nation. By the time you finish reading this article, another foreclosure filing would have occurred. This is unacceptable and has to stop.

If we are going to give massive corporate welfare to banks, then taxpayers better get something in return.  It is time to reform the mortgage industry and Wall Street. Enough is enough.
It took him 3 tries to pass. Banksters got their conservative allies to oppose it of course and when Ted did get it passed, Gray Davis, a conservative Democrat very much like Wendy Greuel and Matt Miller, vetoed it. The next time Ted got it passed, the banks were too embarrassed to fight it too hard and Arnold Schwarzenegger actually signed it. Most legislators don't have that kind of tenacity and force of character to take on the Establishment over and over. We think both our candidates are awesome. It will be really tough if they have to face off in November after the jungle primary. Every district should be so lucky to have to make that kind of a choice!

UPDTE: Ted Lieu's First TV Spot Goes After NSA Domestic Spying

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At 3:28 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The only to prevent more risky mortgage loans is through strong regulation on banks.


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