Sunday, January 03, 2016

Elizabeth Warren And Chuck Schumer Will Have To Co-Exist


Elizabeth Warren is the symbol of a political creed based on humanistic values geared towards the principles our country was founded on and the ideals for which we all strive. Chuck Schumer is the grubby avatar of Wall Street greed and avarice and a kind of public corruption that stinks to high heaven and enables the reactionary Republican Party.

On New Year's Eve, Politico ran a piece by Zach Warmbrodt about hope: Warren Sets Stage To Wield More Influence In 2016. The short version: "2015 showcased Warren's knack for gaining effective, lasting influence by seizing moments of confrontation with powerful government officials and institutions... Warren and her allies racked up victories all year, winning fights over executive branch nominees, fending off regulatory rollbacks for banks and prodding financial regulators to take a harder line with the firms they oversee... Warren had only a few legislative wins. But 2015 showcased Warren's knack for gaining effective, lasting influence by seizing moments of confrontation with powerful government officials and institutions wary of taking on the progressive movement that's rallied behind her."

The banksters went crazy. By the end of March, they had had it. They threatened to put the DSCC out of business if something wasn't done to stop her and the tiny handful of progressive reformer in the Senate-- Jeff Merkely (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), to some extent Sherrod Brown (D-OH)-- from giving them nightmares and threatening their business model. [Bernie debating Wall Street-backed Hillary Clinton: "Here is the major issue when we talk about Wall Street-- it ain't complicated: Wall Street today has enormous economic and political power. Their business model is greed and fraud. And for the sake of our economy, the major banks must be broken up... With all due respect to the secretary, Wall Street play by the rules? Who are we kidding? The business model of Wall Street is fraud."]

The Finance Sector has given more campaign cash-- legalistic bribes-- to Chuck Schumer than to any politician in history other than some, though not all, presidential candidates. His Wall Street bribes since 1990-- he had already been in politics for a decade before that-- amount to $23,538,638, although that figure is growing, and growing rapidly. Although he has no primary opponent and not even a Republican opponent, the banksters have given him more money this cycle than any other member of Congress. This cycle he's already gobbled up $2,519,661 from Wall Street. The next two most Wall Street-favored politicians for 2015 were presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz ($1,795,845) and Marco Rubio ($1,778,997). But going back to career-long bribe taking from Wall Street, no one in Congress comes near Schumer. Among current Members of Congress, the second and third biggest recipients of Financial Sector largesse, Republican Senators Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader ($11,435,701) and Majority Whip John Cornyn ($8,073,016) couldn't even catch Schumer if they combined all their Wall Street bribes! And Speaker Ryan-- former Banking Committee chair and then chair of the House Ways and Means Committee-- "just" $5,519,391, a mere quarter of Schumer's haul.

OK, back to that Reuters piece for a moment:
Representatives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have met to discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, to soften their party's tone toward Wall Street, sources familiar with the discussions said this week.

Bank officials said the idea of withholding donations was not discussed at a meeting of the four banks in Washington but it has been raised in one-on-one conversations between representatives of some of them. However, there was no agreement on coordinating any action, and each bank is making its own decision, they said.

The amount of money at stake, a maximum of $15,000 per bank, means the gesture is symbolic rather than material.

Moreover, banks' hostility toward Warren, who is not a presidential candidate, will not have a direct impact on the presumed Democratic front runner in the White House race, Hillary Clinton. That's because their fund-raising groups focus on congressional races rather than the presidential election.

Still, political strategists say Clinton could struggle to raise money among Wall Street financiers who worry that Democrats are becoming less business friendly.

The tensions are a sign that the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis-- the bank bailouts and the fights over financial reforms to rein in Wall Street-- are still a factor in the 2016 elections.

Citigroup has decided to withhold donations for now to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee over concerns that Senate Democrats could give Warren and lawmakers who share her views more power, sources inside the bank told Reuters.

...JPMorgan representatives have met Democratic Party officials to emphasize the connection between its annual contribution and the need for a friendlier attitude toward the banks, a source familiar with JPMorgan's donations said. In past years, the bank has given its donation in one lump sum but this year has so far donated only a third of the amount, the source said.
That was the moment Harry Reid suddenly announced he was retiring and that his number 2, Dick Durbin (D-IL) would step aside to make room for Wall Street's top Senate ally to take over, Schumer. Schumer immediately promised the banksters he would "balance" the influence of Warren and her posse by preventing more progressives from getting into the Senate and bringing in Wall Street-friendly shills like Chris Van Hollen (MD), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Katie McGinty (PA), Ted Strickland (OH), Baron Hill (IN), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ) and, most of all, Wall Street's favorite Schumercrat, Florida New Dem Patrick Murphy to whom Wall Street has give more transactional bribes than any non-incumbent from either party running for the U.S. Senate. Murphy has carried their water in the House Financial Services Committee and Schumer has vowed to the banksters that he will deliver Murphy as a senator even if it means destroying the career of the most vigorous and effective progressive defender of consumer rights in the country, Alan Grayson.

Warmbrodt lauded Warren's skill set and determination to accomplish her goal of regulating Wall Street's greed and wrote how she "kept public pressure on fellow Democrats in the Senate and the House throughout the year in her crusade to defend Dodd-Frank, which overhauled regulations in the wake of the 2007-2009 global financial crisis.
In a November floor speech about attaching riders to transportation and spending bills, Warren called out Democrats who say they "want to get something done around here for a change."

She was taking aim at moderate Senate Democrats who were quietly talking with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) about a potential compromise on easing a number of regulations for community lenders and regional banks. Shelby was trying to include his vision of a wide-ranging regulatory overhaul in the latest year-end spending bill.

"If there's anyone in this chamber, Republican or Democrat, who thinks they can slip goodies for Wall Street into these bills without a fight, they are very wrong," Warren said in her November speech.

Shelby and the moderate Democrats, who were also feeling heat from outside groups allied with Warren, were unable to reach an agreement.

"Sen. Warren's political gravitas and populist appeal make her the liberal litmus test for every single financial services issue in Washington," Compass Point Research & Trading policy analyst Isaac Boltansky said. "Although she doesn’t have many direct legislative victories, she has used her position to both shape and sway the debate."
Schumer has boasted that he could "get" Warren to endorse Murphy, the same way he got other putative "liberal" senators-- Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Brian Schatz, all of whom utterly sold out their own professed values (Franken for a check from Murphy's rich parents)-- to do the same. So far that hasn't worked. But so far Schumer isn't desperate. Friday, Alexander Burns, writing for the NYTimes did a puff piece in Schumer, framing him as a happy warrior who "relishes" his role as the Republicans' chief villain, rather than as progressives' chief villain, something Burns didn't delve too deeply into. This particular p.r. initiative is about the heroic Schumer-under-seige from the horrible Republicans. "He is increasingly seen as an avatar of Democratic craftiness and frustrated conservative aspirations: a wily tactician who has routinely defanged his Republican adversaries with ease, first as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and more recently as a lead negotiator on the issue of immigration reform... [He] has appeared to embrace-- and perhaps enjoy-- his casting as a villain." Burns then goes off the deep end of stoopid, comparing the villainous Schumer to Ted Kennedy instead of to a different Mr. Burns.
In some respects, the Republican barbs could help shore up sympathy for Mr. Schumer in left-leaning precincts where he is regarded with a mixture of admiration and suspicion as a skilled political operative aligned more closely with the party’s centrist, pro-business wing than with its activist base.

Mr. Schumer has clashed with more liberal leaders in his party over the years: In a 2014 speech he questioned the political wisdom, for Democrats, of having pursued a national health care law in the midst of an economic recession, and over the summer he opposed President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

And for all the hostility Mr. Schumer draws from the right, he has maintained working and even warm relationships with some conservative-leaning elites, including political donors on Wall Street and in the pro-Israel community, and with Republican lawmakers like Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the speaker of the House.
When writing about Wall Street's threat to cut off funding to the DSCC, Luke Brinker, political editor of Salon, noted that "while only the most naive mind could consider it surprising, that Democrats are clutching their pearls over a possible drought of Wall Street funds underscores how poisoned our campaign finance system has become, and it speaks volumes about the plutocratic capture of American politics... [H]ere we have an industry that may well cut off a political party if it does not jettison proposals like breaking up 'Too Big To Fail' institutions, reinstating the Glass-Steagall law separating commercial and investment banking, and reining in unscrupulous speculation. These proposals have galvanized the Warren wing of the Democratic Party, which may be emboldened but is far from dominant. Look no further than Wall Street’s affinity for the party’s likely presidential nominee, or the identity of the Democrats’ potential next leader in the Senate, a top recipient of financial industry contributions. For Democratic neoliberals who have proven all too eager to forge an unholy alliance with the malefactors of great wealth, this Wall Street shakedown will only redouble their commitment to keep the financial powers-that-be placated."

I often tell people I understand who Bernie Sanders really is because he went to my elementary school, PS 197, and my high school, James Madison. I understand the context of everything he says. I also understand the context of everything Chuck Schumer says (and does), who also went to PS 197 and James Madison High School. Bernie would make the best president in my lifetime (you can help him here); Schumer will be the destruction of the Democratic Party as a force for progressive values (you can help stop him here).

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At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Elizabeth Warren is the symbol of a political creed based on humanistic values geared towards the principles our country was founded on and the ideals for which we all strive."

With all due respect to you and Sen. Warren, both of whom I admire, how is she "the symbol of a political creed based on humanistic values geared towards the principles our country was founded on and the ideals for which we all strive?" We all begged her to run. She refused. We begged her to endorse Sanders when he took the place she had been asked to take, and she hasn't yet. As far as I am concerned, Warren is one Senator among many, one whom I admire more than most, but just a good Senator. Bernie Sanders is "the symbol of a political creed based on humanistic values geared towards the principles our country was founded on and the ideals for which we all strive." Warren hasn't earned that title, and continuing to call her that just undercuts Bernie, who had the guts to step up and try to do what needs to be done when Warren didn't.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Garsha said...

I have learned for myself that humanistic values are not true.


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