Saturday, December 13, 2014

Listen to Professor Warren

I make no secret of my admiration for Senator Elizabeth Warren- no one, along with maybe Bernie Sanders, are the ones who truly "tell it like it is" in the U.S. Senate when it comes to how rigged America's economy is for the rich and powerful at the expense of the vast majority of the rest of us, and how it has to be fixed with real actions taken against the perpetrators. I proudly have an "Elizabeth Warren Wing of the Democratic Party" bumper sticker with this in mind.

But to see Sen. Warren CALL OUT CITIGROUP BY NAME for the better part of 10 minutes on the Senate floor? "Dodd-Frank should have broken you into pieces!" WOW! And shine a light on the revolving door of insiders that go between this bank and the highest levels of the Treasury Department and the White House should make everyone shiver.

I find myself constantly saying "DAYYYY-AMMMM!" during this speech, as Senator Warren pulls back the curtain in how our system truly works.

The part that's truly scary about Sen. Warren's speech is that almost everyone else on the Senate floor knows how this works, but almost no one is willing to say it. Let's hope Sens. Baldwin and Johnson follow the lead of Sen. Warren and remember who they truly work for- THE PEOPLE THAT VOTED THEM IN, and not the lobbyists and DC insiders that can't cast a ballot for them.

I have good reason to hope Baldwin will have the common sense to vote to take out the pro-Wall Street and big-money junk that's being attached to this budget bill, and "clean it up." Tammy's already indicated that she will follow Sen. Warren's lead, and vote against President Obama's choice of Antonio Weiss to be Secretary of the Treasury, saying that Weiss will favor Wall Street over Main Street. Let's see if she will keep up the good work on the CR_omnibus.

But counting on (mo)Ron Johnson, the "Kochs' model senator", to also step up and shoot this pro-oligarch crap down? Yeah, I can't really see that happening.

EDIT: Here's some more truth from the great Matt Taibbi.

Conservatives for welfare, and liberals for big business. It doesn't make sense unless we're not really dealing with any divided collection of conservatives or liberals, and are instead talking about one nebulous mass of influence, money and interests. I think of it as a single furiously-money-collecting/favor-churning oligarchical Beltway party, a thing that former Senate staffer and author Jeff Connaughton calls "The Blob."

What's happening here is that The Blob, which includes supposed enemies like Reid and Graham, wants to give donation-factory banks like Citi and Chase a handout. But a coalition of heretics, including the liberal Warren, the genuinely conservative Vitter and (surprisingly to me) the usually party-orthodox Nancy Pelosi is saying no to the naked giveaway.

Is killing the Citigroup provision really worth the trouble? Is it a "Hill to die on"? Maybe not in itself. But the key here is that a victory on the swaps issue will provide the Beltway hacks with a playbook for killing the rest of the few meaningful things in Dodd-Frank, probably beginning with the similar Volcker Rule, designed to prevent other types of gambling by federally-insured banks. Once they cave on the swaps issue, it won't be long before the whole bill vanishes, and we can go all the way back to our pre-2008 regulatory Nirvana.
And to see Tammy side with the Blob, and allow this garbage to go through to the president's desk (apparently in exchange for a seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee) is a very disturbing thought. It feels the date of explosion is getting nearer.


  1. And it turns out I'm dead wrong. Tammy voted for the CR-omnibus, and Johnson voted against it. Now, I don't think (mo)Ron voted against it because he dislikes what's in this pro-corporate mess of a bill- more likely it was out of anti-Obama idiocy- but it's still noteworthy.

  2. He voted no because of the immigration provisions. He aligned himself with Ted Cruz. Tammy- I don't even know what to say except that I'm very, VERY dissapointed.

  3. CJ- I figured it was an anti-Obama thing with Johnson. Thanks for the clarification.