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17 Sep

Elizabeth Warren, We Are With You

Obama names Warren ‘adviser’ for bureau 

The McGlynn:

To shape the new agency created to protect consumer financial interests, “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau”.

I have my suspicions about the position of “adviser”. This appointment could be the way for Obama and his administration (The White House also said Warren will serve as a special adviser to Geithner) to marginalize her. I have my hopes but not very high.

This person, this woman is brilliant and a true progressive and liberal. She speaks “truth to power”. She is one of the most direct persons on the scene today. She knows history, economics, law etc. She is one that I have admired and have followed  since the publication of Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy*. 

It will now be the duty of us liberals to keep the pressure on the Obama White House. The republicans, wall street, the Palins of the world etc., hate her.

*Himmelstein, David U.; Warren, Elizabeth; Deborah; Woolhandler, Steffie J. (2005-02-08). “Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy”. Social Science Research Network. doi:10.2139/ssrn.664565. http://ssrn.com/abstract=664565. Retrieved 2009-06-05.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Greatest Hits from Daniel Mintz on Vimeo.

 Top Five Things You Should Know About Elizabeth Warren

1. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was her idea. Here’s why she thinks this agency is so critical: “It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house. But it is possible to refinance your home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting your family out on the street.”1

2. The Republicans are so scared of her, they tried to pass a law blocking her from leading the agency. Republicans in Congress and the big Wall Street banks have always been against Warren leading the new consumer agency. Republicans even offered an amendment that was widely understood as designed to block Warren. That amendment failed.2

3. She is one of the most prominent, successful and fierce female lawyers in America. Coming from working-class roots, she graduated from high school as a debate star at 16. She finished law school when she was nine months pregnant. And she has repeatedly been named one of the fifty most influential female lawyers by the National Law Journal and was twice nominated as one of Time Magazines 100 Most Influential People (among other honors).3

4. She spoke truth to power about the failed foreclosure program. The Home Affordability Modification Program was supposed to save homeowners from losing their homes but has left many deeper in debt than they were before. Warren used her position on the Congressional Oversight panel to bring the voices of these disaffected homeowners right to the decision makers in the administration and demand accountability.4

5. She may have actual superpowers. She once calmed the entire crowd of an NBA game with her encyclopedic basketball knowledge. She explained the financial meltdown so clearly to Jon Stewart he said it made him “want to make out with” her. And there’s a viral rap video about her.5

Sources:
1. “Making Credit Safer: The Case for Regulation,” Harvard Magazine, June 2008
http://harvardmagazine.com/2008/05/making-credit-safer-html

2. “GOP Tried To Block Elizabeth Warren From Heading Agency She Proposed,” Huffington Post, October 27, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=90368

3. Elizabeth Warren Wikipedia Entry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren

4. “Elizabeth Warren is Bostonian of the Year,” The Boston Globe, December 20, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=90369

5. “How HAMP Makes Elizabeth Warren The Only Choice For Consumer Protection,” The New Deal 2.0, July 22, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=90370

Got a New Sheriff, Main Street Brigade

“Elizabeth Warren is Bostonian of the Year,” The Boston Globe, December 20, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=90369

“Jon Stewart to Elizabeth Warren: Let’s Make Out,” Talking Points Memo, January 27, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=90371

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Warren Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning: Elizabeth W. and the Bloggers

By Richard (RJ) Eskow, Consultant, Writer, Senior Fellow with The Campaign for America’s Future

Posted: September 17, 2010 04:05 PM

 Elizabeth Warren’s first phone call after being named to “her new White House position”was to a group of progressive bloggers. Is that significant? Maybe not, but it certainly looks like Warren’s appointment, and the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau she’s help set up, owes a great deal to the progressives that lobbied heavily for them. The bloggers might be considered proxies for the disaffected activist base of the Party, and her affection for them was apparent. <

Regarding the CFPB, Prof. Warren said she would have full authority to “hire fire, deal with the budget, set the direction, and do the things that are necessary to get this agency started.” She also noted that she’ll be serving as a key part of the President’s core team of economic advisors.

Warren’s comments on her appointment, and on the CFPB itself, were interesting. A year ago, she said, Barney Frank was one of many people who told her that the bureau was a “pipe dream” that had no chance of being enacted into law. What happened? For one thing, financial reform proved to be enormously popular. (It’s the most thing to have happened so far during the Obama Administration.) While a number of critical financial reforms were diulted or killed, the force of public opinion was so strong that it permitted the passage of other provisions once considered politically impossible. Progressives were able to channel that popular support and turn the tide in several instances. There’s a lesson there that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Warren herself also became enormously popular, thanks to her own directness, intellect, ability to communicate, and most of all because of her apparent passion for protecting consumers. People are hungry for that kind of voice, which is probably why Jon Stewart said he wanted to “make out” with her when she was on the Daily Show. (Or maybe he just digs her – hey, it happens.) She also had the benefit of the best PR campaign money can’t buy – loathing and contempt from the Wall Street bigwigs and political power brokers who made themselves almost universally reviled after the crisis. Burson Marsteller can’t buy you that kind of coverage.

They hate her. They really, really hate her. That’s why it took so long to appoint her. But she proved harder to kill than Rasputin, rising again and again after one politician after another declared her nomination dead. And it probably was, which is why this appointment makes sense. Christopher Dodd took the lead in fighting her nomination, using one inept defense after another. He even made veiled threats the CFPB itself in his latest tantrum, despite having already assured himself a high-paying career on Wall Street. And Sen. Judd Gregg thinks it’s “outrageous” that “they’re not even put her up” for nomination. Gregg says it’s “an attempt by the administration once again to circumvent being responsible to the American public through the Congress” – where, if Gregg and his fellow Republicans had their way, that nomination would never even come up for discussion. (They call that “being responsible to the American people.”)

But will she have real influence and authority? Prof. Warren says yes. She says she’ll be able to hire, fire, establish the budget, set the bureau’s direction, and “do all the things that are necessary to get this agency started.” She’ll have “plenty of authority,” she says, and she’s “confident (the President) has given me the tools to get the job done.”

How will you resist the power of lobbyists? she was asked. “I will have a strong ally in the President of the United States,” she answered. “I met with the President (recently) to talk about the issues, so (she knows) this is central. We will make this work because it is important to the President of the United States and it is important to Secretary Geithner.” For those who might have said “you had me right up until ‘Secretary Geithner,'” she noted that she’s having lunch with Geithner on Monday to discuss foreclosures, among other things, and to ask how she can be of help.

It would be naive to think that she won’t face roadblocks. Larry Summers is legendary for his ability to outmaneuver anyone whose voice would undercut his own, and he’s been successful at doing just that in the White House. But Elizabeth Warren isn’t one to go gently in that good night, and that’s presumably understood by all parties.

Warren may also have a fundamental difference in philosophy with the Administration’s other key economic voices. She said in an interview that she was raised with “a fundamental belief that people are doing the best they can.” That contrasts sharply with other key Administration figures whose public and private comments suggest that they views many consumers, particularly underwater homeowners, as people whose own greed got the better of them. While that may make life difficult for her at times, it also makes her presence on the White House staff a critical addition to the team.

Warren, who ran a blog herself together with her students, had an obvious rapport with the bloggers. She was on a first-name basis with several of them. When Susie Madrak told Prof. Warren she “appreciates what she does,” the spontaneous answer was “I appreciate what you do, too.” That collegiality stands in sharp contrast with the behavior of some other White House advisors (although Tim Geithner’s made himself available to political writers and bloggers to an unprecedented extent).

It’s a good sign that, while the Administration still needlessly taunts its base sometimes, they’re beginning to listen, too. That lesson shouldn’t be lost on progressives: Activism and advocacy can work. Prof. Warren’s appointment reflects the (occasional) power of the Democratic base, and she may prove to be a conduit between the base and the Administration. Those of us who are vocal when our institutions fail us should be equally vocal when they come through for us. Her appointment is a tremendous win for the public. It’s also a sign that, despite the many setbacks and disappointments it’s faced, the progressive base is occasionally able to win and win big.

(If you’re confused by the title, it’s a reference to Chris Hedge’s brilliant book.)

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Richard (RJ) Eskow, a consultant and writer (and former insurance/finance executive), is a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America’s Future. This post was produced as part of the Curbing Wall Street project. Richard also blogs at A Night Light.

He can be reached at “rjeskow@ourfuture.org.”

Website: Eskow and Associates

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The O'Leary

What a woman; what a progressive; what an American! She will speak truth to power, to Geitner and to Obama.

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