Monthly Archives: November 2014

Elizabeth Warren Blasts New York Fed President William Dudley

Naked Capitalism has the article and features the video Elizabeth Warren Blasts New York Fed President William Dudley.

According to the posting of the video on YouTube:

The President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York faced a serious of tough questions from the Senate Banking Committee on Friday, following revelations that one of its former employees had been fired by Goldman Sachs for accessing regulatory information about one of the banks it supervised.

Elizabeth Warren told William Dudley that change in the New York Fed’s culture “has to come from the top” and “you need to fix it, or we need to get someone who will.”

I’d love to see the some action when the government decides “we need to get someone who will” fix this situation.

I didn’t hear Elizabeth Warren make the remark mentioned on the YouTube posting, but I did hear her say to Dudley,

And until you are willing to take meaningful action, our financial system and our whole economy remain at risk.

What kind of regulator puts our whole economy at risk?

President Obama Delivers an Address to the Nation on Immigration

The Whitehouse has put the video President Obama Delivers an Address to the Nation on YouTube.

President Obama lays out the new steps he’s taking to fix our broken immigration system. Watch the address live on November 20th at 8pmET and learn more at

This is a test for our nation. Can we all put aside our personal animosities, and come together to do what is best for our country?

The answer is in your hands, by what you tell your representatives in Congress to do.

President's thoughts in a nutshell

As for cracking down on companies who hire undocumented workers, I have been promoting the solution Immigrant Work Status Verification since 2006. I have been retired from my career as software engineer for 8 years. I could implement the proposed solution even with my rusty skills at software engineering.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has just posted a response on Facebook.

I was proud to vote for bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate, but House Republicans have refused to even allow a vote on the bill for over a year. I support the President’s decision to do what he can under the law to keep millions of families together, to help scores of businesses, and to patch up this broken system. Congress still needs to step up – but if Republicans in Congress won’t do their jobs, it’s time for the President to do his.

I will let Senator Warren speak for me on this issue, because she does it so well.

FINAL RESULTS: DFA’s 2016 Presidential Pulse Poll

I just received an email from Democracy For America.

2016 Presidential Pulse Poll: You have the power to change the results.

Steven —

I’m excited to announce the final results in Democracy for America’s first Presidential Pulse Poll of the 2016 race. And, just like in the 2007-08 election cycle, DFA members are not falling in line with the dominant media narrative.

With 164,733 votes cast by DFA members across the country, the results are in. And the winners are… (drum roll):
Surprised? We’re not.

Elizabeth Warren won by a large margin because she inspires Democrats by valiantly fighting for populist progressive policies to address income inequality in the face of Wall Street resistance — and because she regularly engages with the grassroots base of her party.

Of course, if you listen to the media, you would think there is no reason for a Democratic presidential primary to take place.

DFA members know primaries matter. We know that the Democratic Party is stronger when it’s a contest of ideas, not a coronation. And we know that none of the potential candidates can lock up the nomination before a campaign has even begun.

If several candidates run, the race will be wide open. And, no matter who runs, DFA members will be working day in and day out to get behind the best candidate with the strongest vision for fighting income inequality.

Is it just possible that Hillary Clinton is not the inevitable nominee, and that I am not the only person to think so?

Enough Is Enough: The President’s Latest Wall Street Nominee

Elizabeth Warren has written the Huffington Post article Enough Is Enough: The President’s Latest Wall Street Nominee. Warren has a Facebook post featuring the article. You can join the conversation there too. Below are her concluding remarks.

I have voted against only one of President Obama’s nominees: Michael Froman, a Citigroup alumnus who is currently storming the halls of Congress as U.S. Trade Representative pushing trade deals that threaten to undermine financial regulation, workers’ rights, and environmental protections. Enough is enough.

It’s time for the Obama administration to loosen the hold that Wall Street banks have over economic policy making. Sure, big banks are important, but running this economy for American families is a lot more important.

I am glad her recent appointment by the Democratic leadership in the Senate has not co-opted her. I was hoping she would continue to speak for the rest of us, and deliver our message to the leadership.  I was pretty confident that she would not just deliver the leadership’s message to us.

If you aren’t up on the news enough to get her veiled reference to “pushing trade deals that threaten to undermine financial regulation, workers’ rights, and environmental protections”, here is a US Government web page United States Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Key initiatives ongoing under his leadership are negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in the Asia Pacific…

If you haven’t heard Obama pushing this obscene trade agreement, you should read some of my blog posts about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, also known as TPP.

Senator Warren Asks FHFA Director Mel Watt About Principal Reduction

Senator Elizabeth Warren posted about his on her Facebook page article Senator Warren Asks FHFA Director Mel Watt About Principal Reduction.

Senator Elizabeth Warren asks Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt about principal reduction for homeowners, at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on November 19, 2014.

If this bozo had done something in the year he has been in office, how many people whose houses would have been saved might have come out to vote for a Democrat in the last election?

All the phoney number the Democrats produced about how the economy was doing better (for the top 10% only) didn’t sway many voters. If they’d had a real record to tout, they would have touted it. Can’t Obama light a fire under this guy?

How many failures of the Obama Administration do you have to see before you understand why the Democrats lost the last election so badly? When you fail to help millions of people when you could easily have helped them, they aren’t likely to come out and vote for your party.

Obama has had six years to fix this problem, and all he can say was that he couldn’t get it done even with help from Congress. The people who lost their houses in those six years may not have heard all the excuses that Obama had for not getting it done. What they had no trouble remembering was that they lost their houses.

How many other Senators can you name who are pushing on this as hard as Elizabeth Warren? Are there any Senators who pushed this issue this hard and still lost an election to a Republican?

Is there any other way I can put this that will reach the Democrats who are still blaming the voters who didn’t come out to vote for a Democrat?

Why is Anyone Surprised that Abenomics Failed?

Naked Capitalism has the article Why is Anyone Surprised that Abenomics Failed?

Yves again. So understand full well why austerity gets such favorable treatment. In its current version, where central banks use QE and super-low interest rates to offset its bad effects, the result is rip-roaring asset prices and a continued shift of income and wealth to the rich. The financial classes, who have considerably sway with the media, want to be sure these beatings continue until morale improves.

I was surprised by this turn of events in Japan.  I thought Abe was actually using a fiscal stimulus approach.  If you refer to the wikiPedia definition of Abenomics, you can understand why I was confused.

Abenomics refers to the economic policies advocated by Shinzō Abe since the December 2012 general election, which elected Abe to his second term as Prime Minister of Japan. Abenomics is based upon “three arrows” of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms.

I admit that I wasn’t following what was going on in Japan very closely.  This article sets me straight on my false understanding of what Abe was doing. The fiscal stimulus part of Abenomics was too little and ended far too early. Sound like the policy of any President you know?

These policies fail and fail again, and yet some economists keep insisting that they will work.  Maybe it’s time to refer to Greenberg’s Law of Counterproductive Behavior to wit “If you see a behavior that seems to you to be counterproductive, perhaps you have misunderstood what the behavior was trying to produce.” It is clear from this article that the actual goal was “a continued shift of income and wealth to the rich.” In all cases this result has actually been achieved quite nicely.

The Boston Globe/The New York Times did a wonderful job of proving exactly what the Naked Capitalism article said. As published in The Boston Globe, the article was headlined “As Japan struggles, leader calls for early elections”. Online the headline was Abe’s call for early elections in Japan prompted by fear.

One problem, economists say, is that Abe failed to use the upturn as a chance to push through painful market-opening moves and structural changes needed to make the recovery last.

What you will never find in a story from The New York Times nor from The Boston Globe is “One problem, economists say, is that Abe failed to continue the fiscal stimulus long enough, and foolishly allowed the regressive consumption tax to take effect.” There are many economists (see the Naked Capitalism article above) who are saying this. In what universe does it make sense to put a tax on behavior you want to encourage – consumption?

As this article does point out, wealth in Japan for the working people is being shifted to the wealthy. The non-wealthy are hit by falling wages and rising taxes. A national sales tax is aimed at the middle and lower classes and takes the pressure off the wealthy classes. The wealthy spend a far smaller percentage of their income on consumption than every one else.  So a “fair” sales tax on consumption takes a far smaller fraction of the income from the wealthy than it does from the non-wealthy.

Yet the repeated failure of these policies in many places around the world continues to stump the reporters of The New York Times.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Just Does Not Get It

If you needed any further proof that most of the Democrats in Congress just don’t get it, here is the email that proves it.

They could have started with “Remember none of these good statistics apply to the bottom 90% of wage earners where most of the votes for Democrats would be expected to come.”

Most of the bottom 90% does not invest in the stock market, an unemployment rate of 5.8% is still historically at recession levels, just about all of the GDP growth went to the top 1.0% of the income earners, the bottom 90% actually lost ground, a falling deficit is the last thing you want to see when we are still trying to recover from a recession, and where were those confident consumers in this recent election?

I can hear some of those bottom 90% appreciating the rise of the Dow-Jones average. “Yeah, now the market goes up after I had to cash in my 401(k) to save my home from foreclosure. So what should have been my stock market profits went to the top 10%. Go ahead and rub it in. Where was my bailout?”

Other than that, you can see why the Democrats in Congress won’t really have to pay attention to what Elizabeth Warren is trying to tell them.

How on earth can we deliver this message to Congress in a way that they will hear? Perhaps my previous post Announcing Time For Elizabeth Warren will give you some ideas. Just the idea of her running might wake them up.

Of course, if all the Democrats who happen to be in the top 10% of income earners could just understand what the bottom 90% see, maybe they would realize why they didn’t succeed with these facts that only apply to them.

The American Prospect

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This is what a successful Presidency looks like:

President Obama Took Office
(January 2009)
7,949 The Dow Jones Index 17,573
7.8% Unemployment 5.8%
-5.4% GDP Growth 3.5%
9.8% Deficit GDP % 2.8%
37.7 Consumer Confidence 94.5

In 6 years under President Barack Obama, we’ve made incredible progress as a country.

Often in the face of incredible obstruction, the President has continued to fight for us and lead us forward.

Will you add your name now and say that you’re still standing with President Obama in his final two years in office?

Sign your name to say you’re standing with President Obama:

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Announcing Time For Elizabeth Warren

Here is the email that I got explaining the three month effort to get Elizabeth Warren into the race for president.

Action Network Email

Hey there Warren fans, ready to get to work? Today, we’re launching Time for Warren, a three-month campaign to get Elizabeth Warren into the race for president.

This is a long email, but it has some mission-critical information about our strategy and how you can be part of this.

Before we get started, we want to make a promise about all of our emails going forward: We will always respect your time and tell it like it is. We’re not going to yell about deadlines or final notices, there won’t be panic or doom and gloom. You’re part of the team, and that means a lot to us.

Now, here’s what Time for Warren means: We’re not just Ready for Warren — someday. We want Elizabeth Warren to run for president — without delay.

Income inequality is nearing record levels. Big banks and corporate special interests are treating our government as a cash register, and elections as an inconvenience. For millions of us, the American Dream seems like a nice idea from very long ago, something that belongs on an old episode of “I Love Lucy,” but has nothing to do with life today.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that sometimes a leader emerges at the exact moment when her ideas are needed most.

This is Elizabeth Warren’s moment. Between now and President’s Day on February 16th, our Time for Warren campaign will make exactly that case. And step one is to get every last Warren supporter to say you’ll help. I can’t emphasize this enough — our greatest strength is what we can do together when we decide to take action and stand up for the kind of future we want to see.

So before I say anything more, say you’ll join the Time for Warren campaign and help draft Elizabeth Warren to run for president.

First things first, I’ll address the elephant in the room: Hillary Clinton is almost certainly running for president, and she’ll be the early favorite. She has the money, the profile, and the backing of the party’s power brokers. But it’s possible to like Clinton and still think it’s time for Warren. The greatest problems facing America today are the exact problems that Elizabeth Warren has dedicated her life to solving. That’s rare.

There is a precedent for getting Warren to run. A few years ago, she had her heart set on being the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — an independent agency that she created to protect regular people from predatory financial institutions. When that fell through, tons of people got together and encouraged her to run for Senate. She resisted at first. But more and more people kept saying, “Run, Liz, Run!” — and she did. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. We just have to get organized in an even bigger way.

Now here’s the plan to get Liz to run:

1) Get 100,000 supporters to write to Warren and ask her to run
We’re going to organize letter-writing parties across the country over the coming months, where supporters will write personal notes to Warren and ask her to fight for us as president. And on President’s Day, February 16th, we’ll deliver a whole boatload of people’s names who have signed our “Run, Liz, Run” petition on

2) Make a lot of noise in the early states
Part of Liz Warren’s appeal is that her ideas are popular everywhere. But as always, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina are super important in a presidential year. Showing Democratic excitement for Warren in those early states will make a Warren candidacy all the more credible.

If you have friends in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina, forward them this email right now.

3) An aggressive and creative media strategy
Our new deputy campaign manager, Kate Albright-Hanna, was President Obama’s online video director in 2008, and most recently was part of Zephyr Teachout’s campaign for governor of New York. Teachout’s campaign was creative and nimble, but more importantly, it focused on the issues that matter. On Election Day, Teachout defied expectations and won a third of the vote despite being out-spent and out-advertised — with your help, this is exactly the kind of strategy we’re going to use.

Democrats already love Elizabeth Warren. Americans of all stripes are inspired by her ideas. We just need to show there is a viable movement that will stand behind her if she runs.

If you truly want to see Elizabeth Warren run for president, these next 90 days are key — we’ll soon be one year out from the Iowa caucuses. It’s Time for Warren, and we’re ready to show it. Say you are too:

Let’s do this! Thank you!

Erica, Kate, and the Ready for Warren Team

We’re a volunteer-driven, grassroots movement to draft Elizabeth Warren to run for president — and we couldn’t do it without your support. Donate to Ready for Warren here.

Paid for by Ready for Warren Presidential Draft Campaign,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Sent via

I signed on and donated.

Matt Stoller: Lobbying Used to Be a Crime: A Review of Zephyr Teachout’s New Book on the Secret History of Corruption in America

Naked Capitalism has the book review Matt Stoller: Lobbying Used to Be a Crime: A Review of Zephyr Teachout’s New Book on the Secret History of Corruption in America.  The review concludes with the following paragraphs:

Americans broadly speaking would probably agree with Teachout’s interpretation of corruption, rather than that of those who authored Citizens United. Americans see the revolving door of lobbying and believe Congress and the government as institutions are corrupt. They have, in other words, a structural sense of what corruption means. It is not just bribery, it is a set of incentives that are not per se illegal, just unethical. Teachout shows, through painstaking historical research, that this popular conception of corruption is actually far more consistent with the intent of the Constitutional framers than the odd and anomalous John Roberts-led Hobbesian majority.

Corruption in America is a book worth reading, almost as much as Teachout is a person worth following. Reorganizing America is a large task, and many of us are seeking to do that. But first, in some sense, we must reorganize our own thinking, trapped as many of us are in Robert Bork’s nightmarish Hobbesian world of hopelessness. This book will help us take that first critical step.

One of the most surprising things I found in the book review was this discussion of the ‘Yazoo’ controversy.

The first significant test of the revolutionary anti-corruption doctrine was the 1795 ‘Yazoo’ controversy, when a Georgia legislature sold a massive land grant to speculators who had, as it turns out, bribed lawmakers. Voters turned out the legislature at the next election, and the newly elected lawmakers voided the deal. The case generated widespread controversy and went to the Supreme Court, where in 1810, in Fletcher v Peck,the court said that the sanctity of the contract must be upheld even in the face of corruption. In a nod to today’s logic of brutal tolerance of corruption, the court argued that corruption may be problematic, but there was nothing the state could do about it. This was a highly consequential decision, and prioritized contract rights over anti-corruption.

This just so violates my sense of justice.  I have always believed that if you agree to something under duress, then you cannot be held to that agreement.  Although, come to think about it, we hear of violations of such principles often enough.  A criminal defendant can and frequently is convicted on the basis of a confession that was admittedly coerced.

Why I even think this was mentioned in our Constitution as the Fifth Amendment.

No person shall be … nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.

The issue is one of being compelled.  It is forbidden.

Here is a link to purchasing the book Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United.

Russian Duo

Here is a little musical interlude.

Here is an email I got about their Kickstarter Campaign to fund a new CD.

Russian Duo Invites you!

North America’s only touring Russian-American balalaika-piano duo!

Click here to watch Russian Duo’s Kickstarter Video!

Dear Friends,

We would like to thank all of you who have already backed our Kickstarter Campaign to record a new album. And we want to invite everyone else to join the fun.

Time is of the essence to reach our goal. We have raised $3,215 of the $5,400 needed to record our new album. (That’s 60% with 15 days to go.) If we don’t reach our goal by December 3, the project will not be funded and we will not receive any of your heartfelt pledges.

This new album celebrates our 7 years of collaboration. We get to share our beautiful new repertoire with fans, friends, colleagues, supporters and future audiences. In exchange, depending on your pledge, you will receive a digital download, a real CD, a Dalcroze Eurhythmics session, chamber music session, Oleg’s solo concert or a Russian Duo house concert!

On the career side of things: we need a new album to represent our current level of performance, we need new material to apply for a prestigious grant from Chamber Music America, and we need professionally recorded repertoire to enter juried showcases around North America.

By the middle of December (with your help!) we will have spent time in the recording studio and will be well on our way to a finished product. In just 2 short weeks our campaign will be over. We hope you will partner with us – soon! – to make this project a reality!

Watch our Kickstarter video for a glimpse of Russian Duo in action and to learn about the process.

With Best Wishes,

Terry & Oleg

Terry, after a recent concert in Ohio.
Oleg singing a Soviet song in concert.

Our mailing address is:
3003 Euclid Heights Boulevard
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118