Elizabeth Warren on Bill Moyers: Will More and Better Democrats Put a Stake Through the Heart of Neoliberalism?

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, you may be shocked to find out that I’m skeptical of Democrats, but it’s true! I started following electoral politics in the 90s, when the Republicans orchestrated the slow-moving, media-fueled coup d’etat that meandered through the bait shops of Arkansas, Whitewater, Monica, the impeachment saga, and finally Scalia’s decision in Bush v. Gore, and — classic binary thinker that I was — I assumed that because the Republicans were so bad, that the Democrats had to the the opposite of bad, which is good! So fast forward through 2006, when Nancy Pelosi not only buried the Mark “Can you measure for me?” Foley Congressional page scandal, but took impeachment off the table, and through 2008, where the greatest orator of our time was given the House, the Senate, a mandate, and was faced with a thoroughly discredited and even demoralized opposition. Then He appointed Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary. And here we are! I forget when Democratic apologists started burning the Lesser of Two Evils talking point. The 2010 midterms?

Anyhow, Elizabeth Warren is one of the best Democrats there is. That’s not saying a lot, though, is it? Here she is on Bill Moyers, her first time having been 10 years ago, 2004. Happy days! I had dental..

* * *

The following passages caught my eye. In general, I like Warren’s problem statements much better than her proposed solutions; I do feel she “gets it,” in that (at least) she isn’t into human suffering or kicking people when they’re down (and who isn’t down?)

BILL MOYERS: [T]he middle class is still struggling. In fact, their income, adjusted for inflation is lower than it was five years ago, and they’ve lost about three percent of their purchasing power since then. Yet stocks are soaring, the economy is expanding, and the benefits are not going to the middle class families. Why can’t Washington do better by them?

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: So I think Washington doesn’t do better by them because Washington isn’t trying to do better by them. If you look at Washington as a whole, I think this is the fundamental problem in our system right now. Washington works for those who can hire armies of lobbyists, armies of lawyers, and get just the rules they want. It doesn’t work so well for American families.

Good so far, though I have to say that I cringe a little when I hear the catchphrase “American families,” which has that warm Thomas Kinkade-esque glow, like “family farm.” Or “kitchen table issues.” For one thing, I’m a family of one. For another, families come in all different shapes and sizes, and sometimes a family is part American and part not. And finally, I’d say (at least) that it’s not “families” Washington doesn’t work for, but working people (with the exception of “pillars of the regime” including “lobbyists” and “lawyers,” but also most members of the political class, like legacy party operatives, members of the press, think tankers, dand Congress critters, all of whom Warren leaves out the picture). #JustSaying.

WARREN: Look, we know the things we need to do.

Single payer! But not Elizabeth Warren.

WARREN: Raise the minimum wage.

The miserably inadequate $10.00, or the compromise of $15.00, $7.00 below what the minimum wage would be if wages kept pace with productivity?

WARREN: Nobody should work full time and still live in poverty. Minimum wage nationally hasn’t been raised in over seven years. We need to make sure that we have real rules on equal pay for equal work. We need to lower the interest rate on student loans.

Instead a bite-size tweak like lowering interest rates, why not a reform like free public education K-16? Heck, even the CAF believes in that!

WARREN: In every case, we in the United States Senate have a majority. All of the Democrats have voted in favor of this.

Taking consequence-free, meaningless votes on bills that will never pass but look good in campaign flyers is a fine art in Washington, DC.

WARREN: And occasionally, we even pick up a Republican. The Republicans have filibustered in the Senate.

Well, that’s why the Senate Democrats should have changed the rules to eliminate the filibuster in 2009, and passed some decent legislation instead of what we got. And if Harry Reid can change the rules to get some judges through in 2013, he could have gone whole hog four years before that. But no. The Democrats have nobody to blame but themselves that the Republicans even have the power to filibuster, and I’m disappointed that Warren would even deploy this argument.

WARREN: They won’t even bring things to a vote in the House of Representatives. This is really a case where one party has said, the usual rules of governing, you know, we’ll come together, we’ll try to talk about these things, we’ll try to work something out, their answer is no, no, no. They’re not there to help middle class families.

At this point, I need to quote Thomas Frank again, because this can’t be said often enough:

In a much-reported study, the Russell Sage Foundation discovered that median household wealth in this country fell by 36 percent in the 10-year period ending last year. …. Our bout of hard times … has accelerated the unraveling of the middle class itself. Now, you can blame the risible, Ayn Rand-reading Tea Party types for this if you like, and you can also blame the George W. Bush Administration. They both deserve it. But sooner or later you will also have to acknowledge that there are two parties in this country, not just one; that the Democrats held significant power during the period in question, including (for much of it) the presidency itself; and that even when they are not in the White House, these Democrats nevertheless retain the capacity to persuade and to organize. For a party of the left, dreadful news like this should be rocket fuel. For the Dems, however, it hasn’t been. Why is that? Well, for one thing, because a good number of those Democrats have not really objected to the economic policies that have worked these awful changes over the years. … [A] lot of them also believe in the conventional economic wisdom of the day. They don’t really care that union power has evaporated and that Wall Street got itself de-supervised and that oligopolies now dominate the economy. But they do care – ever so much! – about deficits and being fiscally responsible. Bring up this obvious point, however, and you will quickly discover what a dose of chloroform the partisan style can be. There’s a political war on, you will be told; one side is markedly better than the other; and no criticism of the leadership can be tolerated.

And it seems to me that in this interview, Warren is doing exactly what Frank describes. Back to Warren, further along in the interview:

WARREN: … We’re going to make sure Americans get a fair shot. We’re going to get out there and fight for America, and these are ways that we can do it. And we’ve all stood up behind that.

First, I am very weary of the “we’re going to fight” trope, about as weary as I am of the “Tell X Y” snowclone, or “Stand with X.” Endless fighting doesn’t matter. Winning does. Second, I think “fair shot” and “level playing field” and “equality of opportunity” are bollocks. The game is rigged, so nothing is fair or level of equal. So I care about equality of outcomes, at least to a minimum baseline of human decency.

Back to Warren, further along:

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: And the idea that the credit card companies, this was back in the ’90s, the credit card companies wanted to change the bankruptcy laws so that they could improve the bottom line on their profitability. So just by squeezing families, and who are the families they were going to squeeze? Families who had high medical debts, families who have someone had lost a job, like my dad had. Families who had had a breakup, either a death or a divorce in the families. Those were the families who were going into bankruptcy. Credit card companies said, we’re going to squeeze that and keep fewer of them from going, and we’ll make a few more dollars at the end because we can get a little more money out of them on these credit card bills.

And my first thought, when I first saw what they were trying to do, this tells you as a professor, I thought, that would never happen in a democracy. What elected representative would say, I know, I’m going to vote to change these laws to help a half dozen big, multi-zillion-dollar credit card companies. I’m going to help them squeeze the families back home, and particularly squeeze hard-working, middle-class families, who’ve just gotten into terrible, financial trouble.

And boy did I find out I didn’t understand how the world worked then. I ended up getting involved. I was asked to work on a bankruptcy review commission in Washington and I just saw it day after day. It was no one but lobbyists over there. And who could hire the lobbyists? The credit card companies.

Praiseworthy! But speaking of bankruptcy, democracy, elected representatives, and squeezing the middle class, how ’bout that Joe Biden, fighting Democrat, Obama’s Vice President on both tickets?

With Sen. Joe Biden joining [1] the Democratic ticket, there’s renewed scrutiny of Biden’s connections to the credit card industry. Biden has been particularly cozy with MBNA, a financial services company from Delaware, and now a subsidiary of Bank of America.

Over the past 20 years, MBNA has been Biden’s single largest contributor [2]. And as the New York Times [3] and Wall Street Journal [4] note, Biden’s son Hunter was hired out of law school by MBNA and later worked as a lobbyist for the company.

The Times also details just how helpful Biden has been to MBNA and the credit card industry. The senator was a key supporter of an industry-favorite bill—the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005”—that actually made it harder for consumers to get protection under bankruptcy.

Back to Warren. Final segment:

BILL MOYERS: So, can we ever have a government that works for everyday people? A government that we can trust, when our elected officials switch sides like that and pay more attention to the donors than to the voters?

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: I think this is one of the hardest questions in democracy, the hardest questions that we face as a country right now. The government runs for those who can make their voices heard.

As any of you, readers, will see if you practice some civic engagement!

WARREN: And they mostly make their voices heard through their lobbyists, through their campaign contributions. And that means over and over and over the tilt is in favor of the rich and the powerful.

Every rule that gets written just has, you know, just a little more, a little twist, a little opening, a little loophole for those who’ve already made it big. And it’s taken the legs out from underneath our middle class, our working families, it’s taking hope away from our next generation. This is the problem we’ve got to solve and we’ve got to solve it now.

Yes, but! The “little twist, a little opening, a little loophole” doesn’t apply only to government; it applies to the rentiers for whose benefit the government, taken as a whole, operates. And that brings us immediately to accounting control fraud (see Bill Black, also on Bill Moyers). It’s true that “consumers” — I prefer to think of the American people as citizens — might possibly be less vulnerable to the “little twists” of sketchy mortgages pushed by fraudsters if the contracts were in plain English. But what really took the legs out from under the middle class was the Great Financial Crash, caused in large part, as Black shows, by accounting control fraud in the C-suites. It never seems to occur to Warren to follow the money, and ask why the usual suspects are able to pay their armies of lawyers and lobbyists, and whether the money was gained by outright looting, as Black shows it was.


BILL MOYERS: But isn’t it time to get real ideologically? The neoliberal movement of the last 30 years has run itself into the ground. And you know as well as I do, it still, nonetheless, has a hold on establishment Democrats.


MOYERS: To be frank, Mrs. Clinton, for all the admiration and respect she commands for her years in public life, is the embodiment of that establishment, that movement.


MOYERS: Do you think the neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party can put the country back on a path away from corporate and plutocratic control?

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: The way I see this is that we change as a people.

Many here have said the same, and will judge whether Warren has defined such a “change” sufficiently, or at all. (Note also that “middle class” has insensibly morphed into “a people.” I’m not sure either terms is, shall we say, sufficiently descriptive.)

WARREN: The issues that face us are more visible than they were before the 2008 crash.


SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: We have a lot of new people in the Senate in particular. And a lot of new ideas for how we should be pushing to build an America going forward.

(Ugh. “Going forward.” Like “looking forward and not back,” and no wonder.) I’m trying to put these “new ideas” together with those “new people” and not getting very far. But then, readers, you know my biases. Any thoughts?

WARREN: Let me put it this way, because this is how I see it. There are two key things that we need to build a country, to rebuild our middle class.

The first is that we need a set of rules that just works.

Maybe seeing some shackled banksters in orange jump suits doing the perp walk would help? Just a thought.

We knew this coming out of the Great Depression. Nobody should be able to steal your purse on Main Street, and no one should be able to steal your pension on Wall Street. We need tough rules so that financial markets are fair, so that they’re transparent, so you don’t get cheated.

Well, accounting control fraud is what needs to be prevented, since otherwise markets aren’t fair, or transparent, and people will keep getting cheated.

And here we might ask what exactly Warren has done to move the country or the people toward understanding what these new “rules” might be, and why they are needed. Who knows, they might be — well, sadly, might have been — useful to Democrats in the 2010 midterms!

Nationally televised hearings? No. Something like the Pecora Commmission? No. YouTubes with sharp questions? Yes. But they don’t cut it. And sure, the Consumer Financial Protection Board is all well and good — though $4 billion returned to the crisis, after the foreclosure crisis, is chump change — but what has Warren, from her bully pulpit in the Senate, done for us lately?

WARREN: That’s one part of it. The second part of it is that we have to agree together to build the things that only government can build. And I think of it this way. The things that help us build a future, we have to make the investments in education so that every kid gets a fighting chance. We have to make the investments in basic infrastructure, in roads and bridges and power grids and all those things.

And the third thing, we have to commit to and build again is our investment in research. This is what has made us such an extraordinary people. I talk about these because together, this is how we build a future. It takes lots of individual initiative, lots of people who make good decisions; some people will make bad decisions [like Presidents…]. But this is the part, the core that gives us the opportunity to build a future. And we need to be committed to that.

All well and good. But there’s no reason for me to think that Democrats can do any of those things. For example, would Warren let the neoliberals prevent the spending on education, basic infrastructure, and research that she says we need? Her campaign website is at best equivocal, but I’m guessing she would. After this interview, I think that like Clinton, she’s too much a party loyalist to do otherwise.

* * *

To return to a more positive note, I think that Warren’s heart, to use the cliche, is in the right place. And that’s a big admission for me! She actually thinks dull normals don’t deserve to get shafted. But does Warren truly want to loosen the neoliberal death grip on Washington, DC and the country? On this showing, no.

My grade: C+. Could do better. Plays too well with others.

NOTE In the video, it looks to me like Warren is wearing Nina McLemore, as do many other “authoritative women,” among them Hillary Clinton and Janet Yellen. Does anyone have any thoughts of the semiotics here? I see the trademark red, but what about the tailoring?

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. ErnstThalmann

    Did someone get lost here? Glenn Greenwald has an important piece on Warren’s progressive credentials here:


    You’ll excuse me, but I get tad nervous reading any kind of enthusiasm for Warren with knowledge of her excuse making for the savage genocide just carried out by Israel against the children of Gaza. Warren makes me puke, frankly. And in promoting her regardless of the facts, Moyer too.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Well that push back didn’t take long. I get a tad …. Once again, purity standards and litmus tests of perfection as our Father in Heaven intended, but which as sinners all, we fall, oh, how shall I term it, a tad short of not too right, not too left, but just short of perfect. AAhhhhhhh.

  2. ambrit

    I was fascinated to learn about Nina McLemore. The style looks like a cross between Mao and Reading Rainbow. A somewhat severe style lightened, literally, by colour. The underlying message seems to be, “I’m a woman who’s afraid to look soft.” It is probably my male chauvinist sensibility saying that, but, if I can see this, does it mean that the ladies in question are pandering to this archaic mindset too? The infamous glass ceiling can also be a mirror. As low cut tops and Dragon Lady slits up the sides of skirts pander to the adolescent sex urge, so too does the opposite extreme, severe suits. There seems to be no middle ground here.
    I know that the main counter argument is that these women are engaged in business of one sort or another, and so, sexuality must be banished. No argument there. The question I have with this is; why is women power players clothing so obviously modelled on mens clothing? (I’d love to see male Scots politicians showing up to the Parliament in Glasgow in kilts.) The Communist Chinese were right. All Party members and politicos should wear uniform clothing. Now that I think about it, that is exactly what we are doing. This entire style issue shows American politicians up as consummate hypocrites. They bloviate endlessly about individuality while wearing uniforms. Now there’s something Great Cthulu would approve of.

    1. craazyman

      They could probly go to Men’s Wearhouse and get a red blazer for $130 then tailor it & you’d never know. That would take a little work though. And that does take time. Easier just to drop the 900 bucks and be done with it.

      Bring on the new messiah, wherever they may roam . . .. and let them make speeches to themselves for posterity. Who needs politicians? Whaat’s needed is formation of a set of instinctive behavioral methods of cooperation so politicians are a relic of a former state of consciousness. Not that that’s easy . . haha . . . In the meantime, Master Po is the Man for me. Whatever he says, that’s what I do. At least I don’t f*cck with anybody’s soul. I try not to anyway.

    2. Banger

      I’ve always noticed, from the fifties, that women tend to dress in a more frumpy manner the closer they get to power. I was checking out some stories about Marine Le Pen and I noticed that her clothes are what a normal woman who wants to appear well-groomed and sexually attractive would wear and her example is generally repeated in France. Angela Merkel, in contrast, dresses as bad as any American female politician.

      1. Paul Niemi

        Boy, you guys walked into that trap: a woman speaks, and the men point at her clothing. My, my. Was she too frumpy?

        1. abynormal

          ‘ )

          “The truth of the matter was that Juliet would look good in a sack. Somehow everything she wore fitted perfectly. Glenda, on the other hand, never found anything good in her size and indeed seldom anything in her size. In theory, something should fit, but all she ever found was facts, which are so unbecoming.”
          Pratchett, Unseen Academicals

          1. Paul Niemi

            “The connection between dress and war is not far to seek; your finest clothes are those you wear as soldiers.” — Virginia Woolf

        2. ambrit

          Oh, and what about “Power Ties?” A more flagrant evocation of male primary sexual attributes I can’t think of. Do the red ties project tumescence, while blue ones scream flaccidity?
          It’s a short step from the sumptuousness of your apparel denoting your status to the severity of your uniform denoting your ‘seriousness.’ As Lambert pointed out, these are non verbal communications intended to place the individual in one sort of “box” or another.
          Oh for the days of the sans culottes!

          1. Paul Niemi

            My point is that when, say, Sen. Mitch McConnell or Sen. Pat Roberts gives an interview, what they are wearing is the least of anyone’s concern, and no one will comment about it. With Sen. Elizabeth Warren, apparently, among the first responses is: Look at the red dress, what about the tailoring, etc? Is the dress extraordinary? No. If I was to respond, which I can because you have opened the door to that, and because the topic is silly, I would say: Obviously, she has the good sense not to wear a blue dress.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I don’t know. Men have been in politics longer. Uniforms have long been regimented. If the dandy senator from South Carolina or Kentucky started wearing white suits or going tieless, the outrage would exceed forgetting the American flag pin anger.

              Women folk are just catching up.

            2. craazyman

              that’s only cause straight men mostly can’t dress themselves to save their lives — so they don’t notice and couldn’t even if somebody pointed things out to them.

              now that I’ve discovered men’s style, even tough i’m a straight guy, I can now notice these things. It’s astonishing, how awful I used to look walking down the street. Today I was out in New York and the men looked like they crawled out of a toilet in a public restroom. That’s how bad they looked. Now it’s getting better for me anyway. Now if I were ever to watch TV, which I don’t except NFL, and if a politician came on who was male, I’d examine the shirt, shirt collar, tie, jacket style and shoes if they camera went to the shoes. The finer points are not lost on me now and I can appreciate, now, a well put together outfit. It doesn’t have to be expensive to work. Even Men’s Wearhouse clothing, if selected well, can look very nice. Even on a politician. They frankly, and I am not exaggerating, have some nice threads there if the buyer understands style.

              Sentaor Warren might consider a more conspicuously provocative outfit, but well within traditional style constraints for women such as a blue navy blazer (who can go wrong there?) a red Che Guevera T-shirt and a beret. That would make a statement that needs little interpretation. Or, if Che Guevera is too flamboyant, then the Bob Marley shirt with him in natty dreads and whispy beard. That would probly be better. Everybody knows the song Get up Stand up, Stand up for your rights . . ..

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                There are many rules, and the American politician’s outfit is designed to bring positive attention from everyone, not offend and to project an aura of egalitarianism no matter how false. A successful politician will never dress like Gob from Arrested Development with his $5,000 suits.

                Women are playing catch up, but fashion was dominated by men for centuries with a few exceptions. Romans had relatively plain togas, and we have suits. Other cultures had experimental outfits.

                I think the rising wealth inequality has destroyed much of the backlash against men dressing out of uniform which the politicians still keep. Kerry is loaded, but unlike a tin pot dictator, I can’t tell if his suit was made in Italy or came from Goodwill.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          Actually, no. I mean, I go through the interview point by point in excruciating detail, and then, in a note, ask for the semiotics of dress of many women in power, and then this card gets deployed? I don’t think so.

          1. Leeskyblue

            Thank you– first, for reassuring:
            I was wondering how I missed the huge fashion gala.
            Did all those intelligent people have a few drinkies?
            Because it’s Saturday?

            Second, thanks for a nice summary of some of the problems that Ms Warren faces as a senator.
            I am VERY troubled about how unrealistic liberals are– especially the supposedly sophisticated ones–.
            OF COURSE she was going to have to compromise up the kazoo to get ANYTHING done. That much should have been immediately obvious to everybody, no matter how much one likes her.
            Instead they all want a Magic President — they want another Obama.

          2. Paul Niemi

            I didn’t deploy a card, I made an observation. You did not deliberately intend to objectify the senator by saying: “It looks to me like Warren is wearing Nina McLemore.” However, the first respondents did not address her remarks, rather they remarked what she was wearing. Many biases are unconscious, and objectivization of women is one. When the first thing that comes to mind, for some, is not what the woman has to say but what she has to wear, then it bears repeating that one should become more mindful of this. Actually, the statement about authoritative women’s fashion really didn’t fit with the rest of the commentary.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              “Boy, you guys walked into that trap: a woman speaks, and the men point at her clothing. My, my. Was she too frumpy?”

              Well, I don’t think “you guys” did what you say*; that comment sure reads like deploying to me; and I have no concept what “did not deliberately intend to objectify” could mean. Is there such a thing as an intent that is not deliberate?

              NOTE * Not sure whether “guys” is gendered here or not; in an environment where posters have handles, it’s sometimes hard to tell.

          3. nony mouse

            without continuing to read an article which namedrops all of the major players who wear her style, and just as a woman (although prole, so perhaps the very person that it was meant to relay implicit messages to) reacting to the McLemore style—

            the structure says: I am a serious person, an intelligent person, and a powerful person
            the color: I am not a staid, predictable boring management type from the past, with his pinstripe navy and his typical MBA management ideas. my ideas are New™, Fresh™ and Bold™, so sit up and pay attention!

            also, what someone said above: the Reading Rainbow. this person is dressed like a higher-ranking kindergarten-2nd grade teacher. she is an authority figure, but must maintain the ADHD (naturally) attentions of a bunch of little kids. being in something colorful while being up at the front of the room helps her distracted subjects, whoops!~students focus their attention on her.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t understand why this is. IIRC, and I may be confused on this because I’m too rushed to find a link, is that Eleanor Roosevelt campaigned in a mink stole. The whole thing seems part of a masking of power to me, where you get (male) Preznits and (male) TV announcers and such wearing casual slacks and shirts with no ties, to show what “regular guys” they are. Just folks. Same deal with odious data extractor Mark Zuckerberg, in his grey T-shirt, squillionaire though he is.

      3. Yves Smith

        Not necessarily (women in power dressing like frumps). POLITICAL women in power in the US dress like frumps so as to not offend not very attractive or just plain insecure women voters. Marie-Ségolène Royal is foxy and Christine LaGarde is stylish.

        For the most part, women in politics or women in important government jobs want to look like the sort of woman who could never steal a married woman’s husband. Hence knee length skirts, for instance. Of course, many are middle aged and fashion designers don’t design for anything other that young wives of rich men. By contrast, 30 years ago, before prenups became pervasive, you’d have a lot of women in their 40s and 50s whose bodies were going to seed but had enough money that it behooved designers to dress the wife well. It’s that abandoned market that now often wind up Nina McLemore. But from what I can see of her clothes, the tailoring looks terrible (men who are into calibrating status markers notice the quality of tailoring of men’s suits. The message of the tailoring of Nina McLemore is “second class citizen” but it may have become enough of a recognized look in boardrooms that men see it as a woman’s uniform, albeit not a very good one, and look past that. (BTW I don’t know McLemore that well but I doubt that is what Warren is wearing. From what I have seen, Nina has short cut jackets and Warren generally wears very long ones).

        The women in this cohort who have money would do a ton better to have clothes made for them (what I call “shopping in your closet”: take what is most flattering of what you own already and have it copied in new fabrics).

        Orit Gadiesh, who ran Bain (the consulting side) for well over a decade and had all sorts of boardroom cred was famous for wearing short kept-woman dresses. I suspect she enjoyed messing with her actual and prospective clients’ wiring. Laura Tyson has figured out how to dress in a way that looks flattering (low grade sexy) but not threatening to insecure women (either on a monetary of hotness level which per above appears to be deemed necessary in politics) and still could walk into a boardroom. There are women who’ve occupied senior positions on Wall Street who’ve not gone the frumpy attire route.

        1. optimader

          Christine LaGarde is stylish

          Christine LaGarde is Florescent Orange, I never get past that to notice what she wears.

          I just flipped on the BM interview .. Warren looks just fine, actually a well preserved 65 yo.
          Now Hillary at 66, looks way past her freshness date, been on the free breakfast/lunch/dinner (BLD) circuit a decade or two too long.

          But lets not forget about Maria, the Italians have their own approach when it comes to politiians
          Maria Rosaria (Mara) Carfagna (born December 18, 1975) is an Italian politician and former showgirl and model. After obtaining a degree in law,[2] Carfagna worked for several years on Italian television shows and as a model.
          In January 2007, Carfagna was at the center of a controversy that received international attention. On the evening of the Telegatto award show, Berlusconi said about Carfagna that “If I was not already married I would have married her immediately”. The comment caused Berlusconi’s wife, Veronica Lario, to demand an apology through a national newspaper, something which she also received.[7] Carfagna herself has later described the comment as “gallant and harmless,” and said that she did not quite understand Lario’s reaction.[26]
          On July 5, 2008, the Argentine journal Clarín reported about telephone wiretap records authorized for an anti-corruption investigation. Reporter Julio Algañaraz wrote that Carfagna and Silvio Berlusconi engaged in a telephone conversation with explicit allusions to oral sex.[27] The wiretap transcripts have not been published, but the Italian newspaper La Repubblica interviewed the former vice-minister of Foreign Affairs in the Berlusconi II Cabinet and socialist executive Margherita Boniver, who admitted the existence of some messages.[28]

    3. jrs

      Do they bloviate about individuality? I don’t know. All I hear is the first clip, admittedly 10 years ago before actually being in politics I guess, of a would be politician talking about people who “follow all the rules”. Oh how the phrase grates. Little Eichmanns all. The point being made of course is “even those who follow all the rules aren’t succeeding economically” and the hidden subtext is those who didn’t follow all the rules would somehow deserve their fate (even if there fate is starving in the gutter somewhere I guess). Ugh. Obviously all societies have ways to deal with those that are a danger to others (except if they happen to be the sociopathic ruling class) but it’s not them that concern me, it’s imperfect people who haven’t “followed all the rules”, plus all those more loyal to their own rules than meeting yet another onerous rule of a society gone mad.

      1. jrs

        P.S. never underestimate how badly this “follow all the rules” stuff can be used against you, like an arrest record might be used against you for a job, even if your arrest was for protesting.

  3. CB

    “Anyhow, Elizabeth Warren is one of the best Democrats there is. That’s not saying a lot, though, is it?” Actually, it does say a lot but not in a good way.

    1. Jim Haygood

      SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: “The government runs for those who can make their voices heard. And they mostly make their voices heard through their lobbyists, through their campaign contributions.”

      Case in point:

      SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: “America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”

      Q: Whether to condition future U.S. funding for Israel on the halting of Israeli settlements in the West Bank?

      SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN: “I think there’s a question of whether we should go that far.”



      Do we really need another PEFI (‘Progressive Except For Israel’) Democrat?

      More to the point, is there any other kind?

    2. Ned Ludd

      She has a good heart. If you were one of the elites, wouldn’t you want someone with a good heart running the place? Someone to pacify the restless hoi polloi as they work long hours for lower & lower wages, always hopeful that their good-hearted leader will make things better. If only the czar knew.

      1. jo6pac

        Yep like the hopism and changey guy came across only to cross Amerikan citizens. I’ll be voting Green instead of the lesser evil

      2. nony mouse

        my god, is that what it is? I think you’ve cracked it.

        “he wants to, but is hamstrung by the Power Elite/CIA/NSA/Banksters/Repubs. see how many tears he sheds for us, and yet is powerless to do anything. poor, poor him!”

  4. Ditto

    No, Democrats will not put a stake through the heart of Neoliberalism.

    To do that, would require coming up with a competing ideology that reflects the emerging automation revolution. As well as other economic shifts.

      1. ambrit

        I know it’s utopian, but, why does any revolution require funding in the first place? (If by funding you mean money contributions by outside individuals or groups. If this cyber world does emerge, crowd sourced direct actions might well replace ‘funded’ actions.) This is where cooperative and syndical movements have a chance.

          1. Ditto

            I didn’t know Stalin lived in an automated society. The greatest tragedy is the inability to think past yesterday.

        1. jrs

          I was more talking about running for Prez, or Senate or Congress in D.C. requiring funding. That it’s not a matter of running Dems on better ideologies if they still have to appease the donors.

          As for bottom up movements to change society. Well I’m not sure all protest movements are well funded. But a lot of the alternative economic things, sigh, what I have actually seen, there’s funding for that! (and I feel like I’m saying “there’s an app for that”). There’s rich people who dump a lot of money in those things. It mostly has to do with the limits of volunteering. That volunteers burn out (especially as they must in many cases work long hours to live because they do live in this society and that’s the baseline – oh the glories of work). So then there’s always a quest for funding, enter rich philanthropists. So I’d ask people to SHOW ME bottom up alternative economic movements that don’t have such funding. I suspect there are very few.

          1. jrs

            So everyone wants to switch from volunteer labor eventually to having paid employees (nice work if you can get it I guess). Because there is limited time and energy for anything that isn’t paid in this world.

            1. jonboinAR

              I think consistent funding cannot be overstated as a major reason for the success of the Reagan, “free-market”, or whatever you will, Revolution. It’s a lot to do with the consistent force that’s been applied over the course of 40 years, to great effect. Lobbyists have been funded, think tanks, chairs endowed, campaigns financed, etc.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        As I keep saying, my recommendation is to practice civic engagement wherever you are. Then perhaps report back. We keep looking for the perfect theory, as if political economy were a form of theology, and that we had only the recognize the true God to begin to convert others. There is no perfect theory, although there are better theories, but “at the end of the day” the best way to predict the future is to… engage with it.

        1. Beans

          Lambert, you have made this point before. I agree but think you have to realize that some enter civic engagement without an understanding of how things really work. The tea party worker bees are engaged and active but only know the facts that have been presented to them by biased sources like FOX news and conservative groups. I was one such soul – only after I became civically engaged did I realize the true state of affairs – the power players that are only interested in maintaining control and who use nafe civic conservative civic activists to push for their agenda. Misinformation drives a lot of civic activists – who have been conditioned to see any alternative as evil, lest they consider listening to another point of view.
          So it’s more than civic engagement. Getting rid of the war analogies within our society would perhaps be a good place to start – and would likely result in more productive civic engagement.
          That is the only way I see to change things from “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” politics that have been with us since before I was born.

  5. Bobbo

    Electoral politics will not change in the U.S. until we start seeing mass demonstrations in the streets. Until then we have a one party system.

    1. timbers

      That’s why they are militarizing the police! Getting ready to crush any liberal type movement, like Occupy.

      1. ambrit

        If the experience of the Reich is any guide, crushing conservative movements like the Tea Party will be next.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Tea Party at least it’s origin was an attempt to put the evangelicals and libertrarian-types including the more western types under the foot of the GOP elite because I think the Southern Strategy is past it’s sell by date and the proto-baggers were the electoral strength of the GOP. They can crush the Teabaggers, but the proto-Teabaggers might represent the majority of the GOP caucus. Cantor is heavily aligned with the GOP elite, and he lost. I saw a write-up about t he Teabagger performance in elections. Republicans who voted for the bank bailouts have lost to Teabagger challengers. Those right wing loons who beat Teabaggers voted against the bank bailout.

          I think the Tea bag element if not the official rolls is far more powerful and part of the GOP than is recognized. This phenomenon was ignored because the proto-Baggers loved Dubya, a religious drunk that the GOP elite could count on. Jeb isn’t Dubya to these people, and the GOP elite has Romneys and 41’s but no Dubyas and Reagans. The Teabaggers and their sympathizers are more numerous than the brown shirts. They can’t win outright, but the Democrats need them as a villain and the GOP need their votes.

          1. Deloss

            I like tagging Dubya as a religious drunk.

            Yves, mon amie, for the rest of the posts on here, many are from naïfs and professional Eeyores. As far as the “lesser of the two evils” works, Republicans have given me a chance to vote for Goldwater or Johnson, Nixon or McGovern, Reagan (shudder) or Mondale (you can look up the entire horrid list for yourself), and most recently Romney or Obama. I never had to think much about it. I think the idea that bah-there-is-no-difference is dangerous, destructive, and dumb. Paul Krugman, commenting on the pollsters’ predictions about Senate races on September 4, noted that it was “fun stuff, except that this is my country and the fate of the world hinges on having the right people in office,” with which statement I agree.

            Would you rather have had Mitt Romney (and Paul–shudder–Ryan) than Barack Obama? Would you rather have had Scott Brown than Ms. Warren? You have another chance to get him back this cycle, in New Hampshire, but he’s no nicer than he was last time.

            Confusion to our enemies, and less, I hope, to us.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Yawn. We know the lesser of two evils, and the opinion of a Reagan apologist is irrelevant. What is Krugman’s plan to get the Democrats to behave? His going full tilt for Obama hasn’t worked.

              Of you were really concerned, you would recognize saying, “Paul Krugman says the lesser of two evils,” is less effective than registering likely democratic voters who are often tra b sent and don’t re-register. You whole “argument” reinforces my view that Democratic arguments are largely designed to deflect attention from how they were conned.

              1. Deloss

                Greetings, Not-Tim. I was a member of the Manhattan political club Community Free Democrats (CFD) from about 1970-1980, and I did register Democrats, and I worked on a lot of campaigns, cold-calling registered Democrats and reminding them to vote, and was a Democratic County Committeeman twice.

                CFD produced Scott Stringer (now NYC Comptroller), Gail Brewer (now NYC Borough President) and Jerrold Nadler, Congressman for the 10th NY District, and all of these are good, hard-working, honest Democratic politicians, far above the “lesser of two evils.” So I have some experience.

                As the lady said to Louis XVIII, “Et vous, sire?” (It was in response to his passe-temps remark, “Restez-vous longtemps à Paris?”)

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  Yet, here we are with the modern Democratic Party, but given the stance of the Democratic Party, why is Nader still a Democrat?

                  His membership and loyalty didn’t stop the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, or our other misadventures. Wake me when he challenges Pelosi, but you’re argument has been the same since 2009. It’s tired.

                  What is next because Team Blue isn’t working? Will Nader refuse to campaign on behalf of Iraq War supporters? That would be a real step, but will he? Wake me when he does.

  6. usgrant

    There is the mythical John Kennedy and then there was the real John Kennedy. The wonderful benign king of Camelot was going to leap tall buildings and bring us Truth, Justice And The American Way, a great leader. The real JFK was a halfhearted follower. Who even while he was approving MLK’s March on Washington was allowing Hoover to spy on Dr King. However due to the rise of the Civil Rights movement and its increasing popularity the real John Kennedy saw the writing on the wall and proposed that we needed Civil Rights legislation. Which makes him if not a great leader at least a great follower.
    Out of the political crowd in DC at the moment Senators Warren and Sanders stand out in that they dare to say what the overwhelming majority won’t. Are they perfect? No. Will they compromise? Warren just looked straight into the eyes of her Yahoo interviewer and trotted out the same old Washington line of both parties.
    However unless you’re ready for violent revolution at this moment then this is what we have to work with.
    My focus is how can we motivate our fellow citizens to start leading so that the crowd in Washington will have a voice to follow. Picking apart their public stance is easy motivating them to listen is something else.

    1. L.M. Dorsey

      You touch on something I have had kicking around in the back of my head for years. The ghost of John Kennedy, it seems to me, has dominated the Democratic party for half a century. His murder (and the failure and collapse of the post-war consensus in the face of poverty, civil rights, and Vietnam) crippled something in the party and in the poltical life of the country as a whole from which we seem unable to recover or go on.

      Attempts to carry the “legacy” as the country went to pieces were collosal crackups. Subsequent attempts to imagine a “new” Democrat were stop-gaps demanded by necessity, but embarrassing steps down from the remembered grandeur that was to come.

      Of course, the effects of this trauma-cum-enchantment account for much of the success of Clinton and Obama, among many others. But, more importantly, of their failure: conjured by the party to re-enactment and fulfill, they strain and turn on the constituencies that raised them, to reveal the contradictions in the revenant that rides them, and so break the spell of the poisonous charm, the vanity, the arrogance, the presumption, and so on. (Coriolanus in the key of voodoo or Dickens, whichever.)

      But it turns out to be like, what else?, an episode of Twilight Zone, wherein the moment you begin to fathom the thing and to free yourself from its grip, you awake again on the morning of Friday, November 22, 1963.

      And I have an uneasy feeling that it will outlive us boomers. It’s become a kind of habit now. A morbid bit of burlesque that will last as long as the vaudeville of our politics.

      1. Whine Country

        “The ghost of John Kennedy, it seems to me, has dominated the Democratic party for half a century.”
        I would say that the ghost of John Kennedy has dominated our politics since his election. For the first time in my life, a President was elected principally because of the image he was able to portray in the media. Who could forget the dismal performance that NIxon put on in the televised debates which many pundits blame for his subsequent defeat. Like with Kennedy, the image overpowered the reality of the man and changed the way candidates would be elected in the future. So it is today, where comments on an interview of a female Senator move towards ladies fashion. Now there is something that we need to focus more on in order to properly assess a candidate. And so it now costs, what, 6 bazillion dollars to get elected. That much just to really get to know what the true potential of a candidate is so that we can be an informed electorate. I never like Nixon and certainly never voted for him. But I did want very much for Kennedy to win (I was too young to vote then). Now looking back I can only feel sad that that was the beginning of a time when one’s image would become paramount in a candidate’s viability and the distance between his image and reality would diverge so as to make an informed vote virtually impossible. Later on the introduction of single-issue politics, which I believe was first championed and mastered by the Democrats would further distort our electoral process. But that’s a subject for another day. Six bazillion dollars flows to the media and, at the end of the day, we just elected….who, what, how? The gal with the red outfit, I think her name is Nina McLemore. You gotta love capitalism and “free” markets.

    2. jonboinAR

      Warren just looked straight into the eyes of her Yahoo interviewer and trotted out the same old Washington line of both parties.

      Yep. I heard a politician in election season. "It's the other teams fault, all the way. They're bad. We, therefore, by implied contrast, are good." Her proposals, as Lambert points out incisively, are weak, MOTR, Washington Democratic tea. She complains about corporate lobby influence, but everything she proposes sounds as though she's already been gotten to by them.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I would add Bill Clinton’s point about Democrats falling in love with their candidates, but Democrats are very much like people in love with someone who is obviously wrong for them. JFK died before people could fall out of love, and so we have a myth.

      Even Obama has morphed into a CIA plant or being threatened by the CIA for those who have reached rock bottom, the kind of person running for President would drop the 101st on Langley if that was happening, because they fell in love and ignored his lack of policies or parroting whatever Hillary said. They don’t want to face that their choice was motivated by emotional and irrational reasons. The JFK worshippers never bring up the missile gap, come up with all kinds of excuses for the Bay of Pigs and Cuban embargo, and the tax cuts for the wealthy. Even look at JFK sleeping with interns, isnt he just a swinging player? Today because of men like JFK, workplace rules and lawsuits pushed by the Democrats tend to frown upon JFK’s behavior.

      Don’t forget Bobby pushed an attack on Nixon for NCAAP membership.

      1. roadrider

        The JFK worshippers never bring up the missile gap, come up with all kinds of excuses for the Bay of Pigs and Cuban embargo, and the tax cuts for the wealthy.

        Before you go shitting all over JFK out of sheer ignorance perhaps you should make sure that your “facts” are not convenient mythology. Yes, Kennedy did use the missile gap as a campaign tactic and its not entirely unfair to suspect that he knew the claim might be fictional but could not be repudiated by Nixon. Yet, its not clear that Kennedy had direct knowledge that the gap was decidedly in our favor until he took office. Furthermore, Kennedy stood up, mostly alone, to the war mongers in the Pentagon and foreign policy establishment that were pushing for a nuclear first strike before the Soviets could catch up to our arsenal. This all came to a head during the Cuban missile crisis when, at risk of a military coup, Kennedy refused to launch air strikes and an invasion while buying time to make a back channel deal with Khrushchev. If someone other than Kennedy had been in the WH at that time its not unlikely that none of us would be here discussing his legacy. As far as the embargo goes Kennedy was in back channel discussions with Castro aimed at a relaxation of tensions and eventual normalization of relations at the time of his assassination. This paralleled the post-missile crisis discussions he was having with Khrushchev aimed at defusing the Cold War. These are the things that probably got him killed. So, a little respect please.

        With respect to the Bay of Pigs Kennedy was lied to by the CIA and his direct orders regarding the destruction of the Cuban fighter planes prior to the invasion were deliberately ignored by the CIA schemers who wanted the attack to fail so that Kennedy would be forced to overtly commit US military forces to support the invasion (yeah we can debate the morality of the plan but it was and Eisenhower/Nixon/CIA plan that Kennedy inherited). You should, at a minimum, read James Douglass’ JFK and the Unspeakable and L. Fletcher Prouty’s JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy before you go shooting you mouth off on these topics.

        Kennedy also went against the foreign policy establishment on his stance favoring independence and self-determination for European colony states in Africa, Asia and South America (why do you think the CIA rushed their plan to whack Lumumba so that it would get done before Kennedy took office?), favoring a neutral solution for Laos and and avoiding a ground war in Vietnam. After the works of John Newman and Prouty there can be no doubt that Kennedy was planning a withdrawal from Vietnam.

        Tax cuts for the rich? Are you serious? Yes, Kennedy’s tax cuts (enacted after his death) did lower the tax brackets from 20-91% to 14-65% so you can’t really compare them to the Bush/Obama cuts. Furthermore, Kennedy refused to cut spending to “balance” the cuts. Kennedy also supported Medicare and made a nationally televised speech in support of the proposed act despite the fact that lack of support by conservative Democrats undercut his position. That’s an act of political courage that Barack Obama wouldn’t go near. Kennedy also successfully stood up to the steel industry when the owners wanted to raise prices.

        So you really don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to John Kennedy. No, he wasn’t a saint and he made mistakes. But he never seems to get credit, especially from the left, for the president and person he actually was as opposed to the mythical figure character assassins like Sy Hersh have made him out to be.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          JFK must be defended at all costs, and the missile gap was just a campaign tactic that led to unnecessary defense spending. You need to let go. The whole family is crummy.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I should also add I didn’t compare Kennedy to W. and Obama just his own merits and Nixon’s 1960 views, but nice try at defending JFK.

    4. optimader

      “…allowing Hoover to spy on Dr King…”
      less a case of endorsing Hoover to spy on MLK, more a case of trying to contain Hoover’s venial file content on on himself, his bros and the larger Kennedy entourage.

    5. JM Hatch

      Democracy isn’t found in the voting booth. You’ve hid the nail that needs pounding, The politicians in Washington are what we deserve. The populace does not want to engage, does not care to govern itself by knowing what it’s representatives do, and hold them responsible, and instead just punch their ticket every primary (and primaries are where democracies are made & lost, picking who gets on the ballot). So we wind up with both republican and democratic politicians who do not represent the people who voted them into office. The bribes from lobbyist will matter little if these people are not elected and re-elected. However, Americans look at politics as a dirty thing, rather than what it really is: the bread of life.

  7. just bill

    Warren trots out the same old election year lesser evil bs. Its the only weapon the Dems have and the only one they need to keep going personally to the bank. Stay tuned for more of the same. Uggh.

  8. Skippy

    Yves you were so right…. her powers of observation would have best been spent on the out side, does she lament the emotion to jump in the pool of corporatist lobbying and trying to effect change, with her lawful acumen… yeppers,,, she has seen the depravity up close and is scared.

    skippy… Near danger has a completely different connotation from an observers point.

    1. Carolinian

      There was talk at the time that folding Warren into the administration and now the Senate was just Dem co-optation. Given her timid views on the ME and single payer that seems to be true.

      At any rate good job with the annotation Lambert. Just as a sidebar I will say that I’m fine with the notion of “consumers” versus “citizens.” Indeed I’ve always thought this formulation was Nader’s great insight: i.e.the achilles heel of Big Business is not so much their shady practices as their crappy products. The same transactional frame also works for government. Thus neoliberalism is bad less because it is immoral as because it doesn’t work, at least in the long run. Worse than a crime, a mistake.

      Business knew that Nader was onto something which is why they had to get rid of him. And on the political front smoke and mirrors distractions involving various lifestyle issues have served to distract the public from demanding their consumer rights from the representatives whose salaries they pay for. Not for nothing is Obama obsessed with marketing and did G.W. Bush seem more like a used car salesman than a President. Get them to sign on the dotted line and off the lot before they realize they’ve bought a lemon.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “Timid views”? I thought Warren called for more slaughter of brown children. I think the warmongers are often cowards, but she is a thug when it comes to foreign policy. Let’s not pretend, she is that close to being enlightened.

        Letting her off is only going to encourage the warmongers. She is a deranged hawk incapable of learning from recent history and her views are steeped in racist reasoning. It’s softer than old Jim Crow, but the peasants need to be taught a lesson.

        1. Carolinian

          Politically timid. And really, I’m sure Warren isn’t in favor of killing brown children. She just doesn’t want to challenge those that do. Quite likely she doesn’t think about it much at all.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Yeah..except she is in favor killing children and advocates for the rights of one artificial people over the rights of individuals. She is a thug. I don’t know what is in these people’s hearts, but I know w hat they say.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            As to your point about social engineering, I think our standards are just too low. We confuse politeness with decency and so forth.

            Obama has been able to get away with his behavior because everyone started from the position of how nice his family is. Michelle is just so darn friendly.

  9. John

    Sure, she sounds good and gets under the skin of those who are pilloried with her questions on the Committee she sits on but in the end, the rich are getting richer, the Senate she is in is a place where nothing happens, except, of course, when pro Israel votes are at stake, then everyone casts their vote into the Yes column, including Warren.

  10. James Griffin

    I wholeheartedly agree with the grade you gave her. I do think she has her heart in the right place but, being generous, she comes away sounding very politically naive. I think she has had her feet in politics long enough now to be less so but I’m willing to cut her some (as yet undetermined amount of) slack. I think others are doing the same. Recently she has been the Democrats stalking horse for fund raising. This was inevitable given her initial burst of popularity but it may be that the party establishment may be using it to keep her too busy to be effective. Time spent begging for money for other campaigns is time lost learning the ropes. Certainly the bankers don’t want her working uninterrupted on those areas of strength that got her noticed in the first place. I also couldn’t agree more that, at least for the present, she is playing “too well with others”. Having followed her fairly closely for the last few years I can’t help but think she doesn’t have the best (or best intentioned) staff and advisors. It would be an interesting story on just how they were assembled. They seem more intent on using her to bring in money than helping her become an effective Senator.

  11. grayslady

    Elizabeth Warren always sounds like she’s in campaign mode–lots of generalities, no specifics. Meanwhile, why doesn’t Elizabeth Warren, or anyone else in D.C., address how the elderly in this country are struggling? If Social Security is your only source of income, you automatically qualify for food stamps. European nations have pension programs that actually allow the elderly to live without fear that they don’t have enough money to cover basic expenses. Here, we seem to think that as long as the elderly have Medicare that they’re doing fine. Medicare has some great attributes, but it still requires 20% out of pocket for every doctor’s visit and every medical procedure with no cap on expenses. If Social Security is all you have for income, there’s a lot of medical care that doesn’t take place because of that 20% co-pay.

    1. Banger

      As someone on SS I agree. The situation is sad for us and for those coming afterwards. We made the Faustian bargain–we got the internet, lots of cable TV and cheap goods from China–we gave up freedom, justice, the Constitution, habeas corpus and equal justice under law. Most sad is that the left gave up and left the field of battle in politics and settled for tribal rants and pro-Obama misdirection on MSNBC and making fun of the yokels at Comedy Central and, Washington Consensus on and faux high-brow on NPR/PBS.

      1. Jeff

        Was there a promise that SS and Medicare alone would give the “citizens” a comfy carefree retirement? As somebody approaching that age, but too young to have ever had any kind of pension available, I know that my retirement is going to be on me, not the government. And yes, that does make health care my big huge unknown.

        1. grayslady

          The original idea was that Social Security was going to be part of a three-legged stool: pension plans (basically nonexistent now), personal savings (primarily from downsizing to a smaller home–that hasn’t worked out well in terms of housing equity) and Social Security (these days pegged to a made-up CPI deliberately fashioned to provide no increases). If it hadn’t been for FDR and Lyndon Johnson, about one-third of the country would be living under bridges.

  12. trish

    Elizabeth warren, a heroine for us for “families,” fighting those hordes of lobbyists, lawyers, operatives, bankers (who ARE Washington, “public servants” just one in-and-out of focus image, ever-shifting part, of this a hybrid leviathan monster) with a little aluminum foil sword of small stuff that sounds good because anything does at this point. that’s the image I get.

    I mean, “Every rule that gets written just has, you know, just a little more, a little twist, a little opening, a little loophole for those who’ve already made it big.” Well, duh, whose writing it? it’s subterfuge disguised as “rules.” For show. and I can’t help but see this is all regurgitated stuff (hope and change anyone?) complete with all the buzzwords, tropes part of the same show. OK, perhaps well-meaning heart-in-the-right-place, but big deal, it’s small stuff.

    1. Brindle

      Warren uses a lot of phrases and words like “fight”, “fair shake”, “build a future”, “rebuild the middle class” etc. These phrases have the effect of shutting down the critical thinking function—-you basically have to “have faith” that Warren will have the structural specifics that are needed to actually change the current situation.

    2. nony mouse

      “heart in the right place” blast! that’s the every hopeful Charlie Brown you hear, with his football in hand.

      most of this is buzzwords and mealy-mouthedness that is so open to interpretation, that the rest is projection.

      I find it so odd that people who claim to be so politically involved bother to worry about someone’s ‘heart’ or think that they can read any other person’s heart or intentions (or values), much less a politician. and that’s what she is. say anything and do anything to stay in office. leave things so open that you can twist any which way the (power, $$$) wind blows, so that you can’t be blamed in the end and you can say “but this is what you all wanted!”

      I wish I could find it, but I read an essay in the archives of some blog somewhere about their feelings on the major issues of the day when it was time to elect ol’Uncle Bill, the healthcare debate of that time (no, they weren’t speaking of single payer then, either), and everything. it was like entering a time loop. all the same as what we’d recently been through, in the hideous fashions of the 90s and sans cell-phone appendages. they’ll say anything to get the public going their way long enough to vote (stampeeeede!), yet once they are in there, they clearly have an agenda. and if that agenda doesn’t pass this decade, they will bide their time and do it when they are elected in the next.

      she didn’t say anything of substance here, and I doubt she will ever. how about put something forth more mealy-mouthed than “we should lower interest rates on student debts” or “we should raise the min. wage (in such a slow, dripdrip fashion that it will all be eaten up by gradual inflation by the time you get that $15, 7 years from now, anyway)”

      sorry, not falling for it.

  13. timbers

    Liz Warren stands out among the yuk in the Senate, I voted for her, like her, but do see her timidity in her actual proposals.

    Also very disappointed to learn her opposition to single payer and her recent defense of Israeli war crimes.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      As to the U.S. Senate, Obi-Wan (my tablet auto corrected from “Ob,” yeesh) Kenobi (but it won’t let me spell this) put it best when he said: “You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

  14. wbgonne

    Warren is going above-and-beyond playing the Loyal Democrat. She does not crticize Obama except obliquely and she has been vigorously supporting the most odious Democrats like Landrieu and Grimes. Since it appears Warren is not doing this to curry favor for a 2016 presidential run, Warren must actually believe that the Democratic Party under President Hillary will actually promote and institute pro-Middle Class policies. In that case, Warren is hopelessly naive.

    If the Democratic Party is capable of genuine reformation (dubious, at best) that would require a popular and charismatic leader at the top forcing it down the corporatists’ throats. The way Obama could have done it had he truly wanted that outcome. The Democrats’ great moment for a Progressive renaissance was 2008 and they squandered it, intentionally it appears. If Warren really thinks that a senate filled with the likes of Grimes, Nunn, Begich, Landrieu and Pryor acting under President Hillary will usher in a repudiation of Neoliberalism, then Warren’s analysis of domestic politics is as poor as her foreign policy analysis.

    Yes, Warren may be the best of today’s Democrats but that just highlights how low the Democratic Party has sunk. Blow it up and start anew.

    1. Banger

      I think you are right. If you are on the left or even just someone who believes in justice, the Constitution, sustainability and is against neo-feudalism and Imperialism you cannot support any national Democrat. Warren may be the exception, though, because, unlike Obama she has a good record before she became a politician. Her weasel words are a requirement in Washington–if you don’t speak in the way that Lambert highlights you don’t come within 20 miles of power in that town–you have to wear the uniform and follow the rules or you don’t play and that rule is strictly enforced. Behind the scenes she can be honest. Israel is the most obvious example–many politicians and policy-makers resent and hate Israel but the Zionists (not just Jews) have veto power within the media and all levels of politics in Washington that you cannot do anything but vigorously support Israel or your career is finished. You can rail about Israel and Jews all you want in private but you can’t in public.

      1. wbgonne

        I get your point. But we are long past the time when we need elected leaders who step forward and take real chances. Yes, they will likely fail and be demonized but that’s what bravery requires and bravery is what we desperately need. I return to my point below: if Warren actually thinks a corporatist Democratic Senate and President HerTurn are going to stem the neoliberal tide, then Warren is pathetically naive. Same for “incrementalism.” Put aside that we continue to move in the wrong direction, and also put aside that we have in fact accelerated in that wrong direction under Obama and the Republicrat Congress. We simply do not have time for incrementalism. Global warming will soon begin to dictate world affairs and we will soon lose our already weakening power to guide events. Moreover, I think incrementalism will be even harder to implement than radical change. The neoliberals must be crushed, as they could have been in 2008. As Moyers correctly notes, neoliberalism is an abject failure and that is known to everybody except those in power, who don’t want to know it and won’t acknowledge it, anymore than they will address global warming. Those greedy frauds must be replaced pure and simple, and Warren is a fool for squandering her good-will on behalf of vile corporatist Democrats.

        1. wbgonne

          Once again replying to myself, I’ll add this. Incrementalism is less likely to succeed than bold, radical change for several reasons and a key one is that an “incremental” candidate will remain within the confines of Babylon, where he or she will be used as a toy by the plutocratic mass media. IMO, the only possible ways to avoid that trap are: 1) be a plutocrat yourself and self-finance; or 2) create a phenomenon that Babylon can’t control. I believe that was happening towards the end of the first Obama campaign: a movement was coming to life under a charismatic leader after the world-shaking failure of the established order; the classic recipe for dramatic change. Which is precisely why Obama destroyed that nascent movement as his first order of business after he won. Babylon dodged a bullet and, to mix metaphors, the air went out of the Progressive balloon. For those who believe Obama was a plutocratic invention, that is the reason why it was done: to channel and then drain the life out of the challenge to the neoliberal world order. Notwithstanding Obama’s Manchurian nature, the power of Obama’s campaign shows what is possible when one creates a phenomenon that Babylon can’t manipulate or control. The power was there; the people were there. It can happen again. But it won’t happen until we get a charismatic leader brave enough to risk failure. Evidently, Elizabeth Warren is not that leader.

            1. wbgonne

              That’s exactly right! Generally speaking, it is Right Wing nationalists who emerge that way. See what’s happening in Europe. All the more reason to make something positive happen soon. The energy is there and someone will harness it.

              It would certainly be preferable for change to organically grow from increasingly enlightened masses. But history suggests it won’t go like that and, since our leaders are systematically stripping the tools of citizenship from us, it is even more unlikely than, say, in the 60s or the 70s. Frankly, I think we need a miracle.

              1. ambrit

                Or a disaster. Our experience in the Katrina Disaster showed us how in-efficient the governing classes can be.

            2. Banger

              I’m afraid that’s one reason the left has failed (aside from deliberate political naivite) because it has failed to deliver a realistic vision of what needs to be done, what is possible, and what the general vision of the future might be. We are deeply divided even here–do we go after groaf, for example, of do we downshift into a more sustainable society? Personally, I favor advocating simply for reason–that would be revolutionary enough for everyone.

            3. John Mc

              Agreed… One of the most problematic parts of “incrementalism” is that profit spigot is still turned on, whereby the dials of influence and magnitude of resource capture can be used upon radicals in ever-increasing doses….

              In exercise physiology and rehab, there is a phase that is often cited: “the use it or lose it principle”. Incrementalism does not address the oligarchic consolidation, with every quarterly report and accounting fraud abetted resource. Resistance needs to act and do it sooner than later to be effective (imnsho).

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        I agree with the concept, but not the instance. Obama was not a hawk in his ’08 campaign, nor slavish in his obsequiousness to Israel and yet managed to score a bulls eye in Washington politics, never mind get within 20 miles of it. Warren posted very hawkish views in Israel’s favor on her website from day one of her campaign that went considerably beyond anything required by the Washington rules. Perhaps like Clinton, perhaps not, she nevertheless appears to be hawkish by personal view, regardless of how politically advantageous she perceive that view to be. Perhaps as a woman she felt she had no choice. Hmmm.

        That said, your larger point about having to follow certain ridged rules in DC is hard to argue. The thing is, if you look at most politicians, such as Pelosi or Reid or their Republican counterparts, it becomes obvious that corruption or political hard ball or what ever hollows out personal commitment and constituent awareness surprisingly quickly, leaving them almost caricatures of their former selves and traitors to the beliefs they once held. There are very few exceptions that remain in politics and even those that do, such as Bernie Sanders, must make the Faustian bargain of being nationally ineffective to keep their places.

        1. Banger

          Obama could sound anyway he wanted to sound to get elected because he had the power-elite for him–he was their guy and has been from the beginning whereas Warren has had to build up her power! such as it is, from scratch.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Until your last sentence which is spot on, I think you are too reasonable. Warren is definitely not stupid and almost certainly not naive. What we are seeing before our eyes in Warren is the total inexorable metamorphosis from a human to an establishment politician. Those who don’t make the transformation are removed from office, period. That doesn’t appear to be Warren’s trajectory.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      “…Warren is hopelessly naive.”

      I suspect you don’t really buy that. Hopium junkies still say that about AIPAC/Wall-Street’s waterboy eunuch in the big house, even after five-plus years of unrelenting neoliberal economic policy, neocon military aggression, and slavish obedience to Israel.

      I think that’s because O uses the very same hypnosis techniques, reassuring voice, earnest body language, and the aenesthetizing terms and phrases that Brindle highlights in Warren’s messianic performance. O also strokes his prey with soothing confidence, pandering platitudes, and mind-numbing ego hooks, along with with by-now theatrically-cliched excuses for total impotence against the cartoonish villainy of the GOP. These Dem Party operatives have made mind-control an art form, well beyond the crude methods of perception management and the manufacturing of consent.

      Of course, Republicans use the same techniques on their cult flocks as well, albeit against Marxist villains. Though “fortunately” for us, both can always come together as exceptional Americans against the undisputed common enemy, the existential threat of al-Qaeda/Taliban/ISIS/Eurasia, which we have always been, and always will be, at war with.

        1. wbgonne

          I accept that. But let me ask you this: Why is Warren out there promoting horrible Democratic candidates like Landrieu, Begich, Nunn and the rest of the Democratic corporatists? By doing so, Warren is supporting the very people who will eagerly stymie every Progressive initiative Warren hopes to launch. If Warren doesn’t see that the Democratic corporatists are the most serious obstacle to a neoliberal roll-back then I’d say she is quite naive indeed. Are you suggesting this is completely cynical and Warren doesn’t really care that her political efforts are in direct conflict with her stated policy goals? You may be right. At this point, I honestly don’t know what Warren is trying to accomplish.

          1. wbgonne

            P.S.. When Warren first burst on the scene I predicted that, before long, she would become the Democrats’ Progressive Hood Ornament. Perhaps that time has arrived.

          2. Banger

            Because Warren, in my view, believes Landrieu could be a real ally–because she knows that, in private, Landrieu and many other Senator’s agree with her basic stance but can’t publicly, at this time, express that, power being what it is in Washington. If you imagine that politicians really believe what they say then you are radically misinformed–they say what they must say reflecting the balance of power of their state and districe and the Senate and House.

            In my view, Warren’s goal is to change the media discourse–because doing that is the ONLY way anything can change–the MSM has the whip hand in American politics–it creates consensus–and sadly, it is mainly in the hands of the worst sorts of people–people that make politicians look like Buddhist monks.

    4. /L

      Warren must actually believe that the Democratic Party under President Hillary will actually promote and institute pro-Middle Class policies . In that case, Warren is hopelessly naive.

      Probably not that naive, the woman is intelligent and probably believe Hillary is better than the alternatives.

      Warrren was on UCLA TV ”Conversations with History”, there she told about a hasty meting she had with Hillary at the last days of Clinton administration, Warren tried to inform Hillary about the negative effect of new bankruptcy bill. Hillary was in favor of Warrens view.
      Warren was very impressed by Hillary’s lightning fast ability to grasp complex issues and ask intelligent questions. One of Clinton’s last decisions was to veto the bankruptcy bill, but then later Hillary as NY senator voted in favor of essential the same bill.

      Conversations with History: Elizabeth Warren – 31:14

  15. Banger

    As anyone who has followed my comments over time knows I don’t believe the current political system can deliver anything but more of the same with some wrinkles and minor reforms, at best. There is a very powerful system in place that cannot be changed. Critical to this is the mainstream media which is under the complete domination of the corporate/national security state and allows no deviations from what we call the Mainstream Narrative or Washington Consensus. Any deviation from this meets with a sentence of banishment from the industry. True reformers on the left cannot ever be allowed any voice in the public square. The only dissent allowed is on a part of the libertarian right funded by big donors like the Kochs which is marginally libertarian.

    We cannot even count on the validity of elections or whether reform politicians can be counted on to survive plane crashes or bullets or the sudden onset of disease. And where is the money going to come from for those who do dare to step out into the limelight like, say, the last reform candidate on the left, Dennis Kucinich? What happened to Dennis, yes he isn’t photogenic or tall, but a sensible political block would have used their brains and said–look we know that it will be Hilary or Barak at the end at the Democratic Convention and there isn’t really that much difference there–let’s vote for Dennis who will then take our votes and our intention to the Dem convention and be able to give us something on the platform or even be in a position to deliver votes and make some deals for us. No, instead the left stampeded towards a mildly center-left candidate who was, as could be forseen had people the knowledge that Webster Tarpley researched in his book Obama: The Postmodern Coup – Making of a Manchurian Candidate which was published in June of 2008–well, a little late to effect the primaries, but Tarpley had been talking about it before the election but nobody listened or did the research he did. Not only that but Obama, if you actually listened to his words rather than his delivery, accent, academic background and skin color was talking utter BS from day one–if you chose to look beyond the sound-bite. The entire campaign was a tribute to Edward Bernays. By the time Obama and finished his appointments the direction of the administration was blatantly OBVIOUS–he was going to rule from the center-right (by American standards) not the center-left.

    In short, money, election fraud (2000 and 2004), fake candidates (Kerry, McCain), fake campaigns and, above all, the mind-control regime of the American media are fully in force and even most of the left which has been systematically disenfranchised through its propensity to pull the wool over its own eyes even without media help has no f-cking say in anything! So criticism of Warren needs to be moderated by that fact. Warren even with her deliberately chosen weasel words (if she used any other language she would be crucified in the media) is the real deal. Way before she became a politician she exposed the lie of the American Dream by providing us with a careful analysis of what life is like for families around the turn of the century and in the seventies–guess what, families are living on the edge. Why does she use the term “families” because they contain children who are the future and the canaries in the coal mine of societal dysfunction and if we cannot maintain families society dies not just physically but morally, spiritually and thus effects the political economy. I have seen, all around me, the shattering of families sometimes due to economic issues but most often by the culture of narcissism that we live in.

    Warren, to be an effective politician in the real world of Washington DC must wear the right clothes (the red jacket etc.) must speak in a particular language using the words that you noted or SHE DOES NOT GET TO PLAY!! The rules are rigid in Washington and enforced ultimately, as Mao bravely said, through the barrel of a gun–always the ultimate guarantor of force in the modern world.

    So, even if Warren were elected President what could she do–the best she could do is to change the discourse and what the media reports which could really begin to change things. In the short run, policy-wise, the National Security State and what Saker calls the Anglo-Zionists make the decisions on Foreign Policy and domestically we all know the alignments and good luck fighting them. As I said yesterday we don’t need elections we need a revolution–yes, I know they don’t end happily for the most part but there are reasons why I think, this time, it will be different–btw, I don’t mean armed revolt though I’m not ruling out that it may come from the right–I mean something very different.

  16. L.M. Dorsey

    I watched and was mildly repulsed. All that energy and gloss and competence and earnestness makes me recoil slightly.

    But middle class, schmiddle class — so last century. My guess (fwiw) is that until the teeming multitudes of US “human resources” foreswear their delusions of imminent ascent into the 0.1%, (neo-)liberalism will continue to be the state religion, and the Democrats would be mad not to observe the pieties of whatever constituencies they can find.

    1. jrs

      You dont’ segue quite so easily from “middle class” to minimum wage workers if it’s the middle class you are actually talking about. Unless you are making some sort of solidarity argument which no mainstream politician ever will.

      1. wbgonne

        In the New Normal, minimum wage means Middle Class, which is to say: The Middle Class is dead, now go flip those burgers, Granny, until you keel over and get carted to the cemetery.

      2. Ed

        Actually no. Remember that Americans assign different meanings to concepts than people in other English speaking countries. Middle class in the US = working class everywhere else. Though sometimes the word is used for people with working class backgrounds but who have amassed high incomes or net worth, usually by being successful salespeople or franchise owners.

  17. EoinW

    I guess it’s that time again. A few of years ago people were going “gaga” over Chuck Hagel. Real reform, they claimed. Dream on.

    Is Warren’s heart in the right place? I suspect she knows what to say to give the impression her heart is in the right place. Didn’t we see this act in 2008? I’m not sure if there is unease over Clinton’s coronation, or so many in Washington despise the Clintons so much they want an alternative, or it’s simply an insurance policy to have a second visible heir apparent. We know it has to be a female because we did the black dude represents change trick already. It could be Clinton might not be considered change enough, thus they insert Warren. Superficial yes but what would you expect for such a superficial society?

    Warren is another nice convenience. She is an opportunity for those who want change to pretend they are supporting change. Plus it’s the kind of change we love – painless. The system is what it is. It will never be reformed from within. Therefore tear it down or live with it. These games that get played every election cycle get so tiresome.

    1. Banger

      No, Obama was a con job created by the Deep State and the MSM–he was a nobody who looked the part. Warren has a past and a record of accomplishment, in my view, that you ought to look into. Is she a phony? Yes, but you have to be to be taken seriously by the media–you have to speak the language and play by the rules or you are out.

      1. Jagger

        ———-Yes, but you have to be to be taken seriously by the media–you have to speak the language and play by the rules or you are out.———

        Wonder if America is ready for an individual that speaks their mind and is actually themselves instead of a polished up actor that can read the script.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Having actually read Obama’s books, he noted there was a phenomenon of people projecting their views onto him. Americans just make up what was said. I had a professor once who said the original colonists were by and large conspiracy theorists and that the whole Revolutionary Era was the pinnacle of conspiracy theory thought.

          I think Americans would welcome a free thinker, but what he said wouldn’t matter. Americans would hear what they wanted/expected to hear.

      2. John Mc


        If the past 8 years is proof of anything, it is how easily all of us can be co-opted (not just Obama or Warren). This accomplishment fetish you have for Warren (avidly following in her research and more mainstream publications myself for years) in comparison to Obama’s track record means very little.

        The combination of the Deep State, capture of the levers of power, and the conversion of our brightest academics into politicians indicate to me, that she is serving band aids for gaping wounds.

        Naomi Klein’s work on De-growth and her new book —-> “This changes everything” is really the way forward. Through the lens of climate change, we solve consumption problems, jobs, corporate malfeasance, inversion/transfer pricing, executive pay and prosecuting those who damage our economic, physical, and social ecology. Adapt or we fail. The domain where we have the most power is the collective urgency to prevent massive disasters (sea level rise, nuclear facility deterioration, intense weather patterns, extreme drought, food web destruction, methane emission in the artic, sea life die off — acidity, contagious disease migration and massive population migration.

        Where is Elizabeth Warren on this? This is the opening to dismantle crony capitalism —–> extinction.
        What we are doing now is clearly not working for anyone except the extremely privileged.

  18. James KOSS

    Every four years I feel like a person on death row. My cell door clangs open and there stands the warden with his arms over the shoulders of two of his friends. He introduces them as the owner of the gas chamber and the owner of the electric chair. He tells me I live in a free country so I can now choose one of these two “gentlemen.” I ask why I cannot, as can Russians, vote for none of the above. The door clangs shut! Until next time.

  19. Brooklin Bridge

    We don’t have elections, we have selections. That became obvious in 2000. If Warren got selected, she is -or soon will be- establishment, no exceptions. If a bill gets past the House and Senate, it benefits the rich, no exceptions. The part a selected politician is allowed to play may be close in form to their personal inclinations, or more accurately the receding memories of those inclinations, but in substance it’s miles apart if those inclinations put people ahead of the Firm. Over time, by some protective fluke of human nature, most politicians whose inclinations vary from corporate interests become unable to differentiate between their public persona and their treacherous voting hand.

    What’s changed in the last forty years isn’t that politicians aren’t generally for the elite or that they aren’t bought and paid for by lobbyists, it’s that now any trace of choice or exception has been painstakingly and meticulously removed and sanitized out of existence by years of corporate take over of virtually all democratic institutions. An FDR or a Lincoln is no longer possible, at all, but no one has told the public at large so we still dance to dreams of hope and democracy and being special.

  20. NotTimothyGeithner

    I think the elite Democrats, sans the obvious crooks, are protected by a local level Cadre of seemingly rational people who are tribalism first. As long as those people control the narrative, the Democratic elite will continue to behave poorly knowing a faux-left will savage the left and even more sane moderates.

    I have no doubt the tribalism are beyond reason, and a “more and better democrats” strategy takes the focus off the tribalists and cons more naive people (myself circa early aughts and late 90’s) into thinking the Democratic tribalists are not as dangerous as Republican tribalists. The Democrats have to be seen as adversaries and promises must be made explicit, be the equivalent of in writing, and must be delivered at least in steps before a mindless and failed strategy of more and better democrats can be restarted.

    Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are perfect examples. They have failed consistently to pass promised legislation and have overseen major defeats of their caucus. Democrats should be outraged they still have leadership positions, and they aren’t that busy. Nancy had time for a faux-committee discussion about Rush Limbaugh’s sexism, but she has failed to find time for a hearing about raising the minimum wage for waiters. Yet, an element of the Democratic Party treats her like a saint, and the only solution is a clear line between the reality based community of all views and the Dem/GOP tribalists and independent swing voters, the dumbest people on the planet.

  21. Whine Country

    “And here we are! I forget when Democratic apologists started burning the Lesser of Two Evils talking point.”
    Difficult to pin down the date. Particularly when you believe, as I do, that it has been a very long time that we have been left to pick between The Least Worse of Two Equal Evils.

  22. Eureka Springs

    Try though I may, I haven’t been able to watch a Moyers episode in its entirety this year. This is a perfect example of why…. and why when I think of it I thank goddess I am no longer a Demo…. not even for dog-catcher!

    Demo’s including progressives are at their very core neoliberals. Face it. Change your ways, your party, change your vote and quit waiting on the red misters to put solar panels on their drones and call themselves humanitarian greens. Quit waiting on neolibralcon bureaucrats to quit playing death by spreadsheet, campaign contribution, revolving door, internal investigation. The ever shrinking middle discussion instantly eliminates the majority of people… eliminates two of the biggest problems, the majority poor and the 3 percent very rich. 15 bucks an hour might have been reasonable 15 years ago…but not anymore and she knows it…. and tax the hell out of the rich.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Good points! I can’t watch Bill anymore either but I have a lingering nostalgia for his voice of reason. He is a great man, but doesn’t seem to have quite grasped that in our current “democracy”, hope is dead.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hope is abundant. Even on this thread, there is “hope” Liz Warren has a good heart despite her public stances. Perhaps it’s delusion, but I would say the problem is the willingness to canonize the polite.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          What I meant to say is that our democracy as a workable form of representative government is probably beyond repair, not that hope in the abstract is dead. But I do think that if Warren remains in our political system, what ever was once in her heart will vacate and take up residence only in her rhetoric.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      I’ve never been able to grasp the point of voting for the lesser of two weevils. That’s just plain crazy. It’s time to call an exterminator before they eat us out of house and home or kill us all.

      The tone of this thread is profoundly cynical. And I sincerely hope that these dark perspectives and the harsh analysis that shapes them become truly pandemic. It’s essential that we put an end to this farcical charade of hope and change within any system so thoroughly corrupted by bribery and powerlust. Let’s get on with the revolution … peaceful if at all possible.

      Nibbling around the edges of maybe someday raising the minimum wage, tweaking the twigs of policy, limiting wars and military budgets, reducing student loan and credit card rates, making rigged trade fairer, slowing climate change in a decade or two, incentivizing green energy thru privatized (crony) stimulus, and moderating predatory banking, rate-rigging, money-laundering, auditing the Fed cartel, etc., ad nauseam is beyond pointless; it’s plainly insane … effing retarded to paraphrase Emanuel! Nothing can change until the current fascist regime is overthrown.

  23. John Mc

    A couple things about this:

    1) Grateful to Lambert for addressing this so quickly (as I was disheartened by Warren’s performance too)
    2) I appreciate Moyers using a Neoliberal critique question overtly to see where Sen Warren takes it
    A) Warren is clearly a politician now, not an Ivy league law professor — different language used
    B) Absence of any recognition of the term Neoliberalism –> 2 things & Building metaphors
    3) Too much Warren PR (books-political slogans) which reduces the plain folksy talk; it has far less meaning than her previous work —- it smacks of the first “Operation Twist” where Obama marketed himself expertly as a progressive change agent, using ethnicity as affirmation, and disruptive language to the establishment (only to become a major part of the Neoliberal structure).

    **** If this video taught me anything, it was/is that Elizabeth Warren is more neoliberal than I am. This is a problem if she wants to lead our left flank. Lambert nails this —– two parties one system working together.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      2) B) is super-awesome and I should have caught it. Moyers volleys, but Warren does not return. Key point in the interview, and Moyers, great journalist that he is, got the story. +1000.

      1. nony mouse

        she never answers a question directly throughout the entire thing, really.

        standard politician-speak–appear as though you are addressing the deeper substance of the discussion, while avoiding addressing the real question. put as many equivocal and ‘main street folks’ words in as possible. be vague enough and people will assume that you are just speaking somewhat over their heads, or have ‘gone to the heart of the matter’ or something. or, agree with the questioner and then chalk up some sideline of the argument so that you never get back to the center.

        I do it myself when I don’t want to answer a question directly (usually to avoid causing offense or an argument), and I bet most people do as well. can’t they see it when they witness it in others?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The one thing people hate, I mean HATE, more than conmen and cons is recognizing they were conned. Obama was so crummy back in 2007, but his followers even when they reach rock bottom refuse to acknowledge this and come up with stories about the CIA or how he is bored because he is always criticized. The one overriding factor of importance is to not be conned because it was so obvious all along.

          I’m not surprised by Obama at all. I was naive and thought the keep the powder dry was a great idea. Colin Powell appearing with Obama in 2008 woke me up, but all Republicans are so obviously evil one has to be mentally incompetent or evil to tolerate their mere presence. I had higher hopes for Pelosi and Reid, a punch drunk convert to Mormonism. Let this sink in. Harry Reid converted to Mormon ism. Back when I was Catholic, I despised converts to my religion, but for some reason, I thought ole’ Harry Reid was great. I knew he was convert then to.

          I hate to use Aaron Sorkin, but in The American President, Michael J. Fox’s character notes thirsty people will inevitably drink sand. In the end, people are so desperate to not be marks they will concoct any story.

      2. Ulysses

        Yep! And the sad thing is that even an avowed socialist, who ran on a truly left-leaning platform, would most likely be co-opted into the neo-liberal fold after a year or two inside the D.C. bubble. Reminds me of Matt McHugh, a perfectly reasonable, even honorable center-left Democrat who represented the upstate district that includes Ithaca for several terms. He was very popular and could have kept getting re-elected forever. Yet he retired while still relatively young. Why? He explained to us that, while he could still do some modest positive things for our district, all of the ideals that had brought him to run for office in the first place were ruthlessly crushed by the greed and blatant dishonesty of the D.C. swamp. I’m pretty confident that things have only gotten worse since then.

        Decades of similar experiences have convinced me that we can’t achieve sufficient reform from “within” this broken system to repair our ravaged nation. Electing more and better Democrats is a pipe dream. We need to put down that pipe, and start getting busy putting some skunksters in power!!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Non-violent method of protest and persuasion #198: Dual sovereignty and parallel government. That IMNSHO is why the various occupations were truly important, and why their governance (horrible word) structures were so important. Also why Obama had to do the 17-city paramilitary crackdown thing. (Contrast the wankery at Bundy Ranch, deeply non-threatening.)

          1. ambrit

            Also contrast the MSM coverage of the two “events.”
            The ‘dismantling’ of Occupy was done “like a thief in the night.” The backing off from Bundy was ‘loud and proud.’ The message sent is subtle.

  24. Ned Ludd

    “I think that Warren’s heart, to use the cliche, is in the right place.”

    I have met people who will listen to your troubles, wish for a better world, and express deep grief about poverty, war, and violence. None of this stops them from pocketing your money and using your skull to boost their way up the social ladder.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      To be fair, they don’t really have any choice. To swim as a politician, you must sink as a human. Political stripe is lipstick.

  25. Ed

    If European politicians, who have their own national interests and elites to look after, and are picked by different electoral systems, are willing to get their access to gas cut off this winter to satisfy whichever faction is controlling the American Deep State at the moment, why should we expect anything from any American politician?

  26. Ed

    At any rate the Democratic Party has never been a left wing party, in fact historically it was not even the more left wing of the two allowed American parties. Democratic Congresses and Presidencies did some left wing things between 1933 and 1969 in response to various crisises. This stopped in 1969. Before I was born. There have been three Democratic presidents since them, all of which had Democratic controlled Congresses for two years. Its about time people knew better.

    I think where hidden, tin foiled wrap machinery has an influence is primarily to keep the US electoral system as bi-party, unique among any electoral system since universal suffrage where organized parties contest elections, and secondarily from the system returning from the natural order of things with the Republicans on the left.

  27. Jagger

    —–Warren, And my first thought, when I first saw what they were trying to do, this tells you as a professor, I thought, that would never happen in a democracy. What elected representative would say, I know, I’m going to vote to change these laws to help a half dozen big, multi-zillion-dollar credit card companies. I’m going to help them squeeze the families back home, and particularly squeeze hard-working, middle-class families, who’ve just gotten into terrible, financial trouble.——

    I can sense her moral outrage at our political representatives selling out to big corporations. Too bad, I don’t get that same sense of moral outrage from her when she defends Israel’s right to flatten Gaza. I wonder if she can sense my outrage at her and all the other 99 senators for selling out?

    So she will sell out to Israel but she won’t sell out to big business? Yeh, right. Say all the right words and climb the ladder of power and money.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t sense her moral outrage when she is headlining fundraisers for the worst Democrats, the ones the DailyKultists assure us need to be primaries.

  28. jo6pac

    This is going into long term memory.

    I think that Warren’s heart, to use the cliche, is in the right place. And that’s a big admission for me!

      1. ambrit

        And Academics is all about internal politics, is it not? So, Warren is using her hard won Academic political skills to navigate Washington? I feel, and it is just a feeling for what it is worth, that, like American Football, college sport is nothing like the professional leagues.

  29. Brooklin Bridge

    Warren’s left hand is loosing sight of what her right hand does. Given another term, or perhaps two, she won’t even know there is a difference. And to borrow Lambert’s phrase, it’s a feature, not a bug.

  30. Pelham

    I was briefly a Warren enthusiast, though never in more than a lukewarm way. But I’ve come to the conclusion that she is a distraction, holding out the belief that if we fight, fight, fight for years and years and years we can get some miniature fraction of justice for the middle and working classes.

    That’s not representative democracy. Representative democracy happens when the 99% decide on Monday that they want X and Tuesday their representatives in government get hopping and make X the law of the land. Anything short of that is rot, and anyone offering the kind of thin gruel that Warren suggests is just wafting air freshener over the rot.

  31. Jill


    I don’t think we can know what is in the heart of most high level politicians. They are heavily staged managed down to what shoes they wear. As citizens, we have to stick with actions. Those are the clearest indicators to go by as citizens.

    I will get to substance of actions later on, but I just wanted to write this because I think so many people got truly confused about Obama because they thought he was good hearted. It made it difficult to see his actions. They were always being explained away as those of a basically good and decent individual who just went the wrong way and started killing people, or torturing some folks, or helping the bankers rob more of the treasury, etc.

    We have to stay with actions or we can fail to see things clearly.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I would never vote for anybody because I think their heart is in the right place. Policy is what matters, and I don’t think policy outcomes flow from the heart.* However, the prospect of a non-psychopath in office is a pleasant one, in a mild and not very important way.

      NOTE * Maybe, just maybe, FDR’s was more empathetic because of his polio and LBJ’s rage at the poverty of the Hill Country of Texas where he grew up had something to do with the policies they adopted for the New Deal, and Medicare and the Civil Rights Act, respectively. But I don’t view their personal characteristics as policy drivers.

  32. eaglemount

    Legislators must be publicly financed. Nothing of consequence in the way of ‘Real Change’ will happen until special interests are no longer able to purchase Congress and the WH. Of course there is a fractured and struggling effort to change this. There has been for years. I have been part of that ineffective movement and will continue to be until the movement becomes effective and legislators are totally financed by public tax money. Then, and only then, special interests will no longer have special influence in government. Once this happens, many “pressing issues ” will take care of themselves.

    Overturning Citizens United is by no means enough. Our government must be financed by public, not private money. Totally. It’s the only way out of oligarchy. As regards this, my chief question is; Where is Elizabeth Warren on this? How is it that the outright purchase of our government is not foremost on her list? Why is she not focusing on the ‘elephant’ and becoming part of taking our country out of oligarchy and into real democracy? It’s not just Warren. All of Congress is avoiding this most fundamental issue.

    Here’s something to have a look at:
    Check out Lawrence Lessig at http://www.mayday.us to see his effort re: campaign finance. Wolf Pack is another effort.

    1. GuyFawkes

      There is yet another one coming down the pike…….stay tuned to http://www.HomeownersSuperPAC.com.

      This group intends on a platform which will stand on the “Mortgage Integrity Act” (yet to be delivered.)
      I hear that this West Coast Super PAC is already in contact with Lessig’s East Coast Super PAC. Hopefully, there can be a real national movement toward accountability.

  33. NotTimothyGeithner

    I think Citizens United is a red herring. Despite all the money and media play in the world, Obama’s polling didn’t pick up until he started using a “progressive” message. Politics is celebrity status for ugly and untalented people. The real problem is too many people are giving Liz Warren a free ride because she said nice stuff about credit card laws. It’s just like Will Smith. Yes, he was charming on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but he keeps getting paid to make lousy movies because “hey, this time he might be charming.”

    Democrats won in 2008 on a message of raising taxes, ending wars, and universal health care (not quite but this was the voters’ perception which is what matters. Democratic followers instead of demanding accountability denounced the liberal racists and coddled these people for betrayal.

    Right now despite corporate America’s demand for slave immigrant labor and some faux-wall to appeal to the real racists, the Democrats are afraid what was going to be to be their big issue.

  34. eaglemount

    The most important issue of this, or any Congress, is getting money out of politics.  Bribery has no place in a just and honest legislature, yet bribery defines this one as it has in  past legislatures.  It will continue to do so as long as you legislators keep ignoring this elephant and putting out small fires – by focusing on less important  issues. 

    Nothing of consequence, in the way of ‘Real Change’ ,  will happen until special interests are no longer able to purchase Congress   Once this happens, most of your “pressing issues ” will take care of themselves.

    Overturning Citizens United is by no means enough.  Our government must be financed by public, not private means.  Totally.  It’s the only way out of oligarchy. 

    Here is a little essay I have been sending out lately.  It offers a bit more information on public funding.   
    Overturning Citizens United is laudable,  but it’s not enough.
    Elected officials must be publicly funded. Totally. This means no fancy dinner parties, no plane rides. No golf junkets. No gratuities of any kind from any source. None whatsoever. EVER! The idea that legislators may solicit campaign funding from special interests and still not be obligated to them is laughable and absurd.

    Removing Citizens will only take us back to 2010. Recall, a year before that, in 2009, Sen. Dick Durbin famously observed that “….. banks own Congress.”

    Removing Citizens United will do nothing more than place our government once again in the loving hands of Wall Street bankers. More must be done. Private funding of our legislators amounts to nothing more than legal bribery by special interest groups intent on running our government to suit their needs.

    The removal of Citizen’s United will not release our elected officials from the pall of bribery. Legislators need to be working for the betterment of the country, not soliciting donations. They cannot do this until they are released from their bondage to special interests and are publicly funded by tax revenues.

    We must end the biggest conflict of interest on this planet – the flagrant purchase of our elected officials by those who stand to profit by that purchase, and this must be done by enacting a 28th amendment to our Constitution, otherwise, the issue will be fought repeatedly in Congress.

    So many petitions on this issue – So little accomplished. Some years ago, I searched the web to see how many campaign funding efforts were made over the years and found over 35. Seems to me, it would be better if all the campaign funding efforts were organized into one. Such an organization could present a force that would bring governmental bribery to a permanent halt.

    FYI. Here’s my own petition, started in 2011.

    Check out Lawrence Lessig at http://www.mayday.us to see his effort re: campaign finance. Wolf Pack is another. A Google search will provide others attempting campaign finance reform.

    BTW the cost of public funding will amount to no more than $35/yr/registered voter. Do the math: $7B (Total campaign cost of 2012 election)/185M registered voters. That’s for a presidential election cycle . Off cycle years would cost a fraction of that. Cheap for representative government.

    Nothing of consequence, in the way of ‘Real Change’ , will happen until special interests are no longer able to purchase Congress and the WH. Of course there is a fractured and struggling effort to change this. There has been for years. I have been part of that ineffective movement and will continue to be until the movement becomes effective and legislators are totally financed by public tax money. Then, and only then, special interests will no longer have special influence in government. Once this happens, many “pressing issues ” will take care of themselves.

    Overturning Citizens United is by no means enough. Our government must be financed by public, not private money. Totally. It’s the only way out of oligarchy. As regards this, my chief question is; Where is Elizabeth Warren on this? How is it that the outright purchase of our government is not foremost on her list? Instead, why not focus on the ‘elephant’ and be part of taking our country out of oligarchy and into real democracy? It’s not just Warren. All of Congress is avoiding this most fundamental issue.
    Here’s something to have a look at:
    Check out Lawrence Lessig at http://www.mayday.us to see his effort re: campaign finance. Wolf Pack is another effort.

    1. jonboinAR

      I agree with all you say here as far as replacing private election funding with public funding being a necessary first step in reforming our political system to be responsive to the public’s wants and needs. I’m not sure that somehow revoking the CU decision is not an essential early step in that effort, but I’ll read what you have linked to. Keep up the good work. I salute you, Sir!

  35. BE

    I read recently that the more female candidates’ appearances are discussed (not that Warren is a candidate just now), the worse they do in elections. This holds true regardless of whether the content of commentary on their appearance is complimentary or critical.

    It seems to me that the best way to respond to this dynamic is to refuse to be drawn into discussions of women’s appearance in contexts where it is irrelevant.

    I submit that it is irrelevant here, not least because I’ve never seen Lambert comment on the name of the designer of men’s suits on the Bill Moyers program.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Actually, I added a comment about men’s dress, and how it has changed. If Moyers had been interviewing, oh, Chris Christie, and Christie was wearing a T shirt, I would have certainly have commented.

      And the petitio elenchi in your comment is “where it is irrelevant.” Well, when a lot of powerful women all start making the same fashion choices, why is that, ipso facto, irrelevant? These are powerful elite actors and public figures. And if their fashion choices all change in a similar direction at once, I think that’s of interest, and I want to know what’s going on with it.

      1. DJG

        Many interesting comments about *not* talking about clothes. Yet clothes are a language, and that is well known. I think that there is a weird aspect of American puritanism that likes to pretend that clothes don’t send out very strong messages as to cultural background, social class, and Veblen’s wretched excess. How many female politicians have a pierced nose? How many male politicians have tattoos? I read an interesting analysis of Paul Ryan’s baggy suits and what it said about his perception of his body. (He probably just has a big ass.) And Rep. Aaron Schock’s outfits have been analyzed and analyzed in the gay press. So let’s not pretend that Hillary Clinton’s pants suits are all about comfort. I also recall how the photo of Obama in his swim trunks was swiftly repressed–too much black flesh too accessible who didn’t want to think about voting for a toned black man, eh?

  36. frosty zoom

    all this blahbaty blab blab over someone who will never be president. she’s just window dressing on a store that sells lie after lie.

  37. JM Hatch

    The government runs for those who make their voices heard. ie: The voters don’t have a choice, and don’t seem willing to do anything to insure they do have a choice when they vote. They, the voters, won’t support anyone who hasn’t thrown lots of money at mass media. They get what they deserve.

    1. CB

      SJR-19 will not define personhood, corporations will remain persons. I believe this is an effort to drain off anger while leaving the legal definitions and immunities in place and fully functional. Politicians understand they have to be seen to be “doing something” and SJR-19 is their entirely cynical PR effort. I believe it’s HJR 29 that defines personhood.

      Another very needed amendment is federal bench retirement age/length of service limits, including, of course, especially, the supremes.

  38. bob goodwin

    I do like the tone of this Lambert! And what an amazing number of comments. Warren is my kind of democrat. I would vote for her over Romney in a heart beat. But I would also vote for Rand over Hillary in a heartbeat. We both hate corporatism, but few will leave the comforts of the traditional party for fear of idealogical conquest by the infidels. But we have had the two worst presidencies of the last century, and the populist revolution is stronger on the republican side. Your anger is well placed, but I suspect you would never hurt your party the way the tea party has been willing to.

  39. 21st Century Poet

    Here is a relevant exchange I had by email a couple of months ago:

    [friend wrote:] I still think it’s Hillary, if she wants it. But EW (is she going to get a handy moniker like Hillary?) is from Oklahoma, and we know everybody from there (think Woody Guthrie) is a populist, just like black community organizers are.

    [ to understand the moniker reference go here: http://21stcenturytheater.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/jon-stewart-asks-hillary-how-to-fix-america-she-suggests-propaganda/ ]

    On 07/15/2014 08:56 AM, [redacted] wrote:


    And what a fucking marginal message she [EW] brings! The system is rigged against you, so let’s work within the system to find a little lube for the massive reaming you’re getting from it. Wow, Progressive…Oh wait, the tea-baggers have a similar diagnosis of the problem, it’s just that their proposed cure is a little different…Strange bedfellows indeed…but even with that sad excuse for a progressive message, Warren would kick everyone’s ass if the DNC put her in the ring to run for president (excuse the metaphor mixing). Barring a bow-out by Hillary for something beyond her control, the DNC would never run Warren – because it makes too much sense. Even though, if you think about it in the right way, Warren checks most of the establishment boxes. In the end, Hillary has already been paid for by the corporations. They like to get a return on investment. It’s the principle of thing. If I were Harry [Shearer], I would add an ironic folksy, “dontcha know” at the end there.

    [end of email]

    All of that said, the simple back and forth of establishment politics is mostly facade and smoke and mirrors. The DNC is a corporate power tool. Warren is playing the game from the inside with insiders (that is where a look at her “foreign policy” voting is especially germane to the discussion, but it is also evident from her policy prescriptions). Her performance with Moyers (however heartfelt) was a senator’s performance. One who at the very least plans on staying a senator for life and at most has her eyes firmly set on the oval office. The way she dodged his questions were as smooth as butter – and as creepy as the creepiest, slickest, lawyer/salesman I have ever seen. Look, I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t believe in what she’s fighting for – or where she’s choosing to fight from. As I pointed out above, if she’s a progressive and a populist, I find it hard to recognize in her prescriptions for “change.” My definition of a good ol’ progressive american populist is Jim Hightower. Just do a little compare and and contrast with EW and JH, see where you end up.

    If Warren is “playing the game” in Washington to gain more power to affect more change later, that is a dead end because that game is fixed – as she’s fond of saying – and playing it in the meantime, is just playing the game. More power in that game means more corruption, not less. Just look at “progressive” senator Obama’s path if any edification is needed.

    If Warren is proposing and voting on what she believes in, it has nothing to do with progressive values. If she were a progressive she would be advocating for single payer, “free” school for all, k-Ph.D., forgiving all student loans, voting against funding Israel, and on and on.

    By the way, the same goes for the DNC. All the strum and drang they spew about getting votes is pure b.s. If they wanted to represent most americans they would develop a platform that was fair to most americans and run politicians on it. What they want is to continue to represent corporate power while getting working people’s votes. In the meantime, the power elite win either way.

    Most working americans don’t want a “kinder, gentler, machine-gun hand” (especially these days, where increasingly those military “surplus” machine guns are pointed at them) but they will continue to be bounced and battered between the two corporate parties until they decide they are too uncomfortable to vote for any of them or realize their vote doesn’t count. You know, like the majority of americans, who stopped voting a long time ago.

    The people who defend and support any politician who isn’t advocating actual progressive legislation are either comfortable, scared, ignorant, willfully ignorant, or hopeful. Hopeful in the way a person hopes the light at the end of the tunnel (you know, the one with tracks leading into it) isn’t an oncoming train.

  40. Rosario

    I feel for the frustration, but at some point the obvious should be pointed out. She is, absurdly, considered a fringe leftist by many of her constituents. So where does that leave people that still feel our political system can be salvaged while maintaining progressive, dare I say leftist, political stances? If you still think the system “works” she is about as good as you will get, and she will still lose. I hold no illusions, at least not anymore. American politics are just as corrupt and inefficient as all the “failed” democracies in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, etc. we drone on about (I won’t get into a debate about how the failed democracy perspective is largely patronizing BS peppered with truth). The USA is rich and has a military that demands obedience so we can run a pretty fast and loose political system and still weasel our way out of most problems. Put this country on the global austerity ship like most other countries and then things will start to get interesting.

  41. Silvia

    Sorry , but you are wrong. MBNA no longer exists because it went under and was broken up years ago. BofA bought their credit card portfolio and rebranded their cards as BofA cards. A subsidiary does not exist in the US. MBNA is dead and gone.

    1. Yves Smith

      This is inaccurate. MBNA did not go under. It was a healthy company when it was bought (in 2006). You seem ignorant of the fact that credit card receivables are securitizied.

      And the MBNA subsidiary DOES exist. It was renamed. A simple Google search gives the details:

      On January 1, 2006, MBNA merged with and into Bank of America. MBNA America Bank, National Association, (MBNA) then became a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America. On June 10, 2006, MBNA changed its name to FIA Card Services, National Association (FIA), which is not an acronym. On October 20, 2006, Bank of America, National Association (USA), a subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation, merged with and into FIA.[8] In Canada and Europe the MBNA name is retained. MBNA Europe headquarters is in Chester, England. MBNA Canada’s headquarters are located in Ottawa. In 2007, the Canadian division was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.[9] This purchase was a reunion of sorts. In 1993, NationsBank bought MNC Financial (whose credit card division was spun off years earlier to become MBNA). Five years later, the Bank of America that exists today was the result of the merger between the San Francisco-based Bank of America and the Charlotte-based NationsBank. In 2005, with Bank of America buying MBNA, it is in effect reuniting MNC Financial’s credit card portfolio to its original banking assets and combining the Bank of America credit card portfolio with MBNA’s.

      Employing more than 25,800 people around the world at the time of the merger with Bank of America, MBNA owned or managed more than $122.5 billion in outstanding consumer credit loans. Most of this loan debt was held in securitized portfolios that had been sold to other entities such as insurance companies and pension funds. MBNA virtually invented the process for securitizing credit card debt and this process contributed significantly to the fast growth of the company. It allowed for increasing the amount loaned without having to acquire matching assets to offset the loans.

      On August 15, 2011, MBNA announced that the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Canada Trust) would be purchasing MBNA’s Canadian MasterCard portfolio. The acquisition of MBNA Canada by TD, which was completed on December 1, 2011, saw TD become a dual credit issuer (both Visa and MasterCard), become Canada’s largest MasterCard issuer, and one of Canada’s largest credit issuing banks.

      In January 2013 Virgin Money agreed to buy £1 billion of assets from MBNA; these are the Virgin Credit Card assets which MBNA have serviced and managed in partnership with Virgin Money since 2002. The former Vice Chairman of MBNA Corporation, Lance Weaver, will become Virgin Money’s President of Virgin Money Cards.[10]


  42. wafranklin

    The sheer amount of “assholery” in this posting defies imagination. If even partially correct, which I refuse to concede just for perversity, ought to shut the entire damned thing down, kaput. Its Soylent Green and extinction, which will be a boon to whatever is left of Gaia. Human species does not deserve to exist. And that is just the beginnings of dark thoughts. Warren is one of the better representatives of the species. Most of the commentators here, much of the worst. Last asshole out, but out the lights.

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