Do You Vote Democrat As A Default Position? BIG Mistake!

By Howie Klein. Originally published at DownWithTyranny

What do these 13 Democrats have in common?

• Brad Sherman (CA)
• Gregory Meeks (New Dem-NY)
• David Scott (New Dem-GA)
• Ed Perlmutter (New Dem-CO)
• Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)
• John Carney (New Dem-DE)
• Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL)
• Bill Foster (New Dem-IL)
• Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL)
• John Delaney (New Dem-MD)
• Kyrsten Sinema (New Dem-AZ)
• Joyce Beatty (OH)
• Juan Vargas (New Dem-CA)

Let’s not start with “they all belong in prison for corruption” because that’s the end of this post. And, not every single one of them is a New Dem; two aren’t. But they all made a concerted effort to get on the House Financial Services Committee– the well-spring of congressional corruption– and, as members of that committee, they all voted for H.R. 5424 last week. And they all take significant bribes from the very Finance Sector that they’re meant to be keeping from ripping off consumers. These 13, in fact, have been among the worst enablers of the financial sector when it comes to ripping off consumers and endangering the country’s financial health. Let’s reorder the list in terms of how much in bribes each one has gotten– this cycle alone– from the Finance Sector:

• Patrick Murphy- $1,413,950
• Jim Himes- $618,150
• Kyrsten Sinema- $589,388
• Ed Perlmutter- $455,157
• Bill Foster- $401,935
• Terri Sewell- $379,400
• David Scott- $368,640
• John Delaney- $351,750
• Gregory Meeks- $338,550
• Brad Sherman- $300,750
• Juan Vargas- $247,549
• Joyce Beatty- $225,050
• John Carney- $164,450

So what is this H.R. 5424 to which I referred? Well, let’s turn to Yves Smith’s Naked Capitalism to get a good read on what Wall Street lobbyists, the Republican Party and these corrupt Democrats called the “investment Advisers Modernization Act.” If it passes and Obama signs it, it “would allow the hedge fund and private equity industry, which are rich enough to pay for the few parking-ticket-level fines the SEC hands out, to escape from virtually all enforcement efforts. Worse, it would considerably weaken protections meant to stop Madoff-type frauds, and leave retail investors exposed.”

Dodd Frank stipulated that private equity and hedge funds beyond a modest size be regulated as investment advisers. That subjected them to SEC examinations. The initial round exposed widespread misconduct in private equity, including what would normally be called embezzlement.

Yet the agency has fined remarkably few sanctions, and the fines have been light relative to the extent of the misconduct alleged by the SEC and unearthed by the press.

To make a bad situation worse, the SEC retreated from its tough enforcement talk within months, and more recently, has been trying to fool the chump public into believing that its weak enforcement actions are having an impact when private equity form ADV filings with the SEC reveal the reverse, that many firms are continuing to engage in precisely the same conduct that the SEC has deemed to be a securities law violation.

But even this cronyistic enforcement charade is an offense to these Masters of the Universe. HR 5424 would gut Dodd Frank oversight. I’ve attached a letter from Americans for Financial Reform at the end of the post, which sets forth how this bill makes a mockery of the idea of investor protection.

…[T]he bill creates exemptions to the requirement that investment advisers have their holdings independently audited at least annually. The exemptions on the surface appear to apply to closely-held funds. It carves out ones whose investors are “officers, directors, and employees” of not just the fund manger, but also of “affiliated persons,” their “officers, directors, and employees,” current and former family members, and “officers, directors, and employees,” who provide or have entered into contracts to provide services….and not just to the investment vehicle itself, but to any of its clients!

It’s easy to see how this provision could be abused by, say, having someone enter into a sham or trivial service agreement to get access to a supposedly hot manager. You can even hear the patter: “The only people who can invest are friends and employees, and OMG have they made boatloads, but the SEC will allow you to invest if we are your client. And that’s really easy to do. Just sign this contract…”

As professor Jennifer Taub stated in her testimony on the bill last month:

Just when private equity funds are in the sunlight thanks to Dodd-Frank and many have been exposed in SEC examinations as in violation of the law, you are now proposing that they be able to hide their tracks. Instead of encouraging a culture of compliance, this bill would provide a loophole for investment adviser recordkeeping requirements. Subjecting communications to confidentiality agreements or keeping them in-house would allow advisers to destroy critical investment records…

The Investment Advisers Modernization Act of 2016 is misnamed. Instead of ushering in modernity, it would send the SEC and investors back to the Dark Ages. Like the other bills today, it is misaligned with the hearing’s title, “Legislative Proposals to Enhance Capital Formation, Transparency, and Regulatory Accountability.” This bill would not enhance capital formation. Instead it would undermine investor protection and trust, which could inhibit or drive up the cost of capital. It would not promote transparency, but allow certain private equity advisers and other private fund advisers that have been exposed as lacking in recent SEC examinations to hide their tracks. It would not encourage regulatory accountability. Instead it would punish regulatory success, depriving the SEC of the information and tools it has been using to monitor system-wide risks, identify firm-specific risk, investigate fraud, and enforce the law.

It was funny yesterday when Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent out an e-mail moaning about how the Republicans are trying to destroy Dodd-Frank. “Dodd-Frank,” he wrote, “is the package of safeguards Democrats passed after Wall Street devastated our economy in 2008. It’s designed to protect consumers and homeowners, and make sure the risky behavior that triggered the Great Recession doesn’t happen again. Make no mistake about it: Republicans in Congress are trying to take a jackhammer to those safeguards. They don’t have a problem putting Main Street back on the hook for Wall Street’s greed.”

Is it too difficult for Brown to acknowledge that it isn’t only Republicans but the Republican-wing of his own party– the New Dems and Blue Dogs primarily– who are working steadily to erode and, in his words, “destroy” Dodd-Frank. That is certainly why Wall Street has given more money to Patrick Murphy than any other non-incumbent running for the Senate this year– more, by far, than any Republican. He has shown Wall Street his willingness– actually eagerness– to serve their interests on the House Financial Services Committee. Sherrod Brown is very aware of Patrick Murphy’s record and behavior and his devotion to the Wall Street banksters. And Sherrod Brown endorsed him– not against a Republican, but against a proven and effective fighter against Wall Street excess, Alan Grayson. He also refuse dto endorse Bernie and gave an early nod to Hillary, another conservative Democrat whose affinity towards Wall Street is hardly secret.

“Demand Congressional Republicans leave the Dodd-Frank financial reforms in place,” continued Brown. “I’m more than willing to admit that there are portions of Dodd-Frank that can be improved. We still have banks in this country that are “Too Big To Fail”– that’s something we should fix.But Republicans aren’t talking about improvements, they’re talking about going back to the same practices that caused the Great Recession.” Yeah… and so are the New Dems like Brown-endorsee Patrick Murphy.

* * *

The post suggested giving to ActBlue as one way to fight Wall Street’s influence over the Democratic party, which pretends not to be in hock to it. I hope some of you will give here. Another way is to pressure Congresscritters in their local media, via op-eds and letters to the editor of papers, and pitching stories to local TV stations in their district. Other suggestions?

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  1. inode_buddha

    Regulation is offensive to the MoTU not because of any associated fines, (as pointed out, they can easily aford them), but because somebody is having the gall to tell them what to do. Seriously, dealing with corporate America strongly reminds me of dealing with 3-year-olds.

  2. EndOfTheWorld

    Rather than voting dem as default position, would it be any better to vote repub as default position? I think most voters are like me in that they may get interested in the presidential race and can cast an educated vote there, they don’t try to follow the other races so just vote for one party or the other. This year my plan is to vote the straight repub ticket to ensure HRC’s impeachment. Is that out of line?

    1. James Levy

      Well if you don’t care about health care, housing, tax policy, and the environment you can vote a straight line without paying any attention to the people you are voting for. But I’d say it made sense to check out the history and voting record of the person running for office and then chose which one you want. If it turns out the Republican supports more policies you like, then vote for them.

      1. Roger Smith

        I understand your point and agree with at least trying to check out candidates, but let’s not think the Democrats care about healthcare (Colorado), housing, or tax policy either. They care about the environment… in so far as it is a great symbol to tote around when their real actions are questioned. Otherwise those clowns will fold for fracking and other things just like the sponsors of an oil tycoon.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          Is it cynical or merely realistic to say that almost none of the candidates are actually worth checking out? Their stated positions are usually lies.

          1. Katharine

            Cynical and counterproductive. Please rethink your approach to politics! Whom you choose and how you choose matter, and down-ballot races deserve serious thought. Republicans are usually more harmful than Democrats. Some Democrats are moderately useful. Some (sadly, those who too often lose primaries) would be really good). And I notice that nobody here seems to be mentioning Green candidates. While I admit their quality varies greatly among states, they are worth considering, as they are generally more progressive than modern Democrats.

      2. ToivoS

        James Health care?? The Dems have been awful on that. You must think the Affordable Care Act solved the problem. A small hint: It didn’t.

    2. ChiGal

      This, only being interested in the presidential races and checking out in between, is what Bernie has been trying to get us to wake up about. An informed, involved citizenry is our only hope. Why do you think Yves & Lambert work their asses off?

    3. TedWa

      Sounds like seeking revenge EOTW, don’t vote with anger. Some candidates are worth investigating and voting for – anybody Bernie likes I’m with, like Zephy Teachout, Tulsi Gabbard and more. I will admit I’m probably going to vote for Trump because I’m sick of dynastic neoliberal regimes in America and them being forced on us – but the rest will be reasoned votes. Besides, if Wall St loves HRC, the Republicans do too – their h8 is a charade imho. I wish they would impeach but I really don’t think they will.

      They have enough on Obama to impeach but you never hear it because his policies so closely align with theirs.

    4. oh

      Don’t count on the Republicans to impeach HRC. They may make a lot of noice and play Kabuki but in the end nothing will come out of it by design.

    5. Adam Eran

      Best strategy (to me): In dependably red or blue (non-swing) states: Jill Stein, Greens.

    6. different clue

      The Rs will not impeach a President Clinton for the same reason they would not impeach President Obama . . . because she will be worth trillions of dollars to the OverClass the same way Obama was/is. But only if she is left Presidentially functional enough to advance the Trade Treason Agreements and other OverClass agenda goals.

      The only way that even an all R House would even try impeachment is if all 535 ( or whatever the number is) Representatives were all specifically Tea Party Rs with a true and genuine personal hatred for the Clintons . . . and with no expectation of any future rewards in the private sector anyway . . . therefor with no fear of losing these future rewards by impeaching the OverClass private sector’s President Clinton.

      So that reason for voting straight R isn’t valid.

  3. backwardsevolution

    A vote for the “We came, we saw, he died” Queen puts the world much closer to war, and would keep the U.S. government firmly in the hands of Wall Street.

    At least Trump is against the secretive TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Treaty and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (which Hillary is pretending not to back, but will back if she gets elected).

    He is questioning why NATO is still necessary (given all it does is create wars and destroy countries everywhere). He wants to negotiate with countries, have a strong “defensive” military, and get out of other countries’ business.

    I don’t believe he is a racist. He’s just against “illegal” immigration. He would find it no different if Canadians were flooding into the U.S. What he’s saying is that the illegal immigrants lower wages because of increased competition for jobs, especially among the poor, and cause prices to rise re rental accommodation and houses (supply and demand).

    He doesn’t really want to build a wall. The border towns do too much business to allow that. But there are laws currently on the books whereby employers can be fined for hiring illegals, yet this rarely happens. If this were done, plus if the practice of free medical and education were stopped, the illegals would simply walk back home. Trump is not against “legal” immigration.

    He also wants “fair trade” with China, not the practice that currently exists.

    The wealthy elite are against Trump. Ask yourselves why. Hint: it’s not because he’s a racist, although they will pretend that’s why they don’t like him. No, it’s because their little world might change if Trump gets elected, and they’re deathly afraid of that.

    1. hreik

      Imho, the risk of Trump is not his positions, it’s that he doesn’t know enough and is persuadable. Who will have his ear? That’s my worry.

      Beside the point but perhaps tangentially relevant, I don’t think he really wants the job of Potus, just to win the election. Ego-driven.

      I won’t vote for either HRH or DT

      1. nick

        Totally agree w/ persuadable

        I got a DNC survey the other day and completed it as a venting exercise. One question was about the #1 reason for me why Donald would be soooo bad. The listed responses were e.g. he’s racist, or he’s dangerous. I checked “other” and wrote something like “he would probably be persuaded to appoint standard issue repub supreme court justices.”

        That one structural twist is killer and really dulls the bite of a lot of the Hillary-is-evil-I’m-voting-Trump! spouting off. (truly either is indefensible).

          1. jsn

            And does the Supreme Court really decide anything any more?

            I mean since Bush vs Gore and Citizens United “constitutional law” only applies to corporations and the super rich who can survive the fabulously expensive path to JUSTICE!

            Normal people only have rights until they need them at which point the courts let the Govt. do whatever it wants: torture, rendition, drone assassination, universal surveillance, undeclared war, whatever, where are the courts rulings on these?

          2. backwardsevolution

            cm – “…there is no difference.” Exactly.

            hreik and nick – Trump might not know enough? He’s likely unaware of the full extent of the corruption and looting going on, but I’m sure he understands enough, like where there’s a thousand rats, there’s got to be more.

            Trump might be persuadable? Really? How persuadable has he been re his comments? How persuadable on his policy? He’s being criticized up the yin yang, and he does not easily bend. I do not see him bending, otherwise the Republican Party would be showering him with flowers right now. Trump is NOT stupid.

            Sure, he has a big ego. All politicians do, even Obama. It’s just that Obama knows how to hide his. Do you think Clinton doesn’t have a huge ego? Think again. Look at what she’s been involved in, the email scandal, the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi, Libya, etc. It takes a huge ego to believe you can get away with stuff like that. It takes a huge ego to aspire to her various positions. She is a walking ego.

            Who will have Trump’s ear? He’s been a smart businessman, and I think he is a lot smarter than he lets on. I think he will listen, but in the end he will have his own ear and he will listen to his own intuition. He’s smart enough to know when he’s being had.

            Clinton has bent over like a pretzel throughout her career. Who has her ear? Well, you can bet Wall Street does, along with Israel, the military-industrial complex, multinationals, the Council on Foreign Relations, etc.

            Don’t be fooled. Her ego equals or surpasses Trump’s. The difference is Clinton is planned and cunning, manipulating as she goes along. I would trust Trump over her by a long shot.

    2. TedWa

      If he can remain populist he can win. If the Repugs take over and turn him into their puppet, he’ll lose. I think he can remain populist in his views and he’ll know it’s those views that got him elected and his choices will also be populist because that’s where his ego will be. He’s got a huge ego and if being populist satisfies it, he’ll stay with it.

  4. James Levy

    Why doesn’t the author print the names of the 12 Dems who voted against so we can support them? And how about the Republicans who voted “NO”–oh, I’m sorry, they all voted “Yes”.

    Indiscriminately voting for a party is always a mistake. But, as potential Trump voters like to point out, you sometimes only have two choices in a House race, and you’ve got to pick your poison or not vote. Acting like an adult, doing due diligence, and voting for the person best aligned with your beliefs seems to make sense to me.

    1. Vatch

      Why doesn’t the author print the names of the 12 Dems who voted against so we can support them? And how about the Republicans who voted “NO”–oh, I’m sorry, they all voted “Yes”.

      Excellent point. Here are the 12 good gals and guys:

      Maxine Waters, CA
      Carolyn Maloney, NY
      Nydia Velazquez, NY
      Michael Capuano, MA
      Ruben Hinojosa, TX
      Willam Lacy Clay, MO
      Stephen Lynch, MA
      Al Green, TX
      Emanuel Cleaver, MO
      Gwen Moore, WI
      Keith Ellison, MN
      Daniel Kildee, MI


      The vote on the bill:

      The list of committee members:

      1. different clue

        I would expect faux-Sanders ratfickers to run faux-Sanders type primary opponents againts each of these twelve. The faux-Sanders ratfickers would learn the appearance of Sanders groups very well and imitate them very credibly. The Sanders groups might want to prepare themselves to take down any such faux-Sanders ratficker squads that emerge behind “primary challengers” to these twelve.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Click through to DWT. Howie has been working for “more and better” Democrats for over 10 years now at that site.

      Of course, the obvious reason is Republicans aren’t in danger of winning the support of people who read these style blogs. Pointing out Republican X is evil is redundant.

      1. Vatch

        The article at the DWT site doesn’t list the 12 Democrats who voted correctly. I listed them, and as soon as my comment emerges from moderation, their names will be on the NC site.

  5. ger

    I note Patrick Murphy at the top of the slop list. A republican posing as a Democratic. This is now the Democrat Establishment ploy to prop up their diminishing numbers. In a few months he could be the new US Senator from Florida!! One of the most progressive democrat pols of our time is his opponent.
    Wasserman and fellow vote stealers are doing all they can to elect the Republican.

  6. Eureka Springs

    The post suggested giving to ActBlue as one way to fight Wall Street’s influence over the Democratic party

    At least one of the names above was an ActBlue, Blue America rising star once upon a time. Jim Himes. So be careful!

    1. B1whois

      Actblue appears to just be a platform? The article links to an actblue donation page that lists the blue America team, which contains several progressive names that I recognize. Apparently ActBlue is not uniformly evil. Can anyone else comment on this?

        1. different clue

          ActBlue may well be well-intended brand-name Identity Liberals who cannot tell the difference between a Sanders and a Clinton. Of course other explanations may exist and should also be aired and explored.

  7. steelhead23

    I forwarded a link to this article to my Blue Dog Representative, Kurt Schrader. We’ll watch and see what happens – it’s just out of committee, so has a way to go. If it makes it to the Senate, I expect Warren to go ballistic. I consider the whole Blue Dog Coalition in Congress to be moderate Republicans – and mostly corrupt.

  8. Carla

    Yves, the post is missing it’s initial letter “W.” And did you actually mean to link to ActBlue as well? Please say it ain’t so.

  9. diptherio

    I’ve attached a letter from Americans for Financial Reform at the end of the post, which sets forth how this bill makes a mockery of the idea of investor protection.

    Am I just blind, or did this not get attached?

  10. B1whois

    Wow, check out the video at the actblue link for an incredible dose of cheese. I think they are a good gtoup to support, but oy!

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