AOC and Other Top Progressives Urge Biden—If Elected—to Deny K Street, Wall Street Execs Top Cabinet Posts

Jerri-Lynn here. It’s grey and gloomy where I find myself holed up today. The grim prospects for this cross-post being addressed – progressives asking Biden not to staff his administration with the usual corporate suspects – perfectly matches my mood.

Fat chance! I think there’s 0% of this happening.

What’s the point of winning if you cannot take your chance to feed at the trough?

Note also Democrats have tried similar pledges before and the devil has been in the details. Not much changed. Note the post recognizes Biden previously served as vice-president of the ‘Goldman Sachs administration’ that immediately preceded Trump. At least Common Dreams recognizes the problem isn’t confined to Republicans.

Nonetheless, I can dream, can’t I?

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

A group of progressive lawmakers, candidates, and organizations have collectively signed a letter urging Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to eschew appointing corporate executives and lobbyists to his administration if he is elected, Politico reported Friday.

According to Politico, signatories to the letter include Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and New York congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman.

Groups that signed include Public Citizen, Communications Workers of America, Greenpeace USA, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee—which is closely associated with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Our Revolution, founded by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“One of the most important lessons of the Trump administration is the need to stop putting corporate officers and lobbyists in charge of our government,” the letter, which was delivered to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday morning, states.

The letter specifically argues that K Street and Wall Street executives should not be nominated for any position that requires Senate confirmation.

“As elected leaders, we should stop trying to make unsupportable distinctions between which corporate affiliations are acceptable for government service and which are not,” it asserted.

Grijalva told Politico that the letter “is not addressed to Biden” specifically, but that “there’s an understanding that he’d be in charge and be the person making nominations.”

The letter is a reminder of the stark differences between the progressive and the corporate wings of the Democratic Party—Ocasio-Cortez famously said earlier this year that “in any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party”—that would likely come to the forefront should President Donald Trump be defeated.

Although Trump loves to tout the stock market gains that have occurred during his tenure, Wall Street has donated more money to Biden and Democrats this election cycle than to the president and his party. Biden has praised and reassured corporate leaders, shareholders, and the wealthiest Americans, promising to not “demonize” them and vowing that “nothing would fundamentally change” for them if he is elected.

Many progressives assert that there is much cause for concern, if Biden’s tenure in Congress and as vice president are any indicator of how he would run the country if elected.

The former senator from Delaware—a state known as a haven for banks and corporate headquarters—cast key votes to deregulate the banking and financial services industries, which showered him in campaign cash and other support. Biden was also a leading champion of a bill that made it much more difficult for Americans to declare bankruptcy—just before the most devastating economic crisis since the Great Depression.

As vice president during what many progressives derisively called the “Goldman Sachs administration”—for the number of Wall Street and corporate executives it employed, the amount of corporate donations it received, and how it was influenced by big money interests—Biden played a key role in advancing what many saw as President Barack Obama’s Wall Street and corporatist agenda.

The new letter addresses some of these concerns, including the so-called “revolving door” between the public and private sectors that has characterized both Republican and Democratic administrations.

“The revolving door needs to stop, not just change direction every few years,” it says.

Left-leaning lawmakers including Ocasio-Cortez have previously warned Biden not to take progressives for granted, and to better address the needs of what Sanders and others have called the “99 Percent.”

“I think people understand that there are limits to what Biden will do and that’s understandable—he didn’t run as a progressive candidate,” Ocasio-Cortez said earlier this year. “But, at the bare minimum, we should aspire to be better than what we have been before.”

Many progressive activists, wary of being spurned and burned again as they feel they were by Obama, are nevertheless preparing to—as Noam Chomsky, Medea Benjamin, and other left activists said in a recent letter of their own—”dump Trump, then battle Biden.”

“Bernie has been very clear that after the election … we’re going to hold Biden’s feet to the fire on his progressive commitments that he has made,” Faiz Shakir, a senior advisor to Sanders, told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday.

Shakir ended on a positive note, acknowledging that Biden “has made some pretty solid commitments” on climate policy.

Progressives note that it was incessant pressure from grassroots activists that made Biden’s $2 trillion green energy plan as ambitious as it is, and they’re betting and hoping that more of the same persuasive persistence will bear better fruit than the sour grapes of the Obama, Clinton, and Carter presidencies.

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  1. Tinky

    “One of the most important lessons of the Trump administration is the need to stop putting corporate officers and lobbyists in charge of our government,”

    Technically, Larry Summers was neither, so I would argue that the point really needs to be expanded, and less about Trump.

    1. Waking Up

      In 2008, Larry Summers was the Managing Director for the private equity firm D.E. Shaw where he was paid $5.2 million. He is proud of his role in financial deregulation and is now a senior policy advisor for the Biden campaign.

      Along with Intelligence/MIC and all of the Republicans put front and center at the Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden is practically screaming who he is but too many people just want to ignore it because they don’t like Trump as a person. It’s completely delusional to think that Joe Biden, an elderly man (and remember, people tend to get even more conservative in the senior years), who spent a lifetime supporting punishment and corporations along with Wall Street will suddenly be pushed “left” on anything other than issues which don’t concern his donors.

  2. DanP66

    1. No chance. Biden will surround himself with all the usual suspects.

    2. Anyone who thinks that a Biden win will bring calm to the country is a fool. a) The populist right will go haywire. b) The progressive left KNOWS that he will sell them out and the looting and riots will continue and may get worse. c) The progressives in the House will force a major fracture in the party that just may keep the democrats from being able to govern, particularly since the republicans will be in the mood to stoke that division

    1. The Historian

      1. Totally agree.

      2 Don’t equate loud with power. I think a few of the populist right will go haywire, but frankly, for all the noise they create, there really aren’t that many of them.

      Progressives are wound around the axle on social problems – something that Trump has exploited – Biden will calm that down.

      As far as progressives in the House – how many do you think there are? From my point of view, not nearly enough!

      1. tegnost

        outside of the extremely dismissive tone of this statement

        “Progressives are wound around the axle on social problems”

        How will biden calm this down?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          He will humor the Wokenists and flatter their Wokenism.

          He will send the Kamalabeast out to make Rousing Speeches about Blacknizzum, Whitenizzum, Racenizzum, etc.

          ” RePENT you SINNers! ConFESS your White Privilege!”

          And that’s how the Joemalabeast will calm this down.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden certainly has a greater sense of the moment than Obama, but he is also is really stupid. Most likely Biden will make more PR concessions, but the Blue Dogs will threaten in response including the ones who aren’t official Blue Dogs. Basically Pelosi’s recruits will largely prevent even minor changes. It’s in their nature. The GOP won’t agree to anything despite the punditry predicting doom because they remember the last time.

      Biden is too lazy to be as actively destructive as Obama, so for the most part, he will just sit in his office, waiting to be fed. Without the President, the handlers won’t be able to determine larger policies. What energy there is will be basically governing by emergency as DC limps from one self imposed crisis to another. We talked about an insane wall for a whole summer because Trump wanted one. Biden has no credible goals beyond restoring honor (err…decency), so he will have no focus. Real crises will occur too, but nothing gets done because Biden simply has no goals beyond waiting to be told what to do. Who tells the President what to do? There will be too many voices for him to handle.

      1. anon in so cal

        Laughed out loud when I read about AOC’s letter to Biden.

        What a meaningless gesture; just more insulting posturing from AOC.

        Here’s a tip:

        Based on his actual record, everything Biden promises is surely a lie. Biden displays life-long corruption, racism, promotion of MBNA, Wall Street, war profiteering.

        Biden has repeatedly, and recently, advocated for cutting Social Security, Medicare, Veterans’ Benefits. He wants a bigger military budget, escalation in Syria, expanded NATO, etc.

        The MSM and Big Tech reaction to the Hunter Biden scandal suggests an even more draconian crackdown is not unlikely.

        1. 1 Kings

          Was my laugh of the month, maybe the year. Maybe they can also ask Joe if all the Delaware incorporated banks and corps still need their P.O. boxes. Think the American people would like the ‘pay no tax ever’ privilege..

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          AOC is young and hopeful. Life itself will age her and embitter her.

          Perhaps she is also laying down a visible marker and planting a flag for the House Progressives ( all three or four of them) to rally to when Joemala does the inevitable and fills up all the posts with agents of the Financial-Extortiondustrial Complex.

      2. liz

        Agreed.. Biden has no appetite for radical and except for the Squad who will be put somewhere safely out of sight in a corner where they can do no harm, his party is as attached to big money as the Repubs. very depressing. The only plus about getting rid of Trump is to rid ourselves of the insanity element.,

      3. Mel

        Nevertheless, I think somebody will be making decisions, if only because noone else will stop them. I dreamt last night that acting-president Harris’s yoga lessons led to meditation, which led to a flowering of consciousness. She had all White House decisions made through an Executive Council of herself, Stephanie Kelton, Zephyr Teachout, and Caitlin Johnstone. We can dream.

  3. griffen

    Good luck with that. Where else will Larry Summers rehab his horrible economic policies ? And by rehab i mean rehash for 2020.

    I’ve no legit reason to believe Summers is up fir any post, but he lurks always.

          1. k

            Agnotology is the STUDY of making shit up and the effects of false narratives on the body politic. Agnotologists are the good guys and many of the better writers here have engaged in it.


            Making Shit Up is wrong, but please coin a new Latin based word if you need to be fancy. I still mourn the loss of the original meaning of homophobia and the transition from envy to jealousy that erased the concept of jealousy’s original meaning.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          There is a case to be made for voting “for” Biden in order to deny Trump four more years to get the Administrative State all the way deconstructed.

          Also, it might be good to have a President who does not base his whole movement on sending messages to things like the Proud Boys and etc. to “stand back and stand by” for sustained violence on Trump’s request. That statement wasn’t a dogwhistle. That statement was a doghorn foghorn.

  4. LowellHIghlander

    I got another idea for progresives to use: If Biden, and Harris, won’t make a completely solid commitment to keep the corporate types out of his administration – meaning Biden and Harris should name their cabinet and top people in their new administration now, before the election – then progressives can warn Biden and Harris that they can still pull the lever for the Green Presidential ticket. After all, who needs another 4 years of “Hope and Change”?

    1. jackiebass

      It is amazing how say nothing campaign slogans influence peoples vote. We got a lot of hope under Obama but little real change. I watched Obama when he was a senator on CSpans coverage of the senate. That convinced me he wasn’t a real democrat but a moderate republican. I didn’t vote for Obama but instead voted either Green or Working Families. Biden is really an Obama clone so if Biden wins you will get another Obama. After almost 4 years of Trump probably anyone other than Trump would be an improvement. Until the DNC leadership changes I will find it hard to support democrats. The same is true for republicans. They have gotten too far right for me.We really have two major parties that are different versions of the Republican Party.Most Democrats are really what used to be moderate republicans. Progressive democrats are popular with the people but the DNC works hard to keep progressives on the side lines. Harris in my thinking isn’t progressive. You will see if Biden wins fill important positions with the old guard that are on Stand by just waiting to take over.

      1. Jeff

        It’s all about that sweet sugar. The proles don’t count. Only those writing checks get a say.

        Voters need to get in line, shut up, and keep voting the way we tell them to.


      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Oh, I wouldn’t say we got little change under Obama. I think we got a lot of change, for the worse, deliberately on purpose with malice aforethought.

        Obama conspired with McConnell to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent. They are the BushcoBama Tax Cuts now and should be called such. He set new precedent lows in immunizing and impunifying the FIRE sector perpetrators. He made International Law and Treaties a Dormant Letter when he immunized and impunified the BushAdmin for its war crimes and treaty violations. He then deepened those crimes and violations wherever he could.

        He created the vacuum which sucked Trump into office. Change upon change upon change.
        Just because Obama’s changes were mostly for the worse does not mean they were not real changes.

        1. tim timmons

          Americans elected Donald Trump to thumb their noses at the whole political landscape that they were priced out of. Seeing their nose completely cut off and their spite ignored, nothing has changed nor will it change. This game was lost long ago.

    2. Pelham

      I’ll second that idea. The commitment should also be in writing and made public. And if Biden fails to commit and still wins the White House, the progressives should equally commit in writing to some post-election consequences for the Biden/Harris administration. Perhaps a mass switchover to the Green Party or a commitment to immediately launch a separate party with a four-year program to defeat Biden (or Harris) in 2024.

      Regardless, everything should be in writing and disclosed to the public. I want on-record commitments that everyone can point to.

    3. John Wright

      There is no political reason for Biden to placate progressives by naming cabinet and administration posts before the election.

      It will be far more valuable to feint left (invite AOC to “advise about administration appointments) and publicize that event and similar events.

      Besides, one could guess many of Joe’s eventual neo-liberal appointments will also be “friends” of progressive icon Bernie.

      I have talked with more progressive people, and they are supporting Biden simply because he is “not Trump”.

      Biden’s handlers may believe that “not Trump” is enough to give them the election and avoiding making any progressive promises makes their later non-progressive actions less embarrassing.

    4. Acacia

      This is more “hold their feet to the fire” magical thinking.

      They already abandoned you years ago. They are who they are. They’ve already told us that, so threatening to vote Green makes no difference.

      But actually voting Green could make a difference, by definitively withdrawing your support for the Dem party they may lose and the day of their death gets a little closer.

  5. Another Scott

    I’ll believe progressives are serious about this when they shoot down Biden nominees or legislation for being too friendly to banks and Wall Street.

    1. neo-realist

      If progressives can build their numbers in the down ticket races, they’ll have the clout to shoot such nominees down, but it may take more than one election cycle to get those numbers up to build the base to wield such power.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      “A sternly worded letter”
      Poor Joe and Co. They’ll be shaking in their boots.

      If Dore’s assessment of AOC (burnishing creds) is even half correct, it’s very depressing. Granting beginner’s naivete as an excuse rubs badly against the astute/aware aura she got elected with.

      1. Jeff

        While true, orange man bad was the ONLY thing Democrat voters could remember. Not that their party is as corrupt as the Republicans.

        Keep em angry and scared. That way they’ll forget who’s screwing them and focus on something shiny.

      1. Yves Smith

        None of these takes are correct.

        Iowa was stolen from Sanders. By popular vote and delegate he won.

        Had he been announced as the winner that night, he would have be treated as the leader and nominee presumptive. Lambert estimated that the Dem chicanery cost Sanders 10 points in the next few primaries. Even if it was only 5, do the math. The MSM could not have ignored him, which was their wont.

      2. Big River Bandido

        No, the right-wing (i.e. the Democrat Party) rigged the contest. Again. And then Obama told the party establishment to coalesce behind his vice-president, and they all fell into line. The primary “electorate” is not that large to begin with. An ex-President whose party is out of the White House still pretty much controls the party machinery. That’s all Biden’s win was. A technocratic exercise of power by the machine.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Speaking of Jimmy Dore…Just today he released a video talking about this calling it a Stern Letter from the Progressives which Lupemax linked to. From what he says, the S.S. Biden has already set sail and it has a full crew complement of some of the worse neoliberals and neocons you can think of. All those Progressives are still sitting at the docks, convincing themselves that old Joe will return for them. But why would he? He already has all their votes stuffed in his pockets so no longer needs them.

    The progressives gave all their leverage away way back when it came time to vote on the CARES Act. Actually, it may have been when the DNC abandoned any pretext of following their own rules in order to squash people like Gabbard and Sanders so that the nomination could be given to old Joe. That was the time when the progressives should have demanded something on paper to be published to bind Biden down. Nope. They said that they will give him total fealty and when he is elected, that they will push him Left. If you believe that, then I can get you a good price on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

    From this I can only draw two conclusions. Either progressives are so naive that they have no idea how politics works in the real world – in which case they should be totally pushed out. Or else, that they are so corrupt that they will sheepdog their movements into following the edicts of the party in exchange for a bag of goodies – in which case they should be totally pushed out. No other possibilities. This is like watching a young, innocent girl agree to go away for the weekend with the town rake because he promised her that nothing will happen. Then afterwards in bed, the girl turns to the rake and says ‘My mother made me promise that I would be good. Was I?’

  7. Samuel Conner

    On the assumption that JB will be elected (an iffy assumption, perhaps), it seems to me that it may also be important for the progressives among the “Left” to also be thinking about how to pressure KH. She might (on the theory that, being younger, she might actually care about what the future will be like) be more amenable to arguments in favor of policies in the public interest. The JB/HB/Ukraine material may be a worse millstone around JB’s neck than Russiagate has been around DJT’s.

    Am I wrong in thinking that articles of impeachment on the basis of this material (granting its authenticity, which I do) would appear to be justified? JB was already fragile-looking. This makes him look very vulnerable.

    1. YuShan

      Even if JB is able to complete his term, he will most probably not run for a second term. That means KH is almost certainly the candidate for 2024. So the left has to make a credible threat to abandon the party if she doesn’t play ball. She is careerist so she will go where the wind blows.

      1. Acacia

        The party already abandoned the left years ago and the real left likewise saw the writing on the wall and moved on. Meanwhile, the liberal a.k.a. fake left stands there acting like it still has pull. Pathetic.

    2. Robert Gray

      > [Kamala Harris] might (on the theory that, being younger, she might actually care about what the future
      > will be like) be more amenable to arguments in favor of policies in the public interest.

      Sigh. Sometimes the heady waft of hopium is just cloying, even around here. KH is at least as corrupt as Biden. The fact that she is younger makes her even more dangerous. I’d say the chances of JB completing even one full term are about nil so if he is chosen next month it will result in President Harris, one way or another.

      1. Lupemax

        hopium… I like that. Thank you. I shall use it.

        Biden/Harris will do nothing for the 99%. Biden has said “nothing will fundamentally change” under his admin thus reassuring Wall Street/corporations/billionaires. Sadly, I believe him. His money doesn’t come from the people.

        Should Biden/Harris be elected, and Harris succeeds the increasingly frail Biden during his term, as some are hoping, I don’t think she will be any more supportive of the people of this country than she has been for the people in Calif during her term as Attorney general or Senator (with donations from Mnuchin) especially for those most vulnerable and in need – the massive homeless for example who are now totally ignored in CA, a totally “blue” state – Governor, Assembly, Senate all democrat. What does “blue state” mean anymore for the people?

        Both Biden and Harris support fracking and the oil and gas industry, as the earth and all living beings tank as a result of the oil and gas industry. Biden/Harris also support the ACA which doesn’t even cover at all more than 30 million Americans and now millions Americans unemployed who cannot even afford the ever increasing premiums, co-pays, deductibles. It’s profit driven sick care insurance. It’s not “affordable” at all.

        The election is still a few weeks away. Much can still happen.

        R.I. Sen Whitehouse’s brilliant, detailed, clear presentation at the Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s hearings enlightens massively who/what actually control this country and how well the repubs have already packed SCOTUS with massive “Dark Money” ) actually authorized by SCOTUS with the Citizens United and other subsequent decisions. I suggest this Dark Money also packs the DC Senate/Congress and most of the statehouses as well.

        Dark Money along with Judge Amy and the 9-3 SCOTUS majority she brings will give all to the social/religious conservatives and corporations/billionaires and thus not block Biden (or Harris) from doing anything for the majority of the people, assuming they kowtow to SCOTUS, as they will.

        I also recommend Jane Mayer’s eye-opening book on Dark Money:

        I keep thinking about the reign of terror after 1789 in France in response to a totally indifferent elite/royalty as ‘peasants’ (i.e. people/children) starved.

        All the guns in this country have my attention and I am terribly afraid of increasing civil unrest and a resulting upcoming new Dark Ages with a tiny group of authoritarian ‘barons’ in charge and of course a SCOTUS with judges selected by a small contingent of very wealthy people that will enable this. There are many desperate people in the US without anything more to lose.

    3. Acacia

      Did you see the town hall?

      Biden will bow out. Another aneurysm. A gasket will blow. Harris will be installed as POTUS.

      Any progressives who think they’ll be able to pressure her are delusional.

      1. Yves Smith

        Biden has agency. Remember Reagan’s second term? He had serious Alzheimers and yet remained in office.

        He stays Prez unless he leave feet first.

        1. Acacia

          Good point. Side note: sometime in 1980, I saw an interview with a gerontologist who asserted that in his estimation of the candidate’s public performance, Reagan was showing clear signs of early senility. It was published in a local newspaper in California and AFAIK never got picked up by national media. I once made a few online archive searches to track down the article (1980 being pre-WWW), though without success.

    4. Yves Smith

      Please bone up on the Constitution. Articles of impeachment originate in the House. Who has the majority in the House? And there is zero risk of that changing as of November.

  8. SomeGuyinAZ

    /sigh. they’ll put them on “double secret probation” the next time these progressives need to appear to be doing something I guess. To be fair I’m not sure if they are capable of doing anything to effect real change at this time. Pretty disheartening still.

  9. notabanker

    Next is a strongly worded letter to Google asking them to break themselves up. Followed immediately with certified correspondence to the oil companies to stop drilling and cut supplies. I think this could be a daily series for years.

  10. The Rev Kev

    Was just thinking that if Biden gets in, then in several months time when Biden opens up all of the Arctic for drilling, doubles fracking production, stations nuclear-tipped missiles on the Russian and Chinese borders, does a ruthless crackdown of protestors in American cities, expands the prison population even more and creates a law that says that no debt in America will ever be able to be discharged in bankruptcy, then at that point all these Progressives will turn around and say ‘Well at least he is not Trump.’

  11. michael hudson

    OK, so what do we call the Biden incoming administration:

    Trump 2.0, or

    Obama 3.0?

    The Democratic left (oxymoron?) had a chance to fight, and didn’t. I don’t see any progress being made until the party is dissolved, given the inherent control by its donor-class leadership.

    1. The Historian

      Exactly. Nothing on the economic front is going to change no matter who is elected President. That train has come and gone for now. All we can hope for is that progressives have time enough to get their act together for the 2024 election.

      1. tegnost

        I think the dems will more effectively give to the e CON omy that matters.
        I don’t recall anyone asking me if I want 42,000 starlink satellites circling the globe, for instance. No one asked me about fracking, I think it’s a dumb idea. I didn’t and don’t think it’s a good idea to allow bezos to expand his empire through dubious means, and I don’t think the tech platforms should be able to simply buy off the competition with free money from the fed. I also don’t think black stone/rock or whichever should be given fed money to turn homes into rentals by giving money to them for free (that’s the real “free market at work, by the way) when those homes with dubious chain of title should have been given to the homeowners instead of protecting the criminals who created and then benefited from the power imbalance. The dems are more effective at these shenanigans and thus more likely to continue these nefarious policies. I couldn’t care less about an expansive global empire.
        If it doesn’t matter who is elected I wonder why you’re so worked up about trump.
        I think the only way to voice this displeasure is to vote downballot and leave the pres ticket blank.Turn it around. Ask the dem elite where they’re going to go without any votes.

      2. polecat

        Oh yesss! If we can just get to the NEXT election, everything will fall right into place ….
        How long have we been going there.. 16 years? .. 20? ..Please, you’all, pull the other one!

        I’m done being a rube. I’m done being a pinky swear promised rube on Democrat Stockholm Syndrome!

        1. flora

          Don’t want to vote Biden?
          Follow your hunch.
          Be “Top Banana”
          Not one
          Of the bunch.

          Burisma Shave


    2. Dirk77

      It is certain. I have decided to be a crank about one issue and it is this: Tom Ferguson’s Investment Theory of Party Competition must be taken as truth. If a politician accepts donations in amounts so that he knows its origins, then he is corrupt. Until this is recognized, the US will remain a plutocracy. This article and the Progressive action it describes perpetuate the fallacy that you can change the mind and actions of any politician that is counter to what his donor’s want. With all you’ve witnessed in your life, can you really believe it can be possible now? The joke that is the US political system has always rested on this hope, yet it has reached a thinness where it must be dumped.

    3. Synoia

      “OK, so what do we call the Biden incoming administration”

      Bought and Paid for.

      Government by Finance.

    4. Pookah Harvey

      There does seem to be some progress in the Congressional Black Caucus. CBC support is crucial for establishment dems, as Politico noted Pelosi “doesn’t make a move without first consulting the CBC”. Most of the progressives that won Democratic primaries in safe districts will go to the CBC and some have made it clear they are there to fight. Progressives will be a minority in the CBC, but a large minority.

      Progressive Ayanna Pressley, a CBC member, endorsed Jamaal Bowman over the CBC endorsed establishment Engels. Bowman went on to win. Bowman then endorsed Cori Bush over 10-term incumbent, CBC member, Lacy Clay. Bush won. Pressley herself beat a CBC-backed white incumbent, Rep. Mike Capuano, in 2018.

      Bowman has made it clear there is no love lost between the progressives and the establishment. As Politico reported:

      CBC members were angered by Bowman’s decision to back Bush just a day after introducing himself to the caucus, according to multiple lawmakers and aides.

      “Jamaal Bowman won in a primary challenge,” his spokesperson, Rebecca Katz, said in a statement when asked about the controversy. “Why wouldn’t he support other primary challengers if they’re making a good case for new leadership and they share a similar agenda to him?”

      Bowman went on to say: “The organizing has already been happening. It’s been happening in the streets across this country. That’s why Cori was able to win her election. That organizing is going to continue when we get to Congress…When you see Cori’s victory in Missouri, it’s a clear indication that people are demanding something different. … It’s a cry for change, it’s a cry for systemic change. It’s very exciting, and that’s not going away.”

      If the CBC doesn’t make a significant move to the left I suspect there will be a rash of primary challenges against establishment CBC members in 2022 with pressure from BLM. The CBC seems to be the backbone of the establishment dems. If the left can take the CBC then who knows? My optimistic 2 cents worth.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Pressley’s “progressivism” is WAY overrated. She’s heavy on IDpol. On anything having to do with concrete material benefits? Wishy-washy “centrism”.

        Any hope invested in the Democrat Party (or any of its members) is, at this point, foolish.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          I’m sorry. Forgot no optimism is allowed in comments.
          Didn’t get my Jimmy Dore fix today

        2. Another Scott

          Don’t forget that she opposed raising the minimum wage and M4A in 2016 when she served as Clinton’s hatchetwoman against Bernie Sanders.

          She saw an opportunity to win in 2018 and took it.

  12. Pelham

    Progressives have been definitively shut out of the Democratic Party. That’s over.

    A commonly suggested alternative is a third party. But has anyone explored the idea of taking over the Republicans? It’s a smaller party, and the leadership appears to be more rust than iron at this late date. If progressives were to at long last dump their scolding and massively counterproductive idpol agenda and focus on the economic issues that afflict 90% of the population, they might find a substantial foothold already available to them in the persons of Oren Cass and a handful of other genuine conservatives who at least appear to prioritize the health of the American family over the usual free-market dogma.

    1. neo-realist

      The evangelicals have way too much voter and money influence in the GOP to be taken over by progressives. They will never accept abortion or a well funded safety net to support the “takers”, because “god helps those who help themselves.”

      1. Upwithfiat

        They will never accept abortion or a well funded safety net to support the “takers”, because “god helps those who help themselves.”

        Actually, the Bible is strongly against oppressing the poor which is precisely what government privileges for private credit creation does – since the poor are the least so-called creditworthy.

        As for abortion, a just economic system should minimize the demand for it.

  13. YuShan

    It never ceases to amaze me that every election you end up with two candidates that nobody likes and that are firmly in the pockets of monied interests. Surely in a country with 328 million inhabitants there must be a few people around who would be competent, emphatic, non-corrupt leaders?

    I understand the role that money plays in politics, but in this day and age with social media where even total nobodies can become “influencers” with millions of followers, why is it that we have no credible presidential candidates floating naturally to the surface? Somebody with good ideas who creates an independent platform should be able to get so much free publicity via social media, even when ignored by mass media and free from sponsors. In the past that would have been impossible, but now?

    Why is this? Do competent people simply don’t want the job (don’t fancy a political career and all that entails). Or are people drawn to politics naturally corrupt?

    1. Fiery Hunt

      The voters are selfish, simple, and downright incoherent.

      “They lose money on every sale but make up for it in volume. “

      1. John Wright

        The voters are asked for their “voting” opinions on party selected politicians every 2/4/6 years depending on the political office.

        The lobbyists and wealthy donors make their money leveraged “opinions” known to politicians every day of the year, if they want.

        And the US media is pushing voters to support “democracy” in a “don’t rock the boat” manner.

        Characterizing voters as “selfish, simple, and downright incoherent” is not recognizing the lack of agency for the average voter and is blaming the victim.

        1. chris

          And the fact that fewer and fewer eligible voters opt to be part of the system. How small a population of voters do you suppose it will take before people completely disregard the results of an election? Is there any mechanism to legislate a do-over clause? If the candidates collectively can’t get more than 60% of all eligible voters to vote then they’re discarded and a new slate of candidates is selected?

          1. Pookah Harvey

            That’s a great idea. The only problem is the two parties control the system, ask Nader. Without taking control of one of the parties how do you change the system?

      2. Just Saying

        It’s the reason the country never wants to teach math skills to students. Keep them stupid and have them work for the rich. Just saying.

  14. landline

    Stockholm Syndrome. Watch AOC turn into Nancy Pelosi while liberals (many wearing “Vote” face masks) gloat.

    In San Francisco, I see groups of well to do liberals march about with black lives matters masks and signs, even though there aren’t any black people in the group. Or the Byedon 2020 campaign signs. So cute and stupid.

    I wonder how many of these do-gooder types work in finance, tech/surveillance or have bought a TIC/condo once occupied by a now-evicted working class (likely minority) household. Or send their kids to $50K per year private schools.

    Oppose capitalism? Don’t vote for one of its parties. Abstain, vote for a small third non-capitalist party or try to form a new one.

  15. Skip Intro

    “Hold his feet to the fire” LOL.
    What fire?
    I believe Citibank has already selected the cabinet for President Harris. Good to see some Sternly Worded Letters though, maybe they can burn them.

    1. Waking Up

      Do people remember Wikileaks release of e-mails to John Podesta who was Obama’s transition team Chair in 2008? Citigroup executives made “lists” of the people they wanted in the top cabinet and administrative positions. What a surprise that so many people on the “list” ended up in top positions in the Obama/Biden administration! Why even pretend we have (if we ever did) a democracy anymore. Just let the “wise” executives at Citigroup openly make the decisions on top government positions. After all, they are very much bi-partisan.

      For all those who think fascism began in this country with Donald Trump, please read the following:

      The U.S. Did Not Defeat Fascism in WWII, It Discretely Internalized It

    2. ChrisPacific

      Now that Biden has all those letters he won’t need to stockpile toilet paper for the next lockdown.

  16. Louis

    Considering how wigged out progressives got about Pete Buttigieg having worked for Mckinsey, the headline should read AOC and Other Top Progressives Urge Biden—If Elected—to Deny Anyone Who Has Ever Worked in the Private Sector Top Cabinet Posts

    Fixed it for you.

  17. Alice X

    Fool me once, shame on you…

    Recall G. W. Bush for the rest.

    Of course segueing to Obama.

    What would Biden, the prototypical neo-liberal and true Republican be expected to do, but to continue the NORMAL rule of Wall Street. Et al.

    The emphasis is on NORMAL.

    Trump is normal, but crude.

    1. tim timmons

      “Wall St and the intelligence community run everything. This is all a show.” Politics are the distraction, provide the illusion of democracy.

  18. Palaver

    Stop asking people and organizations to change.

    Start asking for election reform and better choices.

  19. Sound of the Suburbs

    Why is the US going down the pan?
    I have been looking at the history of neoliberalism and this reveals the Mont Pelerin Society went round in a circle and got back to where they started.
    Western liberalism failed miserably in the 1930s and new ideas took hold, but those in favour of Western liberalism looked to bring it back in a different form.
    They were initially well aware of past failings and sought to address these problems, but as time went on, they moved further and further to the right and got back to pretty much the old form of Western liberalism, with its old problems.
    As the new Western liberalism and the old Western liberalism are basically the same, they could use 1920’s neoclassical economics to underpin it.
    Milton Freidman rehashed 1920s neoclassical economics, but didn’t fix any of its major problems.
    A close inspection reveals the US is just repeating the mistakes of the 1920s and this is why it’s going down the pan.

    Policymakers couldn’t see what Glass-Steagall did, as they thought banks were financial intermediaries.
    It separates the money creation side of banking from the investment side of banking, and stops bankers producing securities; they buy themselves with money they create out of nothing.
    (There are intermediaries involved so it’s not obvious, but this is effectively what is happening)
    The whole thing turns into a ponzi scheme and you get a 1929 or 2008 type event.

    1929 and 2008 look so similar because they are.
    At 18 mins.
    1929 and 2008 – Minsky Moments, the financial crises where debt has over whelmed the economy.
    They did save the banks this time, which avoided another Great Depression.
    They left the debt in place, which caused a balance sheet recession.

    As a CEO, I can use the company’s money to do share buybacks, to boost the share price; get my bonus and top dollar for my shares.
    What is there not to like?
    Share buybacks were found to be a cause of the 1929 crash and made illegal in the 1930s.

    What lifted US stocks to 1929 levels in 1929?
    Margin lending and share buybacks.
    What lifted US stocks to 1929 levels in 2019?
    Margin lending and share buybacks.
    A former US congressman has been looking at the data.

    “The Great Crash 1929” John Kenneth Galbraith
    “By early 1929, loans from these non-banking sources were approximately equal to those from the banks. Later they became much greater. The Federal Reserve Authorities took it for granted that they had no influence over these funds”
    He’s talking about “shadow banking”.
    They thought leverage was great before 1929; they saw what happened when it worked in reverse after 1929.
    Leverage acts like a multiplier.
    It multiplies profits on the way up.
    It multiplies losses on the way down.

    Today’s bankers seem to have learnt something from past mistakes.
    They took the multiplied profits on the way up.
    Taxpayers picked up the multiplied losses on the way down.

    Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48, observed what the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics did to the US economy in the 1920s.
    “a giant suction pump had by 1929 to 1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing proportion of currently produced wealth. This served then as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied themselves the kind of effective demand for their products which would justify reinvestment of the capital accumulation in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When the credit ran out, the game stopped”
    The problem; wealth concentrates until the system collapses.

    “The other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing.” Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48
    Your wages aren’t high enough, have a Payday loan.
    You need a house, have a sub-prime mortgage.
    You need a car, have a sub-prime auto loan.
    You need a good education, have a student loan.
    Still not getting by?
    Load up on credit cards.
    “When the credit ran out, the game stopped” Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48

    …… etc …..

    “Oh blimey, it was those three letters at the beginning that fooled us; we thought it was all brand new” Western policymakers

  20. Sound of the Suburbs

    Trump was supposed to drain the swamp.
    He immediately surrounded himself with the usual suspects, Wall Street bankers.
    Why is this such a problem?

    Banking is not just another business.
    Bank loans create the money supply. 
    Bank lending needs to be carefully managed to ensure the economy has the right money supply for the level of goods and services within it.
    Policymakers didn’t know that.
    They engaged in financial liberalisation and incentivised the bankers to maximise profit.

    Bankers make the most money when they are driving your economy towards a financial crisis.
    On a BBC documentary, comparing 1929 to 2008, it said the last time US bankers made as much money as they did before 2008 was in the 1920s.
    Bankers make the most money when they are driving your economy into a financial crisis.
    At 18 mins.
    The bankers loaded the US economy up with their debt products until they got financial crises in 1929 and 2008.
    As you head towards the financial crisis, the economy booms due to the money creation of bank loans. 
    The financial crisis appears to come out of a clear blue sky when you use an economics that doesn’t consider debt.

    The economics of globalisation has always had an Achilles’ heel.
    The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn’t look at debt, neoclassical economics.
    Not considering private debt is the Achilles’ heel of neoclassical economics.

    1. Sound of the Suburbs

      Banks – What is the idea?
      The idea is that banks lend into business and industry to increase the productive capacity of the economy.
      Business and industry don’t have to wait until they have the money to expand. They can borrow the money and use it to expand today, and then pay that money back in the future.
      The economy can then grow more rapidly than it would without banks.
      Debt grows with GDP and there are no problems.
      The banks create money and use it to create real wealth.

      The UK used to be the great financial superpower and it looks as though we understood this in the past.
      What happened in 1979?
      The UK eliminated corset controls on banking in 1979, the banks invaded the mortgage market and this is where the problem starts.
      The transfer of existing assets, like real estate, doesn’t add to GDP, so debt rises faster than GDP until you get a financial crisis.

      Before 1980 – banks lending into the right places that result in GDP growth (business and industry, creating new products and services in the economy)
      Debt grows with GDP
      Bankers don’t make much money

      After 1980 – banks lending into the wrong places that don’t result in GDP growth (real estate and financial speculation)
      Debt rises faster than GDP
      Bankers make lots of money

      2008 – Minsky Moment, the financial crisis where debt has over whelmed the economy

      After 2008 – Balance sheet recession and the economy struggles as debt repayments to banks destroy money. We are making the repayments on the debt we built up from 1980 – 2008.
      Japan has been like this since 1991.

      This was the secret of the Asian Tiger economies before they discovered financial liberalisation and had the Asian Crisis.
      Their central banks used credit/window guidance to direct bank credit for product purposes and away from financial speculation.
      The dusty and forgotten tool, lurking at the bottom of every central banker’s toolbox, which they can use to create financial stability.

  21. .Tom

    “The letter is a reminder of the stark differences between the progressive and the corporate wings of the Democratic Party”


  22. HippoDave

    The first tell will actually be (if Biden wins and Dems keep the House) whether so-called “top progressives” will allow Pelosi to “promise to step down in 2022”; or whether they will declare her response to the CV, and general awfulness so bad that no—maybe they won’t vote for her even in 2020.

    This is what “top progressives” bought for their cowing, recently, after agreeing to endorse her:

    “The green dream or whatever they call it,” she said, “nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?” She said this in the year 2019. Viciously.

    Keep an eye on Pelosi’s ascent to her position again. That’ll be the first sign of just who in the Democratic Party is serious about change, vs. who is go along to get along and screw the other 7 billion humans.

    Every single progressive, if Biden wins, should assail Pelosi for months. Biden or Harris isn’t even the biggest obstacle to progressive policies if they win. It’s Pelosi. Who will almost instantly do “pay-go” again. Corporations got their $4 trillion. But if Biden wins, the rest will have to tighten belts.

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