Elizabeth Warren outlines the fight ahead for Progressives at Netroots Nation 2014

One of my favorite people in the whole world, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, dropped by the Netroots Nation conference yesterday in Detroit to talk about banking reform, the threat of oligarchy, the fight to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and those things that she feels that we, as Progressives, are ready to fight for. My video is below, but here’s a bit of the transcript.

…We can’t win what we won’t fight for, and it will be a hard fight. Today, many powerful companies look for any way they can to boost their profits and their CEO bonuses. They try to run more efficient companies. They try to grow faster. They try to beat out the competition. But many of them have another plan. They use their money and their connections to try to capture Washington, and rig the rules in their favor. From tax policy to retirement security, those with power fight to make sure that every rule tilts in their favor. Everyone else just gets left behind. That’s what we’re up against. That’s what democracy is up against.

Just look at the big banks. They cheated American families, crashed the economy, got bailed out, and now the biggest banks are even bigger that they were when they were too big to fail in 2008. They still swagger through Washington, blocking reforms and pushing around agencies… A kid get caught with a few ounces of pot and goes to jail, but a big bank launders drug money and no one gets arrested… The game is rigged! It is rigged!

But it isn’t just the big banks. Look at the choices that the federal government makes right now. Our college kids are getting crushed by student loan debt. We need to rebuild our roads and bridges, up rage our power grid. We need to more investment in medical research and scientific research. But, instead of building a future, this country is bleeding billions of dollars from tax loopholes and subsidies that go to rich and powerful corporations.Billion dollar companies take advantage of every benefit they can squeeze out of the American government, and then they put together sleazy deals with foreign countries so that the can renounce their American citizenship and pay no taxes… Billionaires pay taxes at lower rates than their secretaries.

How does this happen? It happens because they all have lobbyists… lobbyists and Republican friends in Congress… lobbyists and Republicans to protect every loophole and every privilege. The game is rigged, and it isn’t right. It is not right.

Take a look at what happens with trade deals. For big corporations, trade negotiations are like Christmas morning. They can get special gifts through trade negotiations that they could never get through (through other means). How does that happen? Because trade negotiations are held in secret so that big corporations can do their work behind closed doors. Giant corporations get insider access to promote their interests while worker rights and environmental regulations are just gutted. From what I hear, Wall Street companies, pharmaceuticals, telecoms, big polluters, and outsourcers are all smacking their lips at the possibility of rigging the upcoming trade negotiations.

Now stop and ask yourselves, “Why are trade deals secret?” I’ve actually heard supporter say, “They have to be secret, because, if people knew what was going on, they would be opposed.” It’s true. Well, my view is, if people would be opposed, then we shouldn’t have those trade deals.

The tilt in the playing field is everywhere. When the conservatives talk about opportunity, they mean the opportunity for the rich to get richer and the powerful to get more powerful. They don’t mean opportunities for a young person with $100,000 in student loan debt to try to build a future. They don’t mean opportunities for someone out of work to get back on their feet. They don’t mean opportunities for someone who worked hard all of her life to retire with dignity… The game is rigged…

So, the way I see it is this. We could whine about it. We could whimper about it. Or we can fight back… I’m fighting back.

This is a fight over economics. A fight over privilege. But, deep down, it is a fight over values. Conservatives and their powerful friends will continue to be guided by their internal motto, “I got mine, the rest of you are you’re on your own.” Well, we’re guided by principle. And it’s a pretty simple idea. We do better when we work together, and invest in building a future.

We know that this economy grown when hard-working families have the opportunity to improve their lives. We know that this country gets stronger when we invest in helping people succeed. We know that our lives improve when we care for our neighbors and we help build a future not just for some of our kids, but for all of our kids. That’s what we believe! These are Progressive ideas. These are Progressive values. These are America’s values. And these are the values that we are willing to fight for…

(As progressives) we believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it! We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect the earth, and we will fight for it! We believe that the internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and we should have real net neutrality, and we will fight for it! We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage, and we are willing to fight for it! We believe that students are entitled to get an education without begin crushed by debt, and we are willing to fight for it! We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting social security, medicare and pensions, and we will fight for it! And… I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014… We believe in equal pay for equal work, and we are willing to fight for it! We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America, and we will fight for it! We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and we will fight for it! And we believe that corporation are not people (unintelligible), and we will fight for it!

I know that she’s said that she wouldn’t run, but I think that sounds like a pretty good Presidential platform right there… What do you think?

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  1. Ypsiosaurus Rex
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting Mark. We can only hope she’ll decide to run. She seems like the only person who speaks the truth and is willing to act on it. I offer up my best secular prayers the she will be our first female president.

  2. Daniel Gray
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Maybe someone should have asked Warren why she didnt answer these two questions? When she was asked she ended the interview and walked away. She could not answer these questions because it would be the death of the Progressive party. Here are the questions

    Ok Warren, explain how you are going to protect social security when it is not a right. You read correctly, in a 9-0 decision by a democrat/progressive US Supreme Court, we were give the Helvering v Davis decision. In which the Supreme Court stated that the Social Security tax is nothing more then a tax like the income tax and is to be paid into the US treasury and to be used for whatever Congress decides. Now since the House has been in Democrat control for all but maybe 10 years since 1900, care to guess who has been stealing the same money they claim now they want to protect? The ONLY way to overturn this decision is by a 2/3rds majority of the US Congress. But you cant do that because IF you did you would find that the deficit under the Liberal/Democrat/Progressive Presidents is well over 25 to 40 Trillion dollars and that would stop ANY Left wing/liberal/Progressive/Democrat from EVER being elected again to any state or federal office.

    Oh and one more thing Warren, if this ever gets out in the public, your party is dead both technically and politically. What is it? Oh nothing more then another liberal US Supreme Court decision that gave us the case of Arthur Sherwood Flemming, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare v. Ephram Nestor 363 U.S. 603 (more) 80 S. Ct. 1367; 4 L. Ed. 2d 1435; 1960 U.S. LEXIS 917 which says, and I quote:
    “There has been a temptation throughout the program’s history for some people to suppose that their FICA payroll taxes entitle them to a benefit in a legal, contractual sense. That is to say, if a person makes FICA contributions over a number of years, Congress cannot, according to this reasoning, change the rules in such a way that deprives a contributor of a promised future benefit. Under this reasoning, benefits under Social Security could probably only be increased, never decreased, if the Act could be amended at all. Congress clearly had no such limitation in mind when crafting the law. Section 1104 of the 1935 Act, entitled “RESERVATION OF POWER,” specifically said: “The right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision of this Act is hereby reserved to the Congress.” Even so, some have thought that this reservation was in some way unconstitutional. This is the issue finally settled by Flemming v. Nestor.

    In this 1960 Supreme Court decision Nestor’s denial of benefits was upheld even though he had contributed to the program for 19 years and was already receiving benefits. Under a 1954 law, Social Security benefits were denied to persons deported for, among other things, having been a member of the Communist party. Accordingly, Mr. Nestor’s benefits were terminated. He appealed the termination arguing, among other claims, that promised Social Security benefits were a contract and that Congress could not renege on that contract. In its ruling, the Court rejected this argument and established the principle that entitlement to Social Security benefits is not contractual right.”

    Did you get that Warren? The Supreme Court that was packed with you progressives, clearly stated that you have NO contractual, and no right to ANY social security and that Congress can stop it any time they want to. Cut you off without a dime or reduce it to whatever they want it to be.

    So tell us Warren, exactly HOW are you going to protect what you CANT protect?

  3. Eel
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Word is that Bernie Sanders is running because she said she wouldn’t. He knows he won’t win but feels as though someone needs to express the non-corporatist view during the debates. I can’t see Warren giving in to pressure but my hunch is that she’d be running if Hillary wasn’t.

  4. Vince Foster's ghost
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Warren probably just values her life and doesn’t want to go up against Hillary. We was what LBJ was willing to do to get behind the big desk, and you know Hillery is seven times as ruthless.

  5. Demetrius
    Posted July 21, 2014 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Too bad Warren has decided (or been convinced) not to run. Right now, she and Bernie are just about the only two Washington politicians who have substantial power — and are also saying many things that desperately need to be said about our economy, society, democracy.

    If nothing else, I’d like to see Warren run in order to challenge Hillary Clinton from the left and to prevent her from breezing into the 2o16 Democratic presidential nomination based mostly on name recognition, and support from the party establishment and big donors.

  6. anonymous
    Posted July 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Hillary has got to be driven crazy by the fact that almost no one is enthusiastic about her run. People will vote for her, but not enthusiastically, and she knows it. Warren is the woman we all want to be our president.

  7. K2
    Posted July 22, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I don’t read the papers very often but I can’t recall a single instance of her weighing in on a foreign affairs issue.

  8. kjc
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    She has come out in support of Israel’s attack on gaza.

  9. Grumpy
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Pretty disappointing that she isn’t offering anything other than the same old bullshit re: Gaza

  10. maryd
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Warren is the woman I want to remain in the senate. No one can do much without that.

  11. kjc
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    EW’s latest tweet is about her support for level playing fields. Not in Gaza of course.

  12. Meta
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    “Elizabeth Warren could end the presidential speculation today. She has chosen not to.”

    From the Washington Post:

    In a new interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), ABC’s Jeff Zeleny does something a journalist should have done a long time ago: press her on her use of verb tense.

    Noting Warren’s stock response to whether she will run for president is “I am not running,” Zeleny makes the completely valid point that such a statement is quite a bit less than Shermanesque.

    Here’s the exchange:

    ZELENY: You’ve said ‘I am not running.’ Is that still your answer today?

    WARREN: I am not running.

    ZELENY: I noticed it’s in the present tense, though. ‘I am not running.’

    WARREN: I’m not running.

    ZELENY: Does that mean you’ve ruled out running, or all you’ll say is, ‘I am not running’?

    WARREN: I am not running for president.

    These are the 434th, 435th and 436th times (rough estimates) Warren has uttered some variation of this sentence. One thing she has not yet said: “I will not run for president.”

    And there’s a reason for that.

    Warren is, essentially, having her cake and eating it too. She’s telling people she’s “not running,” and that’s undeniably a true statement. But if she ever decided to run, nobody could accuse her of being a liar. After all, she was speaking in the present tense. And as of right now, she’s not running.

    Read more:

  13. Meta
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    From Real Clear Politics:

    Warren recently traveled to Kentucky and West Virginia to appear on behalf of Senate candidates Alison Lundergan Grimes and Natalie Tennant and was greeted warmly by supporters who live hundreds of miles from the nearest Ivy League faculty lounge.

    Indeed, not since Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign has the grassroots left been so enamored of a national politician.

    While Vice President Biden — another potential 2016 contender — also spoke at Netroots, there was no doubt as to who was the event’s real star.

    “It’s kind of shocking just how much buzz is around Elizabeth Warren,” said Adam Green, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee — a group that bills itself as being centered in “the Elizabeth Warren wing” of the Democratic Party. “There’s a rising economic populist tide in America, and due to her lifetime of work fighting for the little guy against Wall Street and big corporations, Elizabeth Warren is the personification of that.”

    Just last week, a group of progressive activists launched Ready for Warren — a presidential draft movement designed to stand against the already well-established pro-Clinton group Ready for Hillary.

    If she were to run, Warren would enter the race with an even lighter resume as an elected official than Obama had when he battled accusations of inexperience during his 2008 bid for the White House.

    But Erin O’Brien, a political science professor at UMass-Boston, said that Warren’s background as a consumer advocate is a core element of her attractiveness to many progressives.

    “Those quick YouTube hits of her taking it to the banking industry have a feel-good appeal,” O’Brien said. “It’s important to remember that progressives abandoned Hillary for Obama, so I think there’s a certain distrust — that [Clinton] is just a mainline Democrat, no more, no less. So finally they have a mouthpiece who’s articulate and who’s been able to have real policy influence in Washington. And she hasn’t gone center; she’s gone left and stuck with it.”

    Despite her currently unmatched connection with the activist left, Warren’s appeal among the Democratic electorate at large remains miniscule compared with Clinton’s. In the latest RealClearPolitics average of national polls for the 2016 Democratic nomination, Warren sits at 7 percent — almost 60 points behind Clinton (65 percent), and the Massachusetts senator doesn’t fare much better in Iowa or New Hampshire.

    By just about every measure, Clinton is in an even stronger position to become the nominee than she was at this time eight years ago. A Des Moines Register poll in June of 2006, for instance, not only showed Clinton to be vulnerable — it had her trailing John Edwards in a hypothetical 2008 Iowa caucuses matchup.

    Read more:

  14. Kat
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    In case you didn’t see it, a drunk Sarah Palin posted a response to this speech by Warren.


  15. Meta
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    There’s is a great piece about Warren in the Washington Post today.

    In her book released this year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren recounted a dinner she had with President Obama’s chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, in April 2009, when Warren was the outspoken chairman of a congressionally appointed panel probing the government’s response to the financial crisis.

    “Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. … He teed it up this way: I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule. They don’t criticize other insiders.

    I had been warned.”

    Warren ignored the warning.

    And if the past few weeks are any indication, she can operate as an insider without giving her up outsider credentials. She’s remained outspoken, but has become even more influential. She hasn’t stopped throwing bombs at the rich and powerful — and causing trouble for the White House — but she’s won a spot in Senate leadership, changed the shape of congressional debates over financial regulation and continued to draw widespread attention as a potential presidential candidate.

    It all helps to explain why – for the 300 former Obama campaign officials who last week urged her to run in 2016 – she is the one they’ve been waiting for.

    “Rising income inequality is the challenge of our times, and we want someone who will stand up for working families and take on the Wall Street banks and special interests that took down our economy,” they wrote.

    Over the past week, Warren galvanized liberals across Capitol Hill against a government spending bill that weakened a key provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that tightened oversight of Wall Street.

    The Senate may have passed the legislation late Saturday, but it was not before Warren and other liberals asserted their power in a confrontation with the White House, joining with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to oppose the legislation.

    Warren is also in an unusually public battle with the White House and Treasury Department over Antonio Weiss, an investment banker who has been tapped for a key Treasury position. White House officials say Weiss is deeply sympathetic to Democratic views and is the right man for the job. But Warren has won over several colleagues in trying to block the nomination, saying the administration is too cozy with Wall Street.

    It’s a topic she reprised in a speech Friday evening after losing the battle over the spending bill, in which see singled out mega-bank Citigroup as an example of a bank with too much power.

    “Enough is enough with Wall Street insiders getting key position after key position and the kind of cronyism we have seen in the executive branch,” she said. “Enough is enough with Citigroup passing 11th-hour deregulatory provisions that nobody takes ownership over but that everybody comes to regret. Enough is enough.”

    Read more:

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