Elizabeth Warren: Trump v ‘Equal Justice Under Law’

This is an important half-hour speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“Donald Trump chose racism as his weapon, but his aim is exactly the same as the rest of the Republicans: pound the courts into submission for the rich and the powerful.”–Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren Remarks at American Constitution Society Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren harshly criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his comments against U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel who’s overseeing a lawsuit against the now defunct Trump University. Warren called the real estate mogul a “thin-skinned, racist bully” and a “wannabe tyrant” who should never be president of the United States.

She lays out a Republican attack on the U.S. judiciary system, reminding that judges cannot publicly defend themselves against attack. So the rest of us must defend them. She gave these comments at the annual national convention of the American Constitution Society in Washington, D.C. The ACS is a progressive legal organization formed in 2001 in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on the Gore-Bush election.

(FYI: She got a standing O.)

For the full video, go to CSPAN.

On Black Lives Matter, Warren Says What Others Won’t

This is the most powerful analysis by a politician of the Black Lives Matter movement that I’ve seen. Thank you, Elizabeth Warren.

Elizabeth Warren says:

Fifty years later, violence against African Americans has not disappeared. Consider law enforcement. The vast majority of police officers sign up so they can protect their communities. They are part of an honorable profession that takes risks every day to keep us safe. We know that. But we also know — and say — the names of those whose lives have been treated with callous indifference. Sandra Bland. Freddie Gray. Michael Brown. We’ve seen sickening videos of unarmed black Americans cut down by bullets, choked to death while gasping for air — their lives ended by those who are sworn to protect them. Peaceful, unarmed protestors have been beaten. Journalists have been jailed. And, in some cities, white vigilantes with weapons freely walk the streets. And it’s not just about law enforcement either. Just look to the terrorism this summer at Emanuel AME Church. We must be honest: Fifty years after John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out, violence against African Americans has not disappeared. And what about voting rights? Two years ago, five conservative justices on the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, opening the floodgates ever wider for measures designed to suppress minority voting. Today, the specific tools of oppression have changed — voter ID laws, racial gerrymandering, and mass disfranchisement through a criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates black citizens. The tools have changed, but black voters are still deliberately cut out of the political process.

Read the whole transcript here.

Video: Lakota Sings Defeat of KXL Senate Vote

From Liz Schmitt, Creation Care organizer at Sojourners:

Just in case you missed the news, last night Mary Landrieu’s bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline came up one vote short of passing. For me, this was a joyous end to an eventful day. My day included meetings with new partners on fossil fuel divestment, then a meeting with other faith leaders at the EPA where we hand delivered Sojourners’ 3500 comments on the Clean Power Plan to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and discussed carbon regulations, [environmental justice] considerations, and an upcoming methane rule in a very candid conversation with her. And then at 6 in the evening, the Senate rejected the pipeline.

Right after Senator Warren announced the vote results, one of our friends from the Rosebud Sioux nation (which lies in the pipeline’s proposed path) broke out into Dakota/Lakota song from the Senate gallery. My sentiments exactly.

The fight continues, because Mitch McConnell took the floor a few minutes after to assure everyone that Keystone will be one of the first bills introduced in the next Congress. But for now, the pipeline is shelved again.–Liz Schmitt

greg_grey_cloud_keystone_xl_vote_arrestTHIS JUST IN: Greg Gray Cloud, cofounder of Wica Agli, member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and a prominent anti-Keystone activist. confirms, “yes that was me who sang the honor song in the [senate] gallery.” Thank you, Greg! Read more here.

The Osawatomie Speech: Obama and Roosevelt

President Obama is slowly swinging back toward his base as he moves toward a reelection campaign. Yesterday, he gave an important and revealing speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. Building on Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism language from Roosevelt’s 1910 Osawatomie speech, Obama lays the framework for reprising his platform of populist economics.

But Obama is not yet Roosevelt. “We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have gained without doing damage to the community,” Roosevelt said in his speech. “We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community.” For Obama to get to that level, he needs to ask Elizabeth Warren to write his speeches and run as his 2012 vice presidential candidate.

Here are some highlights from Obama’s speech this week:

… Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes – especially for the wealthy – our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the 50s and 60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory. …

We simply cannot return to this brand of “you’re on your own” economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country. We know that it doesn’t result in a strong economy. It results in an economy that invests too little in its people and in its future. We know it doesn’t result in a prosperity that trickles down. It results in a prosperity that’s enjoyed by fewer and fewer of our citisens.
Continue reading “The Osawatomie Speech: Obama and Roosevelt”

Elizabeth Warren Rap: Who’s Got the Back of the Sheriff of Wall Street?

I love Elizabeth Warren. She’s “kick-butt.” As special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she’s been hailed as one of the “new Sheriffs of Wall Street.”

In a recent conference call hosted by Sojourners, “Sheriff Warren” said of predatory bankers: “Just because we’re not perfect human beings doesn’t give anyone the right to cheat us.” (Imagine it in Clint Eastwood’s voice.) In my opinion, Warren is taking up the cause of the prophet Isaiah, when he said: “The scoundrel’s methods are wicked, he makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just” (Isaiah 32:7). Warren is determined to clean up the scoundrels in the financial industry who eat the poor for breakfast.

A group called the Main Street Brigade (MSB) released a Western-themed rap video calling for Elizabeth Warren to be chosen as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – not “interim” or temporary, as she is currently.

The video features Los Angeles comedian Ryan Anthony Lumas rapping about how the country needs Warren to protect people from banks (“Sheriff Warren is what we need, ya’ll.”) Warren’s picture appears in the video only on the cover of Time magazine, and Lumas makes a reference to Oklahoma, where Warren grew up. MSB describes itself as “a rapid response team, nationwide, that can be activated to protect our communities” from “devastation” by the banking industry.

Also this week, Ralph Nader released anOpen Letter to President Obama calling Obama to account for welcoming with open arms General Electric’s CEO while burying Elizabeth Warren as far back as he can get her. When she spoke on the Sojourners call, she was sitting at a bench in the Rayburn Building because she doesn’t really have an office and the Republican-controlled House is working hard to defund what little budget she had. Here’s an excerpt from Nader’s letter:

An interesting contrast is playing out at the White House these days—between your expressed praise of General Electric’s CEO, Jeffrey R. Immelt and the silence regarding the widely desired nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Regulatory Bureau within the Federal Reserve.

On one hand, you promptly appointed Mr. Immelt to be the chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitive, while letting him keep his full time lucrative position as CEO of General Electric (The Corporate State Expands). At the announcement, you said that Mr. Immelt “understands what it takes for America to compete in the global economy.” …

Compare, if you will, the record of Elizabeth Warren and her acutely informed knowledge about delivering justice to those innocents harmed by injustice in the financial services industry. A stand-up Law Professor at your alma mater, author of highly regarded articles and books connecting knowledge to action, the probing Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) and now in the Treasury Department working intensively to get the CFRB underway by the statutory deadline this July with competent, people-oriented staff.

Read Sojourners interview with Elizabeth Warren.