By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 15, 2016
The corrupt and collapsing two-party political system in the U.S. is coming under renewed attack by the young generation. Trump Tower in New York City, where Republican President-elect Donald Trump is holed up, has become a veritable police fortress at street level with much of the sidewalk area barricaded from pedestrian traffic. Progressive protesters have been regularly massing outside of the building since Trump’s win in the presidential election on November 8. Many of their posters read: “Not My President.”
But yesterday, young progressive protesters targeted the Capitol Hill office of a sitting Democratic Senator, Chuck Schumer of New York. As two of his clerks attempted to look unruffled and busied themselves behind their computers, about two dozen young people marched into Schumer’s office singing this song: “We are standing for our future, we are hearing what is wrong, we are standing for our future, and together we are strong.” Members of the group then delivered a series of passionate speeches providing details on what they see as corrupt within the Democratic Party. Chuck Schumer, with his obscene levels of campaign financing coming directly from Wall Street, made the top of the list. The protesters delivered a message to Schumer’s office, since he failed to appear in person, to step aside as the potential heir to the Senate Minority Leader slot and let Senator Bernie Sanders take the helm.
A number of the speakers blamed Schumer, as the titular Senate head of what they called the Wall Street Democrats, for the loss to Trump in the election because his defection to Wall Street overlords had sent the message to the working class that they could not trust the Democratic Washington establishment.
The grassroots group behind the protest, All of Us, is asking others to sign their petition to oust Schumer from consideration to lead the Senate Democrats. Their rationale reads:
“Donald Trump won by channeling anti-establishment anger and worry about long-term economic decline, and pointing the blame at people of color and immigrants. He sold his supporters a racist lie, and gave them an outlet for their rage at a broken system. The only way to stop his disastrous policies now, and beat the Republicans in 2018 and 2020, is through a vision of our own that acknowledges that the system is broken and places the blame where it belongs—with Wall Street, the big corporations, and a political establishment that is beholden to them.
“Insisting that trickle-down economics and corporate friendly policies are working is what lost Hillary Clinton the presidency—and that’s why we can’t let Wall Street Democrats like Chuck Schumer lead the party any longer. Schumer, as one of the U.S. Senators who has received the most contributions from Wall Street, exemplifies the establishment that voters across the political spectrum have rejected.”
Rather than sitting down and hearing personally from the protesters, Schumer’s office called in the Capitol Police and 17 of the protesters were handcuffed and arrested.
One of the speakers during the protest, identified as Nick Martin, said he had worked on the Sanders primary campaign as a field organizer in Kansas and Utah and in his home county of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Martin said rural counties, like Lancaster, “went for Bernie in the primaries because we were fed up with the status quo, we’re ready for change, and the establishment Democrats didn’t seem to notice or care about us.” Martin went on to say that the establishment Democrats “wrote off white working class voters as the past. They got in bed with big business and they sold out the people. Now look who’s president – a racist, sexist demagogue who’s a threat to our democracy…”
Saying he feared for “the future of my entire generation,” Martin added that “Wall Street Democrats must step aside or face what’s coming for them.” (Watch and listen to Martin’s full speech in video clip below.)
The arrogance of Schumer toward the working class was captured in an interview published by the National Review on July 28, 2016. Schumer was quoted as follows:
“The number one factor in whether we retake the Senate is whether Hillary Clinton does well, and I think she’s going to do really well…For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”
In a stunning and embarrassing defeat, Clinton lost to Trump in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. The executive branch, the Senate and the House of Representatives will be controlled by Republicans when Trump takes office on January 20 of next year.
Schumer has a long history of not only taking Wall Street’s campaign money but functioning as their water boy in the Senate. In 2013, Schumer led an assault on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Schumer advocated against the CFTC imposing cross-border rules that would prevent the mega banks on Wall Street, like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, from being able to move their derivative trades to London or another foreign venue to sidestep tougher rules in the U.S. Schumer’s actions came just a year after JPMorgan had used insured deposits at its commercial bank to gamble in exotic derivatives in London and lose $6.2 billion.
Schumer’s willful see-no-evil blinders toward Wall Street was memorialized in a November 1, 2006 OpEd he wrote with Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the Wall Street Journal. The opinion piece came just one year before Wall Street would begin imploding from its toxic brew of deregulation by Congress, rigged accounting, off balance sheet toxic assets and Democratic cronies in Washington on their speed dial. Two years after the opinion piece, Wall Street was in tatters, experiencing the worst collapse since the Great Depression and the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history.
At the time of their writing, Schumer and Bloomberg were fixated on keeping Wall Street competitive with foreign banks. Two of the biggest problems identified by the duo in their Wall Street Journal opinion piece were “overregulation” and “frivolous litigation.” They wrote that “our regulatory bodies are often competing to be the toughest cop on the street,” while “the British regulatory body seems to be more collaborative and solutions-oriented.”
In reality, the public would soon learn that those “tough cops” had ignored the creative accounting at Lehman Brothers and Citigroup until both firms blew up; had allowed the giant insurer, AIG, to effectively become Wall Street’s bitch by guaranteeing tens of billions of dollars of its credit derivatives; and had enabled insured bank deposits to be imperiled across Wall Street by repeal of the safety wall known as the Glass-Steagall Act.
Schumer and Bloomberg were so embedded in the fairytale mindset of Wall Street that they did not see even a flicker of mushrooming cronyism and corruption about to implode century old financial institutions but rather a “worrisome trend of corporate leaders focusing inordinate time on compliance minutiae rather than innovative strategies for growth, for fear of facing personal financial penalties from overzealous regulators.”
Schumer has about as much claim to lead the Senate Democrats as Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, has to lead the full Democratic Party. Brazile has been disgraced by WikiLeaks emails showing that she leaked CNN debate questions to Hillary Clinton in advance of the primary debates. Brazile was functioning as Vice Chair of the DNC and a CNN contributor at the time. In a Democratic Party with a shred of integrity, she would have been immediately sacked from affiliation with the DNC after the WikiLeaks emails were authenticated. The current web site of the DNC, as of this morning, shows Brazile still listed as the Interim Chair.