Tag Archives: Financial Reform

Coffee Party Takes a Strong Step Forward

This morning the Coffee Party announced that it will be focusing its attention on financial reform and campaign reform, and is polling members to determine the specific legislation it will focus its efforts on.   For those who have been observing the Coffee Party with cautious optimism, this is great news, and a tremendous step forward for the nascent organization.

Financial reform and campaign finance reform are not sexy issues, but they are both critical issues America needs to confront now.  They are also not easy topics to grapple with.  I know this from having studied the issues closely on behalf of the Coffee Party research team.  The Coffee Party deserves credit for engaging two complicated issues that matter rather than  more superficial issues that lend themselves to easier messaging.

The Bull Moose Movement stands for the improving the civic education of Americans so that they can make the right choices at the ballot box and be engaged enough to pressure their elected officials between elections.  The Coffee Party has demonstrated the potential to play a similar role, but we have all been waiting to see how their online sign-ups and coffee house meetings will translate into meaningful engagement and action.

By choosing these issues, the Coffee Party is demonstrating a willingness to tackle important, substantive issues.  This is a relief, as I, and many others were unconvinced of their initial goal, which was to ‘foster a more civil dialogue.’  We wondered what the dialogue would actually be about, and the answer, reassuringly, is a discussion of two major policies.

The selection of campaign finance reform and financial reform also demonstrate the Coffee Party’s astute dedication to big-tent political issues.  Both of these issues should be bi-partisan/non-partisan, and Republican opposition in Washington to both is astonishingly out of touch with independents and moderates.   Never in recent memory has Republican hypocrisy been more flagrant than on the issue of financial reform.  Even as Republicans slam the bailout initiated by George Bush that many of them voted for, and label Obama the Wall Street President, they shake down Wall Street for campaign handouts in return for their continued opposition to reform.

It still remains to be seen what exactly the Coffee Party will do to follow up discussions about these reforms.  I suppose 100,000 people calling their Congressional representatives would send a strong message, but more effort than that went into stopping the Iraq War and fighting for the public option. Most elected officials are obstinate people who read their campaign treasurer’s reports before they ask how their constituents are doing.

My hope is that the Coffee Party will  embrace the promotion of civic education that we are pushing for at the Bull Moose Movement.  Really get into neighborhoods and talk to neighbors, small businesses and local media about why all of this matters.  The Bull Moose Movement’s goals are extremely long-term, as civic education on the larger issue of corporate influence can’t happen overnight, or in one election cycle.  That is why we do not really lobby for specific bills, which are often heavily watered down by the time the ‘debate’ starts (see: Senate financial reform bill).   That said, the Coffee Party is strong in numbers, and could perhaps provide the last bit of momentum needed to push this weak sauce financial reform bill through.  As for campaign finance reform, 100,000 phone calls won’t be enough to get the changes we need, but it’s not a bad start.

Today’s Stories of Interest

The truth is out- Sean Hannity’s “Freedom Concerts” are a scam that
takes allows him and his family luxury travel and provides injured
soldiers almost nothing. Why is this not surprising at all? http://www.debbieschlussel.com/6938/sean-hannitys-freedom-concert-scam-only-7-of-charitys-money-went-to-injured-troops-kids-of-fallen-troops-g5s-g6s-for-vannity/

Dodd’s new not-so-independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency : http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/541394/dodd_s_not_independent_consumer_watchdog

47,000 new reasons to pass the health care bill! http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/health/policy/19arizona.html?ref=us

Greenspan admits he did “very little” to prevent the banking crisis, but claims it wasn’t his fault: http://www.propublica.org/ion/blog/item/greenspan-financial-crisis-not-my-fault

Civilian contractors wounded on injured in Iraq, now in financial ruins, take on AIG: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/back-iraq-injured-war-zone-workers-fight-insurance/story?id=10125056

Today’s Stories of Interest

After the dust settles, ACORN is cleared of all charges. Their community organizing work will be tougher, however, after major cuts in public funding and private donations following the “scandal.”   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/08-12

“We saved the economy, but we kind of lost the public doing it.” -Simon Johnsonhttp://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/3/9/844311/-Simon-Johnsons-Most-Powerful-Words-Since-The-Quiet-Coup

Regardless of how you feel about Iran sanctions, it seems that a number of corporations are flouting U.S law by doing business with Iran, and still winning federal contracts. Next time you hear that “sanctions aren’t working,” ask how of it has to do with corporations not respecting them: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/0…

Today’s Stories of Interest

Michael Wilson discusses a potentially terrible byproduct of the Citizens United decision- will it allow employers to put more political pressure on their employees? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-j-wilson/businesses-can-now-legall_b_480028.html

Reposting a Joseph Stiglitz interview on why proposed banking reform is completely inadequate. This is a long, substantive interview with the Nobel prize-winning economist who has been a booming voice for reform, and this interview should be reread till it’s seared into your brain: http://www.alternet.org/story/145773/joseph_stiglitz%3A_bankers_made_reckless_bets_on_the_economy%2C_kn…owing_taxpayers_were_going_to_pick_up_the_tab/?page=entire

Sebastian Jones wonders why it’s so hard for media outlets to make “commentators” and “analysts” to disclose their corporate ties when they arebeing interviewed: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100301/jones.  Jones’ interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman is here: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100308/jones_video