Warren’s Insidery Tell-All

Such an ingrate, this Elizabeth Warren. She’s plucked out of academic obscurity for a life in Washington policy making and what did she do? She dared to what she thought was right, what she thought she was brought here to do.

That’s just not done, as the now Sen. Warren was told, according to her new book, A Fighting Chance.

A fierce consumer advocate supposedly brought in for that reputation, Warren soon learned that she was not supposed to aggravate the powerful – not an easy thing to avoid doing, for a real consumer advocate who isn’t there to assure consumers something is being done — that isn’t.

Larry Summers, then National Economic Council boss, laid down the rules for Warren.

He teed it up this way: I had a choice,” Warren writes. “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.”

There’s not much difference in how those rules apply to the Washington news media. Want scoops? Be good to the insiders. Piss off the insiders and you’re lucky to even get a press credential. Access journalism is all about serving insiders and getting dirt on their opponents (unless, of course, they are insiders you’re also protecting) or, waiting for the green light to attack one of their own who fell out of the club.

Warren seems most disappointed that Obama himself wasn’t on board for taking on the Wall Street bad guys she wanted to slice into chunks and feed to starving pigs.

After coming up with the idea for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, audaciously intended to keep banks from bilking their own customers, Warren was the presumed choice to head it. Obama had told her so.

But then the President told Warren she made Senate Republicans and Wall Street “very nervous,” urging her instead to take on advisory role. As it turned out, a White House aide said that meant merely to serve as a “cheerleader.”

If an agency charged with stopping banks that wreck lives for profit isn’t supposed to make anyone “nervous,” then it sounds like that agency should just close up shop and hand over their printers and paper weights to bureaucrats who cheerfully don’t do what we think they’re supposed to do. That way we get back to how Washington works, and the insiders can rest easy.

Obama summed it up for her, Warren writes. And he did it with words I find telling about his Goldilocks presidency, always trying to find just the right temperature and stay one step ahead of the bears.

“You’re jamming me, Elizabeth,” Obama told her, and she writes that he “urged me not to overplay my hand.”

“Trust me,” Obama said.

Heavenly Bloomberg

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’s got a free pass to heaven thanks to his work protecting city dwellers from themselves.

I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.” – Bloomberg (New York Times)

Curbing obesity, smoking, salt and sugar did the trick, he thinks. But just in case he needs a few more credentials Bloomberg is putting up $50 million to build a grassroots organization for stronger gun laws, such as expanding background checks for gun buyers at state and national levels.

Even the persistent Bloomberg has given up on getting Congress to pass an assault weapons ban. They probably have those in heaven too, or maybe the NRA can’t get in.

First video by Bloomberg’s new group, Every Town for Gun Safety.

Free Guns for Voters
On the other side of the issue we have politicians giving away guns in their campaigns. Mother Jones lists several — a few examples:

  • Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), 2014: The US Senate candidate gave away a Colt AR-15 and a Colt Marine Corps 1911 Rail Pistol to two members of his email list.
  • South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright, 2014: Bright, who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), is handing out an AR-15 from Palmetto State armory to a member of his email list.
  • Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr, 2014: Sen. Lamar Alexander’s tea party challenger enticed voters to sign up for his email list by gifting a Beretta 92A1.
  • Steve Wagner, 2014: The Hendricks County, Indiana, sheriff candidate is raffling off four shotguns.
  • Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), 2014: The former presidential candidate and current Colorado gubernatorial contender is teaming up with Ted Nugent—who once told his rivals to “suck on my machine gun”—to hand out an AR-15 to one supporter (no donations necessary).

Chart of the Day: Uninsured Getting Covered

Here’s a Gallup poll Obamacare foes must get busy discounting (they could always dredge up the survey company’s famous miscall of the 1948 campaign) because it’s a clear sign the Affordable Care Act is doing the big thing it was supposed to do: Insure the Uninsured.

The percentage of Americans without health insurance has dropped to 15.9% so far in 2014, compared with 17.1% at this time last year.” — Gallup

Obamacare could get the credit, Gallup says. The sudden drop in the rolls of uninsured began showing up during the plan’s enrollment period, drawing nearly 10 million so far to sign up through it’s marketplace of insurance plans, or directly with companies. But it’s tough to know how many of those were previously uninsured. This Gallup survey is the best evidence that the uninsured are making their way into coverage plans.

Gallup says that at its current rate of decline, the number of uninsured Americans could soon fall to “the lowest quarterly level” since 2008 when the company began tracking this group.


Now It’s the Ukraine that’s Missing

Ukraine just fell off my Google News list of top stories, so I guess Russia swallowed it up too. Malaysia is still number one on the list of most-searched topics.

Now I’ll have to manually type in “Ukraine” to find the latest news about that. Damn these Putin land grabs, they can be a lot of trouble.

When I search “Ukraine” I still get 368 million hits on Google, so perhaps there’s hope for its sovereignty. But “Malaysia” gets much more, 619 million results, proving that something we don’t know – where the plane ended up – commands more attention than what we do know – that an almost defenseless nation is being choked into submission by a hairless tyrant.

Google News
Top Stories (8:30am ET)

  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Washington
  • HTC Corporation
  • Miami Heat
  • Pope Francis
  • Facebook
  • Osama bin Laden
  • International Monetary Fund
  • Novak Djokovic
  • General Motors