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Monday, June 18, 2012

Why the Senate is hopeless

The Daily Show
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Drop everything. You must, must, must read Matt Taibbi's hilarious takedown of the Senate Banking Committee's outrageously obsequious "questioning" of J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
Most of the rest of the senators not only supplicated before the blowdried banker like love-struck schoolgirls or hotel bellhops, they also almost all revealed themselves to be total ignoramuses with no grasp of the material they were supposed to be investigating.

That most of them had absolutely no conception of even the basics of the derivatives market was obvious. But what was even more amazing was that several of them had serious trouble even reading aloud the questions their more learned staffers prepared for them. Many seemed to be reading their own questions for the first time.

It would be one thing if this had been a bunch of hick congressmen from the plains asking a panel of MIT professors about, say, ozone depletion, or the potential dangers of nuclear fallout. But these were members of the Senate Banking Committee, asking Dimon questions as though he were an alien from another world: "Tell us, Mr. CEO, what is this ‘derivative trading’ to which you refer? How long has it been in use on your planet?"
My favorite bit is Taibbi's description of Dimon getting "grilled" by Richard Shelby of Alabama:
Then he gets down to the bowing and supplicating, asking Dimon if he wouldn’t rather talk about this in a closed hearing, so he could get more specific. Or, Shelby offers, there is a third option – Dimon could give no information at all! "Or would you prefer not to divulge things?" Shelby asks.

"No I would prefer not to divulge things," Dimon says.
Keep in mind that Shelby represents Alabama, where the Jefferson County got royally, royally screwed by J.P. Morgan Chase. Go here and here and here if you want to learn how Wall Street suckered Alabama into the biggest municipal bankruptcy in history. Basically, to fund a sewer project gone bad, Jefferson County went to J.P. Morgan, which talked county officials into buying into one of those really weird investment schemes that blew up in everyone's face during the financial blowout.

You'd think Senator Shelby might be a little peeved about that. Nope.

Southerners are a strange bunch. They despise New Yorkers. Yet they'll vote for a politician who, when a Wall Street banker demands fellatio, can only say: "How deep?" 
It's not about being from the South--it's about being corrupt. And I'd say there's plenty of that to go around,
Bob, the South is the repository of anti-NY sentiment. You can't get around that fact. And yet most southerners will refuse to vote for any politician who is not beholden to Wall Street. 'Tis a paradox.
Corruption is all over the world, we should have to vote the right and sincere candidate.
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