As I noted earlier, with the exception of Democrats Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Senators on the Senate Banking Committee spent most of the time in a hearing today engaged in heavy petting with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Chase. Between caresses, it was hard to tell who was testifying to whom.
After Dimon interrupted him three times, however, Merkley took a well-deserved poke:
This is not your hearing. I'm asking you to respond to questions and I also only have five minutes. So, let's agree to disagree. But I think that many analysts have reached the conclusion that if you had applied that Old Testament justice in 2008-2009, JPMorgan would have gone down and you would have been out of a job. And it goes to the enormous frustration on how many companies in the history of the planet have been offered a half a trillion dollars in low interest loans? Not many.Several Republicans on the committee, as cited by Pat Garofalo and Travis Waldron, might as well have been submitting their résumés:
SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN): We?re here quizzing you. If you were sitting on this side of the dais, what would you do to make our system safer than it is and still meet the needs of a global economy like we have?Most of the Democrats were meek, to say the least, demonstrating one more time why only mild regulatory reform emerged from the economic crisis that has put the screws to millions of Americans?old ones who want to retire but have to keep working, young ones who want to work but can only find jobs, if at all, well beneath their education levels (a setback that will pinion them the rest of their lives) and people in their prime earning years as well.
SEN. MIKE CRAPO (R-ID): Many people say our primary focus from our perspective in terms of policy should be to make sure the banks are properly capitalized. Should that be our primary focus and what other areas of oversight would be the most effective for us in terms of our regulatory structure?
SEN. JIM DEMINT (R-SC): I would like to come away from the hearing today with some ideas on what you think we need to do, what we maybe need to take apart that we?ve already done, to allow the industry to operate better.
SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): And you said something else that really sort caught me by surprise, and that was this testimony that nobody got all the parties in a room with people in your industry ? Democrats, Republicans, and folks affected ? and talked about what was needed and what really needed to be fixed. Did I hear you correctly there? Did you volunteer to be part of that conversation?
Next time, perhaps they can bring out the massage table and give him a good rubdown to go along with their kowtow.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009:
[Uyghurs to Palau? Why Not My Neighborhood? 90031.] When President Obama's team started hinting that they might bring scores of Gitmo prisoners for trial in the United States, the most bizarre case ever of NIMBYism arose. Congresspeople (and many other Americans) who drool all over themselves at the prospect a new prison may be built in their districts, exclaimed: "No way!" What if they got loose? What if they radicalized other prisoners? What if al Qaeda launched a rescue mission? As for the notion of 17 Uyghurs actually walking free on American streets, joining other Uyghurs who have been here for years, a great shudder went up from the land.
So here is the U.S. offering [$200 million] to some islanders who surely could use the money for all kinds of good things. But here in Lincoln Heights there also are needs. The truth is, if we accept the Uyghurs, we ought to be in line for $400 million. Palau's population is only 21,000, but there are 39,000 or so of us. No reason to wreck the deal by being pushy, however. Like the bottom quintile everywhere, we're used to doing more with less.
For example, because of draconian slashing of public budgets, neither the seven elementary schools nor one middle school in the area will hold summer-school classes this year. And the high school is limiting its summer classes to graduating seniors. That may sound great from the point of view of many kids. But not only do those classes help them keep up academically during the regular year, they also keep a lot of them from winding up in the back of a police cruiser and give relief to their parents. A slice of that $200 million could keep the classes running and some teachers and custodians off the unemployment rolls.
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I know! Let's replace teachers with high-end fashion models and other fashion people who don't pay taxes! From Zoolander (2001). Open Thread Below.
Surprise, surprise! To observers of the corrupt modern world of finance, this comes as no surprise. They pick and choose when to follow rules because they know that they are the masters of the universe. Because they generated so much money in the past and they provide so much campaign money, they can scare the political class into submission any time they like.Jamie Dimon is offering his...
Good evening! Here?re some of the things that have happened upon the world?s stage since last we checked in. Please share any others you found of interest.[...]
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Title: 12 Bar BluesArtist: NRBQ
Here's one of my favorite bands giving a blues lesson and seriously laying it down.
I haven?t read a column like this one today by Arianna Huffington that is this depressing in a long, long time. And we all owe her a debt for writing it.
See, it has to do with how our ?friend? Nouri al-Maliki (remember him?) in Iraq (remember there?) is all buddies now with Iran. And how it turns out that, if these eternally-wrong-in-their-cowardly-warmongering conservatives had their way, we would end up fighting both of them if we preemptively went after Iran (with ?pre-emptive war? having worked so beautifully in the prior decade).
So, for Liz Cheney and the rest of her foul breed, I thought it apropos to recall this clip from Keith Olbermann; even though he may never be on TV again, his outsized body of work continues to live on in the blogosphere (and I still dislike that word, but I can?t think of a better one)...
...and I?ve never been completely sold on these guys musically (though their politics rock!), and I don?t usually go in for kids in these tunes because I think it can be exploitative, but I thought this was a catchy number (sorry, no video).
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While the National Organization for Marriage has been trumpeting a recent study which claims that gay households are inferior to heterosexual households when it comes to the raising of children, recent information has revealed that NOM has not been[...]
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There are two primary ways to make money on Wall Street.
The first is to find an exploitable, short-term edge and just keep hammering it until it stops working. Successful day-traders and those trying out the current high-frequency trading fad … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: When Reliable Stocks are Hard to Find, This is my Favorite Option for Steady Income
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[Editor's Note: Not all political messaging involves framing specific words or phrases. Framing a political message involves longer story-telling, as well. It's about creating a picture in people's minds of who you are and what you stand for, whether it's by using individual "catch phrases" or a larger narrative.
In this installment, The Winning Words Project is attempting to paint the larger picture of who and what "government" really is: "We, the people." It's a critical aspect of why the Democratic Party has so often failed in combating the Republican narrative?Republicans have defined "government" as a monolithic, non-living entity that needs to be slayed like a dragon that is destroying our country with its fiery breath and gigantic talons.
Until we create our own image of government that is not a deadly dragon, all of our messaging can be overpowered by the impression that no matter what policies we are fighting for, and no matter how moral we make them, all we are doing with them is feeding the dragon, not taming it or taking it down. But if people stop seeing "the government" as a dragon, but come back to recognizing it for what it is?US?it becomes harder and harder for the Republican narrative to be supported. People don't want to see us destroyed! Here is the story we should be telling ...]
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union ..."
There's a reason the Preamble to our Constitution begins with those words: Government is us. So when Republicans say they want to choke government and make it small enough to drown in a bathtub, they mean they want to choke and drown us ... you and me; we, the people.
Government is us. So when Republican leaders get on television and attack the government, they're attacking us. They're telling us our services aren't wanted or needed to build and maintain this country's infrastructure, operate 911 switchboards, code the military's computers, represent defendants who cannot afford an attorney, lay pipe that takes sewage away from our homes, drive city buses, nurse our returning veterans at VA hospitals, process small business loan applications, or tens of thousands of other jobs we do that keep this country running, prosperous, and safe.
Mitt Romney says he's "going to do something to government." And just so we're clear, when Romney says he's going to "do something" to government, he means he's going to do something to you and me. As in fire us. "Choke" us. "Drown" us in a bathtub. Romney says, "I'm going to make it simpler and smaller and smarter. Getting rid of programs, turning programs back to states, and finally, making government itself more efficient."
So who does that mean he's going to fire next? Your postal carrier? Maybe your child's public school teachers, your local police officers, or brave firefighters? Do you think he means he's going to make "government" smaller by reducing the size of our military, bringing our patriotic servicemen and women home to their families after more than 10 years of a failed war? No, of course not.
He has now made it perfectly clear that teachers, firefighters, and police officers are the first on his chopping block. But are those the only professions at risk under a Romney presidency?
No. What he also means is that you and I are going to have to do without enough scientists to develop cures for your mother's cancer or invent the next generation satellite technology. You can say goodbye to workplace safety rules that prevent thousands of deaths every year. They don't actually care if you die so long as government isn't "bloated" with people whose job it is to make sure you're safe where you work or live. Protect the country? Sure! Protect you? Of course not!
Government is us. Government is the United States National Science Foundation that brought you the internet you're reading this via. Government is why we have indoor lights, artificial hearts, hearing aids, anesthesia, and vaccines for deadly diseases.
Government is the Social Security clerk who makes sure your grandmother's check gets mailed every month; billing clerks who make sure your doctor gets paid if you're over 65 and on Medicare; people who maintain our national parks; people who rescue abused children in the middle of the night and take them someplace where they will be safe; people who inspect our food so we don't get sick and die from it in vast numbers like we used to.
This is what Mitt Romney, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan want to choke and drown. They want to turn everything over to un-fireable corporations to profitize for their own enrichment, not for the enrichment of the country as a whole. The country we believe in supports and encourages profit-making, so long as it does not harm The People in the process. This is a universal sentiment we can all agree on.
Choking and drowning you, your friends, your neighbors, even figuratively? That's not an America we can believe in. That's an America that will wither up and die like a Third World nation while all our high-tech jobs are shipped overseas to cheaper labor, you're forced into lower and lower-paid work yourself (can't cut into those bottom line profits!), and we all have to gag through polluted air and drink contaminated water because there won't be any more EPA (we're drowning government, remember?).
When Mitt Romney says "It?s a moral imperative for America to stop spending more money than we take in," we're in complete agreement. We used to take in a substantially larger portion of the money we needed, and we were on track to becoming debt-free with a balanced budget by the time Bill Clinton left office. We stopped taking in enough money to meet our obligations when George W. Bush and his Republican Congress gave their billionaire friends a big, fat gift of a tax break that has broken the country's back.
And instead of returning to paying their share of the expense of running this country, Mitt Romney, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan want to give billionaires even more money while simultaneously taking more away from us?you and me, we, the people. How is that moral?
The government is us. It's our neighbors and friends. Our parents and children. It's we, the people. How can we in good conscience let Mitt Romney choke, drown or fire us?
This post originally appeared at The Winning Words Project. Please visit us to find more tips on framing the Democratic and Progressive message for winning electons in 2012 and beyond. And please stop by the Action Center for more ways you can help make our message viral. Thank you!
Memo to all of my "color aroused" friends out there:This particular type of pathology can cost you money.
I am not mad at Elijah Turley. He handled his ignorant co-workers and the company that enabled them in the proper way; through the court system.
Elijah is probably thinking that twenty five million will make the sting of being called a "boy" and having a noose hung around a stuffed monkey on his car a little easier to take.
Speaking of millions, the casino dude who backed Newt is now putting up 10 million of his
hard earned money to support a pro- Flipper Super Pac. I wonder what type of access 10 million dollars buys you these days?
Sheldon used to be a Democrat then as he started getting wealthier he morphed into a republican. Like most republicans, Sheldon doesn't like to give any of his money to the government. Never mind that he made his money with the help of governments.
"Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?"
The irony is, of course, that Sheldon has huge casino interests in a communist country. Sheldon is also the guy who was involved with some shaky dealings with convicted criminal and former republican whip, Tom DeLay back in the day.
Given his background and the people surrounding Flipper, I am sure that Sheldon will get a good return for his money.
I can't sign off without giving a shout out to a guy who is fast becoming my favorite person in Washington.
Good job on checking those sanctimonious blowhards who tried to call you out Mr. Holder.
"Cornyn: In short, you?ve violated the public trust in my view and, by failing and refusing to perform the duties of your office.
It?s more with sorrow than regret, than with anger, that I would say that you leave me no alternative but to join those who call upon you to resign your office.
Americans deserve an attorney general who will be honest with them. They deserve an attorney general who will uphold the basic standards of political independence and accountability. You?ve proven time and time again, sadly, that you are unwilling to do so. The American people deserve better. They deserve an attorney general who is accountable and independent. They deserve an attorney general who puts justice before politics.
It?s my sincere hope that President Obama will replace you with someone who is up to that challenge.
[Chairman Patrick Leahy offers a few remarks of support for Holder and then allows him to respond.]
Holder: With all due respect, senator, there is so much that is factually wrong with the premises that you started your statement with, it?s almost breathtaking in its inaccuracy, but, I?ll simply leave it at that.
You know, we want to talk about Fast and Furious, this is, I guess, what, the ninth time?? [turning to an aide who nods "yes"]?this is now the ninth time that I have answered questions before a congressional committee about ?Fast and Furious.?
If you want to talk about Fast and Furious, I?m the attorney general that put an end to the misguided tactics that were used in Fast and Furious. An attorney general whom I suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operation called ?Wide Receiver? and did nothing to stop them. Nothing. Three hundred guns, at least, ?walked? in that instance.
I?m also the attorney general who called on an inspector general to look into this matter, to investigate this matter. I?m also the attorney general who made personnel changes at ATF and in the U.S. Attorneys office that was involved, have overseen the changes of processes and procedures within ATF to make sure that this doesn?t happen ever again.
So I don?t have any intention of resigning. I heard the White House press officer say yesterday that the president has absolute confidence in me. I don?t have any reason to believe that in fact is not the case.
And in terms of, you know, what is it that we have turned over to Congress in this regard, let?s put something on the record here. ? We have collected data from 240 custodians, we have processed millions of electronic records, looked at over 140,000 documents, turned over 7,600 pages. Over the course of 46 separate productions, we have made available people from the department at the highest levels to be interviewed.
And I?ve also said, indicated, I guess, earlier in my testimony, to the extent that all of that is not enough to satisfy the concerns that have been raised in the House committee, I am willing to sit down and talk about the provision of more materials. I have sent letters in that regard, the deputy attorney general has sent letters in that regard, and have not had responses. Which leads me to believe that the desire here is not for an accommodation but for a political point-making. And that is the kind of thing that, you know, you and and your side, I guess, have the ability to do if that?s what you want to do. It is the kind of thing that I think turns people off about Washington. While we have very serious problems, we still have this political gamesmanship.
Cornyn: The problem we have is that you won?t allow Congress to do its job when it comes to oversight and you thwart a legitimate investigation into programs like Fast and Furious."
No, the problem you have, Mr. Cornyn, is that a verbal "can of whup ass" was just laid on you by a man who is sick of your political games. I just wish that his boss could show some of that sometimes.
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