It’s a pretty ridiculous state of affairs when one of the better routes to get a handle on some of what’s going on in the world, particularly in the United States, is actually a “fake news show” filling a half hour time slot of television satire.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart regularly provides some of the only clear honest glimpses of reality we get in stories of the madness happening every day, in a “fake news show” parody of a half hour commercial television news show that does better than the “real” news shows. If this isn’t a perfect living demonstration of the idea “truth is stranger than fiction”, I don’t know what is.
The June 14, 2012 edition of The Daily Show featured a segment on the Senate banking committee appearance of JP Morgan head honcho Jamie Dimon, there because of the recent big losses of his operation. Given the ongoing train wreck economic disaster that we’re all trying to live through after the meltdown of the insane circus of high end financial games, it’s reasonable to have such a bank executive appear before that committee for a little session of “explain yourself, mister”.
One thing to note is that at least Dimon has some sense of being a decent human in at least being honest enough to admit, essentially, hey, we fucked up, we really screwed the pooch on this one, and I was the guy in charge at the top.
The actual hearing was a joke. The joke’s on us.
The Daily Show piece showed excerpts of the hearing that gave viewers a condensed summary glimpse of a batch of Republican party senators performing a show that was basically The Dance of The Sycophants. It was grotesque.
Stewart observed, “What is going on with this panel of senators?” , “They’re sucking up to Dimon like they’re on JP Morgan’s payroll.“. He then mentioned that, indeed, the biggest campaign funds contributions to many of these very US senators serving on the Senate banking committee came from none other than JP Morgan. In simplest form, they are on JP Morgan’s payroll.
They don’t work for us.
I remember back when what became the Dodd-Frank bill was under discussion, I caught a press conference where, first, Senator Chris Dodd (Democrat) spoke at length and answered questions about the process of working out the bill in meetings between senators of Team Democratic and Team Republican, which was then followed by a similar session when it was the turn of participant Senator Bob Corker (Republican) to do the same. I remember at the time that Corker made quite an impressive show of being a serious, earnest, reasonable human, acting as if they were a responsible servant of the people, about the process.
In the end, Senator Bob Corker ended up managing to kill off key proposed portions of the final Dodd-Frank bill, such as at least a partial restoration of elements of the repealed Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933 meant to prevent large scale financial disasters, like separating “depositor banks” from high risk “investment house banks”.
So, in this hearing, there was Corker, practically falling over himself in an effort to lead the witness Jamie Dimon into saying that the Dodd-Frank bill as it ended up being passed into law didn’t really protect the financial system from big problems, after he seems to be the guy most responsible for making sure that it wouldn’t.
The end of the segment was just perfect, Stewart ending the piece by saying “must be nice to be a Republican senator sometimes … you get the fun of breaking shit and the joy of complaining the shit you just broke doesn’t work“.
I don’t know how anybody could make the essence of this any more clear.
In the meantime, while the Republican party in general and all their propaganda operatives, of the kind of Roger Ailes and Fox News and Karl Rove and all the rest, hammer people too misinformed or naïve and uninformed to know better with mind worms about “Obama and his left wing radical socialist agenda”, the biggest actual problems of the Obama presidency has featured almost complete acquiescence and indulgence of the big bankster and Wall Street crowd, complete with the influence of his Secretary of the Treasury, career big bankster Tim Geithner.
As all the public delusional nonsense of that plays out, some people are seriously saying things like “why, Obama has been president over three years, and the economy is still bad!”, apparently having almost no grasp of what has happened. This is stuff I was just talking about in my last post, a subculture of real. Even worse, many of this group of Americans will actually suggest that clearly Barack Obama as president has had over three years to make everything grand again, so now it’s his fault, and if Willard Romney were president, he’ll get in there and fix things up.
It’s astonishing. I mean, I just can’t even spare any patient tolerance for that nonsense anymore. I can only look at that kind of nonsense and say, I’m sorry, you just cannot possibly really, seriously, honestly be that fucking stupid. I almost wonder if it would take Romney actually becoming president and serving a term for some people to actually start to get it, or at least wake up enough to start thinking “hey… wait a minute… maybe there’s more to this”.
On to another item that really follows along on the same general topic. This story came up on the Raw Story website, coming to my attention via the blog The Downward Spiral by pseudonymous blogger “Bill Hicks”.
The story? Appropriations requested by the Obama administration and rolling right through Congress with big happy full “bipartisan support” are planned for buying a large number of expensive tanks for the military, that the military itself is trying to tell people it doesn’t need.
Why, then? Apparently because among our elected representatives, despite all the ridiculous bullshit bombarding the American citizenry about “defending freedom” and so on, for decades, ever since World War II ended, the biggest actual priority is the idea that somebody can make piles and piles of money by being suppliers of a worldwide military empire. Maintaining a military force to protect and defend the country really isn’t the idea, that’s just the bullshit used to sell this kind of thing.
President Dwight Eisenhower (who, you should recall, was not only a Republican, but also a retired career military Army general who had been Allied Supreme Commander of military forces in Europe in World War II) warned the American people in his last speech as president about this very kind of thing, what he called “the Military-Industrial Complex”. That was 51 years ago. How well did people absorb his warning? Evidently, for many people, it never happened.
I’ll quote “Bill Hicks” here to save some typing, as he said this pretty well:
At a time when there is no conceivable conventional military threat to the U.S. anywhere in the world, this is sheer waste of resources is maddening in its utter insanity.
If the government is going to continue to borrow obscene amounts of money to try and keep people employed, let’s at least have them doing something useful like repair some of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. But no, somehow having the government employ people to try and maintain the common good is “socialism,” whereas giving that same money to defense war contractors who would be out of business without it is as American as baseball and apple pie.
And, as he noted:
Notice, too, that once again this is a bipartisan initiative from a supposedly hopelessly gridlocked congress.
So. Who, exactly, is working for whom?