Tuesday, December 16, 2014

He's A Real Grown-Up

Don't invite Elizabeth Warren and Lindsey Graham to the same party. In one (video, below) of three speeches on the floor of the Senate opposing the bank bailout provision (co-sponsored by Citibank) in the "cromnibus" spending bill, the Massachusetts senator

slammed large financial institutions and their reach into Washington, singling out Citigroup in particular. She ticked off former Citigroup employees who have found work in the Obama administration and with past presidents, railed against Citigroup’s influence in Washington and vowed to devote her service to breaking up the big banks to dilute the influence of companies like Citigroup.

But more than anything, she blamed Citigroup for inserting a provision in the spending deal that would roll back regulations of the Dodd-Frank bill for trading some derivatives and other securities.

“Think about this kind of power. A financial institution has become so big and so powerful that it can hold the entire country hostage. That alone is a reason enough for us break them up. Enough is enough,” Warren said. “Enough is enough with Citigroup passing 11th hour deregulatory provisions that nobody takes ownership over but that everybody comes to regret. Enough is enough.”

Confused about the nature, and function, of government, Graham responded to Warren by claiming "Dodd-Frank was an incredible overreach, increased a lot of costs to banking without protecting the consumer. It was a liberal's dream of allowing an unregulated body to, basically, control loans throughout the country."

Declaring  "Extremism comes in all sizes, colors and sexes" ("all sexes?"), the South Carolina Republican characterized Warren's warning as "extremism in a very blatant form."  He maintained "If you follow the lead of the senator of Massachusetts … people are not going to believe you are mature enough to run the place.  Don’t follow her lead. She’s the problem.”

Citigroup has been bailed out at least four times in 80+ years by the federal government and has had to ante up $7 billion for selling toxic financial products leading up to the economic meltdown. But it gets a pass from Graham, who believes Warren is "the problem" because she is not "mature enough."

Or at least not as mature as Senator Graham, who in mid-September contended the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is

intending to come here. So, I will not let this president suggest to the American people we can outsource our security and this is not about our safety. There is no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria, to destroy ISIL without a substantial American component. And to destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take the territory they hold back, cut off their financing and destroy their capability to regenerate.

This is a war we’re fighting, it is not a counterterrorism operation! This is not Somalia; this is not Yemen; this is a turning point in the war on terror. Our strategy will fail yet again. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.

It's a dangerous world. Since Senator Graham's hysterical remarks, there have been (by Wikipedia's reckoning) 32 terrorist attacks worldwide, taking a total of 607 lives. ISIL has been responsible for three of those attacks and 60 deaths, less than 10% of the total by the group the Senator believes may kill us all "back here at home." Bypassing Columbia and Charleston, ISIS has struck in Iraq all three of those times.

Yet, Elizabeth Warren is the one lacking maturity. It can now be revealed: contrary to popular belief, Barret Eugene "Barry" Hansen did not himself write the creative, yet notorious, hit (video below) he sang under the nom de plume "Dr. Demento" in 1966.  The songwriter, who never has chosen to take proper credit for his autobiographical song, was the now-Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham.

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