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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beyond red states and blue states

Here are some interesting seating charts for both houses of Congress, based on where the politicians get their money.

Comments (8)

Interesting... and not a single mention of "Wives". Isn't that where Sen. Kerry, McCain and Wyden got all their money from?

With so many elected Sens and Reps beholden to FIRE, is it any wonder there is so little prosecution for criminal behavior by banksters and regulators? How long has it been, for example, since an SEC employee earned a jail term for public service not performed?

Charles Ferguson, the director of "Inside Job," remarked in a NYTimes interview last Friday (1 Oct), regarding the absence of criminal prosecutions during the current financial crisis:

"We started having financial crises after deregulation in early 1980s. The first one was in the late 1980’s with the combination of the S.&L. scandal and the collapse of the junk bond market when many financial executives went to prison. Then in the late 1990s there was another crisis with the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, the Asian financial crisis, the burst of the dot-com bubble and then the partially related, partially separate collapses of WorldCom and Enron. Once again people went to prison. There was at least some punishment for the worst excesses. I find it utterly implausible that all of this occurred without anybody committing a single criminal act."

JPM Chase's Jamie Dimon remarked during his appearance before Congress that financial crises are expected by his industry "every five to seven years." Perhaps if prosecutions for criminal wrongdoing in the financial industry were more routine, there would be fewer financial crises.

But it is hard to foresee a prosecution-to-be-expected milieu developing when it is not just the lawmakers who are dependent upon FIRE. Mr Obama collected many dollars from the industry; AG Eric Holder's professional clients prior to his current job were largely from the financial industry. James Lieber, writing in the Village Voice a year ago, provided this discouraging account:

It is indeed "utterly implausible" that there were no criminal acts committed during the destruction wrought by the current crisis. There is still time, however, for collusion, fraud, and other crimes to be fully exposed in the 2008 theft of $307B of WaMu's assets from shareholders and others and for miscreant bankers and regulators to be prosecuted.

The "untold story" that has been challenging the mythology propagated by former Treasury Secretary Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson, Jr, the FDIC's Sheila Bair, and JPM's Jamie Dimon, among others, in such modest publications as the Puget Sound Business Journal (which earned its reporter, Kristen Grind, Pulitzer Prize finalist designation and other awards earlier this year), has begun to surface in familiar Wall Street outlets:

Be sure to read the final letter of WMI's CEO, Alan Fishman, to
the FDIC regarding the solvent bank's plan to remain in business:

But will the DOJ's Eric Holder find the courage to follow the lead of the US Trustee who supported appointment of an Examiner in the bankruptcy of WaMu? That is, can the DOJ be expected to follow the rule of law despite professional alliances and perceived political exigencies? The Examiner's report is due in a month. The faith of the public in the US financial system and in their government is in the balance.

That seemsed useful. Prior to this visit, the only article I'd read in MJ in the last two decades was its analysis of the Rachel Corrie suicide. Done in by the Catapiller lobby.

Interesting... and not a single mention of "Wives". Isn't that where Sen. Kerry, McCain and Wyden got all their money from?

Thanks for that, Harry. I'm still cleaning up the coffee I spewed on my monitor when I read your post and burst out laughing.

And for extra entertainment, take a look at the photos. I've become convinced that taking a photo of Joe Barton that doesn't make him look like an apprentice pig sodomizer (well, less than usual) is physically impossible.

I have little respect for Congress any more, but those broadbrush labels from Mother Jones can be misleading.

Take Ron Paul, he's the guy that wants to abolish the fed but somehow he's listed as owned by banking interests (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) because they make up 3% of his total contributions (all the other interests groups must be less than 3%).

There are surely other representatives who received more than 3% from the FIRE interests but were listed as "owned" by someone else (because they accepted more from labor or trial attorneys).

I'm not sure what percentage of contributions triggers being "owned" by any one special interest, but I suspect that anything less than 10% is closer to a time share (and anything less than 5% is more like a vacation rental).

The green is for Wall Street (of course), and there's lots of it. Not much for Main Street.

In addition to FIRE's largesse to members of both the legislative and executive branches, it should not be ignored that the current SCOTUS has shown a temperament tending to favor the corporate construction of reality. In addition to the usual suspects, Breyer favors corporations.

Consumers, shareholders, and others seeking redress in the highest court cannot be optimistic.

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