Are we tired of the financial "reform" kabuki yet? I try not to waste time beating on dead horses, but I honestly don't know if this one's dead yet.
On one hand we got Carl Levin promising a much deeper probe of Goldman, one that will actually name names as to who exactly did what.
Washington is suddenly looking very unkind to the firm that used to be known as "Government Sachs." Now the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, is planning to focus hearings scheduled for next week at least in part on Goldman Sachs's role in the financial disaster. Levin's staff has uncovered new documents "that link certain actions to specific people" at Goldman, according to a senior legislative official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official would not divulge the nature of the allegation but said that Levin believes it amounts to "another big shoe to drop on Goldman." Spokespeople for Levin said they were not prepared to discuss the nature of the probe, but his committee has been conducting several weeks of hearings and one is planned for April 27 on "the role of the investment banks." "We expect to have some information tomorrow," spokesman Bryan Thomas said Monday.
Levin used to be a power in the FDR wing of the Democratic party before the Third Way triangulators of the Old GOP took it over. Since then he's seldom been heard from (meaning the media has been totally NOT interested in what he's been doing) but he has continued to be a thorn in the side of Rahm's Money Boys because he's used his seniority and the solidity of his seat to go right on attacking the banksters and other low-life contributors to Democrat campaign funds.
Levin has been one of the most aggressive Democrats in the Senate in pushing for more dramatic financial reform, and the first week of his subcommittee's hearings focused on the role of high-risk home loans in the disaster, using Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu) as a case history. Further hearings are expected to show how banks like WaMu obtained their know-how and securitization techniques from Wall Street.
So maybe this is just the Democratic wing of the Democrat party finding its feet now that the leadership is making noises about bringing Wall Street to heel. Harry Reid even got directly up in Mitch McConnell's face yesterday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to disclose details of his meeting two weeks ago with Wall Street executives - a move that ratchets up the partisan tension ahead of Senate consideration this week of a financial regulatory reform bill.
Reid issued the challenge through his spokesman moments before delivering a speech on the Senate floor that didn't go as far as the statement, but still lashed Republicans for their ties to special interests. The majority leader followed the lead of President Barack Obama, who went after McConnell Saturday in his weekly address for meeting with 25 Wall Street executives and later criticizing the bill.
"Since Republicans appear to be conducting backroom negotiations with these same people who took our economy to the brink of collapse, the public deserves to know what secret deals and carve-outs Republicans are offering Wall Street executives in exchange for their support," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said.
I don't know. Maybe it's the ease with which they're demolishing the Pubs now after years, including recent months, of appearing to stumble around in a fog, unsure what to do and whining that they just couldn't do anything because the mean Republicans wouldn't let them. Suddenly they've figured it out? Where was this fight, this fighting know-how, 6 months ago when the Pubs were decimating healthcare reform with similarly absurd arguments and Harry Reid was whimpering that he had to have 61 votes or even the effort was useless? Have they all been taking political ninja classes the last few weeks or what?
So there's something that doesn't smell right here and before I know it I stumble across two little items, one that's a sign the stink is there and another that may explain the source of the stink.
Interesting. Maine's Susan Collins, one of several on-the-fence Pubs the Dems might have been able to get to support financial reform (at least in the not-so-reformy version of the Dodd bill), has a mano-a-mano meeting with Wall Street Timmy and emerges from that meeting convinced to vote against reform.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) emerged from a meeting with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Monday to announce she would join a GOP filibuster of Wall Street reform.
The decision delivers a significant blow to Democrats, who had seen Collins as one of the most likely GOP votes in favor of a financial overhaul bill, and throws into question their legislative agenda for the week.
So now Harry's got his excuse for saying the whole thing is up in the air now and it won't be his fault if the Senate can't pass the weak-as-water Dodd bill, and it all happened after a single talk with Wall Street Timmy.
Golly. I hate to think this but it's almost as if he, you know, meant to turn her agaist financial reform.
Nah. That couldn't be.
Maybe it could. Maybe the whole "Get Wall Street!" routine is a device to worm money out of lobbyists with scared bankster clients, lobbyists who know that in Rahm Emanuel's regime, money talks and bullshit walks. If so, it's, like, working just fine, thanks.
Assessing the battle to overhaul the nation's financial regulations recently, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, left no doubt about the consequences if Congress cracked down on his bank's immense business in derivatives.
"It will be negative," he said. "Depending on the real detail, it could be $700 million or a couple billion dollars."
With so much money at stake, it is not surprising that more than 1,500 lobbyists, executives, bankers and others have made their way to the Senate committee that on Wednesday will take up legislation to rein in derivatives, the complex securities at the heart of the financial crisis, the billion-dollar bank bailouts and the fraud case filed last week against Goldman Sachs.
No, not surprising at all. Rather sadly predictable, really.
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