Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Congressional Hearings

I got out to the theaters this weekend to see, on its first night, Iron Man 2.  In short, it kicked ass.  I'm not going to go further or drop spoilers, as this is a political blog and not a Iron Man/Tony Stark/Robert Downey Jr lovefest (although if I was gay...).  But the first 30 seconds of the trailer below is a taste of the true joy of watching someone treat Congress as they should be treated:

Needless to say, the CSPAN broadcast ends up bleeping the senator in the scene (I didn't think they did that, after the "shitty" hearing a couple of weeks ago). And there's a payoff for that scene in the end.

But it does highlight the pompous ass show that is the ridiculous joke of congressional hearings.  Today, BP America, Transocean, and  (the EEEVIL) Halliburton (who, interestingly, just got a no-bid contract from the Obama administration) are due on Capitol Hill to be ridiculed, excoriated, and grilled so that our elected representatives can 1. make pompous speeches, 2. gratify their own egos, and 3. predend they're "doing something" about a problem they haven' done shit to fix (or made worse with dumbass legislation and bureaucracy).  Last week was the Bear Stearns "shitty" situation.  They've also taken to ripping into every private business that's ever crossed the political radar.

And that's including Major League Baseball and the National Football League, as well as professional wrestling.

I bring up two of the largest sports organizations and the premier form of sports entertainment for a simple reason.  Why the hell are a bunch of elected political hacks investigating a sport?  Is it because the Constitution enumerates specific powers to Congress to regulate, promote, and lord over jock straps and steroid ass needles?  Is it because, despite it not being an enumerated power, there is a compelling national interest in making sure a private businesses are being "fair" in the product they present (which people are free to ignore if they become too ridiculous (or boring as baseball really is))?  Does their dragging of athletes or pro wrestlers or CEOs or anyone with an IQ above that of a toaster oven before their raised (ego) platforms actually solve or reveal anything that is a game changer?

Or is it essentially political theater, designed to make the post pompous ass on the panel the most powerful douche in the country for the next few days?

At worst, you get something like the Army-McCarthy hearings, where a single senator, with a list, conducts an inquisition, burns the witches, and only when the public sees how ridiculous and vile the tactics are does the madness stop.

I don't have a real solution here, as Congress has the power to pull this shit and waste time and resources putting on shows rather than acting like representatives and passing actual laws.  I'm guessing some major turnover of incumbents (both in the primaries if it's your party and the general election) with a message that constant hearings are an example of how useless Congress is might get through to the newly elected.  Then again, that would require people to think for themselves, not prop up idiots to do their thinking (and plunder, and legislation of morality, etc).

In short, congressional harings are a joke (which means it's time for one of the many South Park clips I could use):

Any thoughts or stories of stupid hearings I missed (of which there are many)?

And can someone get me before Congress?  I really want to be held in contempt by them.  It would be a badge of honor.


Jerry Critter said...

Yeah, stupid congressional hearing just cause things like Watergate.

Actually, I have to agree that many of the hearing as a useless waste of time -- and both sides are guilty.

Pamela D. Hart said...

I'm sick of this malarkey too. If these hearings actually DID something, maybe I'd feel different. But they are just dog and pony shows. Congress lording over who THEY deem to be inferior and guilty, when they should be looking in the friggin’ mirror!

P.S. Thanks for the heads up on Iron Man 2. I liked the first one, so I'll take the kids and go see the 2nd.

Patrick M said...

Jerry: First, Watergate is the exception to the rule here (although all the important stuff was already on the table). Furthermore, proceedings for nominations and impeachments are specified duties of the Constitution.

Hearings on every pet panic is dum though.

Pamela: Further on Iron Man 2, the plot is a little more superficial than the original. But as long as Robert Downey Jr's Stark is on the screen, it's not a real problem. So get to the theater and laugh at Congress. If we could just get a CEO with the spine of Tony Stark, it would be priceless.

dmarks said...

Didn't Shandling play a great Arlen Specter? Self-serving Pennsylvania senator. Hmmm.

As for the hearings, I remember the hypocrisy (years ago) of an instance of someone in a Congressional hearing with Senator Ted Kennedy. Kennedy accused the person in the hearing of lying under oath. I guess its OK to lie in Congress when not under oath, because Kennedy was doing that at this very time.