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Everything is the opposite of what it is, isn’t it?

I once bought a Playboy publication. And I really did buy it just for the interviews, because it was a paperback collection of the best interviews up to that time (circa 1981). The Mel Brooks interviews were hilarious, by the way. But, I digress yet again.

One of the interviews was with John and Yoko, done just a few weeks before he was assassinated. In the interview, Lennon quoted Harry Nilsson to the following effect: “Everything is the opposite of what it is, isn’t it”. As that’s the title of this post, you can see I’m getting to the point.

So that quote came to mind when I stumbled on this a few hours ago:

Senator Elizabeth Warren had a confounding exchange with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a Senate Banking Committee hearing today. Mnuchin indicated that the Trump administration supports a 21st century version of the Glass-Steagall Act, except for the part about separating commercial and investment banks, which is substantially what is meant by Glass-Steagall.

Warren wasn’t having it.

Responding to Mnuchin’s earlier testimony that the White House didn’t support “a separation of banks from investment banks,” the Massachusetts senator pointed out that “The president and this administration have repeatedly said that they support a 21st century Glass-Steagall.”

Indeed, Mnuchin said these words in his confirmation hearings. National Economic Director Gary Cohn has said the same. And the 2016 Republican Party platform adds explicitly, “We support reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which prohibits commercial banks from engaging in high-risk investment.” As Warren said to Mnuchin, “Now you’ve just said the opposite.”

Mnuchin responded that there wasn’t any reversal, despite Warren’s incredulity. He said that the administration merely supported a 21st century version of the law. “Which means there are aspects of it, OK, that we think may make sense. But we never said before that we supported a full separation —”

“There are aspects of Glass-Steagall that you support but not breaking up the banks and separating commercial banking from investment banking?” Warren interrupted. “What do you think Glass-Steagall was if that’s not right at the heart of it?”

While the Glass-Steagall Act was part of a larger bill, the Banking Act of 1933, which also created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, for about 80 years it’s been pretty clear that “Glass-Steagall” refers to the firewall between commercial and investment banking. There are no real “aspects” of the policy to pick from without that fundamental structure.

via The Intercept

So, the 21st Century Glass-Steagall is the opposite of what it is, or at least of what it purports to be. I’m not sure Nilsson was right at the time he uttered those words, but it’s a pretty fair description of the situation at present. I’m too lazy to catalogue all the additional examples, but here’s one that just occurred to me. You know that a piece of legislation is designed to screw the consumer when the industries pushing it call it pro-consumer, an example of that being their labeling mandatory arbitration clauses pro-consumer. The way was prepared for Donald Trump by the right’s destruction of language and meaning, and it truly has engaged in a determined push to make everything the opposite of what it is.

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