The American Heritage Dictionary defines a kangaroo court as one "characterized by dishonesty or incompetence." And that definition clearly describes yesterday's Senate hearings on energy prices.
First and foremost was the Republicans efforts to kiss the pearly white asses of the oil industry executives that they were supposed to be demanding answers from. As you may recall, these executives have used America's oil industry crisis to rake record profits, while bleeding American consumers dry (Exxon, for instance, pocketed more in profits this quarter than any corporation in U.S. history). Yet, instead of grilling these guys, the GOP did everything they could to make them comfortable. As just one example, Republicans refused to swear in the executives, and actually cleared the room of reporters so that there weren't any damning photos of them a la the famous hearings with tobacco industry execs.
But what really made this a kangaroo court was the testimony of Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Deborah Majoras. As the New York Times reported, " she opposed a federal price-gouging law because it might lead to price caps." Hmm...so let us get this straight - the industry is price gouging Americans all over the country, but what we really should be afraid of is a law barring that price gouging because it may actually force companies to bring down their prices?
Apparently, yes, that was Majoras's argument. But then, that's not surprising when you consider what position Majoras was really representing. Majoras, you may recall, was appointed by President Bush to head the FTC after serving as a corporate lawyer for ChevronTexaco. Her appointment was clearly a huge gift to the oil industry by the Bush administration - and now the gift is reaping rewards. Thus, at the hearing yesterday, you had Republicans coddling their oil executives who underwrite their campaigns, and then you had one of the oil executives' cronies dressed up as a government regulator ratifying the executives' position that nothing is really wrong with continuing to bilk Americans with energy profiteering.
Why don't we just have Captain Kangaroo preside over the next "hearing," shall we? Because let's be honest - he'd be a more serious inquisitor than these clowns running the Senate.