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Last night’s coverage of LIBOR left The Daily Show viewers hungry for a new, simpler financial scandal. And thankfully for Jon Stewart, a money laundering scandal involving HSBC fit the bill. A damning report recently showed that HSBC subsidiaries moved billions of dollars from countries such as Iran and Syria, as well as Mexican drug cartels.
HSBC head David Bagley announced that the bank “has fallen short of our own expectations and fallen short of the expectations of our regulators.” As Stewart pointed out, “falling short of expectations” sounds more like a phrase used to describe a six-year-old who fails a spelling test – not a multibillion-dollar banking scandal.
In other news, Stewart celebrated the redemption of former congressman Anthony Weiner, who recently posed in People with his wife and new baby. A pull quote displayed across the spread reads, “ I feel like a different person.”
What could possibly sully the image of this picture-perfect family? Perhaps a good conspiracy theory...
Indeed, Michelle Bachman and four fellow Republican members of congress are calling for an investigation on Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, claiming that she may be working for the Muslim Brotherhood.
They maintain that Abedin’s father may have had connections to the organization. Or as Stewart put it, her deceased dad knew a guy who knew a guy who might have had something to do with the Muslim Brotherhood.
“If you wanted to be that circuitous, you could probably connect almost anyone to Islamic terrorists,” Stewart said, quickly pulling up a map of how Bachmann herself might be implicated in a similar conspiracy theory.
Stewart followed up with the latest installment in “Romney Returns,” a new regular segment. According to The Daily Show's very, very official tax returns, Romney has been keeping money in offshore accounts in locations such as Cayman, Switzerland, and the island from Lost. He also invested $12 million into a hover money bank– a wind machine that ensures that his money never taxes American soil long enough to be taxed.
In the show’s final segment, Stewart sat down with journalist and political commentator E.J. Dionne. Dionne’s latest book, Our Divided Political Heart, explores polarization of politics in modern-day America.
“We used to have a consensus about who we were,” Dionne said. But now, Dionne argues that America’s national identity is in flux.
He argues that America is torn between a love of individualism and a love of community. And though this brewing identity crisis is coming to a head, he argues that the seeds were planted years ago.
“We’ve been arguing about what our constitution says from the very beginning,” he said, pointing out that Hamilton and Madison argued about the document’s meaning shortly after it had been penned. “How are we supposed to determine original intent?”
“The hope was that Scalia can build a time machine and go back in time to tell the founders what they meant,” Stewart suggested.
The two then discussed contemporary conservatism and the individualistic element of the Tea Party Movement. Dionne argued, “The government should not be viewed as some sort of alien creature,” pointing to the military as one of the most socialist organizations in the country.
Stewart agreed. “They get free education, free healthcare, and sleep in barracks wearing the same uniform.” Sounds like socialist club if ever there was one.