Hollinger International

Darrell Issa Whines He Didn’t Get Enough of Your Tax Dollars to Be a Pest

Darrell Issa and the Republicans on the Oversight Committee are complaining that their committee got only a bigger-than-inflation but smaller-than-other-committees 3.43% increase in funding this year.  Oversight still has the second largest budget of any House Committee, with $22.3 million.

In what some might call a great example of "what goes around comes around," Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (OGR) are up in arms over what they consider a paltry budget increase for the panel tasked with tracking the operations and spending of the federal government. Democrats say they’re practicing fiscal restraint and that oversight will continue no matter who occupies the White House.

Committee budgets are set by the Committee on House Administration, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the House of Representatives. The panel, chaired by Rep. Robert A. Brady (D-Pa.), gave OGR a 3.43 percent budget increase this year, less than the 10.9 percent bump it requested. The full House is scheduled to vote on the budget increases later this week. OGR’s $22.3 million budget is second only to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"We have the second largest budget, but that number is deceiving: we have the largest staff as well," said Kurt Bardella, spokesman for OGR’s Republican members.

I thought Republicans didn’t want any Federal money to go to governance. So why does Issa want an inflation-busting increase?

If Issa weren’t such an asshole, I might be all in favor of an increase in oversight. But seeing as how two months into his tenure as Ranking Member at Oversight, he has already proven to a hypocritical, fairweather advocate of oversight, I have just this to say to Issa:

Darrell? Elections have consequences.

The McCain Economic Leadership that Might Have Been

Just for shits and giggles, I thought I’d compare how one Villager regurgitated the myth–propagated after McCain "suspended" his campaign in September "to respond to the economic crisis"–that John McCain might lead us out of our financial woes…

Sen. John McCain’s surprise announcement that he would temporarily suspend his campaign to return to Washington to help broker a deal to save the financial industry is the latest in a series of political gambits surrounding the financial crisis on Wall Street, and is sure to reshape political calculations and voter attitudes around the volatile issue.

The move is an obvious attempt by McCain and his campaign to paint the Arizona senator as above politics, willing to put aside his campaign for the good of the country.

It comes as two new national polls — including one conducted by the Washington Post — show McCain slipping in the head-to-head matchup against Barack Obama due in large part to voters’ inclination to trust the Illinois senator to solve the financial problems of the country.

The McCain campaign believes that their candidate is at his best when he is seen as a deal-maker, willing to reach across party lines to get things done for the good of the country. This economic crisis, they believe, provides McCain a chance to show the sort of leadership that voters value in the Arizona senator.

"John McCain’s leadership and experience credentials outrank Barack Obama’s," said Sarah Simmons, a McCain campaign strategist, this morning. "[We are] walking through a crisis and people are looking to see how it is going to be handled."

With the news that, 167 days later, McCain is attempting to put together a "definitive" economic platform.

Sen. John McCain is putting together a major economic plan that will be structured, in some ways, off of Newt Gingrich’s famous Contract With America.

In an email obtained by the Huffington Post, the Arizona Republican’s chief of staff, Marc Buse, asked an outside adviser for help with a "ten principles" program that the senator could use as a "definitive" platform.

"We are looking for some guidance on a definitive plan (aka contract with america style) on the economy…principles," writes Buse. "Ten principles that JSM could point to on what MUST BE DONE to address the problems our nation faces."

Buse doesn’t offer specific suggestions of his own, save "NO TAX INCREASES."

Because that’s my definition of leadership: 167 days after a failed photo op, Continue reading

Justice Ginsburg to Senator Bunning: “Screw You”

Mind you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is much too polite to say it in those terms. But this story makes quite clear: one of the things that motivated Ginsburg to return to the Court so quickly and attend Obama’s address to Congress was Jim Bunning’s prediction of her imminent demise.

One month after her surgery for pancreatic cancer, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday that she expects to be on the Supreme Court for several more years. In an interview, she also vividly recalled why, on her second day back on the bench, she attended President Obama’s televised speech to a joint session of Congress.

"First, I wanted people to see that the Supreme Court isn’t all male," the lone female justice said of the evening event Feb. 24. "I also wanted them to see I was alive and well, contrary to that senator who said I’d be dead within nine months."

You know, I had already sort of been rooting for Bunning (in that crafty sabotage kind of way), given that his continued presence in the Senate–and especially his determination to run again in 2010–is driving Mitch McConnell crazy.  And of course, having Bunning as a Republican opponent in 2010 might make that seat a pick-up opportunity.

But if Bunning’s continued idiocy is going to keep a solid liberal like Justice Ginsburg going strong on the Court, more power to the asshole. 

“Not Much Patience for Failure”

8 years of George Bush:

And now this:

"What is amazing is that Steele was elected because of his communications skills, and it is those skills that are damaging the Republican Party. Before people begin to completely judge him as worthless, Steele needs to focus and knuckle down on building a strong foundation at RNC so we can begin rebuilding our majority," says a top GOP strategist who has worked for House and Senate Republican leaders. "If his implosion continues, RNC members are likely to call a special session to dump him for an effective chairman. There is not much patience for failure."

I’d really hate to see what patience for failure looks like.

Steele and Boehner Go Gangsta

Well, you just knew that the GOP wouldn’t take the bonecrushing loss in last November’s elections to Rico Suave Obama and the too cool for school Dems lightly. They were, like an octogenarian on Viagra, going to get hip. Or a hip replacement. Whatever.

They started by electing the rootin tootin slick dick midnight mustache Michael Steele as RNC Chairman. When coupled with Boner John Boehner, their ultra- tanned sensitive Minority Leader, this is a clear cut recipe for the GOP surgarific return to power. Let’s check in on their street cred. From today’s CNN Political Ticker:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says his party is going to launch an "off the hook" public relations campaign that will update the GOP’s image by translating it to "urban-suburban hip-hop settings."

He added, jokingly, that “we need to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets.”

Steele described the new multi-platform PR offensive as “avant-garde, technically. It will come to [the] table with things that will surprise everyone — off the hook.” Asked whether that meant cutting-edge tactics, Steele demurred. “I don’t do ‘cutting-edge,’” he said. “That’s what Democrats are doing. We’re going beyond cutting-edge.”

Booyah. Get down James Brown and Fitty Cent take a backseat. Now let’s look in on the Steeley One’s partner in vice, Boner Boehner. Oooh, here he is jawing up the GOP stimulus position (yeah, okay, bad imagery) and his homeboy. What a twofer:

The stimulus has passed. In addition to voting against it, Republicans are all over the airwaves trashing it.

The leader of their pack is John Boehner, the man with a tan. According to him, the stimulus will not create jobs. According to Michael Steele, the new RNC Chair, if you work and earn money, you do not necessarily have a job. According to all Republicans who voted no, this bill, with terrible ideas such as helping states pay for Medicare, assisting our elders and our children, is a disaster for our country.

That’s right; the Tan With a Plan. Wow. What a dynamic duo. Crockett and Tubbs roll in DC. Oh yeah, and Sistah McKracka is going to take the toobz by storm. What could possibly go wrong?

The MI GOP: Leading Their National Party to Twit Failure

When I wrote my post describing Crazy Pete Hoekstra’s Twitter security breach, I had one thought in my mind: the Republicans have been learning their online social networking skills from MI’s Republicans.

Saul Anuzis, MI’s former GOP Chair, who lost just about every election he could, has long been fond of trolling at MI’s lefty blogs and experimenting with Facebook and was an early Twitter user. Because this made him a rarity among the tech-impaired Republicans, he attracted support for his run for RNC Chair out of the mistaken belief that he was some tech whiz.

Crazy Pete, I thought as soon as I heard about his Twitter security breach, learned his stuff from Saul.

We could only be so lucky, I mused further, if the GOP nationally took after Saul’s sloppy Twitter habits.

Consider us lucky. Following in Saul’s and Crazy Pete’s footsteps, the idiotic Republican Chair in Virginia just blew a plot to flip the Senate today by tweeting about it prematurely. Democrats currently have a 21-19 majority in the VA Senate. Republicans had convinced Democrat Ralph Northam to flip sides which, with the Republcian Lt Governor, would have tipped the Senate to the Republicans.

And then the Republican Party Chair Jeff Frederick tweeted it. 

Having been thus warned, the Democrats adjourned before Republicans could execute their plot … and proceeded to pound Northam until he rethought his decision to flip.

The Republicans fucked up a chance to flip the Senate with their sloppy Tweet habits! 

You are all welcome, America, for the lessons Saul Anuzis has given his fellow Republicans.

Update: More Twitting, this time in NY.

FBI Whistleblower Plugs Toobz Stevens Prosecution

graphic by twolf

I have stated before that the case against Ted Stevens should have been dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct before it ever reached the contaminated and bizarre jury process that led to the guilty verdict.

Late today we received yet more evidence of just how true that is. From the Anchorage Daily News:

A five-year FBI agent assigned to the Alaska corruption investigation is the whistleblower who brought a complaint of misconduct against other agents and at least one prosecutor involved in the trial of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

But the whistleblower’s explosive allegations about misconduct by other members of the FBI and the prosecution suggest intimate, firsthand knowledge of the full investigation from the start, and of the activities surrounding Stevens’ trial.

"I have witnessed or learned of serious violations of policy, rules and procedures as well as possible criminal violations," the whistleblower asserted in his complaint to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

The whistleblower said agents got too close to sources, took gifts and favors from sources, and revealed confidential grand jury and investigation information to sources and reporters.

The whistleblower also said members of the prosecution team intentionally withheld information from Stevens’ defense that was required by law to be turned over. In addition, the prosecution deliberately failed to alert the defense that it was sending a key witness back to Alaska without testifying even though that witness was under a defense subpoena.

Prosecutors and agents also failed to properly log and track evidence, the whistleblower said.

Two filings came out today: The decision and order by Judge Emmet Sullivan releasing the document, and the actual whistleblower’s complaint.

This case was already so full of erratic and malicious misconduct that it was almost certain to be reversed on appeal. See this earlier post I did and this post by Christy Hardin Smith.

Stevens’ attorney, Brendan Sullivan, has already lodged a motion to dismiss the charges or, alternatively, gain a new trial. Stevens has not been sentenced yet, so this is still in the trial court, not the appellate level.

The real issue is going to revolve around Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 16(a)(1)(E), which requires that the government must disclose evidence upon defense request where:

(i) the item is material to preparing the defense;

(ii) the government intends to use the item in its case-in-chief at trial; or

(iii) the item was obtained from or belongs to the defendant.

Further, there is a continuing duty to disclose (Rule 16(c)), with penalties enumerated Continue reading

Richard Shelby Wants To Place US Government In Bankruptcy And Eliminate Military Pensions And Benefits

Seriously. He must be saying that, right?

Because here is what Shelby (and many other belligerent Republican union busters) has been spewing in every microphone and videocam he can get his demented Chesire cat grin in front of:

"I think a lot of it will be life support," Shelby, R-Ala., said. "I believe their best option would be some type of Chapter 11 bankruptcy … These leaders have been failures and they need to go."

Let me draw an analogy that will drive Richard Shelby and his fellow mouth breathing bottom feeders nuts. What about military pensions and benefits after retirement? Well, come on, what about it blowhards that are so quick to call for trashing the pensions and benefits of the auto workers, are you also arguing to trash and burn the same for those in the military???

Because, there is a lot of yammering about how the CEOs of the auto companies made bad decisions and are upside down financially; and, based on that, group think that the auto workers ought to be taken to the woodshed. How is that any different than the employer of the military? Their employer, the US Government, makes the auto company executives look like the most brilliant and responsible financial minds on the planet in comparison. Talk about yer upside down and bad management.

Who has been more of a failure in leadership, the auto executives or the Bush/Cheney Administration and their Republican toadie enablers like Richard Shelby and friends?

And speaking about people who take early retirements; jeebus, a lot of military people are retired and taking full benefits at 40-45 years old. Sorry. How do we afford this if we can’t afford a miniscule bridge loan for American auto manufacturers so they can save their auto workers?

You want to bankrupt GM? Then bankrupt the US too; they need the "reorganization" a hell of a lot more.

This is what Richard Shelby and his ilk are advising. It must be. Because, otherwise, they would just be mindless, hypocritical, bloviating bags of hot foul air.

I think we know the real answer.

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!

Put a fork in ‘em. John Sidney McCain III and the Republican Grand Old Party have nothing left in the tank except for tired platitudes, creaky rhetoric, moldy and discredited policies, racism and anger.

Just four years ago, the right wing GOP was full of hubris and was bellowing of their dominion over American politics, their coming permanent majority, and discussing on what nominal terms they should allow the Democratic party to even exist at all in the future. Now they are nothing but a freak show of carnival barkers, sideshow clowns and carny hangers on like "Joe the Plumber".

McCain, and the GOP as whole, is in a time warp. The economic system is frayed well beyond the edges, the base of the real economy – jobs – is contracting at an alarming rate, and people are losing their homes left and right. They are still pitching tax breaks for the rich and deregulation. The world has bitterly turned on the US as a result of overzealous militancy in power projection, read incessant war, and the Republicans and McCain push for more of it. History is being made by a man of at least partial color who transcends color in an almost color neutral fashion, and they are relentlessly hawking the election in terms of racial strife and distrust, arguing that their fellow Americans are not American at all. This act was tired and divisive when the ultimate shill, Ronald Reagan, pitched it in 1980; now it is just pathetic.

Who are these monsters dancing the Time Warp? Let’s have some Halloween fun and have a discussion about who among the cast of McCainiac and GOP ghouls would be what character in our own little production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

So far, I have Karl Rove as the evil Dr. Frank N. Furter and John Sidney McCain III as Rocky Horror, the monster (McCain does lurch around like a stiff after all). I want really bad to have Sarah palin be janet, but it just doesn’t work I don’t think. Maybe Palin is Magenta!

I have an inkling that all my casting agent friends and family here at the Lake can do a far better job. Have some fun! We will also be adding some cool photos from Miss LaLisa Derrick live from the freak show Continue reading

Fukuyama Endorses Obama; Slams McPrickly, Dick & Bush

McPrickly/Cheney by twolf

McPrickly/Cheney by twolf

Even the neocon nuts are fleeing John McCain and his campaign of shame. The latest surfer from the right to catch the Obama wave to the White House is Francis Fukuyama. That’s right, the guy who literally wrote The End Of History has figured out that Barack Obama is history in the making and John McCain is simply ancient and erratic history. And Fukuyama nukes McCain, Bush and Cheney in the process. It is a brutally scathing takedown.

I’m voting for Barack Obama this November for a very simple reason. It is hard to imagine a more disastrous presidency than that of George W. Bush….. While John McCain is trying desperately to pretend that he never had anything to do with the Republican Party, I think it would a travesty to reward the Republicans for failure on such a grand scale.

Ouch! Chris Buckley got terminated from the conservative magazine his own father created for less than that. Maybe if that is all Fukuyama said, none of the right wing freak show will notice….

Ooops, Francis did it again; he had more to say:

At a time when the U.S. government has just nationalized a good part of the banking sector, we need to rethink a lot of the Reaganite verities of the past generation regarding taxes and regulation. Important as they were back in the 1980s and ’90s, they just won’t cut it for the period we are now entering. Obama is much better positioned to reinvent the American model and will certainly present a very different and more positive face of America to the rest of the world.

Yowser! First Bush and McCain, now Fukuyama has gone and thrown Saint Ronnie of Raygun under the bus. That’s gonna leave a mark. Here, however, is the most beautiful part:

McCain’s appeal was always that he could think for himself, but as the campaign has progressed, he has seemed simply erratic and hotheaded. His choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate was highly irresponsible; we have suffered under the current president who entered office without much knowledge of the world and was easily captured by the wrong advisers. McCain’s lurching from Reaganite free- marketer to populist tribune makes one wonder whether he has any underlying principles at all.

Yep, Francis is right; America was trashed and burned by a bunch of pricks with more balls Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @theurbansherpa What?!?!?! No closets? Where do I put my bogeymen?
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bmaz @JoshMBlackman The extremely disappointing part is when Obama dipped back in that pool second time, he chose Kagan over the superior Wood
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JimWhiteGNV There are skeletal remains of a dead armadillo in my backyard that would be a better #Gators coach than Will Muschamp. #FireMuschamp Now!
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emptywheel @dametzger Hmm. Works for me. You not getting to the site?
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emptywheel @onekade Why do you say that?
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emptywheel Maybe NSA “Moonlighting” Is Another Name for “Public-Private Partnership”? https://t.co/c1MYKUsMJy Sounds like a great way to sheep dip.
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emptywheel @onekade But yes, hiring Judy Clarke makes it clear this is headed to LWOP.
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emptywheel @onekade It's a terrorism trial. Even in Boston, juries don't actually require convincing proof (cf Methanna).
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emptywheel @RupertStone83 Hmm. Shouldn't be the browser then.
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emptywheel @RupertStone83 What browser?
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emptywheel @RupertStone83 Nope. What are you getting?
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emptywheel "Financial rocket science" prevented us fr prosecuting bank crimes. Under CryptoWar logic, shouldn't we eliminate it? http://t.co/sovt5FrG2e
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