Archive for December 14th, 2007

How Not To Be Seen, Pt. II

These three congressmen have figured out how not to be seen…

Apparently Democratic congressmen and House Judiciary Committee members Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) have shopped this op-ed around to major papers like the Washington Post and the New York Times without any takers (h/t dirk). They’re calling for Cheney’s impeachment, which is kind of a big deal:

On November 7, the House of Representatives voted to send a resolution of impeachment of Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee. As Members of the House Judiciary Committee, we strongly believe these important hearings should begin.

The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

I think this is the money quote, however:

Some of us were in Congress during the impeachment hearings of President Clinton. We spent a year and a half listening to testimony about President Clinton’s personal relations. This must not be the model for impeachment inquires. A Democratic Congress can show that it takes its constitutional authority seriously and hold a sober investigation, which will stand in stark contrast to the kangaroo court convened by Republicans for President Clinton. In fact, the worst legacy of the Clinton impeachment – where the GOP pursued trumped up and insignificant allegations – would be that it discourages future Congresses from examining credible and significant allegations of a constitutional nature when they arise.

This is absolutely right, and I sometimes wonder whether it could have been deliberate, whether the Republicans were using it to immunize their next president from impeachment so that he would be completely unaccountable, completely unbound. Tempting as that idea is, here’s probably no need to assume conspiracy where petty vengeance will suffice.

But regardless of the reason, reclaiming the impeachment process as a tool to protect the government’s integrity would be very beneficial indeed. It’s just hard to imagine it actually happening.

December 14th, 2007 at 11:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Democrats,Impeachment,Media,Politics

Trumped

David Sirota indirectly hits on one of the most frustrating things about being a progressive:

Congress, you may have noticed, is trying to prevent the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) from hitting the middle class. This tax was originally designed to prevent billionaires like Kravis from using creative accounting to avoid paying any taxes whatsoever. However, the AMT did not adjust for inflation, and so the tax now threatens to hammer millions of ordinary Americans.To prevent this unintended consequence without adding to the national debt, Congress has to find about $50 billion. That is roughly the amount stolen each year through a tax loophole allowing those like Kravis to pay a lower effective tax rate than the servants who tend to his 26-room Park Avenue penthouse. Instead of paying the 35 percent income tax rate, private equity managers are permitted to pay the 15 percent capital gains rate on most of their earnings. They are also allowed to use offshore corporations to shelter their income from taxes.

In November, House Democrats passed a bill to prevent the AMT from hitting the middle class. The legislation included language shutting down the Henry Kravis Loophole. William Stanfill, a Colorado venture capitalist who testified to Congress in support of that provision, correctly says there are no negative side effects to “taxing rich white guys the same as the rest of the population.”

However, when the bill hit the Senate, the Washington Post reported that “a sprawling, big-money lobbying campaign” stopped it cold.

In the first nine months of 2007, the private equity industry spent about $20 million on campaign donations and lobbying. That kind of cash is barely a fraction of what just one executive like Kravis saves each year thanks to the tax loophole. But it was more than enough to convince a bipartisan group of senators to block the loophole-closing bill, thus creating today’s hostage situation.

How many times have tens or hundreds of thousands of progressives across the country bombarded Congress or key congresscritters with petitions, phone calls, e-mails and letters, only to have almost no effect at all? But a very small segment of very wealthy individuals and companies can throw truckloads of cash at Congress and stop legislation they don’t like dead in its tracks (see also: telecom immunity).

How is this democratic?

2 comments December 14th, 2007 at 09:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics

How Not To Be Seen

Sometimes, though, standing up is the best way not to be seen.

Kos diarist alysheba has some excellent advice for the busted baseball players on how they can get the media to ignore them completely:

[I]n this instance, the only way to salvage a celebrity’s career – and bring comfort into the hearts of all the nation’s citizens – is to effect a complete and total media blackout.

It sounds difficult, I know. But, ironically, this has never been easier to accomplish than it is right now, at this exact moment, thanks in no small part to the Presidency of George Bush, to his indentured corporate media and, yes, to the spineless Democratic leadership who stubbornly refuse to stand up for anything.

You’ll see what I mean below, where I offer to these fallen legends my fool-proof prescriptions for making the scandal – and themselves – disappear completely…

ROGER CLEMENS: Call a press conference and immediately demand the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney.

It may sound paradoxical, but in order to disappear, Clemens needs to put in some serious face time hammering this issue. I call it my “Crazy Ivan” maneuver (patent pending) – turning headlong into the media’s prurience before their corporate handlers have time to retask them. One serious marathon session of putting that big, square jaw in front of every camera he can find and talking incessantly about the need for impeachment?? 24 hours later it’ll be: “Roger who?”

DAVID JUSTICE: Join forces with Robert Kennedy and announce a speaking tour to raise the nation’s awareness of election fraud in 2004.

As a retiree, David Justice has time on his side – time to think, time to plan, most of all, time to sit through a crash course in the Conyers Report at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, and then take his newfound knowledge on the road! It may sound cliched, but making one’s self the poster-child for what the mainstream media prefers to label a “conspiracy theory,” well, that’s the high road to a low profile.

LENNY DYKSTRA: Quickly orchestrate and, if necessary, self-finance, an endorsement deal for Johnathan Goodwin’s 100 mpg diesel-electric Hummer.

Nothing says “media blackout” like the phrase “alternative fuel.” And for Dykstra’s money, he couldn’t find a better place to hide than under a 7,000 lb. car that scares the shit out of Detroit. I mean, a right wing loon like Arnold Schwarzenegger joining forces with an energy independence advocate like Goodwin? Plus the endorsement of a tobacco chewing millionaire like Dykstra?? There’s no way to shoehorn those oddities into the stock media narrative! And you know what that means: BUH-BYE DYKSTRA HEADLINES!

ANDY PETTITE: Join the Army. Go to Iraq. Stay out of combat if possible, but upon your return have someone pen a book on your (fictional) traumatic brain injury. Stay away from Bob Woodruff at all costs!

Pettite’s got a lot to lose. Given that Bonds was already done prior to today’s news, and that Clemens was close to retirement anyway, Pettite, in my professional opinion as a newly minted publicist, is the real loser today and it appears he may have to go for the sacrifice fly.

He may get some press initially over the whole “celebrity enlistment” thing, but say he’s done with his obligation in three years, he’ll still have a good half-decade of throwing ahead of him. And, again, coming home with the whole sourpuss TBI-thing – that’s a guaranteed “C-ya” in the press and next thing y’know, he’s back on the mound.

But, again, Pettite must stay well clear of Bob Woodruff. The last thing he needs is to get swept up in another one of those “intrepid reporter” plots. That’s the kinda airtime no fallen hero needs!

BARRY BONDS: Rent out the “House that (You) Built” and stage a public hearing on the Sibel Edmonds case, signing autographs as necessary to increase attendence.

If there’s a holy grail of going dark, this might be it.

Alysheba is right. There is no better way to make the corporate media forget that you ever existed. These topics are – I’m going to assume that “dognip” is the opposite of catnip – for the media that control our discourse.

(h/t Phoenix Woman)

December 14th, 2007 at 11:53am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Energy,Environment,Impeachment,Iraq,Media,Politics,Sports

At Night, The Nitrogen Ice Pigs Come… Photoblogging

Some more random weird stuff from NYC:

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Fun with nitrogen ice.

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Nitrogen ice pig!

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Fun with extremely adverse lighting conditions…

1 comment December 14th, 2007 at 11:20am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Friday Quote & Lemur Blogging

This week’s quote is from the very eccentric House Of Yes, where Parker Posey thinks she’s Jackie Kennedy. I have no idea what it means, but I’m sure it’s very sound advice:

Don’t marry girls who smell like powdered sugar.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s lemurs…

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1 comment December 14th, 2007 at 07:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging


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