Friday, June 20, 2014

Last Call For Just Making Stuff Up

If you can't make a scandal stick to a president with facts, make the scandal you want up and hope people don't actually fact check it.

A defiant IRS Commissioner on Friday refused to apologize for the loss of ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails, and said the agency produced what they could, at a combative hearing marked by accusations by Republicans of IRS deceit.

The meeting comes a week after the agency revealed that two years worth of emails to and from Lerner, the ex-official at the center of the tea party targeting controversy, were lost when her hard drive crashed in 2011. 
“I don’t think an apology is owed,” chief John Koskinen told Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp after the Republican lawmaker asked for one at the first hearing on the email issue.

Democrats said there was no evidence of bad faith, but the GOP accused Koskinen of hiding the missing emails from Congress, saying the agency and the White House knew for months there was a problem before they told the Hill. They chastised him for not mentioning it during several appearances before Congress this spring.

“You can blame it on a technical glitch, but it is not a technical glitch to mislead the American people,” Camp said. “What you have lost is all credibility.”

We can't actually prove you're lying, so we're just going to accuse you of it anyway.  Meanwhile, how quickly we forget that the Bush administration lost tens of millions of emails until almost a year after he left office.

White House computer technicians have found 22 million e-mails that were believed to have been lost during President George W. Bush’s administration, according to the Associated Press.

The discovery was announced Monday by the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, which filed lawsuits against the Executive Office of the President, or EOP, over the e-mails in 2007.

The two groups had initially filed a Freedom of Information Act request for e-mails in the wake of a scandal involving the Justice Department, which had fired U.S. attorneys around the country in an apparent political bid to rid the department of prosecutors who didn’t adhere to the White House’s conservative agenda. The missing e-mails were also potentially crucial to the investigation into the Valerie Plame–CIA leak scandal.

But of course they were mislabeled.  22 million emails worth of mislabeled.  Republicans didn't bat an eye.  But one person's emails go missing, and it's a national scandal.

Go figure.

Give Me That Good New Time Relgion

Welcome to 2014 folks, where even Christianity is beginning to realize that the battle to stop marriage equality is a losing one.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted at its General Assembly on Thursday to change its constitution’s definition of marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two people,” and to allow its ministers to perform same-sex marriages where it is legal. 
Both measures, passed by large majorities, are a reversal for a church that in 1991 and in 2008 barred its pastors from performing same-sex marriages, and that has held ecclesiastical trials for ministers who violated the ban and blessed gay couples. 
The Presbyterian Church, a historic mainline Protestant denomination that spans a broad spectrum from liberal to conservative evangelicals, has been mired in the debate over homosexuality for about three decades. The General Assembly’s decision in 2010 to ordain openly gay ministers caused many congregations, including some of the largest, to depart. 
The convention hall fell silent as the vote counts were announced, in deference to a plea by the church’s moderator, leading the session, to be respectful of the divide. 
“There were some of us with tears of joy, and some of us with tears of grief,” said the Rev. Susan De George, stated clerk of the Hudson River Presbytery, in New York, a lesbian minister who years ago was among those brought up on charges for blessing same-sex unions. “After the vote, the first thing I did was to text a friend on the other side of the issue.”

This is a pretty huge deal, frankly.  It's NOT the first big mainstream Protestant denomination in the US to announce this policy, as has been pointed out in the comments, and hopefully more will follow.

Maybe even in your lifetime.

A Loophole Big Enough To Drive Through

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have come up with a solution to fix the impending Highway Trust Fund disaster: to close corporate tax loopholes to pay for it, and try to force Republicans to vote on it in an election year.  Greg Sargent explains:

The crisis in question is the pending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, a transportation and infrastructure fund paid for by gas taxes. The White House has warned that allowing it to run out of money by the end of the summer could cost the country 700,000 jobs and put untold numbers of infrastructure and transit projects on hold — which means a big battle is set for this summer over how to produce the money to avert the pending disaster.

I’m told House Dems — with the support of leader Nancy Pelosi — are set to propose a new way to pay for it: A bill that would attach continued funding for the trust fund to a proposal to raise $20 billion by restricting U.S. multinational corporations from lowering their taxes by moving headquarters abroad.

“This will accomplish two important goals through one legislative action,” Dem Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a leading party strategist who is planning to push the new measure, tells me. “It will deter American companies from deserting U.S. taxpayers, and use the revenue to create jobs here at home.” 
The proposal to block corporations in this fashion is not in itself new. The idea, originally championed by Dem Rep. Sander Levin and Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, would block “corporate inversions,” in which a company can merge with an entity abroad and enjoy lower taxes, provided 20 percent of its shares are owned by the foreign company. The Levin proposal would raise the legal hurdle for companies looking to enjoy this loophole, requiring 50 percent ownership by the foreign entity, raising an estimated $19.5 billion in American tax revenues over the next decade.
It's a good plan, but since the vast majority of Republicans are 100% beholden to corporate interests, it will never pass the House.  In fact, I doubt it will even get a vote, because for all the complaining by glibertarian douchebags  in the end they'll vote for corporate profits over roads and highways, just like the rest of the GOP.

It's what they do.  They do not care about governance one single bit.


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