First a secret "Doomsday book", and now this?
"Today's SCOTUS decision is encouraging for all who believe in the checks and balances enshrined in our nation's constitution," is Darrell Issa's message following the Supreme Court's unanimous (9-0) decision cutting back the power of the White House to temporarily fill senior government posts when facing partisan opposition in Congress. The White House spokesman said President Obama was "deeply disappointed" and is 'reviewing' the decision. Simply put, President Obama used the recess appointment power to make an end run around a Senate that refused to confirm controversial nominees - thanks to this unanimous SCOTUS decision, that use of the power is all but dead.
After last week's fireworks, we suspect this rare evening hearing will have plenty more as the major Democratic donor (and IRS Commissioner) John Koskinen faces a fresh grilling over the technuical bullshit that led to the IRS destroying subpoena'd hard drives...
Following Darrell Issa's subpoena of Lois Lerner's hard drive, the rather stunning (and ripped from the pages of a badly written inside-Washington TV mini-series) news is that the IRS reports that the hard drive in question has been destroyed (just as we hinted last night). "We've been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away," Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a brief hallway interview and as Politico reports, Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s crashed hard drive has been recycled, making it likely the lost emails of the lightening rod in the tea party targeting controversy will never be found, according to multiple sources. Issa is pissed... blasting in a statement that the 'lost emails' meme was "just one more attempted deception... e-mails of a prominent official, don’t just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention." His response... requesting the White House attorney's testimony on Lerner's emails.
In order to avoid even further questions about the true role of the NSA and thus risk even more embarrassment of the broken US government apparatus (because the IRS scandal is really symptomatic of a greater issue: the deteriorating of checks and balances in the US legislative branch), the man who has been most steadfast in his pursuit of Lois Lerner's, and the IRS', pursuit of conservative groups, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on Tuesday issued a subpoena to the Internal Revenue Service, ordering the agency to turn over the hard drive they claim is responsible for wiping out two years of critical email communications. According to the Washington Examiner, Issa is not only seeking emails, but wants equipment, “communication devices,” printed documents and just about anything else related to former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has refused to testify before Congress and who the GOP believes is a central player in the targeting scheme.
Just 3 days short of the one year anniversary of Lois Lerner refusal to testify about the IRS' improper targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, House Republicans have voted to hold her in contempt of Congress, and
- *HOUSE VOTES TO ASK FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE IRS
As NBC reports, In a partisan 231-187 vote, the House passed the contempt resolution, sending the matter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. However, as The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) repidly noted, "Unfortunately, we don't expect the Attorney General to move forward with this case, he has put politics above the enforcement of the law on numerous occasions and unfortunately that is likely to occur again."
What You DON'T KNOW About CIA Fight with Congress
The clean debt ceiling bill has just passed the House where it got the required majority in a 221 to 201 final vote, with just 28 Republicans voting Yea (and 199 voting Nay) - a vote that has made history with the fewest number of votes from a majority on a bill that passed the House since 1991. It also means means that with a Senate passage assured, the US can now spend away until March 15, 2015. The final breakdown:
- GOP: Yea - 28; Nay -199
- DEM: Yea - 193; Nay -2
- Total: Yea - 221; Nay - 201
Considering that the vast majority of Republicans voted against John Boehner's latest "plan" to do the Democrats' work for them, and pass a clean debt ceiling, perhaps it is time to look for a speaker who represents the interests of more than just a tiny fraction of the party... and the Democrats of course.
Following yesterday's major market drubbing, in which the sliding market was propped up by the skin of Nomura's (and BOJ, and Fed's) teeth at 103.00 on the USDJPY, it was inevitable that with Japan returning from holiday there would be a dead cat bounce in the Yen carry pair, and sure enough there was, as the USDJPY rose all the way back up to 103.70, and nearly closed the Friday gap, before starting to let off some air. However, now that US traders are coming back online, Japan's attempts to keep markets in the green may falter, especially since it only has a couple of ES ticks to show for its efforts, as for the Nikkei which dropped 3% overnight, it has now lost all US "Taper" gains.
A month ago, we showed a chart of median household income in the US versus that just in the District of Columbia. The punchline wrote itself: "what's bad for America is good for Washington, D.C." Today we got official verification that Bernanke's wealth transfer in addition to benefitting the richest 1%, primarily those dealing with financial assets, also led to a material increase in the wealth of one particular subgroup of the US population: its politicians. According to the OpenSecrets blog which conveniently tracks the wealth of America's proud recipients of lobbying dollars, aka Congress, for the first time ever the majority of America's lawmakers are worth more than $1 million.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa leads yet another hearing on the Obamacare implementation and the rollout of Healthcare.gov. The Committee will examine the operational challenges in the development of Healthcare.gov and the extent to which recognized Information Technology (IT) best practices were followed. This one should be fun since its the techies answering the questions - US CTO Todd Park and Deputy CIO Henry Chao answering the questions...
It is now clear why according to the Obama administration there were no glitches plaguing the Healthcare.gov website administering Obamacare: because a whopping six people managed to sign up on the first day it was launched - the same day the government proudly reported previously it had received 4.7 million unique visitors - a conversion factor of, well, Div/0. By the end of the second day: 248 happy participants in a socialized healthcare ponzi scheme. It is also clear why there was nobody happier than the president when the republican party decided to shut down government on the same day as Obamacare was rolled out: because if public attention had focused on the absolute and now confirmed, disaster that the healthcare law's rollout had been, then everyone, not just the Tea Party, would be demanding a substantial delay in Obamacare.
While some have proclaimed the 36,000 enrollment in The Affordable Care Act "a good start," the online marketplaces that Obamacare has become more infamous for have been plagued with problems in the brief two weeks since launch. Politico provides 25 of the most telling and colorful comments made about the "glitches" the online exchanges have faced...
After a two-day, five hundred point Dow Jones rally on nothing but hope that just because politicians are talking, all shall be well, it was the weekend's turn, when the market is conveniently closed, for true Congressional colors to emerge. Sure enough, moments ago Boehner told GOP lawmakers that Obama has "rejected our deal", and that talks with the president have hit an impasse. The WSJ, whose recent poll in conjunction with NBC found Republican approval rating at an all time low (because if the debt ceiling slams shut, the machinery that funds both the "wealth effect" for the 0.01% and the 60 million on foodstamps and disability will cease: or in other words a bust for the ultra wealthy and poor, if not quite so bad for what's left of the middle class) reports that his comments, in a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, put renewed focus on a plan being developed by Senate Republicans to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and fully reopen the government. As we speculated, Obama, smelling blood, has decided to shut down the GOP on all their demands: "On Saturday, a House GOP aide said Mr. Obama had essentially rejected everything offered by House Republican leaders in their proposal." Which is hardly a negotiation. The question is will the GOP, having pushed the country so far, decide to back off now, and let Obama take all the spoils?
If you want to live the high life, you don't have to become a rap star, a professional athlete or a Wall Street banker. All it really takes is winning an election. Right now, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and most of them leave "public service" far wealthier than when they entered it. Since most of them have so much money, you would think that they would be willing to do a little "belt-tightening" for the sake of the American people. After all, things are supposedly "extremely tight" in Washington D.C. right now. In fact, just the other day Nancy Pelosi insisted that there were "no more cuts to make" to the federal budget. But even as they claim that things are so tough right now, our politicians continue to live the high life at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.