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The House is currently voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.[...]
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This point hadn't really sunk in to me. But it did click pretty quickly with TPM Reader SR. From the start, Mitt Romney has faced the problem that his party is doggedly opposed to a policy that he originated (or was at least the first to enact). To[...]
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Really doesn't need a comment.
Career criminal Darrell Issa was appointed chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by John Boehner for one reason-- to somehow bag a high ranking Democrat doing something "wrong." He focused on Attorney General Eric Holder and found some kooky right-wing conspiracy theory about Obama seizing all their guns to run with. The Justice Department strategy was to roll up gun smuggling networks operating in the Southwest between the U.S. and Mexico by nabbing high level crime figures rather than low-level foot soldiers. This was always an implicit threat to the money behind the NRA and Larry Pratt's Gun Owners of America.
When Issa brought up his partisan, trumped-up contempt charges against Holder in his committee, the vote was strictly partisan. Every single Republican voted for contempt and every single Democrat voted against contempt, including the committee's one Blue Dog, who can often be counted on to support crazy Republican initiatives, Jim Cooper of Nashville. Yesterday the procedural vote to allow Issa to move forward passed 254-173, every Republican plus 15 Democrats-- John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA), Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY), Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog--IN), Kathy Hochul (New Dem-NY), Ron Kind (New Dem-WI), Larry Kissell (Blue Dog-NC), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC), Bill Owens (New Dem-NY), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Nick Rahall (WV), Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), and Tim Waltz (MN)-- voting AYE.
In the end, ssa's crazy resolution passed 255-67. Only two Republicans, Scott Rigell (VA) and Stev LaTourette (OH), voted against Issa's nonsense. 110 Democrats walked out, 65 voted NO and 17 voted with the Republicans for contempt. Cowardly Illinois reactionary Lipinski Jr voted "present." The Congressional Black Caucus, Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Progressive Caucus led the walk out. Keith Ellison (D-MN):
Today?s vote by the House of Representatives is just another example of the Republican leadership?s fondness for playing political games instead of governing. That?s why I am proud to join my fellow Democrats in an action to protest today?s contempt vote.
I agree that the ?Fast and Furious? operation deserved a methodical Congressional investigation-- this is our oversight responsibility. The family of Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry, who was shot with a gun that had been trafficked-- or ?gun walked?-- into Mexico deserves a full explanation of what happened.
However, the investigation has ignored the fact that the Bush Administration started this program, which let weapons traffickers buy thousands of guns. The Obama Administration acted decisively to stop the program and Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the approach. He then called for an independent investigation of the botched program, testified before Congress on the matter seven times and provided more than 6,000 pages of documents.
Yet, once again the Republicans won?t take ?yes? for an answer and have turned this tragedy into a political football. Instead of the House Republicans taking action to invest in jobs they have used this investigation for political gain. It?s time to end the partisan witch hunt and to start working on the American people?s behalf.
Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA)- $12,400
Joe Baca (Blue Dog-CA)- $5,500
John Barrow (Blue Dog-CA)- $13,900
Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK)- $4,950
Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA)- $7,950
Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY)- $9,950
Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN)- $6,950
Kathy Hochul (New Dem/NRA endorsee)- $1,000
Tim Holden (Blue Dog-PA)- $13,400
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)- $5,950
Larry Kissell (Blue Dog-NC)- $11,900
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)- $6,000
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC)- $7,950
Bill Owens (New Dem-NY)- $3,000
Nick Rahall (WV)- $7,950
Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR)- $10,000
Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC)- $13,400
Tim Walz (MN)- $8,950
Under an 1857 statute, the House can refer the matter to the Justice Department for prosecution in federal court. But the department would almost certainly exercise its prosecutorial discretion and refuse to charge its own leader. Indeed, that happened in 2008, when the House held George W. Bush administration officials Harriet E. Miers and Joshua B. Bolten in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas related to the 2006 firing of nine U.S. attorneys.
The most likely next step would be for the House to file suit in federal court, seeking a declaratory judgment that Holder is in contempt of Congress and an injunction ordering him to comply with the congressional subpoenas. That is how the House went after Miers and Bolten. But their case illustrates why it would be a mistake for lawmakers to follow the same course now.
For one thing, going to the courts sends the wrong message about Congress?s strength. It would be odd and enfeebling for the House to declare someone in contempt and then go, hat in hand, to a federal district judge and ask her to declare that person in contempt.
Perhaps that kind of public humiliation would be worth it if the House actually got what it wanted in court. But that will not happen, as the Miers and Bolten case shows. Although a trial court ruled in the House?s favor, the legal battle took years. The House did not get any information until after the expiration of the Congress in which the subpoenas had been issued, after the end of the Bush administration, and after the U.S. attorneys controversy had faded from public attention. And if the executive had needed to drag out court proceedings even longer, there is no doubt that it could have, further frustrating the role of Congress in overseeing the executive branch. If this is what winning in the courts looks like, the House should want no part of it.
...[The House] can send its sergeant-at-arms to arrest him and hold him until his contempt is purged. The House has arrested and held executive-branch officials twice in U.S. history, although the last time was nearly a century ago. And traditionally, courts will inquire into the House?s jurisdiction to arrest-- which undoubtedly exists here-- but not its reasons for doing so. This option is risky; it even raises the possibility of a standoff between the House sergeant-at-arms and the executive-branch police tasked with protecting Holder. But executive-branch contempt of court also raises the possibility of a standoff between judicial marshals and executive-branch police. Such risks are always attendant in high-stakes separation-of-powers controversies.
The House could also impeach Holder-- and there is a good argument to be made that impeachment, which must be tried in the Senate, is the way to go after a Senate-confirmed Cabinet officer. The Democratic Senate may refuse to convict Holder, but simply facing impeachment proceedings is quite punishing-- just ask Bill Clinton.
Or consider the House?s power of the purse. It could threaten to cut funding to the ATF in particular or to the Justice Department as a whole. It could even refuse to pay Holder?s salary until he purges his contempt. Lower down the scale of confrontation, the House could pass a resolution censuring him or continue to hold hearings designed to embarrass him.
The Energy Report: The fourth annual Lithium Supply & Markets Conference in Argentina took place at the end of January. What was the mood at that time?
Daniela Desormeaux: At that time, people were thinking about how the situation in Europe would impact the industry. I think we have more information about that now, but in January we did not. Regardless, the main drivers behind lithium demand are relatively independent of the economic cycle, and what we see is demand continuing to grow at a healthy rate despite the current situation in Europe. People in the industry know that the … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: Lithium Demand Will Spike: Daniela Desormeaux
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I’ve sung the praises of Spike Lee’s dramatically misunderstood Red Hook Summer, which I saw at Sundance, before, but now we’ve got a trailer, which gives you some small sense of why the movie, which follows a boy named Flik over the summer he spends with his preacher grandfather, is so excellent:
A lot of what makes Red Hook Summer excellent is the way it incorporates politics into its characters’ conversations, and how its plot points grow out of realistic political and economic issues. Characters talk about unemployment because they, and people they know, are unemployed, and about the pollution caused by docking cruise ships in Brooklyn because their health is affected by it. And Lee draws drama less from emotional contrivance than from the politics of life in gentrifying neighborhoods. Flik and Chazz, a girl who attends Flik’s grandfather’s church, have an ongoing, pranky war with a white woman who has moved into Red Hook and gets hysterically angry when they write their names in the concrete in front of her steps. The cost of Chazz’s asthma medication and the fact that she loses expensive inhalers provokes one of the movie’s dramatic climaxes. Hollywood characters often live in a world that is mysteriously untouched by political systems, economics, bureaucracies, and environmental issues. Spike Lee’s characters actually live in the world.
House Democrats stormed out of a Congressional vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress today.
Led by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who originally planned a walk-out yesterday, most Democrats exited the chamber instead of voting to hold the Attorney General in contempt. Both House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) called for the walkout.
Holder been the target of Republican fury over ‘Fast and Furious,’ a misguided gun tracking effort initiated by the Bush administration and continued under Pres. Barack Obama in which thousands of guns went missing.
Democrats have criticized the vote for being about politics, not action, since Republican’s focus has been on Holder, and not on the gun trading scheme. They feel that Congress should be concentrating on the economy, jobs, and seeking the truth of what happened to the missing guns and a man killed by one.
Holder is the first-ever Attorney General to be charged with contempt by the full Congress.
The Republican-controlled New Hampshire state legislature overrode Gov. John Lynch’s (D) veto of a law requiring people to present photo identification when voting. Supporters called the voter suppression effort necessary to “protect the integrity of voting,? though opponents noted that the Granite State has had no history of significant voter fraud.
According to a report from the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the watchdog arm of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the IRS is facing a skyrocketing number of fraud cases without adequate resources. Potentially fraudulent returns are up 72 percent from last year, yet the IRS is working with a budget that is 3 percent lower than last year. As ThinkProgress has noted, slashing funds for the IRS ultimately ends up costing the U.S. money.