Last week, when the case against Ted Stevens was dropped for prosecutorial mishandling, we heard about evidence that was withheld from the defense. It happens all the time, but rarely is it so severe that anything comes of it, at least not influencing the disposition of the case.
As in the Coleman/Franken case, the judge usually finds out about it and chews out the lawyers. Occasionally the judge will throw out a case.
Now if you were one of those defendants who doesn’t have a lot of money for expensive lawyers, you’d never even know it happened to you. They’d probably get away with it every time, which obviously is not the way the justice system is supposed to work in this country.
But for the case to be completely dropped, rather than merely seeking a retrial of some sort had to mean that the case was so ‘poisoned’ by whatever had been done that it could not be retried.
There was even speculation that the Bush administration was responsible for making sure that the case would inevitably be thrown out on appeal, thus being an embarrassment for everyone involved, except of course Ted Stevens, who is claiming that this is proof he never did any of the things that they said he did.
Well, of course we assumed that maybe somebody would get a slap on the wrist, or some Bush appointee would get pushed out of their job a bit early and end up getting wealthy writing slanted books rewriting history as fiction and giving interviews on hate radio claiming persecution by liberal fascists.
Not so. It seems that we really will find out wtf was happening.
“In nearly 25 years on the bench, I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case,” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said.
And then he appointed a special prosecutor to figure out exactly what happened and bring the criminals in the department to justice.
In case there is any confusion about what “justice” might mean in a case like this, they are looking at disbarment and prison time.
The word is that the Bush administration has salted the employment rolls of the current administration with hangovers who are ‘moles’, undercover operatives waiting to take orders from Bush, Cheney, Rove, and the Republican caucus and sabotage whatever the Obama adminstration tries to do.
I hang out on Yahoo Answers, which is a great place for people who tend to become addicted to things like competitive speed-answering.
The Politics & Government categories are full of right wingnut trolls, many of whose questions are patently foolish and merely intended to waste the time of real people trying helpfully to point out to someone the error of their ways.
Hanging out on a site like that has fine-tuned my BS meter. But anyway, I sometimes put so much effort into answering a question that I think I should repost it here. So here goes:
Why Do Republicans Voters think the Rich need Handouts(aka Tax Cuts)?
They have fallen for what I would call The Great Republican Lie of Income Redistribution”, which is, “Rich people work hard for their money, and people who work hard for their money deserve to keep it.” This lie is based on false premises and leads people to internally inconsistent conclusions. Here are the arguments, as you can read in the thread.
1. “Rich people work hard for their money”
Implied: How hard a person works can be shown by their income, so a person who makes $20,000 a year is working 2x as hard as someone who is making $10,000 a year, and the person making $10 million a year is working 1000x as hard.
False conclusion that the listener is supposed to draw: “People who don’t make much money aren’t actually working hard and are lazy, but I work hard for my money, too, so I am like a rich person.”
Truth rating: False. Most rich people do not work any harder for their money than anyone who works a job and does it well. The hardest, dirtiest, and most dangerous work out there is some of the worst-paying.
Not only that, but most rich people started higher on the ladder than poor people. They had someone to pay for their education at a pricey school where students hobnob with the wealthy and well-connected, and their connections that enabled them to get a job that a person born poor could never hope for his children to achieve, even if he borrowed enough money to pay for their college. Or like many rich people, they were already born rich.
2. “People who work hard for their money deserve to keep it.”
False conclusion: We should lower taxes for people like the rich who work hard. I work hard, so therefore I will get a tax cut, too.
Inconvenient fact: Historically, Republican “tax cuts” have resulted in huge tax cuts to the wealthy and much smaller if any tax cuts to the rest.
Hidden inconvenient fact #1: Lowering taxes disproportionally for one group of people means increasing the tax burden for all other groups. During the past generation the tax burden in real dollars on the working poor and middle class has risen while their incomes have fallen.
False conclusion: We can just lower taxes, and nothing will be affected, or the government will cut programs to those who don’t deserve it. (Remember, we have defined “undeserving” above as “not making as much money as a rich person”.).
Fact: Money invested in speculation rather than production of goods and services does not result in the creation of new wealth, but rather in a bubble effect.
Fact: Government policy over the past generation has encouraged the abandonment of our manufacturing base and funneling of money into high-risk investments and fraud schemes based only on the ability of the designers to get away with what any other citizen would be charged with a crime for doing.
Fact: Following this path has brought the country to its knees. Continuing to do more of the same will destroy us.
Conclusion: The Republican establishment has been manipulating their voters to vote against their own self-interest for a generation. Without not only the support of these voters but their complicity in attacking their fellow workers, government would have long ago had to answer for their crimes.
The article is long and filled with slides. Just to sum up, he feels the US is in much worse shape and highly unlikely to recover anytime soon from what he saw at that time as its inevitable economic collapse.
The solution? As he sees it, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. The majority of systems in this country are geared toward providing profit to business at the expense of infrastructure, transportation, health, and agricultural stability. Politicians have nothing to gain by fixing the system. They feed off it and are rewarded not by making the sort of really hard decisions that have not even been considered yet, but by focusing on trivialities and irrelevancies.
So what can we do? His surprising recommendation is that we as individuals should start hunkering down. We should do whatever it takes to remove ourselves to the margins of society and become accustomed to a low but sustainable standard of living. We should remove our money from financial institutions and put it into durable goods.
We should definitely grow our own food, as best we are able.
Pretty scary stuff, and so prescient. It rather reminds me of a ’50′s era cookbook and survivalist guide I once read, whose mission was getting people through the coming nuclear holocaust. The method for achieving wealth when money became valueless due to hyperinflation or the necessity of barter for survival? Lay in a supply of tobacco. When the chips are down, you will be able to charge whatever you want.
Seriously, it’s time for a good ambush interview with Michelle Bachman, Republican rep from Minnesota. Ask her some tough questions, but word them in a neutral way, so as not to set off her “UnAmerican meter”. Let’s find out if she thinks a “House UnAmerican Activities Committee” might be a good idea. I want to know if she knows who Joe McCarthy was.
People like this piss me off. She’s convinced that she wasn’t elected by the people of her district, she was chosen by God, because God supports everything she ever has done or will do, regardless of how amoral her behavior appears.
By pretending to be devout but not a religious fanatic, she has duped enough people into her disctrict into thinking that she’s a good person who would fight for their rights. And the rest? By claiming that her opponent personally wants to speak with Bin Laden and wants to see dead babies in the streets, she’s got the whacko vote tied up.
She’d probably disenfranchise 95% of Americans, given the opportunity.
This is too choice. It just doesn’t work to try to bring down the level of discourse in order to shout down the more intelligent and well-thought-out arguments of your opponents. Kevin James, a conservative radio host, was on Hardball to defend President Bush’s comments that anyone who talks with the enemy is in essence a Nazi appeaser.
He must be a smart guy. They say he used to be a federal prosecutor, but you’d never know it from this clip. He forgot to read the history of which he was speaking. Since he didn’t appear to have any knowledge about what it was that Neville Chamberlain did that made him go down in history as an “appeaser”, instead of letting it go, Matthews called him on it. Twenty-eight times he had the opportunity to explain what he was talking about.
I’m laughing too hard…
A commenter to Jonathan Kay’s Blog entry on the subject felt that not only the net effect of the incident but the intended effect was to lower the standard of discourse. That Matthews knew James was not a moving target when he invited him onto the show, demonstrated by the fact that the opening question to him was, “Why are you screaming?” That Matthews and his other guest should have taken this as an opportunity to educate listeners to James on the actual history of the topic.
But Kevin James is a big boy. If he wants to play with the big boys, he needs to know his stuff. He was more than willing to shout the same stuff over and over again, and I’m sure if he was interviewing a liberal nemesis who didn’t know what he or she was talking about, he’d proceed to belittle and humiliate them about it.
It’s not really like shooting fish in a barrel. After all, the fish didn’t volunteer to be in a barrel, and they didn’t volunteer to be fish. It’s more like showing up at an ironman competition having forgotten that you needed to train. Or even forgetting to bring your bicycle and running shoes.
“Conservatives” a/k/a neocon crackpot talking heads are having an impact on thought in this country, all right. But the impact they are having is entertaining the rest of us while giving conservatism a bad name, without any help from outsiders. Thanks for making it harder for Americans to take “conservatives” like John McCain seriously, Kevin. Obama supporters thank you.
I have been seeing too many of these videos lately lampooning Bush by quoting his own words, and it has reached critical mass. I had to share some of them with you. I found a pirated Daoly Show piece on YouTube like the last one, but interviewing Governor Bush and President Bush. Since putting copyright material on YouTube can result in it going poof at anytime, I decided not to embed it. With luck it will show up soon on the Daily Show website.