13 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Republicons in the Senate are all set to make utter fools of themselves:

This seems to be causing some headaches on the Hill this afternoon.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is raising questions about a housekeeper who worked briefly for Treasury Secretary-nominee Timothy Geithner without proper immigration papers, and multiple years when Mr. Geithner didn't pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for himself. [...]

According to people familiar with the matter, Mr. Geithner employed a housekeeper whose immigration papers expired during her tenure with Mr. Geithner, currently president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The woman went on to get a green card to work legally in the country and federal immigration authorities didn't press charges against her, these people said.

The second issue involved taxes due while Mr. Geithner worked for the International Monetary Fund between 2001 and 2004. As an employee, Mr. Geithner was technically considered self-employed and was required to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for himself as both an employer and an employee.

He apparently failed to do so, resulting in Internal Revenue Service audits his last two years at the IMF. As soon as the IRS brought the issue to his attention, he paid the taxes with interest, these people said.

The transition office quickly leapt to Geithner's defense, insisting that his service "should not be tarnished by honest mistakes, which, upon learning of them, he quickly addressed."

As nominating controversies go, this seems pretty thin. With regards to the housekeeper, Geithner employed a woman whose papers were in order when he hired her, and who went on to get a green card. There was a three-month gap, but it's easy to believe Geithner didn't know about the discrepancy, and the gap wasn't even worth prosecuting. He went beyond what was legally necessary in paying back withholdings.

On the self-employment taxes, the Wall Street Journal noted that this is a pretty common error among IMF employees -- the institution has deliberately set up a unique payroll system to accommodate foreign employees -- and Geithner addressed it by paying what he owed.

This seems, in other words, like small potatoes, especially given the seriousness of Geithner's responsibilities at the Treasury Department in the middle of an economic crisis.

My first thought upon seeing this was that a party that engaged in such egregious fuckery for the last eight years has very fucking little room to talk, much less nitpick. But then again, these are Cons. Everyone else has to be absolutely perfect, but they believe themselves to be above any and all laws, rules, and notions of decency.

I hope they're quickly disabused of that notion, but I'm not holding my breath.

After all, this is a bunch that doesn't feel shame, but aggravation, when they're caught breaking the law:

On Dec. 16, 2005, the New York Times published an article by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, revealing that President Bush had secretly authorized the NSA to “eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States…without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying.” The blockbuster article, which exposed one of the Bush administration’s biggest secrets, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2006.

Discussing the wiretapping program on Bill Bennett’s radio show today, Vice President Cheney called the program “important,” adding that it “always aggravated” him that the Times was rewarded for its reporting:

CHENEY: What happened then was they had the information we had, they knew how we were doing it, they knew what we were producing through that process. But then when — Nancy Pelosi, for example, was part of that group. But then it became public. The New York Times broke the story I think in December of ‘05, won the Pulitzer for it, which always aggravated me.

You know what aggravated us, Dick? The fact that assclowns like you were busy destroying our civil liberties, dragging our country into a cesspool, and listening in on our pillow talk. And I think that aggravation is just a tad bit more justified than yours.

By the way, you and your little trained monkey are both a wee bit unpopular these days:

Matt Corley noted that when the White House announced Bush's final press conference, it reminded news outlets that they could only send "one correspondent per organization."
As it turns out, the White House probably could have been more flexible.

[C]omplicating his last-minute legacy rehabilitation: Nobody seems to be paying attention. The White House had high expectations for yesterday's final, historic news conference.... But when the appointed hour of 9:15 a.m. arrived, the last two rows in the seven-row briefing room were empty, and a press aide told White House interns to fill those seats.
I'd just add, for context, that the rows aren't especially big -- the briefing room isn't exactly a movie theater. If memory serves there are seven rows of seven seats. Two empty rows in the back suggests only 35 reporters showed up for an event the president described as "the ultimate exit interview."

Apparently, the news corps don't think Bush has the cachet to sell papers or draw in viewers anymore, even for his final press conference. Sad, innit?

Sarah Palin's still out, about and desperately stupid:

Chatting with Esquire, Sarah Palin decided to complain, once again, about the media. This latest whine, however, was a little more foolish than the others.

"I'll tell you, yesterday the Anchorage Daily News, they called again to ask -- double-, triple-, quadruple-check -- who is Trig's real mom," Palin said. "And I said, 'Come on, are you kidding me? We're gonna answer this? Do you not believe me or my doctor?' And they said, No, it's been quite cryptic the way that my son's birth has been discussed. And I thought, Okay, more indication of continued problems in the world of journalism."

At first blush, this might sound reasonable. For the Anchorage Daily News to call, months after the campaign, just to make sure the governor really is her son's mother seems like a clear example of media excess.

Except, that isn't what happened. My friend Alex Koppelman explained that the paper was actually defending Palin and debunking the bogus rumors about her family.

So she can't even figure out when journalists are doing a legitimate job. You know who else has that problem? Go on, guess:

Continuing his reporting from Israel, Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher tried to clarify his remarks criticizing media coverage of war, in a new Pajamas TV segment. He said that citizens “don’t need to see what’s happening every day” in war and said that it should be up to the military to decide what the media learns about war:

WURZELBACHER: you don’t need to see what’s happening every day, that’s my personal opinion, you don’t have to share it. But, you know, okay, you don’t have to see, you know, 800 dead, 801 dead. It’s like they drill that in your head. … They want you to sit there saying there are so many people dying. You know these are large, these are numbers, you know I don’t want to take away from that. Let me, uh, think about how to say that again. Just essentially, they keep drilling it into your head, newscast after newscast after newscast.

I think the military should decide what information to give the media and then the media can release it to the public. I don’t believe they need to be in the front lines with soldiers, I don’t believe they need to, uh, you know, be bothering the military for information or for access to certain areas.

It's too bad Palin's already married. These two assclowns seem made for each other.

No comments: